Archives for November, 2011
Hi everyone. It's me, Samantha. Mom started writing a blog post, then she forgot about it and went into the kitchen to make herself an omelet. She'd kill me if she knew I was doing this. I'm kind of nervous, because this is my first post. Some of you know me already because mom's written about me a lot in the past (one of the dangers of being the pet, friend, or living within a 500-mile radius of my mom). I'm actually okay with most of her posts. If you've missed them, check out the links below.
Ok, Universe. I can take a hint. Twice in the past week I’ve found myself talking to concerned adults (one parent, one teacher) about the connection between marijuana use by teenagers and young adults and ADHD. This tells me that there’s still not enough out there on this topic, so I'm devoting today's blog post to the subject. I've written about ADHD and self-medicating in previous posts (Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, Part II: Drugs), but obviously it's important to keep talking about it. One concern that's expressed time and time again by parents of ADHDers is that if they put their ADHD kids on medication, especially stimulant medications, before long, the kid’ll be smoking dope, snorting coke, and chomping on 'shrooms. The fear is that legit ADHD drugs will act as a gateway drug, a one-way ticket to la-la land.
In Waving the Mad Pride Flag, Part I, I introduced the Mad Pride movement and spoke about the new movement afoot: the quest for a flag to represent the Toronto Mad Pride contingent. It turns out that's not as easy a task as one might think. However, with the leadership of Saraƒin (a talented, intelligent artist and conscientious member of the tribe), I'm confident those involved will come up with a wonderful banner they can be proud of. AND - how cool is this? - they're welcoming YOU to be part of the process! So, if you have any graphic design talent, an artistic bent, or a well-thought-out opinion, please send in any and all ideas and thoughts to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mad pride? I continue to be astounded at the creativity, intelligence and sheer tenacity of individuals who self-identify as “mad” or “crazy." (I’ve explored the word “crazy” and its reclamation in an earlier post.) Witness the current dialogue around creating a Mad Pride flag. I recently became aware of this exchange, and of the Mad Pride movement, through an excellent blog post by Richard-Yves Sitoski, Designing the Mad Pride Flag.
ADHD has introduced so many contradictions to my life. I’m smart, but make silly choices; I have a tough time bonding, but fall in love too fast; I can be overly defensive, but trust too easily; I’m overwhelmed and disorganized, but achieve major goals. Tipping the ADHD apple cart Over the past week, the outer world reflected my inner ADHD contradictions. A writer would call it pathetic fallacy, when the weather (for example) reflects the inner mood of a character.
Here I am nestled in amongst the rolling hills of an undisclosed location somewhere in rural Ontario. I’m dog-and-house-sitting. I thought I’d get lots of work done here in the quiet isolation. Ha! I’m an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) with ADHD in the big country. Not, as it turns out, a great combination. I've managed to turn pastoral into panic. Picture this: I’m sitting at an antique Mennonite dining table where I’ve set up my makeshift office. I've hunkered down to begin writing my next book (more about that soon. BIG news!) The house is high on a hill, and gorgeous: cathedral ceiling, skylights, loft, and lots of floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the last of the fall colors. I take my breaks by the natural stone fireplace, watch the flickering flames or gaze outside. Chickadees, blue jays, downy woodpeckers, finches and cardinals perch and peck at the many birdfeeders. Back to work: it’s quiet. It’s perfect. I’m on a roll. When… BANG! A bird slams against a window. I run outside to see how badly it’s hurt. This happens at least 2 or 3 times a day. They rarely die (right away.) I cup my hands around the limp body, both our chests pounding with fright. I calm myself, send healing energy through my hands, pray out loud. As a nature-loving HSP, I find this disturbing. Disruptive. Nerve-jangling.
Today's Pet Peeve is about progress. If the goal of an ADHD diagnosis is to improve areas of your life that are problematic and to make your life the best it can be, and I believe these ARE the goals of diagnosis (for me, anyway), then how do I know how I'm doing? One of the most troubling things I learned shortly after my diagnosis is that ADHDers are notoriously poor at self-observation. I was shocked when I heard this; I'd thought I had myself all figured out. Now I realize that when I was a child and my mom said, "I wish you could hear yourself!" she wasn't the crazy one (my hearing was perfectly in tact; it was my listening that was wonky.) Turns out, my self-image was mostly an odd combo of gorgeous mirage morphing into hellish nightmare, neither of which was entirely accurate. Poof! Along came ADHD treatment and so much for Maya (the illusion, not the bellydance move; it's still my fav!). Now, 6 years post-diagnosis, I'm still not sure how to tell reality from illusion.
I just figured out why I like being sick. I admit, it's partly the dreamy, germ-induced haze I'm enveloped in. It's much quieter than when I'm healthy and thoughts are bombarding me like electrons in a quantum physics experiment. I know, that sounds weird. But honestly, it's a complete relief not to have to live up my rigorous agenda or perfectionistic standards. I'm just too weak and tired to give a damn. And frankly, it's the most peaceful and relaxed I've been in a long time.