Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Things are still not going great?

I am having a hard time. My driving instructor says he doesn't know what to do with me. My husband said last week he "can't live like this" (we made up, but it was about cleaning - something that I don't believe will ever flow naturally for me no matter how much I understand it's important to him, I've improved for now but long term...) and today my boss has come straight out and said she "can't work with this" about me. Because of my organisation and time management.

I feel like... I'm always making promises that I don't know if I'll be able to keep because of my ADHD. Because I know what they want me to say, I know how I'm supposed to act following these things, it's not acceptable for me to be honest about my expectations, but I literally don't know how I could have pre-empted any of these problems, which means it's likely that they will happen again.

Also finding it hard - the contrast with when I was a teenager and struggling at school and the people who were cross with me were also trying to help me find out why it was so difficult for me. They don't do that now... because an adult who can't do those things is just obviously a lost cause. I feel so sad because I really want to fix these problems, I just can't see them in advance like other people can. But it comes back to the same thing - it doesn't matter how much effort you put into something or how much of it is in your control, the only thing that others see is whether you hit or missed the mark.

I know I have so much to give, but I can't get a handle on these basics. It is so enraging and senseless. But I'm too tired even to be angry about it so I just feel defeated today.

Thursday, 17 November 2016


The situation in the last post sort of resolved itself. Or got worse. Or didn't? I don't really know. Is it important?

Yeah, probably.

I should probably explain a bit more. I took on some extra classes back in the late spring. I was just covering another teacher but it meant I had a late morning through to evening schedule, and it was amazing. It just worked for me. Far better than the early morning + late evening with mass gap in the middle I had been dealing with.

So I asked my husband if he minded me doing more of this. He said it was a great idea, so I went to my employer, who also thought it was great.


So, the problem here, was that they set me an impossible task, and I agreed to it, because I'm endlessly optimistic and don't seem to notice that this often goes quite badly for me. The impossible task was learning to drive in two months. They basically told me that it was difficult. I knew that I didn't have enough time. What I also knew but didn't tell them was that I have ADHD and, um, there are actual trends that show driving is harder for people with ADHD, so that two months which was difficult for a normal person is basically extra hard for me. But I was optimistic, so I said okay, sure!

The other problem. I somehow assumed that during the conversation about my working more late morning through to evening days, that my husband got the memo that he was agreeing (in my head) to then cover the gap after school when our son comes home. This was completely clear to me because late morning through to evening also includes the early afternoon, and also because as part of this deal I promised to deal with the mornings, and also, why the F was I asking his permission to work, if I wasn't asking him if he was OK with going to work early and doing the extra childcare?

But yeah, OK, to be fair, I probably didn't spell it out exactly that this was what I wanted.

So - now it is much longer than two months later. I have failed two tests. I did pass theory the first time - memory, yay! But I am not doing well at the practical tests. Husband is straining to cover the childcare. I am paying aaaall the money to the tram system. Hoping optimistically that the driving school just let me keep driving until I pass and pay them later. Hoping optimistically that my employer doesn't just get fed up and give my job to someone else. Basically just smiling manically and hoping for the best in all scenarios while totally failing to plan.

You know when you plan? Can you see the plan in your head? Can you hold it there while you work out what happens on the next step? Because I can't do that. I have to write it down and even that in itself is hard. I start writing. I get several steps in. And it feels like the cogs in my brain are jammed, like they are buffering, or turning so slowly. I can't focus on anything and it all just swims and it's hard. I can plan... but it takes me a huge amount of effort and several sessions because one session producing the first step is exhausting.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

So I've kind of ended up in a situation.

I'm feeling a little panicked about this and I just need to get it down.

There seems to have been a huge communication error between my husband and I regarding the childcare arrangements for when I start working full time instead of part time. I remembered, and understood, from the original conversation, that once I was full time I would deal with before school mornings and he would deal with after school until I got home.

Everything has been set up into place, it all hanging on the performance of one day with everyone just crossing their fingers and hoping it will be fine. And I think it will be fine. But this approach stresses my husband, the ever rational, prepared for every eventuality INTJ, out no end. And during a crappy week for him to be stressed, too. I can't really reassure him that I've got it, because I haven't. But I don't want him to worry, and I'll certainly deal with the fallout myself.

But back to the conversation which I apparently completely misunderstood. I get my timetable for the first week and I say jokingly to him that he had better get used to getting up extra early so that he can cover me for all these afternoons. To which he says, um, wait, no. This 2asnt what I signed up for.

This is so jumbled and badly written, ugh.

I feel like breaking down and freaking out over this. I felt like I was about to taste adulthood and freedom. I felt like I was about to be worth something. Like I'd be a person who is useful and needed and relied upon and like my contribution is important, to be told oh no. It doesn't work like that. You don't get to have a job which is important because your job is to facilitate me in my job. Yes. I'm supposed to turn down work and work around his issues because his job is super important, whereas mine is incidental. And I know it's not really about that, it's about the fact his job can pay our bills alone whereas mine cannot. And I get that he wants to advance in his career too and that this would be more helpful to our family as a whole. But it just really sucks that I felt like I was on the brink of getting that and feeling like a real person and then suddenly it is all snatched away. Not because I made a leap of faith but because I did not see all the outcomes through. Because I was naive enough to think of things in terms of my own mental wellbeing and self worth instead of seeing what was practical for us as a family unit. I didn't stop to think about whether what I was asking was realistic, I just wanted it to be fair.

I'm going to publish this mess, and tidy it up later because fuck it, that is how I roll.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016


My husband thinks I am bad at dealing with change. Of course, I refute this absolutely. I love change. As long as everything is exactly the same as it is right now.


Joking aside, though, it's a weird thing. It came up because I mentioned that I don't update apps unless they either stop working or some new feature has been added that I want. It's not that I don't like it when an app changes, it just seems unnecessary, and if it works now, why bother? I've had too many frustrating experiences before where I was playing a game I liked and when they updated it they broke it or slightly changed the mechanics and it wasn't fun any more.

I think you could safely say I like to be comfortable. And part of being comfortable is things going the way I expect. I don't know whether it's related to the ADHD - one theory (of course as soon as he mentions something like this it makes me spawn 1000 theories as to why it might be) is that since basically everything around me is vying for my attention all the time, it calms the onslaught somewhat if I can predict a lot of them and let my brain fill in the blank space. Or it might be to do with the ADHD need for feedback - it's difficult for me to justify spending effort for something that I don't know will either bring a reward or lessen some discomfort, and then I tend to be forgetful/not follow through on things which is why it might look like I'm not interested in change. Often when there's something keeping me on track I'm very interested and motivated by change, it's just very very exhausting at the same time. He reckons that I'm only okay with change when I can have complete control over how it will go. Which actually does sound like me, though I never really think of myself as a controlling person.

I find it disconcerting when he points out something about me I hadn't really noticed and it makes me want to go and cross-reference it with other people who know me, but then I realised that I don't know if I have anyone so close who knows me that well. Which is disappointing.

It requires more thought.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

How does it feel to see your country begin to break?

It is a shock. It is a sharp jab.
It is feeling helplessly lost in not knowing. I didn't know I would feel like this.

I don't know whether it is my strength of feeling which is surprising, or that I didn't expect this to happen at all.

I feel stunned.
I don't know what I feel. I don't have a chance to look and grasp because I feel like I am falling.
Literally, falling with nothing to grasp, arms flying out behind. It feels like falling, and not in a good way, like falling in love. It is tripping and stumbling and air rushing into the ears and blocking out all of the sound but the words, saying things I don't want to be true.

And the breath. Visceral and physical breath leaves me. It is gone. It is gone.

How can it be gone?

Log on. The world reacts. There is a lot of feeling. Every feeling in the world came out today. Hurt and anger and fear, in viciousness. And sympathy. Reaching out, pulling close. These are the ones I notice. The hairs on my neck are not still today.

I am thankful for international friends. Thankful for wordless support, the ordinary. My people are hurting, badly. Talk feels impossible. Just angry words, now. Much later we will talk. For now we are hurting, and hurt people hurt. The hurt that lead to the vote and the hurt that follows. My country is bleeding.

Reading each new headline adds another dull blow. The reminder: This is real. It is happening. We can't go back now. The people have had their say. This is democracy.

I feel vulnerable and tearful. Small acts of solidarity are touching. Reminders of earlier optimism difficult. It feels too early even to laugh. I've never found it too early to laugh before.

I feel lost. I don't know where my home is.

My heart is breaking.

That is how it feels.

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Out of Sync

Do other people feel as though their wishes and hopes and reality are often jarringly out of touch?

Ever since I was a little girl I always wanted to "be a Mummy". I cycled through career options just as erratically as I have as an adult - artist, teacher, computer games designer, cat sanctuary owner. But I always wanted children, that never ever wavered.

It came to a head in my early teens when my half brother was born. The broodiness hit so hard that sometimes I'd cradle my raincoat as though it was a newborn, pretend I was pushing a pram to school when nobody was looking. Most teenagers are past the point of playing pretend, but I wasn't. I became fascinated with the topic of teenage pregnancy. It's probably why I was so easy to persuade to not-try, not-prevent a baby at nineteen years old.

I'm still fascinated by teenage pregnancy even though I'm grown up and responsible and married now. Furthermore even though I'm actually informed about what it's all like now, we have actually decided to do the grown up married thing and decide to have another baby. I had some weird conflicting feelings about that, but I'll write about them another time. That initial confusion was quickly surpassed by excitement and curiosity about the great process known online as "TTC" - trying to conceive, but of course with the vast amount of information available on the internet, it actually translates to something of an elaborate research project with the subject being your own body. I love a good research project, so this is right up my alley. I didn't want to get into all of the specifically timed sex and such like that, but things like working out when you've last ovulated and what position your cervix is in and all of that, it might not appeal to everyone but I find it fascinating.

So, I was somewhat surprised and felt slightly short-changed to find I was pregnant on the first cycle.

It was a short lived pregnancy, unfortunately, and what I am left with is a taste of what it would have been like. For those two weeks I felt constantly hungry, forcing me to eat properly for the first time in years, and tired, body-exhausted, the kind of tired when you feel like you've earned it. I slept. I ate. I felt my body stretching and making space and preparing and I was struck by how happy, calm, peaceful and normal I felt, in a way that I haven't felt in years. My body just seems to work properly when it is pregnant, like my faulty brain doesn't get to control the basics any more. I'm not sad about the miscarriage, it was the best outcome of some really shitty outcomes, but I do miss being pregnant and feel impatient to get back to the TTC cycle if not to be there already.

So I am also currently on a hormone rollercoaster. The websites warn that if I try any kind of tracking right now it will literally be all over the place, and that my body is flooding with mass doses of different hormones as a kind of flushing effect to get my cycle back to normal. I may be a little more maudlin than usual. In some ways I'm weirdly enjoying the opportunity to observe what is happening.

But anyway, to get back to the topic I originally intended to address. I always wanted to be a mother. My body, as well, seems to crave that state, and I know for a fact that if I hadn't done it, I would always be hanging on the sidelines wishing that I could, waiting, and it would have inevitably happened. I love being part of the "club" of parents, I love knowing what it is like to be there. I like having a topic of conversation with anybody else with children. If I can take my experience with my son as a given, which I suppose I can't, but if I do just for a moment, I know that childbirth makes me feel like a warrior and that I love the newborn time because I can completely follow my instincts and everything just works. Unlike the rest of the time.

I miss that, and I am looking forward to all of it again. But today I took my seven year old to the park and I just wanted to sit there on my phone. (To be fair, he was quite happy with that). He asks me to play board games and I just feel my face dropping as I reject this again. We did read a book in bed this morning. It was boring. Sometimes I wonder why everything is so out of sync here? I have this image of what having a family is like and I don't actually do any of it right anyway. We rarely if ever eat dinner together. In fact our usual routine is three completely different cobbled together offerings based on speed eaten in front of our respective screens. My lovingly crafted menu plans (when I remember/bother to make them) fall apart immediately.

I don't know. I mean, our family works for us and it looks the way that it does and obviously nobody has the chocolate box lifestyle in real life. I just wish that I was more on top of the things that I think matter sometimes and it confuses me when I want this so much and yet I dislike it a lot of the time. I would be completely miserable if I was childfree but the lifestyle would suit me so much better. It just doesn't seem to make any sense.

Monday, 11 April 2016

Monday update for CBT Week 1

So, Monday goals.

I collected the mail as planned (go me!) I had one letter and my husband has two, which I have left on his desk. My letter looked terrifying. #1 win.

I made some coffee, but I didn't like the idea of not multitasking, so I decided to not not multitask. Which is a crap way of saying that I took the coffee to my computer desk and drank it there and didn't make any food because I didn't want to eat it alone and bored at the table or browse the internet on a tiny phone screen two feet from my desk. However, I did notice that there were several plates and cups around, so I took them to the kitchen. I did not refill the dishwasher, because the kitchen is a mess and I hadn't even drunk my coffee. The kitchen is still a bomb site (2pm). #2 fail.

Also, while drinking my coffee, I did go through my emails and open the letter while I was drinking rather than going onto other tabs. Mostly. I actually did stay pretty focused during this, this time. I didn't have any new email which required action but I looked at some cute baby pictures my friend sent me and thought about calling her but it was too early in the UK to do that.

I looked through some older emails which had required action and had bitten me in the butt, some summer childcare for my son which had cancelled, and decided that I don't need that one anyway. I wondered about sorting out some alternative childcare, which I'm just realising now probably should have made itself onto the "action" list but which didn't. (Here's my plan: When this is typed up, I'll check the time and if it's not too late, then I'll do it.) Then I sent an email to work to clarify something, and ordered a product part that I needed. Finally I opened the scary letter. It's from a debt collector in England who wants me to pay back my overdraft on my old bank account. Actually, my husband told me how to deal with this months ago (write to the bank directly). So I opened up a word document, which is still sitting there. Mostly because I can't remember what he said to write. Also because it's scary and I don't want to.

Oh. I also needed to send one more email which was to my psychiatrist to arrange an EEG scan. (Needed if I am to start medication.) I opened up the compose window and wrote "Good morning," but found this so anxiety provoking that I immediately had to browse several other tabs. Also, I needed to pee by this point, so I went to the toilet and then I walked back past the kitchen so I got myself a snack and some tea. I did finish and send the email to my psych but I had to change "Good morning" to "Good afternoon" by the time I did.

I'm giving myself half a win for point #3. I didn't focus on it completely until the end, and I overlooked a couple of needed actions, but I still did several things which were in need of getting done. I also like the fact that I can happily ignore all of my emails guilt-free now until tomorrow morning because I know that I will get to them.

I haven't started the laundry investigation yet or read any of the book. In fact my son asked me if I would wash his clothes today and I said yes but I haven't done it yet.

So I have 1.5/3 for the daily tasks and 0/2 so far for the weekly ones. To be fair, that 1.5 is an actual improvement over my usual Monday morning behaviour, even if it is still shitty. I'll take that slight improvement as a win.

CBT for ADHD, week 1

NB: (To later be removed) I realise this is a bit sudden especially after such a mass gap in posting, but I was diagnosed with adult ADHD, specifically the inattentive type. I'll put another explanatory post up and backdate it later, but the summary is: My brain is screwed, and this explains why I have such issues with the details of adulthood. (Also, problems updating a blog.) Edit: I never updated this and probably never will, so deal with it.

This week I began CBT for my ADHD, so I'm going to try and note the results here both to see how I'm doing, and to document the process in case anyone is interested.

My sessions are currently on Friday evenings and this week I've come away with several goals to complete over the week. I'm sort of loosely using this book: http://www.amazon.com/Mastering-Your-Adult-ADHD-Cognitive-Behavioral/dp/0195188195/ My therapist described it as "In this field there are good books and there is many bullshit. This publisher doesn't make bullshit". To the point. Anyway, it's recommended by Dr. Barkley, which is a good stamp of approval for me.

So first I identified that one of my biggest problems is when I avoid an activity which would be small and no effort, but in putting it off I make a huge problem build up for the future. I particularly have an issue with reading and answering physical and electronic mail, so that is my first task.

1. When I re-enter the house in the morning, whether it's from dropping my son off on his way to school, or whether from work, I will check the postbox and carry up the mail.

2. I'll sit down and drink my coffee and eat some breakfast, but NOT at the computer and not while reading the mail. I'm not supposed to multi-task. He wants me to finish one task before I start the next so that the tasks aren't forever unfinished leaving a trail of destruction in my wake. (This is another problem that I wanted to address.) So after this, I should take my plate and cup and any other things back to the kitchen and refill the dishwasher.

3. Then I can turn on my computer, but only to check email. I should throw away the bullshit (I'm not sure that he really gets that bullshit is an offensive word? I don't know. But it's hilarious.) and decide what actions, if any, need taking. If the action is small then I should do it immediately. If I can't do it immediately, then I should decide when I will do it. The same for physical mail. If I find myself thinking "Oh but it will be too difficult, I'll do it later" then I'm supposed to counter that by thinking "No fortune telling. Just try it."

4. My other task for this week, which is more of a week-long task, is to figure out how often I should do things like laundry by counting how many clothes and other things we use in a typical week. I already feel a little overwhelmed so it might only be laundry to begin with that I work out, but I can extend it to other things if I want to and have time. (My current tactic with laundry is to forget that it is a thing until we all run out of socks and then try to do three loads in one day, forgetting the last one and leaving it to moulder for a week.)

5. I should also read the chapter on prioritising and writing a to-do list and maybe anything preceding this, again, if I have time.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Past Bedtime

Obligatory self-loathing "I haven't updated in an age". I get it, that's boring, you don't care.

So anyway. How the hell are you?

I am trying a new resolution type app which supposedly helps you make new habits. I've been working on "No napping in the day" for three weeks and one day, and managed it 15 days out of those 22. I started "Come off computer by 10.30" two days ago, and naturally, it's 1.03am and I'm typing this.

It's like once I've gone past the tipping point, I don't care and just carry on. I expect to be here at 3am. Then I need to make a lunch and hang up the washing in the machine. Bye bye lack of nap tomorrow! I know it's because I got home at 9, oven thermostat is funky so ended up finishing eating at about 11, hadn't done my lesson prep, noticed it was already after 10.30 anyway, and instead of thinking "Oh look, I've missed my deadline. I had better do all of the things I need to do and then go to sleep as soon as possible", I think "Meh, I'm late anyway. I'll do that later." and let myself get terminally distracted. Why? This is stupid and unhelpful.

I have an appointment for ADHD assessment. It's in February. I keep having weirdly vivid dreams about the assessment and/or thinking I've already done it and it's over. I also keep imagining all of these conversations I'm going to have in there, which I probably won't, at all. One recurring one is that I'm a terrible wife. One piece of evidence which keeps stabbing me in the face for that is that it's our anniversary soon and I asked my husband if he wanted to go to a concert, he said yes, but I have neither booked tickets nor found a babysitter, and the concert is on Saturday. I remember this at about 2am every night in a cold sweat, but I can't phone anybody then, or turn my phone on to post to facebook because it will wake him up. And the day is battling through a haze of tiredness and shock to the system as I return to work. Other people don't seem to find that this hard. Other people don't stay up until 2am avoiding the things they need to do before bed, either.