My compassionate psychiatrist was very practical, as I mentioned before. He was the first guy to take certain things at face value. One of these things was my reaction to “relaxation exercises.” That reaction was panic attacks.
It’d be fun to psychoanalyze that, wouldn’t it? But it’s a lot simpler. There’s not enough going on in a “relaxation exercise” to quiet my thoughts. ADD involves underactivity in the brain systems that allow us to choose what to focus on; the filter is off and the brakes don’t work. Thinking runs amok. In order to quiet the mind, we need to wake it up enough to slow things down- and choose what to focus on internally. “Quieting your mind” does the opposite, by providing less to wake up the mind and body, and more to think about without direction: “I’m thinking again! why am I thinking when I’m supposed to be relaxing? I can’t relax! What’s wrong with me? Just try to relax! Breathe, concentrate on bre…. what am I doing again?”