Tag Archives: bipolar disorder

ADHD in a nutshell…


Someone shared this one Facecrack the other day and I found it so perfect – I had to share it here…. this is ME in a nutshell – LOOK! SQUIRREL!!

SQUIRREL!

My arch enemy…the squirrel!

ADHD is about having broken filters on your perception.

Normal people have a sort of mental secretary that takes the 99% of irrelevant crap that crosses their mind, and simply deletes it before they become consciously aware of it. As such, their mental workspace is like a huge clean whiteboard, ready to hold and organize useful information.

ADHD people… have no such luxury. Every single thing that comes in the front door gets written directly on the whiteboard in bold, underlined red letters, no matter what it is, and no matter what has to be erased in order for it to fit.

As such, if we’re in the middle of some particularly important mental task, and our eye should happen to light upon… a doorknob, for instance, it’s like someone burst into the room, clad in pink feathers and heralded by trumpets, screaming HEY LOOK EVERYONE, IT’S A DOORKNOB! LOOK AT IT! LOOK! IT OPENS THE DOOR IF YOU TURN IT! ISN’T THAT NEAT? I WONDER HOW THAT ACTUALLY WORKS DO YOU SUPPOSE THERE’S A CAM OR WHAT? MAYBE ITS SOME KIND OF SPRING WINCH AFFAIR ALTHOUGH THAT SEEMS KIND OF UNWORKABLE.

It’s like living in a soft rain of post-it notes.

This happens every single waking moment, and we have to manually examine each thought, check for relevance, and try desperately to remember what the thing was we were thinking before it came along, if not. Most often we forget, and if we aren’t caught up in the intricacies of doorknob engineering, we cast wildly about for context, trying to guess what the hell we were up to from the clues available.

On the other hand, we’re extremely good at working out the context of random remarks, as we’re effectively doing that all the time anyway.

We rely heavily on routine, and 90% of the time get by on autopilot. You can’t get distracted from a sufficiently ingrained habit, no matter what useless crap is going on inside your head… unless someone goes and actually disrupts your routine. I’ve actually been distracted out of taking my lunch to work, on several occasions, by my wife reminding me to take my lunch to work. What the? Who? Oh, yeah, will do. Where was I? um… briefcase! Got it. Now keys.. okay, see you honey!

Also, there’s a diminishing-returns thing going on when trying to concentrate on what you might call a non-interactive task. Entering a big block of numbers into a spreadsheet, for instance. Keeping focused on the task takes exponentially more effort each minute, for less and less result. If you’ve ever held a brick out at arm’s length for an extended period, you’ll know the feeling. That’s why the internet, for instance, is like crack to us – it’s a non-stop influx of constantly-new things, so we can flick from one to the next after only seconds. Its better/worse than pistachios.

The exception to this is a thing we get called hyper focus. Occasionally, when something just clicks with us, we can get ridiculously deeply drawn into it, and NOTHING can distract us. We’ve locked our metaphorical office door, and we’re not coming out for anything short of a tornado.

Medication takes the edge off. It reduces the input, it tones down the fluster, it makes it easier to ignore trivial stuff, and it increases the maximum focus-time. Imagine steadicam for your skull. It also happens to make my vision go a little weird and loomy occasionally, and can reduce appetite a bit.

Hope this helps and please do share this so that more people can learn what its really like to have ADHD.

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All Who Wander are Not Lost…


This past weekend, I went home to Atlanta, for many reasons, but the most important of them being a memorial for my friend Kelly who had passed at the beginning of March.

He and his family had been estranged for many years, more years than not, really. So, they truly did not know very much about him. As his friends, the closest of us, anyway, he shared much and was a giant of a man with the heart of a teddy bear. He was also one of the smartest people I have ever known! Scary smart.

He was a martial artist, a student and teacher of the art of Jiu Jitzu. He made an incredible impression on those he met.

Kelly also lived a”colorful” life. He was an addict, forever recovering and slipping, as addicts do. Yet, the past year – he had been clean and sober. He was getting his body in shape and had found a renewed connection with God.  There were really not many of us who knew these things about him. Kelly, to most, was the tough guy always looking for a party.

I had known Kelly since high school, though, like most friends from that time period of my life, had lost touch and had only reconnected about 5 years ago. I was amazed at the changes in him even then.

However, Kelly was also a very troubled man.

During his Memorial, the preacher asked if anyone had anything they would like to share about Kelly. The coach of his football team when he was 12 years old spoke…Kelly was 45 at his death and this man remembered him from 35 years before. He had a few other friends speak, and while I really wanted to, when I speak about Kelly, very colorful words tend to flow too easily from my mouth and it just wouldn’t be proper in the house of the Lord.

After everyone spoke, the preacher said that the family asked that he mention that Kelly had a drug problem. “We’ll never know why he used drugs or the effect it had on his life “..then went on to preach forgiveness. WHAT?

A Memorial Service was not the proper place to mention that and we, his friends, his true family, we appalled that it was even mentioned. Disrespectful. We wanted to get up and leave, but we could hear Kel saying – just let it go…

I can not just let it go. It is crawling all over me.

However, I believe I can shed light on the reason for Kelly’s drug use.

Kelly had been diagnosed bi-polar, though I am not sure how many years ago the “official” diagnosis was made.

Bi-polar disorder is a mood disorder, more commonly known as manic depression – because we go from extreme highs to extreme lows. I say we because I, too, am bi-polar (https://annasmind.wordpress.com/2007/11/22/so-about-me/).

It often begins in late teens, but a traumatic event can bring it on in a child. Kelly’s mother died when he was very young, and his father told him to “get over it.” Not exactly father of the year material this man. I am sure he was going through his own grief process, but a child needs more help to deal than “just get over it.”

As the disorder takes over, people in general tend to attribute it to normal teen moodiness, hormone changes, puberty.. but it is much worse. We usually begin to self medicate – generally starting with alcohol, and when that quits either numbing the pain, or quits being fun (in the manic phase), we move on to drugs.

If a person is lucky, there is someone who loves them enough to notice these things and will get them help. I was. Kelly, not so much.  Once disgnosed, medications, such as anti-depressants, lithium, mood stabilizers and sometimes even medicines used to treat psychosis. Once we begin the meds, we feel better. We feel better, we think we do not need the meds anymore. It can be a terrible, vicious cycle. Again, if the person has someone close who loves them and cares for them, they will notice these changes and help them with treatment again. Rarely are we “fixed” the first go around. Or second. Took me 4…

Meds are a trial and error with bi-polar disorder. People react differently and need to be monitored until the right ‘cocktail’ is found.

Not everyone has the patience for this.

Not everyone has someone around who sees and understands and cares enough to help.

When the meds don’t work, we often go back to self medicating, and, too often, become addicts, as happened in Kelly’s case.

Kelly could be the life of the party. He was the sweetest guy who made huge impressions on everyone he met. He could also be so terribly depressed he absolutely had no idea how he could go on. He called me many times, saying maybe it would be better if he were gone. More than once, he had a suicide plan made. Luckily, he never followed through.

The last couple of years of  Kelly’s life, he had, as I said,  begun a new relationship with God. He was getting his life in order. His body and mind. The doctor wanted to put him on meds for not only for this, but for the extreme pain he was in. He had done serious damage to his body through the years, not just with the drugs, but the Ju Jitsu and MMA fighting he did. His weight had gone way up at one point and he was quite proud to get it back down. The point is – he did not even want to take the meds the doctor prescribed. Whether they were for his pain or psychotropic/psychiatric medications.

He found alternative methods to treat his pain – yoga, meditation. But the brain – bi-polar people – we have a very very difficult time dealing with the day to day – hell – with or without meds. Again, it comes back to the support system – which Kelly just didn’t have often enough.

So this, dear hypocritical preacher man, and family – is the why of the drug use, at least, I suspect. I am though, only speaking from my own experiences…and knowing Kelly.

When I found out, my first thought was – he was finally happy! Why now?

My second thought – He was finally happy. So, he died happy. 

The good that came out of it? I have spoken with the men he worked with at Capitao Jiu Jitsu and MMA in Fort Walton Beach, told me his students are making patches for their uniforms in his honor. He told me he was working with friends on writing a children’s book. He had the life experience that he could tell a young person – that is not the direction you should be taking your life.

Kelly was a wonderful man, a true friend and confidant. He was always there for you when you needed him. Maybe if the family had tried, they may have known this side of him, too.

Daylight Savings Time..How I Loathe Thee…


…or is it Mountain Dew? or stress? The Man snoring? or the sugar buzz from the cake just before bed? The Ambien cr and 3 OTC sleeping pills that aren’t working because the migraine med wants me awake to realize its awesomeness in getting rid of my day long migraine (well, TECHNICALLY, dear midrin, my migraine eased up when I left mother at the hospital.)

Yeah, yeah, I know, it came back ten fold when she started calling ..and calling..and calling…but, you got rid of it. Thank you. Can I sleep now?

Yeah, I guess I should get the explaining the hospital daylight savings time needs no explanation and it is probably the mountain dews fault.

Alright…lemme refill my wine and hit the head..

Sunday morning, mom came downstairs, got her coffee, made her usual mess and headed upstairs while was still in peaceful, sleeping in bliss. sleepbeauty

Then the dogs started barking.

The Man opened the door – Your mother just spilled her coffee all over the floor upstairs. (This would be the large cup. With the lid. The one we bought to prevent these things. Ugh.)

cinderella

so, I’m awake. I’m wide awake.

I get it cleaned up, she gets her burn taken care of – nothing serious, thank goodness, and head down to have my own coffee.

As I am telling this story, I can’t remember if she had put her oxygen back on yet or not, however, as the morning moves on, I would put money now on no.

She came down a while later while I was over feeding a neighbors dog and was fiddling with the coffee maker – which she is only allowed to touch to pour herself a cup of coffee. The rule is unspoken, but I really didn’t think it was necessary to tell her. Quit thinking Anna – she is like a child!!!!

Any-who! I asked Goose when I got back why the coffee pot was on the counter and sugar bowl on the other counter (more on the sugar bowl later).

“Granma was going to make a pot of coffee but decided not to make mess..”

Well, thank GOD for that! She could have put things back, but I have given up on her cleaning up after herself. Sad, but all of the children did a better job at 5 years old than she does at 67.

About 30 minutes later, she comes downstairs – mind you – her oxygen line does not reach downstairs – but goes to the coffee pot and puts a coffee cup on the burner and pushes the ‘ON’ button.

As I have been crocheting, I wasn’t sure what all she had done.

Mom, what are you doing?

I want a cup of coffee and I guess ya’ll aren’t drinking any so I am making a pot so I can have a cup.

But, MOTHER, you can’t make a pot of coffee in a coffee cup!!!

Oh, ok…well.. has the coffee already been made this morning?

Yes, mother..don’t you remember spilling it all upstairs on your foot? 

Oh, right, (looking down at the one slipper she had on her foot) that was this morning wasn’t it?

Yes. mother.

So, I got her 3/4 cup if coffee ready in the microwave and she went upstairs for her e-cig, she came back down with her smaller coffee cup from bedroom. She sat down to talk to us, Goose included, and realized she had still forgotten her e-cig. She asked if Goose was down here (we kind of looked at each other and rolled out eyes – umm, she had been talking to him!)

Yes, mother.

Would he go get it for me?

So, he did, Her coffee was finished, but for some reason she sat down with whatever cup she had. Never touching the “fresh” cup we fixed for her.

I headed outside to weed the flower garden with The Man (as was planned for this beautiful spring day in Florida) and Goose went back to the neighbors to walk their dog. Mom headed back upstairs, leaving her e-cigarette downstairs.

(I decided to leave it to see how long she would go without it.)

Time for a refill- right back.. dang.last 1/2 glass wine, hope to end this soon, as it is , of course, it also close to 2:30 a.m. and  not far from coffee.. and the start of the next day…

Ok where were we?

Oh, so ok, mom went back upstairs and by now, it is close to 11 a.m. and she has to take her oxygen off to come downstairs. She always, ALWAYS puts it back on when she goes back upstairs – she hang it on the to banister so that she grabs it as soon as her foot hits the second floor.

For some reason yesterday, she forgot.

About 5 pm I called her ( yes, on our cell phones,  from the first floor, I called her on the second floor to tell her to get ready for dinner – taking advantage of the laziness modern technology offers every chance I get) however, by the third time trying, I went upstairs and her tubing was still stretched along the stair railing. I grabbed it, and I admit, I was irritated,

I went into her room –

MOM! Wake up! Don’t you kinda need this tube to LIVE? 

I tried to wake her, get the tube back on her nose, but it just wasn’t working. For twenty minute I pulled at her, tried to wake her but nothing worked, so 911 it was.

They came and the good looking fire man carried her out of the house and headed to the hospital – where the fun begins.

But, alas, I am out of wine, the dog (the mischievous one)  is outside on an adventure – 2:11 AM is NOT time for an adventure….

So, this is where it started…the ER night is kind of funny….those familiar with the movie Back to the Future will appreciate that I took the Delorean with me to the hospital. But, that story tomorrow.

Gonna finish this glass of wine, proof read, publish, look for Max the Wanderer and, at some point, sleep…cause I have a feeling , it  is going to be a very, very long week.

I know it is short notice – mom had a dr. appt with her gp scheduled tomorrow – should I keep it and go by myself and go over all of this with him. without her and her touch me not feeling there? Any advice is welcome!

kisshands