Thursday, February 9, 2017

Asking the Question "Why"



When I am not doing so well, when I am run down and super tired and not motivated to getting anything done, I always beat myself up about it and wonder, Why, Why, WHY can't I get my act together.

When I am doing well, have tons of energy and motivation and don't feel as though I need an afternoon nap or two or three, I wonder, Why, Why, WHY can't I be like this all the time?

Ok, honestly, not ALL the time, but at least most of the time, consistently.

Instead I struggle with fatigue, lack of energy and no motivation 80% of the time and high energy, good motivation 20% of the time.

So, am I bi-polar? Is it ADHD? Maybe a combination of the two? I don't know, I really don't.



This week has been going remarkably well. I woke up Monday morning energized and motivated. I was able to get a great deal of stuff done around the house. I also spent quiet time in prayer and I spent and hour and a half with my spiritual director.  I went for a brisk 30 minute walk. I was not manic - just, like, hypomanic. Not over the top. I didn't spend any money, I didn't take any risks, I didn't have an affair - wasn't even tempted. 😆 I didn't do any of the traditional manic things.

But I did have a wonderful day. I was tired in the evening, after supper, so I napped for about an hour.

I got 7-1/2 hours of sleep that night.



Tuesday was a repeat of Monday. Another hypo-manic day! My organizer came in the afternoon and we worked diligently for three hours purging, sorting and organizing. I got another 30 minute walk in and ran some errands up town. I had quiet time for prayer and for Mass. I took a 30 minute nap in the evening as I was exhausted. I went to bed around 12:30 and slept well. Woke without the aid of an alarm at 7:40.



And Wednesday was also awesome. Another busy and productive day, including exercise. No nap at all. I went to bed at 10:30, woke at 3:14 and was WIDE AWAKE. Fell back asleep around 4:00 and slept until 8:00.

And then there's today, Thursday. I attended Mass this morning, went for a fast paced 30 minute walk, then sat in a doctor's appointment with my husband for an hour and 15 minutes. Boorrrrinnnngggg! Had to cancel the engagement with Lori (the organizer!) for this afternoon as we only thought the appointment would take 15 minutes.... so I was late getting home. Picked up a few groceries, ate (a good) lunch and now.... now I can't get going.

I know that if I just do it, if I just start, I might be able to get motivated. But I can't even get started.



What are the ADHD tricks for getting going?

  • Plan something fun for afterwards
  • Set a timer for 15 minutes and stick with it for that long
  • That's all I remember.
  • Oh! Get up and get moving! 
  • Stimulate the brain (but how?)
Right now I sorely want a nap. I also desire carbs - specifically cereal. I don't need either and I know that both are detrimental to my situation. A nap sounds like something fun to do afterwards. But I know that I should NOT nap. What else sounds fun? Maybe I'll.... sew! Or make a card! (Those both sound nice but not exactly fun.)

So. I'll set a timer for 15 minutes and I will tackle one kitchen cupboard. We'll see where that leads....


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Planning Freaks Me Out

(Otherwise known as Purge + Sort + Organize = Anxiety)


Ok. I didn't expect this. The other night I decide to sit down for a few minutes and work out a schedule of sorts for myself. 

There are five things I'd like to get done on a regular basis: Framing, Cleaning/Purging/Card Making/ Crafting and Sewing.

And I thought, "Well, there are five weekdays, so why not schedule one per day?" Simple and effective, I hoped. Except that just trying to wrap my brain around that idea caused me a good deal of anxiety! Seriously, really? Why? Why is this so darned hard to do?

I don't know, but it is. 

And I enlisted help to purge, sort and organize my house. My original plan was for her to come and work with me from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm on Monday. I changed that, however, because my husband and I had an appointment come up for 11:00 am that day. So I told Lori that we could work from 1:00 - 4:00.

Boy, am I glad that appointment came up.

First of all, my anxiety levels kept building all morning. By 12:30 I was feeling like I could break into tears at any moment. My heart was doing this slow, heavy beat thing - I call it Thudding. My chest felt constricted and I was at my wit's end. I was so, so tempted to call or message Lori and tell her, "Not today," but I resisted the impulse. As it got closer to 1:00 and she hadn't arrived yet (and I was willing to bet she would be one of those punctual people) I thought maybe she'd changed her mind and wasn't coming after all. Well, a more accurate statement would be I HOPED she'd changed her mind and wasn't coming after all. 

Of course, that wasn't the case, and I knew it wouldn't be because Lori is the kind of person who would call or message me to let me know she wouldn't be coming. 

So, she showed up as scheduled and I gave her a tour of the mess and she didn't run away. I didn't even see her flinch. Of course, I was so anxious I may have missed the flinching. 

And then we got started. We worked diligently for three hours and got an amazing amount accomplished. 

And when we were done (for the day),  I felt.... exhausted. 

No, I did not feel good about what we'd accomplished. I did not feel satisfied or proud. I just felt exhausted. 

And my heart was still Thudding and my chest was still tight and I still felt incredibly anxious. 

Lori thought we could meet again this week to continue and I was quick to say, "NO!" Oh no, no, no, no, no! I cannot do this again this week. No.

So we are going to try next Tuesday at 1:00. 

The reason I was glad we ended up with the appointment at 11:00? I think an entire day of purging, sorting and organizing may have killed me. 

And if I'm dead, what would be the point of the purging, sorting and organizing? 



Tim and I went to Mass at 5:00. I knew that would be a wonderful time to wind down, to connect with God and to get recharged.

Except that I was still anxious after Mass and, in fact, all through the evening. I did some reading. I baked cookies (and ate a bunch of them, as you remember I like to eat when I am anxious) and I went to bed early (10:30). My heart was still Thudding. In fact,  when I woke up an hour later,  it was still Thudding. 

Why? Why is this making me anxious? Because I am getting rid of stuff? Because, because, because - WHY? 

I don't know the answer to that. I am happy to be getting rid of stuff. It's stuff I do not want anymore. Do not need. Why is it making me anxious? Even as I type this, I am feeling the anxiety. Why?

I need to ponder and pray on that a while, I'm afraid. I have no clue why this is so hard.

And right now I want to take a nap more than anything else. Except that I made a pledge to not nap. So that I can sleep better at night. (So far it's not working.) But I want to try it for an extended period of time (a couple of weeks?) and see if I am able to sleep better at night. 

But I could easily fall asleep sitting here. Apparently writing a blog is not stimulating enough to produce the dopamine that I need to feel energized. 

Today is Tuesday: Card making day according to my new schedule. I guess I'll go make some cards. 




Thursday, January 26, 2017

Always so tired.....


Tuesday night I couldn't sleep. I tend to be a bit of a night owl... As in, I like to go to bed between 2 am and 4 am. I get an incredible amount of stuff done during those early morning hours. Sometimes I clean house but most of the time I sew or make greeting cards. 

Recently, though, I've been super lazy and I have been going to bed about midnight. I'm not all that tired, really, but I don't feel like doing anything, so I go to bed. It always takes me a long time to fall asleep, but Tuesday night was really bad. As in, I didn't actually fall asleep until about 3:30. Or at least, that's when I put the phone down for the final time. 

So what did I do all night while I laid in bed? Played Disney Emoji Blitz and researched ADHD in Adults. I had fun playing the game and learned a lot more about Adult ADHD. And just like when I was first diagnosed as having Adult ADHD back at the turn of the century, as I learned about ADHD I got goosebumps on my arms and a really strange sensation that someone had been following me around and writing everything about me down on paper.

For years and years I have been told that I am bi-polar. And the docs would give me books about bi-polar illness to read and I'd think, "Well, yeah, that's sort of like me. But not quite." But I figured I must be bi-polar, 'cuz over and over again I was told I was, and I kind of fit the description.

And then Dr. Mary Sandall, when I was in session with her one time, did a face palm and said, "I can't believe I didn't see this sooner! You have ADHD!!!"

Whatever that meant. 

Back in 2002 I knew about ADHD, but not much about it. So she gave me a book to read. Driven to Distraction by Hallowell and Ratey. It was creepy. But it was also exciting! For the first time ever, I had found something that fit me, perfectly. I remember reading it and I had chills. I leapt out of my chair and ran to Tim, "This is it! Whoever wrote this book has been following me around and writing about my life! It's exactly what I am, what I do!" 

I started taking Adderall, but I kept needing more and more, until I was at the legal limit. I don't remember what happened at that time, or why I started seeing a different psychologist, but I did. And I was back to the bi-polar diagnosis and lots of medication which put me into a deep, dark depression. I endured seven years of that before I finally said, "ENOUGH" and insisted on a drug holiday. That was ten (I think) years ago and I have been drug free ever since. 

But I've been so tired these past few years. I am getting more and more tired. I am not depressed, but I have a very hard time getting through a day without napping, unless, I've noticed, I have something fun or different going on. Then I am ok. But I couldn't make it through a day at my job (as a sales person) without a nap. I can't make it through a day at home without at least one nap. 

A sleep study a little over a year ago yielded what I already knew: I am a very restless sleeper, tossing and turning all night long. I am a night owl and have great difficulty getting up in the morning. And it takes me a very long, unusually long, time to fall asleep.

All, as it turns out and as I learned Tuesday night (or Wednesday morning, more accurately) ADHD traits. And the naps during the day? I am bored. My brain needs more stimulation, more dopamine, and without it I fall asleep. 

Interesting.

I've made an appointment with my doctor to follow up on this. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Just Do It



One of the things the ADHD “experts” say for those of us who have anxiety driven procrastination because of the ADHD is to “just do it.” As Nike would say, right? They claim that if you just START working on a project, it will get better. They even say to set an alarm for 15 minutes and often times by the time the alarm goes off you are “warmed up” and ready to keep working. They claim that starting is a key motivator. 

Oh how I wish that were true. Sometimes it is. Sometimes if I can just force myself to start a project I end up getting into it and motivated and accomplishing a good deal. But so often that is not the case. I start, I flounder, I keep at it, I can't get into it, can't get motivated. I stay with it for a bit and then I walk away. 


Those same experts also say that setting deadlines is key, as those of us who have ADHD work best under pressure. I have found that statement to be unbelievably true. The problem is, the deadlines cannot be set by me. For example, I promised myself I would get some custom framing jobs done for a customer by Monday of last week. Monday came and went. So then I said, Tuesday. And then Wednesday. And so on. Needless to say, I didn't get them done.


To beef up the pressure a bit, I told the customer I would deliver them Monday - as in yesterday Monday. But I didn't do that, either. 


And right now I should be in my workshop, finishing up the framing jobs so that I can deliver them this afternoon. 


Instead I am here, typing out this blog. 


AAAAUUUUGGGGGHHHH.


The experts also tell us to reward ourselves after working for a certain period of time. With that in mind, I am going to go work on framing for 15 minutes. Perhaps I will be motivated enough to finish all four framing jobs  - continuing to work even after the 15 minute timer has sounded. But either way, when the 15 minutes are up, or when I am done working on the framing, I am going to reward myself. With what, though? I don't know. I want the new Apple Watch, but I don't think a $399 reward is exactly what they had in mind. 😆


I could reward myself with a nap - but I've already taken one of those today. Maybe I will reward myself with a movie. I can watch one on my iPad while I make a card or two. 


I'll be back.....


Later: In the Evening


I was successful! I completed all four framing orders and delivered them! I did not, however, take time to reward myself, however the night is still young and I may do that this evening. 





Monday, January 23, 2017

Forgetfulness: A Hallmark Trait of ADHD



One of the main dilemmas surrounding adults with ADHD is forgetfulness. Oh, I'm not talking about that forgetfulness that everyone experiences from time to time. I am talking about forgetfulness that is a hallmark of a person's life.

I rarely go out to the car without having to make a trip back into the house to get an item I forgot. Sometimes I make two or three trips back into the house. And when I get to town I realize I still forgot the main item I needed.

I've been known to be halfway to town (an eight mile drive) and then remember that I had brownies in the oven.

And I've said on more than one occasion to my husband, "I haven't seen so and so around for a while."

To which he replies, "He's dead."

"Oh."

"Well then.... that explains why I haven't seen him around for a while."

This particular line of conversation has become common enough that I have begun to start my comments with a question. Instead of commenting that I haven't seen them around for a while, I ask, "Is so and so dead?"

Tim understands where I am coming from, but when I ask other people they frequently give me a rather strange look.

The fact that they were quite close to me (an aunt or neighbor) and that I attended the funeral doesn't seem to make any difference. I generally don't remember who is still physically with us and who is not. When we go to extended family gatherings, Tim gives me the low-down on who has died, so that I don't ask someone something stupid, like, "Where's your wife?" when she passed away a few months previous.

While the forgetfulness can be a deterrent, I mostly see it as a source of humor. I suspect others think I am spacey or stupid, but I find it rather funny. And laughter is good for the soul!

I have learned to deal with some of the forgetfulness. I keep a post-it note by the door into the garage that says, "Food for Mom." I only put it ON the door on days that I want to take some left overs to my mother. And I put it there as soon as I place the container of leftovers into the fridge. Otherwise I always forget. Not sometimes. Always. The note on the door helps tremendously.

I also have discovered that my iPhone, with it's reminders and alarms, is pure genius. I don't know where I'd be without it. As long as I take the time to set the reminder/alarm, I am good to go. My parish priest says you cannot love an inanimate object, but I totally disagree. I LOVE my iPhone.

A few weeks before Christmas, I noticed that a young couple from our parish came to Mass with a new baby. They were obviously enjoying having the baby with them and I just assumed it was their sister-in-law's baby, as the young woman had not been pregnant.

I noticed them with the baby a couple of weeks later and thought it was unusual that they had the sister-in-law's baby at Mass again.



After Christmas I stopped to congratulate them on their adoption, as they had the baby yet again and they were quite obviously the parents. I was so excited for them! The new mom and dad both gave me a strange look and then informed me that this was their baby; he was not adopted.

"Seriously? Wow! I didn't even know you were pregnant! That's so awesome!"

The mother then informed me that we'd had a conversation a few months previous, in which I had congratulated her on her pregnancy and commented that she wasn't very "big" for as far along as she was....

This was not the first time for me to see someone with a new baby and be totally surprised, as I had forgotten they were pregnant.

Tim tells me that I am much like the main character in the movie 50 First Dates. My children tell me that if I ever get alzheimer's, they'll never know.




Saturday, January 21, 2017


The Challenge is ON!


So, a friend and I got together yesterday and worked out. It was fun. Well, so, I am pretending it was fun. I can work out with the best of them, but I haven't done any working out for quite some time, so it was really a chore. Twenty minutes of learning the moves for the video and I was done. I mean, what? That wasn't actually the workout? Are you kidding me?

However, as of right now I am committed to this plan to eat well and exercise and lose some weight. And my friend and I have a challenge going on! Who can reach their goal first? She needs to lose FIVE pounds and I need to lose 105

Seriously.

She's 30 years younger than me and has two small children. She really doesn't need to lose any weight at all, but I would concede that she might benefit from some toning. I mean, who wouldn't, after two babies?

But anyway. We are going to work on this as buddies. I suppose I can help her maintain - and continue to tone - after she losings that whoppin' five pounds. In the meantime, she is determined to help me reach my goal. So maybe it will be a win-win situation for the both of us. 

After polishing off eight Lofthouse Frosted Sugar Cookies on Thursday, I got rid of the last two in the package yesterday. And by got rid of, I mean I ate them. No sense allowing good food to go to waste! There are starving people in Africa, you know. (Sigh.)



But other than those - oh, and the piece of cake I had a work last night - other than those three things, I ate really well yesterday. Now I realize that to those who actually eat well and don't love sweets the way I do, two cookies AND a piece of cake, all in one day, seems a bit excessive. But for me it was actually less than the junk I would normally consume, so it was a successful day.

I do not intend to continue to eat two cookies and a piece of cake every day, though. I am going to get better at this. Baby steps.

I'm going to call my friend Suzi, 'cuz I think she would not like for everyone to know who she is. Suzi and I are going to get together once a week and compare notes: How well we did with exercise and eating and we are going to work out together once a week. I like this idea. Someone to help hold me accountable. 

Of course, living with ADHD makes this difficult for me. The excitement will wear off rather quickly and I'll be bored. In fact, I am already bored with the exercise part. Oh, and the eating right part, too. But the adage with ADHD is to "Just Do It." So I am going to do it. 

Here we go.....

Monday, January 16, 2017

Anxiety Induced Procrastination











I have been struggling with weight gain. I find myself eating all the time. My spiritual director and I have been discussing this, because I feel there is a direct correlation to my spiritual life - this inability to moderate my eating affects my relationship with God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I mean, after all, the three pillars of spirituality are fasting, almsgiving and prayer. As St. Augustine said, "Fasting and Almsgiving are the wings of Prayer."

Padre suggested I work on figuring out how I am feeling when I am randomly eating. Yikes! I don't know! So I prayed for knowledge and understanding, so that I might know how I was feeling when I was chowing down mindlessly. And one day last week it came to me: I was extremely anxious.

About what? I didn't know. But I was definitely feeling anxious.

I started doing some internet searching on anxiety. And I came upon some information regarding anxiety and procrastination. Hmmmm. I am a world-class procrastinator. I wonder if there could be a tie-in?

Read on.... because if you have ADHD, you inevitably have problems with procrastination, and invariably those issues are anxiety driven.

So what makes me anxious which then causes me to procrastinate? Any of the items listed below:

  • The task is BIG
  • It's BORING
  • I FORGOT
  • I don't know where to START
  • I don't feel motivated until the LAST MINUTE
  • I'm TIRED
I tend to deal with the anxiety by finding other things to do. In the olden days, I played a lot of solitaire - the real, physical kind, with an actual deck of cards. Now I surf the Internet or mess around on Facebook or play Disney Emoji Blitz. But the two things I am most likely to do when I am anxious are 1. EAT and 2. SLEEP. 



I eat to "get me through the task." Five minutes of "work" = something to eat. Frequently I nibble the whole time I am working on the task.

I sleep to avoid the task completely. 

Neither one are healthy when done in excess and I've pretty much perfected doing both in excess. 

Sigh. So, how to conquer this anxiety and get the tasks done? Well, that I don't exactly have an answer for, but perhaps as time goes on I will figure some things out - I'll keep you posted here on the blog. Or at least, I think I will. But I very well might just procrastinate about posting, so don't hold your breath. 

I do have some ideas for ways to deal with it - and I've posted some links at the end of this reflection for you to tap into, if you, too, deal with procrastination, anxiety and ADHD. 

This morning I'm am starting out by having a cup of tea. I've eaten a healthy breakfast  - and now I want to eat some more. Candy, bread, nuts, fruit, cheese, veggies. Whatever. But I don't need more calories - so I'm having a cup of tea to tide me over. 





Check out these sites:



https://socialanxietyinstitute.org/procrastination-wasting-our-time-and-increasing-our-anxietyhttp://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/5353.html

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/dont-delay/201001/procrastination-and-adult-adhdhttps://www.verywell.com/anxiety-in-adults-with-adhd-20758

http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/08/21/8-pointers-for-preventing-procrastination-for-adults-with-adhd/

And let me just say: Writing this blog today is a means of procrastination. I really need to be sorting through piles of junk scattered throughout the house. I need to take down the Christmas tree. I need to make some thank you notes to send to customers. I have several picture framing orders to complete. And the closer I get to finishing this blog post, the more tired I am becoming. Time for a nap, eh? I'd really like to take a nap. But it's only 10:20 AM and I've only been up a couple of hours. I don't think a nap is what I need. So, I'm gonna try a few of the suggestions from the sites that I've read. I'm going to break the HUGE tasks into smaller ones, I am going to put on some upbeat music to help me get moving and I am going to START. I guess starting is the key. JUST DO IT, as Nike would say....

Wish me luck.



Monday, January 2, 2017



My friend Verna, http://vangerhofer23.blogspot.com, is downright religious about posting pictures of her beautiful handcrafted cards on a daily basis.

I, on the other hand, started a blog and then soon dispensed with it, as the novelty wore off quickly. 

I'm told, by doctors, that I am Bi-polar AND ADHD, so that might explain my tendency to start projects (exciting!) and then quickly abandon them. Maintenance is so boooooorrrrrrriiiiiinnnnnngggg. Ho Hum. 

Oh well. 

Here's my first card for 2017. I made four of them for a(nother) friend who is also my boss at a local restaurant, where I work as a waitress. The large "thanks" is cut with my Cricut Explore and the word art was drawn with my Cricut Explore. (I don't use the machine a whole lot, but I sure do like it!) The dots were stamped with distress ink using a Hero Arts rubber stamp. I ran a strip of washi tape above the dots. A simple card, but rather fun, I think. Today I will deliver the set of four to Jake and he can get his thank you notes written. 

Happy New Year! I hope it's a blessed year for you!

Terri