Sunday, March 16, 2014

Guts and Glitter

First, some housekeeping. The response to these posts about the ADHD has been marvelously gratifying. Several people have encouraged me to keep journaling this, at least one has asked me to keep sharing. I've added a hashtag to my FaceBook posts and I'm moving to a blog, in case I want to share with someone who doesn't do the FaceBook thing (or, more likely, who doesn't want to see the extraneous stuff and nonsense I use to fill up FaceBook's servers). And I promise that these won't always be emo.

One of the advantages of not being on the medications is that my hyperfocus is back, and it's thinking almost entirely about the medications and the experience of them. With distance (and one doozy of a crash as the amphetamines clear out) I am becoming less sure of the value of the medications... but I suspect that's because... I have no idea. True to myself again, I started that sentence with an idea fully formed, had moved on to something else before I'd finished typing it, and when I come back, have completely lost what I had been thinking at the time.

But then, that's me. I am what I am. I've been like this for almost forty-two years now and, until I recognized myself in a description of this disorder, I was pretty okay with most of it, most of the time. Yes, there are some things that are difficult, even impossible for me like this, that will be much easier when I get the meds worked out, but I am what I am. In many ways, without being able to put a name to it, I came out of the ADHD closet years ago. Life was a series of deals and accommodations, in relationships and employment, in housekeeping and finances. I'm going to be a horrible correspondent, but when I write, it will be funny and interesting. When I move away, I won't forget you, but I won't remember to call, either. And I will move away, I always do. I don't send greeting cards for birthdays or anniversaries and don't quite know what to do with the ones I receive. I have acquired enough Christmas cards to send one to everyone on my list for the next twelve years (when we rounded them all up and put them away this year, Brian had to make me count them before I would agree not to buy anymore in after Christmas sales); every year I make the list up new because I can't find the one I made the previous December. I have a place set aside in my closet for the gifts I bought and forgot to send, and found months too late. I am what I am, and I've learned to use my best self to its best advantage, and when I fall, to walk away and whistle. I am what I am.

At work, I can be extremely productive, but I have to be kept busy, and if I'm not kept busy I can start "showing initiative" and may forget entirely to communicate about what I'm doing. I can be abrasive and domineering without meaning to (hi Susan, sorry Susan). I will be every week on the list of people who have to be reminded to turn in a timesheet, and also topping the list of people you want to throw the most challenging puzzles to. I am far from perfect, I make no excuses, I am what I am.

On the whole, I've thought of myself as worth the trade-offs. I still do. Even so, I am now planning on taking a pill so that I can stop having to ask people to accept them.

The concept of life without trade-offs is incomprehensible to me. These medications will slow me down, but, I am promised, they will not take away the "good parts" of me or of ADHD. They will not (when they are properly balanced) make me any less able to think or think creatively. They will make me better able to connect with people. I will find that my thoughts, when I can express them more slowly, are better received and more respected. On Friday, the medication was definitely not right, but I felt already the raw power of it, of what I could be and do and accomplish without the Rampaging Stim-Monster driving me through life. I can be Ginger Rogers when she stops dancing backwards and in heels, and starts showing us everything she can really do.

It may be possible, with these medications, to move to a place where I can offer friends, employers, husband, lenders, everyone I touch, a version of me that asks for fewer compromises, fewer accommodations. When I can do that, I do believe, wholeheartedly, that I will find those relationships and jobs more rewarding; as my needs and shortcomings become more normal and therefore comprehensible to others, I believe I will find those people more accommodating even than they are now. What they cannot do is let me say anymore that I am what I am. That is the price.


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