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Overwhelmed and Undermotivated

The state of overwhelm is like slowly drowning from life's pressures. Or, if you're an ADHDer like me, it's akin to a feeding frenzy in shark-infested waters. It's not just that you'll drown, but it's entirely possible you'll get eaten alive before drowning even occurs to you.

Such is the state of my desk right now. I have cramped access to my keyboard and my mouse, and every other square inch of my desk is covered with crap that I know I need to clean up. I want my desk back. But the mountain of crap currently eating all of my desk real estate is daunting, which therefore makes even the idea of cleaning it all up incredibly overwhelming.

Typically, when I get extremely overwhelmed with a task, I ignore it. Instead of reclaiming my space, I live with the rearranging of things that shouldn't even be there, deal with the mountains as they topple, and generally just pretend that the problem doesn't exist.

This is where the undermotivation comes in. I should want to clean up and reclaim my space. In fact, I truly do want to tidy up, but the thought of doing it is so bloody overwhelming that I'd rather just curl into a ball and do nothing, again pretending there's no issue.

Unfortunately one reaches a point where one can no longer ignore the elephant in the room. It becomes too big, too massive, and you have to muster up the motivation to clear the crap out to become a functioning person again. I can say to myself, "If I accomplish A, then I can do B." If I accomplish cleaning my desk, then I can start gaming on my PC again.

So where does motivation come from? For neurotypicals ("NTs"), the driving motivation is simply to complete the task. Something needs to get done, an NT does it and moves on to the next task.

For ADHDers, motivation comes from darker places. My personal motivators are Disgust & Shame. Disgust with myself for having let it get as bad as it is, and Shame since I live in a shared space with my spouse, so A) my mess affects him, and B) we can't host anyone because I'm too ashamed to let anyone in the door.

The Disgust & Shame can feed into a negative thought spiral, triggering self-loathing and depression. "If I can't even do a simple task like clean my effing desk, then why am I even alive?" Is this pattern of thought ridiculous? Yes, it is. Sadly for ADHDers, it's our truth. We play LIFE on Hard Mode.

So what does Hard Mode mean? In gaming, Hard Mode is an option that allows the player to play on a more difficult setting. NTs play on Standard Mode. Society is set up for neurotypicals to function successfully in the world. For neurodivergents ("NDs"), society has already started us with a handicap because we don't think the "right" way, or do things the "right" way, or even learn the "right" way. Our neurodivergence defaults us to Hard Mode, and unfortunately, it's not a setting we have the option of turning off.

Since I'm on Hard Mode, and I am rather ashamed of myself for letting my desk situation deteriorate so badly, how do I get out of it and stop hating myself? On paper, it's easy: just do the task. But since I'm overwhelmed with drowning in the shark-infested waters that are the mountains of shit on my desk, it's a hard ask. I start by taking my medication, followed by caffeine, closely followed by a mantra and some awesome music to set myself up for success. And then... after an hour or so of prep time, I tackle the task. Does it work every time? No. That would be too easy. But today... today is the day I'm going to do it.

Okay, I've procrastinated long enough in blogging about the state of my desk. I think it's finally time to do it.


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