On the popular TV show Parks and Recreation, two characters make an annual holiday out of splurging on ridiculous luxury items. In my house, we started using their battle cry in the context of managing ADHD symptoms!
I say, “Treat Yo’self” when I’m making a protein shake in the morning or taking my herbs and vitamins. I say it when my husband goes out for a run. I say it when my son puts on his headphones and cranks up the tunes to relax or to study.
One of the reasons I failed to get a diagnosis for so long was because I was so successful at Treating Myself. I had built a lifestyle around my ADHD treatments, so seamlessly that my symptoms were rare, and it was hard to tease out what I’d be without my hacks.
For starters, I don’t work 9 to 5. I chose a stimulating and creative career that involves face-to-facing with other people, intense thought, and problems to solve. I also have a cabinet full of homeopathic and Chinese herbs for the tough moments, that work as well as pharmaceuticals. Plus there’s that arsenal of self-help books and journals (not to mention a list of girlfriends to call) for getting myself through the funks, teaching myself to be a better listener, and getting organized.
But let’s face it, there is nothing like retail therapy to soothe an edgy internal state. Once I get into the swing of it, I love our family’s marathon shopping season that starts at Hannukah, goes through Christmas and Valentine’s Day, with about a thousand birthdays between it. I spend hours online drilling down (a different skill than surfing) for the perfect thing. Hunting for sales activates all of my best ADHD qualities. The dopamine rush of OMG, those earrings totally match my new lipstick can turn a bad day into a good one. (Yeah, there is that downside of the credit card bill at the end of the month. It’s the unfortunate side effect of this type of Yo-self Treatment.)
But I will say right here and right now that I totally dream of a future, like the one in the last season of Parks and Recreation, when “elbow dazzling” becomes a thing!