Friday, November 25, 2011

A second helping from Guest Author: Tanya Doyle

Tanya submitted two pieces and I liked them both and wanted to use them both. But I had a problem figuring out how to do that and be fair to other writers. Then it hit me: I'd let her have the day after Thanksgiving! I think it's a slightly less primo spot than other days because with everything going on, I don't expect to get a lot of traffic today. This way, I can use her second submission (scroll down to read her forst one) and not stick another wrtiter here in the "leftovers" slot. Of course, that's not to say that if you're here and reading this that I think any less of you. Quite the contrary; I think you're great and I love you! Same goes for Tanya. And leftovers, for that matter. You're ALL equally delicious! So enjoy!  

I devote a lot of brainpower to completely useless thought. The types of thoughts that roam around my brain range from the completely irrelevant to the utterly practical. The problem is that they all seem to occur at the same time. Random stuff like “Why don’t we gain weight in our lips?” or “Am I going bald?” or “Look at all the seams in this carpet…somebody did a bad job” is overlayed with the regular “gotta get it done” variety of mental activity. You know, the checklists, tasks, and prolonged activities that help us get our kids off to school, ourselves off to work, and our paychecks off to the bank. I’m fairly aware of the jumbled processing going on up there, and most of the time I like my mind just the way it is. But I’ve wondered to myself if this constant flurry of activity is what everyone else experiences.

ADHD runs in my family. Big time. Doctors have told me that I meet the DSM requirements for this diagnosis, but still I wonder. I did well in school, I’ve never had problems with authority, and I’ve been happily married for 17 years. Doesn’t sound like ADHD to me. So I googled ADHD to see what I could find out. There’s plenty out there to be found…for males. Not so much for females. I managed to find a few sources that note differences in the way ADHD manifests itself in girls. Some of the signs are:
· Intense studiousness – as a way to compensate for inattentiveness (ie. spending more hours than average to keep up good grades)

· Hypercritical of self
· Difficulty fitting in with peers
· Anxiety
· Hyper-talkative
· Emotionally hyperactive

Check, check, and check. Really? Me? Still not sold. How is it that I’ve managed so well to date? I know I’m not perfect (far from it), but I’m happy and healthy , with a good family and a roof over my head. All measures of a successful life, in my book. Well, it turns out, the plus of being a female with ADHD is that the higher functioning executive skills that seem to be a problem for males is not so much of a problem for females. So things like planning ahead, organization, and follow-through are less of a challenge. Hmm. Interesting.

Out of curiosity (or perhaps medical necessity), I started medication, and sure enough, I saw a difference. The areas where I saw a difference are what were fascinating to me. Biggest difference: I stopped surfing the net. Or at least dramatically cut down. I’ve come to realize that the World Wide Web is this attention-deficit person’s drug of choice. It calls me to me, promising all that my wondering mind can think up. That feeling of constantly wanting to “google” waned. It was noticeable. And liberating.

The other area where I noticed a difference was in my tendency to dwell, a common trait of my people (yes, I’m embracing it now). All the thoughts that would linger and grow out of proportion no longer festered. I was conscious of all the same old triggers, but like a door that slams shut, my mind no longer went there. I was able to perceive more realistically, process, and move on.

My stint on medication only lasted a few months. Those drugs are expensive, and I didn’t see enough benefits to outweigh the costs (monetary and physical). That first day off, I cried for a solid two hours. Over ridiculous stuff. It was as if all my craziness had been stomping at the gate, building up, just waiting for the medication to wear off. Even as I was crying my eyes out, I knew I was being comical. So I let the tears roll and then picked myself up and got back to work.

Side note: one should always work from home on days when one plans to go off one’s medication.

By the next day, I was back on the internet.

And now I know that this bombardment of thoughts isn’t necessarily what everyone else experiences. There are times when I wish for that quick fix that the medication provided. It’s definitely a calmer state of mind. But for the most part, I enjoy my random mind and all the entertainment it brings me.

1 comment:

Jeff Hickmott said...

I enjoyed your randomosity too! Nice piece!