ADHD and OCD

A Tale of Two Kitties: Part Three

I rambled a bit leading up to the actual meat of this post.  I feel badly dragging you all through it.  If you’d like just the gist, scroll on down to where everything becomes italicized.

So, I kind of dropped the ball.  I meant for it all to unravel here, as it did in real life this time last year.  But, as it tends to do, life got in the way. Hell, my feelings got in the way. There’s a fine line between allowing yourself to feel grief and allowing yourself to be swallowed whole by it.  There’s another fine line between honoring a memory and allowing yourself to make new ones.

I had every intention of telling this part of the story on January 19th, the anniversary of the day my little dude passed away.  Life is busy, crazy, and chaotic.  And, if I’m being honest, not stellar at the moment.  On January 19th, schedules allowed and one of my best friends was actually able to hang out with me.  I thought, I could wallow in my own grief…or distract myself by spending time with someone I rarely get to see.  I chose to focus on the good and I hung out with my friend instead of completely indulging in the grief and sadness that the day forced on me.

After all, when I set out to share all of this with you guys, it wasn’t so much about the grief and the gut-wrenching sadness of losing someone you love…though, that would inevitably be part of it…it was, believe it or not, supposed to be about gratitude and hope, mostly hope.

I’ve been living my day-to-day life since my last post, but the “blank pages” have been plaguing me.  The ADHD / OCD war has been alive and (un)well.  Part of me knows I procrastinated this, part of me wants to just let it go unfinished, and the OCD part of me is berating itself for having not stayed on task and not completed everything on time.

I digress.  Imagine.

So, I kept trying to do the math for all the things.  Since I missed the actual anniversary, what day would make sense to post all of this?  Should I backdate it all?  Honestly, I’m still on the fence.  There’s a timeline I committed to in my head and I’ve failed to maintain it.

But isn’t the whole point of all of this to be real?  To be human?  To share my failures, not just my successes?  Aren’t you proud I haven’t even addressed the fact that it’s probably been over a year since my last post before these Tale of Two Kitties ones?  Ha…and there it is.

Anyway, now I’ve written an entire post leading up to the whole point of the post.  Le sigh.  I guess if you’ve made it this far, I commend you.  There’s a bit more to go; there’s always more.

So, like I said, I’ve been living my day-to-day life trying to decide when to post all of this. And today, Facebook hit me like a ton of bricks…one that I knew was coming, but still. On This Day last year, I finally put it all out there.  I told the world (my world, anyway) that my favorite guy was gone.  It took me a week and a half to compose a post, to say the words, to, perhaps, admit the reality of my loss.

Puppy was such an amazing dude.  He had a following.  And had I been more diligent (or had he been more active on social media himself…slacker), he could have had a real following on social media.  His personality made an impression and, if only because of the joy he brought to me, most of the people I love, loved him as well.

I could sit here and relive it all, as…let’s be real, I’ve been doing for about a month in my own head.  Or I could just share what I put on Facebook.  I think I’ll do that.  I’m not sure when I’ll follow up because now I’ve screwed up the timeline, actual dates anyway…but I promise the story gets happier.  I still lose my dear, sweet (insane) Puppy, but there’s a light, a hope.  Some rough patches still to come, but if you see it through, you’ll feel the good…I think…I hope.
Here are the words I shared on this day last year.  (I guess in some ways, I’m right on track with the timing thing.):

I have been absolutely dreading this post. On Thursday, January 19th, I had to say goodbye to my best friend, my Puppy.
As you all know, he was my favorite thing in the world. And I know so many of you grew to love him and his quirky ways, too.

He was thrown from a truck 14 years ago and our apartment security officer, who saw it happen, knew Stacie, Carrie, and I were suckers. I ultimately got custody of him after graduation. Rather…I took him and I think everybody just knew we were meant for each other. I like to think we saved each other’s lives. I know there were plenty of times that he saved mine. We were just crazy enough to make sense of each other.

My world is ridiculously empty without him. He was everything that got me out of bed for so long, especially towards the end when his actual survival depended pretty much on me. His signature, “Pa-pow,” greeted me every time I walked in the door, even until the very last time.

He made me laugh so much. He was such a goober.

He stopped consistently sleeping with me over the past year or so; he took to sleeping on the massive pile of clothes on my dresser instead. Occasionally he’d grace me with his presence and sleep draped across my chest…for just a few minutes. Those were the best moments, even when they were extremely brief. He slept next to me in bed that last night. I think he was throwing me a bone, letting me know that he loved me, too…but I think he knew it was almost his time.

That little guy infiltrated my life. I am so grateful for the time we got to share, for the laughs, the love, the companionship. As crazy as he was, he was truly a gift. Perhaps only a weirdo like me could love a weirdo like him the way he deserved to be loved.

The past week and a half-ish have been heart wrenching. His last vet visit in early January showed improved blood work. So, while we knew he wasn’t 100% healthy, it seemed he was getting better. He wasn’t.

I am grateful that I was here with him, that I was so in tuned with him that I heard his strained breathing as soon as it began…at least I think I did. I’m grateful I had the strength to not prolong his pain. Though, in some ways, it was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. I’m grateful that my brother could be there with me, so I didn’t have to be alone as I said goodbye to the little dude who had become my life.

I’m sorry this is so long…and that I’ve attached so many pictures. It’s not like you couldn’t find them on your own if you wanted to go looking on my page or his. For as many times as this moment crossed my mind over the years, I had somehow convinced myself I’d never have to face it. Yet, here it is.

For all the things I’m grateful for, second, only to him not having to leave this world alone, is the amazing amount of love and support I have received from everybody in my life. My family and friends are beyond amazing and they remind me that, no matter how much it feels like it, I’m not alone. Their thoughtfulness and kindness has blown me away and given me hope.

My world will never be the same. My little dude is gone. And I am crushed. Even in these moments of intense sadness, I’d do it all over again. He brought so much to my life. His absence kills me, but my life would have been far worse had I never been able to love him. And love him hard, I did…for that is the only way I know how to love.

So, there it is, guys.  The shortened version of one of the absolute worst moments of my life.  Pets are people, too.  Pets are better than people.  I still miss him every single day.  I think that’s the sign of a good run.  I was lucky as hell to have a little dude I loved so much and who…well, who tolerated me.  I mostly smile at the reminders.  When you’re a crazy cat lady, they’re everywhere.  I wouldn’t change a thing.  I’m glad there are constant reminders.  Sometimes they hurt like hell, but they mostly make me smile…

Tale of Two Kitties: Part One

Tale of Two Kitties: Part Two

ADHD Adult Coloring Book

Adult Coloring Books and My ADHD / OCD Mind

Well, it’s been over a year since my last blog post…

WordPress is now foreign to me.  I don’t know why this catches me off guard; good technology is constantly updated.  It’s just that I’m navigating it all for the first time again, while trying to complete a blog post that part of me believes I’ll abandon midway through (Yeah, I still have ADHD and my OCD still wants perfection or nothing at all).

A lot has changed since I’ve been gone.  Although, in reading my last blog post (which references an ancient blog post of mine), it seems quite a lot has actually stayed the same (even since the ancient times).

Either way, this blog post isn’t about what happened during my hiatus. It’s all those things, I believe, that has kept me away for so long.  It’s not like I hadn’t intended to blog earlier.  I’ve thought about doing it nearly every day since I last did.  However…life.  The longer I was away, the bigger I felt my reintroduction needed to be.  The all-or-nothing that so frequently plagues the ADHDer conquered me for far too long.  And I feel it conquering me even now.

I’d planned on pouring it all out.  Adele’s freaking “Hello” calls to me like a ghost from the beyond (“the other side,” as it were).  Like so many people, I’m sure, but in a very different way.  Anyway, I’d planned on sitting with my laptop, with the damn song blaring through my headphones.  I even asked for Adele’s 25 CD for Christmas (Who the hell buys CDs anymore?  Me.).  Except, I didn’t.  Amazon screwed me up, guys.  Or my impulsive ADHD did.  One of the two…maybe both.  I was creating my Amazon Wish List and I knew I wanted the new Adele CD.  An Adele CD popped up at the top of the screen, so I assumed it had to be the new one.  I got it for Christmas and was excited (or some other more appropriate word for the type of anticipation that comes with preparing to pour your heart out about a lot of hard crap) to sit down with the song and pour my heart out.  When I put the CD in and heard “Rolling in the Deep,” I knew I’d screwed that up.

To be fair, I could very easily just pull the song up on YouTube.  Maybe I don’t want to blog about all of that yet.  Maybe I’m not ready.

I’m kind of just going to pretend that I didn’t disappear for over a year. I’m going to blog as if I blogged yesterday.  Inspired by my friend and her new blog Ever After McNeil and much encouraged (and somewhat threatened (in a do or die kind of way)) by my other creative friend, I’m just going to do it.  I am just going to write…something.  The rest of it will come; I’m sure.  It has to.

Part of me feels like this post is too long already.  Ahh, screw it.  Maybe some of you have skipped ahead to the actual adult coloring book part…and that’s totally okay.  Heck, it’s not like I probably have any readers at this point.  I’ve left you all high and dry for quite a while.

If, however, you happen to be still there lurking in my shadows, please hold tight.  I’m really, really going to try to come back here more often.

And now…the moment you’ve all been waiting for…an actual blog post.

Adult Coloring Books and My ADHD / OCD Mind

the time garden a magical journey and coloring book

Adult coloring books are all the rage (Just Google, “Adult coloring books,” if this is news to you).  Unlike Adele’s 25, I got one (and some awesome colored pencils) for Christmas.

I’m in an ADHD group or two on Facebook and I’ve seen a lot of people mentioning how awesome adult coloring books are for kind of grounding our ever-unsettled minds.  I didn’t ask for the coloring book, but I’d definitely thought about buying one.

In fact, the idea of coloring being a calming activity isn’t new to me.  I’ve bought many regular coloring books over the years…just haven’t actually colored in them…though I have many pristine packs of Crayola crayons.  I do tend to bare down too hard and break the crayons.  That’s the OCD striving for perfection…and creating a callous on my middle finger.

As any of you with ADHD know, it’s hard to calm your mind, it’s hard to shush all the noise…of all the things.  For me, especially unmedicated (which I’ve now been for more than a year), I feel most alive and most in tuned to a particular thing when I am hyperfocusing on that thing.  This is one of the gifts of having ADHD.  Sometimes it feels like a super power.

The things we ADHDers hyperfocus on are the things we are most passionate about.

Adult coloring books kind of give us a place to focus, with the delusion of them being important.  It’s important to pick the right colors, to color with the right intensity, and to stay within the lines.

…or is that the OCD?  …because coloring books don’t really matter.

Who cares?  I tried it tonight, guys.

ADHD Adult Coloring Book

I like it.  I gave it 20 – 30 minutes.  My hand cramped, reminiscent of my days in school when I scrambled to write all of the words the teacher said because I couldn’t comprehend them as she spoke, but I was totally going to type them up (and did), so I could study them later.  For the first time in years, I realized I need a pencil sharpener.  I chose my colors carefully.  And tried not to commit to completing the whole thing in one sitting.  I colored a bit. And it was therapeutic.  It was rewarding, calming, focusing…  As my hand started to cramp and enough time passed, I started to make mistakes (My OCD kicked in and the mistakes pissed me off.).

I decided if I was going to finish this blog post, I better go ahead and check out.  Cause, the thing is, engaging with this blog post isn’t simple.  It requires me to tap into my inner being…it requires me to write (which I actually take pretty seriously)…it requires me to take photos (which I also take pretty seriously, but don’t do nearly enough…although, retrospectively, more often than I write anything of much consequence)…and it requires me to focus (the hardest of all the things).

So, guys, I think I’ll wrap it up.

I’ll definitely revisit the adult coloring book concept.  And I might even try coloring in a regular coloring book.  Although, I prefer the stronger paper provided by the adult coloring book.  I just wonder if the lack of detail in the regular coloring book would be better for both the ADHD and OCD, allowing for perfectionism, but not presenting so many damn slivers to fill in so perfectly.

 

 

 

Tattered Paper Worn Thin From a Lifetime of Holding On

In the wake of an adhd and ocd storm (life) - messy roomToday is National Honesty Day, apparently.  I feel like my writing was extremely honest and raw just after receiving my ADHD diagnosis, so I think I’ll share another one of my newly discovered Xanga posts.  A lot of people seemed to like (or at least shared) my Colored File Folders and the Organization of Life post, so I thought I’d post something similar…but first I’m gonna preface it a little bit.

Processing An ADHD Diagnosis

After being diagnosed, I was flooded with all kinds of emotions.  In some sense, I was relieved – to know there was a reason for so many of my unresolved challenges.  I was hopeful – that being able to understand my diagnosis would allow me to resolve some of those stubborn challenges.  I was angry – that I slipped through the cracks and survived school, even college, successfully because, if I had been diagnosed earlier, I might have actually learned something or, at the very least, I would have suffered less in the process.  I was sad for my younger self and all the things she’d had to overcome and all the potential good times lost in the battle.  As you learn to reassess your life, post diagnosis can be an emotionally chaotic time.

Having an answer of sorts (the ADHD diagnosis) drove me to research the hell out of everything, trying to find more answers.  From new ways of learning to new ways of organizing, ideas and new possibilities were running rampant in my ADHD / OCD brain.

Not for the first time in my life…and certainly not for the last…I was trying as hard as I could to get above water again.  Maybe I could even swim again.

Understanding That You’re Not Alone In Your ADHD Struggle

Since starting this blog, several people close to me have said that they had no idea that I had struggled (and continue to struggle) so much or that anybody had to live with these challenges.  That sounds like a pity-me statement and I don’t mean it that way at all.  I just know there are others out there who struggle with the same (or similar) issues and I want them to know they are not alone…and frankly, that it’s not typical to have to struggle in these ways.

The road to healing is a long one and it’s rarely as straight as we would like it to be.  Still, if you suffer with ADHD symptoms that are negatively impacting your life, I definitely recommend getting help of some kind.

Diagnosis Isn’t A Cure-all

In The Wake Of An ADHD And OCD Storm (Life)

All that said…and in the spirit of full disclosure (Happy National Honesty Day!), that picture at the top is my room (my nemesis) as it is today.  I’ve come a long way since the days of early diagnosis, but I still have a long way to go.

The funny thing is, I’ve had more than one person say that they’d hire me to be their professional organizer.  Of course, that wasn’t based on the organization of my room.  That was based on my organization at work and with projects in general.

Tattered Paper Worn Thin From a Lifetime of Holding On:

A Flashback To A Not-so-former Life

 Here’s the original post I intended to share.  Didn’t mean to carry on about it for so long.

“I’m cleaning today, which I know is a huge surprise to all of
you.  When am I NOT cleaning?  Perhaps “cleaning” isn’t the
best word choice.  I’m not dusting, vacuuming, or windexing…or
anything else of the sort.  The house (and my mind) is far from a
state that would allow such “cleaning.”  The piles are
everywhere…  Some are categorized appropriately…some are still
mere collections of my life, bits and pieces from here and there and
everywhere in between.  I don’t reget holding onto all of this
stuff, for I always knew I clung to it for reasons that were not
materialistic in nature.  I cannot allow myself to delve too much
into thought right now…at least not shared thought.  My thoughts
are constant, as they always are, and I try to sort through
them…  I try, desperately, to understand myself.  I’m
finding clues for the first time.  Each of these random objects
tells a little bit more about the places I’ve been, the person I’ve
been, and, most importantly, the person I am today.  Pages and
pages of class notes..illegible fragments of attempted knowledge,
incomplete information that I couldn’t focus enough to hear properly,
so it didn’t get translated properly or even coherently, random
thoughts in the margin, doodles that clutter the page…handwriting
that screams desperation as it tries to record every word it possibly
can with the intentions of rereading and digesting it all
later…unfinished letters that never got where they were meant to go
and some that served as rough drafts for the defining moments in my
life…important documents stained and crumpled from a life that
yearned for perfection, but resulted in chaos…  There’s much to
take in…  “I’m just sorting through some stuff…” I’m tired of
saying it…tired of hearing, “You’re always going through stuff…how
long could it possibly take?”  It could take a lifetime…

As a side note, I look around and wonder if I am too much for this
world.  The words do not come as I try to explain this
notion.  Perhaps later…  I will not force it.  More to
be sorted out…in due time…”

Posted February 11, 2006 at 3:51PM

Colored File Folders and the Organization of Life

Face of forgivenessBelow is the “famous” blog post that resulted in two comments that made me decide I could change the world (or at least the lives of one or two people) through blogging.

When I originally posted it, I was in the early stages of my ADD / ADHD diagnosis, just starting to understand that all was not lost in my life and coming to terms with the fact that there was a legitimate reason for the persistent challenges I’d been facing.  (Not sure whether I had quite admitted my OCD hoarding tendencies to myself yet or not, though.)

After a lifetime of failures (or what I interpreted as such) and the resulting self-hatred, I was finally looking at myself in a new light.  I was beginning to forgive myself for my perceived inadequacies and trying desperately to love myself again.  More importantly, for the first time in a long time, I was finding hope.

“So kids, I spent the day sleeping.  Woke up around 6:30 PM and
debated on whether or not to take my Adderall.  I thought about
just going back to bed, but I had an inkling to be productive.  I
can’t very well just “hang out” with my house as it is, so that was
pretty much out of the question.  And since it’s Saturday,
tromping out into the world didn’t seem like the best idea for my
sanity.  A thoughtful trip to Starbucks would be more frustrating
than successful as the place turns into a party zone on the
weekends.  No offense to any weekend Starbuckers; I understand
it’s a coffee shop and it’s meant for conversing amongst friends.
I do it too.  Just, when I’m alone, and trying to clear my head, I
find it quite difficult to concentrate between the screaming machines
and the dozens of conversations going on at once…not to mention the
spaztic musical selections that somehow manage to find their way to the
speakers of the joint from time to time.  So, when I AM alone, I
choose to avoid the place on the weekends, at least as night
approaches.

SO…I did decide to take my Adderall around 7:00 and decided I would
try to address the house.  Every room in the house has clearly
been traumatized by the whirlwind that is my life.  I’ve brought
everything down from the attic.  I guess I finally realized that
this place is more than a transitional residence.  Although, as I
write that, I don’t even believe it myself.  Perhaps I’ve realized
that even in transition, I must be whole.  I need to know what I
own.  I need to see where I’ve been.  I need to throw a bunch
of crap out…and give a bunch away.  There are piles of this and
piles of that scattered across all existing floorspace.  Multiple
trashbags, housing pieces of my life, have found their way into every
room as well.  Despite the chaotic look of things, it truly does
represent progress.  Trashbags and piles prove that I’ve actually
gone through stuff, so that’s definitely a step in the right direction.

I stumbled upon a lot in the process.  I found a lot of things I
had forgotten I own.  I took a few trips into the past, said
goodbye to a few old friends.  I’ve seen the struggles of my life
come alive.  I’ve faced the countless incompletes and put some of
them to rest and some of them to finish.

Many times I’ve been here, among the crap that is my life, trying
desperately to climb out of it…to understand it…to let it go.
I’ve held onto so many things as reminders of what once was, what
could’ve been, and what never was.  Other things I held onto with
the hope that one day I would get to them, to read them, to finish
them, to become whole.  These things represent my infamous “to-do”
list that never seems to get done.

This time is different, though.  I see all of this now with an
understanding of the places I have been, the person I was, the person I
am today.  Looking back over my life, I used to see two separate
lives-the early years when I was happy and the later years when I
yearned to be.  There was a defining moment that separated these
lives.  I placed an immense amount of power on that moment, and,
thus, regretted it deeply.  The more I learn about myself now and
the more I truly remember who I was before, the more the separation
fades.

Timing was unlucky.  Life was rough, I couldn’t concentrate.
It made sense.  I blamed myself; I blamed the situation.  I
could not fix it; believe me I tried.  The same day over and
over…I could not move forward.

And now I see…  Taking the importance away from that moment
empowers me.  It’s not all that it was cracked up to be.  I
will never say it didn’t hurt, terribly, but it did not define me; it
does not define me.

I am more than the moments of my life.  I am more than the
incomplete projects and the unfinished business.  I am who I have
always been; I never actually turned my back on myself.

It’s odd finding the strength to forgive myself after so long.
It’s scary taking my life back and knowing that where I go next is
totally in my hands.  As odd and scary as it is, it makes me feel
alive; it gives me hope.

Sure, I take longer than most people to do things, but I care about things more than most people do.

During my excavation, I came across an empty journal.

Most of my journals are at least scribbled in on the first page, even
if that’s as far as I got.  Over the course of my life, I’ve tried
to “start over” several times.  And each time I start over, I feel
the need to start a new journal.  I don’t want the scribblings of
the past to haunt my present or hold me back from my future.

This particular journal; however, is still blank.

People have given me plenty of journals throughout the years, and
always with the best intentions.  Sometimes, as with all gifts, a
journal I receive is not my style at all.  If a journal is not my
style, it won’t inspire me and I won’t write in it; it won’t feel
comfortable to me.  I don’t like things that do not feel like me;
they do not fit.  As I weeded through the library of journals I
have collected through the years, I realized I had received several of
them as gifts.  Most times I cannot justify spending even $10 on a
journal, even though I feel that writing is a necessity for my
survival.  I tend to end up with a pile of half-written-in
spiral-bound notebooks, as is the case to this day.

There is one journal I bought because it had several sections, each one
a different color to suit your mood.  I had written in two
sections-the blue section of sadness (tear) which had several entries
and the green section of inspiration, which had only one entry
regarding my intentions to write comically on my webpage, which I never
actually did.

There’s a second one that I bought, a simple black one with the word
“journal” imprinted across the front in a classic font; it’s a soft
journal and the one that I feel most attached to, although it is not
the most written in.

The journal that I found, actually separate from the rest of them, is
one that I bought at a dollar store.  It grabbed me though, more
than most.  It’s simple as well and reminds me of something I
would find at Junkman’s Daughter in Athens, something I would buy in
attempt to talk myself out of a depression or to focus on the better
aspects of life.

It is a white, hardback, with black letters on the front reading, “Some
are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust
upon them.  -William Shakespeare”

I don’t much care for the pages inside as they are marked with dotted
lines and some flowery doodle in the corners.  I remember
purchasing the journal thinking that I had been great once upon a time,
that I had been born great, and that I hoped to be great again,
thinking that maybe this journal or at least the quote adorning it’s
jacket cover might inspire me to achieve that greatness.

For years, I idealized my younger self and hated my present self for giving her up.

I realize now that if greatness once resided within me, it must still
reside there.  I am the same person I was the day that I was born;
therefore, if I was born great, I must still be so.

Nothing beautiful may bloom in a garden of hatred, but in the face of forgiveness, beautiful things will surely blossom.”

Posted January 29, 2006 at 1:52AM

Guys, it’s kind of amazing what you can do with just a little hope.

(Update: I added the picture at the top because I couldn’t handle a picture-less post.)

ADHD, OCD and T-Shirt Designs

ADHD and OCD – All About The AwesomenessADHD and OCD Awesomeness

ADHD and OCD are complete opposites in a lot of ways.  OCDers are all about the details and ADHDers are all about the derails.  It may seem like these two thought patterns would work diligently (and with much force) against each other.

And, sometimes that is the case.  For example, when my OCD pushes me to get all dressed up for a presentation…and then my ADHD pushes my coffee cup in my lap.  Or when my impulsive ADHD organizational purchase doesn’t fit exactly right or won’t hold the things it’s supposed to, so my OCD perfectionism declares the purchase worthless…but my OCD hoarding tendencies won’t let me throw it out…so the mess just gets bigger.
(more…)