mental health

That’s Just How ADHD Bloggers Roll(ercoaster)

ADHD Bloggers Get NutMegged

Sorry for the recent silence, guys.  I’m trying not to fall victim to the all-or-nothing tendencies that are so common with us ADHDers.  God knows it’s hard for us to find balance in our lives…and there’s a lot of other stuff going on (personally and professionally) right now that’s currently sucking up my energy.

I want to post frequently, but I don’t want to post just to post.  The content needs to have some value.  I don’t want to just spam you guys, you know?

Still, even if I can’t compose an epic post, because of whatever it is I’m struggling with at the moment, I guess that’s kind of what I’m supposed to be sharing, too.  While I try to take the positive approach to my own ADHD (and other) issues, it’s not all sunshine and roses.  It would be silly of me to pretend that it is.  Honestly, it would be condescending of me to even think that I could convince you that life with ADHD is always awesome.  Nobody’s life is awesome all the time.

You know better than that; I don’t take you guys for fools.  A lot of you are living the ADHD life, too, so you totally get it.  If I pranced around here all the time only talking about the benefits of having ADHD, I would probably lose my credit as an ADHDer.  There are good days and there are bad days.  (Good/bad weeks, good/bad months, good/bad years…you get the picture.)  And I won’t pretend otherwise.

I have plenty of content ideas, but I just haven’t had the energy to put a post together lately.  Life is all about priorities, though.  You need to do what makes you happy and you need to spend time on the things you value most.  We all have limited time – both on a daily basis and in the grand scheme of things.  You (I) have to be smart about how you (I) spend that time and energy.

Thing is…this blog (and all you guys reading it) are a priority.  It makes me happy to know that people are getting something from my posts.  Be it a good laugh, the ability to relate and know you’re not alone, some kind of inspiration…whatever it is that you get from my blog, I owe it to you to not drop the ball on this.

Hell, I owe it to myself.

After all, my whole life I’ve just wanted to make a difference.  If this is that chance, I better not screw it up.

So, yeah, adding pressure to a situation?  “…always encourages an ADHDer to stick to something,” said no person with ADHD ever.

Oh well…here goes nothing.  Who’s with me?

Certifiably A.D.H.D. And Certified in Social Media for Business

A little over six months ago, while scrolling through Facebook, an ad from my alma mater (the University of Georgia) caught my eye.  The ad was promoting a Social Media for Business certificate program.  As my company’s social media coordinator and someone with a crazy thirst for this social stuff, I was intrigued, so I clicked on it…and the rest is history.

It was an online, self-paced program and I would have three months to complete it…and the option to pay extra for a one month extension if needed (a nice safety net for someone with ADHD and a full time job).

The social media field is constantly changing and expanding.  To navigate it properly, you have to research all the time and in pretty creative ways.  A resource that is seemingly valuable one day might be completely worthless by the next.  In a lot of ways, social media is a perfect fit for the ADHD brain.  It’s fast paced, engaging, creative, social, ever-changing and success in it really depends on understanding the big picture.

Anyway, social media fits for me and I have an insatiable thirst for understanding all the ins and outs, so this certificate program definitely caught my attention (no pun intended).

All that said, the idea of going “back to school,” even on such a small scale, kind of freaked me out.  I struggled so much in school that sometimes I look back and wonder how I ever made it through.  Don’t get me wrong, I fought like hell and I did make it through.  Some might even say, with flying colors…  Still, there’s such a feeling of defeat when I think back on my education.

Countless hours spent trying to get through the textbooks, underlining everything, rewriting everything…and eventually just typing the textbook verbatim, just to try and learn something.  No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t pay attention in class.  I’d mastered the art of being able to take extremely thorough notes (mostly illegible notes) without being able to remember a damn thing from them.

The short of it is that school was really freaking hard.  I could elaborate…and I will in future posts, but you just need to know a little bit of the history there.  Heck, if you’re reading this as a fellow ADHDer / ADDer, then you probably know these feelings yourself.

I wasn’t diagnosed with ADHD until I was 26, after I’d survived (somehow) college.  Since then, I’ve always wondered what school would have been like if I had known about the ADHD.  Maybe I could have been more patient with myself or I would have accepted my struggles and asked for help, instead of forging through alone, expecting something from myself that I couldn’t produce.  Maybe I could have actually learned something, made it through a damn summer reading book or chased some of the dreams I had since rendered impossible.

But you can’t go back, right?  You can only go forward.

I’ve thought about going back to school a lot since being diagnosed.  If I can’t go back and change my educational history, maybe I can move forward and create a new one.  I took a photography class once and felt pretty good about it, but it was more of a hands-on thing.  It was about creating, not test taking or anything.  I was not required to retain information; I was really just expected to participate in the class assignments.  As someone who thrives in a creative setting, that class wasn’t exactly reminiscent of the dark trenches from my educational past.

Regardless, I was torn about this online certification program (yeah, remember, that’s what this post is supposed to be about).  I was afraid to spend the $2,000+ and not succeed.  Let’s be honest, I was afraid to be a failure (again).

But, the longer I thought about it, the more I realized that I should try it.  It was, after all, a social media program and it was online…and self-paced.  There were four quizzes and I’d have to complete a Twitter account and a blog in order to “graduate.”  How bad could all of that be?  The quizzes were open book, for Pete’s sake.  Plus, I have Google now, which I never had before in school…and you can find all the answers there.

So, I took the plunge.  I enrolled in the program and held my breath.

I read every single sentence that I was supposed to, in all the books and in all the notes.  I felt like I was really getting the stuff and I was actually applying it at work and experimenting with different tactics I was learning.  Still, I got to the quizzes and choked.  The fact that the quizzes were open book made me feel like I had to get 100 on them – my OCD can be quite a nuisance at times, too.  Anything less than 100 and I would be a failure.  Oh, I forgot to mention, you could take the quizzes as many times as you wanted, so, yeah…you could eventually get a 100.  But…I needed to get 100 on the first try.

And so I did…on all four of them.  I read everything at least twice, highlighted/underlined and took notes.  I printed off all the notes and put them in a binder with dividers, so I could find the information easier while taking the quizzes.  Surprisingly, I got a little better with each quiz.  Whenever a question would trip me up, that old, familiar self-hate came flooding back.  It would psych me out for a second, but I managed to talk myself down each time.

I guess I still have some self-forgiveness left to do.  I’m not as stupid as my struggles have made me feel; there was simply more to those struggles than I ever imagined.

The whole time, I was trying to figure out what I was going to blog about.  Photography, kayaking, social media, do-it-yourself projects?  Somewhere I had read that you should blog about what you’re passionate about and what you could be considered an expert on.

In some regards, I do think I’m a social media expert, but for some reason I didn’t really feel like blogging about that.  My mind kept drifting back to ADHD and the idea that I could blog about it and help others…that I could make a difference.

Being in the social media field, it concerned me a bit, the idea of putting my ADHD out there so blatantly…for the whole world to see.  I mean, certification in Social Media for Business will look great on a resume, but not so sure how the ADHD will look…

I was on the fence about it for quite a while and time was running out.

Luckily, UGA offered a one month extension for free.  I could have finished the class in those first four months.  At the end of that fourth month, I was done with everything except the blog.  I only had to write five posts, which could have been really easy if they were about photography, kayaking, social media or do-it-yourself projects.

Yet something kept pulling me back to the ADHD…so I sucked it up and paid the $50 for the month extension and I went for it.  I had blogged here and there for years, but not in a long time…nearly a decade, but a part of me always knew (hoped?) I’d find my way back to the blogosphere.  And if I was going to do it, I was going to do it right, which was going to take a little more time.

It took me forever to write my first post.  I couldn’t figure out where to begin, what route to take or what I really wanted to say.

That first post was the hardest, taking that first step…as it always seems to be.  The other four (required) posts came a little easier.  Before I knew it, I had six posts instead of five, meaning I had surpassed the requirements of the program.

I submitted my blog to the instructor for approval.  You guys, it was pass/fail…and I don’t think anyone would actually fail.  But I can’t do anything half ass, so I poured my heart out.  I got 100 on my blog(pretty sure everybody did).  I got 100 for the program (pretty sure everybody did).

The certificate came in the mail yesterday and I have to say it’s pretty legit.  I’m proud of myself for doing something I was afraid to do…and I’m proud of myself for finishing it.  So, please forgive me if this comes across like I’m bragging.  It’s just that, we have to celebrate the accomplishments, even the small ones.  After a lifetime of failed attempts, it’s pretty awesome having a successful one.

I also kinda wanted to tell you guys how this blog was born.  For some reason, I felt like I was keeping something from you and that didn’t seem right.  Not that it matters how it started because I’m not stopping just because I completed the program.

Thing is, I seem to be reaching people here.  People seem to be reading and sharing, which means that they’re getting something from what I’m writing.  So, if it’s alright with you guys, I’m going to keep writing…at least until you get sick of me.

It was an accomplishment to complete the course, sure, but the idea that I might actually make a difference with this blog feels like a much bigger deal.  Thanks for reading, guys.  You have no idea how much it means to me.

(Sorry this was so long.  I understand if you didn’t make it all the way through.)

Look a Squirrel! …When People Joke About A.D.H.D.

ADHD Look a Squirrel GetNutMeggedOkay, guys, I’ve been busy creating social media accounts for the blog and I wanted a picture that could kind of stand by itself, without having to have an actual blog post…and I came up with this.

I was hiking with a friend a few months ago, just as the leaves were changing colors.  I had my camera with me because nature is awesome and leaves (changing colors, especially) are amazing.  In just over an hour’s time, I took 163 pictures.  Truth is, I’m kind of obsessed with photography and being outside.

After a while, the trail started getting crowded, which I totally hate.  I like the solitude of hiking and having other people on “my trail” stresses me out.  So, I was wrapping up the picture taking because I was ready to be away from all the people.

Anyway, I was in total book-it-and-get-the-hell-out mode when we came across this squirrel.  He was just sitting there, hangin’ out, eating a nut.  Just like a squirrel…so stereotypical, right?

Intrigued by the noshing squirrel, I started snapping away with my camera.  I crept closer…a little afraid he might lunge psychotically from the tree and latch his tiny claws into my face.

But he didn’t.  He let us get so close; it was pretty cool.  I spent quite a few minutes completely absorbed by this squirrel and all his awesomeness.  I tried to break away a few times, but then he’d do something cute.  My friend and I joked that I was being so typically A.D.H.D., “Oh, look!  A Squirrel!”  But, seriously, guys, they are pretty awesome.

ADHD and Squirrels Get NutMegged

It’s not just my A.D.H.D., you know this squirrel is awesome.

And just to be clear, I did take pictures of the awesome view and other stuff, too, but I didn’t want to bombard you guys with a million different pictures (I’ll save that for another post).

Hiking ADHD GetNutMegged

ADHD and the outdoors – we get along.

Another ADHD Life Lesson: Irons are Hot – Don’t Palm Them

Another ADHD Life Lesson: Irons are Hot - Don't Palm Them
So, this post has been rather difficult to write…my left hand is excessively wrapped in gauze protecting my most recent injury.

Let’s start at the beginning…the date was November 16.  The year?  2011.  The cat got out of the bag at work about my t-shirt making hobby.  (I use iron-ons…and yeah, I’m a real dork.)  One of my coworkers asked me if I could make one for her.

Now, I take t-shirt design very seriously, folks, so making one can be a very time consuming project.  Because, yeah, here are some examples.

Thing is, this t-shirt project should have been really easy.  My coworker even sent me the graphic she wanted me to use.  It can take a lot of energy (because I’m crazy) to get the design situated perfectly on the t-shirt, but usually the hardest part is getting the design perfect.  This time, the design came ready-to-go (AND, my coworker gave me the t-shirt she wanted me to use, eliminating a whole ‘nother level of potential drama), so what the heck was my problem?

Honestly?  I’m not even sure.  A few things: 1. I knew I was running out of ink. 2. I knew some of the ink was expired. 3. I had forgotten which transfer paper worked the best. 4. My printer was SO hidden under piles of crap. 5. I hate imperfection.

Be that as it may…3.5 years to make a t-shirt is pretty ridiculous.  Unfinished projects loom over me, killing me a little each day.  Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic, but they really do bug the crap out of me.

Anyway, I recently bought brand new ink and printed off another design for a friend.  I decided it was time to crap or get off the pot.  I mean, I felt guilty every single time I saw this coworker, like I had somehow failed her.  So, I printed off the design (after resending it to myself because I couldn’t find it anywhere).

That was weeks (or at least days) ago.  This Saturday I decided it was time.  I had the house to myself, so I set up shop.  I followed the directions on the iron-on package explicitly.  I put a pillowcase down on the counter, taped it in place, ironed it and proceeded to position the t-shirt.

I centered the t-shirt the best I could and then taped that down as well.  I started ironing the t-shirt, focusing mainly on the area where I was going to put the design.  Then I noticed the sleeves were a little wrinkled, so I focused on them a little bit.  I couldn’t quite position myself correctly, to get all the wrinkles out without creating permanent wrinkles in places that should have just been left alone.

And here’s where the climax should be…except that I’m not entirely sure what happened next because I wasn’t paying full attention.  I went to put the iron down, to reassess the positioning of the sleeves.  It’s not that I was going to put the hot part of the iron down on the counter…because I wasn’t.  Regardless, I put the hot part of the iron down on my hand.

Took about 20 seconds before I realized I was in excruciating pain.  My entire index finger (the one side of it, anyway) was busy getting branded.  I immediately ran it under cold water and then put Neosporin on it.  It was throbbing in pain, so I put an ice pack on it.  It wasn’t until I started taking pictures for this post that I realized my middle finger was wounded as well…

But you know, Another ADHD Life Lesson learned: Irons are hot – don’t palm them.

…well, duh.

Go Ahead and Laugh at Yourself (and Your Friends with ADHD)

10 Things Only People With Attention Problems Understand: ADHD video shout out thanks to BuzzFeed

This video made me laugh, so I thought I’d share it here. I like how it addresses ADHD problems in a humorous way.  And they cover a lot (10) of the problems in just two minutes.  (Smart on their part to keep it short.)

They cover impulsiveness, forgetfulness, restlessness, difficulty studying, medication (adderall) issues and more.

My favorite, though, is number 10: When your friends say, “Sometimes I think, like, I have ADHD…because I don’t want to do homework.”

While everybody can relate to some of the symptoms of ADHD, to some degree, it’s really not the same as not wanting to do your homework…or losing your phone one time…or struggling to sit at your desk for 8 hours.”  Someone who legitimately has ADHD suffers these symptoms way more frequently and way more intensely than the normal person.  The symptoms are so intense for someone with ADHD that they seriously impede the ability to function on a daily basis.

It’s not something that can really be explained.  Either you get it…or you don’t.  This video made me laugh at my own ADHD self and made me feel like I was part of an inside joke that only a select group of super awesome people can truly understand.