Sunday, March 21, 2010


I should have a meltdown dance...kind of like a touchdown dance. Because like touchdowns, they're inevitable at some point and I may as well celebrate them, though not excessively :)

I'm graduating in May. So this is my last official mid-semester meltdown. Awww...the warm sentimental feelings overcoming me...just kidding, I'm still in hate with my homework. Oh, sorry, need to clarify...this is not a general sort of meltdown, that's not my style...nothing makes me turn to a seething ball of unpleasant like schoolwork. There are several reasons...

School is repetitive, boring and involves jumping through hoops that are sometimes just a little bit arbitrary. I also am not terribly fond of externally imposed structure...which has the capacity to make my brain explode under the right conditions. And after three years, a lot of the assignments, though lovingly crafted by my instructors, are starting to look a leeeettle familiar. It is a Master's degree I'm working on after all, so there are certain components that are inevitable, and certain academic goals that must be included...I suppose. Oh I get it...and even more clearly, I get that this is boring.

Instructors need ways to measure general progress and to measure relative progress within a group of students...however, often meeting proscribed boundaries and expectations does not necessarily involve thinking...or at least challenging or novel thinking. "Prove you're on the same page as the rest of us" is the equivalent to jumping through hoops. And that's...AWESOME. And time consuming. And sometimes crazymaking to the ADHD mind.

I know, I know. My comments are disrespectful to the educational process, and disrespectful to the contributions of my classmates and disrespectful to the preparation that my instructors have put into creating this structure within which to learn. What I'm blogging here is an emotional reaction of my ADHD mind. Most of the semester I can gleefully dive in and just do it. But this semester I am behind...I have loose ends to tie up from last semester because of bumps along the way of this year's mental health journey. Behind the 8-ball is no place for an ADHDer to start least not one in which I'm likely to find myself in a good mood.

Oh...I'm doing what I have to do. My therapist said "it sounds like you know what you need to do and you just need to do it". I'm doing it. But I'm miserable. I just have to keep reminding myself that my only choice is to continue, to push myself, to kick ass, to take names, and to finish.

I know that I have another option: not finishing. And isn't that the stereotypical path of the ADHDer? Aren't we supposed to live lives punctuated by unfinished projects? Some years ago I decided that I disliked the feeling of unfinished business in my life more than I hated pushing past the tough parts, the boring parts, the challenging parts, the parts where I feel like my brain might implode.

But that doesn't make my mental space right now any more enjoyable. I'm completely fecking miserable. Unapologetically miserable. Pretty un-admirably miserable. Negative, pissy and overexplain-ily miserable. I think my only redeeming quality right now is my ability to articulate it, at least on "paper", in a reasonable way, because I'd rather be throwing something.

So...let me describe my brain right now. It's a dark place...full of self-pity, anger, annoyance, and desire to throw pies.

I feel a little better, having eaten some delicious, nutritious protein, and even better since having a delicious beer. But...I'm still in hate with this homework reality. am I going to get through this? By employing my ADHD superpower of hyperfocus. I've been working in big ass chunks/spurts. Compelled by my misery...because at least misery is good for something...first it immobilizes me, and then I just ride it to the finish line, after I've fought with myself for long enough that I'm exhausted and crash...and then, voila, I rise like a phoenix from the pity party.

I picked this life after all..nobody pointed a gun at my head and said "you have to go to grad school". I chose this...and only I can finish it. And like I said...I don't consider not-finishing an option. But by the end of this week I'll probably owe a few loved ones a few apologies because I'm seriously unpleasant right now.

I think there are two points I'd like to make here...for the non-ADHDers, when you see us like this, we're not coming from a place of logic, we're coming from a place of mental misfire. Oh I may be articulate about it...but that's the result of years of practice. I started at age 9, learning to express myself with words instead of temper tantrums. That does not means I feel any better and should YOUR ADHDer have the same issue, please just keep that in mind. This is not logic. We know it's not pleasant...actually in the moment we may not care, but we'll be sorry later and in the meantime it's probably best if you don't try to argue logic with us.

To the ADHDers out there: GOD DAMN IT, SHIT GETS ANNOYING SOMETIMES but it's up to us to make whatever choice we need to make to "do the right thing". Regardless of our impairments we can always strive to make "better" choices. Even if it's not easy. Even if you'd rather down a 6-pack...which I would rather do right now even though I'm not a big drinker. Even if you'd rather throw pies at cars. Personally, I've chosen blogging as an awesome outlet. It means admitting my imperfections to a growing readership but...hey, I'm me. I'm done apologizing to myself for being me, so I may as well be done apologizing to the rest of the world too.

Having vented, I'm going back to--oh hey, Sonny Rollins is offering me RingDings. A novel approach, but probably as effective as logic right now. He's sure digging them. Me, I'm going back to my homework hell in progress...


  1. I'll refrain from sarcastic remarks about the "gift" of ADHD. I will, however, offer tons and tons of sympathy and I'll be rooting for you to get that degree.

    Of course, the tension you are going through is all part of "the gift." You feel like you are completely twisted up inside, like you are fighting yourself (you feel schizophrenic), hence the feeling you will explode.

    I think Sonny has the right idea. When in doubt...have a Ring Ding.

  2. Oh yeah, totally feel like I'm fighting myself and may explode :) It's amazing how a relatively insignificant ADHD diagnosis can feel HUGE in these moments.

    Upon further reflection, I think the most important detail here is that I turned down a RingDing. I've gotta be in a really nasty headspace to turn down a RingDing. I don't think Sonny minded though, it lent itself to a "more for me!" evening for him as he watched tv shows about animals eating each other alive and stuff, while enjoying the chocolate covered goodness.

  3. I definitely know what you mean! I am an adult student still working on my Bachelors Degree as a special ed teacher! It has taken me about seven years so far because I keep stopping, starting, stopping again, etc. It is VERY tedious, there are TONS of hoops to jump through. I'm supposed to get help from the Disabilities office, but all they can really offer me is extended time on testing, which I don't really need because I am an alarmingly fast reader! I have about a year left... and I sure hope it will be worth it in the end!

  4. Ugh now I totally know what YOU drives me a little bats when I have teachers say exactly what they should say "is there anything we can do" or "maybe you should check in the with the University"...uhhhhhhh...for what, exactly? A new brain? for the moment I'm committed myself to active communication with them, and at least keeping them in the loop with what I'm working on and approximately when it'll be "in"...sigh...