Monday, 18 August 2014

The Day

It's been about three weeks since my last post, and nothing has changed. 
Recently I realized that my husband is apparently able to not think about anything. As someone who's thoughts never stop, this is amazing and even a little bit inspiring. I frequently think about my mistakes, things I shouldn't have said, or done, or should've done. He rarely thinks like that, he said. 
Today I realized that if I made fewer mistakes, I would spend less time thinking about them. 
What is a mistake anyway? If you do something that you know is a bad idea, is it still a mistake, or is it just a bad choice? What if you would've known it was a bad idea if you'd just stopped and thought it through? I do both. Anyway, semantics don't matter (although that sort of hair-splitting is so like me). 
More importantly, and here I picture myself being dragged by the hair back to the point, and just lost my train of thought again. Damn it.
Right. The point. Right. Um. (Review what I've just written.) Yes, cutting down on behaviours I regret would reduce time spent regretting my misdeeds. 
As if I should really need another reason to do better; as if it matters. 
Whatever, something matters and that is changing. 
Today, again, I asked myself, how many times do I have to learn from my mistakes before I stop repeating them?
Two answers came to mind. 
First (or it may have been second, but whatever): Maybe I haven't actually been learning from my mistakes. Maybe that's part of the problem. 
Second (or first); It doesn't matter how many times it's been. What matters is that there are no more times. 
And so I resolved that today is the day. 
And yet I've had this kind of realization or determination so many times before that even I don't believe it. It's scary. I've stopped telling my husband I'm going to change, because it sounds so hollow. As my grade eleven English teacher so memorably said, "Don't be sorry; just don't do it." Pithy but ultimately ineffective, although I don't recall being late for her particular class again, which is very odd. 

I remember the year my high school implemented a locked-door policy in an effort to prevent students from being late for class. If you were late for class, you could not come in. I took this as a license to skip a lot of classes. 

Anyway (the wheels squeal as I turn this baby around again), where the fuck was I?
I'm starting to wonder if my brain is this forgetful when I'm not writing. As if. It's worse. Yes. A lot worse. 
So let's look at thought 1/2. Am I really learning from my mistakes? That's a bit overwhelming and I'm going to come back to it. 
Thought 2/1: no fucking more. Three to four hours ago, this had a lot of conviction. Heaps really, until all my past failings came back to mock me. 
I have to believe that I can do this. 

I also realized something more horrifying today. Something controversial. Something, maybe, I hope, a little, small bit, helpful.  But more scary. Am I getting worse? Am I just... Focus on the helpful. 
Each day can be a step better. Each week can be a better week. Each month a better month. 
I'm scared to write it, because what if I fail again, but some day has to be the day I do the things that I know that I need to do. Tomorrow is that day. The first of those days. The uphill turn. 
Pray for me, please. 
Thank you. 

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

The second step

If the first step is admitting I have a problem, the second step is realizing that the first step isn't enough. 
I have a problem. I pick up my phone, and don't put it down, even when I know I shouldn't/should, even when it's making me late, even when I am already late and getting later. 
If the highlight of my Monday was watching my son grin through his swimming lesson, the heartbreak of this day is watching him do the same while knowing that his lesson will be cut short because I made us late. 
Earlier this week, arriving 15, no, 20 minutes late for lunch with a friend who's having, "a terrible day and it's only getting worse."

The pain and shame I feel are severe. Yet I've done it before, again and again. This time it feels more excruciating, but I suspect that's an illusion. I'm no longer confident that the present pain and guilt or love I feel is necessarily enough to help me resist knowingly bad choices. It hasn't been in the past. I need to strengthen my willpower. 
Yes, it seems ridiculous to say that I don't have enough willpower -- doesn't everyone have it? Don't I just need to use it? Isn't it frustrating to see a friend or loved one or, to some, even a stranger, who just needs to snap out of it, man up, get a grip, grow a pair, grow up, etc. Yes, I know. That's why I'm so ashamed, feeling utterly unworthy.
I mustn't wallow though. I mustn't care what others think. It doesn't help at all.
What I think is strong and clear. I think that I can do better. I know that I must do better. I don't know why I haven't been able to, but maybe that doesn't matter.  
I have to focus forward, to ask, what can I do that may help? To focus on creating new behaviours, rather than changing old ones. 
Deleted the app of choice (and I've already quit one), but that's just a step and easily undone. 
A reward chart. (Why not.)
Everything laid out for me to proceed directly to shower, etc., and out the door in the morning. 
Two alarm clocks?
No electronics in the bedroom. Clearly. I want my phone, but that's the problem right? 
Maybe this "public" accountability will help. 
I'm thinking that something I enjoy MORE than my iPhone might work. Meditation? Yoga? Something a little more intense? 
I've never been a morning person, but this is the year I start living the life I want. 

Monday, 28 July 2014

Happiness is... (No. 1)

...watching my child smile during swimming lessons. Huge grins. 

Watching my child SWIM during swimming lessons (briefly). It's a first. 

Interesting is: noticing that my child is not looking at me this time but is instead transfixed by the girl who's just arrived, in a ruffled striped and polka dotted bikini.  

Friday, 18 April 2014


Invited friends to come over with their child this morning for a coffee date/play date. Looked forward to it. 
Stayed up too late last night -- in part a consequence of taking my Rx's in early afternoon -- took a sleeping pill at about midnight, and started reading Sari Solden's book about women with ADHD (inattentive type) -- ADHDit? Slept like a baby, but slept in. Then resumed reading when I should've been showering. 
I was putting in my contacts and washing my face when our friends arrived at 10ish. 
After taking Adderall XR, modafinil, and citalopram, I sat down to visit with our friends, drink tea, and ate a croissant. Our boys played with Lego in the same hardwood-floored room, until my husband kindly sent them off to play in a more distant, carpeted part of the house -- the combined effect of our conversation and the kids' conversation was too much for me. 
After a while I was feeling beyond wired. Our friends had to go after a couple of hours to get to another event. Emotionally I felt anxious -- anxious that I'd been a poor host, a poor friend, a poor conversationalist. This is normal post-social worry for me. These worries were exacerbated by my physical feelings -- and behaviours -- as I worried that I had been disruptive, annoying, or otherwise unpleasant. 
I commented that I felt jittery, and said to my husband, and friend, that, "the combined effect of the medication and caffeine may have been too much." She looked at me. I don't want to read anything into her look, lest it be inaccurate. Surprised. She looked, at least, surprised by my comment. 
Earlier in the morning I'd expressed a desire to be more open with my friends, about my mental health issues and their effects. My husband thought it was a good idea, to stop hiding. In theory, to reduce fear and shame. 
I see, though, that I have more work to do. I have to be prepared, and the environment needs to be quiet, without interruptions. I feel it's particularly difficult to be open with this friend, because she has serious health issues, resulting from a stroke. I suppose I feel that my health issues -- ADHD and depression -- aren't... Valid. I've recently gained a fuller understanding of their pervasive effects on me, my thoughts, my functioning, and on my child and spouse. Yet it's still difficult not to fear criticism -- that's just an excuse; do you want to see a real problem?; whining; lazy; etc. 
Still, I'm excited by the prospect of finally breaking through, of beginning to understand, and hopefully to improve in some ways.
I have resisted the idea that I may not be able to do as much as others, or as I feel I can or should. However, my health and happiness, and those of my son and husband, will guide me for now. Maybe I can't accomplish what I once ecpected, or what others can. It's okay. I'm so fortunate that my husband is supportive. 
My goals for the next few months: to start exercising; to feed my family well; to be an attentive and available mother; to keep our house clean and our finances orderly and understood (to create and maintain a budget system); to catch up on filing; to catch up on a whole host of administrative tasks related to benefits claims, taxes, name changes, educational prerequisites, and so on... In short, to get caught up on, establish, and maintain the kind of orderliness that others manage all the time. Putting it like that I realize that it's actually a pretty big job! Even without seasonal things like gardening... Shudder. Vacations. Camping preparation and... is "reparations" too much of a stretch? (Why isn't there a word for the tasks required after camping?) And all the rest. Hmmm. 
In the meantime, right now, I'll try to calm my tense body, hope that my quadriceps will relax and my pulse will return to its resting rate, and go be a good mom. 
And I'll go it mass and pray this afternoon, with gratitude for all my blessings. 

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Under cozy lilac covers.

The studying went poorly, the houseguests were surprisingly fun, my wireless internet sucks, and it's midday without yet a shower, so this will be brief. 
My school is done for the year. Now the hard part starts. Now I have the time to do all my to-do's, to look after myself. Now I have to not waste this precious opportunity. To stay off FB, to avoid online browsing, to stay out of my bed, to actually do what I want to do.
So far today I've done each of those three things I'm not to do, and I've forgotten to take my medicines too. Damn. I really need a checklist. Step 1: get up...
Sadly a check-list if daily living would provably help. 
"Create your own structure," my psychiatrist said. Makes sense. 
Yesterday I started a to-do list. On my laptop. That's not going to help... This, at least, I can type on my phone, which isn't quiiiiite as much of a bottomless pit as the laptop. 

Let's try this instead:
1. Use a paper calendar. 
2. Gather a 3-ring binder, paper, tabs, and sleeves. Add pens and a 3-hole punch. Put it in a basket. That's a start.
3. Put the calendar in that basket too. 

For today, let's start easy:
1. Shower and dress. 
2. Drop off and pick up the requested books at the library.
3. Pick up child (that one's non-negotiable). And wonderful. 
4. Do the dishes. That's one's surprisingly strongly repellant... Why?... It's boring, I suppose. It's boring... I'm down and I don't want to get out of bed. I'm dirty, which makes me want to hide in bed, but I feel too... lazy to shower. If I could just stay in bed... I actually would. I had hours of sleep, with a sleeping pill, but I would prefer to stay right here in bed... But for the guilt and the desire to be a good mother, a good wife, for me beloved boys, a non-shamed person, for myself. This is honesty. This is... depression. It's heavy and sad. 
This sad self better get up now, take 3 prescribed pills waiting in the cupboard 10' away, and GET IN THE SHOWER. 
One day at a time girl. One day at a time. 
Phone down. Shower. Go. ...
Nowhere. :) At least I can laugh at myself. But that's not helping. 
Another day. A better day. 
You can do this. 
I can do this. Right now I don't know that I can. Yes, I can start with a shower, add a clean kitchen, and make my boys smile. God I love them. Tears of joy, tears of sadness. Focus on  their smiles, and go. 
Love yourself. Love yourself even as you are. Especially as you are. You are worthy of love, even as you lie here feeling utterly unloveable. Breathe in love. Then make smiles. Some how. :)

Thursday, 10 April 2014

I made my son late for kindergarten. Again.

I made my son late for kindergarten today. Again.
8:10 a.m., he's eating cereal and watching Peg plus Cat, I'm heading for the shower. Time is tight but I can do it. I'll just check Facebook quickly.
(Insert sound of crashing truck.)
My brain knows it's disastrous, "no! no! no...," my conscience protests, feebly, even as my hand reaches for the iPhone. For the first time I notice that my iPhone even looks a little like a drug, all smooth and white and oval-ish. I see that moment over and over in my mind, the phone sitting there, my conscience resisting, my impulse winning, my long arm darting out like a lizard's tongue, grabbing it. Yeah, that's pretty melodramatic, but the results really are awful, aren't they? The results are hurting my son. I have to keep staring at that sentence. Of course I know it's true. So why do I keep repeating the behaviour?
Flop down on the bed, start scrolling...
[Ed. Okay, so this is embarrassing but I just checked fb and completely lost my train of thought. Where was I? Ah, yes, recounting how my last fb check derailed my morning and did a great disservice to my child. Well, the fun is gone, but in a nutshell...]
Suddenly, it's 8:27. No time to shower. Speed-pack lunch. Rush him dressed and out the door. 
The school is quiet at 9:10. I'm hot and sweaty with dirty hair. He's sweet and innocent and doesn't know yet. Past the office (I'll sign in after), to his class-room, here come's disaster. Hang his bag up, jacket's off. Open the door, NOPE - his wheels are off. 
My little one is shy, he won't go in. I don't want to go in because I look like I just got out of bed and I know it. My usual patience isn't there; I'm too preoccupied with my dirty hair. 
[Why I keep thinking in rhymes I don't know. Is it the Adderal XR or am I just in that zone?] [Damn that's annoying.] 
[Snap out of it! There is something very important to note because you (I) do not want to do this again!]
[Yeah, I think I do feel a weird chemical buzz of Adderal XR, citalopram, and my new doc's addition, modafinil, coming on strong... Maybe I need to start taking this stuff much earlier, so it can help me help my child.]
I guess the story's totally lost, but the bottom line is this. My son doesn't like being late. Who would? He's shy, he's anxious, he deserves my love and support and attention. He doesn't deserve a mom who behaves like this. He deserves the good me. He deserves the me I can be... right? Will be. I have to believe it. 
I'm lucky. I'm blessed. I have a wonderful husband and a wonderful son. I'm letting them down, huge. I'm letting myself down too. 
I don't want to do it anymore. I don't want to do the sign-in of shame. I know they recognize me. There's that mom, signing her son in late, it's 9:10 and she just got out of bed? Shift-work? Drunk? Well, no more. 
It's not about them, or even about me, so much as it is about my little one. I don't drink or abuse. But I don't use my time well. I'm late. Almost always. It's a life of panic for me. Maybe my brain even craves that little dopamine kick. But when it hurts my kid, it really hurts. Today as I drove home, full of shame, I thought (and not for the first time), maybe this is why moms start drinking. Maybe some moms. Maybe some moms know that their (sober) behaviour isn't up to their standards, they feel guilt and shame, they feel a drink would dull that thought. (It is tempting.) Dull that thought... and maybe someday even be an excuse. 
It's a dark world, this inadequate place. 
But no, I'll sip my water, and share my weaknesses here, and try my very, very, very best to be a better version of myself. 
First, today, a coffee -- I don't need that buzz but this headache is killing me -- change the laundry -- and hit the books. I have a Human Physiology final in four (four!) days and houseguests in two. Damn.
You can do this, you. We can do hard things, says Glenna. 

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

ADHDANGST&moodyWTF is up w me

I'm so irritable I can't stand myself! 
That is all. 
And yet, in the process of setting up this blog, and maybe it's the Mendelssohn piece that the radio was playing in the background, or the pharmaceutical cocktail kicking in, or even possibly the fact that I've dropped of my little one at school, and he was almost even on time(!)... I seem to be marginally calmer. 
I'm going to go with it. 
Deep breaths. 
More later. 
Hugs to all who need them. You know, virtual hugs, because I know that some people who need them are covered in old pee, old clothes, old alcohol breath, and who-knows-what, and I'm not that giving. Not today. Maybe someday. No idea really. Someday. Someday. WTF is up with someday. 
"You're alive today. Remember that," I heard two days ago. True. I also have a final exam in 5 days, my house is a chaotic mess, my five-year-old deserves and wants more of my attention and best-self than I've been giving him lately... and we'll have house guests in 3 days. 
Good times. So, yeah, seize the day and all, but today's got to be all about physiology, and then all about my beloved boy, and then to sleep and repeat. And try to ignore the chaos around me. And if my beloved hubby to whom I'm immensely grateful doesn't like it, well, I hope he'll stick around anyway. I've only got a few more days to learn this stuff. 

So, not much of an intro but there I go... Mom, wife, newly (okay coming up on a year) diagnosed with ADHD (inattentive subtype), long-term recurring depression, always anxious, bad sleeper, half-decent genes otherwise... recovering professional... Future unknown. 
Loved, I remind myself, and very loving, but sadly unreliable and sometimes bitchy. Sound like anyone you know? Hug her and love her if you can. Prickly little lion.