Thursday, October 1, 2009

To put it bluntly...

...I feel like crap this week. The result of terrific personal breakthroughs...the result of the fact that the therapy is working in an "I'm going to be grateful for this experience in about a year" kind of way.

Unfortunately, layering this fantastic talk-therapy progress over my frickin' insane schedule, plus medication adjustments is basically hell. Hi me, nice to meet me, oh, you want me to change my whole life while I'm in grad school, working at least two jobs at any given moment, freelancing, among a whole other ton of--oh wait, look, what's that there, COOL, a bunch of painful truths about myself that I've been avoiding like a plague for like 25 years? AWESOME! Oh hey, what's that there? LOOK, it's fossilized and totally-unfounded-yet-very-real-self-hatred and oh crap, look, it just cracked open and IT'S ALIVE...fuck, grab some paper towels people!

Anybody that knows me personally can tell you...while I am VERY expressive, I am also very into personal responsibility, taking charge, kicking myself in the ass and moving forward (a one woman army, watch out, here I come!). I am NOT a gratuitous whiner. I'll tell people I'm fine and I'll "power through" right up until the semi is parked on my chest.

Well that moment is here; the semi-is parked on my chest. IT IS ON MY CHEST. I'm pretty sure this is the feeling people have right before they are hospitalized for mental exhaustion. I am hiding at home, I am not working, and far more for my own benefit than for yours, I am writing about it.

I came home and sat with my head rolled back for...I don't know how long this afternoon. I could not talk, I could not move. I could not even keep my eyes open. I suddenly noticed I was not alone...the cats were sitting, one on either side of me, purring, and looking a little concerned. Just staring. Closed eyes again. I haven't really moved from that spot.

I know that everything I am going through right now has long-term benefit, but I seriously don't think I can get through ALL of this simultaneously. Something has to give...the first thing I offered to the fire gods was my self, like I always do. What offering could have been more valuable, right? Well I feel the flames now. I have imperiled myself beyond any point I thought possible, without actually losing my mind...and how long can that last?

I have some choices to make, and I have already reluctantly made the first one, totally counter to my usual decision-making, because I have no other choice: I have chosen myself. I have chosen my sanity. I have chosen to accept that I cannot process all of this at once, while still continuing with EVERYTHING ELSE I am currently committed to. If left to my usual devices, I would rather forsake sleep, health, food and obsessively claw completion toward me. But suddenly, I see danger, for the first time. Thank god.

So, what do I choose? If I have chosen to save myself...then what do I offer as a sacrifice?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

It's 3:30AM

And I am up working. Because that's what I do. And that's the answer to the question "how do you get all of that done!?".

I meander along my ADHD path...and if there's still work that needs to be done when I am done meandering, and it happens to be well after midnight, and other people are depending on me to "get things done". Then I get them done.

I feel great because I just got a TON of work done...but I'm going to hate myself in the morning when I have to get up to go to work and start all over again.


Monday, September 28, 2009


Long story short, this year has been crazy. I'm digging and digging and digging with literal and figurative axes, and picks and brushes of all sizes and clearing surfaces that in my lifetime have never been clear. And rediscovering other pieces of my past that are visible now in new ways.

Last night, while working my way ALL THE WAY through my big-ass pile of filing (this was a HUGE step for me) I came across my medical records from when I was 9. Several decades below the surface, not bad for a day's work. No, I don't just randomly hold onto crap like that, but these were fairly serious health issues, and sometimes you need to be able to refer back to such things...although I haven't in years and years.

When I was a child, I had some health problems that were the direct result of my not-knowing how to healthfully deal with stress. This affected my mobility and my immune system.

A few weeks ago, my therapist said to me "you need to learn to relax because your stress will kill you". At the time, I said to her "oh, I know, I have already had health problems because of stress". Stated simply, as a fact, because it IS a fact.

So I suppose it was just another nail in a pretty solid coffin when I came across these old records last night. And I suppose they are what I needed to make more than a factual connection between past and present.

The records describe more than just my literal health issues, they also describe me in whole, at the time. And at the time I was a 9-year-old-child. A 9-year-old-child who did not know how to be a child. Turbo-perfectionistic, highly self-critical, and totally able to put forth a well-mannered and people-pleasing exterior while my stress attempted homicide on my auto-immune system. I finally became so sick that I couldn't smile in the middle of the massacre anymore, and I succumbed to pain and depression.

My parents were not horrible people who drove me to this, so don't even go down that path.

I'm sort of sitting here with the picture of that child in my head and realizing that in some ways I have not come very far. I still insist on holding myself and everyone around me to lethal standards. I am far harder on myself than anyone else though.

And my therapist is right. This will kill me. I have two choices...learn new tactics and live and give myself a whole new life, or hold tightly to what doesn't work, and die by my own hand.

I am in no way suicidal--and I can take a hint.

I know she's right. So right now I'm just going to sit surrounded by the artifacts of my gradual road to self-destruction. Let myself sit with them long enough to imprint my mind deeply with their jagged teeth. Really feel them this time, instead of deflecting raw feelings with polished fact.

Then I'm going to ask her for help in finding the next step.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Let it go at what cost...?

I'm a little worried about my filing cabinet.

It was living in the living room. My pile of filing had gotten insane...I got it under control and figured out a new way to store it (VERY TIDY, even the boyfriend agreed) while it's waiting for me to file it (and have found friends who can help with getting my lil' bits and pieces put away).

But in a fit of further organization of our house, I suggested (and I don't know what I was thinking) that maybe the filing cabinet could go in the "man cave" aka the office. He agreed...but...and I know this is going to sound picky but...he picked the spot for it, and it's not exactly "visible" to me.

...this is becoming an old, tired refrain...if I don't see it, it doesn't exist. I know that's a crazy way to organize your life, especially if you're as busy as I am, I mean you can't just have PILES of reminders everywhere. I understand that...but because I'm so busy, I have a lot of "important papers". No, it's not just me neurotically hoarding papers for no good reason, it's my business filing papers, and insurance policies and my event permits, and my bank statements and such, my tax records...they really are important and I technically have two separate small businesses that perform very different functions. All of that loveliness lives in the filing cabinet, that's why I got the filing cabinet, to centralize them. It's also my first stop when my mail comes in, so that piles of mail don't form. I take the shreddable junk mail and dump it immediately into the shredding bin, and the important mail gets added to either my "to do" folder, or to the filing pile. Creating this system, in itself, was revolutionary for me (I formulated it for myself) and using it regularly has been a big achievement.

And I've blogged before about the stress that change in routine can cause me.

Now, instead of a source of reassurance, the filing cabinet is a source of worry because I won't see it regularly. I am going to have to now create reminders to myself to do my filing, which I didn't need to do before (if it wasn't getting done before, it was because I either didn't feel like it or didn't have time). At the risk of sounding melodramatic, even though I'm being very sincere, it's sort of like moving furniture around on a blind person (yes, I fully acknowledge that I made the suggestion, I'm just highlighting my regret at this clearly stupid decision). It would hamper that blind person's ability to function efficiently and safely in their world, and it would take longer than it would for a seeing person, for that person to find their way around again. Or how about this. Let's say you live in a snowglobe and all of the flakes have settled, and you may have even gone to the trouble of arranging them somehow. And someone picks up your snowglobe and shakes it...and then you have to sort all of those identical flakes all over again...

I don't know if this is going to be a good solution. I need to make sure to speak up early though it if IS a problem so that I don't get myself into a mess... another thing I have to remind myself of... The boyfriend is great, he really just doesn't understand some of these dilemmas that I have, because he doesn't have them so it's not a matter of uncaring on his part...but then sometimes will get irritated with me because he doesn't understand why something that seems logical to him backfires, and that is obviously stressful to me. And in this situation I know he's "trying to help"...the only reason I drag him into this post at all, truly, is that...and again, this is not his fault...I may have made the suggestion based on what I thought would please him...d'oh.

Doesn't THAT really make an ADHD girl want to kick herself in the ass.

I am trying to structure my life so that I need as few "reminders and notes" around as possible because even having reminders around, though they are necessary, can be stressful...and I go and pull this on myself. And to him it makes sense, so he agrees, unwittingly stepping into the trap I set for myself.

This is how ADHDers can begin to exhibit behaviors that looks like OCD. This is how someone like me comes to rely upon anxiety as a motivator. Doesn't it seem like in your own home, as long as things HAVE a system that doesn't inhibit others, that you should be able to map things in a way that minimizes your anxiety? The answer is yes, and I should not have pressured myself to conform to someone else's sense of logic, especially when they weren't even asking me to!

Okay. I'm going to think this over a little more (no, not obsess, just think) for a few days and see how I feel about it then (putting a little cushion of time between myself and the impulse to MOVE the cabinet back NOW)...and then figure out if it still needs to be addressed. If there's one thing I KNOW as an ADHDer, it's that it sometimes can be helpful to create a little space between impulse and action, even if it feels unnatural.