Jul 27, 2017

life is working

I have just managed to save a decent amount of money for the first time ever. This medication has been a blessing. Watching my account and seeing things going well at work without it feeling like being at 24/7 panic stations internally is something I never thought I'd be able to do. I haven't had a day off sick in over a month. I don't think been able to say that before now over the course of my entire life. I have a long-term goal now that I'm slowly plodding toward, and things seem to actually be going in the direction that I want them to for once.

With a bit of luck and a lot of hard work, I'll own my own house in the next few years. I can keep things to myself without blurting them out and ruining things. I have stuff planned in the next little while that I'm really excited about, and I'm finally comfortable just keeping them peacefully to myself and to whoever else is involved in getting them into reality.

Idk, I mean that might not seem like much to some people, but I feel like I'm suddenly living out things that I could only dream about. I don't always feel like I'm rushing ahead to the next thing, and in the process fucking up everything in my wake. It's such a relief.

Giving myself the time to actually process things has helped a lot too. I have spent so much of my time pouring my heart and soul into others that I never really gave any of that time to myself. It's the most bizarre and wonderful thing ever to be able to take chunks out of my to-do lists and just fucking prioritise things. That probably sounds so goddamned boring but I've never been able to successfully do that sort of stuff. Life was jumping from one panicked rush to the next.

I've read that the closest a typical person can get to experiencing ADHD is to take speed, and then picture doing anything focused and non-impulsive while on it.......forever. And add to that trying to get even a single night of sleep without waking at least 8 times in the night. It seems pretty accurate. I spent so much time either restless, exhausted, sick, or short-fused. To make it worse, people just thought I was an asshole - so I lived it with almost no support or encouragement.

I just.....jesus christ is this how people have been living around me this whole time? How the hell did I even function before now?

To say I'm excited for the future is an understatement.

What else? Idk. I went back on the pill because fuck these shitty hormones ruining my other meds. So far it's okay. I feel a bit depressed but nothing even close to actual depression. I'm giving it a few more weeks, tracking to see how I'm feeling day-to-day, and I'll bin them if it starts looking like it's going to shit. My other meds may need to go up again, but that's kinda still expected. It's early days. Emotionally I'm functioning really well here, but later in the day I'm forgetful as fuck and lose about 3 hours of my night to what can only be accurately called "mystery YouTube adventures". At least I'm used to that. The amount of times I go back to check if doors are locked or lights are off is worth laughing at if not anything else, and it's because I genuinely don't remember doing them....but internally I don't feel like I'm dying anymore, and I forget things wayyyyy less than I did previously. I don't snap at people which is great. I can now be firm and direct with people when I need to be without feeling like I'm being irrational or that I'm going to magically ruin everything. I'm working on stuff for a business in my free time, that isn't just throwing money at a new thing each week without actually planning it out.

I have time for craft stuff! I'm teaching myself how to bind books this week and next, and trialling a few bullet journal designs that I'll give to friends with that skill. If it goes well, I'll make a few more and see what happens. I haven't had much time to work on my metalsmithing, but I'm more than halfway through cleaning and organising my workspace for it. That workspace has sat like that for a year and in the past fortnight I've cleaned and sorted through half of it. Having it organised will be a godsend to actually starting my craft, and it keeps it far enough away from the birds to keep them safe from any fumes.

My bigger plans are getting there, I can't say much at the moment (mostly I don't want to until I have actual realised plans) but in the next 12 months very big things are going to start happening and I'm really excited about that and happy to feel like I'm actually steering my own life for once.

I haven't been able to sail much in the past month because the weather has been a flurry of WIND and RAIN and even FUCK YOU HAIL and LIGHTNING, and that's not entirely conducive to a bunch of noobs hanging out on a yacht and trying to effectively Not DieTM in the ocean.

The kids at work are giving me life. Being able to plan the weeks that much better and properly space out admin time with kid time has meant that I can pour even more of my heart and soul into their craft and nature activities, and when they come up to me on the grounds and yell out my name and hug me I know they are having an amazing time at the service learning all of these new things and I'm just so happy for them. I've taught them how to shade and how to use glue to sew safely when they can't use needles on their own, and ways to invent new craft ideas from ideas and techniques you already have. We've baked twice this week and I remembered how to make these little figurines that I did when I was about 7 years old myself, so I set up an activity for it and they loved them. We went on nature walks to find natural materials to make mobiles out of. I'm a week ahead in my planning. I'm never a week ahead in my planning. Most importantly I'm teaching them about how important being kind is, and being understanding of others even in hard times. All that life stuff that is hard to teach goes so well at my work, because it's less rigid than a school environment....brb the dogs are out to pee and it has again started raining

....so yes. It's great being able to do all of the things I always wanted to do and still have time left over for myself. It's making me see what I want from life, where I've never really had a clue before now.

I was planning on sailing again this weekend, but the weather had other plans, so I'm catching up with an old friend here instead. I can't wait! I'm party planning for another mate in a couple of weeks and we are doing a crafternoon, and on Tuesday I have my first business meeting that isn't for somebody else.

I think I'm adulting. Better than that, I'm happy about it.

More to come soonish :)

In other news, my motherfucking parrot snuck into my fruit bowl and ate one of my bananas. The adorable turd. Living that paleo life, hunt-gathering my kitchen things.

Jul 23, 2017


When your period starts and for a day and a half beforehand completely negates your ADHD medication, and you know you're not losing it because there are so many accounts and records of this happening to adult women with ADHD. I was exhausted, miserable, and could barely focus yesterday. Despite giving all of my energy to trying to get things done, I couldn't get out of bed until 2pm and could only stomach one meal. I slept 10 hours overnight. I'm back to my old normal at the moment. If my brain could just do its fucking job and send the right chemicals to the right places, I'd really appreciate that. It's not fun sitting inside a machine that won't start properly when that machine is your own body. I don't have time for this garbage and it's too much for people to understand when I don't look any different to anyone else. It's like when your arm goes dead and you try to move it and nothing works properly; you can see it moving but you can't feel it yet. I try to get up and I'm awake, I can see everything I need to do but I can't get up. I eventually get there and I have to go back into the room three different times because I've forgotten to turn the heater off, or get my phone, or turn on the computer to play some music and try to pep myself into doing what I need to do for the day. But then three hours pass and I'm watching videos online. I know what I need to do but I don't get up. I finally get up and force myself to eat so that I can get the work done, but just cooking and eating exhausts me. I'm glad it was over a weekend, but I'm so angry as well. I never really realised this wasn't the same as other peoples' experiences with lack of motivation, or carelessness, or laziness. How would I even have that persepective?

Stupid shitty body. Oh well, at least I got some sort of bag of meat to drag around this earth for however long, but how different am I, really? Even our dietary requirements are different. Our motivation is wired differently. We prioritise differently. For our cohort compared to the general population, we have higher than average IQs. We have different circadian rhythms. Different default learning styles. Put me in an emergency situation and I can act calmly and react faster than anyone else. Put me on the hunt and I'll spot prey nobody else did. Put me in 2017 and I'm a fish out-of-water. How does someone with lifelong ADHD find a successful niche in a world that we have created around a capitalist framework that hasn't actually turned out to be a one-size-fits-all place? What if you're not most, and most don't see that as acceptable?

I feel like I'm an evolutionary step for a potential future that never eventuated. Mostly I feel lonely. How does all of this fit one-on-one? I can't stand the thought of settling with most of the people I meet. I'm just frustrated right now. What do I even want, and why is it not happening yet? I feel like my body just keeps asking that over and over, and I don't have answers for it.

Why does all of this sound anxious and sad when I type it out? I don't feel anxious or sad. I'm just feeling frustrated and curious. I'm happy and excited about what's to come, but right now I feel like my life day-to-day feels the same way the Centrelink hold music used to feel to listen to. Just waiting and waiting to finally do the stupid required thing you didn't want to do in the first place, all so you can get on with your life once you've hung up the phone. I'm ready for something new now. Why is moving and changing lifestyles and forming new relationships so drawn-out? I mean I know why, but ugh. I feel like I'm sitting here probably just looking like I'm chilling on the outside, and all I can think of are a million possibilities in my head, with no slowing down and no IRL resolution in the present.

Stupid fucking period. Quit fucking with my dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin levels. The last thing I even want is a kid right now. Useless biological process.

I mean QQ give me some chocolate and a heat pack and a chick flick. Right? Sure...

Jul 22, 2017


I've never really set limits on other peoples' time and involvement with me. Before recently, life was about holding onto whoever stuck and trying not to lose patience. I can feel that big things are changing now. I'm forming a sense of what I want to do with my life that doesn't change each week, and I'm finding that I'm more aware of what my own needs are as well. This puts me in an odd situation where I'm having to learn how to handle boundaries with others for the first real time very late in the game.

Improved focus has provided me with perspective that I didn't even know I was missing. This week has felt daunting because I feel that the choices in friends that I've made up until now have been more based on proximity or whatever sticks than mutual interests and ideals. What that has meant over the past month is that I'm in a place where spending a lot of time with the people I'd usually hang out with is making me uncomfortable, and I feel quite alone in contrast to not wanting to spend time with many of the friends that I do have.

People already in my life also have their views on who I am and what I'll allow fairly ingrained at this point, which is challenging. I've been faced with a fair amount of negative reaction in others, who aren't used to me putting my own needs before random catch-ups and added stress from others. I feel like I have a lot of people that have become used to taking from me. Taking my time and taking from my emotional reserves. Usually I'd jump at the opportunity to hang out or to talk at length about almost anything, even if I wasn't enjoying it. I've really struggled with what my own needs are. What has resulted in the past from this is that nothing I really need to do gets done, and I end up in emotional burnout, not really sure how I "suddenly" got there. Of course when you do nothing but give your time and emotional energy to people all the time, it's going to cause a reaction when you stop doing that. 

This isn't who I want to be anymore. The difference now is that I'm well enough to have a choice in it. This has been a hard week in terms of the social reality of my life up until this point. I never realised how much of an impact not setting strong boundaries was having on me, but it was making me very unhappy. It's scary, but I'm going to reach out to people who have those same interests and ideals now. It's going to mean being lonely for a while longer, but this is something I need to do so that I can be where I want to be and not where I have been.

Jul 17, 2017


I can't be bothered trying to explain yet again how bad the stigma is for ADHD, particularly in adult women...or how it's not a personality flaw, it's not a fake disorder, the medication isn't something that has negative long or short term outcomes, and I'm not dangerous, faking, lazy, uncaring or immature. It wouldn't mean anything coming from me anyway. That's the nature of stigma. This article rang too true. Let a peer-reviewed article do the damned work instead.

Stigma and ADHD.

Jul 16, 2017


You. Yes you, fictional reader on the internet. You're probably wondering what ever happened here, with three years passing and not a word (if anyone still reads this). I'm not being self-depreciating, I just honestly have no idea if they do anymore. This is an aside. I never really know how to start posts, but at least I'm starting one. Hi.

During the week of my last post, I had a huge emotional meltdown because I was really badly beaten up about an ADHD diagnosis. There is so much stigma surrounding ADHD, and pretty much everything that exists as a layman's idea of what ADHD is in Western society, or at least in the social circles I was in then didn't even come close to lining up with my lived symptoms and were mostly derogatory.

The diagnosis was a kick when I was down, and when I did go on medication, it was fast-release stuff that heightened my anxiety - at a time when everyone around me either talked about me in hushed tones while they thought I wasn't noticing, or they had this great diet I could try instead of drugs, or ADHD isn't real, or weed cured all of my illnesses you should try it, or have you tried going vegan? Have you tried cutting out sulphites from your diet? Have you tried removing food additives?

It felt like people were trying their hardest to make sure that this really wasn't what was wrong with me, it might be something much more palatable. I felt so fucked up. I felt like I was a joke and a failure. There were those people, and there were the people that just stopped inviting me out, and began to treat me like I had two heads. My ability to focus while on medication was much better, but it wasn't quite right yet, and I'd be doing better at uni but super anxious and sleepless on medication as well. Honours was hugely stressful. I had teachers telling me not to bother. I had friends who just let me stay isolated because I was too much, too concerned with their own social wins and how things "looked". I had lots of other health issues at the time, it was easy to write this all off and just bury my head under the covers.

Somehow I got through honours and moved the hell away from the people who had made things harder that year. Then I had a few years from hell, where I had deaths in the family and all manner of things happen at once. There was no room or time to think about why I was getting sicker, I kind-of blinked and I was in 2017 and living on the other side of the city, using every shred of my waning energy to get to work each day so that I could afford to pay the bills.

My memory was shot. I was so anxious and depressed that I barely left the house unless I had to, and that was at the best of times. I got so sick that my liver started to malfunction for a while there and my bloodwork was all over the place, my blood pressure was a mess, I was sleeping at least 13 hours a day and still exhausted through my every waking hour. I had a suicide plan in case things got any worse than they were. The people who had hurt me and who I'd pushed away found their way back in and made things harder in my life, once I was isolated in a new town, I'd had relatives pass away all-at-once, and I was at my most fragile. It's been a hell of a few years.

Over the past few months I've gone past being miserable about the concept of ADHD as a potential diagnosis, and into full-blown desperation to find anything that would help me as my body kept steadily shutting down and the bills kept constantly coming in. Government support was hopeless, almost completely unavailable to me, and frankly demoralising. I'd found myself on the other side of the city and away from any solid support network. I didn't know what to do anymore, I was at my wit's end and didn't feel that I could even really talk to people, I couldn't focus and at my worst moments, I struggled with selective mutism and getting words out at all was not possible when I needed to most. I went back to my specialist, after three years.

We tried something new to treat ADHD and it just kind-of clicked. I've spent a month and a half reorganising the absolute mess that my life was in, that I hadn't seemed to notice had fallen by the wayside. I stopped being so tired. My anxiety all but left the building. I took the components of my suicide plan out of my medicine cabinet and threw them in the bin. I started to be able to communicate clearly with people about what I was going through, and better yet move past it. I started listening to the right people, and walking away from the wrong ones.

So that was it. That was my hiatus. I do have ADHD. It's not something I talk about with everyone, and it's nothing like what you'd expect. At. All. I worked really hard in therapy and got through my PTSD last year, but I was still really sick. Some things you can't hide from.

In case anyone else out there is struggling with a diagnosis and feels like the medical industry has taken an approach with them of just diagnosing everything until something sticks at the cost of your actual health over the years, these were my symptoms after years of searching for answers:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Chronic pain
  • Insomnia
  • Selective Mutism
  • Social Anxiety
  • Severe problems getting out of bed upon waking
  • Forgetfulness, even when things were important and mattered to me
  • Trouble remembering names
  • Low immune system
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Struggles with task completion
  • Struggles with timeliness
  • Struggles with memory
  • Impulsivity
  • Short temper that is gone as fast as it appears
  • Feeling like a failure
  • Social Isolation
  • Withdrawal from recreational and social activities 
There was no running about. There was no bouncing off the walls. Being sick in the ways it presented in me was nothing like the the picture I'd always had of ADHD in my head. So many people attributed what I was going through to personality flaws, laziness, a lack of care for others, selfishness, intentional flakiness and snappiness, or me just being a hypochondriac. I wasn't the picture of that naughty boy in class that wouldn't sit still. I'm so sick of the way people joke about and talk about ADHD in the social sphere, because it's way off and to be honest it could've led to my death.

I hope talking about this helps people. I hope it helps people that don't know what's wrong and are starting to blame themselves, and I hope it helps other people to stop being such dicks. I swear to god, ADHD is Depression and Anxiety's weird cousin on facebook. Everyone wants to post about being supportive of mental illness. Nobody even thinks about what else it might be, and what support for that looks like. It's such a common disorder, and it's so dangerous to ignore. People with ADHD have a 30% increased risk of suicide compared the people without it, and for those who aren't medicated, the risk increases. It's estimated that 5-11% of people have ADHD, and that despite its equal prevalence across sexes, women are chronically underdiagnosed and misdiagnosed. It's really not rare. Why does nobody seem to understand it? Do you know someone being treated for a mental illness that doesn't respond to the treatment? Are they female? Who are they? Have they considered ADHD? Are you there for them? Do you even know how to be? I had no idea at all.

So here I am now, in my 30s, trying to play catch-up with my life and feeling like I'm running at full-tilt just to get to where everyone else already is at my age. Medication has taken away a great deal of my issues, but there are still things that I will always struggle with. How I got through the last half of my honours degree without medication, I will never know. How I managed to survive the past couple of years is probably a combination of being too tired to kill myself most days and just being very lucky. It's nice to be past that, but it's scary to think about. I wonder how many people didn't get to this point, and I think about what can be done to prevent that sometimes.

I learned very quickly this year who my friends were, and who were simply seeing someone at their most fragile and taking advantage as much as possible. This sounds so dark. I don't often afford myself time to just sit like this with all of my thoughts, because unless it's being considered in order to move onto something more positive, it seems like a dangerous kind of thing to get locked onto.

What I'm making my life about now is ignoring thoughts on how this is so unfair. About how much easier it would've been if it had been caught sooner. About how much easier things would've been if people had cared enough to be there for me when things were the hardest. I think that comes from a place of thinking that life owes you something, simply for existing. I don't want to mourn my life. I just want to live it and achieve the things that I daydream about, now that I have the means to do so. I internally eyeroll every time someone tries to build me up by telling me what a rough deck I've been dealt. 

I just got the keys to my life handed to me. I need to figure out what the fuck I'm going to do with it now. I have a plan that I can actually start to stick to here. It's daunting, but it's also exciting. The first thing I've started to do is go looking for the type of people that I want to become. I can socialise without being terrified that I'm going to fuck everything up and get hurt now, I can focus enough to actually follow conversations in crowds too. I need to take that and do something with it. 

That's what I need right now. Not your new diet for management without drugs. Not your soapbox opinion on the existence of this disorder. I get it. Jet fuel doesn't melt steel beams. The thing is, actual medical conditions are not really a polite discussion point. We already know they exist. It's not up to your interpretation. Go and muse over some abstract painting in an art gallery or something while I'm over here trying to live through this and make something of myself. I don't have time for that sort of nonsense, and to be honest, I won't always tolerate it. I want to embrace my life. I'm so lucky to be alive. I'm so relieved that I made it to here. I want to be with friends now, making happy memories and going out and doing things now that I finally can. Just to be able to get out of bed without feeling like I'm going to pass out is absolutely wonderful.

I have so much to do now. I've spent this month just trying to put paperwork and tasks in order that were left wherever they were dropped. I spent ages re-doing my budget so that I could finally live within my means and not worry about forgotten bills or memberships coming up for renewal. It's finally working. 

Now that I can be something, what does that look like? Where does that take me? How do I get there? What are the risks involved? I've got a lot of it figured out, but there's so much to do, and all I want to do is jump ahead and be there right now. I need to keep working toward the same thing every day and stay patient. I need to be around people so that I keep up momentum to achieve these goals and keep living instead of just existing the way I was. I'm hoping that the next post I publish will be another step in the right direction. I've at least got my friendships and family to a point now where I'm comfortable and it feels supportive, but the rest of my life is completely up-in-the-air. I want to keep working on these positive things now that I have been given this opportunity.

Can I do this? I want to do this. This has to be my turning point, I'm ready for this now. I'm so much happier now. I'm so excited for the future. I have to stick at this. That was a lot. Thanks for visiting.