Friday, September 23, 2011

One big exercise in humility...

Have you ever felt like you needed something to keep you humble? Something to make you realize that you are fallible, human, fragile and imperfect? Let me suggest blogging. Some would argue that bloggers are self-absorbed and a little full of themselves, posting to jerk themselves off and because they really think their words are tres importante.

Few things in my life have ever made me feel less "important". Less "all-knowing". And more human. Than going back and reading my posts from earlier in the yesterday's.

Here at 18 Channels I try to capture the honest day to day experience of living with ADHD as an adult. A lot of moments in my life and the life of my family are hilarious, kooky and fun...but then there's days like yesterday. Yesterday I was nearly eaten live by depression and impatience - by a pile of completely understandable concerns that had taken me apart in pieces, one cell at a time, deconstructed me to the point that at the end of my workday, I no longer recognized myself.

I called and left a message for my prescriber and said my medication wasn't doing shit (in the nicest possible way). I called and left a message for my therapist. I can't tell you how glad I am that the therapist was the one that got to me first.

My therapist really is great. I've been seeing her long enough now that we really have a common language for framing my world and I appreciate that. When I talked to her yesterday I said "for the past year and a half life has been so overwhelming...first I'm depressed, then I'm disabled, then I have a little renaissance and feel better but now I'm anxious, then I'm depressed again, I'm tired of being unhappy and I'm just exhausted and I'm sick of feeling this way".

She said "what can you change"...then "how can you change it".

I know the answers to these questions. I ALWAYS have the power to change my life in any way that I wish. Always. I realize that not everyone is that lucky. Some people have more permanent factors to contend with...but all of us always have choices. So she asked me what I can change, and to identify ways to change it. Of course right now, there are things I cannot change right away. That's the wall I'm up against at the moment.

"Then you have to file it away in your radical acceptance folder."

Sigh. This is nothing new. But she was right. I had to. And at this point it's a matter of survival. I cannot function if I continue to let these things eat away at me. My choice is continue to be miserable, or work to file these things away until they can be handled in another way. Patience of this type has NEVER been easy for me.

Have I blogged about radical acceptance? Probably. It's worth a brief revisit...radical acceptance is the kind of acceptance you have to employ when logic and desire will not get you what you want. It's perfect for all of the unwinnables in life. Crazy parents? They'll always be crazy. Health issue that drives you nuts? Radically accept it. Work with an asshole but can't quit your job? Radically accept that you are choosing to do what's best for you by putting up with that bullshit just a little longer. Have ADHD? Quit beating yourself up. Radically accept it and move on.

In my experience, radical acceptance can be a very rich can feel freeing or it can feel awkward...or it can feel bittersweet. Right now, it feels freeing AND bittersweet. I have a pile of crap driving me crazy that I have to accept or I will lose my mind. But I have that choice available to me, the choice to file it away for a bit. Something about that felt better than letting it continue to drive me crazy. I'm still sad...I'm still frustrated. I'm still dissatisfied...but I am choosing radical acceptance...which then makes it a little easier to see the small sparks of "fight" that I have left (and to then seek ways to feed those sparks). It also helps me step outside of my misery for a moment to see that I was brought to this moment by choices that I MADE. And that those choices were actually really good ones that made a lot of sense.

At that point in the day I still had several hours left in my work day...we had a night-time show coming in. It just so happened that this show featured a band that is really emblematic of everything I love about the music that I love...they're legendary, truly. So I got to enjoy an amazing night of music that triggered all the good stuff in me...that really fed my soul. It breathed a little life back in me.

I am still hovering in a cloud of bittersweet mist but I can hover here a little longer. I'm not asking for my meds to be changed right now. I turned down a beer last night when offered. I didn't sleep any better but hey, what's new. I DID get to climb in bed with my lovely husband, lay there in a warm, safe house, and breathe.

And I wrote it all down in a blog post so I can go back and read it later, and remember how imperfect I really am, but that it's okay.


  1. Thanks for this reminder of radical acceptance. I'm in a place in my life where everything has changed so much for the worse in the past year. Everything is up in the air. At some point you just can't fight it anymore; you have to just go where the current takes you.

  2. Yes...radical change often requires radical acceptance...