Thursday, June 2, 2011

walkies & bye-byes in the car

spring term i chose... poorly. i mean this in terms of creating a schedule of classes & work, and in terms of structuring a study plan around these items. as a result of choosing poorly, i did poorly and had to have a meeting with both my advisor and the dean of my program. GOOD! TIMES! they were very supportive and helpful, and pointed out several options for the future and observations about the past.

i have been diagnosed with ADD-PI several times through my life, once you're diagnosed, for the purposes of school or work, you have a limited amount of time (usually about three years) that the diagnosis is valid. so, i got re-diagnosed (because ADD is well known for disappearing) last summer but never did anything about it. i figured, hey, if i know i have it i can compensate, right? i'm bright and motivated, that will surely be enough to compensate for a neurological disorder!

i wish text could drip sarcasm.

anyway, i've been having a really rough time of it since i began confronting this issue. i've cried a few times on sean's shoulder, and tried to ask a few friends with ADD about their experiences but haven't really gotten much--or really any--feedback. i feel like i can't talk to anyone who really understands about it. i've been reading Women With Attention Deficit Disorder: Embracing Disorganization at Home and in the Workplace lately and that's been a huge help in starting to look at my life and really see how ADD has affected me. still, it's not easy.

for example, i, unlike almost everyone else i know, have never owned a car. that's pretty unusual, and my cousins have commented on it. i generally brush it off by saying i don't want the hassle (true) and that making myself get around on foot & by public transit is a way of making myself get a bit of exercise (also true). however, a component i have never realized (or allowed myself to realize) is that i am afraid of having further responsibilities--especially financial ones that are due at particular times! i don't think i could manage having a car, making payments for insurance and the car itself, remembering to put in gas, remembering to get it looked at regularly (i can't even get to check-ups for myself, you think i'm going to remember to do that to an inanimate object? HA) and so on.

not owning a car has made me feel inadequate and immature, and i can't say that this revelation really helps. however, having a good book as a guide has helped me re-frame some of this. owning a car would be a huge source of stress for me, and it is really true that using the MBTA to get around helps get me out and active, and i find my ability to choose whether to walk half or all the way home really enjoyable and frequently relaxing. my walkies are a joy to me, and a great way for me to unwind.a car would help me get groceries more easily, and would make the nutrition aspect of self-care a little easier, but frankly getting a zipcar account would do the same thing with about a million times less stress.

i've begun realizing that this disorder, which i thought i compensated for, and that it didn't affect me, is something i have actually structured my life around in both positive and negative ways. i've created habits and ways of living that don't tax my weaknesses and done it entirely unconsciously. on the other hand, i've also maintained comfortably uncomfortable habits because i have been unconscious about the many ways ADD affects me, and if i become aware of them i can do something about them while still maintaining the good, less-stress habits like walkies galore.

i'm trying to write this out somewhere because i don't have someone i feel like i can talk to about this, and i realize with increasing certainty how painful shutting stuff up inside is. i can just spit this out and leave it here for myself--and maybe for someone else struggling with ADD or another complication in their lives as well. i also recently read Opening Up: The Healing Power of Expressing Emotions and found that quite useful as well. in that book i learned that prayer and diary-keeping, because they feel on an emotional level like confessing something to a close friend, are just as useful and therapeutic as a conversation. i'm trying to write more and keep less inside. i'm just kind of tired of maintaining a stressful and dishonest self-identity. it's fucking exhausting being someone i thought i should be when i was, like, twenty.

through this process, books (as always) are my BFF. my college boyfriend (who prided himself on his lack of "snobbery" ie. anti-intellectualism) used to tease me that i my only friends were books (this was especially hilarious as i had no friends at union while i dated him). you know what? they are my oldest friends and my most reliable. i've been reading book after book trying to find things that are reflecting my self and integrating new ideas into how i see myself and feel myself. hopefully after a dozen more tomes i won't feel quite so inadequate & immature.

in the meantime, today is a lovely day for walkies.

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