Not crazy, just tired…

February 24, 2012

Something odd happened this morning, Internet.

I woke up with a familar fuzzy-headedness that could well have been the fault of the wine consumed last night with a certain shiny friend of mine (Hi, Shiny!). But I don’t think so. You see, as I went about my morning routine I became aware that I was thinking in rhyme. You know when you do a little mental commentary of your actions and talk to yourself in the second person? It mostly happens when you’re a bit drunk, like this:

‘Now the reason you’re feeling a little bit sick is more likely to be this bumpy bus-driver than the amount of heineken you have just consumed, so don’t beat yourself up because that won’t help with the nausea. The main thing to do is remember where you’ve put your keys so that you don’t have to look for them on the doorstep because a) that’s where the muggers hang out and b) you already need a wee and that’s only going to get worse.’

Etc Etc

I refuse to believe that this is not a universally experienced symptom of intoxication. Sometimes I even nod to myself in agreement. I’m doing it now.

Anyway, this morning a similar thing happened but my brain must have slept on itself funny and it woke up with a crick in its interior monologue synapse (or IMS as it’s known in the completely made up school of neurology in which I am valedictorian), and this resulted in a completely involuntary urge to rhyme my thoughts in the following manner:

‘Half a cup of coffee in a mug for me, cool enough to drink by the time I’ve had a wee’

‘Don’t give into pressure from hungry little cat, calorie reduction will prevent him getting fat’

‘Don’t get distracted, there’s just no time, it’s a little perturbing, this thinking in rhyme’

‘Today must be productive, a PhD bonanza, failure not an option, do-de-doo-de-do-rananza’

(When the spirit of improvisation failed me, I just made words up. It was a compulsion, I couldn’t help it)

Anyway, I have added this strange phenomenon to the list of side-effects that I am compiling in order to submit them to the company that makes ‘Sleep Well’ herbal sleep tablets. They have been reasonably effective in their improvement of my recent bout of insomnia, and in all fairness they do warn you not to consume alcohol with a dose, but still… I think it only fair that they include the following in the list of possible side-effects:

  • Compulsive Rhyming
  • Impulsive gherkin-eating
  • Repulsive night sweats
  • Propulsive vomiting

According to google, two of the above are possible symptoms of pregnancy, and two of them are possible symptoms of stress and anxiety. I am fairly sure that my total clusterfuck of a reproductive system makes the latter explanation far more likely than the former yet neither account for why I would wake up one morning to find I am thinking in rhyme. Answers on a postcard to:

‘Fuct int ‘ead’ PO BOX: At least I’m not Dead (yet).

Enter title here

February 10, 2012

As the morning tips into the afternoon I have, as yet, nothing to report other than that my cat has a bout of cystitis and now hates me for dragging her to the vet in the slushy snow. Other than giving me the cold shoulder, she is in fine spirits now but I think it will take me a little longer to recover from the snarling Alsatian with a taste for frightened cat.

I hate going to the vet. It’s distressing for everyone involved. Plus, the vets’ waiting rooms of south east london are full of some of the noisiest and smelliest animals you can imagine. Thankfully, their pets are a delight *BA BOOM!* (thank you, watch me as I take a little bow).

Anyway, I am now back in the warmth of my study with an instant coffee (damned economy drive – more on my church mouse-ness another day) and a sulky cat, I am turning my attention to the thesis abstract I need to send off today in order to register my ‘intention to submit’ the actual thesis at some point in the (hopefully) not too distant future. As the thesis is mostly written, this shouldn’t take too long to write a one-page abstract, but I also have to submit my final, actual, definite title for the thesis and this is causing me to chew my lower lip into a bloody pulp of indecision.

I am crap at titles. Absolutely crap. I can’t even choose a blog title without making a chamomile tea and drawing up a list of pros and cons. As you may have noticed from our long-standing relationship, Internet, brevity is not my thing.  And titles need to be short, snappy and accurate. Ideally, they should have an element of wit, and yet failed attempts at this end up sounding like a Daily Mail headline and, as I’m sure you’ll agree, that would be a “Pun-damental” flaw in my plan to convince my examiners I am worthy of a title of my own.

Fortunately perhaps for me, academic studies tend to make full and frequent use of the colon as a way of marrying catchy but pointless title with boring but descriptive subtitle. Something like:

Alluringly Alliterative Accolades: the boring story of some lesser-known public figure 1847-1888

or

The Rise and Fall of Someone or Something: the thesis sounds more interesting if presented as a rise and fall even if nobody cares about the rise and fall therein.

or

Bold but Irrelevant Statement: How I intend to make my fave quote relevant to actual content of thesis.

It’s not the bracket (my puntuating weapon of choice) but it’ll just have to do. Or, sometimes, the colon is replaced by the question mark as follows…

Rhetorical Question? It may be rhetorical and out of context but I’m going to answer it anyway.

 

Ok, now I’ve had a bit of a practice, I’m going to try to fit my thesis topic into one of the above templates. Wish me luck!

 

Seriously wordpress? Stop moving things about. Don’t you know some of us have ADHD? Sort it out.

That said, it’s been a few weeks since I blogged regularly. I don’t like the interruption of regularity. Blogging, like moving one’s bowels, should be a business of regularity and routine. Otherwise I find everything gets all backed up, I spend the intervening time grumpy and bloated, and what finally emerges is either a small, mean, wizened offering, or else an unstoppable rush of, well….the metaphor speaks for itself, surely.

I also find that without the regularity of what we might call (for these purposes), the ‘brain dump,’ I have little appetite for new thoughts, and so the whole gastrointestinal tract of thought (what? people totally say gastrointestinal tract of thought, no?) grinds to a halt. Indeed I haven’t had one new or interesting thought since New Year, as evidenced by this scatalogically themed post.

You know what though? I’ve been dead busy, Internet. Really, truly, actually busy. You know that new job I started back in November? They work me hard. They seem to think I am quite competent, but do you know how many hours of covering my mistakes and waving my hands either side of my ears in panic it takes to cultivate that impression, Internet? Many hours. Many many hours.

It’s not just the job either. I have been writing my PhD. I’m just going to go ahead and say that once again because the novelty of productivity has by no means yet worn off. I have been writing my PhD. It is getting written and I am the one writing it (just to be clear, no one else is writing it. It represents entirely my own endeavours etc etc).

Other things I have been doing aside from the above:

1) Planning the bloody deaths of all those who ask ‘Is the thesis done yet?’ ‘Have you finished now?’ or variations on that theme.

2) Obsessing about the following note written by one of my downstairs neighbours (she has a seperate entrance and post box and I’ve never met her):

‘Please bring down the weekly Grazia magazine when it is delivered upstairs by mistake. Thank you.’

That’s it! No name or anything! I mean, all the necessary ingriedients of a polite note are there (mainly the pleases and thank yous) but it still reads more like an order than a request. Or an order that’s supposed to sound like a request. Such as,

‘Please use the sanitary bins provided. Thank you.’

‘Please do not park on this driveway. Thank you.’

Or, I dunno,

‘Please come up and get your cocking weekly Grazia magazine when it is delivered upstairs by mistake. Thank you.’

I think I might find therapy to be greatly beneficial. Until then dear Internet, I have you. 🙂

And how are you today?

January 31, 2012

Wrist hurts, tooth hurts (stupid fecking wisdom tooth), have a weird shaving rash on my leg from new crappy razor, feel oddly warm even though it’s a bit chilly. Feel gross because got up too late to shower, bit worried about work even though I’m not there, and for some reason a fingernail on my right hand hurts when I type. I also have a snuffly nose that may or may not be a cold and may or may not have something to do with the cat hair that’s been in my eye all morning.

Oh. Wait. Were you just being polite? I’m fine thanks, and how’re you?

 

 

And in other news….

December 9, 2011

Clearly my attempt at brevity resulted in my forgetting to include some things I wanted to include.

Christmas came early to wonderland last night with minature tree decorating turning into a 22hr vegan sweet binge, courtesy of M and his powers of online shopping:

 

Tree:

 

ADHD + this much sugar = ADHDADHDADHDHDHDHAAAAHDHDHDHHDADHD – SQUARK!

An attempt at brevity…

December 9, 2011

Morning,

So. Without further ado, I’m going to finish telling you what I started to tell you yesterday about SuperCoach Bev (SCB) and my day of productivity on Wednesday.

It all began at 11am on Wednesday morning when SCB called and we spoke a bit about my difficulties with procrastination etc and why I didn’t have much faith in my ability to implement organisational strategies after years of obsessing over to-do-lists and timetables that I’ve never managed to stick to. Indeed, I think this is an experience to which many ADHDers can relate and so needs no further explanation. Because my posts tend to be quite text-heavy (and recent feedback suggests I might want to think about y’know, brevity), I am going to use a visual aid from the good people at xkcd.com (sorry about this, you have probably lost several hours since clicking on this link) to explain this phenomenon to the non-ADHers among you:

So yes, you see my problem. Anyway, SCB has come up with some crafty ideas to prevent this from happening and I’m going to be open-minded and give them a go. On Wednesday though, the conversation went like this:

SCB: What do you need to do today?

Me: Take my duvet to the dry cleaners because my cat pissed on it again, write a report on my student whose dissertation I am (laughably enough) supervising, and finish my PhD.

SCB: That might not be a realistic to-do-list. Let’s focus on the first two. It’s better to achieve those two things than not achieve anything because you’ve set an unrealistic goal.

Me: Good point. How do I achieve the first two things?

SCB: You half half an hr to get dressed and get out of the house, one hour to get back from the dry cleaners, and then you need to split up the work into 15-30 minute sessions with breaks in between. I will be phoning and texting at regular intervals to make sure you’re on track.

And she did! And I did it! It was an amazing brilliant feeling. I’m not sure whether it was the encouragement, the close supervision, or my need to please that made this work for me but I’m not questioning it. With the exception of two small kitchen fires, it was a really good day and I feel better.

My next step is to go back on the meds (I’ve actually been meaning to write a post about this since October). This is going to be a long step (more a lighthouse-like flight of stairs really)  consisting of many hundred gabillion steps which are as of yet unknowable but I am feeling hopeful, determined, motivated… It’s very unusual.

Anyway, yesterday I forgot it was Thursday (clearly not cured yet) so here’s my belated weekly Haiku for ADHD:

 

 

I love your blue coat—

Sorry, what were we saying?

I don’t remember.

 

C’est ne pas une pipe

December 8, 2011

Good afternoon, Internet!

Actually, you know what? It is a good afternoon here. In fact, it’s been a good few days here in wonderland. Here are some reasons why I am in a good mood:

1) I finished a first draft of my PhD thesis.

2) I Finished a First Draft Of My PhD Thesis

3) I FINISHED A FIRST DRAFT OF MY PHD THESIS.

4) I FINISHED A FIRST DRAFT OF MY PHD THESIS THANK FUCK !!!!!!!!!! (whew, yep, that’s the one)

Here are some other significant things that have happened over the last few days:

1) I went to the Central London ADHD meeting. It was bloody brill. So nice to meet people of the Internet (yes, people of the Internet, I did not mean to type people off the Internet, since if that is what I meant I would clearly write people from the Internet. Sorry to be a stickler about this, but people have drawn my attention to missing ‘f’s before and because I can’t stand the thought of anyone reading this and thinking about that missing ‘f’ which is, in actual fact, not so much missing as purposefully excluded from the party, I thought I ought to clarify the point early. We all sorted now? Good. Off we go.) Where was I? Oh yes. So it was wonderful to meet people who previously I had only met on the Internet. Shiny was every bit as shiny (in personality, I mean; she didn’t look like she needed a wash) as I expected her to be and more so. Indeed it reminded me that I love ADHDers for their sparkle and the way the everyday world goes into their brain, gets all mashed up like a play-doh fun factory and then comes out of their mouths in weird and unpredictable arrays of colour.

What I loved about Tuesday was the way I could look around and recognise familiar little expressions or patterns of speech. I could tell that people were already thinking about what they wanted to say next when they were listening to somebody else, I could see them biting their lip so as not to interrupt. Of course we are all different people with different lives, backgrounds, and personalities, but it’s like there’s a base level of shared understanding that can be taken for granted and doesn’t need to be explained. There’s something incredibly comforting about that, and something very refreshing too. It’s like a cold lemonade in summer, and a cup of hot bovril in a storm. Not together, obvs. I feel like I really need that at the moment (the ADHD meeting, not the lemonade/bovril cocktail. Bovade. Lemonvril. Ugh). It did me good, and I had a fantastic time. Top bloody banana!

2) Right, I’ve totally run out of time now (am going to buy a small Christmas tree in a minute. I only have six baubles so it is not going to be an extravagant affair) but I do want to briefly tell you about SuperCoach Bev. She’s ace too. I had my first coaching session with her by phone yesterday and not only is she Northern and very nice, she has also proved to me already that ADHD coaching is not the waste of time I feared it might be. In fact, I am feeling quite hopeful. Short of getting myself medicated again, I think SuperCoach Bev might be the answer. I will tell you more about this tomorrow, when I also have some other things of importance interest value total pointlessness to tell you.

In the meantime, I had to share this with you. The other day I got a sign. A sign it was going to be a good few days. I am a great believer in the universe giving us signs. Actually that’s a complete lie. A massive lie. I am not at all a believer in the universe giving me signs (why can’t I tell a lie on the Internet without confessing? What’s the Internet for if I can’t pretend the universe sends me signs???). The universe prob does not give us signs, people. If it does, it should probably be targeting someone a bit more influential than me. Like Obama or Cameron or the people who invent internet memes. It should be telling political leaders to stop fucking up the planet and killing and torturing people. It should be banning Littlewoods from advertising on television and the radio until they can produce something that doesn’t make my brain vomit out of my eyes. Yep, the following, which I saw in the remnants of a vegetable stir-fy, was probably not a message from the universe, but it did make me smile:

Read the rest of this entry »

December? Already?

December 4, 2011

According to Chaucer, April is a fine month for a pilgrimage. According to T.S Eliot, April is the cruelest month. According to my calendar, it is also the longest:

 

So I was rather startled to find myself in December. Not feeling the Christmas cheer right now, Internet. In fact, all I want for Christmas is a completed PhD thesis. Sadly, it’s not the kinda thing you can put on a wishlist. Or is it?

Does it count as plagiarism if Santa writes your thesis?

 

 

But she started it…

December 3, 2011

A number of years ago (nine, in fact, is the number in question), I lived in a shared house with four other girls. Take five girls who haven’t yet lost the adolescent appetite for drama, and put them in a house share. Shake vigorously, open lid with caution, contents may be explosive. It was a fucking nightmare.

I did actually like a couple of the girls and although we’ve drifted apart over the years, we got on well enough at the time. Had we not lived together, and so not associated each other with the horrendous house-share from hell, we might have stayed in touch. The other thing I’ll point out is that all of these girls were, in fact, drama students. I hate to generalise (but I’m going to anyway so I guess we’ll all have to live with that) but drama students do seem to have a higher than average collection of neuroses, and feel a compulsion to draw attention to these neuroses in a variety of ‘interesting’ ways. Of course we all have our issues but in my experience, there is certainly a correlation between obtaining a BA in Theatre Studies and a propensity to see the world as a play in which you are the fatally flawed heroine and other people are mere bit-part players, who wander in and out of your scenes. Every time the action flags and your lines aren’t showing off your talents, you rewrite a little and ramp up the melodrama. Either studying Brecht and Artaud is enough to put you in therapy, or UCAS recruits drama applicants directly from the books of therapists.  If this stereotype seems a little cruel that’s because it is. But a lesser-known fact about me is that for two years, I was one of these students of drama. For two years I ‘externalized the internal’ for dramatic effect, indulged in ‘invisible theatre (which meant standing in the middle of Covent Garden in a bra and sandwich board). I ran around with no shoes on, cultivated an image of a tortured soul, and cried late into the night, raking through every corner of my cushy middle-class life for more ‘material’. The thing is, I wasn’t very good at all that self-loathing combined with self-adoration and after two years I realised that a 2.2 in BA Exhibitionism  was not what I wanted out of my university career. So I switched to English where the pretensions were just as pronounced but of a slightly more tolerable flavour. But my point is, that I speak, if not with authority, then at least with some first-hand experience. I am sure there are lots and lots of talented and well-balanced students of drama the world over. Perhaps I’ll meet one of them one day.

Anyhow, in this shared house, we were all a bit like this – total emotional fuck-ups, mostly by design. But there was this one girl who was possibly the best example of all of these things that I have ever come across, and consequently the most irritating person in the world.  And maybe also a little bit evil. We’ll call her Tit. This wasn’t her name but it’s not wholly dissimilar to her name and is certainly apt. She was competitive, manipulative, and totally self-absorbed. Anyway, the point of this is that after two years of living together, a sort of vague generalised dislike intensified into white-hot burning anger. I think this is the only time I’ve ever hated anybody. Day after day was ruined by her very existence and any interaction we ever had became a tense, point-scoring dialogue of thinly veiled fury. My mum would tell me to avoid her and stay out of her way. The thing is, when you live with somebody, you can’t stay out of their way. It’s impossible. I remember sitting in my room, crying angry tears of frustration because I could hear her on the phone outside my room and every time she spoke it was like somebody stabbing me in the eye with a fork.

I despised Tit so much that it became almost an obsession. It was all I could think about and therefore all I talked about. Conversations with friends and family became a monologue  – me just listing the things she’d done or said, going over them from every angle: her audacity, my outrage, how she started it, how justified I was. People listened sympathetically at first but (understandably) began to get bored and even a little disturbed. What I wanted, I guess, was for them to feel what I felt, for me to somehow bypass words entirely and just plant the picture I saw in their heads, transplant the ball of rage and hatred in my stomach directly into theirs.

Eventually I moved out, took stock, and the anger faded and with it the hatred. From this vantage, I looked back at myself with more distance and was thoroughly ashamed of what I saw. I let her turn me into somebody I didn’t want to be, somebody who was fuelled by bitterness and anger, somebody who had no room for anything else in her life, somebody who was petty and childish and who had become every bit as despicable as Tit herself.  I resolved never to let that happen to me again.

The reason I’m writing all of this is because I need to remind myself just now that in the face of provocation, I can walk away. If somebody attacks me, then it doesn’t matter who starts it, who’s right or who’s wrong. It doesn’t matter who was to blame originally. If I react with anger and enmity, it will eat away at me, not the other person. It will damage me, not her. If she throws acid at me, it might burn me. If I throw it back, it will ricochet and still burn me, gradually corroding everything until I’m just the skeleton of the person I would have been.

So, Tit, and all those who come after you…do your worst. You can’t touch me.

P.S. Well done if you’ve read this far. I think we’ve all learned something here today. Mostly, that I am a little bit insane.

P.P.S. Just re-read this and can’t help thinking I might have belonged on that drama degree after all. As a wise man (my dad, I think) once said to me, you can take the student out of Drama, but you can’t take drama out of the student.

Another Lesson Not Learned

December 1, 2011

So a couple of weeks ago I lost my passport. I was v annoyed with myself because it had been a good long while since I last lost anything. In fact, Internet, I think the last time I lost anything, y’know, important was the day I found the spare keys to my flat lying next to the wheelie bins. And I didn’t even know I’d lost them until I found them so that just doesn’t really count as lost.

Anyway, I realised the passport was lost some time ago but couldn’t remember when I’d last had it. Which didn’t give me much to go on in terms of retracing my steps (plus I had an uncomfortable feeling that it might have somehow got inside the book I posted to Cambridge last week. This has happened with a variety of objects including bank cards, library cards, to-do-lists, and my cat’s vaccination certificate). What I should have done, was ring some places I go to sometimes, ask if they had the passport, and if that investigation didn’t generate any promising leads then I could conclude it was, indeed, missing presumed dead, and reported it.

I didn’t.

Rather, I decided I’d look for it for a week first. Of course, other than repeatedly turning my handbag inside out (that’s where it’s usually kept) in disbelief, I didn’t do much looking. I asked the guy in the shop whether I’d left it on the shop counter when I’d been in to buy beer. He asked what it looked like. I said it just looked like a normal British passport. He asked if it had my name in. I left the shop in bewilderment.

After that, the trail went cold and despite the threat of identity theft, and lots of very sensible people advising me very sensibly to report it missing, I somehow just never got round to it. Fast forward to today. M and I are walking back from our place of work in the rain, squabbling about which of us should carry the umbrella, when a man we vaguely recognise from ‘about’ approaches us.

Man: Your passport is behind the bar in the Hobgoblin.

Me [with surprise and gratitude]: Squark! (Am not articulate when feeling both surprised and grateful at the same time – brain deletes words at random)

M: For fucks sake

Me: What? My passport has been found. Isn’t it a good thing I didn’t cancel it when you told me to. I told you it was better to wait and look for it.

M: But you weren’t looking for it. You didn’t look. At all.

Me: Well, it would appear I didn’t have to.

M: Another lesson not learned.

He has a point of course. These things have a habit of working themselves out and a small part of me never gives up hope that everything will resolve itself without me lifting a finger, despite all evidence indicating otherwise. When, as tends to happen, things do magically resolve themselves, this only reinforces my belief that in the face of possible identity theft or other dire consequence, the best place for my head is most definitely the sand.

In way of a conclusion Internet, I will offer no flourish, no moral message. and no sign-off. I will merely acknowledge that it is Thursday and serve up another meagre portion of the customary (it’s the third) Thursday Haiku for ADHD:

 

A picture of you:

Two years and the glass still cracked

Will mend it. One day.