What’s in your gear closet?

Ah, the first backpacking trip of the season.   The weather was perfect.  The trail was uncrowded.  Metaphors about gear and ADHD strategies floated through my mind like sparks from the campfire.

I was never really a tool person.  It used to be there wasn’t much I couldn’t repair with duct tape, a kitchen knife, and a high heeled shoe.  When I started hiking many years ago, part of the allure was that I didn’t need any special equipment.  I could just get up and go.    Now I’ve amassed several thousand dollars worth of backpacking gear that I have no idea how I ever lived without.

ADHD coping strategies are like gear.  At first, you think you don’t need anything special.  You can hike just fine in a pair of sneakers as long as you don’t go too far or over rocky terrain.  But then you try to go a little farther.  Rocks and roots press into the soles of your shoes.  Your feet start to hurt.  So you bite the bullet and buy a pair of hiking boots.  They’re a little uncomfortable at first, and you think, is this really any better?  But then you start to get used to them.  Oh my!  What an improvement.

Your new footwear enables you to hit steeper and more difficult trails.  Being the adventurous type, off you go.  You notice other hikers using fancy aluminum trekking poles.  You laugh at them - what the heck would anyone need all that for?  You begin to understand the value the first time you twist an ankle, or fall in a creek, or slide down an incline on your back.  So you try out a pair.  Like the boots, they’re a little hard to get used to.  But soon you don’t know how you ever lived without them.

You are now a gear junkie.

It’s the same with ADHD coping strategies.  A long, long time ago, I used to just get up and go, not worrying about how my day went.  The farther I got from home, the steeper the hills were, the more I realized how hard life with ADHD can be.  I got to thinking that there must be an easier way.  So I started with one little strategy that changed my life:  I bought a planner.  At first it seemed cumbersome.  I had to carry it around with me, and remember to write stuff in it, and look at it regularly.  It was kind of a hassle, to be honest.  But before long I was relying on it more than my left arm.  How do people live without these things?!

Over time, I added more strategies to my ADHD gear closet.  Now I am functioning quite well.  It’s been years since anyone called me a derogatory name like Ditzy.  But just like backpacking gear, there’s always some new tool I’d like to acquire.  I hear about a new technique, wonder how I could possibly use it, decide to do something similar, figure out how, and integrate it into my life.  Then it’s on to the next thing.

Where are you on your ADHD journey?  What’s on your gear wish list?  Leave me a comment.