Week Three: Sketch a Day this May!

Week Three was interesting and tended towards more focused work and process than usual. Towards the end of the week I stuck to only one painting a day and tried to make it work. Again, not the usual. I’m learning a lot this month :)

Daily exercise to build immunity to perfectionism; join in! ‪#‎maysketchaday‬

Sharing my smile because I have never liked my smile and I realised that this is because it is not symmetrical, and so I did not think it was beautiful and I was self-conscious about it. But now that I’m starting to see the dangerous levels of my perfectionism in things, I realise that it IS ABSOLUTELY CRAZY that because my SMILE does not seem PERFECT I therefore DON’T LIKE it!!??! That’s literally so stupid and I refuse to care anymore and I just want to smile and be grateful that I even have teeth and a face and thousands of reasons to smile anyway. So yeah, quit striving for perfection; you’ll never be happy that way.

I. Numbers signify the value of a lot of things, but they do not measure your worth. Do not give your GPA, your weight, your salary, or any other number more power than it deserves. You do not earn merit by being enslaved to a numerical value. You are more than a number. That is unconditional. You’re a piece of infinity. If you’re going to identify with a number at all, let it be that one. You are limitless.

II. There will be times that you fail, but that does not make you a failure. Keep going. Do not let the fear of failure keep you from trying. Do not remain stuck. Move forward. Go slow. Go three steps forward and two steps back but do not stop. Baby steps will get you farther than laying down in defeat.

III. You are the only person holding yourself to such unattainable standards and you are the only person disappointed when you do not meet them. No one else expects perfection from you. No one else overanalyzes your imperfections the way you do. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Give yourself a break. After all this time, you sure as hell deserve one.

IV. Your flaws, mistakes, struggles, and weaknesses are home to a distinct, profound beauty that you don’t even realize exists. Imperfections make you real. You don’t need hide them. You don’t need to pretend to have it all together all the time. You’re only human, after all.

V. Constantly aiming high, working hard, and striving to do better is admirable until you start berating yourself for the shortcomings you experience along the way. Self-improvement and self-deprecation are two very different things. Do not confuse them.

VI. Black and white are just colors - not the lens through which you should view your life. The world is a big gray area, and within the gray you will find endless color. You do not need to experience life in such high contrast. The way the world works isn’t so cut and dry - it rarely involves the alls or nothings that constantly plague your mind. Open your eyes to all the possibilities. Take comfort in them.

VII. Perfectionism may yield some achievement, but nothing outweighs the freedom in realizing that because “perfect” does not exist, you are not bound to it. Realize that, remind yourself of it often, and breathe easier. Be free.

VIII. You don’t need to keep trying to prove yourself. You have been good enough all along. It’s time you start believing it.

—  a note to myself and to all of the struggling perfectionists that needed to hear it
TotallyADD Webinar: Emotional Aspects of Getting Stuck and Unstuck with ADHD, Dr Thomas Brown

Brown says emotion is definitely part of ADHD; a lot of people in the medical community think it’s just about attention, but that’s not true.

Book: Smart but Stuck

Current criteria don’t mention emotion, but we all know how hard it is to manage emotions. Emotions play a huge role in our daily difficulties!

“The DSM does not lead the field, it follows it.”

By the time you get a group of experts to agree on something, it’s old news.

The brain assigns importance in terms of emotion.

We have trouble managing and responding to emotions.

Not enough research has been done into inertia (he calls it ignition).

“My mind is a great sprinter but it’s a lousy distance runner.”

It’s not just willpower.

New working definition of ADHD: ADHD = a complex syndrome of developmental impairments of executive functions, the self-management system of the brain, a system of mostly unconscious operations of the brain. These systems are… ** (I missed the rest of this, it went by too quickly.)

Executive functioning!

How does emotion interfere with executive functioning?

Most people know part of what they feel but there are other parts they don’t show to others and some that they don’t even recognize themselves.

Efforts to teach us how to use executive functions are a waste of time because we know what to do, we just can’t do it.

“Nobody knows what they’re thinking and for us it’s worse because we’re already on to the next thought.”

Perfectionism may be a form of OCD.

When you can’t get started, is there perhaps a reason why you might not actually want to do the thing?

Sometimes avoidance is a sensible strategy.

We do people a disservice by telling them that they can do whatever they want to do. It’s a tricky balance to be encouraging without giving false hope.

Executive functions are very difficult for us to do, and people want to teach us to do them consistently or whatever, but repeatedly giving the same instructions isn’t going to get the desired result.

Medicine is not the only thing you need.

End up with anxiety because of hypervigilance.

Poor working memory means the only emotion that is real is the one we feel in the moment.

Need at least one person who believes in us.


Week Two: Sketch a Day this May!

Week two was a bit tougher than the first; there’s something about the initial momentum meeting with the middle of a project that creates a bit of compound pressure. Still much to learn.

Please feel free to join us in a sketch each day this month. The main idea here is a daily exercise to build immunity to perfectionism while of course, having fun :) Any medium, anything goes. ‪#‎maysketchaday‬

I did a comic about diagnosis and loss. I am surprised at the number of people who tell me ‘oh well it doesn’t matter what’s wrong with you as long as you get help’ but actually finding out perfectionism was causing my issues was the only way for me to get better. 

This has been scanned in using my crappy work photocopier so I’m not that happy with it but…

hello! do ADHDers usually get angry or disappointed or sad bc of not reaching full potential in school? I’m asking because whenever I’m in a class in school, I feel like I understand things really well, and I know I can do it, but then I’ll take a test or a quiz or an essay and screw up on easy things (in math i’ll multiply wrong, use the wrong formula, or switch/skip #s, like writing 64 instead of 46). I should be at the top of my class, but my scores are always worse than everyone else’s, and i feel so mad at myself, even though my grades aren’t all that bad and I’m making up schoolwork from being out sick for 7 weeks. I’m disappointed if my grade is even a couple of points below other people’s, even though know the difference is so small that it’s stupid to get worked up over. Does anyone have advice for stuff like this?

Here’s a pamphlet on recognizing and overcoming perfectionism.


Being angry or disappointed or sad because of poor performance in school is a totally normal reaction for anyone, not just ADHDers. It sounds like you are a perfectionist, but it also sounds like your ADHD might be causing these little mistakes. Double-checking your work may be helpful, if you have time at the end of a test.



Week One: Sketch a Day this May!

It’s interesting to see the first week together, seems like time has slowed down. The exercise has freed me to explore quite a bit, well outside my usual anxious patterns :)

Please feel free to join us in a sketch each day this month. The main idea here is a daily exercise to build immunity to perfectionism while of course, having fun :) Any medium, anything goes. ‪#‎maysketchaday‬

The real perfectionist realization comes when you understand the fear of failure is what drives it yeah? So what happens is eventually you sit down and realize your perfectionism is literally because you are unconsciously deciding that everything you ever do is likely to fail. When you could be choosing to assume everything you do will succeed. Yet you choose to think everything will fail

When I realized that’s the root of my problem it was incredibly depressing because I would never even assume that of my worst enemy but I’ll sure do it to myself