I have a confession: I have no artistic talent whatsoever!
I have no talent, and this blog needs a few more photos to spruce it up. Since I did promise a little levity on Lavender and Levity, I’m going to make a game of my artistic bumbling!
The stereotypical person with ADHD may not be very good at traditional academic pursuits, but they are typically thought of , at least, as a “creative” (read: artist). What happens, then, when you are an adult with ADHD who works in a numbers-heavy field who also can’t draw anything beyond stick figures? You end up being ashamed not only of your inattentive typos and your jabber mouth, but also of your complete lack of “style” and/or craftiness!
I gave up knitting as a relaxation pursuit because one of two things seemed to always happen: 1) Either I paid close enough attention to the pattern, followed it correctly, and was constantly stressed out about another thing I had to do “right” even during my “down” time; or 2) I tried to knit while actually relaxing, inevitably got off in my mental count, and ended up having to tear out three rows of stitches because, once I saw my mistakes, I could never unsee them. Both outcomes triggered more RSD than they were worth.
I work with large datasets on a daily basis. I have learned to catch my own mistakes to keep my job. I may make a ton of inattentive errors in initial spreadsheet entry or coding, but I tend to catch them before it’s too late. (The code itself also often catches them, because it just won’t compile!) Eventually, I run an analysis that ends up making no sense because, hiding within the dataset, there are a few numbers that are off by several orders of magnitude from what they should be – oops! They stick out like sore thumbs on data visualization, and I correct the data cells and move on.
I catch my mistakes, but the fear that someday I won’t is always a major stressor. Another stressor is the simple fact that, to allow myself time to catch those mistakes, I have to also allow myself double the time it should take to complete a project. I end up working at home more than is healthy, to buy myself that time. I have to allow time to do the project, and then I have to allow time to redo it several times as well, just to be sure I’ve correctly self-edited. I live life in permanent fear that the extra time I require to catch my own stupid mistakes will some day no longer be outweighed by my ability to see hypotheses and inter-connections among data well beyond what others can see.
When I want to relax, I want to actually relax. Relaxing is not something we tend to be very good at with ADHD. There is something very soothing about the adult coloring book craze. Gel pens just feel good in my hand. They are tactile fidgets that can be used to make other fidgets. How cool is that? I typically have the sense of humor of a 12-year-old boy. I initially found potty-mouth coloring books to be an ideal relaxation aid after a bad RSD day. There’s no inherently correct way to color a page full of curse words, and it’s hard to take yourself seriously if you do end up grabbing the wrong rod from the package. Heh. “Wrong rod” – that’s what she said! (Did I mention I have the sense of humor of a twelve-year-old boy!?) When you are coloring the word bollocks, covered in bright shiny flowers and male genitalia, it’s almost impossible to trigger RSD!
Potty-mouth coloring books have been a source of low-brow humor and cheap fun for me for months, but a family member had to go and ruin it by giving me a geometric pattern coloring book. Talk about pressure! I’ve been making my way through it, but I refuse to beat myself up when I inevitably try to set up a color pattern and then inattentively break it. I refuse to beat myself up when I reach for the same shade I was using before, accidentally grab the neighboring gel pen, and color half of one figure before I realize it. I refuse to not relax during my stress reliever, and I’m ensuring I do so by making a failure-therapy game of it.
Today I introduce to you, “Where’s Whoopsie?” It’s Where’s Waldo for anyone with brain fog. All three of the photos in this post have mistakes in them. Those mistakes might be as subtle as reversing the pattern on two figures among forty identical instances, or they might be as glaring (at least to true artists) as using a slightly off shade of green on two adjacent figures. Where are the errors? Of course I know; I have RSD. Can you find them, too?
I’m starting you off easy. Future illustrations may not (or may, who knows, I have ADHD) always be this easy! Have fun, and please don’t spoil it for others when you do find the errors. Don’t post the answers in the comments, please. If you need help, message me privately!