A Reminder…

July 29, 2009

For those of you who have not done so already, please consider signing the petition organised by the wonderful people over at AADD-UK. Love those guys.

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Struggling…

July 20, 2009

I am struggling. Admitting this is a big deal for me. The hope I felt after the diagnosis was like an incoming tide promising to cleanse and renew. Instead it has receded and left behind it a god-awful mess of debris. Plastic bottles, driftwood and somebody’s irresponsibly discarded sanitary protection. Nice. And usually I would try to pick up the pieces, alone and shameful. But I don’t want to live that way anymore.

I have so much to do. I have lists and lists of things that are not getting done. I feel so behind. I am working full-time for a few weeks to try to ease the financial pressure and in the evenings I am too tired to get my head around all the other things that need to be done. The weight of these undone chores, unwritten emails and unmet deadlines is so heavy that I feel I cannot keep walking. I’d love to be able to pause for a while, heave this backpack full of responsibility and pressure on to a low wall, and feel the lightness as the cartilage between my vertebrae expand, and circle my shoulders with exaggerated shrugs, pinching away with finger and thumb the tension in the tight ropes of tendon above my collar bones.  If I could do that then perhaps I could avoid sitting down in the middle of the street and crying. Because that’s what I feel like doing.

Largely this is because I genuinely have too much to do. But partly it is because I have lost the repeat prescription that I was given and so I can’t get anymore meds. So I am trying to make these last, allowing myself a 36mg or an 18mg depending on how fucked I feel the degree of concentration required of me that day. There is something vaguely ironic about giving me a prescription that I need to keep safe for a whole month and then be able to produce at the required time in order to obtain more medication FOR MY ATTENTION DEFICIT. You know? The one that MAKES ME LOSE EVERYTHING! Ahem. So being undermedicated doesn’t help.

Can you spot said dwindling medication stash in this picture of my cat sneering contemptuously at my attempts to keep her off the clean washing?

Busted!

I is in ur laundry, sniffin ur pants. lolz

Well that’s cheered me up a little. When J sees this cat-fur-meets-clean-pants palava he’ll hit the roof. And yes, my darling, I did put a picture of your pants on the internet.

Well, I survived the viva. It went quite well really. This sounds as though I took it all in my stride. It is a tone I have been practicing. Because, actually, I spent several days in a state of heightened anxiety. When I walked into that room I could hardly breathe from fear and when I walked out two hours later, my chest felt it would explode with relief and I just couldn’t stop smiling.

Is it an avacado?

Is it an avacado?

Relief, joy, excitement. I felt all of these. But still I don’t feel proud of myself. Still I have this underlying sense of having “got away with it”, fluked it again. Why can’t I feel proud of my achievements? Why do I let myself come out of each battle feeling more bruised than I went in even though I know that I should be proud of myself because of the battle, not in spite of it. I just wish I could feel a sense of achievement from the success itself, rather than from this feeling that I have managed to keep my inadequacies hidden from view.

I think it might be a beanstalk...Who knows what's at the top?

I think it might be a beanstalk...Who knows what's at the top?

But I’m working on it, I really am. I may be slightly unkempt and occasionally dramatic in my presentation but I can live with that. Onwards and upwards. I have ADHD. I am doing a PhD. One year down, two to go.

Right, I don’t have time to be writing this. In approximately 2 hrs and 45 minutes, I am going into a viva the outcome of which will determine whether I will a) be progressing into the second year of my PhD or b) suddenly finding I have a dramatic increase of time in which to update my blog which is proportionally relational to a decrease to my future career prospects.

With this in mind, please excuse any typos and/or grammatical atrocities. I am still blushing from the howlers I have discovered upon re-reading my submission in preparation for the viva. Ouch.

But some things just can’t wait.

I’ve just picked up my psychiatrist’s letter to my GP following my diagnosis. It is mostly fine. A few factual inaccuracies that prompt me to wonder which of us was having the difficulty focusing during the 60 minute assessment but I’ll let those go.

This, however? I can’t decide whether to frame it or feed it to the chinchillas, one observation at a time:

Mental State Examination: Her hair was slightly unkempt. On her t-shirt there were a couple of holes. She was wearing only black. She seemed to be anxious and was fidgety and couldn’t sit still. Her presentation was occasionally dramatic. Her attention was very easily distractible and she had difficulty to keep the focus of her speech.

Right, viva is now in 2hr 30 minutes exactly. Please excuse me while I go brush my hair and change my t-shirt.

Yours,

Occasionally Dramatic of Cambridge.

Obviously there is more to updating an ADHD blog than medication. Which reminds me, I need to write an update about my meds.

But I meant to write this up last Sunday and so in the interests of not getting ahead of myself (Oh, the irony of this from someone who is chronically behind themselves. That sounds a bit odd somehow but being mid-tangent, I don’t have time to rectify), I’m going to to write up the second installment of Sunday Shandies, even though there has been a third since then.

What are Sunday Shandies?

These are part of my new, (mentally) healthier lifestyle. Little excursions on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Miniature breaks from the to-do list that remind me that there is a life outside the PhD. There Sundays are punctuated at regular intervals by shandies – a tragically under-celebrated beverage that has all the benefits of weekend drinking in the sun with very few of the mental (shame, self-loathing, lethargy) and physical (hangover, bizarre bursting of facial blood vessels, inconvenient nausea) drawbacks.

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So on this particular Sunday, I dragged J away from the laptop and we spent two beautiful hours at the city farm at Surrey Quays.

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I love city farms. I love the incongruity of the smell of hay and shit and the view of Canary Wharf. But to be honest, I felt it was worth going just for this:

!

!

Seriously, that can’t be right? I spent 8 years in London feeling like a proper little country bumpkin. But when I see things like this? Not so much. London just isn’t ready for this. In WW2 some evacuees from London went to the country and saw a cow for the first time in their lives. Ever. Just imagine being that kid and this guy being your first taste of the countryside. They’d be all ‘Holy shit! That guy needs surgery!’

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The farm was amazing – I loved it. We didn’t want to go straight home so we took a walk by the river before stopping off for the requisite shandy.