I have long suspected that I have Adult Attention Deficit Disorder.

And – I have recently been entertaining the idea of visiting a psychiatrist and getting myself on a Ritalin.  Seriously.  Sometimes, I think (very!) strong drugs are required to keep my mind in check – to get me to FOCUS.

I have a very… VERY…. busy mind.  

There is always noise playing inside my head… there’s clutter… there’s chaos… there’s at least 80 new ideas and plans that ignite every day – and I plan them out in fine detail (and I’m not exaggerating).  My brain sparks ideas all the time.  And I mean ALL the time.  Ideas wake me up at night.  Ideas have me “disappearing” into thought while someone is trying to talk to me.  Reading magazines and books spark off MORE ideas.  Watching a good movie or a documentary sparks off even MORE ideas.

It is impossible for my brain to relax.  Actually – I can’t remember ever “relaxing” inside of my head.

The last time I enjoyed a full day at a spa – I tried to desperately to get my brain to align with my body and to just… relax.  But no.  My brain did not relax at all.  The smell of the massage oils sparked ideas.  The touch of the therapists hands sparked ideas.  The decor in the therapy rooms sparked ideas.  The background music sparked ideas.  Ideas… ideas… ideas…!!!

ALL.  THE.  TIME!!!!

For people who find it difficult to come up with ideas – this may seem strange.  Trust me, it seems very strange (to me) that there are people out there who find it hard to imagine… create… invent… come up with ideas.  I’m built this way.  It never – ever – stops.

Place 3 random items in front of me… and I will come up with at least a dozen ideas on how they can be used… re-purposed… manipulated… built… created…. into something else.

But… today I think I had an epiphany about all of this….

Maybe there IS something to be said for creating “calm” spaces for people like me.  Maybe there’s even something to be said about that Feng Shui stuff (that I always considered to be a bit woo…)

My house – my studio – the places I try to work (like coffee shops) – are all WAY too overstimulating for someone like me.  My office shelves are overflowing with books… pieces of artwork… articles I still want to read… CD’s and photos I need to organise… gifts I want to wrap… ideas I want to follow through on… brightly coloured bits and pieces… children’s toys… coffee cups (maybe caffeine is also NOT good for someone like me).

The walls are brightly painted…  there’s colour… and “stuff” everywhere I look (and it is very – VERY hard for me to reel my brain in and focus on my work).

Perhaps some folk NEED the visual stimulation…  but I think… I’m beginning to realise that I’m almost always over-stimulated… and it’s possibly also why (when I visit places with lots of people / noise / colour / movement / stuff happening)… I tire very easily.

Which is also frustrating – because I simultaneously LOVE colour… and design… and art… and music… and people-watching… and food tasting… and… and…

The other day, it occurred to me that I’m like a kitten… playing with a light reflection.  A kitten can be sleeping peacefully… but can never resist play time.  If you bring out the toy mouse… or a shiny reflection… kittens ‘have’ to pounce & play.

I’m like that.

I am very easily stimulated – through all of my 5 senses, but especially sight and sound.  Pinterest is a PROBLEM for me…  an hour or two on Pinterest are able to shift my goals from (reasonable, well thought-out goals that will get us to our desired destination in life)…. to….  “That’s it!  I’ve made up my mind!  We’re going to buy a vintage caravan… and renovate it… and paint hearts on the exterior… and install a window-box… and I’m going to make stationery… and sell jam… and I’m going to launch pop-up stores around South Africa… and I’m going to illustrate a range of greeting cards and sell them out of my vintage caravan… and then I’m going to make a tee-pee for the kids… and… and…. and…”

Then I reel myself in again – and give myself a stern lecture.

“Focus, Heather!  FOCUS!”  I tell myself.

But – all it takes is a visit to Exclusive Books… or the Neighbourgoods Market… or Arts on Main… (or blasted Pinterest)… and I’m:  “That’s it!  I know what I’m going to do….  I’m going to…. (insert long list of new ideas here)….”

It just takes a bite of my cousin’s chocolate brownies for me to have (mentally) opened a coffee shop of my own… complete with name of said shop… branding… decor… the stuff I’ll sell (apart from coffee & brownies)… the events I’ll host… the cute, unique packaging for the brownies…. and… and… and…

It takes a listen to one new song to have be composing 6 different theme tunes in my head… lyrics… harmonies… everything.  Then I start thinking about the CD I want to record and the artists I want to collaborate with and the message I want the music to bring… and the unique way I’ll get the music out the world…. and… and… and…

It takes my daughter to just play with my hair for 2 minutes…. and I’ll be inventing different hairstyles… which makes me think of Amanda Palmer (I like her hair)… which makes me think of outspoken artists… which makes me think of Sinead O’Connor… which makes me think of Ireland… which makes me think of my friends, Sarah and Graeme… which makes me think about babies… which makes me think about… (on and on it goes)….

It takes a glimpse of a moving photo… to have me conjuring up my Master Plan on how to make the world a better place… the people I’d collaborate with… the projects we’d work on… the ways we’d get people to think differently about tough issues… the ways we’d find the sponsorship and help… the ways we’d share the important stories that need to be shared….

It takes a single whiff of an exotic spice at a market place – to instantly imagine myself in India… and to plan (in detail) our exotic Asian trip… and the things we’d do… and places we’d visit… the food we’d try… and the saris I’d buy (I’ve always wanted a beautiful pink sari)… and… then India makes me think of the Inspired Individuals (I shared a room with a lovely lady from Mumbai at our last conference)… and Inspired Individuals make me think of My-Master-Plan-to-Change-the-World… and on, and on it goes….


Sometimes, when I’m visiting with friends and relatives – and my brain is freaking out and exploding with noise and ideas… I say to myself:  “They have no idea.  My friends have no00 idea that they are sitting across the table from a barking mad lunatic!”

So.  My request:  anyone out there have any tips or ideas how to “solve” this?

Should I avoid caffeine and create “calm spaces”…?

Or should I just visit the shrink and take the Ritalin and get it over with?