The countdown is on! Seven days are all that’s left to change the world for the better.
But let me begin at the beginning.
Being diagnosed with ADHD at 47 was a revelation. It explained so much about my life, there was no way I could imagine having another experience that paralleled the insights from learning about ADHD (for example, why the only part about Martha Stewart I could understand was the jail part; at the time of my diagnosis I was about five years behind in my income tax).
Were you shocked? Was I? Yes and no. But mostly, no.
Sadly, some of us dealing with mental health issues, personally and in our professional lives, or have loved ones who are, are not as shocked as others seem to be.
Within the context of Williams’ history, his sudden death is a shock yes, but sadly not as much a shock as if his mental health and addiction challenges had been absent. With the presence of severe depression, addictions, bipolar disorder, or any combination of the above, suicide is not out of the blue, but one of many responses to the pummeling experience of living with these conditions.
So often we see that behind the public persona of some of our funniest, most clever, compassionate, kind, and empathetic artists, lies a dark side. I’ve always used humor to overcome, but sometimes to cover my pain. I’m not the first one, and certainly not the only one, to retreat behind a quick succession of jokes and comedic banter when I’m feeling emotionally challenged.
In the past I’ve asked my coach if others he’s worked with talk about similar issues. He assured me that the coaching session is for me, and whatever I want to work on, in whatever way I choose, is just fine.
This did nothing to quell my anxiety about whether or not I was doing this coaching thing right. What nailed it was our last session, which began with our usual chatter to ease in to the conversation. And then I said,
I want to share something. I’m not sure if it’s a subject for coaching.
He replied, “There’s a coachable moment in everything.”
Really? Okay then. Coach this…
It happened at a job interview. I found myself feeling clueless about eye contact: how much was too much? I was trying to pay attention to what the interviewer was saying, and ended up worrying that I was staring like an expressionless sociopath so I looked away – just when she asked me a question. I’d been vacillating between trying for a neutral expression, hoping to look attentive and reflective, and occasional smiles, which I was sure were apropos of nothing, ill-timed, and making me look even more nuts. I couldn’t help it. I had no idea whose face I was using, or how it got there, but it wasn’t mine.
Surprisingly, I got the job.
Nearly a decade has passed, and there have been few comparably cringe-worthy incidents.
Until now, that is.
Before you get all judgy and shout at me, this post is not about sex. I’ll put that out there right now because believe it or not, I alluded to a Beatles song once in a post title and a reader got his nose out of joint because my post had nothing to do with the Beatles or with the song and he thought I was misrepresenting myself, trying to lure readers into my blog. Can you Imagine that? I just thought I was using a clever play-on-words.
Ok. I wasn’t just using a clever play-on-words. To be honest, the post was at the beginning of my blogging career and I might have been a tad anxious to attract readers, but jeepers. I did think it was clever. It taught me a lesson, and I’ve never done that again. But that’s why I thought I should announce immediately that this post isn’t about sex. So, if you’re looking for an ADHD romp through the haystack kind of tale, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
I was going to search for a few hyperlinks for you (I really am all about giving value to my blog readers) but then I thought the better of it and decided I didn’t want to be spammed by sex stuff in perpetuity. This is a new laptop (double entendre not intended) it’s clean, and I don’t want to dirty it up.
Besides, I’m not feeling well.
I just realized why social media can be so draining. I’ve been kidding myself that the only harm of spending too much time online is that it’s a colossal time waster and gateway to procrastination and avoidance. I just realized the deeper harm lurking beneath the surface.
The whole Facebook experience is an emotional minefield and I didn’t even know it.
Every time I login and there’s no personal message I die a little. If a cherished post isn’t liked or even noticed it’s a letdown. If others hijack a comment stream I feel steamrollered. If 92 people in a private group have responded to a comment I’m overwhelmed and completely incapable of joining the fray even if I want to. Then I feel irrelevant and disengaged. I think, Why am I even a member of this group if I’m not contributing?
Recently, I discovered that I’ve developed Procrastiphobia, a neurotic fear of procrastination. (Don’t look up Procrastiphobia; I made it up. Sometimes I have to do that to fully capture the ADHD experience. I know you get it, just like you got Form-O-Phobia, blurtacious, and NSL.)
But back to the dilemma at hand: fear of procrastination.
Given the fact that procrastination was the nemesis that led to my ADHD diagnosis, it’s not unreasonable that I would fear its destructive power.
There are two kinds of people: those who will kiss their cat on the cheek or their dog on the lips and those who won’t. I once had a vet who kissed her dogs on the lips. She’s lived to tell the tale.
As most of you know, I recently made the decision to go off my ADHD medication. I’ve been hypervigilant in monitoring what changes occur in my decision-making, relationships, and ability to find my keys.
I’ve noticed some differences but I’m happy to say not enough to go back on medication. It hadn’t been working very well anyway.
I’ve been racking my brains trying to figure out why I can’t think of an April Fool’s Day post. I love writing humor, why would this be so hard?
This morning on Twitter one of my wise and wonderful Twitter peeps pointed out the obvious: her ADHD son has been dreading April Fool’s Day for weeks. Aha!
April Fool’s Day with ADHD is no joke.
How can you get creative and have fun with a day that scares the hell out of you? Writer’s block was inevitable.
A study published on March 3, 2014 in the Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment, and Trauma shows 30% of adults with ADHD reporting physical abuse before the age of 18 (as opposed to 7% of the general population). The researchers conclude that there’s a strong association between childhood abuse and ADHD.
Sadly, I’m not surprised. This was on my list of as-yet unproven theories about ADHD. I talked about some of the reasons why kids with ADHD were at higher risk of being abused in my post Spanking Hurts ADHD Kids More Than You Think, Part I.
My theory takes this link a little further. I’m convinced that not only is there a link between childhood abuse and ADHD, but it’s likely that your ADHD symptoms are more severe and more intractable if you experience both, especially if you’re not diagnosed until late in life.