I have moved a lot in my life; lived in many different cities, in different apartments, had different jobs, and along the way met a variety of people. As a person with ADHD, my mind had me on the run a lot.
I’ve had experiences and adventures I would have never had if not for this particular part of myself – and in many ways it’s a part of me I cherish. However, there is a downside to having ADHD if it’s not in check. In my case, it controlled my life for a long time and often had me on the run. Not the one-foot-in-front-of-the-other kind of run, but rather a run from myself – often in search of some peace for my racing mind.
Over the past 15 months, with a lot of hard work and support, I’ve stopped “running” away. Today, the words “running” and “racing” have much different meanings in my life; carrying with them the peace I was in search of for so long. I’ve started to gain control over my ADHD, and in turn, control of my life (as much as any of us have any control). I don’t know how I would have done this without, ironically, running.
Along with medication, and cognitive therapy, the physical act of running has restored my spirit and helped me rewire my mind, and how it processes. There’s quite a bit of research that points to the benefits of physical activity for those with ADHD, and I can attest to it. More and more I’m reading about the advancements being made in understanding how to treat both children and adults with ADHD. I’m encouraged to see there’s increasing recognition of the need to provide an environment conducive to active learning for kids with ADHD. In fact, there’s a private school in the U.S called Soar Academy that does just this; it puts children with ADHD and ADD in an environment where they can thrive as learners (perhaps the public school system will get on board sometime soon as well).
Activity, indeed, is a critical part of treating ADHD and it’s quite fascinating, so too is the science of the brain and its ability to change and create new connections. I know this not from hours spent in medical school, but through my own experience training and reorganizing my mind – creating actual, physical, new pathways in my brain that have lead to positive change.
In many ways training my mind has run parallel with my athletic training; consistency, discipline, patience and resilience are all keys to long lasting success. Running has taught me that not every moment can be perfect; that there will be days when everything feels off – and that’s okay. Yes, I still have bad days, but I always bounce back because I trust in the foundation I have built; both as a person with ADHD, and as an athlete.
I’m no longer trapped, or controlled by chaos in my mind; I have the freedom to make decisions based on my authentic desires rather than impulse, or fear. I no longer feel the need to run away from myself, but instead have the privilege of running towards everything I love.
Next month, my partner Candace and I will be moving to Omaha, Neb. It struck me recently that for the first time in my adult life, it’s a move that I feel in control of and that is authentic to me. It’s a move that brings us closer to family and gives us both the opportunity to do what we are passionate about doing; Candace in a teaching position as an assistant professor at Creighton University, and myself in a position of being able to devote more time to my running and writing.
I’m thrilled to be staying on with Canadian Running magazine and will continue to write my blog weekly, as well as continue to contribute regularly to the print edition of the magazine. The country in which I live will be changing, but I’m still Canadian, and I have a Canadian story to tell. It’s been an honour to share it thus far, and I look forward to continuing on as I write this next chapter of life.