Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Impulse control...

...I love how life presents me with perfect illustrations to demonstrate the realities of my ADHD life to a reading audience.'s like boyfriend and I finally had our first "fight". Really, it wasn't a fight, but it WAS something that needed to be aired out, it WAS a big deal, it WAS resolved peacefully and to both of our satisfaction...and even without getting into details faaar too personal, it presents a scenario worth discussing.

When people hear the words "impulse control" it conjures a lot of images, none of them good, and only some of them relevant to each ADHDer, especially adult ADHDers. I'm not going to say that all adult ADHDers are the perfect image of impulse control at all times...but we're not all jumping off of roofs either. And the thing is...that whether or not we were diagnosed as adults, we have all had so many times in our lives where people have told us that we shouldn't act out in certain ways, that we are likely to have learned at least some skills for reining it in and are aware that we CAN work do do it. Otherwise we'd all be running around with underwear on our heads...I know I would ;)

That doesn't mean it's always easy. I've written many times before that I'm actually damned good at "reining it in". It just takes a damned lot of energy! Last night, late night, it appeared I had no ability to rein it in...I was tired but my brain wouldn't shut off, STUFF just kept popping into my head. Boyfriend was exhausted and I kept wiggling around the house, jumping, repeating myself, chatting in bed and the fun only continued as he fell asleep and I lay there giggling at my random thoughts...haaaa...good times...

So the other day he says something to me that to make a long story short, I was not thrilled with. At the time, however, we were trying to pack up his gear because he was in the middle of playing a gig and was suddenly about to vomit. You just don't ask for clarification when someone is trying not to puke on themselves in public. He was violently ill all night and then yesterday morning was nearly ready for a hospital was bad. I was still pissed but went over and got him some water and juice and painkillers and...voila...he perked up and took a nice nap.

The whole time...I'm thinking about what I want to say...but keeping myself from saying it because it just wasn't going to be nice or productive to dump that load on a person who was THAT sick.

And when something is tugging at my brain like that, it's no easy trick to keep it clammed up. That cat was trying to destroy the bag.

I should get a GOLD medal for impulse control for that...

Once he'd had a full day's napping and was able to process English language again...I let the cat out. And I'd had so many hours of reining it in that I was able to be reaaaaally measured and articulate about it...I had to actually get all that damned articulation out of the way to really get to the emotion, lol. But since my first foray into the joys and powers of psychotherapy at age 9 to deal with impulse control issues, haha...I have had a TON of practice. And that's really my message here...we ADHDers all have different abilities and personalities, but it IS possible to learn strategies for dealing with life, for managing impulses...for prioritizing the needs of others in the short term so that you can do what you need to help them and THEN have the conversation that needs to be had.

After all of that self-control I guess it's really no wonder that I spent the evening bouncing off the walls, giggling, chatting, wiggling, and otherwise flowing with my impulses...geez louise, it felt like lightning shooting through my mind and body!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Meditating on routine...

...because it's my favorite fucking subject, of course.
Let's talk about my dog. He and I were doing a pretty good job of living a nice routine little life together, until about a month and a half ago. Prior to that we were learning all about walking on a leash, and going potty outside, and getting socialized and learning to come when called.
Then he hit the 6-months old mark and turned insane. Suddenly my sweet, smart, quick-learning pup became a challenging, obnoxious, loud menace, pissing on everything in the house marking his territory, which of course set off a territory marking war with the cats...which was as spectacular as it was disgusting (and frustrating when my notebook I was using to keep me organized became a casualty).
And I'll be honest, this would be a challenge for anyone, but for me as an ADHDer, this was a little painful. I had been working to be as attentive and routine as possible, taking the dog out constantly, taking him everywhere with me, trying to be really consistent with training commands...but I felt really discouraged by this turn of events, even though everything I'd read had warned me that this would happen. It's the puppy teenage years. They suck. It's inevitable. And you have no control.
Alrighty then. Attempts at routine fell apart...and I kept telling myself that after he was neutered, perhaps he would mellow out and we could hit the reset button.
He got neutered last week. THANK. GOD. Even ADHD boy, who is really pretty endlessly patient juggling three children, finally cracked at the puppy's contant aggressive chewing and tornado-like presence. Suddenly one night the look on his face was a little bit like the Hulk just before he turns green. Have I mentioned that the dog weighs 5 lbs? Yeah...5 lbs. 5 lbs of TERROR.
In the days since the neutering, indeed, he seems to be mellowing out just a tiny bit already...still energetic, but the "edge" seems to be ebbing away. Which means one thing...I have to draw the line and start training and being "routine" again.
Sigh. Okay. I'll do what I have to do...but...but...but...ADHD boy said he would be happy to help me think through it all and set some routines. As he put it, with three children he can't really NOT have routines. The kids have certain school times, and activities times, and dinner time and bed times and bed time is its own elaborate routine in and of itself. So he understands the importance and power of routines.
Before I enlist his assistance though, I'm going to do something really simple...put "dog alerts" in the iPhone calendar so that I have little alarms going off during the day. Things like "pee time" and "pup breakfast" and "pup lunch"...and remembering to always take him out after meals...and maybe next week we'll try some new commands...we haven't learned "sit" yet because puppy inattention and ridiculous biting and other obnoxiousness had gotten in the way. A calmer, NEUTERED puppy should mean the going should be a leeeeetle easier.
At least as easy as it is for an ADHDer to stick, long term, with a routine :) The alerts will help a LOT. And hopefully over time he himself will become an "alert" as he gets the routine in his head and can let me know when he needs stuff.
Right now, he's sitting here on my lap, all a-snooze and peaceful. Awwwwww. Time to go out for one last pee and then, to the crate and to bed...