I’ve been thinking lately about how much time people spend in negative places emotionally. The power of positive thinking is so well demonstrated that it has become a cliche. However, negative thinking and feeling are just as powerful, if not more so, only in a destructive way. Negative feelings are inescapable, because life is full of pain. But I have observed over and over again the happiest, healthiest people are not those who are lucky enough to avoid most of life’s worst moments, but those who can, no matter what, find something else to celebrate and be glad about. We can’t deny or avoid the hard times. But we can, even in the midst of hard times, seek out and then dwell upon someone or something we love in our lives.
As I deal with my prostate cancer, it has been truly inspirational to me to feel the tremendous support I’ve received from so many, many people. Their support doesn’t take the cancer away, but it surely does stoke me up with positive energy, thoughts, and feelings. I guess what I’m saying is that no matter how hard times are, if you open yourself up to it, positive energy is out there for you. We’re all in this thing called life together, and we all suffer certain pain. But we can be there for one another, no matter what. Being there for each other is the best antidote I know of to life’s pain. —
What does this have to do with ADD, you might be asking yourself? Just that so much of life with ADD can be saturated with negative thoughts and feelings. It can be saturated with pessimism, fear, and shame—all quite well based in reality and truly negative events. But, as much as those painful events can’t be removed from our lives, we can work with one another to lift each other’s burdens. And we can discover that doing this is actually magical. When I was in the Dana Farber Hospital last week planning my treatment, a young woman came by offering books and magazines she had on a pushcart. Even though I didn’t need a book or magazine, just seeing her made me feel like crying tears of joy. How awesome this young woman, likely a volunteer, was making her rounds through the hospital. It was as if she were an itinerant preacher. And then this morning, when I was in church, a woman I barely know came up to me, gave me a kiss on my cheek, and said, “I know you’ll be fine.” Again, I had to blink back tears. — Whether you’re dealing with ADD, cancer, the loss of a job, or just a bad day, keep in mind that none of us has to be alone. Open up, and you’ll find company.