December 16th, 2003

Journal Goddess

Backing Up... Beep, Beep, Beep...

I realized that something that happened Sunday afternoon is important to note, and may be of some use to people... even those of you who think they no longer have any use for me in their lives.

I was on my way to Hayward to penguin_goddess, lavendersage and lovingstones' house, when I thought to give them a call. Audra told me that, since they were hosting Yule next weekend, they would be mostly focussing on working on the house all day. She said she had planned on emailing me to let me know, but that my post last Friday made her decide to hold off.

I reacted badly. I was disappointed, annoyed, crabby. At the same time I knew that I was over-reacting, and that it was probably something related to my ADHD. I tried to explain this, but proceeded to muck it up completely... it was really clear to me, but Audra couldn't understand why I was upset.

All I was trying to do was impress on her why I was reacting the way I was, and how to avoid having it happen. Instead, I felt like things were escalating. Before they completely spun out of control, she wound up having to hang up (she had just gotten out of the shower and was freezing and all), and I sat there in the car, parked by their house, trying to figure out how to calm down.

Eileen came downstairs and hopped in the car to talk. I was talking to kshandra about possible Tea and Sympathy plans in a couple of weeks (I've noticed that there are more and more people in my life who tend to calm me down rather than rile me up... I wonder if that's luck, or something about me. Maybe a little of both), and had to end the conversation quickly so I could focus on Eileen.

That's a sure sign I'm having a bad day with the ADHD... suddenly even the slightest cross conversation sends me into a complete panic, or at least makes me anxious and nervous.

Eileen tried really hard to understand, and, thanks mostly to listening to literally EVERYTHING I was saying, as muddled as it was, she was able to figure out what was going on. Even now, as I write this, it's hard to describe, though there was one example I used that seems to make sense to me.

Imagine you're in a car, with a stick shift. Most people have four or five speed transmissions, and life is fine. If you're slightly more technically savvy, imagine the gear ratios are more or less smooth as you shift.

Let's enter the mind of the person with ADHD. Instead of 4 or 5 gears, there are 2 or 3. You go to shift gears, and there's this sudden lurch as you go from what would be first gear for everyone else to fourth. Grind grind, the car slows DOWN, you're pumping the gas frantically... and, if you're lucky, you get things to a speed where it smoothes out, and everything's fine again.

Most people told of this would say, "So, why don't you shift to second gear, then third, before going to fourth gear?" I would try to explain I don't HAVE a second or third gear. This makes no sense to the person hearing it... again, the mechanics would understand a bit better. It's like the gear ratios are all messed up... it may LOOK like I have all the same gears, but the jump from one to another is a bitch.

So here's where the car analogy... well, breaks down. In the real world, you could deal with such atrocious engineering by replacing the transmission with one more sensibly designed. However, when the part in question is not only a part of one's own brain (and there's still considerable debate what part that is, or what it's supposed to do) then there's not much you can do about it.

The way this deficiency appears is in a seeming reluctance to deal with sudden changes or problems. I can't tell you how many times I've said "I can't do that" or "It's impossible" only to actually solve the problem or complete the task... sometimes faster than anyone thought possible.

There's no rational basis for the anxiety I feel. The best I've been able to do is try and explain what's going on, how it can be avoided, and wait it out... I will come up to speed if I wait long enough.

Yet on the surface this is perceived as obstructionist. I'm obviously intelligent and talented, so why would simple requests and changes be met with such vehemence? And why, if this is merely a personal shortcoming, can't I just explain it differently, or more clearly, or... whatever?

In honesty I hadn't grasped an important part of the equation until the conversation with Eileen. Before I was diagnosed, it was assumed that this was something I could fix, whether through will or desire. I could think before I spoke. I could just follow the rules. They were, after all, very simple, and everyone else can do it... why not me?

The answer was that I COULDN'T do it, at least not all the time. But I didn't know that, and thus felt a great deal of shame about my apparent failure as a student, worker, lover... as a person.

I feel this shame even as people try to tell me I have nothing to be ashamed of, simply because it was shouted, written, and sometimes beaten into me for a very long time before I knew there might be something missing from my makeup. Even as I type this I feel odd, as if by trying to tell people about this part of myself will bring out the old accusations... that I'm lying, I really DO understand, but am somehow acting out. That I just don't want to expend the energy to "do it right". At one point they figured I was retarded, at least until that damnable IQ test came back... then I was a chronic underachiever.

If I am to get a grip on this, I have to accept how this thing impacts me, and I have to be able to communicate that... along with my needs... to the people around me. Once Eileen understood, and I knew she grasped what I was trying so hard to say, I wanted to burst into tears with relief. It was never about what the plans were changed to, it was that they were changed at ALL. Folks, if Audra had called to tell me that plans had changed, and that instead of working on the house, a dozen beautiful fat boys and girls were waiting to serve my every need, sexual or otherwise, I would have reacted in exactly the same way. Negative, positive, or neutral, change hits someone with ADHD hard.

And that's just one aspect. Have you noticed those creepy commercials from Eli Lilly regarding Adult ADD? That's actually a little too accurate... so much so I have to insist on skipping it when watching the TiVo, or leaving the room if on a regular TV.

Want to know more? Ask me. I have a moderate to severe manifestation of this mess. I makes me look brilliant AND incredibly stupid... sometimes simultaneously.
  • Current Mood
    contemplative contemplative
Journal Goddess

Being Spun Like A Record, Baby

So, Michele literally came BOUNCING in this morning... as in hopping up and down on the bed. Apparently now that the lipotor is completely out of her system, and they've moved her Effefor dose to the evening, she's practically bursting with energy. She actually feels up to getting to work. Of course, she doesn't have a job to Go to at the moment... but I somehow suspect that she'll have an easier time of finding a job.

In my groggy, half asleep state she's asking me about my LJ entry of last night... she wants to know who broke up with me. I mutter that it wasn't me, it was steelmagnoliaca and Roni who had broken up, completely forgetting that entry was marked "friends only". When she acted confused, and mentioned that she thought it WAS about me, I remembered the earlier post that was public.

Great... went to sleep all sad and depressed, now I remembered why.

Actually, Michele's energetic attitude was a bit infectious. That, and knowing src was coming up for a movie night, helped lighten my mood. At the same time I'm dreading that phone call from Roni when she finally reads that e-mail.

We spoke of many things, including my post of last Friday. She correctly noted that it should be more a matter of letting myself forgive... but not forget. Of course, she's right, but even as I write up a post the writer in me went for the line with a flair for the dramatic.

I pop online an run into... well , I'll just say "someone else" for now. At first, our conversation led me to believe that SHE was about to break up with me, but then she seemed to make it clear that wasn't necessarily the case. Though when I hear/read things like "I don't think we're doing well. I think it's primarily my issues, and I have to sort out what I want before I will do or say anything more about it", combined with my recent (as in the last 24 hours!) record, and I think I can be forgiven for assuming the worst.

The thing that frightens me is that was a relationship I was working really hard on, despite the fact that her schedule is nuts (school, work, home chores that you wouldn't believe). I made sure to make an effort to remain available, phone, email, or chat... and in person, if she'd let me. I'm terrified that I'm going to find out I forgot something key to keeping things healthy, and (even worse) I won't understand what it was.

Looking back, this has been a hell of a year for extreme changes in my personal relationships. People who had broken up with me in years past re-connecting in a big way ( dragonwitchling, the continuing saga of lavendersage and lovingstones, src), new people that seem to sneak into my life (penguin_goddess, queentushy, and now papershroud, damn it all!), relationships that seem to be coming along better than ever (kshandra, Roni), and the various people who, for reasons both understandable or not who've decided to put an end to things. bunjee, of course, is developing a relationship monogamously, which puts a crimp in our sex like, to be sure, but I can understand that. wickedladybear pretty much decided to blow me off after a misunderstanding with one of her lovers that wasn't all that horrible to resolve, but apparently made me no longer worthy of even friendship. steelmagnoliaca breaking up with me, and now Roni... almost like breaking up twice though the first time was easier because it was me. Last night someone I've known for nearly ten years doesn't even want to be friends with me anymore, for reasons that I completely understand and own. Now I have someone else who might be breaking something off in the near future.

Of course, this is only a partial list: I'm sure there are other events that just aren't coming to mind at the moment. Yet even just writing it out in a single paragraph leaves me wondering how I manage to remain sane at all. In terms of breakups this is the worst year I've had in awhile -- yet the new relationships seem to be a lot better than ones I've started in the past, perhaps because I continue to raise the bar for entry into my life. Not my heart... I'm afraid that will always be on my sleeve. I don't think I could ever truly close myself to feeling: The best I can do is try to talk things out a bit more before throwing caution to the wind.

Which is an inherent contradiction, I know.

Right now I'm seriously considering going out for a soak in the tub. I've got this chill I just can't shake, and for some reason the house is being slow to warm up. I should toss another log or two on the fire and see if that helps.

By the way, words can not express how grateful I am to everyone who has supported me over the last week, the last year even. Y'all make this worth it, as crazy as it all makes me. Isn't that weird?
  • Current Mood
    indescribable indescribable
Chris Tongue

Time To Lighten the Fuck Up, Yo!

So here I am, realizing that recent posts have been at BEST bitchy, and generally depressing or sad. In an attempt to address this, here's an exchange with papershroud I just had:

I basically tried to warn her off, asking her if she really wanted to deal with a relationship of any sort with someone with as insane a personal life as mine (part of "raising the bar" includes being honest to a fault about EVERYTHING). After reading it, she tells me "of course I do". My response?

"Even if I should come with more warnings than a Happy Fun Ball?"

Her response: "Sorry, have to say it. 'Do not taunt Yohannon'"

(major points for getting the reference, and finding a pithy comeback)
  • Current Mood
    silly silly
Manic Man

For Sale on E-Bay, CHEAP!

(A friend of mine was bemoaning the fact that she was about to get flamed for a story she posted, and this slipped out of my fevered brain.)

One pair of vintage asbestos undies! That's right, now you too can own the very under-garments worn by alpha-geeks of yore during the great UseNet flame-wars of the late 80's/Early 90's!

This is the perfect accessory for dealing with todays trolls, CAPLOCKED TWITS, l33t d00dz, HNG's, and other low-life 'Net vermin. Fire tested during the days when the only people on the Internet were frustrated .mil joes and self important over educated .edu types, the times when a bang path had NOTHING to do with high explosives or sexual perversion, these only slightly carcinogenic long john's (with conveinent flap for emergency evacuations) are only slightly scorched from doing battle in alt and the other "big six" group hierarchies.

These babies are priced to go, so order today! And remember... every discussion is considered OVER when someone mentions Nazism.
  • Current Music
    Fire - The Crazy World of Arthur Brown