When your brain operates at 100mph

My brain decided that I should listen to an old Beatles tune this morning, “Fixing a Hole.” I didn’t need to turn on Pandora. My brain just started playing it. This is funny to me because the song is about staying busy to prevent your mind from wandering…and this happened while I was in the middle of a very important game of Toon Blast, messaging three different friends, and scanning emails.

The joy of having a brain that does a lot of shit without my permission is something that every addict, alcoholic, and social misfit can relate to. Some of us are legit A.D.D. The piece that folks who don’t live with that fail to understand is that ADD is almost always accompanied by varying degrees of depression. It’s hard to find folks who think in similar ways, are as sensitive, and who want to connect even in the midst of chronic sensory overload.

Most of us have past trauma. Too often, this leads to having adversarial relationships with our minds. We fight great battles to block out certain thoughts, memories, and feelings. These are distinctly unnatural things to do and yet completely understandable. Our minds alternate between dark places – attempting to reconcile overwhelming experiences – and dissociating (checking out) as a means of protecting us.

A high percentage of us are very anxious. We’re consumed with nervousness and worry. We focus on minutia and unimportant things in order to avoid much more important matters. We’re people who repress strong/negative emotions because we fear losing control of self.

All of us whose brains go 100mph engage in addictive thinking – the black and white, all or nothing, now or never mindset. Our minds get hijacked by urges, cravings and shiny distractions that distance us from ourselves. We strive to attain – whether it’s for the next fix, the next conquest, or even in achieving our recovery goals, our approach is largely the same:

It took us years to get here but we’d like to be all better by Tuesday.

I’ve learned in countless ways that I cannot win a battle that I fight with me. Calming my 100mph brain was unattainable using the type of self-control I learned growing up. No amount of being self-critical or rejecting myself ever helped.

I’ve learned that I cannot control what I refuse to accept and as my friends in 12 step programs say, you don’t have to like it to accept it. Taming my overactive mind started with caring for my mental health needs, allowing myself to feel and express my full range of emotions, and being fair to myself holistically

I found that for as much as I had empathy for others, I lacked compassion for myself. Embracing self-respect helped me to move away from depression. Accepting that Attention Deficit Disorder is simply something I was born with helped me to see that the same brain that does a lot of things without my permission also creates cool shit when I feed it healthily.

I’ve accepted that my brain is going to go on adventures with or without my consent. I get to decide how to equip it for the journeys. By feeding it good writing, great conversations with people I love, and challenges for growth and further healing, the better the adventures.

Jim LaPierre

About Jim LaPierre

Jim LaPierre LCSW CCS is the Executive Director of Higher Ground Services in Brewer, Maine. He is a Recovery Ally, mental health therapist and addictions counselor. He specializes in facilitating recovery (whether from addiction, trauma, depression, anxiety, or past abuse) overcome obstacles, and improve their quality of life. Jim is the cofounder of Sobernow.com an online addiction recovery program that is affordable and provides complete anonymity