Feeling Powerless

More night terrors. Well, they call them “night”, but I usually have mine early morning. Yell and scream, and curse in my sleep. Another unrestful night. I wake up exhausted and aching everywhere. Even the joints in my fingers hurt as I type this with one finger on my phone.

The anxiety is high, my depression is high. Feeling powerless over everything in my life.

I envy those in control. I have no income, the transcription company changed their metrics, and I got bumped back down to the level of trying to transcribe prison calls and people with mumbling thick accents. It’s a nightmare.

I have no money, no car, no real friends in the city, no family… It’s lonely.

What’s going on at home, being evicted, not knowing where we’re going to live, is a nightmare.

The sleeplessness, the stress, the struggle, feeling sick all the time, being in pain, it’s ALL a nightmare.

Why am I even here?

What’s my purpose?

I feel like a burden. I feel like a loser.

No wonder I’m having the PTSD dreams again.

Going to keep trying for a job. I hate having to work for 4-6 hours, hurting my body, for a measly $15 – $20.

I am so much more than this.

Feeling shattered today.

S.

Can I Borrow a Spoon or Two?

Bzzzzzzzz the anxiety is high today.  Bzzzzzzz It rings in my ears, vibrates through my bones, reverberates through my skin and echoes through my lungs as my chest tightens in around itself like a nervous armadillo.   Bzzzzzz  my eyes lose focus and my train of thought ceases.  Bzzzzzzz I forget how to breath and here comes the tears.  It’s getting dark.  It’s a panic attack.

This is how I started my morning.  The last few days I’ve been physically and mentally exhausted.  I’m wide awake all night long and unable to fall asleep until almost lunchtime.  I get a few hours of snooze and then I’m up again.  Not quite awake but not asleep, I’ve been drifting through the last few days like a ghost.

I’ve had a lot of pain in my wrist/arm which I am now convinced is broken but I loathe hospitals and rarely have a drive so I haven’t gone and gotten it checked out.  What the hell am I gonna do with a cast on my arm? I got shit to do.  I usually have to feel like I’m physically dying to justify going to the Emergency room.   With all the pain in my wrist, back and neck, the only way I’m comfortable is lying down.  I’ve gotten nothing done around the house, I haven’t blogged or been on Social Media, other than brief lurking and Gif viewing.

I’m just tired.

Tomorrow, we travel home to Nova Scotia for Christmas.  We have to take the ferry.  It wouldn’t be as bad if we had a car but lugging all our suitcases and my little dog and standing outside in the weather until boarding time then all the walking you have to do once you board just kills my body.  I have to drop my dog off at the kennels and then go up stairs to find a place to perch.  It’s the holidays so I’m guessing the boat will be packed with people.  Ugh. It’s usually cold on the boat so I’ll have to bring a blanket.  The whole thing is a pain in the ass.  I look forward to the day when we can just pack up our car and drive there, avoiding all the noise, hassle, pain and cold of the ferry.  I usually need a day or so to recover from the travel.  It’s embarrassing.  

It’s a week of visiting and dinners and family and friends and food I’m not supposed to eat.  I’ve mentioned before how I’m not in the Christmas spirit at all this year, so it’ll be a week of acting, watching my language and making sure my dog doesn’t poop anywhere in the house.  My mother in law’s house is really large so it’s a lot of walking and stairs.  At some point, my legs will go out and I’ll be stuck in the basement for a day crying out of frustration and humiliation.   

Don’t get me wrong, I love my in laws.  They’re wonderful people and they’ve been very kind to me.  I love to see them and the little nieces.  It’s just me.  My body doesn’t always cooperate.  I get tired fast.  I just run out of spoons.  It both depresses and frightens me so I cry.  I’m peri menopausal so I cry.  I’m grateful for their kindness so I cry.  I cry over everything these days.  It’s embarrassing and I don’t want them to think less of me.

I’m a bumbling, Pajama wearing mess.

But I have to try to be normal for a week.  

I have a ton of shit to do today to prepare for our trip, I just want to crawl back in to a warm bed and sleep.


How do you handle all the activity during the holiday season?

What do you do when you just don’t have enough spoons?

I love reading your comments!

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The Blog Broad Tag


Sam

Blogmas Not So Much

The Blog Broad BlogmasI started to write Blogmas posts but quite frankly, I’m just not feeling writing about Christmas.  See my first Blogmas post here.

It’s all so commercial.  Geared towards the consumer.  I haven’t been a proper consumer in years.  I haven’t been able to work in years.  I’m trying to do things from home.  It’s picking up but it’s slow going.   When you’re poor and chronically ill and in pain daily, your priorities change in life.  Where, at one time I fretted over things like the perfectly decorated Christmas Tree, or making sure I baked enough cookies.  Will I get all my Christmas shopping done in time?  Now I think things like, can I stay awake long enough to visit with people?  How many bed ridden days will this holiday bring?  Can I handle the stress of the travels?  Am I going to break down and cry in front of her family?  Am I going to annoy my partner because I’m so exhausted I’m going to need to rest when she wants to go out?  Please don’t let my dog poop in the house.  There’s a lot of stairs in that house and the house itself is huge.  My body is not used to that, so my legs and back often give out while I’m there.  It’s embarrassing.  ME/CFS is embarrassing.  The only other people who understand it, typically, are those with the disease.  To others, we’re just depressed or lazy or need to get out more or or or.

My partner and I also both lost our fathers.  Hers to cancer about 16 months ago; mine at his own choice by cutting me out 18 months ago.  The loss of her father still hangs heavily on everyone’s hearts.  He was a great man.  A kind, gentle and caring man; one of a kind.  My father, still alive, has always been kind of a jerk.  Selfish, immature and somewhat ignorant of the world.  He’s not a loving man.  Nevertheless, he’s my Dad.  I still love him and his absence hurts.  My mother’s absence hurts; we haven’t spoke in 5 years.  Family is actually incredibly important to me and it’s always bothered me that mine is so fractured.

Being chronically ill disables you.  Physically and mentally.  Unfortunately many of us fall into that grey area on paper where you don’t qualify for provincial or federal benefits.  Most people require legal representation to get those federal benefits.  If you can’t work, you rely on your “family”.  My family consists of my partner “C”, my dog Lucy, my partner’s family and my sisters from other misters.  These are my close gal pals that I confide in.  That confide in me.  They’ve helped me many times.  I trust these women.  In my life, I haven’t been able to rely on or really trust my own blood family, but I can trust these women.  They are my support.

I have other things on my mind right now besides Christmas.  I’m more concerned about getting by day by day.  My partner’s job could be gone any time because there’s no job security where she works.  I can’t go in to detail about what she does as it’s kind of a public job.  It’s stressful.  So, are we out spending money on presents?  No, we’re trying to keep up with bills and the ever increasing cost of eating healthfully which costs just as much as our rent I might add.

Do I want to write a holiday inspired post everyday?  No.  Not really?  I just don’t give a tiny rat’s ass right now.  I’m still battling a virus, my partner has it, my wrist is still healing/broken.  I won’t know unless I sit at the hospital emergency for hours and hours because let’s face it, it’s not really an emergency, I just don’t have a doctor and really need an X-ray.

B’ah.  Humbug.

I need a nap.

The Blog Broad tag line
Sam

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Welcome to the Circus That is my Mind

I have a racing, wandering, rambling mind.  I always have.  It has at times, distracted me from doing schoolwork, doing actual work, carrying on conversations, running errands, reading books, completing my house work, having sex and most certainly- sleeping.

The best way I can relate how it feels would be to equate to having a job to do at an office.  You have to get those reports in by 5 and it’s already 3 pm.  You’re just able to focus when the phone rings, and it’s an important client.  Then, Susan from accounting stops by to review numbers.  Two minutes later, your co worker has a melt down at your desk.  You’re trying to finish this damn report but Dan from sales is re-enacting a scene from Breaking Bad while standing directly behind your chair.  Your boss pops by every 15 minutes to track your progress.  While this is going on, there’s a visiting travelling Circus in your office complete with a petting zoo, trapeze artists, tumbling clowns,  Firedancers, sword swallowers, helium filled balloons, and that traditional circus music blaring from all four corners of your office.

Each random thought that pops in to my head is like a different act in that circus.

The Circus of my Mind
Basically… My brain
The tumbling clowns are all the funny things I have seen or heard that replay back in my head.  This act is reserved for things like old Seinfeld episodes, my favorite Saturday Night Live sketches, and Family Guy gags.  It also includes funny things my partner or friends have said, and contains the time my cat got a bag stuck on his head and he peed the entire length of the hallway, running, while the bag flapped behind him like an unfortunate parachute.

Then there’s the Trapeze act.  These are things I think I should be doing but am still only in the thinking stage, not the acting stage.  I’m afraid of heights.  I’m afraid of people.  I’m afraid of foods past the expiration date.  I’m afraid of a lot of things.

The petting zoo consists of all the animals I want to pet.  Baby goats, poofy dogs, fluffy kitties, that arrogant dog down the street that won’t let me pet him, rabbits, hedgehogs, squirrels and pigeons.

Subdermal Implants
Why? Would you do this??
Then there’s the sword swallower.  These are all things that make me go Yeesh while shaking my head wondering why anyone would want to do such a thing.  This includes but is not limited to; subdermal implants, RFID chips, eye tattoos, collagen fillers, Trump supporters, racism, random acts of violence, the Kardashians and general crime/politics.

The fortune teller encompasses all the things that perplex me.  Things I am curious about.  Things that have led to me being labelled a Conspiracy Theorist in the past.  They say Conspiracy Theorist, I say truth seeker or just curious is a more accurate depiction.  I mean, I’m not one of those people that think the world is flat but I do question things like possible false flag attacks, fake news and what the government tells us.  I questioned the whole 911 narrative, the JFK assassination, the moon landing, whether aliens are A) real B) here C) demons D) the original inhabitants of this planet and maybe WE are the aliens.

Aliens or Demons?
WTF ARE they??
The Freak Show are aspects of myself that I try to hide.  My insecurities.  My quirks.  My obsessive compulsive behaviors.  This is where I clip and examine my toenails and remove my blackheads.  This is where I listen to and sing along loudly to the formidable Kelly Clarkson.  This is also where I borrow that voice I talk to my dog in.

The tiger and elephant parade reminds me of things I can appreciate and value but not touch.  The beauty of the sun gleaming across the Atlantic ocean, my gratitude for some of the wonderful people present in my life or my lover’s laugh and smile.  This is where I store the way I feel when she puts her arm around me in the middle of the night until I drift off to sleep.  My dog’s face is there too.  The face she makes when I hold her and rub her head, the face she makes when she’s running through the grass.  These are the precious things.

The Firedancer envelopes all the things that frighten me.  Impending war, losing my love- my partner, running out of money and food, the future, whether being gay will lead me to the fiery pits of hell.  Will I get fat again? (even though I’ve kept it off for a decade) Will the world just get worse?  Just how dumb are people going to get??

helium filled balloons
All my shitty ideas
The helium filled balloons represents each idea I have had that has either popped, backfired or I never got around to.  The big red balloon just out of my reach?  That’s my book.  The blue one that’s floating up up up to the ceiling?  That was my art business.  That annoying yellow balloon that keeps bopping me in the face despite me trying to swat it away?  That was when I moved to Newfoundland for a fresh start and lost all my belongings.  Everything I owned.  The little ones floating away?  Those are my exes.  Quick!  Give me a pin!

The Ringleader or Ring Master, is God who tries to keep me on track.  He tries to organize my thoughts in to manageable compartments and keep me focused on the task at hand.  He tries to make me a better human.  He gives me warm peanuts and sticky cotton candy.  He gives me hope that the next act will be better…

Ringleader
The Ring Master

Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously,

Sam

 

 

Images

Old Barnum & Bailey Poster  http://blog.tripbase.com/photo-essay-history-of-the-traveling-circus/

Subdermal implant  http://randomstory.org/bizarre-body-modifications-in-different-cultures/subdermal/

Three Grey Aliens  http://ipost.christianpost.com/post/aliens-extraterrestrials-are-really-demon-spirits

Floating balloons  http://balloonsdelivered.com.au/balloons/floating-balloons/

Ring Master  http://www.thedrawingclub.com/workshop/ringmaster-2010-theme-photo-and-artwork/

Getting Personal…

The Blog Broad on WordPress

You may have noticed my absence the past 4 days.   Maybe you didn’t, listen to me- talking like I’m somebody.  I was exhausted and having migraines.  I have to force myself to take a break every so often to avoid staring at a screen because it’s giving me headaches.  I think I need new glasses too.   So I took a break and watched some TV and slept whenever I could.  The season changes usually prompt long bouts of insomnia.  I’m not really sure why.   All I know is that my anxiety levels are as high as Willie Nelson on a Sunday afternoon.  

I’m trying hard to remain gluten free in an effort to reduce the inflammation in my body and skin but it’s making me irritable.   I want all the sweets and pizzas and battered things and why do I have the sudden urge to punch you in the tit?  I’m trying to eat things like fruits and vegetables and nuts and seeds I want a donut and it’s not going well.   I guess the sugar withdrawal is making me even more for the love of God give me a cookie tired than usual.

In the past week I’ve written 3 pieces for the Higher Living Blog so at least I have been writing and I definitely haven’t been sitting around binge watching Horror movies and the last 2 seasons of Downton Abbey that I missed resentfully eating seeds instead of the pie I crave.  

Another exhilarating thing happening in my life is flea extermination.  Shout out to the neighbors’ ghetto-ass kitties for bringing the gift that keeps on giving to our 6 unit building.  My many bites are healing and the house and dog have never been cleaner.   The recent temperature, constant vacuuming and homemade flea treatment has just about eradicated the problem.

I’ve also spent some time researching blogging tips and tools and ways to improve my views.  Analyzing my posts made me arrive at the conclusion that people seem to respond better when I talk about personal things.

Here’s something personal.  I lick potato chips before I eat them.

To be honest, I have a lot of anxiety and am feeling a little depressed.  The cooler weather has made the pain worse, it’s harder to walk around now and my sleep is really off.   I feel fat and out of shape.   My clothes all feel tight and constricting.   My body is swollen and I feel ugly. 

I’m off to stand in front of the open refrigerator reminiscing about the good times…

please check out my post “Things I do That Drive my Partner Crazy 

Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously,

Sam

CFS: A Poem

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
A whole new night of still no sleep

Nothing works, not even counting sheep.

I’m somewhere between asleep and awake

Another night of this pain I cannot take.

When I do drift off I’m plagued by dreams

Violent and bloody I wake up in screams.

It’s tossing and turning all night long

Thinking of all the things that I’ve done wrong.

Ideas for writing projects visit me far too late

I get up out of bed so I don’t disturb my mate.

Questioning myself whether I locked the door

Thinking of tomorrow’s shopping trip to the store

Worrying about money, food and bills

Wishing I could afford those sleeping pills.

Knowing I’ll suffer from this sleep lost

Going thru days in pain is often the cost. 

Sometimes when I pray I ask why I’m such  a mess

The answer I get is my dear, you have CFS.

Live Humbly,  Be Charitable,  Live Graciously, 

Sam
Image

http://www.insomnia.net/images/chronic-insomnia.jpg

I Can’t Throw it Away, These Things are Valuable to Some People…

mangrove tree  Trying to pull it together after a week of pure exhaustion.  I have Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, arthritis everywhere and degenerative disc disease so I have bouts of pain and exhaustion where I fluctuate from suffering from insomnia to chronic fatigue.  I spent the evenings unable to sleep and having to nap in the afternoons.  My brain has been so foggy.  I’m somewhere in that space between not really awake but not exactly asleep but walking around. Miraculously.   Yesterday I went out with 2 different shoes on and I didn’t even notice.  Everything I eat makes me feel like I’m going to be sick.  It’s like having the flu.  I woke up this morning completely soaked.  Had to change and crawl back into bed.  I barely remember because I was still partially asleep.  I couldn’t wake up and get up so I slept.  I slept until 11am.  What woke me was another nightmare.

 

I usually dream the same things over and over again.  The world outside is chaos.  Something has happened.  Something from the skies.  We’re always watching the skies.  People are travelling in small groups of people trying to stay safe and unnoticed.  There’s no food, and there is destruction and devastated buildings everywhere.  We have to to stay quiet and unnoticed because if they hear us, they will take us.  I don’t know who they are.  I never see because I usually wake myself  up screaming.  My dreams are terrifying and violent.   I’ve had dreams similar to this for most of my life.  I have had PTSD for most of my life.  Another way I wake up is I’m yelling at my parents.  Usually my father.  We fell out a couple of years ago over money.  He had co signed a line of credit for me in 2007 to go back to school.  I went back to get certified in Fitness Instruction, Personal Training and Nutrition and Wellness.  That was going to be my career and I was really good at it.  Then I got sick.  I had to have emergency surgery one night from endometriosis complications.  I was off work for a while but I was unable to ever fully return to my normal capacity.  Over time my Fibro came back full swing with new symptoms added.  Arthritis became crippling some days.  I missed time from work and kept getting fired from job after job.  The stress of not being able to eat or pay rent or take care of everything while being sick and getting sicker was awful.  Again.. No support or caring from my father or stepmother.  I was put off work years ago because of illness.  My stepmother thinks I’m lazy and so does my father.  Kept telling my to get my shit together .  I’m sick not lazy.  They don’t understand that I am actually ill.  So when I was unable to keep up the payments on this line of credit, my father cut me out.  He told me he did not want to see my face.   That was almost 2 years ago now.  My mother and I haven’t spoke in five years or so.  She has a lot of health problems as well, in fact we share many of those- thanks DNA, but I was told by my stepfather years ago that I wasn’t to call there anymore.  If I had something to say, to put it in an email.  I know my mother has moments that she could speak to me for five minutes.  She chooses not to.  She’s chosen not to since I was 26.  I had a rocky relationship with my mother until about 12 where we became friends.  I say friends because she was never consistently in my life like a mother should be.  My father just ignored me but she would be in and out like the seasons.  In while my stepfather was away at sea and she was lonely, out once he retired.  

 

All I’ve ever wanted is to feel loved by my parents and to feel close, but instead I felt like an old antique piece of furniture being passed back and forth.  “Well I don’t want it right now, so I’ll just store it in the attic in case I need it for something, I mean, I can’t throw it out, these things are valuable to some people.”  I guess not everyone gets the supportive advice, the encouragement, the hugs, the “I love yous” , the birthday cakes, the gifts, the help, the empathy, the compassion.  I’ve been pretty much on my own since 13 with the occasional help from them of say groceries for my birthday.  I’ve lived with my father but I was ignored.  Like not even told there was dinner ready ignored.  No one noticed my good grades, no one noticed how hard I was working at university, or the fact that I never asked them for anything.  Ever. (Except for that line of credit in 2007) I overdosed at 18 on Valium and slept in my bedroom for two days and no one noticed.  When I got married in 2011, my mother and stepfather didn’t attend my wedding, nor did I receive a card or a present.  I noticed my youngest step brother got married this past month, my invitation seemingly lost in the mail.  My stepfather made it to his wedding I learned.  My stepfather.  He taught me some things and helped me different times but he was more of the same.  There, then not there, then don’t call me.  

 

All this stuff seems to come up when I go through a flare.  I guess it’s because it’s when I feel most vulnerable.  I so wish I could hear an encouraging “I love you” or a hug or “I’m sorry that you’re having these problems, can we help?”  I hear my partner talking to her mom and sister on the phone and there’s always this little piece of me that breaks a little inside.

 

My parents are getting older, approaching their seventies and I know that things will never be resolved with us.  The chaos I grew up in, the things that happened to me and not having their help, their protection, their guidance or love.  Even my health needs went unmet which in turn has complicated my health now.  In today’s world, I would have been removed from that home.  I saw things and knew things children should never know or be exposed to.  Nothing…  There will never be anything different with them.   

 

Seeing how difficult it is to attain mental health help in addition to the family doctor I am waiting for, 2 years now.  I felt like the only means available to me is to write about it.  I can’t afford the treatments that many people have access to and I have no health coverage.  The only thing I have is my writing.  I have hesitated to really put things out there for a long time.  I already got yelled at by my brother because of “how I write about our parents” he is my step mother’s son from her previous marriage.  Her only child.  He got taken care of well.  Very well.  I on the other hand was not her problem.  He doesn’t realize that despite us living under the same roof for 6 years we have lived very different lives.  

 

My family doesn’t care about me.  I have one cousin that I wish lived closer but I even tend to keep her at arm’s length because I don’t trust she’ll stay in my life either.  My now ex wife cheated on me and we divorced in 2014 so yeah, now I have some serious abandonment issues and PTSD and chronic pain and poverty and bad credit and all the other shit that comes with being chronically ill.

 

I prefer for people to think of me as witty and happy and clever so I tend to only write when I’m feeling upbeat but that isn’t realistic.  Life isn’t always like that.  Sometimes, life is just shit.  

 

I hope I feel better tomorrow.

 

Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously,

 

Image

“Mangrove Trees” by 9comeback  www.freedigitalphotos.net 

 

Another Night, Another Dreamish Sleep

A guest blog post by Ocean Hayward

 

Anxiety

Here I am, up again. I start off well- I  doze off into dreamland and then am awakened from my slumber (usually because I need to urinate); then it starts. I try to go back to sleep, but I worry.  I worry that I won’t be able to get back to sleep. Then I worry that I’ll be tired in the morning because I didn’t sleep. And then I worry about all of the things I didn’t manage to get done and the things I need to do. And the worry goes on, and on and on (till the breaka-breaka dawn, yo!)

 

Anxiety.

 

So this morning I awoke, and I started thinking about my anxiety, and the fact that I have always had it. Or did I?  When did I start feeling anxiety all the time? Was it, in fact, always a part of my life?

 

I tried to remember the first time I felt really anxious. My first thought was that it was my very first day of school (which is ironic because I am a teacher now and tomorrow… no, technically now, today is my first day of school for this year.) So my first day of grade primary, I took the bus by myself and got to the school. All the kids at the elementary school were playing in the school yard. I remember sitting on a bench in front of the school by myself. Worried. Worried because I didn’t know where I was supposed to go.

 

Before the summer, they had given us an orientation to grade primary and I went to my mom to see the school and all of that. But I couldn’t remember what I was supposed to do or where I was supposed to go. Did they even tell me? Then the bell rang for the instructional day to start, and I sat on the bench and cried. I didn’t know what to do. A little girl saw me outside by myself, sobbing. She was arriving on a late bus. She asked me what was wrong. I replied that I didn’t know what I was supposed to do or where my class was. She said, “Maybe you’re in my class.”

 

Now, you may be thinking this is a happy story about how I made a new best friend who helped me find my way on my first day of school. Let me stop you. She did not become my best friend. In fact, I never made any real friends until I myself was in grade one. But that is another story and does not relate to my main point here and the epiphany I made this morning in my sleep-less state. Or maybe it’s not an epiphany at all. Maybe it’s just the ramblings of an extremely over-tired, worried, crazy teacher lady.

 

The kind little girl led me to her classroom. I arrived to a class full of strange faces. The girl told the teacher my situation and the teacher asked me my name. “No,” the teacher said. “You’re not in this class. This is grade one,” and she asked the other little girl to take me down the hall to the grade primary classroom.

 

I thought about this moment in my life- yes, I thought- it was all the people and commotion, this was the defining moment of when my anxiety started. Or was it?

 

It wasn’t.

 

I thought about the time my mother and I went to visit my Great-Aunt Evelyn and Great-Uncle Allison. (Yes, Allison is a man’s name too. Men with typically female names are prevalent in my family- my grandfather’s name was Beverly and I have other family members named Laurie.) Anyway, I was playing on the floor next to the Grandfather Clock in their sitting room. I guess I must have been too loud or something because I remember my mother snapping at me, “Children should be seen, not heard.” After that, I always worried about being too loud when we went visiting.

But no, that wasn’t the first time I felt anxiety. My mother was always yelling at me. “Clean up your toys” or “It’s time for bed” or “Get ready to go.” It was my mother yelling at me all the time that really triggered my anxiety. It wasn’t her fault though. My mother always acted like a bitch, but she really wasn’t. She would yell at me out of frustration. You see, she would ask me to do things, but I would be zoned out in my own little world of thoughts, play or television. As a teacher, I totally understand her frustration- you ask a child to do something again and again and again and they don’t listen. It makes total sense that she would eventually explode into a tirade of yelling and crazy bitchiness. In fact, I had such a problem with listening to both my mother and the teachers at school, in addition to a speech disability, that in grade primary I was sent to have my hearing checked. The result: I have perfect hearing. Not so great at listening.

 

This may be all coming together for you by now. Or maybe not. I’ll spell it out for you. I have recently been diagnosed with Adult ADHD. All of a sudden, my entire life makes sense.

 

Being diagnosed was a struggle. Throughout my teaching education and career, I learned a lot about ADHD and I suspected I may have it. Zoning out, daydreaming, messy, hyper… Of course, when I was growing up, ADHD wasn’t a thing. Or if it was, it wasn’t well known. But when I was sent to see a psychiatrist due to anxiety attacks, I asked if he could test me for ADHD. His response was that since I was a teacher and had been successful at life, I couldn’t possibly have ADHD. But he didn’t know my history, and how could he? Psychiatrists don’t have the time to learn our histories in this age of information overload, unequal work-life balances, and Donald Trump where everyone has some kind of mental illness. (Really, it should be called societal illness since we seem to be creating a lot of this madness ourselves!)

 

If he knew my history, he would know everything I’ve just explained to you. He would also know that throughout school, my assignments were often incomplete and late. He would also know that I struggled with attendance and drinking too much during my early university years and actually flunked out. I returned later, and turned that anxiety into motivation.

 

So this morning I had an epiphany. Which came first? The chicken or the egg, the ADHD or the anxiety. They are connected, you see. But if I had to articulate what came first, I think it is the ADHD. You see when you are constantly living within your own mind, you miss things. A LOT OF THINGS. Instructions, conversations, deadlines, places where you put your things. You miss out on so many things because of your inability to focus, and then comes the anxiety. What was I supposed to do and how was I supposed to do it? How come I can’t remember that my husband told me about Trump watching the solar eclipse when we had an entire conversation about it? (He thinks it was a conversation only because I nodded and said yes and no to make it appear that I was listening. When you have ADHD, you become an expert at faking attention.) When are those grades due again? Where did I put the keys? Where did I put the keys?

 

Then there is the hyperactivity aspect. I can do everything! I’ll volunteer to do this or that, because I always want to be busy. I will have these amazing, wonderful ideas and start planning something, then be overwhelmed by the amount of detail, effort and organization involved. This leads to procrastination due to the overwhelming workload I’ve created for myself. Then things either get done in a sloppy way or don’t get done at all because people with ADHD take on too many tasks due to our constant need for mental stimulation.

 

And so here is the equation as I see it: an inability to focus + a need to be active= ANXIETY. That is my epiphany in the early morning hours of dreamlessness.

 

Proof positive: in the time that I started writing this piece, I started making oatmeal for breakfast and got focused on writing, forgetting about the oatmeal cooking on the stove. Yummy, burnt oatmeal for breakfast. Just another day in the life of a person with ADHD.

 

Did I mention I ran out of my ADHD meds? It’s going to be a great day of chaos- I hope I can find my classroom.

~ Ocean

Image

“Thoughtful Young Woman Sitting on Red Sofa” by Ambro  www.freedigitalphotos.net