The ADHD Brain on Solitude

from the book “Lake Lessons”

Solitude and Silence is a bit more “front and center” in my thinking these days because I am part of a group doing a book study on Invitation to Solitude and Silence by Ruth Haley Barton. Simply “being” with God seems to be a challenge for anyone, but doing it through the grid of ADHD  has an added dimension.  There is an aspect of it that seems impossible for me.  I wish I could simply sit and “be.” More often than not, I am  “doing” all over the place in my brain.

I find myself struggling to “do it right.”  (I’ve done a lot of personal work around that issue – not an unusual struggle for someone with ADHD who usually didn’t do things “right” for a lot of people in their lives.) So I have been working on accepting that solitude and silence may not look the same for me as it does for others. And since sitting quietly with my hands open in my lap is death to silence and solitude for me, I often write, because writing helps focus and slow down the racing thoughts in my brain.  I am learning to give myself permission to experience it in a way that is congruent with the way God created me.

During a recent conversation with a friend we talk about the importance of having a breath prayer. Praying that prayer helps keep us in the quiet place of “being” instead of “doing.” My breath prayer changes from time to time. This particular morning I just start writing, keep writing and as I pray the the distractions right into my prayer time.

I have no illusions I have arrived – this is an ongoing journey for me, but here I share where I  am April 10, 2012.

As I pray, I think of breathing in God’s love (like oxygen) and breathing out the things that do not nourish me.

It’s April 10th, National Siblings Day.
I think of my three lost siblings
with joy laced with grief,
thankful for the time I had them in my life.

Lord it’s so good to be here,
at my lake
on my rock
under my willow tree
snuggled in a blanket
coffee cup in hand

Thinking about your faithfulness.
Immanuel, God here with me
You came.
You left the Holy Spirit.
And I am not alone . . . ever.
Today my heart knows this truth.
Sometimes only my head knows.

Breathe You in.
Breathe out grief.

Breathe You in.
Breath out pain.
A duck quacks
Now I’m thinking about quacking ducks.

For a moment I feel despair over my distraction.
Then I remember –
You made the ducks
part of your creation.
I smile
I continue to write. . .

Breathe in and out.

Breath You in.
Breathe out tension
over the details I must juggle today.

Breathe You in. . .
There is traffic moving along the street across the lake.

Breath out hurry
Breath out going places on my own.

Breathe You in,
Breath out loneliness
Ducks swimming in pairs.

My siblings are gone
But I am not alone.
I have You and an inner circle of friends in my life
It’s just that they are all getting redistributed.
as you move them from place to place. 

Thank you Lord for phones, email and skype.
and for knowing I will be with my siblings again.
There will be one big “hello”
And no more “Bye, C’ya” again . . . ever.

3 Replies to “The ADHD Brain on Solitude”

  1. Elaine, I’m pretty sure it’s a universal problem. I guess that’s why it takes practice?! I do think ADHD adds another dimension, but I also am learning that God takes us where we are and as long as we are paying attention, he is able to be heard when we stop long enough..

  2. I have a terrible time with focusing on God too and I don’t think I have ADHD. Why is is so hard to sit and listen? But then, I think that maybe God has allowed some thoughts to come in my mind as a way to talk to me. I try to pay attention. Thank you so much for your honest sharing.

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