Having myself suffered from severe “delusional optimism” since early, early, early childhood–I found this post uniquely relatable. I don’t think I’ve ever before read anything like it! I love the internet. How ever did people used to find weirdos just like themselves?
Like this author, I too can now finally recognize when it’s happening. The delusional optimism I mean. So much so, in fact, that I would say it’s now more accurate to say I recognize when I’m doing it–and I’m learning to stop. And that’s a relief. Because I was killing myself with all those delusional lies. Killing myself for about forty years.
The lies are still what first come to mind. I mean, they are generally the near-immediate “conclusion” I arrive at when considering anything in my day-to-day life. And they seem so…genuine. So believable. And somehow so much what I want to be actually true. But I am learning to recognize them for what they are. Lies. Lies I am telling myself.
I don’t know if it’s just the new heightened awareness I’ve had since my official ADHD diagnosis last year, or if my prescription is giving me some objective clarity I didn’t have before, but now I generally have an almost immediate second thing that happens: right after I arrive at the delusionally optimistic “conclusion”–I take a quick mental step back and assess whether that conclusion is true. (Wait, what? An ADHDer who almost automatically takes a mental step back to assess? Yeah, I know. Awesome, huh?)
When it’s a lie (and most often it is) I resist going along with it. Or I try too anyway. But sometimes that’s harder than it sounds, because I’m a darn convincing liar–at least when I’m lying to myself! In fact, it sometimes begins to turn into a mental struggle, a sort of argument with my other self…sort of.
When this happens I need to make a quick move or I will quickly become paralyzed by overanalytical indecisiveness. So I emphatically deny the lie out loud, “NO. I don’t have time to do that!” or what-have-you. This might seem a little schizophrenic to anyone within earshot, but it’s working.
It’s working. And I’m not killing myself and hating myself so much.
And I’m feeling non-delusionally optimistic about the trajectory of that.