Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Spring Issue of Additude Magazine!

I'm in it! Check it out!

That is all...for now :)

It's more than just ADHD

My stepdaughter and I are finding that we have more in common than just ADHD.

For example, we went to the mall today. I asked what she was looking for. She said:

"Skulls. I want things with skulls on them." And not cute ones with pink bows and stuff.

It's not really the place of a step-mother whose hair currently looks like Joan Jett's, to deny a child stuff with skulls on it. Though she IS still only 8.

So...we did some wicked bargain shopping and ended up at home with a bag full o' rock and ROLL!

But we had several candid, but panic-free conversations about what types of necklines and lengths of things are appropriate for the 3rd grade. And what kinds of things, while very cool, will NEVER be worn in the the classroom (even when the envied "teen-age" arrives)!

"I just don't like to wear the kinds of things that other girls like to wear." Tell me about it kid.

She ended up spending her hard-earned $25 on a very classic fedora, a chunky black bracelet, and an age appropriate tee shirt with some metallic, swirly embellishment. Punk rock lite. Super cute. I wish I could claim to have picked it all out, but she did it on her own. And Daddy approved. (Daddy is a professional musician who once rocked a mullet longer than North America, and busked his way around Europe. While he wants his daughter age-appropriate, he also understands the urge to rawk.)

It was fun. I liked it.

Next week we can go get matching tattoos! (<-----um...never!)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Off-topic and yet completely ON topic...

Step-parenting is absolutely the most thankless, punishing role in the modern family. Oh biological parents, I KNOW you put time in and work hard and invest a lot. I totally get it. Parenting of any kind (while often rewarding) is not easy. Single-parenting? Holy hell, I can't even imagine. And being a step-child has got to be difficult--I'm truly grateful that I never had to experience that one.

But step-parenting is one big pile of WTF, a significant percentage of the time, and step-parents are subject to dynamics that bio-parents should consider themselves lucky to avoid. Those dynamics range from stressful to toxic to completely deranged and can be inflicted at times and in situations that (and this is what really and truly makes the step-parenting role punishing) you have zero actual or direct control over, often despite the "best intentions" of most of the parties involved. If you do your job as a step-parent properly, you are taking on a great deal of responsibility while having zero final authority over issues that impact your home, and every single one of your other basic needs.

Let me just emphatically stress that step-parenting also has rewards. I'm leaving that there in the air as a given. And my husband is the best person I could possibly have as a partner in this situation. TOTALLY a given.

I am a grown-up and I did choose this. I don't regret it. But it's not frickin' easy.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Silence is not always golden

Sometimes it's gray, deep, pervasive and melacholy.

It's easy for me to write about anxiety and ADHD. It is not easy to write about depression. And so I don't.

I think I avoid writing about it for two reasons. First...the desire to isolate is a symptom. Second...holy crap, sometimes my list making annoys even me...SECOND...when you are hoping something will just go away, you really don't want to dwell on it. For me, depression usually goes away, I alternate retreating into it and ignoring it.

It's not going away this time. Not yet anyway.

Don't worry...I have mental health professionals. I've already talked to them and I'll talk to them again at dates that have already been determined. I'll be fine. I'm generally quite resilient. I know this, and I remind myself frequently.

I am making myself write this because isolating is probably the worst thing to do. Because others know what this feels like and when you feel this way the only thing worse than desiring isolation, is feeling like you are alone.

You're not. I'm not. And it's not forever even if it feels that way right now.

Taking the time each day... clean my work area, is CRITICAL TO FUNCTIONING.

I can't imagine there's a person with ADHD out there that would not benefit from at least trying this. It keeps the mess manageable. It gives you a chance to organize your brain in a literal, tactile, visual way.

Okay okay, I can't say that I know how everyone should live their work lives, but...if you struggle with work organization I highly suggest it...because after years of doing this, and trying different ways, I generally DON'T STRUGGLE MUCH WITH WORK ORGANIZATION ANYMORE.

When we take the time to practice positive coping techniques it can become easier over time, and it cans become easier, more of the time, is NOT a waste of time to do this, to try this, to at least give yourself a chance to see what works for you.

I do not organize myself in the same way in each workplace. Some people might benefit from trying that, but for me, it works better to find a method that works for THAT job.

Here at my desk at the theater (yes, I work at a theater) I have a long list of email folders where I can stash my emails into logical categories...and most importantly can stash and rediscover those emails QUICKLY. I may love organization but I'm still impatient. It's better than swearing and getting pissed and ruining my afternoon and wasting time and totally derailing myself because I can't find something.

I have a "TO DO" folder, and in that folder, are about 5 other folders that pertain to specific projects. Those folders themselves are not perfectly organized within at all times. But as I go through my day, when the paper starts to accumulate and I feel my brain getting ready to explode, I can just toss things into their proper folder until I need them (things like post-its...scraps of paper...lists...printed emails). Then when I think "oh, I need to be working on my Promotions" I go to the Promotions folder and look, a pile of shit that all relates to Promotions is already there, and then I can have fun organizing it as I think about the project and prioritize its parts. Then I can stack all of the items in the order of attack that makes the most sense...and feel good knowing that I have set myself up for success. Because the next time I open that folder, I will look at the "thing" on top first and off I go on my journey to completion.

Long term projects require repeated sorting.

If you looked at my desk (and didn't watch me while I'm working...or fall victim to a random tangent of my chatter) you would have no clue that I have ADHD. Not that appearances are what I'm caring about here.

What I'm caring about here is that I'm one of the most organized people that people who know me, know. It's not a competition, but it does feel good.

Try it, you might like it. You don't have to do it the same way I do it. But as I've said many times before, you owe it to yourself and everyone else around you to try. If you don't know where to start, read about how other people organize themselves. Personally, I find it more useful to look at how I work...and go from there. Buying tons of organizing systems and boxes and crap won't "fix" you for's more about developing a good relationship with yourself.

So go to it...have a nice chat between you and you...and maybe a cup of tea...

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Dear dancilhoney: I don't whore out for free!

I got a comment that I'm declining to post. Normally I'm not into "censoring" or deleting comments because I like transparency with my dialog. That's the key to this situation though: it wasn't part of a dialog, it was a blatant "ad" for an alleged ADHD drug.

So, I just wanted to clear something up.

Whoever you are, username "dancilhoney", until you decide to send me a substantial check, which clears into my bank account, I will not be posting YOUR ads. I work hard, I need money, and I don't whore out for free.

I'd be delighted if some drug company wanted to pay me to post an ad here, actually. I could use some spare income, and heaven knows my audience is interested in information about ADHD.
I don't agree with everything that drug manufacturers do, or all of the ways that they conduct business, but to say that they do NO good in the world would be, from me, hypocritical. I love my ADHD drugs.

So...if you actually want to pay for adspace on my blog, by all means, we can probably work something out. Until then: go fuck yourself.