Brittany Johnson

@brittanyj | staff
Head Writer @ The Mighty Black Queer & Anxious Writer | Performer | Creator

The Dangers of Turning Your ADHD Hyperfixations Into Your Career

“If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” Well, that was a bold-faced lie. I was told that as a little girl, and I believed it. I started searching for my thing – that thing that separates me from the rest while also lighting up a passion that would help me fuel my life financially. For some people, this works. Me, though? I live with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) so I have various rotating hobbies that last for about a year before I’m on to the next thing called hyperfixations . When I was 16 to 18 it was photography. From 18 to 20 it was baking. When I moved on from that it was natural hair care. Then I found my way back to photography and videography. Due to how hyperfixations work, I was so intent on becoming the best hobbyist here that my skills improved rapidly, to the point that when everyone said, “You should turn this into a side hustle,” I said, “Wow, you’re right.” That’s how hyperfixations turned into careers, which ultimately turned into me ruining every hobby I had for a while to the extent that it negatively contributed to my depression and mental health. Hyperfixations can take over our lives. We may end up spending extreme amounts of money, or spend an unbalanced and unsustainable amount of time pursuing them. While hyperfixations can be fun, they can also be damaging, especially when we confuse what is a current passion for a career. When you’re hyperfixating, you can find hidden amounts of energy to tunnel vision into your hobby, called hyperfocus. However, when you get the “ADHD ick” for whatever you’re hyperfixating on, it all stops. You begin the dopamine chase for a new hyperfixation, and if you made the last one your career, now you’re stuck in it. In a career, whether it’s self-employed or otherwise, you have to do the same thing over and over. You have to have a long-term sustainable passion for whatever it is that you’re doing. I thought I did with all the various things I loved, but when I had to wake up at six in the morning for a golden hour shoot, I wasn’t happy or thrilled. I was resentful and angry. That resentment grew and eventually I didn’t pick up the camera for years. I think it’s very easy to slide down that slippery slope when you love something so passionately. Even though I’m not hyperfixating, I still love photography, baking, and all the other things I’ve tried to pursue, just not enough to make them my career. Now two guidelines I go by before pursuing something I find myself completely in love with (out of nowhere especially) are based on how long I’ve been hyperfixating and whether I’m pursuing said hyperfixating sustainably. By waiting a year, or alternatively, however long you tend to hyperfixate on things for. For me, it’s around a year at most regardless of what it is. Sometimes a year and a half, but by that year’s point, if I’m moving on, it’s already started. The difference between a career and a hyperfixation for me all lies in how I’m pursuing it. Am I negating my personal needs (to extreme extents) and donating all of my life towards this? Or am I able to set firm boundaries and not lose interest? I can do this with publishing, but I could never do this with baking. If you have ADHD and you’ve made the mistake of trying to make a permanent career out of a temporary love, you’re not alone. Blame the capitalism push. Blame the dopamine deficiency. It’s all valid regardless.

5 ADHD YouTube Channels You Should Check Out Today

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a very common disorder impacting over 6.1 million individuals , with many individuals only recently coming to the realization that they live with ADHD due to under or misdiagnosis. It’s nice being able to find people who not only know what they’re talking about, but who have experience living with the condition or have done extensive research on the psychological impacts of having it. After scouring YouTube, I’ve come up with five ADHD YouTube accounts that talk about common themes and traits that come with living with ADHD for different groups of people. Here are some YouTube accounts to check out if you’re looking for some extra ADHD insight from people who just get it. 1. Stacey Machelle Stacey Machelle is a Black woman committed to de-stigmatizing and educating Black women who live with ADHD.   2. HaileysComment  Hailey is an upbeat mental health YouTuber who raises awareness about life with ADHD, bipolar disorder, and anxiety.   3. ADHD Support Talk ADHD Support Talk is a podcast channel on YouTube lead by internationally recognized ADHD expert Tara McGillicuddy. The podcast is about helping people with ADHD live their fullest lives.   4. ADHD Love This channel is primarily for people who have children with ADHD . ADHD Love’s goal is to give basic information that helps parents formulate proper decisions for their kids.   5. Me With ADHD Me With ADHD is a ADHD lifestyle account , where the YouTuber takes you through his life with ADHD including parenting, hobbies and hyper-fixations, and more.

If You Struggle With Reading With ADHD, Try an E-Reader

I love stories. In fact, it’s why I’ve made it my entire life. I write manuscripts, here for work, for the screen, and in various other formats. Reading has always been such a fundamental part of my life but as I got older, it became harder to read. Once upon a time, I’d read up to 20 to 30 books in three months. The past few years I’ve been lucky to read even seven a year. It didn’t make sense because I loved reading so much, but I just couldn’t get my brain to cooperate. That is, until I got an e-reader, specifically an iPad. I wasn’t intending to switch to an e-reader, if anything because I liked to think I was a traditionalist. That fresh book smell, paired with feeling the pages under your fingertips, is unlike anything else. I still think that. I felt that switching to an e-reader would take away reading as an experience, and that’s why I was hesitant. Due to a long trip that I have coming up, I had no choice but to at least try e-reading. I begrudgingly tried it, and I haven’t looked back since. Since using my iPad, I’ve read almost four books in one month (for fun), something I haven’t done since I was a preteen. I was trying to figure out why it was so much easier for me to read digitally, and after sitting with it I think it largely is due to my attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Here’s why: 1. The screen itself. OK, I’m going to keep it a buck with y’all. There is no science backing up this theory in the sense that I couldn’t find any study to support it, and I really did just try. So this is my theory, and not medical or scientific in any sense. I read that digital screens tend to light up parts of our brains that keep us more alert . Because I’m reading from a digital screen, that part of my brain that keeps me alert is being triggered when reading, thus helping keep my attention. Makes sense, right? Of course, I’m not a doctor or scientist, but in my eyes, this makes complete sense. 2. I have to intentionally check to see how far I am in a book. When you’re reading a book, you can see when you’re halfway, closer to the end, or at the beginning. Sometimes when I’m starting a book I get intimidated seeing just how much I have to go. On the contrary, at the bottom of my screen, I’ll see “Page 45 out of 234” which is similar, but different as the visualization isn’t there in front of me. On top of that, I like seeing the percentage of how much I’ve read in the book. It motivates me to keep reading. Do I know why? No. But it helps. 3. Less overwhelm overall! If you’re a book lover or collector, you know what it’s like to have a to-be-read list that’s longer than a CVS receipt. Sometimes looking at all the books on my bookshelves overwhelms me to the point that I don’t read anything. For some reason, looking at my catalog of books on my iPad is the complete opposite. Is it that different? No. In fact, as digital books are cheaper I may be racking up an even longer TBR list. That being said, because I’m both reading faster and it’s not displayed physically in front of me, I tend to forget all the books I haven’t read exist, until I’m ready to read them. Object permanence plays into my favor here, and because of it, I read more. 4. You can control the settings. You can’t change the font, colors, or text size in a book. To be fair, I like that in a lot of ways because it’s a part of the book experience, but I won’t front. Being able to switch the page settings around in a way that’s visibly satisfying helps so much too. The flexibility is such a sensory win. Ultimately, I’m still going to buy physical books when I can, as I love having them; however, I’m way more productive when I’m reading digitally. If you live with ADHD, I suggest giving it a try. I resisted as long as I could, but I’m happily a convert now. Give it a shot. You never know what’ll work for you until you try. Take a trip into our Mighty Library for our health-related book recommendations: How Library Books Help Me Survive Long COVID 8 Awesome Children’s Books About Disability 12 Children’s Books That Smash the Patriarchy 10 Children’s Books That Feature Disabled Characters

The Mental Health Takeaway in The Wonder Year's Song 'Low Tide'

I’ve loved pop punk music since I discovered it as a lonely teen in the late 2000s. While my music taste has diversified since, there are a few bands that I keep up with because as they grow and change, I tend to do the same in alignment with them. The Wonder Years is one of my favorite bands, and they’re prepping for a new album release “The Hum Goes on Forever” which will be out September 23, 2022. They’ve released a few songs, but there’s something about their new track “Low Tide” that made me sit down and stare at a wall for 10 minutes, just because I was blown away at how seen I felt in that moment. Dan (Soupy) Campbell, the lead singer, had this to say about the song: “‘Low Tide’ is out now. I think the best way to sum it up is, the first time I (Dan) played through the end of it to show everyone what I was thinking lyrically. There was a weird, long pause after I finished playing and then Matt kinda half-jokingly said, ‘Hey man, are you ok?’ I wasn’t—I mean, who was over the last few years?—but I’m working on it. This is a song for working on it—one to yell while you’re finding your way out.” “Low Tide” is out now. I think the best way to sum it up is, the first time I (Dan) played through the end of it to show everyone what I was thinking lyrically /1— The Wonder Years (@thewonderyears) July 27, 2022 The lyrics speak to that completely. When I listened to this song, I swore Dan had read my diary and turned the words into lyrics. A few artists have spoken about how messy and chaotic the past few years have been, but The Wonder Years confronts it head-on in this song. Not only that, but they speak to the mental health toll of it all – the suicidality, depression, desperation, and collective despair that comes with living in the 2020s. “I’m staring at the wall, ‘cause the only news is bad news. I’m waiting to fall—I’m the rain cloud in your living room. I keep making lists of shit to tell my therapist— the reasons I wish I didn’t exist. I’m sinking fast. I’m taking everyone down with me. Alone at last somewhere in South Jersey. My breath fogs up my glasses. Smoke hangs heavy in the wind. I’m reading up on black holes, hoping one might take me in.” Sometimes we need music to uplift us and make us feel like we can get out of whatever rut that we’re currently in. Other times, we need music to meet us where we are, serving as nothing more than a casual “sup” nod acknowledging just how shitty everything is and that we aren’t alone. This song makes me think of the times I sit with a close friend on the couch doing my best to ignore how horrible my news feeds are, but I can’t. Sometimes you just need to feel seen and understood, and I believe this song does that. If you haven’t listened yet, I definitely suggest that you do. It really is the perfect song to yell as you’re working through all of it, whatever “it” may be.

Read This Young Adult Book If You Struggle With Loss and Love

“Instructions for Dancing,” by Nicola Yoon came out in 2021 after a five-year hiatus (more or less) from the author. As a giant Nicola Yoon fan (“The Sun Is Also a Star” is my favorite book of all time), this was a sad five-year period of my life, so when I saw the announcement for her new book, I was over the moon excited. During that time period, I was going through a very intense period of my life where loss controlled me. I had to stay safe mentally, emotionally, and physically and that meant that I was very judicial over what media I engaged with. I stayed away from anything that blatantly had to do with grief, trauma, and loss, because I just couldn’t process or deal with it. “Instructions For Dancing” never mentioned grief, so when reading it, I almost put it down, but I’m so happy I didn’t. Without spoilers, it’s a story about a girl who gets this power where she can see how relationships end before they do. She falls in love against her better judgment due to her issues with loss and abandonment, and learns how her relationship with this person will end. She has to choose how she’s going to react to this knowledge, and it challenges everything she’s known about love and loss. Two major lessons I picked up from this book were that: 1. You can’t experience love without loss, and if you don’t want to ever experience loss, you’d have to live a life without love. 2. It’s not about the ending. It’s about the beginning and middle too. Love is one of the greatest forces in my life. It’s so important to me, and it’s the one thing that I’ve always wanted. I’ve found it in so many forms (familial, romantic, and platonic), but it was only through those losses that I gained a new fear of love. I loved certain souls more than life itself, and that’s not a euphemism. When I lost those souls, I fell into the deepest pit of suicidality that I’ve ever been in. The idea of opening myself up again was terrifying, not due to my preexisting fear of abandonment or anything of the sort, but instead because what if I lose them too? What if they die? If everything ends, why should I start? That leads me into the second point. It’s not about the ending, even though that’s usually what gets the most attention. This doesn’t just apply to grief, but all forms of loss. Breakups, transitions, you name it. I’ve experienced loss where I had to question, “Would I do it again?” Before I read this book, I’d only be able to focus on the sharp pain at the end and I never wanted to experience that pain again, but if I didn’t, I’d never love again. That, and all the moments that lit me up I’d miss out on too. There’s a reason I loved them so much, and it’s because of the middle, not the ending. The middle is worth the ending, meaning the love is worth the loss. Love and loss are inseparable. The only things universal in life are love and loss, and if you cut yourself off from one, you immediately cut yourself off to another. To some people that may be worth it, but for me it’s not, it wasn’t, and it never will be. Not all middles are worth the endings, but a lot of them are. I thank “Instructions For Dancing” for this lesson. It’s because of this I got over a major hump in my healing journey, and beyond that I was able to cope with new losses better. I’m able to live and be in the moment more, versus panicking the entire time. Complex-post traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD) can make that tricky, but for the most part I’m doing a lot better. Books can be such a huge tool when it comes to moving forward with our lives after traumatic experiences. I highly suggest this book if you struggle with loss, love, and grief. I don’t know who I’d be right now without it.

How Rom-Coms Can be a Healing Tool After Abusive Relationships

When you’ve experienced abuse there are a few common recovery routes and healing techniques such as j ournaling, t herapy, s upport groups, c reativity and art, and w orking out or other fitness-related activities. There are more than that, but those are typically the things people do to rediscover themselves and also find hope again in the world. When you’ve experienced abuse, it feels as if you have to reset your brain and retrain it so you can be open to love, people, new experiences, and opportunities. When I was more actively healing from an abusive relationship, I found solace in writing and poetry. Looking back, none of it was good, but that didn’t matter. What mattered was that I found a space to process the lengthy complicated feelings that I was experiencing. After a while, I noticed that I felt empty. I purged all the toxins from my body and mind (metaphorically speaking) which was great, but it left me wondering, “What now?” Therapy taught me that what happened wasn’t my fault and that I deserve a better love or friendship, but I couldn’t quite picture what that looked like. Unrelated: Around that same time I started reading and watching a lot of rom-coms. I’d lay in bed kicking my feet back and forth swooning because of simple gestures one romantic lead would do for another. Inadvertently I started picturing myself as that main character who the other was yearning for. I inserted myself as the person who was receiving flowers, genuine apologies after a simple miscommunication, going on late-night trips and somehow having it be some pivotal moment that changes everything, and yes, even sharing one bed when the hotel promised two. Without realizing it, due to rom-coms, I was envisioning what it would be like to actually be in a healthy relationship. Not just that, but it felt like trying on shoes. Every trope, gesture, and way to say “I love you,” that I read, I imagined I received. Through these characters, I lived different romance styles without even leaving my bed. Additionally, the different tropes and relationship dynamics helped me figure out what I’d be open to and what I wouldn’t. It put words to wants I didn’t know I had. Rom-coms painted a beautiful picture of what I should yearn for, even if the couple was fictional. The goal isn’t to have a love post-trauma that’s reminiscent of my favorite love stories, but rather one that surpasses it instead of someone who treats me poorly, doesn’t care about my interests, or is physically, sexually, verbally, emotionally abusive, or otherwise doesn’t contribute to that. I am the main character and I want my life to be a rom-com. I deserve the spontaneity, goofiness, passion, patience, and tenderness that I didn’t get in my abusive relationships. I don’t think I’d have as clear of an image of what that could look like without reading non-stop Jasmine Guillory and Elise Bryant novels. No one told me how lucrative rom-coms could be in the healing journey (because who expects them to be), but I’m very happy they were. Now I can go live my best Hallmark life, and maybe even allow it to happen.

'Beetlejuice: The Musical' Perfectly Portrays Grief and Suicidality

Welcome to a show, er…story, I suppose, about death. I’ll be honest with you. “Beetlejuice” was never my favorite movie. I didn’t see it as a young girl because my mother isn’t into that aesthetic, and when I was old enough to watch it myself I wasn’t pulled in. I’m not a huge fan of crude humor just to be crude, and well…everything that the movie is. No shame to you if you like it, but it just wasn’t my cup of juice. Get it? Juice instead of tea because it’s “Beetlejuice?” Thank you if you pity laughed. When the musical version of “Beetlejuice” dropped, I wasn’t super excited because like the musical, the aesthetic just wasn’t for me. I listened to it once, wasn’t initially moved, and forgot about it. Then one day my friend convinced me to go and see the actual show and my life was changed. First some back story: In 2020 had my first dance with death-related grief, and not just that but it left me with some severe suicidal ideation. I’ve gone through depression, breakups, and loss before, but never quite like the multiple losses I experienced that year. I was fundamentally changed and not for the better. In the musical adaptation, Lydia Deetz recently lost her mother and her father started dating another woman. They move into a new home and she’s feeling lost and alone. There’s a point in the musical where she explores suicide (before Beetlejuice himself pops up and convinces her not to for his own selfish gain) due to the deep cavern of depression she can’t seem to escape. Ultimately, she learns through a trip to the netherworld and a few songs and quick changes that while her family may look different, and even though she’ll always miss her mother, life is still worth living. Love, loss, grief, and life can co-exist. It was July 29, 2021 when I was driving in Florida listening to this album when “Home” came on, a powerful ballad where Lydia sings to her mother confessing how desperate she is to have her back, and how fatigued she is emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. It was my grandfather’s first birthday after he passed in November of 2020. On top of that, it was a week and a half after the death anniversary of my emotional support dog who saved my life countless times. My home didn’t look the same. My then-alive grandmother never fully recovered. That empty dog bowl and chair at the dinner table haunted me the same way Beetlejuice wanted the Maitlands to haunt the Deetzes and I can’t count how many times I considered ending it all. I’ve never seen that level of suicidality due to grief spoken to until “Beetlejuice” was released. Yes, grief is in all media, but nothing, and I mean nothing, made me feel more seen than when I was watching Lydia’s journey unfold before my eyes. Yes, the jokes are crude (although way better written) and it’s still spooky and aesthetically dark, but it’s also incredibly emotionally intelligent in a life-saving way. So often, media utilizes mental health as trauma porn , aiming to use it in the same way you would a jump scare in a horror film. They commodify real pain and trauma for a hopeful Emmy, Oscar, or Tony nomination. “Beetlejuice” manages to create a hysterical and emotional experience that can touch anyone who has ever danced with suicidal ideation or actions after the death of a loved one without throwing the trauma in your face. If you haven’t listened to the soundtrack, I suggest you do. If you feel comfortable seeing the show (keep that mask on and get vaccinated) and you’re able to, please go. You won’t regret it. In the meantime, enjoy this clip from the explosive second-act song “Beautiful Sound” that gives me so much serotonin I forget I’m mentally ill for all of two minutes.  

Coping With Rejection-Sensitive Dysphoria in High Rejection Rate Jobs

So, you have rejection-sensitive dysphoria (RSD) and you decided to work in a high rejection rate job. I’m not judging. In fact, I’m that person with RSD who works in not one, but two to three high rejection rate industries. I’m a writer and performer by trade, meaning I’ve heard no more than I’ve heard my own name. In the beginning, I was a bit naive and thought I’d be an exception to the rule, and then I wasn’t. I was rejected left and right by publications, literary agents, editors, casting directors, casting teams, and people whose names I have never even heard. It’s not because I’m not talented or gifted. I’m incredibly skilled at the things that I do, but in these industries, it’s not about talent. It’s about luck. Sure you have to have the talent to back it, but talent only gets you so far and that’s the hardest thing to accept. The tough part about rejection-sensitive dysphoria is that any amount of rejection, whether it’s actualized, perceived, or otherwise can send someone into a debilitating spiral. RSD can be a true hindrance in life that stops us from pursuing new opportunities and hobbies, people, and even situations. Failure and rejection for me are synonymous at times, so my choice to work in the fields I do could be considered ill-advised. That being said, even with all the no’s, roadblocks, and doors slammed in my face, I’m thriving. Maybe it’s just due to how often it happens, or that I expect a “no,” while hoping for a “yes,” but either way I’m able to exist and grow in industries that my brain shouldn’t really play well with. How? Operating by these four key principles: 1. It takes 99 no’s to get one yes. This is advice my mother once gave me, and it’s what I credit to my being able to keep pushing on even when things aren’t technically going my way. I force myself to think of rejection and denials as a countdown, versus a true roadblock. This slight mindset shift helps me not see every no as the end, but rather just as a part of the journal. 2. A delay is not a denial. One of my mentors loves to say this, and boy has this saved my ass. If you’re in an industry where you’re just waiting for the “yes” to change your life, but you keep getting “no,” then it’s easy to feel like a delay is a denial when it’s not. A delay is just that, a delay. What you want is still coming, and it’s going to be perfect for you because it’s going to be for you. This is another mindset shift that really helps me deal with the countless forms of rejection that I get a week. 3. You’re in control the entire time, not the other way around. I know this doesn’t seem accurate because you need their “yes,” but hear me out. Let’s look at the acting industry. Movies need what to make a movie (generally speaking)? Actors. Without actors, it’s really hard to make a movie. Casting directors would have no one to cast and crafty no one to feed. Ultimately, they need you, you don’t need them. These industries rely on people being passionate enough to continually pursue something where their chance of failure is inherently greater than their chance of success, but that puts a lot of power in our hands, because if we decide to say no and enough is enough, everything stops. 4. Everything, and I mean everything is subjective. Even things that aren’t subjective are! It’s so maddening only because you could be perfect on paper (whatever that means) and still not be the perfect fit. As enraging as that is, what we have to keep in mind is that even our tastes are subjective, and subjective opinions are very different from objective facts. Someone having an opinion that you aren’t talented or worthy doesn’t mean that you aren’t. Someone disliking your project doesn’t mean it’s not good. It just means it’s not right for them. This could be due to personal taste or bias, but it doesn’t stand up to your actual value or worth, no matter how you may feel. Rejection is hard, but these four principles, affirmations, whatever you want to call them, are what keep me going and in the game. There have been so many times I wanted to give up and quit, but then I remember that I’m only on my 46th “no,” and so I have 54 to go before I can really make any decision on whether or not my project, or myself, is viable. You’re in control. You have power, even if you don’t actually feel that way.

How a Digital Nomad Lifestyle Can Harm Your Mental Health

I did it. I let go of my apartment and all the associated bills and secured a digital nomadic lifestyle. I’m currently waiting for a French visa so I can start my travels where Carrie decided to take Big back for good (which I’m still mad about). Until then, I’m at my parents’ or my friends’ homes with my little dog living my best life, or I’m supposed to be. OK, confession? I’m not living my best life at all. In fact, this whole process has only hurt my mental health instead of helping it. If you aren’t familiar with the digital nomad lifestyle, it’s a lifestyle where you work remotely and you travel wherever you want, and have temporary living situations versus permanent ones. It’s currently all the rave, with people choosing to work internationally in ways they once couldn’t. The idea is glamorous – waking up on different continents and enjoying different cultures, all while working a job that sustains that lifestyle . Our world is so big and our town is so small, so why stay when you can explore? This was my idea when I decided to go live in France for a few months. The only problem is that it was delayed due to some personal situations, so now there’s a gap of time where I’m a digital nomad, only I’m just traveling to different places in central and west Florida. That idea of having no roots after being stressed out by the ones that I had was enough to entice me into trying this. Granted, it’ll probably be better once I set foot in Paris, but for now, I’m a little miserable. I grew up chronically lonely and constantly questioning the concept of “home.” In fact, I still am in a lot of ways. Right before the pandemic hit, I secured my first solo apartment. This place would become my sanctuary and home throughout the hardest years, losses, and transitions of my life to date. No matter what changed, my bed was a constant safe place that could protect me from the horrors of the world or my own life. Letting go of that was hard, but now I’m struggling in ways I didn’t expect. I never knew how much of a rooted person I was until trying this out, and now I’m just uneasy and triggered non-stop. I’m learning that if you’re an extrovert who thrives when surrounded by loved ones, maybe being on your own somewhere across the world isn’t exactly the best idea. When people suggest this lifestyle, they’re usually raving about it, but they don’t speak to the downsides and how isolating it all can be, especially when you already struggle with your mental health. While I know I’m not alone, and I’m ultimately going to create more relationships with people all over the world, I’m still feeling very put off by the fact that I’ll be separated by the people who have held it down for me through my toughest periods. All of my mental health safety plans include family and friends , so what do you do when you’re at some French café ordering a little latté and you have a breakdown but your safety net is thousands of miles and an ocean away? I’m not giving up. I’m gonna see how this plays out when I get to France, and I’m hoping that at the end of the day it’s a lot better than what it’s been. Overall though I do now know that stability, especially when it comes to living situations, is my number one priority when it comes to my mental wellness kit. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and all that.

Why One Woman Wants to Relax Her Hair Due to ADHD

Structure, routines, and commitment are the three things needed to really excel at having natural hair. Structure, routines, and commitment are, of course, the three things I struggle with due to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) When I first transitioned into being natural, natural hair and its maintenance was ultimately one of my hyper fixations. I loved it so much, and I’m happy I did because through that I learned to accept parts of me and my Blackness that I never had before. I needed to go through that in order to be who I am today. That being said, who I am today struggles with her hair in ways I don’t think I would if I were neurotypical. A washday can be anywhere from two hours to six (or more) hours. I’m not a braider so styling can take 45 minutes to two hours. Obscene amounts of patience are needed if I haven’t detangled my hair in a while, and when the ADHD brain is in “go” mode, it’s not as big of a deal. Sadly for me, my ADHD brain loves to stall out and avoid all of this for as long as it can, which ultimately just makes it worse in the long run. Split ends get worse, fairy knots become my greatest enemy, and don’t get me started on what it’s like to fight a natural forming dread loc. Growing up, hair wasn’t a “thing,” because I was relaxed. Every few weeks my mother would take me to the salon and I would get my roots touched up, so I was never introduced to my natural hair until I was old enough to do it myself at 18. Even though in my teenage years my hair was brittle and severely damaged, when my relaxed hair was being properly taken care of beforehand, life just seemed easier. Washing my hair was quick. I didn’t have to twist my hair ahead of time, and plan the perfect time to take my hair down so I could have day two twist out hair and not day one. It’s a lot, and honestly too much for my ADHD brain to handle sometimes. Getting a relaxer again feels controversial, because it feels like I’m betraying my race or culture, even though I know I’m not and before some non-Black person tries to console me, don’t. You don’t understand the weight that comes with hair for Black people, especially Black women. Blackness is versatile and multifaceted, and I would be perming it not because I hate my natural hair or because I’m trying to assimilate into whiteness like I was conditioned to do when I was younger, but just because of how time-consuming my hair can be in my own life, and how it doesn’t play well with my brain. I love my natural hair so much. I love the texture and how springy my coils are. I love that my hair is so uniquely me with different patterns all over my head (and not just because of that one silk press I got years ago that caused some heat damage). All of this is true, but if your brain isn’t built to maintain something you love, does it really matter? Yes, I have some hacks for maintaining my hair even with ADHD, but as great as these hacks are they aren’t foolproof solutions. There are pros and cons to having my normal virgin hair texture and to getting a perm, but in these moments where I’m stuck in ADHD paralysis and I’m in a standoff with a wide tooth comb, some deep conditioner, and a tub of Blue Magic, I can’t help but think that maybe it’s the better option. If you’re natural and struggling with your hair because of your ADHD, you aren’t alone. At the end of the day, it’s your hair, and what you do with it is nobody’s business but your own. Make your hair work for you, whatever that looks like.