Sleep Guilt

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.

 

Crazy Or What

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.

 

 

Image: https://pixabay.com/en/users/Counselling-440107/ 

Isn’t it a good one? My compliments to the photographer.

 

 

 

Sensitive Me

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

The Blogs In My Head

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?

 

 

 

Drupdate #4

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.

What I *DO* Do: Part 1

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.

no poop
NO DOO-DOO

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.

 

Drupdate #2: Where I’m at (Or where I was…)

I found this post in my drafts…

I have no recollection of how it’s supposed to end, but I’m going to go ahead and publish it so that I can write Drupdate #3.  I actually messed up and didn’t make note of when I began this post, but considering the content, it was late January or early February, 2017.

Here goes…

This is post number two in the Drupdate series, where I check in with myself on  how I’m doing on meds, of if I’m even taking them.

I don’t normally take the meds on weekends. That’s part personal decision, part doctor approved.  We agreed I wouldn’t take it on Saturdays, I decided not to take it on Sundays.

I also decided not to take it on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday this week. I did take them today, Thursday. Why?

I’ll work backwards to see if  I can make sense of it myself.

I took it this morning because I only have a short time to be at my desk and accomplish a lot of things, and I wanted to make the most of it, assuming that the meds help me make the most of my day– the jury is still out on that one.

I hadn’t been ‘using’ on the past two Thursdays because I was running a program and I, ironically, wanted to stay focused. I didn’t want to have one of these jittery moments in the middle of giving a lesson. Sometimes, and again I’m not 100% sure it’s because of the drug, I get this feeling in the middle of the day, seemingly randomly, that I’ve drunk way too much caffeine– even when I’ve only had my usual morning cup.

But today I felt pretty relaxed about the program and I didn’t think that the jitters would throw me off if they did come.

Yesterday was funny. I