Tag Archives: adhd

The Letter Game: A Coping Mechanism

22 Sep

Start with a word, sentence, or phrase.

“Membership Promotional Offers”

  • Step One: Count all the repeat letters, starting at the beginning of the sentence.
    • One point for each.
      • Three Ms – 3 pts
      • Three Es – 3 pts
      • Three Rs – 3 pts
      • Two Ss – 2 pts
      • Two Is – 2 pts
      • Two Ps – 2 pts
      • Three Os – 3 pts
    • Subtotal: 18 pts

 

  • Step Two: Count all the vowels in alphabetical order.
    • One point for each.
      • A, E, I, O – 4 pts
  • Running total: 22 pts

 

  • Step Three: Vowel Bonuses
    • If all vowels but one are represented (including Y), one additional point.
    • If all vowels are represented, two additional points.
    • N/A – Subtotal 22 pts
  • Running total: 22 pts

 

  • Step Four: Count all runs of two or more consecutive letters, alphabetically.
    • One point for each letter.
      • AB – 2 pts
      • EF – 2 pts
      • HI – 2 pts
      • LMNOP – 5 pts
      • RST – 3 pts
    • Subtotal: 14 pts
  • Running total: 36 pts

 

  • Step Five: Completion.
    • If all letters in the phrase have been used in at least one of preceding ways, add two points. +2 pts
    • If all but one have been used, add one point.
  • Running total: 38 pts

Step Six: Count the number of letters in the original phrase. Subtract this number from the running total of points.

  • (If the total points is not higher than the number of letters, trash the whole thing)
  • The following may be done in any applicable order to maximize points:
    • If the difference is more than 6, add two points.
    • If the difference is more than double, add two points.
    • Add the difference to the running total.
      • 38-27 = 11
      • more than 6: + 2 = 40
      • 27*x2= 48
      • 40 + 11 = 51
      • 51 > 48; 51+2 = 53

GRAND TOTAL: 53 POINTS

Step Seven: Since I dislike odd numbers, typically I would futz with the phrase to make the total even.

How Much ADHD Cost Me

18 Sep

I can’t stop thinking about how much this condition has cost me, so I thought I’d sit down and make a list.

Just the things that cost actual money, I mean.

Not just (just) shame or anxiety or frustration (or or or)

  • That fifth year of college, after my scholarships had run out and it was just student loans
  • At least twenty locksmith visits to retrieve my car keys, and one time a new battery because I locked my keys in the car while the keys were in the ignition
  • Tens of thousands (?) of dollars in impulse purchases (mostly but not entirely food)
  • A zillion dollars in caffeinated beverages as I tried to self-medicate a condition I didn’t know I had
  • Testing and diagnosis was about $200 with insurance
  • That medication that cost $180 and didn’t work, plus the medication visits were around $400 total (all of this with insurance)
  • So many late fees: the library, Blockbuster, bills, rent, dozens of parking tickets, three years my car registration, one year my taxes, and don’t get me started on the bounced checks and ISF fees
  • Two tires on my mom’s car (she did not make me pay for it) (I was 16)
  • Five or six cell phones (mostly lost or broken, but also through the wash)
  • Two digital cameras (broken) (neither of them were mine)
  • Probably a hundred pairs of purple sunglasses
  • That time I got a $280 speeding ticket in Bumblefuck, West Texas
  • All those scholarships and better jobs and awards I didn’t apply for in time
  • Interest on that fifth year of student loans

I don’t know if getting diagnosed earlier would have prevented any of this, or how I would be different if I didn’t have it, or what I would miss out on if my brain was wired differently, but if I get a next life, I might like to try being neurotypical. Just to see.

 

 

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When the Medication Wears Off (Patreon Post)

10 Sep

I compare it to a headache. Pain is not a desirable state. As a society we pay lip service to the idea that it shouldn’t be the default setting, unless you’re poor, chronically ill, female-bodied, elderly…ya know, this metaphor doesn’t work, let me start again.

I compare it to a cold. Being sick isn’t a good thing, even a relatively minor illness. We don’t expect people to forgo care for physical illness–nope, that doesn’t work either.

 

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“My Broken House Behind Me and Good Things Ahead”: I’m Still Here

8 Sep

In the last nine months I’ve gone to therapy regularly; got diagnosed with ADHD; gone on medication for ADHD, depression, and anxiety; sold my first short story; dug deep and sorted out a lot of trauma and realized I’m bisexual; finished drafts of two different novels; organized fundraisers; recorded two more albums (coming soon!). My marriage and friendships are stronger than they’ve ever been. I feel more hopeful, more like myself than I have in almost a decade.

I also lost my 15 year old Facebook account, got some terrible news about my dad’s health, watched my husband get laid off (again), and took our cat, Lamby-toes in for surgery to remove the cancer that has come back already. I’ve started planning her last day.

Also I started a Patreon, so, ya know, if you like what I do about here, feel free to subscribe.

This year has been A Lot Of Year, and it is only September (also it is already September, what the hell?). This has been a year of trying to be brave, trying to be vulnerable, trying to heal, trying to create, trying to help, trying to leave things better than I found them. Trying to move forward.

Last year I listened to “This Year” by The Mountain Goats a lot, and let me tell you: I made it. I’m still here. Considering where I was a year ago, that’s a pretty big thing.

I hope you’re still here too.

Back to School Lessons When You’re Never Going To School Again

20 Aug

Here are some things I have learned about ADHD medication:

  • Generic Ritalin (the first medication we tried) exacerbates my anxiety
  • Generic Concerta (the second medication we tried) makes me want to peel my skin off, and also cost almost $200 with insurance
  • Generic Adderall (the current medication) is treating me pretty well and costs about $3
  • “Appetite suppression” doesn’t mean that I don’t suffer the physical and emotional effects of not eating enough
  • “Appetite suppression” means that nothing sounds good, I have to yell at myself to eat, and I wind up super hungry right around bedtime
  • Clearing up the white noise in my head makes it easier to sort big things out
  • It works
  • Except during my period, when nothing works

Here are some things I have learned about starting a new Facebook profile after 15 years because your old one was mysteriously deleted and purged by the Facebook powers that be:

  • A lot of people have it set that you can’t send them a friends request without having mutual friends
  • You have to say “I swear I am not a hacker bot” over and over again, which is a problem because the hacker bots are getting smarter every day
  • It is hard to find people you’ve been friends with for decades if you can’t remember their real name because every time you see their name you think “Oh, that’s my dear friend [insert old-school internet nickname/handle]”
  • All your upcoming events go away, even if someone else was a co-host
  • There is no way to talk to a person about what happened to your account
  • There appears to be no way to retrieve access to the band page of which you were the sole admin
  • You spend less time on it
  • Even after growing up online, it feels very silly to grieve an electronic profile

Metaphorically Speaking, or, “Oh Shit, I Published A Story”

24 Jun

CW: suicidal thoughts (mention)

So in the midst of all of this, I got to see my first ever piece of published fiction.

It’s called Gephyrophobia, and you can read it at Strange Horizons, here or listen to the podcast here. I’ve listened to it A LOT, smiling like a DAMNED LUNATIC the whole time. I’m not usually an audiobook person, but HOT DAMN is it cool as fuck to listen to someone reading my story.

I have a lot to say about this whole event, because It’s A Big Damn Deal. I’m proud and excited and grateful and did I mention I am hella proud of myself and my little story? I am hella proud. Seeing my name and my fiction housed in the same place as some of my favorite authors of all time has given me energy and clarity to keep working for my goals, and it doesn’t hurt that people seem to like it a lot. I have a tattoo planned to commemorate this event. So yes, I have a lot to say about this major professional and personal milestone. But I’m very tired right now, so I’m only going to say one thing.

A few months ago I realized I was at a crossroads. I couldn’t keep on like I had been. I couldn’t fucking do it. There was no plan–yet–but after struggling for so long, I was pretty much ready to give up. I had basically two choices: try to get help, or “sleep forever,” which, if I may be frank, was the way I talked about killing myself without actually admitting that I wanted to die. Fortunately, I had the tools and support to get help. I got into therapy. I got diagnosis. I got on antidepressants. I got tools. And that’s why I’m still alive. 

At therapy today we talked extensively about how I don’t know where I’m going. I have only very vague ideas about where I hope this journey will take me: to peace, to the chance to rest, to enjoy. We’re working on defining those goals, making them achievable.  It’s slow going, because I am exhausted to the point where I sometimes can’t conceive of ever feeling anything else. I don’t know if I can do it, tbh. But I am trying, and that’s what’s important: I am doing something, because where I was…that place was comfortable, it was familiar, but it was not sustainable.

And in the midst of all this, my first professional story got published, and I realized it was about the aftermath of portal fantasy gone wrong, but it was also about doing something because you can’t stay where you’re at.

I never know what a story is actually about until after the fact.

I started taking ADHD medication this morning. My hands are shaking a bit, but for maybe the first time, my brain is quiet.

I’m Trying

6 Jun

Monday I was diagnosed with ADHD.

Wait, let me back up.

I’d been waiting for the results of my evaluation for about two weeks. I’ve suspected I have this [condition? disorder? disability? mental illness?] for about four or five years. I’ve struggled with symptoms my whole life.

Back to Monday.

I am 35, and I sat in the psychologist’s office as he told me that I definitely should have had a diagnosis decades ago, and should I ever go back to school I will be entitled to accommodations, which I should have had the first time, and that medication will work, and I cried so hard that when I left the office the receptionist asked me if I was ok.

I started going back to therapy about two months ago, and have gone regularly since then. About four and a half weeks ago I started taking Zoloft. The very nice psychologist who did my ADHD evaluation talked me through my diagnostic report, talked me through my options, recommended some books and tools, and then sent me back to the care of my therapist and the psychiatrist who manages my meds. All three are the same practice, and thus can easily share my records (with my permission), which is good, because I couldn’t find my ass with both hands right now. 

I expected to feel better if/when I got this diagnosis–

(I was never 100% sure I would. Of course I very strongly suspected, or I wouldn’t have spent so much time and money and emotional energy getting an evaluation, but I always entertained the possibility that the doctor would say “nope, you’re just a lazy, melodramatic bitch who’s wasted everyone’s time, that’ll be seventy million dollars.” I’m such an optimist.)

–and I did. I felt and continue to feel a tremendous sense of relief. I fucking told you I was trying. I am also experiencing regret, rage, resentment, sorrow, grief, fear, and an upset stomach that is in part from the Zoloft and in part from the stress of upending everything I understand about myself. I am reading everything I can get my hands on about this topic (reading is my hyperfixation!) and for every quiver of joy when I point at something in a book and scream “THAT’S ME” I also experience the further implosion of my self-perception. It’s one thing to say “I think I have this condition.” It’s quite another to be told that I do have this condition, and have had it my whole life, and furthermore this condition is the reason for everything I hate most about myself.

I know I have a lot of work in front of me, and I’m not sure I’m ready for it yet. I only recently crawled out of a depression hole so deep I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to get out of it. It’s worth noting that I closed a show on Sunday and opened another one on Wednesday, so I’m a little wrung out anyway, and now I’m reevaluating everything about my life. My stuff is in total chaos–mr. biscuit doesn’t mess with my show stuff even to clean it up, which I legitimately appreciate–and I had to cancel rehearsal today because I just couldn’t. I’m being as gentle with myself I can, given that I have historically not believed in being gentle with myself and given that it’s show week. mr. biscuit is taking excellent care of me. I read books about the condition in small chunks (while playing Assassin’s Creed and Diner Dash and scrolling Twitter, huh, ok, I might have an attention problem) because it’s too real and it hurts too much to read for too long. My support system is being very supportive (especially those who’ve experienced this before), the cats are being snuggly. I have a heating pad and a blanket and a big glass of ice water, and I have therapy on Monday and a little blue pill that I take every morning that is giving me a platform to stand on in this ocean of feelings. 

There was a teacher at my middle school, a very loud and intimidating old man, who constantly harped on the refrain “No excuse, no excuse, you ain’t got no excuse.” It was obnoxious and kind of scary and I wasn’t even in any of his classes, but he used to yell it so loud everyone could hear and it’s stuck with me since then. I brought it up to my therapist a week or so ago, in context of the semester I almost failed out of college*, and she turned it right back around:

“It’s not an excuse. It’s a reason.”

I’m glad I started therapy and antidepressants before I started this ADHD thing, because I’m not sure I could do it otherwise. I‘m a mess right now, but three months ago I would have been a disaster. 

*this is another story, but it involved two jobs, a bounced rent check, the violent deaths of a friend and a cousin, several brushes with eviction, and undiagnosed depression so severe I spent many, many days unable to get out of bed. There were weeks I only ate because I was dating mr. biscuit, and he had the compassion and the resources to make sure I ate. Did I tell my professors any of this? No, don’t be ridiculous. No excuse, remember?

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