Diagnosed or not, many of us self-medicate. And we often do it with things that can be dangerous.
Marijuana comes to mind quickly whenever I talk about self-medication. But alcohol is also a common one, and of course the heavier drugs that are available don’t get left out.
And since stimulation is the thing that most of us find to be useful in combating ADHD symptoms, anything that provides that reaction will do. So dangerous behaviors or risk taking activities are big things.
It isn’t over until it’s over. And part of having ADHD is having a very skewed concept of time. “When is it over?” one might well ask. And I’d have to answer with a very firm “I don’t know!!?!” accompanied by a very resolute shrug of my shoulders.
The question is not about the life expectancy of someone with ADHD, but rather the life expectancy of the symptoms. When will I no longer be distracted from important things? When will I be able to engage in conversations without worrying about saying the wrong thing, talking too long, talking too loud? When will my symptoms stop being a problem?
What I see, in myself and others, is the idea that if we work hard enough, we’ll get better. But when I think about that, it isn’t true.
Everything I’ve been doing seems stopgap, like if I force myself to make notes about all my appointments, I’ll eventually do that automatically, without having to push. And I can make it a habit, but once I get comfortable with the idea that it is a habit, I’ll relax … and I’ll slip up.
Focus? I can focus. I have no end of attention. I focus all the time, usually on things I should be ignoring. I focus on social networking when I should be breaking open my word processor to get things written. I get distracted by the radio or the television when I should be heading out the door to get things done.
But is it distraction or procrastination … When I know I should be doing something else, am I being distracted, or is it procrastination? Or does it matter? Are they essentially the same thing?
I like grey skies and rainy days. Make no mistake, in the spring, summer and autumn, I love sunshine. But I still like those grey days. Something about them calms me, makes me feel safer, makes me feel cloaked and comfortable.
I love those days when I’m driving. I think it might be the sensation of the closeness of the sky and horizons.
I’m also more comfortable when I’m inside a house on days like that, or sheltered under a veranda or porch roof.
I can read. I mean, one of the things I do to pay my way in this world is write, so, you know, I’d need to be able to read, if for no other reason than to edit my work, right?
I read for work and I read for pleasure. I read to relax. I read at night to put myself to sleep. I read to do research and I read to inform myself of stipulations, rules and criteria necessary for living with the least amount of trouble.
Last night I attended my songwriters group. A typical evening there involves most of us taking a turn at performing a song we’ve written that is either freshly finished or still in the works. The gathered writers then give a constructive critique.
There are two blog posts left this year, and then 2013 is over, this one, and Monday’s. This one is about the year we’ve just come through, a review of 2013.
I saw a lot of small changes take place this year, yet in the end not much really changed.
There was a lot of noise about the DSM V coming out with new diagnostic criteria, but this was nothing compared to some of the ruckus back in 2010 when the possibility of ADHD being removed completely from the DSM was reported.
When the proposed new DSM was revealed, it turned out that I still have ADHD. Lucky me, eh? But that was nothing more, or less, than what I expected.
On December 11th I published a post about how I’m dealing with the stress of the season. I thought I’d let you all know how that’s going for me. In a word, well.
I’m as busy as I have been any other year, and I’d say most of the things I’m getting done would be things I’d normally have gotten done.
But the difference, as I described in that earlier post, is that I’m not committing to a million things. Thus, I’m not worrying about a million things.
Do I need to remind you of what time of year it is? Not likely. If you’re reading this blog because you have first hand knowledge of ADHD you’re probably saying “Please don’t tell me what time of year it is.”
Fine, I won’t. That will help me maintain a plausible denial as well. But wait, I already told you on Wednesday that I’m okay with the season. I’m easing myself into it, doing things as they come up, not committing myself to big deals or extravagant responsibilities. That part is working out swimmingly.
But I still have some anxiety. I left it a little late to tell you about this great idea I’ve had, this slipping into the festivities slowly and not volunteering to take care of absolutely everything. So that not telling you has me feeling a little anxious.
Today is Monday, December the 9th, 2013.
30 years ago today I was 24 years of age. I had a job. I was making reasonably good money. I spent some of it on gas, some of it on food, some of it on rent, and a lot of it on alcohol.
I didn’t know I had ADHD. I didn’t know I was an alcoholic. Okay, not true. I was in denial, the kind of denial you have to work hard at because you know the truth.
So, the beginning of December is upon us. If you’re a Christian you’re getting ready to celebrate Christmas. If you’re Pagan you’re looking to the Solstice as your big celebration. There’s Kwanzaa and Chanukah and New Years all coming up.
And most of these things, these celebrations, require some preparation … are you prepared for that?
Whether you’re Jewish or Muslim or Hindu or Shinto, ADHD transcends all races and religions. I don’t know whether you celebrate this time of year or not, whether you have a faith or a religion, whether you celebrate because you feel it needs to be done, or whether you just celebrate because the people around you are celebrating. But if you have ADHD, you have challenges that may make celebrating somewhat painful.