(wanting to) feel like myself again

I know, it’s been forever since I’ve written in here. Honestly, I feel like I’ve been in a low-level depressive episode for a few months – I haven’t really found myself seriously enjoying anything, I don’t have the drive to do much besides knit and watch TV. I don’t get excited over much of anything anymore. I’m pretty sure it’s due to my birth control – hormones and I don’t always work well together, and so I’m hopping off birth control for the time being to see if I start feeling more like myself again.

I know what I feel like when I’m feeling like myself. Excited, enthusiastic, even when on Adderall to help me keep my focus. Emotional – and that means the full range of emotions, from happy to sad to excited to angry. I get flaily about my hobbies and throw myself into them fully.

I can count on one hand the amount of things I’ve gotten excited about lately, and even then it’s nowhere near my usual level of excitement:

  • My cosplay for Gen Con (typically I’d be flailing about this on my other blog nearly constantly, but so far I’ve only got one post about my cosplay)
  • My new scooter (which I’ve only ridden twice, partly due to the stupid heat here lately, but also due to the fact that I’m all “eh, maybe I’ll just drive today” – who the hell am I, to choose driving over scootering?)

I want to feel like myself again. I want to throw myself into things excitedly. I want to have the energy and desire to romp around the forest dressed as an elf in the live action roleplaying game I’m in. I want to feel up to riding my scooter anywhere and everywhere. (And, well, having the energy to do housework probably wouldn’t hurt either.)

So, here’s hoping I feel more like myself in the next couple weeks. Maybe I’ll actually remember to update this with progress on how I’m doing, heh.

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No idea what to do with myself

Am I the only one who ends up having these chunks of time where you’re so bored, but there’s nothing you really want to do?

I’m kinda having one of those nights.

I mean, there’s lots I could be doing, like folding laundry, putting away dishes, or posting pictures from the live-action roleplaying game I was at two weekends ago. But what am I doing instead? Laying in bed with the cat, screwing around on the internet, complaining about being bored.

I hate my brain sometimes.

The struggle to keep things neat

I cleaned the living room yesterday.

That shouldn’t be such a huge thing, but to me, it is. Executive function is one of the things I struggle with on a daily basis, and it’s really not one of my strong points. (That shouldn’t be a shock to anyone who’s reading this blog, since executive function issues are a HUGE part of ADHD) And of course, cleaning is one of those things governed by executive function – specifically, task initiation. My brain is always “well, we know we need to clean the house, but knitting/playing video games/reading a book is giving us that dopamine high we need so much because we enjoy this more than cleaning, so eh, let’s put it off.”

And so I let things slide until the carpet is covered in cat hair and little bits of cat litter (stupid stuff gets tracked all over the place, I swear), or until there’s piles of stuff covering every flat surface in my craft room, or until hubby’s saying “could you please put the towels away tonight, they’ve been sitting in the hall unfolded for four days now”. Then I look around at the mess and feel miserable, because I’m nearly 37 years old and can’t keep the house clean regularly and it’s embarrassing.

I try to split things up into smaller tasks, telling myself I’ll neaten up the living room on Monday, clean up the kitchen table on Tuesday, and so on – and that works for a little while. Then I get distracted, or have a rough day at work and just flop on the couch and play Stardew Valley until my phone’s battery dies, and the chores sit undone.

Maybe I need one of those chore charts, like I had when I was a kid, to help me remember what needs doing and to give me a visual reminder of my progress. Granted, that didn’t work all that well when I was a kid, but then again, I was also dealing with undiagnosed ADHD, which definitely didn’t help things at all. As an adult, though, checking things off and documenting actual progress does help motivate me, so maybe I do need to have someplace where I can mark down my daily chores and indicate that yes, I’ve actually completed them.

Maybe I should start properly bullet journaling again. I dunno. I switched from using a bullet journal to using Todoist to keep track of what I need to do on a daily basis, but it doesn’t give me a great visualization of what specifically I’ve done over the week. Maybe keeping track of my chores on paper might help me more. I dunno.

All I do know is that I cleaned up the living room yesterday, and I’m damn proud of myself for that.

Always feeling awkward

I’m so socially awkward that it hurts sometimes.

I’m not sure why, it’s just how I’ve always been – over-thinking things and stumbling awkwardly through interactions with others, then over-analyzing everything I said and feeling embarrassed, wondering if I talked too much or said something weird. And that, of course, brings on anxiety, which has been a long time resident of my brain, and makes everything worse.

And it doesn’t help that it’s hard to focus on a conversation if it’s being held in a busy room. I then end up looking like an awkward space case, which of course makes the anxiety worse, and then here I am, wanting to curl up and hide for a while.

I just wish my brain worked better at times.

Work, and how lucky I am

I got ridiculously lucky when I landed the job I’ve got. I’ve heard of so many others with ADHD struggling to keep a job, and back in the day I didn’t have much luck with long-term jobs myself, up until I got my first job in IT. Working with computers is something I’ve always enjoyed, and have been pretty good at, and I ended stumbling into teaching technology skills to others almost on accident. And it turned out that I was really good at teaching people how to use their computers, and liked working in an educational setting.

So I went to grad school for Educational Technology, enjoyed the heck out of my classes, ended up in two honor societies, and was one-tenth of a point away from graduating with honors. (And this was all from the same girl who flunked out of undergrad twice, and graduated with a GPA of 2.67.)

I figured it’d take me a while to actually get a job in the field, but I got stupidly lucky – and landed an hourly job with the department I’m currently working full-time for, helping assist technology workshops, before I even finished my degree. And now, I’m writing technology training courses, making videos, teaching workshops, and learning about all sorts of technology things, from XML to Photoshop.

And I love my job. There’s enough variety to keep me interested, and I get to do what I love every day. I never dread going into work like I used to when I worked retail. I’m always looking forward to what I’ll get to do that day.

And my ADHD sometimes helps me out, like when I go into hyperfocus mode when writing training content or when I get to go teach, and can pace around the front of a classroom while flailing about how much I love InDesign.

Plus, my boss is understanding and is always making sure I don’t overwhelm myself (sometimes I can’t help but want to do all the things), and makes sure that I’ve got an environment where I have a better chance of being able to focus on my work – which can be really hard in a open-floorplan office. And she’s never been judgemental about my ADHD.

How in the hell did I get so lucky?

Portrait of a distracted bun, in bullet point form

  • My car is messy most of the time, but let me tell you, when I clean it, I really freaking clean it well
  • The same goes for my craft room – it’s almost always in a state of disarray, but sometimes I manage to get it nice and neat and it’ll stay that way for maybe two days
  • Weirdly enough, my desk at work is clean and uncluttered and has stayed like that for two whole weeks now
  • I have something like 20 craft projects in various stages of completion, but do you know how many I’ve finished this year? three.
  • Why yes, I can craft and watch TV at the same time – it gets really boring when I try to do only one of those things at a time
  • Sometimes I get overwhelmed and I just can’t process anything – it’s like my brain is running Windows XP and someone’s trying to play Skyrim on ultra quality mode – it just ain’t happening
  • Socializing is really, really draining at times – even with people I’m close to, and I don’t think people really get that
  • I’m almost always a little late for work, but you can bet I’m always on time for meetings because my anxiety won’t let me be late for those
  • I’ve bought a new smartphone just about every year since 2010, mostly because I get bored of the old one and must have a shiny new toy to play with
  • I love planners and stationery and fancy pens and stuff, and am amazed that I’ve managed to use one planner for the entire year so far without forgetting it entirely (like I typically do)
  • I have an entire closet full of yarn and fabric, and I will probably never use it all
  • Impulse spending will likely be my downfall, although I’m getting better at self control
  • I do a very good job of pretending I’m really not a hot mess of a human being, but behind the mask? I’m a quivering pile of awkwardness, forgetfulness, and impulsivity

Well, here I am.

I’ve been needing a place to ramble about life with ADHD for quite some time now – I’ve never felt quite comfortable talking about it in my main blog, so here I am, under the cover of vague anonymity, rambling about something that’s impacted my entire life – and I only found out about it two years ago.

I was diagnosed with ADHD three weeks before my 35th birthday. Three weeks before I graduated from a dual masters degree program, and the end of an excessively long academic career that started with a lot of struggling to adapt to life as an undergraduate, nearly twenty years ago.

It explained so much – the struggles I had all through school, the perpetually messy room (and later, messy house), the fight to pay attention to just one thing at a time, the ability to hyperfocus on things I enjoy (almost to the point of ridiculousness, definitely to the point of missing meals), the forgetfulness, the impulsivity, and my brain’s occasional need for extra processing time. It all makes so much sense now.

So, this is going to be where I ramble about living life while constantly distracted – where I vent about how ridiculous my brain is, where I revel in my successes. Welcome to the world of the Distracted Bun.