Friday, December 11, 2009

Meh, f*ck the journal idea...

...I always second guess myself when I need help. I will drop everything to help other people at the expense of my own needs, but I really suck at asking for help. That's part of why I get really upset when my provider tells me to wait a few days and call him back. I don't ask for help unless I'm really, really having a problem. My therapist gets it, and of course told me to just call him. So...even though the idea of journaling my meds experiences is a good one, in this case, I really just needed to make the call, so I did. What was hilarious was getting an assistant on the phone who when she picked up, started "leaving a message" because she got confused about what line she was on and thought she was leaving a message!

I can relate sister!

Anyway...I hope when he calls me back he'll just give me a prescription for something else. Yeah, I know I'm busy and don't need this right now, but I also can't really function effectively when people think I'm on quaaludes and I can't remember how to get to my office, which is a mile from my house.

And now I'm going to go contact my professors, one of whom is being a hard ass about me turning in my last assignment, even though all semester he's been going "oh hey, don't worry about it, take all the time you need!". This is the disadvantage of distance learning. This class is one where he can't see all he sees is that I can type articulately. He doesn't see me looking doped up and unable to stay awake, nevermind think.

I want to be done with school so badly. I hate school. I'm glad I did it but it's seriously a ridiculous torture obstacle course and I need to be done with it and I literally cannot finish my work right now...this dragging on is just stomach turning.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Women, Rock and Roll, and Drugs

Is it just me or do ADHD drugs REALLY not work worth a shit when we're pre-menstrual?

Seriously, I'm noticing a pattern and it's not pretty. In addition to the fact that I don't think my meds are doing much good for me these last couple/few weeks, I just really get aggravated every month, before my period, when I can't think worth a shit, can't remember anything, and generally feel like I just smoked a big bowl of WTF.

Is this a thing? Do other people have this problem? And is medical science ever going to catch the fuck up and complete more research on women with ADHD in treatment because I'm pretty sure that I'm not having the same damn hormonal experience that school age boys are, or that men are, and I need some answers.

Rock and roll? The only thing that pulls me out of this bullshit frame of mind is music. Sometimes, truly, it's the ONLY drug that works for those days when I'm fully aware that in another century, women like me probably would have been burned at the stake.

How Do REALLY Feel?

I really, really don't think that either of my medications is serving me the way I need them to. There was a lovely time there where everything seemed perfect...but as time has worn on, there is a problem with each of them.

Remeron drugs me ridiculously. I'll begrudgingly admit that my NP was right, taking it earlier in the evening DOES mean I'm less groggy the next day. I have NO idea why this is true because I'm telling you, when I take it around 11 pm, if I don't take the Vyvanse with it the next day, I am walking dead for the entire next day. If I take it at 8pm, I feel fine the next day. There is no logic to that, for me, but whatever. The problem is that it is interfereing with my quality of life. Most psych meds mean that your relationship with alcohol has to become a more limited one, and for the most part, that's okay with me. However, 3 or so times a week I might want ONE beer in the evening, or A GLASS of wine. This is not excessive or unreasonable, but it does wonders for morale in sarcasm, I enjoy that ONE beverage to the last drop. Oh, that is unless I have to take my Remeron at the same damn time of day that I want to be drinking that beverage, and 7:30 to 8pm is consistently the usual time I would like to be doing that, so I can't do that anymore, right? WRONG...this med needs to go buh bye. My therapist totally supports me in my quest for 3 beers per week and told me to call if it's bothering me that much.

The Vyvanse? Seriously...I hate this but it seems for the last few weeks like that only benefits I'm getting are that it keeps me awake when the Remeron makes me drowsy and makes me not want to eat. I am fully aware that sometimes we think they're not working, the stimulants, when the problem is just that it's working, but we're choosing to focus on something else...I am focusing on NOTHING. For weeks. It's caused weird work hours, and more frustratingly, has made homework impossible. Not much else to say about that.

I am considering keeping a meds journal through the day for like a week, so I dont have to burden myself with remembering when he asks me those annoying questions like "so, can you focus" and I want to answer "look douchebagel, if I felt like it was working, I wouldn't be here putting up with you questioning me like this!". Just the fact that this is the answer I feel most drawn to right now should probably indicate that perhaps the meds aren't "doing their thing". Really I'd really rather be playing pin the tail on the donkey on his face, than having to go through "the questions" again right now.

I'm just going to eat the living Christ out of this jar of chocolate sauce that's in my hand right now (with a SPOON), keep a lil' meds journal, and call him next week.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

How To Filter Your Filthy ADHD Mouth

Okay, not everyone enjoys swearing as much as I do so for most of you we can remove the filthy from the title. But what about all those times some seriously unwise stuff flew out of your mouth that you should TOTALLY not have said. Or how about all those times you responded to some jerk when you shouldn't have because you just couldn't help yourself. Or how about when your relatives or significant exes are basically baiting you with dysfunction just hoping you'll respond and ADHD pretty much guarantees that you will?

Um, hi, I'll just offer myself up as the guinea pig, having found myself in these scenarios and more, wishing I had a more effective filter. Like the time some guy was harassing a lady on the subway and I couldn't stop myself from telling him to leave her alone AND where to stick it. That ended with a near brawl, an arrest, and me almost getting punched in the face. Or the time that a guy at Denny's was making fun of an overweight girl in front of him and I told him where to go and almost got my boyfriend beat up. Or when I sent that email I shouldn't a person I shall not mention...ouch.

Well I realized today that I have actually found a couple of ways to filter myself in the last couple of years and I will share these with you. They are not foolproof but they ARE very effective for me.

First of all, we have the "NOTEBOOKS". I have two little spiral bound paper notebooks that I carry in my bag at all times. No idea why two, if anything it seems to make me feel more case I lose one? Don't ask, it's not the logical part of my brain that makes me do that. (For this to be maximally effective you must pair it with a weekly cleaning out of your handbag, but we can talk about that another time.) I have these two little notebooks and I lovingly refer to them as my external RAM (temporary memory in non-tech geek terms) or as my external filtering mechanism, depending on what I'm using them for. He's how it's not complicated. Anytime something explodes into my head, demanding attention, I will write it down. I will write it on the first page I open the notebook too, doesn't matter where, I just write it down. Having an annoying conversation with someone-excuse yourself to make a note. They don't have to know what you're writing. Think of something you need to tell your therapist? Write it in the notebook. Get pissed on the city bus because someone bumped into you? Write in in the notebook. WRITE IT ALL IN THE NOTEBOOK. Then, when my bag gets full of shit, at the end of the week, I take everything out, including the notebooks. I thumb through them quickly. Idea for a new business or creative project? Pin it to my corkboard for further thought. A to-do item that's already done? Rip it up and throw it away! Annoyed response to a loved one? OH look, you don't care anymore now...throw it away! Then, stick the notebooks back in the bag and keep taking notes until next week.

For email, I have a different approach. When I seem to be compelled to write a response to something I shouldn't respond to, I will open up a Word document and just start typing. Type, type, type...type, type. Sometimes it takes a while. When I'm done, I save it on my desktop. I come back to it later when the icon on the desktop reminds me. I re-read it...if I still like it later, I copy and paste it into an email and hit send. If not...I consider it good therapy. Because sometimes even when someone deserves to hear how lame they are, it doesn't really serve you OR the situation to write and send it to them. An alternate solution is to save the message as a draft before sending...but I've gotten myself in trouble with that one before by accidentally hitting send instead. Using Word as a buffer is WAY more ADHDer proof.

Taking care to do these things has another beneficial function. I trust the notebooks...they are always there, and I take good care of them. By extension they help me to trust myself. They are the perfect outlet. They're so small and portable...they add an extra step to my decision-making and reaction process and in many situations that makes all the difference between be seeming "reactive" and seeming thoughtful, measured and sensible. Because I AM all of those things, I just need that extra step to get there more of the time!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Other Shoe

I am hit with a really gross feeling in my gut today. I know it will pass, so I'm just riding it out, but I think I'll feel better if I write about it.

I have never been in a relationship where the "other shoe" hasn't dropped. I'm not talking about how after a few months you get used to each other and then you have some petty yet annoying realization like "I can't believe he wore those socks two days in a row, that's so disgusting to me" or "damn...I guess he doesn't like to trim his nosehair". I mean you're going along and everything seems great, and it's several months later...or a year..or a couple...or a few...and then something so unacceptable comes to light that you can't continue. Although you may try, at least for a while (hi, I'm the dumbass that occasionally likes to test that option).

I mean realizations like "oh shit...he really prefers being psychotic to taking his meds...". Or "whoa, how did my romantic and attentive boyfriend of the past three years who just asked me to move in with him just get a whole new personality that is having an emotional affair with the bimbo one desk over"...let's see, I know there's more good ones here somewhere, OH YES, how about "I'm gay and everyone knows it but me" that's a classic. Or "wow, he didn't seem like the type to threaten to punch me in the face" or "I hate myself so I'm going to make it your problem by finding a million criticisms to crush your soul". It is my personal theory that among other reasons that I might seek out these human disasters, ADHD does drive a person to seek constant stimulation...nothing like a human disaster to keep you on your toes.

Last relationship, about 1 year into it, after a year of me valiantly fighting a pure ADHD drive to create conflict where none existed because things seemed to be going well, he lied to me about driving drunk. After all of that restraint on my part, I can't tell you how disappointed I was to have an actual "issue" to deal with. Aside from the fact that this is inherently at least two layers of just plain unforgivable, these two issues happen to be in my top five dealbreakers list. Two of one stupid incident. CLASSY. I do not think it is an exaggeration to say that I think our relationship pretty much ended right then. Right there as he drunkenly cackled to me "ohhh know how I told you on the phone that I only had one drink? I had 4!". He'd eaten nothing, had four drinks, lied to me about it, and then got in his car.

Just to be clear, those who may be thinking "you were probably a big nag and he couldn't stand it anymore" I had actually just called him to remind him that it was Memorial Day and he might want to watch his ass. I'm usually that "cool" girlfriend that doesn't give a shit what you're doing with your dudes, because uh...I actually don't give a shit. I'm not big on micromanaging other people or giving them "rules". But he had stayed after work for a drink with a buddy on a stretch of road that not only is notorious for DWI traps, but at least two of my relatives have been pulled over for said jackassery there. I didn't ask how much he'd had to drink...he apparently felt compelled to lie on his own. Inspired if you will, and just feeling so groovy he was riding the feeling! Rode it all the way home, glassy-eyed and reeking of booze and then was such a jackass drunk that he had to rub my face in it by confessing and reveling in his lies. He didn't even remember this the next morning, which just added a whole extra layer of fantastic!

But, I told myself...even though valves of my heart had closed off to him...but...but...BUT...BUT...BUT. He's usually such a nice guy (who lied to you), he isn't usually like that (even though he lied to you about one of the worst things that he could lie to YOU about), he really feels badly, he makes you dinner, he really "gets" you...



For two years, even though the initial blow softened over time, I never trusted him again. And as time told, it only became more and more clear, but in quieter ways, that I shouldn't... things that involved me, but others, stories he told me about lying to other people. He never raised a hand to me, and wasn't a big yeller. Just sort of never heard me when I set my limits. Sort of never heard me say no. Sort of kept pushing me in ways that told me over and over and over that not only did he not respect my limits, but even worse, he didn't respect his own. And that's the real key here, that's the real nature of the "other shoe" in this scenario: you can't expect someone who doesn't respect themselves, to respect you. You can't trust someone who doesn't trust themselves. And frustratingly, the fact that he behaved this way, at times, turned me into the kind of bitchy partner I never hope to be again, and normally am not. I was living that awesome American vision of relationships we call "Everybody Loves Raymond" or as I like to call it "If I ever get married and act like that someone kill me before I can kill myself...". It nauseates me just thinking about it.

A tiny remaining nagging doubt wrapped its leaves around every branch of our relationship. And it wrapped itself right around the trunk of my body, right around the core of my held my joy in check. It reined any passion tightly to me, so tightly that I couldn't even enjoy it myself. I couldn't even feel it anymore. I felt literally disconnected from my body. I had detached myself from the situation and nothing I said to him could make him stop doing the things he was doing that were ensuring my need to protect himself. I talked to him about it. I tried to engage him in talking about it too. We went around and around and around for two years until his self-doubt became too powerful for him to even pretend to rein in anymore.

If you read what I've said here superficially, you might think I'm talking about some kind of monster here, but that's the thing...and that's why I'm writing about it. He "seemed like such a nice guy". He's a basically nice, smart, interesting person. But he really doesn't like himself very much right now and honestly probably never has...and it's amazing how little poison it takes to completely subsume a relationship, forever. Our relationship became a standoff, with him in his office and me with my computer, in the living room. Him in the bed, and me on the couch. I felt safer there, emotionally speaking. He would accuse me of being "too busy" and I am very busy...but then I would ask him to come out of hibernation in his office and he would refuse.

And the final boundary was drawn when he dragged his self-hatred with him to my place of work and turned his unsolicited offer to help me with something important, into a pawn, a nasty powerstruggle, but this time with an audience. I told him to leave. And when I got home later, I told him to move out.

As he was moving out we had some great conversations actually, notably one where he spontaneously volunteered that lying had sort of always been a problem for him. (pause)(pause)(pause) REALLY!? REALLY!? Gosh. Gee. I was left not wondering why I didn't trust him, but why in the frig I stagnated in the relationship for so long. As he gave me examples I felt simultaneously grateful, justified, and...just plain freaked out. Makes me think of what my mother says about situations like this...she says imagine you're in a room, and name everything in the room. "That's a chair" you say, "That's a rug". When you get to "What in the frig is THAT?!" that's the one you should take the time to really examine...smell it, touch it, taste it, and then NAME it. And the name for this one is: liar. That word had nested and reproduced in the back of my mind for two years, kept safe and warm by my willingness to host it. Liar.

The other shoe. The other shoe. I'm thinking about "the other shoe" because I actually do not feel particularly "down" on dating. I know I know, I posted about how I was all "over" dating and just too busy. Well I AM busy. But seriously, I'd like to have a good time. I'd like to let the passion unwind from my trunk again. And isn't it amazing how I feel connected to my body again, now that I have the house to myself.

I have a feeling there will always be that moment of terror, the occasional split second when I remember that going forward...there has always been another shoe. I guess I just hope that someday, the other shoe involves nose hair or something...instead of compulsive lying, sublimated homosexuality, implied violence, untreated drug/alcohol/mental health issues and the like. You know?

Monday, December 7, 2009

And I bet one million dollars that every ADHDer has had one of these mornings...

Because I have been experimenting with what time I take my Remeron I have been putting off taking my Vyvanse for a couple of hours the last few mornings, which has resulted in a faaaantastic review of what life is like without medication. Damn, now I remember why mornings can feel so frustrating, why the gas pump that asks you 500 questions before dispensing the gas can be SO annoying if not angering, why filling out 800 deposit slips to put money in the bank is crazymaking...this morning was the absolute pinnacle of frustration. One of those mornings where I thank God I don't have children because mommy would be either screaming like a looney or working REALLY hard not to. Mornings like these make me want to switch brains with the doubting assholes who think that ADHD doesn't exist. Yes doubters, I KNOW it doesn't make sense to YOU that these things are beyond frustrating, and that's why YOU haven't been diagnosed with a disorder! Wear my brain, without medication, for five minutes and you'll want to go back to your own world, where you have the LUXURY of natural calm, and thoughts that don't run 800 MPH.

I left my house for work at 9am. I work a 3-minute drive from my house. On the way, I needed to stop and get gas about 1/8th of a mile from my house, and stop at the bank, which is also within a mile of my house, just to make a deposit.

I arrived at work at 10am. Why? Because I got LOST, not once but TWICE on my way to work. I couldn't even tell you what my brain was doing on its way to the gas station, my first stop, all I know is suddenly I was about to drive onto the freeway before I went "oh shit!" and found a place to turn around. After getting gas, I then left for the bank...and ended up at WalMart instead. Making this more baffling was the fact that I almost never go to WalMart.

I had not yet taken my medication because I was just trying to gauge how the Remeron was affecting me without interference from the stimulant. I was not driving dangerously, I simply couldn't remember where I was going because I'm not used to having to hold thoughts in my head without medication anymore. Does that mean I shouldn't take the medication oh doubters, because it's making my brain lazy!? you have any idea how much strain it puts on your mind and body, in the form of extreme stress, to have to manage daily life WITHOUT medication and a flying brain? When I say extreme stress, I am not talking about being "like, totally annoyed" because life isn't convenient for me. I mean stress that has put me on the floor with 6-hour panic attacks. I'm talking about stress that in my childhood caused me to have my own Rheumatologist because my stress was causing an auto-immune reaction in my body. Auto-immune reaction? Means my body, because it didn't know how to process that much stress, was literally fighting itself in a potentially lethal way. And I was nine years old. And why didn't these experts diagnose me with ADHD? Remember, girls didn't have ADHD 25 years ago.

So there I was rolling into the office at 10, and I'm lucky I have a flexible schedule. As I walk into the office our assistant lets me know that the boss's office ceiling has sprung a leak and a plummer is on his way...the files that were on his desk are totally soaked and drying out in the closed file room. Clients are waiting in the front of the office to be seen...the boss starts giving me 5 sets of conflicting instructions at once about things he needs done...I'm trying to close my office door for five minutes to just regroup and every 2 minutes the boss bounces back into my office.

I woke up feeling rested and purposeful left the house to go to work, then got lost twice on my way there, and by 11am really just wanted to close the door and cry. I even ate breakfast, packed snacks like I'm supposed to, got my bank errand done despite my frustration, which was really every way, my intention to have an effective day was firm.

I took the Vyvanse. About an hour later I was able to actually begin to realize my intentions for the day without being so easily emotionally derailed--although I'm beginning to question whether or not it is actually giving me anything resembling focus. Lately I sometimes feel that it's just keeping me awake.

Big middle finger to those who tell us ADHD doesn't exist, seriously. Seriously. Days like this really drive it all home.

Accidental Therapy Dog

A few weeks ago I got a puppy. I've been looking for the right dog for a couple of years now, and was holding out for a good fit. I had a list of specific criteria:

  • Must be portable to fit into my constantly mobile life
  • Must be small so as to leave my range of possible housing as open as possible
  • Must NOT be annoying and yappy because that would make ME insane, nevermind my neighbors
  • Must be very trainable
  • Must be the manliest dog possible under 20 lbs
  • Must get along well with cats because I have two and they're not going anywhere
  • Must get along well with people because I am always out and about and interacting with people
  • Must get along well with children in case I ever have or live with children
  • Must be a rescue pooch of some variety
  • Must be a size of dog that I can enjoy getting some exercise/recreation with but that doesn't need to go for a 5 mile hike everyday because I'm simply never going to be that dog owner
It wasn't easy to find a good fit but I'm glad I held out because the last thing an ADHDer needs when accepting a new responsibility is extra stress factors.

The winner is Chichi. He's 1/2 Chihuahua and 1/2 Rat Terrier, both very trainable breeds of dog. Yes, it seems that any"Terrier" plus Chihuahua would mean instant noise problem but I did my reading and all experts say that the primary difference between loud and quiet in these breeds is good training. He's a puppy so we're starting from scratch, which would seem like a BIG job for an ADHDer, and I'm not going to lie, IT IS. But so far that's been mostly beneficial...a little externally imposed structure can be a good thing, even if it's sometimes frustrating. He's really smart and learns fast and hey, when he's not perfect, duh, he's only 5 months old.

My therapist was quick to point out that I have chosen a dog that is, well...just like me. Small, extremely energetic if not hyper (he races around the house like the Devil is trying to climb up his ass, it's hilarious) and needs a little bit of structure. And he does fit the "why do dogs always look like their owners" rule. Because the whole world is new to him, he is also easily distracted at times. He'll hear someone cough in the next parking lot over and suddenly he's forgotten he's supposed to be peeing and is trying to go to the sound to investigate it. I can totally relate!

The most interesting thing about him though, besides that fact that he's extremely adorable and fun to have around (even the cats are starting to like him, and will sit near him now, even when he's flipping cartwheels in front of them trying to get them to play with him)...the most interesting thing is that he's an accidental therapy dog.

I get way stressed out about making food and having to stop to eat. Well, the puppy (and the cats for that matter) has to eat. Several times a day. And he won't let you forget that fact. So he reminds me of the importance of feeding MYSELF on a regular basis. He also digs a lot of good naps throughout the day, which reminds me to slow down. He makes me take breaks too, because in order to potty train him (and even once he's potty-trained) I have to take him outside frequently. I take him to the office, and the fact that I have to be concerned about whether or not new experiences will frighten him as I get him acclimated to the big world, makes me more attentive to honoring my own emotional well-being. AND...this is the BEST...he helps me stay focused at work. I jump out of my seat to attend to distractions all day long, generally, most of which should be ignored. He likes to sleep on my lap while I'm working and I don't want to bother him, so when I feel that impulse to jump up, his presence forces me to rethink the impulse, and get back to the task at hand.

He's also totally non-judgmental and in fact, goes wild with excitement after I return from the few times during the week where I have to leave him at home alone for a little while.

And it's just a happy accident that the person who located this swell pup for also an adult ADHDer. She had already met him and knows my lifestyle and thought we would be a perfect fit for each other. So far, she is right on the money.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Foul Moods and One Sided Conversations

Yes, yes, two topics dear to many ADHDers hearts. As we ADHDers are prone to intense emotions, man of us are prone to a dark and consuming anger, when frustration visits. That would be me, right now. I just feel awful. I just had another experience with a family member who wants to have one-sided conversations about what THEY think my mental health issues are, which then makes me want to distance myself from them just a little, which then prompts them to start speculating wildly about my mental health in inappropriate ways, which then inspires me to feel that I have to engage them on the topic, which then leads to another one-sided conversation where they're the only one allowed to have a valuable opinion about MY mental health, and the cycle starts all over again. And I'm well into the next stage because I really, really don't want to talk to them anytime soon right now.

This behavior on their part is totally, 100% inappropriate. I spend most of the hours of my week being a smart, educated, conscientious, community-involved, competent adult, who really works to take care to hear what the people are me are saying. I feel that my willingness to be "available" to discuss my mental health issues is being abused...but then again, I keep engaging the cycle...right? I just don't know how to not engage it. I really don't want to talk to them...but then I see that they seem to have genuine concern, and I feel it's "right" to address it, and ask them about what they're concerned about, and try to have an honest conversation, you know, the kind you have to pay therapists to learn how to have?

I am angry, disrupted, resentful, and seriously, right this moment, considering estranging myself from parts of my family because this is the 800th time this had happened. We are able to choose to sever ties with toxic partners...but it's harder to feel that the severance of family ties is possible, even though they are equally toxic. When I am feeling like this, it feels so very possible.

My therapist says it's great to try to stick these situations out because I can learn to work through this crap and then maybe learn to stop picking partners for myself who also undeservedly question my competence on a foundational level. But you know what? I'm so sick, literally, of being treated like this. And I'm sick of the fact that no matter how skillfully I learn to attempt the honest approach or deflect when it's not working I am TIRED. I am tired of negotiating in good faith when first of all I am not even obligated to negotiate and second, that good faith is not being returned.

If I'm sick of having the conversation, I need to simply stop having it. Abandon the cycle in the middle. I think this is the first time in my life where honesty has been a bad thing. My candor and willingness to discuss, accidentally becomes a tool everytime I open my mouth to try to fix the problem. There is nothing to be fixed here that is within my responsibility to address.

There is also no foul mood to apologize for...oh there IS a foul mood, just none to apologize for.