I’m Bored!

[Image description:
A dark blue square field with white text on it that reads,
“I’m Bored! Could actually mean…
My anxiety is high and I need something to block it out.
I’m too overwhelmed to focus on a task.
I’m in need of some sensory input in order to function.
I’m too low on energy/dopamine to initiate an activity/task.
I’m feeling disconnected and need you.
My head is too busy and I need help making it stop.
I’m not sure what I am feeling but I’m hoping by saying ‘I’m bored’ you can help me.”
The image was made by www.jodiesmitten.co.uk.]

This made me reflect on my own childhood…and on the fact that I haven’t said, or even thought, “I’m bored,” in a long, long time. I don’t know the last time that I thought it.

That’s not because I’m never acting, well, bored. It’s just because I have much more advanced vocabulary to describe what’s going on inside of my head these days.

“I’m so completely out of resources for the day. I wish that I could engage in my favorite hobby but I’m feeling too worn out to even summon up the brainpower it would take to do that. I’ll try lying here and reading a book on my phone for a few minutes…nope, I can’t even focus on a book. I’ll read some fun, lighthearted stuff on a social media website instead.”

“I’m so stressed about this meeting that I showed up fifteen minutes early for. I’m finding it hard to even get out of the car and walk into the building until the last second. I’m going to open my self-care app Finch on my phone and follow the deep breathing exercise…okay, now I’m going to do one minute of stretches…okay, now my body is already moving so I can follow my momentum and get out.”

“I wish I could hang out with my friend, but time zone differences mean that they’re not available right now. I’ll scroll through my phone and see if there’s anyone good I could text…nope, nobody who I feel like chatting with since my preferred person is unavailable…all right, I guess I’ll turn on a favorite podcast and listen to people chatter and laugh. Hmm, it feels too tricky to even start the podcast. Okay, well, I can listen to my music playlist. If I notice myself getting bored of the music, maybe I can open my phone to pause it and switch to the podcast in the future.”

These are in-depth, complicated, reflective observations of what’s going on inside my head, running through a list of available strategies that I know and have worked in the past, and even then I’m still trial-and-erroring exactly what it is that I need. No wonder my child has a much more limited repertoire of how to help themselves and comes to me to express their need for help. They still need me to help be their external support framework for a lot of these more complex interpretations and solutions.