When Positivity Doesn't Work (& You Have A Touch Of The ADHD)

[long post][self-care] Somehow ... I found myself in an unhealthy thought/emotion spiral at four in the morning. It went something like this:
I feel a negative emotion about my current situation, I try to find something positive or something I can be grateful for to counteract the negative emotion, I find something I know I *should* be grateful for but I fail at making myself feel grateful, I feel guilty
about not feeling grateful, I also feel like a whiny brat, then I try to find something else to be grateful for, and the cycle continues.

I'm not helping the situation by being really really hard on myself. I'm not proud of my inner dialogue but I'll share it to illustrate my point.

The mean voice inside my head (please don't tell me I'm the only one who has one ... I mean, it's not that I want you to have one. I just don't wanna feel alone ... and weird): "Why are you being so whiny? You're a stay-at-home-mom. Your life is easy. All your bills are paid for. You get to do whatever you want. You should be grateful. You know what? Don't even talk to anyone about your thoughts and feelings - ESPECIALLY your husband. You'll either just bring them down or you'll make them worry about you."

But you know what? I'm a pretty smart cookie. I've learned quite a bit in my 10 years of being married. I didn't listen to that mean voice in my head. The first chance I got, I shared my thoughts and feelings with my husband. ... even though it was like 4:30 in the morning and he needed to head to work. (I'm not sure why they insist on getting started so early in the morning .. it's still dark!) And you know what else? This husband of mine: he's such a good listener. Once I got talking to another human (... other than just myself), I was able to start getting back on the right track.

While talking to my husband, I started to be able to think more clearly. I knew what to do. Once I told the mean voice inside my head that "Moving is hard. Being a mom is hard. Being a wife is hard. Being a person is hard no matter what situation you're in sometimes." I realized that sometimes a job as hard as "being a person" shouldn't be done all on your own sometimes. That's when I heard myself tell my husband, "You know what I think I need to do? I think I need to pray or something. ... Actually, you know what. I don't think I've been doing that a lot lately." I started talking to God before I even said goodbye to my husband this morning.

First, I thanked God for forgiving me for being so rude and not even talking to them until I needed help. (Like, rude. Right? I wouldn't appreciate having the shoe on the other foot.) God was like, "It's a'ight. Anyway, what's up?" (Oh, by the way. I don't know how God talks to you, but they sound really chill when they talk to me. (also, you may have noted the plural pronoun you perceptive little thang, you. If you're about to Grammar Nazi me, you can save it. Language is ever changing. It's not static. Old words have new meaning. New words are invented. Does society shape language, or does language shape society??? No one knows for sure; ask a linguist. Oh, man. It would be so fun to be a linguist. Anyway. (I'm not sure if you've noticed by now, but I have a touch of the ADHD ... maybe, maybe full-on ADHD ... y'know, maybe** ... as you can see by my use of punctuation and seemingly going off topic. But don't you worry about that, we'll circle back 'round. Ahhhhhnyway.) Then you know what I said? I said, "Thank you for gratitude." Even though I wasn't feeling grateful in that moment. But then I started feeling grateful for, just, gratitude. Then I started feeling grateful for more stuff:

I'm grateful I know how to budget; a lot of people don't know how. They spend all the money they have until it's gone and then they're broke or they borrow. A lot of people don't even have money to budget ... period.

I'm grateful my fridge is full of food. I'm grateful that we're in a position to donate or volunteer at the food bank rather than be recipients of their charity.

I'm grateful that I have the discipline to move things out of my Amazon shopping cart because I know it's stuff I don't really need. I'm glad it's not because I don't have the money for it.

I'm grateful that I am in the comfort of our own private dwelling. I'm grateful that we're not relying on the goodness of friends or family. I'm grateful that we're not living out of our car.

I'm grateful we have a reliable vehicle! It has gotten us many many many miles without ever letting us down. We don't have to worry if Hyunsoo will be able to get to work.

I'm grateful for my family's health and prosperity.

I'm grateful that I found God, and that I've really started to get to know them more lately. (Yes. I forgot to mention before that I'm using "them" instead of "him", "her", "him/her", or "him or her" because I believe that our primitive three-dimensional minds can barely fathom the fourth dimension while we're like a two-dimensional drawing to God. I'm sure that in whatever dimension my God is in, they aren't held back by sex, gender, or plurality. Anyway.)

I'm grateful for grace .. and God's grace. And so much more that I don't have to all type out for you to get the point.

Be grateful. And when you can't be grateful, thank God for gratitude.

P.S. If you ever wanna learn about the ministry and university that helped me find God and turn my life around, please let me know. I'd love to be able to tell you about the hundreds of classes and Bible studies I've taken that have blown my mind. Literally, all of the online courses are amazing. The courses cover all the topics from parenting, homeschooling, marriage, home management, money, emotions, health, and faith. (And personal success!) And as you can see, even though it's called Mom Mastery University, it's not just for moms. I've learned way more in less than a year of MMU than I did in my fourteen years earning a Bachelor's degree (Hey, it takes some people fourteen years. That's okay.)! And I paid wayyyyyy less. Well, I guess not since I went to college for free. (It's called The Army, y'all.) Anyway. I hope you made it to the end. This one was a doozy; I just let it all flow out.

** It's been brought to my attention that my use of the term "ADHD" may frustrate some people since I have never been diagnosed with the condition. I do know that I have exhibited some ADHD tendencies since before I can even remember. Like many other mental disorders, ADHD is complex and I don't claim to know more about it than you do. But I do know myself. If this blog is gonna be worth anything, it's going to be because I'm being real with you. That means my raw thoughts and feelings like "I have a touch of the ADHD" are going to come out sometimes. Sharing your true thoughts and feelings online is harder than it looks. I appreciate when you (but I by no means expect you to) take the time and effort to share your raw thoughts and feelings with me too. Thank you for your enlightening comments! I love seeing things from others' perspectives even if it feels a bit uncomfortable sometimes.


  1. "I'm grateful my fridge is full of food" something many people consider it normal and never thank God for it.
    Really nice post!

    1. Thanks so much! When I find myself in an emotional funk, it really helps me to be grateful for what I have - even the little things. It makes me realize that I am actually very blessed! Thanks for your comment!

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