Hello? Yes, this is Dog.

August 4, 2012

Oh hey, you there. Yes, you! Internet, isn’t it? Yeah, yeah, I THOUGHT it was! You might not remember me. We used to see each other here a while back. Y’know, I was the one wearing mostly black? My clothing...full of holes… you remember? Hair…dishevelled?  Yes, the ADHDer PhDer – that’s right — that’s me! Wow, it’s been some time hasn’t it? So how’ve you been?

It’s been a fair old while. Let’s just get the excuses reasons for that out of the way dead quick shall we? Last time we chatted I’d just handed in the PhD thesis. It’s all good. I had my viva on the 15th June and am pleased to say I passed. Very relieved, delighted, over le moon etc etc. But the trauma that was “writing up” (a trauma resulting in neuroses that I treated you all to in (ir)regular instalments) has left me with an actual hatred/aversion/perhaps even full on phobia to being alone with my computer. I can just about handle a quick consultation with Professor Google in an attempt to work out what the odd little creepy beasties who are colonising my kitchen might be.* But only just. And only then if there’s somebody with me. I really need to sort this shit out a) because it’s sort of inconvenient and 2) because it’s a really lame kind of crazy.

So, in a nutshell, that’s what’s new with me Internet. I have passed the PhD and I have a newly acquired anxiety to add to my little collection. I may be a total fruit loop but at least I’ll soon be Dr Fruit Loop and you’ve got to admit that has a certain ring to it.
Here’s some other stuff I’ve done since then:

1) Went on a weekend away with 7 friends. Fun, frolics and hangovers were had by all. I also got some injuries from playing badminton in a bikini. Mostly injuries of the sunburn variety but one which I think is a hamstring injury (never located my hamstrings before – didn’t think I had any).

2) Grumbled incessantly about the Olympics. Again, another post for that one.

c) Noticed that the only people not banging on about the Olympics this summer are people getting married. People who are getting married don’t care about the Olympics. They care about tablecloths and other small details. But they do so with all the enthusiasm, energy and focus of Team GB. I find it all very tiring. But I am a bit of a bah-humbug about this kind of thing (y’know romance and that) and as I am more than happy to have sex out of wedlock I guess I am unlikely to ever be bitten by the wedding bug. Or is that not how it works?

4) Celebrated Yorkshire Day by skeptically raising one eyebrow and muttering, ‘Waste of bluddy time’ under my breath. Ah, my people, *sigh* I do miss you sometimes.

*more on that later. I am untidy but I am not unclean. I have no idea what these little fuckers are but I cannot eat in that kitchen until they’re gone. Every night I exterminate, every morning they’re back. It’s like that scene from that film with that guy and all the insects  – yeah, that one, Indiana Whatjamacallhim.

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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. 🙂

Chorus:

Bloody hell, bloody hell, what a costly day, (HEY!)

Banking scam, what a sham, stole my cash away, (HEY!)

No win no fee. Apparently. What a load of poo…

Can’t believe I fell for that- too good to be true.

Verse:

Gullible that’s me; I’m a moron obviously,

Oh what fun it is to spend a whole day, practically,

On the phone to knobs, who are ‘just doing their jobs’

By lying through their fucking little vulture beaks to me.

(Oooh…)

Chorus:

“Litigate! Litigate: “claim back your PPI” (CRY)

WTF, no such luck, it’s all a big fat lie. (CRY)

Don’t be like me, don’t pay their fee, you’ll regret it if you do.

Christmas cheer? Not this year. “No Santa Claus? ….I’ll sue!”

Sniffle

December 12, 2011

Oh bloody hell, I have some form of man-flu.

I rarely get ill. I rarely get the colds and bug type things that go around. But when I do, I am a miserable wretch. No soldiering on for me. I feel extremely sorry for myself and just want someone to look after me, wrap me up in blankets and make it all better.

Fortunately, I have just such a person in the form of my friend Y, who came over at short notice last night to look after me. She’s a keeper.

Tonight I will be self-medicating with Lemsip, whiskey and cats. I will write a better post when I am feeling less like dog vomit, and after my office’s Christmas party tomorrow which (assuming I survive the man-flu) might well be the death of me.

Maybe it’s the cold, but I’m not feeling too positive anymore. Infact, everything all seems a bit shitty. Bleugh.

 

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.