Having ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) can make it extremely challenging for me to sit down and watch a single anime series for extended periods of time. Once in a while I shall feel impulses combined with a strange sense of mellowness that can allow me to binge watch an entire twelve or thirteen episodes of anime in one go, but it’s an exceedingly rare occurrence. This is why it takes me a much longer time to finish an anime than your typical otaku, and as such, it can contribute quite heavily to anime watching ruts, which then contribute to big bouts of depression (anime is something that helps me cope through my depression and anxiety in healthy ways), as well as just a general sense of feeling burned out.
Recently, I started compiling a list of my hobbies that I am supremely passionate about yet feel that I don’t engage with nearly enough due to my ADHD. While it may come as a surprise to some of you, considering I run a partial anime-centric blog, but partaking in my favourite medium is pretty damn high on that list. In fact it was number one with art being number two. After I compiled a list of about four or five other hobbies, I went ahead and wrote out a few plans to help me strike a balance between having the mental condition that I do with increasing the presence of these hobbies in my daily lives. Since my hobbies (most of them) are coping techniques that offer positive treatment options for a lot of the serious mental conditions that I have, finding a way to keep them implemented in my life is particularly vital for me.
Realising I needed a bit of assistance with the anime situation, I referred to my spiritual counsellor who has helped me aplenty with finding common ground with most of my conditions. While we were talking, she made a joke about the olden days of Toonami After Dark (or something along those lines), where a line-up of more mature anime titles would run, such as Dragon Ball, InuYasha, Outlaw Star, and The Big O to name a few. As she reminisced, an idea brewed in my brain.
There are so many anime titles that I have yet to watch, mostly because that list keeps on growing like a radioactive Plant 42 as each season goes by. Since I have trouble focusing on a single anime in a prolonged period, we discussed the idea of me watching one or two episodes of a long line-up of shows from varying genres. There is some scepticism involved as I’d still be required to sit still (mostly) as I watch through the various serials, but by mixing up the narratives and genres, the hope is that it can allay the impulsive and hyperactive triggers that single-title marathoning can initiate with respect to my ADHD.
So, I came up with an experiment for the rest of summer that shall go into the fall season, and possibly even to the end of the year. I gathered a list of anime titles that I want to slowly tackle. I shall be watching at least one to two episodes every day, or every other day. Sometimes I may alternate days (e.g.: Anime A, B, C on Monday; D,E on Tuesday; F,G on Wednesday and then restart the cycle on Thursday, etc.) in order to co-operate with my ADHD inclinations. This shall help me to work with my ADHD while also giving me an opportunity to participate much more actively with one of my favourite pass-times in existence (a pass-time that shall be hitting the professional floors in the comings months, woot!).
I’ve also tossed together some brief resolutions for when the restlessness does start take root of my concentration, such as changing environs (moving from my bedroom to the office or the living room and vice versa) as well as platforms (watching on a TV/PS4 to watching on my phone or tablet to a computer, etc.). I’ve also got a few snacks and some fidget devices handy in case if I start feeling like I need to do something with my hands or my mouth while I watch (I have a minor oral fixation issue due to my ADHD). Lastly, I’ll keep a stack of books and comics nearby so I can alternate between short reading periods in-between the differing serials and/or episodes. (I can also play with my cats in order to satisfy the need to physically move around.)
I’ve outlined a list of shows that I’d want to begin with down below (roughly in order). I did toss in a couple of re-watches because I think it will help me slacken a bit of the concentration in-between seeing fresher content. This can help give my brain a bit of a break that shall then help to keep the hyperactive impulsivities at bay (hopefully).
- Dragon Ball
- Naruto Shippūden
- InuYasha (re-watch)
- The Big O
- Trinity Blood
- Outlaw Star
- Mobile Suit Gundam or Robotech: The Macross Saga
- Gun x Sword
- Initial D (re-watch)
Anyhoo, that is my ultimate summer and fall anime watching ADHD experiment shindig that I plan on starting up later tonight, actually. I shall definitely be giving periodic updates, maybe on a monthly basis, just so I can touch base and let y’all know if it is in fact helping and creating a positive watching space for my mind, or if it’s just a hot mess that should be avoided entirely. One of the main reasons I decided to chat about this here is because I know I’m not the only otaku out there with these sorts of conditions, and if it can realistically help me, then maybe it can help others as well.
What do you think of this idea? Does it seem to be plausible or outrageously ambitious? How does my fellow ADD/ADHD chums feel about this? Please, come chat with me in the comments, I’d love to hear from you. Until next time, keep hydrated and keep otakuing.