Saturday, January 9, 2010

Thanks to Scott Hutson for the awesome image that inspires what is about to follow (see comments on previous post for reference).

I feel pretty good about my life right now. My projects are developing as they should; my day jobs are serving their function until my income from my creative work is back in post-graduation action; I'm on track to walk in graduation in the Spring; I have awesome pets; I'm dating an awesome person; I have an awesome roommate. I have great friends and feel good about my place in my community.

I also feel good about my mental health. I've learned a lot this year about myself, about the pros and cons of being me, about how to operate myself most healthfully and effectively. Because we're talking ADHD here, yes, I constantly have to remind myself of the same things...yes, I have to always be open to new ways of trying to do things, to get myself over obstacles when the old ways just don't work anymore. To borrow Scott's image: I'm driving along with uneven tire pressure.

Clearly this means I have to stop along the way to make sure I have the best journey possible. I know that low blood sugar impairs me terribly. I know that uneven tire pressure, aka ADHD is something that I need to address. As such, I make pitstops to eat, and to fill up my tires (aka, visit my therapist and take medication). I pull my little vehicle into filling stations on a regular basis in fact, to make sure that I have what I need to make my journey awesome...and to make sure that they journey is safe, for both me and my passengers.

Passengers? We all drive around all the time with passengers...people we have allowed to join us on our journeys through the day and through life. And that's the key thing to remember...WE have allowed them to join us. Even if our permission is passive, we have still allowed their presence.

Some passengers are awesome...they trust you, let you drive since it's your turn and they know that they never would have gotten to see such amazing new sights if they hadn't joined you on your wacky road trip. Sometimes they might actually see something in the road ahead, before you do, that poses danger, and they will tell you, because that's a legit thing to do for those you love, warn them of real and actual dangers. And they like your fuel stops because they see the need, and they appreciate that you see it too.

Then there's other people in your car at times. The ones that you always hate to travel with because they make things so miserable. They're in a hurry and don't want to honor your pitstops because they think their destination is more important than your journey. They forget to pee at the filling station and make you pull over in the middle of nowhere and then run off into the woods because they think it's funny. They bring a bag of road sodas (translation from Northern New England dialect to normal English: beers to go) promising they won't get YOU in trouble, and smoke some butts (cigarettes) even though they know it will make you sick and refuse to roll down the windows so you can see through the smoke. For whatever reason, you thought you were obligated to transport them. They're your oldest friends. They're family. They can help your career. They're cooler than you. They think they know more than you do, and you might agree with them sometimes because this is kind of a new car, and kind of a new journey.

They scream while you're driving and question your ability to do so, even if the road is clear, and you're doing a great job. They wave hands in front of your face when you won't take their detours. They talk so loudly that you can't concentrate, even though you may have already politely asked them to give you a few minutes of quiet time (after all, it's a long journey ahead). They question your pitstops...what do you MEAN you are stopping for gas and food and to fill the tires, that's INSANE they try to tell you. As they run past you into the store to stock up on road sodas and butts, get back in your car, and leave trash all over the floor.

These are not good passengers. They don't appreciate where you are trying to go...they don't appreciate that you travel by car, they don't get why you are even interested in this journey in the first place, and they really, really don't appreciate that you won't join them when they suggest that perhaps another type of transportation might be better. Something BIGGER. Something FASTER. Something that will let you skip right over the inconveniences of a nuanced trip, something that will make you move so fast you won't even remember where you came from!

Finally they're so loud that they convince you to drop them off at the nearest train depot because you really just want to shut them up. You get there, you stop the car, you get out, and you try to reason with them about why what you're doing works for you. How you really get sick to your stomach when you ride trains. How you need to drive your own car because you need to make the right pitstops, and not on the train conductor's schedule. They laugh...they snicker...they tell you you're nuts...and then they argue about how to sneak the road sodas and butts onto the train. You follow them, you forget to even lock the car, bring your keys, or shut off the lights.

You get on the train with them because you are determined that despite the obvious obstacles, they will hear you. And the train pulls away from the station as trains do and you don't even notice because you're trying to talk louder than they, louder than the roar of the train, to keep up, to make them finally and truly understand why you've chosen the kind of journey that you have chosen.

They laugh, they smoke butts, they drink road sodas.

They laugh...they smoke butts...they drink road sodas...


By the time the train reaches the next train you feel like an idiot because you realize what you've done. You get off...they all yell, and holler and you walk further and further from the platform they start yelling insults, and the further from the train you go, the meaner the insults become. You stop a couple of times, tempted to respond, but you remind yourself that you're due for a pitstop, and you hold that in the front of your mind.

And you walk all the way back to the other station. And you see that your car is there, lights off, battery dead, doors open, leaves blown across the seats, butts and empty cans on the floors. You push the car, alone, to the nearest filling station. Fill the tires, fill the tank, eat something. Vaccuum out the car, buy an air freshener. Remember where you were headed. Shake a head at how far you were drawn from your purpose and by whom.

I've learned a valuable lesson this week. I'm not only not getting on trains anymore, quite frankly I'm not tempted. And I see what it may mean. And I don't care.

The journey I've planned is beautiful. It is filled with magic and kindness and persistence. It is filled with silent spaces and peaceful places where I can hear the hum of insects and the whispers of dear friends. It is filled with love letters and magical coincidences. It is filled with music and food and kind reminders. I've made maps, but I'm looking forward to the surprises...and I'm looking forward to experiencing it all with companions who have earned their place in my life by honoring my vision and whose own visions are equally peaceful.

One door closes but many others will open...and there they are before me.

Friday, January 8, 2010

The layers just peel and peel and... candid as I am in this blog there are some things I just can't talk about in this blog, and I REALLY wish I could because at times I feel my circle of support as being a little bit small. which is exactly the thing I would like to write about the most Those who are supportive are VERY supportive so it almost makes up for the weak spots...weak spots being those where the ego-considerations of others have impaired their ability to treat me as an adult, with the right to make whatever mental health decisions I choose. The circle is unbroken, but not without its flaws.

For the record, as if you don't already know, if you read this blog...I visit my therapist regularly, self-reflect with vigor, and have very conscientiously adhered to my medication regimens through thick and thin. I have become more and more comfortable with myself as I am, and spend less and less time generating anxiety-producing chaos in my life.

I know that the "problems" that hurt my heart the most right now are nothing to do with me. I know I'm "working my program" and in many ways experiencing the healthiest, most-productive me that I have ever been. is a day of heart-hurt. And there's no way around that but through it.

Love, ADHD-Style

What's more fun than a barrel of monkeys? Two ADHDers out on a date.

Indian restaurant on a slow night of the week. We're greeted by the waiter who wants to seat us at a table for two...where you have to sit across from the other person.'s going there. I wasn't having, hello, what if you want to smooch someone during dinner? NOT MAKE-OUT...geez, who do you think I am, Paris Hilton?

I ask the waiter if we can sit at a four-seater...he says no. I say okay. We follow him to the table for two, ADHD-boy picks up his chair, puts it next to mine, and smiles. We thank the waiter...the waiter is disgusted...we proceed to order everything delicious. And smooch...which probably got us some loogies in our samosas from the waitstaff...if they were there, they were delicious!

Dinner was one big, awesome fun-time, with all things delicious, lots of hysterical laughter, and two disgusted waiters. I'm sure you're picturing some gross, smoochy, romantic couple making people want to puke but really, it was more like two giggling 8-year olds with a little smooching and beer thrown in. And really, the waiter brought it on himself, I mean we warned him...we wanted the four-seater, more room, fewer inappropriate body-bubble, in a quiet restaurant, who wants to have to yell across a table...sheesh...

Next we're contemplating a grocery store trip where we both take an electric courtesy cart for a spin. If we get arrested I work for a defense attorney ;)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Blue Ribbon Day

Well so far the only thing that has gone "right" is a productive board meeting...that I was attending when I was apparently supposed to be at my medication check in appointment...which I realized too late that I had missed...after realizing latelatelate last night that I'd missed my therapy appointment yesterday. After not being able to get to sleep last night at ALL and having a long, long work day.

Also on the awesome list today is the fact that I'm desperately trying to pull together a community event for a surprisingly difficult to work with group and...I finally had a four hour window to deal with it...after being largely ignored by the group for the entire holiday season...and my printer won't work, and my internet connection apparently does not exist today. I now have 1.25 hours to try to get done a job that was already too big for the window of time allotted.

Nothing else to's not even noon yet. I guess that means there's time for the day to get better, but you know what? I'm pretty sure that's not going to happen, considering that technology has just effectively screwed the next two weeks of my life with one failure after another this morning.

Mmmm, love shit sandwiches for breakfast.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Let's play "I'm so impulsive that I..."...

There's a lot of directions this game could go for an ADHDer, but I'm playing this game today with a point, my point being that we adult ADHDers (and for that matter any other person with any other mental health issue) are only obligated to own the bullshit that we're actually producing. We're not obligated to "own" stereotypes. We're not obligated to accept doubts that have no foundation in our past or current behavior. We ARE obligated to acknowledge and name and own that which we really did generate...but we are not obligated to live under a blanket of "I'm inherently a bad person and incapable of ever making any good choices because I'm an adult with a mental health issue.".

Therefore, let the game commence. It goes like preface each statement with "I'm so impulsive that I..."...

I'M so impulsive that I have been steadily employed since age 15.

I'M so impulsive that I chose to go to grad school and move closer to my family to help with the family business instead of going to Spain to dance like I really wanted to.

I'M so impulsive that I hold myself to a higher standard of review than most people I know.

I'M so impulsive that I run one already successful business and this year will be working to rebuild the second one after my break to complete grad school.

I'M so impulsive that I am FINISHING grad school with a rockin' GPA.

I'M so impulsive that I have turned down two marriage proposals because I was able to separate lust and control from love.

I'M so impulsive that I challenge my family regularly in a healthy way by refusing to be silent about what's really going on in my life.

I'M so impulsive that I pushed myself through to complete my undergrad degree even though it felt like moving a mountain and I was miserable the whole time.

I'M so impulsive that I worked 2-3 jobs in college while my friends backpacked around Europe and did a ton of drugs that I also didn't do.

I'M so impulsive that I stay too long in relationships that sometimes hurt me because I like to give others the benefit of the doubt.

I'M so impulsive that I will not make decisions that do not ring true in my heart, just to please someone else or make my life easier.

I'M so impulsive that it took me two years to find just the right dog for me, by reading about dogs, and meeting dogs and preparing my former partner for what it might mean to have a dog in the house, and learning about puppy training.

I'M so impulsive that I write all of my ideas down in a notebook for later reference and review before acting on them.

I'M so impulsive that people in my life trust me to organize projects for them.

I'M so impulsive that I am generally a valued employee when working for others because I am reliable and hard-working and regularly go the extra mile.

I'M so impulsive that I 34 and do not have children and have never been married because I CHOSE not to thus far and sooner would not have been the right thing for me.

I'M so impulsive that I played the piano for 11 years as a child.

I'M so impulsive that I dedicated myself to studying dance so firmly that I would not schedule time with friends or anything else during rehearsal or class times.

I'M so impulsive that I always refused to rehearse or perform under the influence of alcohol or drugs when I was still performing, because it was too important to me, and other people were relying on me.

Sigh. Well that was fun but I'm all played out right now. And I'm starting to sound boring. Is it always EASY for me to make decisions like those above? No. But that's not the point. Do I always enjoy making those decisions? Hell no, again, not the point. The point is that I have made them, and I still make them, and my life is not a wasteland of impulsive decision-making. If only some people made the same effort to be kind, and to be compassionate, as to label and demean others with their own ignorance. But they have that luxury I suppose...the luxury to live without a label...the luxury to be able to judge others so carelessly and groundlessly. It's not a luxury I envy quite frankly.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

And today...

...wracked with anxiety and assaulted by BIGBIG THOUGHTS. Dammit, this is how we know I'm not bipolar...because I'm NOT enjoying this! Low grade mania/high grade compulsion paired with more ideas than a person knows what to do with is totally crazymaking.

I took the medication and am just trying to decide if it's so smooth and gradual that on a day like this it'll take a couple hours to get my ass back on the rail, or if I'm heading into dangerous pre-menstrual territory where the meds don't work worth a shit and I am a wingnut for a week.

Sigh. Grrrrrrrr. Sitting on couch with puppy but mentally fumbling for the lightswitch that will make all of these dark corners go away, and frighten the freight-train of AMAZING IDEAS into submission.

Days like this are the reason I wonder if what we now call ADHD will someday be sliced down into several smaller, more accurate diagnoses. I read often of the "inattentive" or "daydreamy" ADHDers (hello to you all!) who have a hard time firing up their brain. I spend my days looking for the firehose that's gonna slow this four alarm blaze down. My mind alone puts the H in ADHD, all fidgets aside.

I really, really want to give in to the compulsion to clean or organize something, to make at least my outer world feel more in control, but I keep telling myself that I should just "let go" and let myself do something "creative". But I know that cleaning and organizing is going to feel really good and it will certainly feel better than arguing with myself! And I should know from history that I can have this argument all day and then I'll really feel crappy because I won't even have a clean room.

Alright, that's it. Maybe I'll set a timer, but I'm going to go clean my room. Maybe by the time I finish, the meds will have kicked in just enough to settle the confetti.