This is just a status update on my life. A bit of taking stock, a bit of letting off steam. These are good descriptors: My life right now feels like a big soup— all kinds… More
I visited my ‘temp’ psychiatrist today.
As a reminder, my usual shrink is on maternity leave, and it appears that she has not yet returned, though I thought she’d be back by now. I hope she is well.
I first visited this temp doctor more than six months ago. I had a second visit scheduled which completely forgot about– though I don’t understand how. At our last visit, I’d asked her about being transferred to an altogether new psychiatrist, because I think it’s time I saw someone who specializes in ADHD. At that time, she gave me some instruction about how to go about it– calling one office or another to set up the referral, but my well intentioned efforts did not pan out. Nobody in the department answers phones. Nobody returns phone calls. When I finally do manage to catch a real, live person, they give me yet another number to call. It’s extremely frustrating, especially when you have a neurological problem with remembering to make phone calls and follow up on them. In this case, I must have aced the test because I finally managed to come full circle, back to Temp Shrink’s office where I told her this story pretty much as I just told it to you, but without all the back-links.
She completely agreed with me and apologized. But isn’t my regular doc back from her maternity leave yet, she asked.
“Not according to her voice mail,” I replied.
The System. Sigh.
I also told her that the reason I finally felt motivated to push my way back to the system and find her is that I realized that maybe, because I am terrible at remembering to take my meds in the morning, I need a shorter acting medication that I can take later in the day. The later I take a stimulant, the longer into the day it lasts. The effect already carries over into the evening, sometimes past 10pm. I don’t want to risk having it mess with my sleep, so I won’t take it after around 10:30 am. Many days, I won’t remember to pop the pill until that time or later, and so I don’t take one at all. If I had a short acting pill, I could probably take it as late as 3pm if I needed to.
Temp doc found this predicament amusing. How ironic that the very pill you need to remember to take your pills wears off before the time you need to take it. I like this woman.
She did give me the scrip I asked for, as a stop-gap measure. I went on and on about how setting an alarm to help me remember to take the meds won’t really work for me because it means I will drop whatever else I am doing and just forget about the medication before I even get to the room where I keep it. Then I’ll find some other purpose that needs fulfilling and, basically, it’s all a landslide from there and my kids are half an hour late for school again.
She eventually uncovered the fact that I have never actually tried the phone alarm system, and asked me to try it, even if it meant just snoozing the buzzer until me, my phone, and the meds are all harmoniously in the same room together. If that happens after the hour when it’s practical for me to take the slow-release formula, I’ll just take the short acting one. I agreed.
She also spoke about starting me on strattera (sp?), but I don’t think I’m ready to start a new medication yet. I’ve been taking this one on a slightly more regular basis lately– I still have never managed to take it regularly enough to establish a baseline, though I do have an idea that I will write up in a future post if I ever get around to it. Anyway, I’m pretty familiar with it’s effects on me, though I still can’t say for certain that it’s working. I HAVE had quite a productive couple of weeks, though. Maybe that says something.
I’m a wee bit nervous about taking this short acting drug. The dosing might take some getting used to or adjusting, but I guess that’s just part of the game now.
And that’s my drupdate for now.
I live at the limit. Can’t help it; It’s the kind of person I am.
On any other ADHD blog, this statement could, and probably should, be taken to mean that the writer enjoys extreme activities such as cliff diving, bungee jumping, or roller coasters (basically anything involving throwing oneself off great heights). Those are the people who put the ‘H’ in ADHD. I, however, am not the hyperactive type. My ADD leans toward inattention. Tetris is my idea of thrilling.
In my particular case, living at the limit is actually a strategy I employ in order to curb the negative expression of an underdeveloped executive function. In other words, limits help me get stuff done.
In my previous post (which started out as an intro to this post but quickly went in another direction), I mentioned how I, as a youth, resented having limitations imposed on me. I still think that a lot of the limitations people choose to live by are either silly or unnecessary. I consider myself to be a highly creative person. However, in my life, I’ve learned that limitations are not necessarily obstacles. Rather, they can be viewed as structures upon which –and inside of which– we can layer our own inspired visions.
Also, limits are a way to fuel productivity. You know that you’ll work harder when there is a deadline looming. In fact, perhaps you, like I, have stayed up all night just to get that paper in before the due date. A due date is a limit. Junk food manufacturers understand this concept. Today you can buy sweets that are packaged in calorie-controlled units. Presumably, they help you eat only a limited portion of forbidden fruits.
In my life I have consciously and subconsciously created limits as well– though I couldn’t tell you for sure which ones I took on intentionally and which ones I discovered in hindsight. I think that I’ve been at this ADD life architecture for so long that I don’t know what structures are standard code and which are new.
For example: I used to play DOTS on my phone. DOTS is a highly engaging game in which the object is to connect dots of the same colour. I used to play DOTS, but my relationship with it was borderline obsessive. The game was definitely taking up too much of my life and so I deleted it. I am definitely mature enough to discard things that are damaging to me. It didn’t hurt that I was also in the process of switching to a new phone just then.
Now I have a much more ADD-friendly game on my phone which I play all the time, but not without limits. That game is TWO DOTS and yes, the object of the game is to connect dots of the same colour. It is also highly engaging. The difference between DOTS, which I (OK, inadvertently) rid myself of and TWO DOTS is that TWO DOTS only has five lives, and those lives don’t regenerate for twenty minutes after you’ve lost them. In other words, TWO DOTS has natural limits. Unless I am having a particularly lucky streak, I can not play the game for more than about ten minutes at a time before I lose all my lives and am drawn– nay, COMPELLED to return to the task at hand. (there is always a Task At Hand [TAH] that I need to return to. I rarely feel truly free to recreate.)
Have you ever listened to a good radio show in the car and found yourself at your destination before the show is over? I listen to a lot of talk and public radio, so this happens to me quite frequently. Well, sometimes the topic is particularly relevant or useful for me. In these cases, which are not all that frequent, I will sit in the car with the power running until the conclusion of the program. However, in cases when I am merely interested in the program, but where I am unlikely to put that information to practical use in the foreseeable future, I turn off the car. I know that the radio will keep playing for a minute or two, so I don’t need to quit the show right away. However, when the battery switches off, that’s when I know I’ve reached the limit. I can’t spend any more time loitering in the car, and I need to get on to the TAH.
I learned about limit setting and how it would help me move my goals forward when I worked at an educational center in my early 20s. I was struggling to find dates to run my programming at the institutions I was affiliated with and to whom I had an obligation. My boss at the time coached me to set up meetings with each affiliate and plot out the next few months AND the next meeting date. Perhaps this is an obvious and well known strategy, but as I was just starting out, this was news to me. I took his recommendation and found that setting up programs well in advance forced me to work forwards towards deadlines, and created a two-way obligation between myself and the affiliate to fulfill the goal we’d set out for ourselves. Whereas prior to taking on this job, when I was still in school, I’d always relied on teachers or school policy to set limitations for me. Out in the real world, I learned, I was responsible for setting my own.
Life without limits might sound like fun to many folks, but I’ve definitely come to appreciate that limits can be my friend. When applied judiciously, limits are the walls that keep my time and my creativity from escaping me.
When I was in junior high school, I was something of a rebel. Looking back, I realize that I did not know that I could like people that I disagreed with. Naturally, many of the people I disagreed with were teachers or other people who had a presumed right to tell me how to do things that I thought I already knew how to do.
Today, as an adult, I am capable of recognizing my limits, and I am open to learning from people who know more than I do. In other words, everyone – large and small, old and young, has got something to teach me.
If there is anything I can teach my kids, it’s knowing how to look for the gem that each person has to offer– whether it be in their actions, their words, their passion, or their silence.
I mentioned in a previous post that there are things I really should be blogging about, such as our home reno. I wrote that post back in July. Right now it’s the end of October, and we’re nearing the end of the reno. I’ve taken lots of pictures, sent lots of text and e-mails but blogged zero times about the process. I missed an opportunity to build up a follower / fanbase in the reno blog market. Another big idea bites the dust.
The bigger problem, as I realized when I took a look at my most recent blog post (to catch up on who I am and where I’ve been, since it’s been so long since I’ve logged in here), is that my family and I are living in some alternate universe compared to the life I was living just over three months ago when I wrote it.
At this stage, our lives- or at least our material objects, the spaces where they’re kept, and all of the routines that are associated with those things and places — are completely off balance.
From an ADD perspective, this is akin to waking up in the centre of a corn maze. You know that there is an end goal, and you know that you can get there, even though each path you have the option of taking looks equally promising. It’s dizzying. It’s disorienting. Oh, and there are unicorns in the maze and they are so pretty that you know you must follow them even though they lead you crashing through the undergrowth and then when they disappear into a cloud of cotton-candy scented powder, you have to retrace your steps to the last place you were on the path and ultimately, you’re just looking for your prankster friends who led you into the corn maze, blindfolded, in the first place. And last you checked, your friends are not unicorns.
It’s just like that.
I should explain here that, early in August, the entire contents of my main floor got moved to my bedroom in tote bags and boxes, including art and kitchenware but not including the large furniture. The big pieces were all squished up on top of each other in what was formerly my dining room while the rest of the house got ‘done’. The garage, which was also getting worked on, had been packed with junk which all got moved to enormous and impenetrable piles all through the basement, so you can’t really move around down there either.
Now that the flooring is done in the main parts of the house, we were able to release the furniture from it’s sardine-like positioning in the former dining room and distribute it in the newly opened space on the same floor so that at least we have some couches to sit on— but still no kitchen. Our fridge has remained plugged in throughout this process and we’ve been keeping everything in there including paper plates (don’t hate me– I can’t keep washinhg gross oily foods in the bathroom because the grease will clog up the pipes!) and napkins and plastic grocery bags that currently have no home.
All of this contributes to ample confusion and general disorganization.
The incident that inspired this post happened this morning. I was all ready to take the kids to school and, for once, we were on time. The kids were outside waiting for me, and all I had to do was grab my keys and go… and that’s when I realized that my keys were missing.
It’s a stretch to say that they were ‘missing’. For something to be missing, it has to have a place where it belongs. There has to be a spot where it should be, but isn’t. Right now, there is no natural or contrived place to put my keys when I walk in the door. My key hook, which I am fairly religious about employing, had been sitting on the floor of my office ever since the demolition stage of the reno. I got sick of looking at it last week and it’s currently atop a pile of candlesticks in my bedroom. In short, I no longer have a default place for my keys to be. Somehow, I’ve managed with this handicap until now, but yesterday morning we’d gone so far as to call an Uber to get us out the door when I finally found the keys– under the cushion of our newly accessible couch. I guess I’d been sitting there last night prior to my DS bouncing on it as he ate his post-bedtime snack. I also found my hat and a pair of socks.
Routine is central to the functioning of an ADD individual. Take away the routine, and we need reinvent the passageway from thought to action. It takes so long to form a habit, and when the rug gets pulled out from under you (in this case, literally as well as figuratively, what with the awful old carpets getting ripped out and thrown away), it’s difficult to find your footing again.
Take, for instance, the making of school lunches. Pre-reno, this was also a fraught process. Find the lunch bags, negotiate sandwich contents and snacks, find missing sandwich bags (why can’t they just STAY where they BELONG)? Sometimes I get distracted, but ultimately, lunches are one of the three tasks I need to get myself and the kids through in the morning, so I’ll get there. But when there is no kitchen and not even any plumbing on the same floor as the fridge, putting baby tomatoes in a baggie* can take half an hour when I need to take them to the upstairs bathroom to wash them off first… and I’m back in the corn maze. Distractions abound. The side roads are numerous. Here! Is a girl beating her sibling that I need to attend to. Here! Is the bottom of the pajamas I’ve been searching for. There! Is a pile of library books that is out of control and need stacking. Now, What! Was I up to? Why did I come upstairs again? I’d better go back down and try to figure it out.
In the meantime, the box of tomatoes is sitting forlornly on my dresser, all but camouflaged amongst the scarves and hats that I’ve somehow, miraculously managed to dig out of Basement Mountain now that the weather has grown colder, but which I have no place to put.
Yesterday I discovered a bowl of soup that I’d heated up for DH in the microwave. The microwave is on a chair in my bedroom. I had nowhere to pour out the soup in that moment so the bowl went on my dresser. Of course, I forgot about it and it was still there this morning. Gross, I know, but at least it’s nice and cool and it didn’t rot or attract flies because of the windows we had to leave open to release the smell of plaster drying on the ceiling downstairs.
Oh, how I miss my plumbing. What do you do with all of the sparkling flavoured water that’s been poured into cups by kids with eyes bigger than their bladders and left on the table? You open the door and pour it on the ground. What do you do with a bowl of soup that is probably edible but you don’t want to find out? You can’t spill it out a window. In retrospect, I should have flushed it (yes, we have toilets), but I ended up just dumping it in a garbage bag and hoping for the best.
Speaking of drinks, I have been attempting and forgetting to bring the (compostable!) plastic cups up from the basement for three days. I just keep on forgetting what I originally went down for.
In my last post, I mention being able to drink an espresso before the kid’s bedtime to prevent myself from falling asleep. The espresso machine is now buried somewhere in my garage— I think . So if I want to stay up late, it’s instant coffee for me (downstairs for the milk, upstairs for the sugar, down again for the coffee and hot water…)
Oh, and then there’s the laundry. Normally, we just throw our laundry right down the sitars to the basement (there’s a straight drop) where it accumulates in a pile in the curve of the staircase. It is an extremely convenient practice for me, though it can be alarming for a visitor to see a pair of pants flying past them from the upper landing. There are a number of reasons we can’t do this anymore until the reno is over. First of all, there are people in and out of my house all the time. I don’t need them seeing (or smelling) our underthings. They see enough of my messy life as it is. Second of all, there is the dust and all of the debris that, although, bless them, the Guys are really careful and clean, I can’t imagine that it would be in good taste for anyone to have to shake the wood shavings out of my dirty clothing at the end of the workday. Did I mention that my old laundry machine broke and we can’t get our new laundry machine to work? Piles of laundry behind every door is just one more layer of confusion we have to wade through every day.
I’ve been asked why I we don’t just move out for the duration of the reno. In fact, we were out of town for more than three weeks of it and when we returned, we had to stay with my mom for about four more weeks because the house wasn’t safe enough for the kids. My mom’s was relatively comfortable– at least I could cook macaroni instead of microwaving veggie dogs, however I found it incredibly difficult to be living in two worlds at once. Here, I can’t cook eggs but there I just didn’t have the basic things I needed. Like my office. And my desk chair. And my desk drawers. You get the point.
So this is our life for now. We’re managing, but I am really, really looking forward to being able to come home, now that the reality of what a home is has changed for me. It means being able to hang up my keys , sit on my couch, and empty leftover cereal bowls without having to worry about if I’d ever make it back.
*normally I use reusable tupperwares for this purpose, but my dishwashing mojo is off when I don’t have a kitchen so DON’T THROW RESUABLE DIPER LINERS AT ME!
I can’t sleep.
I can sleep. I can fall asleep as soon as I get in to bed. I can lie down, roll on to my side, and cross the threshold into Dream Land in a way that many people would envy. I can fall asleep within a surprisingly short duration after having drunk an espresso. Like many parents, I can fall asleep faster than my kids– at their bedtime. Which is dinnertime for most adults. But I don’t.
But I do. I fall asleep before the bedtime story is over. I can sleep-read. I want to sleep. I am so tired. I tell myself that I need to stay awake because there are so many things to get done that I didn’t get around to during the day. I’ll just take a ten minute nap.
But I don’t. I wrench myself out of the twin bed and untangle myself from pudgy little arms because there is laundry to catch up on, exercise to catch up on, blogging to catch up on… are we seeing a pattern here? OK, I admit, sometimes it’s just Netflix I want to catch up on, though Netflix is often combined with laundry folding or exercise for me.
The kids like us to lie down with them, and I comply. If I am really really tired at 7pm , I’ll have an espresso first, because I know how very hard it can be to get up again. Despite this, I will still fall asleep with them sometimes. My day can’t end at 9 pm (which is when they actually fall asleep, not when they’re meant to fall asleep). There is always too much to catch up on.
You don’t need to tell me that I would be more productive after a good night’s sleep. I know that I should have a steady bedtime, and that it would lead to an earlier morning and a better start to our days. I know, from those days when I fall asleep at a normal hour, without forcing myself to stay up until some or all of my intended tasks are done, that I can rise without having to battle the sandman for the right.
Certainly, I am more functional in the morning. The quality of my work, when I can get right to it, is fueled by fresh ideas and the potential of a fulfilling day before me. So why don’t I just shut everything down at 11 and turn the lights off at 11:30? I’d be able to get up at 6 or 6:30 with no problem and, at the very least, I’d
It’s something of a vicious cycle, this staying-awake business, and I am certain that it has to do with ADD. I did some reading on ADD and sleep, and, on the surface, it seems like it’s not ADD that is preventing me from getting into bed. Rather, it’s this self-diagnosed disease called Sleep Guilt, discovered by none other than the author of this blog. Sleep Guilt is a condition which causes an otherwise sane person to remain awake out of a sense of obligation to complete a task, and remain awake either until the task is completed or until moments before the otherwise sane person can no longer physically sustain a state of consciousness and must drag her (or him)self up to bed. When suffering from sleep guilt, the otherwise sane party might never even get around to starting said task, often because she (or he) is just too tired to really sustain any meaningful momentum, or sometimes because they get distracted by other, less obligatory but more entertaining things.
The type of sleep disturbances associated with ADD aren’t really in line with the sleep guilt diagnoses. People with ADD often have a hard time falling asleep because their minds are racing, and they have trouble staying asleep because even though their bodies have fallen asleep, their minds are still churning. Their restful period of sleep starts late, making it extremely difficult for them to wake up in the morning, because when their alarms go off, they are still going through the deepest part of their sleep cycle. Interestingly, people with ADD are known to actually fall asleep when forced to engage in an activity they are not interested in. I remember feeling very sleepy in class throughout my childhood, and needing to put my head down on my desk. Now I understand why.
The thing is, I have rarely, in my life, had any trouble falling asleep. As I mentioned above, if I’m tired, I’m sleepy. When I’m sleepy, I sleep. However, I wonder if what I call Sleep Guilt is really just a derivation– a unique manifestation, if you will, of the first two kinds of sleep disturbances I mention above. Perhaps I go through the mind-racing and the sleep-falling stages before I even get in to bed. By the time I lie down, poof! I’m done. It’s an efficient system, if you ask me. Also, when I look at it that way, I feel less guilty.
Now I wonder if I can train myself to stick to an 11:30 bedtime. Challenging? Yes. Impossible? No. Beneficial? Very likely so. I might have to unsubscribe from my Netflix account.
I remember the first time I walked into my psychiatrist’s office. There was a huge sign on the wall with an arrow: Psychiatric Ward. Am I crazy, or is that a demoralizing introduction to adult mental health?
As I’ve mentioned, my shrink is currently on maternity leave. As I haven’t mentioned, because I haven’t gotten around to writing about it, my replacement shrink is too far away and also I missed my last appointment with but anyway, she’s not the type of shrink I want to be seeing. I want to see a shrink who knows ADD like I know the inside of my closet. I want an expert.
Such an expert does exist within the same department as my temp-shrink but in the same building as my shrink-on-leave, which is much closer, and cheaper for parking.
A few months ago I wrote a (very good, I think) post on how hard it is to accomplish things when people don’t get back to you, especially when you have ADD.
I want to switch doctors. I very, very badly want to switch doctors, and I have been taking action towards that goal. I have been calling the department of mental health (that’s the true name, and not the one on the sign. Clearly, the clinic needs some updating) every week but to no avail. I simply can not get in touch with anyone in my department. That is, I couldn’t get in touch with anyone until a few days ago when I tried all the numbers that they had listed and actually got to speak with the secretary (who sits, I kid you not, in an office with a sliding window like in a Boston gas station, presumably to protect her from psych cases like me.)
Well, she remembered me from my previous visits and sympathized with my plight, though of course she was not able to help me. The best thing to do, she advised me, would be to call my temporary shrink and ask her for a referral to the desired shrink.
So I called, and guess what? NOTHING HAPPENED. Nobody called me back. I had no response whatsoever. Am I crazy, or is it completely irresponsible for a medical clinic to completely ignore the calls of it’s patients? Especially, dare I say, if it’s a psych ward.
NB: I stand corrected. The temp-shrink’s office did reach out to me. By snail mail. They sent me a bill charging me for my missed appointment.
Isn’t it a good one? My compliments to the photographer.
I think of myself as a relatively insensitive person. That is, I am resilient and I let a lot of things just slide off me like teflon*. However, there are some things, sensory things, that just drive me batty. For example, here I am sitting in the studio (it’s my friend’s work space that she lets me use when it’s empty so I can have some privacy and uninterrupted work time). I realize that I am feeling tense, and that the source of my tension is music coming in through the wall that is shared with a auto-body shop next door. Although it would probably have to be blasting in there for me to be able to hear it, It’s not overly loud in here– I can recognize the songs though I can’t necessarily hear all the words. And it’s not the type music I hate — it sounds like a top 40s radio station. Yet, there is something about it; the tone? the background-ness of it? The bass? That was causing me low-grade distress.
Sometimes, when I sit in the home office I share with my husband, he’ll have something playing in the background. He likes to listen to music while he works. I can’t handle it, not even if it’s on the very lowest volume. I simply can’t focus on whatever is in front of me. It’s different if I’m in a coffee shop or a library or a mall– places where there is a relatively uniform amount of ambient noise and familiar sounds. But at home at night with the kids sleeping, and the only other noise being the one on his computer– it’s so distracting.
ADD is often associated with sensitivity disorders. I hesitate to call my irritation a disorder, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if it’s linked to the ADD.
My solution to this problem is to pull out a set of headphones and turn on an online white noise app. His music, assuming it’s quiet enough, disappears, and I am in a Zone of My Own. Really, it’s like being transported. I think it’s even better for me than medication. I’ve had very poor sleep for the past couple of nights (partly work, partly Netflix), which carries with it it’s own level of stress. Add that to the tension I get from background music, and my stress level goes from a 2 to a 5 without my even being aware of it until I’m suffering from the symptoms. Just now, I put on the white noise app (with a pink noise app playing on top of it for good measure) and as soon as the sound started coming out of the speakers, I felt a huge sense of relief. It’s like my head had been in a bind and I did not even realize it until it came off. I was all clenched up, but wasn’t even aware of the need to relax. It’s a crazy sensation, but very satisfying.
When the bothersome background noise is done, I can turn off the white noise and get a secondary sense of relief from that.
Here are some other things I am sensitive about: I hate fans blowing on me. I don’t mind them too much if they’re the swivel kind, but I can’t stand the constant breeze on any one part of my body. I’d rather be sweaty than have a fan pointed directly at me. On the subject of fans, I hate the way they make the light pulsate, depending on where they are positioned. I once worked in an office where the ceiling fan was positioned under the pot lights and directly above my desk. Also, it was a windowless space I shared with about 7 other people– all of whom really really needed that fan. Of course, I had to concede, but I always worried that I’d have a seizure. I hate having my stomach touched. It actually makes me recoil, even if it’s my kids doing it. That particular sensitivity started around the time of my last pregnancy, so maybe there is a physiological aspect to it.
On the other hand, I love to run fabrics between my fingers, just for the feel. Love having my hair brushed– even though it’s quit tangly, it never hurts. I dislike shoes and love to feel the ground under my feet. Sensitivity, I suppose, goes both ways.
Here is a link to my favorite online noise generator. I am not getting compensated in any way for this endorsement. Just passing along a good tip.
*In no other way would I compare myself to teflon. I no longer own any more teflon or nonstick cookware except for my beloved waffle iron, and that’s on it’s way out too.
Featured image from pixabay.com by Pexels
One of my biggest and most frustrating symptoms of ADD is that I start projects and then don’t finish them. Notice I don’t say that I never finish them. I sometimes do finish them, but their completion has no noticeable correlation to financial pressure, spousal aggravation, time constraints, or any other logical element. If I had to choose one thing that ‘triggers’ the eventual completion of a project for me, I would have to say that it’s mess. When there is a mess, I will eventually clean it up.
And when there is a clean spot, all other members of my family will gravitate there and fill it right up again with beloved yet misplaced objects. That’s my life, but I digress.
All of the above does not apply exclusively to tangible projects. If I make space and time in my life to work on, say, the business I’ve been trying to get off the ground for a few months now, or the course I was taking which cost us several thousand dollars, or the business BEFORE that which I have abandoned and actually whose web address seems to have been scooped up as I neglected to pay for the web hosting; somehow, the time I set aside for those things will get nipped and nibbled at, if not entirely chewed away by the needs of the people around me.
If I sound resentful, I sometimes am. And sometimes I’m not. Them’s the shakes when you’ve got a family. It’s also what happens when people know you to be nice and giving and know that you work from home, which makes you perpetually available. Right now I experiencing heightened feelings of bitterness because it’s been weeks since I’ve had my ‘day on’ where I am granted an entire day with no interruption at the studio to work exclusively towards my own endeavors.
But I digress. Not the name of my blog, but it should be.
In addition to ideas for work, home decor, social events, etc, I also have ideas for blogs. I suppose that I could write about any topic on this blog here, but I feel like I need to limit the posts here strictly to ADHD-related material.
I feel like a blog is a timeline, and if I keep my thoughts on different ideas in separate blogs, then I can reference them more easily. If, in May of 2026, I want to find out how I felt about the month of May in 2017, I will be able to just look it up. Things like this are important to Present me. Not sure if Future me will give a hoot. Sometimes I am afraid of this ego of mine which causes me to behave as though there will one day be enormous value to the ever-accumulating archive of my life. Like I’m van Gogh. Maybe it comes from my life in academia where specialists are always arguing about whether a body of work is attributed to the correct author, or where every tiny detail we discover about the life of a composer is paraded through headlines like it was a cure for cancer.
For example, I would like to have a blog about the weather. I would like to have a blog about the weather in the same way as most people would like to have a cottage in cottage country. Or the way my husband wants a farm. I want a place where I can spend time puttering around with no goals but the pursuit of serenity, and where I can look back and see the impact I’ve had on the place over, or how I’ve changed because of it. That’s the weather blog. Pure, gentle ego.
I want to do a blog about my upcoming home reno. Maybe it’s because, in this day and age when you do anything that requires research, you start out online and you get caught up in the figurative web of information. You can spend all day jumping from site to site as the different ideas pop into your head — or is that just ADD me? Just today I ran a new idea for the kitchen past the contractor. Which gave me a great idea about the bathroom, which led me to do a google search for that feature, which led me to Pinterest, which is it’s own hellish wormhole. I took a look on Etsy to see if I could find some parts, and then on Craigslist and Kijiji to find some coordinating furniture. I never got around to looking at all of the correspondence between me and the contractor and consolidating it into a usable document as I’d meant to do this morning. . A blog is a good way to document all this, and it’s also very interesting, I think, to read about other people’s processes. For example, it took us years of hemming and hawing to even start getting quotes. Once we settled on a contractor, it took me six months to get back to HIM (as opposed to the other way around, which is usually the case. This is not, by the way, a DIY kind of reno that we’re talking about. When you’re ADD, there are some projects that are better left in the capable hands of other people. First we had to get good and tired of washing crumbling particle board out of our pots and finding creative ways to cover the holes where there used to be cupboard doors (but where the particle board is too busy high-diving into my cookware to adequately reattach the missing pieces).
I also have ideas for this blog which I never get around to writing. It’s now almost 1:30 am. It’s finally quiet and nobody is interrupting me. I’m letting the laundry wait. This is how I get real productive time. I haven’t posted in weeks and my last post is not really meant to be read.
Sometimes I think about making a blog about my backyard birds, which are the best pets ever. I also, while I’m cooking, entertain grandiose thoughts of a cooking blog featuring all the crazy recipes that I make crazy fast. I might also turn that one into a book. Another project. Will it happen? There’s no mess involved but the one in my head. Will it be enough?
This is a log post– not so much of a blog post. “Drupdates” are where I check in on my meds. Trouble is, I don’t do it often enough and can’t always remember whether I took them or not, and why, and if I had an ‘effictive’ day or not.
This time I’m ‘Drupdating’ and saving the draft of this post over the course of a couple of weeks so I can get a more accurate picture.
If you’re looking for fun and entertaining content, please check out some of my other posts– the ones with titles other than Drupdate.
May 25, ON – Took it after Yoga but before heading home. Got started after a significant delay which would probably count as an unworthy distraction. Was pretty focused on goal of clearing out work backlog except for a 45-minute visit from my neighbor to the north, one I’ve mentioned on various occasions. Must remember to use my ‘Do Not Disturb‘ sign more regularly.
May 26th – ON. Shopped and cooked and cleaned… made reasonably yummy food but had a lot less time than I imagined I would.
May 27th – OFF kind of forgot , kind of didn’t feel like it. Saturday.
May 28th. – OFF kind of remembered, kind of just didn’t get around to it. Did a whole lot of things.
May 29th – ON. Yes i am
May 30th – ON. Shopped and cooked all day.
May 31 – Off
June 1 – Off
June 2nd – ON – Ran around running around. No ‘work’ but necessary errands. I accomplished much of what I set out to.
June 3rd – Off. ugh. Just can’t make myself do it on weekends.
June 4th…. hmm…. I think off. Pretty sure off. Was a very busy day, running from event to event. Well, we made it to everything on time.
June 5th – ON BUT I need to write a major blog post about this day because I missed a 9:30 appointment for my kids and now will have to pay $100 in missed appointment fees! Other than that, it was a pretty focused and relatively productive day.
June 6th – ON. I’d say a relatively focused but ultimately disappointing day in terms of productivity. Then again, I need to take into consideration that some things are not satisfying in terms of accomplishment, but I have still accomplished them. Like registering the kids for camp… actually I guess it was pretty satisfying.
June 7th – ON. That’s today. Again, the day goes by so fast, and I really didn’t waste much time, but don’t feel like I got much done. I did learn my lesson, and put up the Do Not Disturb sign– after my first disturbance. I got to go to my ‘studio’ space for the first time in 2 weeks– but only managed to do it from 6:30pm. Upon reflection, it’s not fair. I should have pressured DH into picking up the kids so I could spend more time on my business.
I think that’s enough days worth of Drupdating. I’ll post now.
I thought I owed a blog post to filling in the blanks. What DO I do when I’m not doing what I should be doing?
So f you thought this is going to be a scatologically themed post, you are on the wrong blog. This post is about what I do do. You can read about doo-doo somewhere else.
And I want to do (do) a little soul searching while I’m at it — an evaluation, if you will. In other words: When I don’t do what I should do, are the things I do do things I really shouldn’t do?
Is it ok to be doing the things that I had not planned on doing, Shoop Dooby Doo?
Let me clarify that, for the most part, the things that I need to do and the things that I want to do are largely part of the same murky pool. It’s really hard to determine what’s what without taking out each item and examining it.
For example: I was at IKEA yesterday, which is a relatively rare event in my life, and I like to enjoy the experience and follow all the arrows through the merchandise from beginning to end. DH, who was with me, has a very low tolerance for arrows and merchandise and so our trip was very goal-oriented: Find furniture for offspring to replace the nonfunctional furniture currently in their possession.
There are things I always stock up on when I go to IKEA. Candles, napkins, tea towels. I also like to browse around and see what’s new, what catches my eye– stop and smell the meatballs, as it were. DH grudgingly (he’s a prince, really!) consented to some unscripted wandering while he went to the warehouse area to collect our flatpacks for purchase. Lo! (and behold!) I came across a beautiful folding dish rack which I’ve been wanting but couldn’t find. My life was suddenly that much improved. I also checked out and dismissed a lamp that I had been eyeing in the catalogue. It wasn’t on our list but the idea of this lamp had been swirling around in my brain for weeks or months and now it no longer took up any space. Was all that a good use of my time?
Today I came home in the late morning after my yoga class. Yoga is not considered a waste of time in my book– or blog, as it were (though I understand that it’s now viewed as a form of cultural appropriation?) because a girl’s gotta move. I had a very specific task to accomplish when I got home: Clear my desk and inbox of all the paperwork and paperless work that’s been piling up. There are bills to pay, insurance forms to fill out, coupons to pretend I’m going to use, camps and camping trips to book, and subscriptions to renew. And more, of course. There’s always more.
Well, I figured I’d better eat something before the meds kicked in. I’d just remembered to take them on the way home, and yesterday they wreaked havoc on my digestion. It’s weird, I get snacky, but not hungry. Like I feel like I want to eat, but don’t actually feel like eating anything. So I don’t eat the right things and then when the meds wear off I pay the price.
I picked up the kettle to make some tea and, finding water in it from before, I went out to my urban jungle to water it. One of the many ways I am helping mother earth. Some of my plants did not require watering, but needed a good spray. I have some jade plant leaves that I am trying to propagate in the base of another plant, and they need just the right amount of water. I picked up the planter to spray it and when I put it down, I must have not done so very well, because the whole thing spilled over. Darn. My plantlings.
Now, when I say that I have an urban jungle, what I really mean is that I have several corners in my house that are dominated by plants. Literally, in this location, the plants are three deep in some places, and also staggered up and down on various pieces of furniture. It’s very lush, but also very inaccessible. This particular corner is also blocked off by two couches at 90-degree angles to each other. If it wasn’t for the jade leaves, only one of which I could see, I would have probably just picked up the main plant, put in some new soil, and left the mess for some other day. However, it takes about 8 weeks for jade leaves to produce roots, and I didn’t want to start all over again when it’s been almost or at least that long.
So I groaned, pulled out one of the couches, and started sweeping. I recovered one of the leaves but couldn’t find the rest. I eventually spotted them in the crook of what was once a bonsai tree (now a full fledged small tree in a bigger pot). On my hands and knees, I could see that there was just so much to sweep up under there, so I started moving the second couch and all the plant furniture (what would you call them?) so that I could get at the floor underneath. My Boston fern, though it’s been growing nicely for about four years, is in a spot where I normally can’t get in close enough to cut out all the dead material, and so I decided it was time for a haircut. I took it out to the kitchen and went at it with a pair of scissors. It looked much more fresh and happy when I was done. Then I had to clean up all the dead leaves left behind by the fern. At some point I re-spilled my original plant. At some point the kettle, still cold, caught my eye. Oh yes, I thought. Lunch.
I fixed myself a hearty cup of ramen noodles (guilty pleasure, don’t judge) and while the kettle was boiling I began to load the dishwasher. I took yesterday’s coffee in it’s French press (French press, Boston fern… my aren’t we international!) to water the plants in the dining room and came across one that I’ve been meaning to replant.
No, I told myself, I will focus on work now. I will. So I grabbed my phone, my noodles (I only use half the spice pack and sometimes i substitute it with Miso powder!) and my spilled plant with the jade leaves and I resisted the urge to bring the dining room plant, and I dropped off the spilled plant in my bathroom, where all the indoor re-potting happens, and I willfully left it there and went and sat at my desk. i can do the plants later, I told myself. Are you proud of me yet?
It was close to 1pm. I started going through my papers, pretty methodically, with only a very few breaks for… brain. You know, brain breaks. They are a thing. I allow myself a few minutes to play a game or read an article. They are considered ok as long as they don’t go longer than 5 minutes or so.
I was doing great and then. The doorbell rang. It was my neighbor. Who I love. Who I am blessed to have. Who does one hundred kind things for me every day. Who consistently interrupts my focus and therefore my work, sometimes several times a day. Who is the reason I created a very fancy Do Not Disturb sign which i have to remember to adhere to my door on a more regular basis.
She asked if I had a few minutes and I said sure. I don’t know why I said sure, because I know that ‘a few minutes’ is usually not. Then she said ‘can we sit down?’ and I said sure again, only this time the little red flag that seems to have been snoozing earlier shot up and started waving frantically. Like waving in my face and poking me up the nose. I ignored it because I’d already said sure, and I didn’t want to be rude. Because I am a nice person. Because I am a sucker.
What followed was a story worthy of daytime television. It involved secret lovers, seeming-lovers who were in fact not lovers at all. There was betrayal, blackmail, plotting, conspiring, and also gardening. And it took a full 45 minutes to get to the closing line.
Thing is, I don’t watch television during the day, and I could feel the minutes ticking past. Like sands through the hourglass, this drama was turning a vital part of my afternoon into an empty receptacle.
Not my best metaphor, but there is a daytime drama/soap opera reference there if you can catch it.
I eventually ushered her out the door, promising to come by later to see her latest curbside acquisitions (that’s not a criticism… it’s a neighborhood hobby.) I tried to return to work, but there was not a large enough chunk of time. Once again, I had to put off filing this insurance quote– which I was sitting on for a month. There are so many flagged items in my inbox that I have to scroll for a full minute to see the new e-mails.
Here is the soul-searching part, as promised. and I would love a comment on this if someone cares to offer one: Did I do the right thing? The neighbor is a friend, and although her story was, say, a little over the top, she came to me out of need. Was having her come in and talk to me the right thing to do, do?
Actually, in this particular case, I think it was not, but I’d love to hear your opinion.
And that is what I did do, I guess, but it’s only part of the larger picture of what I DO do. And so I will re-title this post accordingly and revisit the idea once again.