Sunday, May 20, 2012


Okay everyone, I am moving the blog over the Wordpress (don't even get me's going to have to be a blog post because I can't even believe how janky Wordpress is...but that's another story...). I haven't totally finished but go check it out and let me know what you think!

- Mrs. Rollins

Thursday, May 3, 2012

So I eat horribly. And dairy products are evil.

At this point in my life, proactive thinking has become a compulsion, thank gawd. So even though I'm in the same crappy space I've been in since I haven't been able to afford meds (still working on that, I just have to remember to make that phone call!) I'm thinking a lot about my diet.

My journey to figuring out I had what we call ADHD and that I should probably starting dealing with myself in reality truly began without a diagnosis in my early twenties, when I acknowledged that I was not taking care of my own basic needs. I realized that not eating regularly, for example, was not making my life any easier. So I started making myself eat regularly and pay attention to my body's hunger signals.

I had trained myself to ignore them as a teen, when I feared that I was fat at a whopping 125lbs (and I'm 5'4" so clearly it was my thinking and not my body that had the issue). I retrained myself to listen. The added challenge for me of course is that anxiety makes me not want to eat...but I still worked at it consciously and improved the frequency with which I ate.

In my early 30s I started thinking about it again and adhering somewhat to the glycemic index as a guide, helping me make food choices that didn't screw with my blood sugar quite so much - hypoglycemia is an issue for me.

And now it's time for my next change.

I'm in my late 30s now and what I've learned in the past two years is that having small children makes parents eat horribly even if they are attentive to making sure the children get healthy food. What brought me to this current reassessment of my diet:

1) I'm feeling awful without my meds, and poor diet will only make me feel worse.
2) The tiny therapist in my head (which is funny because my therapist is already very tiny) is totally nodding in agreement.
3) One of my freelance clients is a "health product purveyor" and it's got me thinking about the quality of what I put into my body.
4) I have always been lactose intolerant and I hit bottom in my relationship with dairy yesterday.

Even in times when I have given up other sweets, I have been able to enjoy ice cream, thanks to its fat content and the fact that, despite my lactose intolerance, it didn't seem to bother me. Until yesterday. I had an ice cream cone for lunch. And spent the rest of the day and evening feeling like sand paper had been dragged through my entire digestive tract, and other assorted GI symptoms that you probably don't need more details on.

So...I know that I need to eat more healthfully and make sure that I'm eating regularly...and that I have to cut out most dairy.

I'm going to start tomorrow by just focusing on eating whole foods. Fresh meats. Real veggies. Nuts. Grains with good glycemic index ratings like quinoa and barley. Nothing crazy. No diet. Just foods that are processed 15 times over. Foods that I cook myself. Foods that frankly set a good example for the kids. I'm not gonna freak out if it's not perfect but I'm going to try to keep this in the front of my mind. I used to cook for myself for heaven's sake. No reason I can't do that again.

And it'll give me something to focus on besides the fact that I'm feeling so out of sorts.

Monday, April 30, 2012

When there is no ADHD medication, there is liquor.

So I don't have insurance, I'm out of Concerta, I have regular methylphenidate but it sucks and...I'm drinking Tuscan Lemonade. Yes, yes I am. I'm not drunk. I'm not irresponsible. But I'm drinking alcohol to take the edge off of...the edge. Because I have a life to live and it's after normal work hours, and I need a break from working hard to pretend that I don't feel horrendous.

The definition of horrendous can be subjective, so for the sake of clarity I'll elaborate: I'm cranky, I'm grumpy, I'm less patient, I can't stand bright lights, I really REALLY don't want to talk to or deal with people...even though nobody knows it...because I'm working very hard to not be a jerk to people. And it's exhausting and a little painful.

Tuscan Lemonade is a delightful premixed concoction of vodka and lemonade. And it's goooood. Just a touch of it and voila, I still want to sit in the dark but I can share space with other human beings, which is important because I share a home with four of them.

Anybody out there watch Victorious on the Disney Channel? Well you know there's Tori, the good girl heroine and there's Jade, her dark alter ego. Well a week ago I was Tori, and since running out of the Concerta (because I don't have insurance...and just found out it would cost over $400 a month to maintain it for my healthy under 40 self...what?!) I have become Jade. I think I'll be stuck in Jade mode for a while. Which is something I need to think about...because I can't use alcohol as a coping method indefinitely. Even if I'm not using it to get snockered, it's just not a good idea.

Tomorrow I'm going to do a little research to see how much the generic Concerta will cost without insurance - I'll call the pharmacy. And if that doesn't pan out well...well I'll see what other options I have. Tonight, I'll have just a touch more Tuscan Lemonade and offer a toast to living in a country where people who work perfectly reasonable middle class jobs can't afford health insurance. And the Disney Channel shows that keep us from asking too many questions about it.

Struggling with "I can't"

Though I frequently succeed at putting forth a facade of effectiveness, I frequently struggle with the words "I can't" and their impact on my ability to make things happen.

I am thinking it over and over today. I'm in one of those spaces right now where the "I can't" voice is very loud. I had a disappointment yesterday, that's probably part of it (an event didn't go as well as I'd hoped). I believe too, that part of it is anxiety.

I know that my to-do list is large, and I keep telling myself that I will feel better about everything if I just push forward, and into, and through, and past the list. But all I want to do right now is climb into a blanket and burrito myself into a silent cocoon.

The reality, the fact of the situation, is that even when you are self-employed, you still have things that you HAVE to do, if you want to retain any hope of paying your bills. I will push past this. I will make at least a healthy dent in this list. But today it will be a struggle. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Don't get too comfortable...especially if you don't have health insurance

I haven't been very posty lately because things are going well and I've been balls to the wall busy. But that doesn't mean life is perfect!

One of the few major imperfections in my otherwise rosy world right now: I can't afford Concerta because I don't have health insurance at the moment.

And let me tell you...well I probably don't HAVE to tell you...THAT SUCKS.

It's such a subtle companion, Concerta, that I don't notice I'm even taking it until I'm not taking it, and then I get a crash course in how life used to be. Life used to be bitchy, cranky, irritable, impatient, mercurial...oh wait, that's not life, that's ME that used to be that way.

I'm really having a moment this time though...I can't believe I went through as much of life as I did, before treatment, without literally joining a secluded, monastic sect of some kind, that cuts itself off from the outside world and lives in silence. I'm so provoked and irritable...and I am not used to feeling that way frequently anymore so it amplifies for me that I was working horribly hard to tolerate the rest of the human race...that I was gruesomely stressed out for decades...

The more accustomed I become to peace in my life, the lower and lower my tolerance for chaos. Without medication, it have to work very, very hard to navigate my internal chaos because it amplifies. Oh, it amplifies.

I am taking regular 5mg methylphenidate tablets...which are adequate until you know, they wear off and that janky, nasty feeling takes over when your body manually shifts back to what-the-fuck gear. The best part (insert sarcasm here) is that I never know it's wearing off until I'm already wtf-ing.

When I can either afford insurance again, or simply afford the Concerta (or its twinsy generic which is still alarmingly expensive for a generic) life is gonna be better than rolling in donuts.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

This life experiment is still rolling along successfully

Which is really why I haven't had much to write about. When life is just working there's no angst to grease the verbiage and roll it along.

I am enjoying splitting time between my home office and the office downtown that I share with my mother. I am making the interpersonal connections that I need to in order to make my projects roll forward. I am taking on a few new projects as I roll along, easily replacing the salary I left behind.

It just works. It just moves along as it should.

Wow, that sounds really boring. But it's not -  for the first time in my life I feel peaceful.

It's so good.

I still recalibrate from time to time to make sure I'm doing what I need to do, in order to keep my life orderly - as I will for the rest of my life. And I'm not allowed to stay in bed past 8:30am. I share a home with people who are still "on the grid" of course, and the people I freelance for tend to have "normal" schedules as well. It's a logical concession, not an arbitrary one, so I'm willing to make it. I don't miss other people's arbitrary rules.

The world feels wide again. I am meeting good people again. I feel appreciated again, by the people that I am working with and for. And I am doing good work. Transition is awkward, but I'm taking it in stride (and writing in cliches, apparently).

Que bueno.

Friday, March 2, 2012

My new job: getting paid to have ADHD

I'm leaving my desk job but I am NOT leaving the world of the working, nor am I going to be joining medical studies seeking adults with ADHD.

But I AM giving myself permission to, well, do what I do naturally, which is do like, three things at once at all times.

I have spent my whole life fighting this, because of the pressure to figure out what one wants to do when one grows up, and it is often implied that you must be a _________ in order to answer that question. Well I AM going to answer that question. I am an entrepreneur. I am a woman of many hats. I am an idea generator. I am an operationalizer.

The bottom line is that as long as I am also a mortgage payer and grocery buyer and dog/cat/lizard food purchaser and procurer of beer and occasional sweet gifts for my husband and children, I am also a: SUCCESS.

HA. How'd ya like THAT word?

So I am further cultivating and deepening my events business. I am picking up marketing work which allows me to further use the skills I use for my own business, in applying them creatively for other people's businesses. And I am rekindling my creative business (I sew things and I sell them).

I am now four weeks into the experiment (as I phase out of my desk job...last week is next week) and guess what? It's working. Money is coming in. Almost enough money to totally replace my desk job paycheck with the realistic potential for more to come.

I cannot write this entry for an ADHD blog though, without addressing a couple of things that are probably screaming in the front of your mind as loudly as they were in my own before I made a plan: OMG, HOW WILL YOU STAY ORGANIZED AND BUDGET YOUR TIME AND KEEP THINGS ORGANIZED AND GET STUFF DONE AND - 

Yeah's the thing: I am always, ALWAYS more productive, focused and organized when I am interested in what I'm doing, when I am allowed to use my creativity and by creativity I don't always mean making art I sometimes mean creatively thinking to produce business systems and solutions...I am a good organizer when given the freedom to do so, because I find that kind of thing engaging.

I have created systems for myself for EVERYTHING. Some I anticipated a need for in advance...some I have had to create in a moment of realization.

I got a larger bag to carry around with me. It has a giant middle pocket for big stuff (my laptop sleeve fits in there) - it has two large side pockets, one for my wallet, one for my makeup. It has a spot for pens and a spot for my phone that are right next to each other and easily accessible. I have end pockets that are perfect for my camera, and my "cords": computer cord, camera cord, phone cord. I also got a new wallet that has room for everything that I need and which allows me to replace and remove things easily (if it's not easy, I won't use it).

Then...THEN...I got folders for each project and stuck them in my bag. I have a paper heavy life and I need all of those notes and papers and such and I need to have them with I file them in my bag right into marked folders. When the number of folders got larger I got more folders and I got one of those accordion files that squishes - it holds my folders AND it fits in my bag. I also got clear, protective envelopes to put things in like bank deposits (to keep personal and business deposits separate). I also got two notebooks for logging my freelance hours, one for each "area" of life that I needed one for.

And THEN: I have been really meticulous about putting things where they go, with the understanding that I will only screw myself if I don't. And I enjoy using the systems because I'm proud of myself for thinking them up in the first place.

As for keeping records...I have my two log books for just writing things down...and I have been rocking my online spreadsheet for my events. ROCKING IT. Entering all the info.'s working.

My immediate goal is an income of a certain number that we shall not disclose, but once that goal is reached, my next goal - is hiring someone else to do some of the grunt work. Just a few hours a week. Because nobody, and certainly nobody with ADHD actually LIKES to do stuff like data entry and filing for longer than they have to. Oh I'll do it if I have to. But I'm very motivated to try to have someone that's not me do it.

In conclusion: I am getting paid to have ADHD. To have it, to acknowledge it, to plan for the ideas that my wild brain gives me, and to anticipate obstacles that ADHD may throw at me (as well as the ones that life itself will throw), to figure out how to work with, not against, those obstacles, and to simply get the job done. Doing three different things that all satisfy me in different ways. Because I'm a ____________. Ha!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Without Concerta, there are cupcakes...

I forgot to take my meds this morning and I am predictably feeling irritable, but less predictably I have been sitting here all day thinking "Ima kill a bitch if I don't get my hands on a chocolate cupcake. NOW.".

And I wonder to myself: is the craving related to the lack of meds? Did their absence trigger the animal in me? I wonder this because in the days before I TOOK meds, I used to have REALLY INSANE food cravings. I still have them somewhat, but not even half as much as I used to. I used to be the Queen of packing away a pint of Ben and Jerry's with a bag of Doritos. I still eat pepperoncini's from the jar for breakfast sometimes, but I don't  often literally crave beef so badly that I can feel the craving in my actual teeth anymore.

Because I don't have the scientific knowledge to explain this to myself right now, and because I don't actually want to commit a homicide, I put my snow boots on and went and bought three giant cupcakes at the cupcakery. My friend and I split ONE and were both satisfied enough to leave the other two alone.

I feel much better.

Friday, February 24, 2012

More extreme measures to ensure attendance...

This week, I had a board meeting to attend. Last week, our boss reminded us that we had this board meeting, at the weekly staff meeting. I wrote it down in my calendar.

It was a Monday, when she reminded us. And I remember her saying "we have a board meeting Wednesday, make sure that's on your calendars".  She also said "oh that's right, the meeting is earlier this month because of..."...some scheduling issue. But the meeting is usually the third Weds of the month...the week we were having the meeting in was the second week of the brain just collected the information. Because...that's sometimes how my brain rolls. The information is there, just floating around in my head. I'm fully aware of both pieces of information. But they don't connect...until they connect. This is why I write things down.

By the next day, Tuesday night of last week, I was still worrying about which Wednesday she'd been talking about. The one "tomorrow" or the one next week.

I decided that although I had the meeting on my calendar for "next week" I would show up for "tomorrow".

So I did. I was a week early. I don't know how, but my calendar was correct. There must have been more information given at the meeting that I was able to recall.

Better a week early than a week late, I say.

When I think about it, anyone with any kind of brain could have been confused...but because of the ADHD factor, I didn't want to take chances. I didn't know if my calendar was correct or if I had mixed up the information. I think that's one of the keys to succeeding at anything with ADHD (really, it's important for anyone...but a little extra important for the quirkily-brained): double checking and erring on the side of responsibility, even if it means you do something silly once in a while. Because at least you will do it silly early, not silly late.

It's also important not to go around thinking you're right all the time. I know plenty of people with ADHD who succeed in life. The ones that don't are the ones that put things off until later, think they're right more of the time than they should (even though experience should tell them otherwise), don't trust outside sources, and don't double-check things. Yes, you can go overboard in compensating...only practice will help you find the balance. Practice with a good therapist as a guide is even better...

Monday, February 20, 2012

So I'm just sitting here because I'm afraid I'll forget...

...I missed my last appointment with my therapist because...well duh, because I have ADHD. I had done everything I usually do to remember. Normally my little tricks works and I get there. It was a horrible feeling when the phone rang and she asked where I was.

It literally felt like I'd entered some kind of time warp and had no idea I was supposed to be anywhere even though I'd been reminding myself all day. It was terribly confusing, having actually forgotten, to have her calling me and it was very frustrating because of course I remembered then that I'd been trying not to forget all day...but hadn't remembered the appointment anyway.

So my appointment was tonight...and though there's an hour between when I'm supposed to go and when I got home from work, I don't want to "do" anything because I'm afraid I'll forget again.

I'm going to go put my shoes on and sit in the car for another ten minutes so I make sure I don't forget (of course...I'll probably be sitting there in the car and suddenly think to myself...wait...why am I in the car again?)...

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Nacho Bitch

If you're curious about the title, I'll spare you the suspense: Nacho Bitch is my not-so-far-removed alter ego. She ain't takin' no shit. And she made me write this blog post.

It's been an issue recently, shall we say, that my work has been undervalued in some extremely...shall we say...offensive ways. And Nacho Bitch and I are DELIGHTED. Because this is what we call a gift in a crap package.

Gifts like this allow you to reaffirm your commitment to yourself. They allow you to really confirm if you have your shit as together as you think you do. They allow you to really walk your own talk. And this gift couldn't be more perfectly timed.

I just resigned from my day job - which was absolutely the right thing to do. It took me longer to make the decision, due to my now larger household and my immense sense of responsibility, but Sonny and I were fully in agreement and I finally did what I needed to do.

I'm cultivating some opportunities now that I'm really proud of, and which are a good fit for me in all my quirky glory.

I choose to believe that it's no mistake that I have now been faced with some challenges to my resolve. Call it coincidence, call it magical thinking...but I'm delighted either way.

This week I had a debtor contact me re: my event production business and telling me he's ready to make things right...and that we shouldn't let a little amount of money like this get in the way. I knew that I should let that one sit in the inbox for a bit before responding. I couldn't "feel the bottom" of my thoughts on that one immediately. After a few days, I was hit by that particular punch in the gut that only lowballing can give you...a sense of brief dread when you realize that the question itself was an attempt at devaluing your labor, followed by a "you've got to be fucking kidding me" scrolling past my mind's eye on repeat...and flashing..flashing bright red.

Asshole. And so...I'm going to respond...naturally...with an invoice.

Then there was the request from an outlet that I have done paid work for in the past...asking me to work for free. Mmmm...tastes like another lowballing. The flavor is indeed, kind of like chicken but smells more like bullshit.

The other major boner of the week is one that I can't actually even refer to obliquely for a variety of reasons but it did confirm for me some suspicions that I already had - and honestly, it only confirmed for me that I already made the right decision in relation to the question at hand.

So Nacho Bitch and I are like "really? you're joking, right? three times in one week? and you think we can't...oh girl, get outta the way...". Bring it on. Seriously. Nacho Bitch and I are ready. We have a mortgage to pay, we work hard, and if you EVEN try "but the economy sucks" we'll be happy to discuss how your economy of lowballing people to get things you need is like, a totally outdated shade of unethical.

Bring. It. On.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The best advice that I can give you... to practice.

Practice having a better morning. Practice enjoying driving even when it makes you feel crazy. Practice loving a person that treats you like shit, by never talking to them again, because you deserve better. Practice speaking kindly to people. Practice remembering that you sometimes forget. Practice remembering that even though you sometimes forget, you are not always wrong. Practice writing everything down in your calendar. Practice seeing the mayhem and jolly chaos you create for what it is...a mixed plate, filled with a few joyful ecstasies that would honestly never have occurred if you were living in normalsville. Filled with things that you may need to choose to approach differently, though not all at once. Practice putting your ATM card back in your wallet. Practice accepting that you are sometimes to blame. Practice forgiving yourself.

Practice checking your calendar each morning. Putting the pens back where the pens go so they're there when you need them. Practice telling your therapist the truth. Practice saying "I'm sorry".

Practice not wondering why you put the remote in the refrigerator, practice just taking it back to the livingroom.

Practice not caring that people don't "understand" how you do what you do, as long as you're honoring your commitments.

Practice accepting gifts in crap packages. Just let them be.

It's all you can do.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Defining our own borders...

"The number one rule of having ADHD", I announced to the girl, "is never leave anything for 'later'".

She in the 4th grade now and next year will be her first year of increased expectations regarding homework, organization, remembering to cart a computer back and forth between school and home and - 

Hold on a second I'm starting to feel like a mommy-blogger, let me just reassert some jackassery for my own sanity: Motherfucker! Cocksucker! Fuckity-fuck-fuck-fuck!


Alright, so she's going to be in the 5th grade. And to illustrate the degree of challenge this may present for her, allow me to illustrate an hilarious episode from our family life, which occurred just last night. Sonny had been talking for weeks about needing to get the kids on a regular chores schedule, and I was all for it. Last night, the chore list was made and the work began. Everyone got an age appropriate task or two. Youngest boy, the kindergartener, gets to feed the lizard (since he's the one who asked for a lizard) and clean up his dirty laundry. Second grader actually loves to clean the bathroom so his daily task is wiping down the bathroom sinks and counters each night...and of course cleaning up his own dirty laundry (they're big on laundry hitting the floor, so while this seems like it should be a given, I'm sure you parent-readers know what I'm saying when I's not). Almost 5th grader is cleaning the dishes (and up her laundry off the floor!).

She's washed dishes with Sonny before so he's showed her the process and he even reviewed the process with her before she was set  loose with them. She gets to work on the dishes, apparently finishes them in a reasonable amount of time, comes out to watch some TV. I go into the kitchen to get a glass of water and...there are the dishes. She had washed them and placed them in the other side of the sink for rinsing, but never rinsed them. The soap was mostly dried on now.  Oopsie.

I called Sonny out to see them, because I kept giggling and since he had started the task with her I thought it would be nice for him to finish out the instruction. He called her out to the kitchen and asked her to look carefully and tell him what was amiss in the sink. "OHHHHHHHHHHHHH" she said. Ha...

She rinsed them off and all is now well.

But I'm just picturing how much fun next school year is going to be. A rule was made this year that she would not go to horseback riding lessons anymore if she could not remember her own riding's worked surprisingly well - though predictably, she often gets out to the car before realizing she doesn't have them and then runs back in for the bag.

And that's how the declaration came about...generally Sonny will remind her to gather her things the night before. After a few minutes, if she hasn't motived...I give her a kind reminder...and when her response to that was "I will" I said "The number one rule of having ADHD is never leave anything for later". And then...I allowed her to fail. And she did (we all do sometimes, of course).

My goal is to create a reasonable amount of reminders...deliver them kindly and clearly...and then yes...allow her to fail if that's what it takes.

She needs the structure, but sometimes people also need consequences, in order to create their own structure, and define their own boundaries between them and the world.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Meds Are Not Inherently Bad. They're just not.

Below is a re-post of a comment that I actually left on Mark Heath's "Another Fine Mess" blog. I'm reposting it as a solo piece here because...I feel like it really sums up the feelings that swirl in my head when I hear people say that medications are bad. That "big pharma" is trying to kill us all. This is my pavement-level response:

I’m a huge fan of my anti-depressant that I actually take for anxiety and to prevent a migraine disorder. Yes, I think it’s important for questioning to remain a part of any scientific process so I don’t think that people who question the effectiveness of antidepressants are jerks.

It’s just that whether the effect is placebo or medical, it saved my life. In addition to being a person who is almost constantly assaulted by a “white noise” kind of anxiety in my body (which is not a problem for people around me but is a horrible, nagging and constant discomfort within my body) – I spent several weeks last year disabled by a migraine disorder that rendered me cognitively unable to function in any normal sense and unable to ambulate with any reliability thanks to crushing vertigo. I also intermittently experience depression of the variety that begins to distort ones thinking…not psychosis…but the kind that paints every perception and experience in a manner that teeters on self-destructive and begins to eat away at relationships with those around me.

I also come from a family of very diagnosably anxious and depressed people, many of whom would also qualify with no question as having ADHD as well. A family where addiction to alcohol as a self-medication has eaten through generations of family relationships, corroded futures…you get the picture.
I only belabor this point because it’s just so easy to try to seek a blanket to soothe us, either through medication or through skepticism. It’s easy to choose black or white, when grey is less appealing, when the answer might really be “sometimes”. But for me, grey is the reality. When you are faced with disability, or with the spectre of suicide and addiction in your family line, if you have any functional desire to survive, you will seek options.

For me, one of the best options so far has been medication. I don’t know why it works, why it seems to cause me no side-effects…but the benefits in this case greatly outweigh all else. I can’t think of any good reason that I should choose to remain constantly agitated by an intrusive anxiety, or unable to even get off of my couch due to disability…I can’t imagine why I would choose to allow depression or anxiety to make my life decisions for me, to allow them to clone me into a statistic of addiction or suicide…when I can choose to live. When I can choose to be happy. When I can choose to take a medication (the fourth one that I tried, and accidentally, because it was for the migraine issue, not the anxiety or depression, that I tried it) that for whatever reason has given me control over those factors.

THAT SAID…because the issue is a grey one…this may not be the appropriate approach for everyone. I just worry that people who may benefit from medication are sometimes leery of them because of a “meds are bad” stance. Meds are bad sometimes, like when they’re giving you freaky side effects. Sometimes they’re freaking great. Mine are freaking great.