It’s finally feeling like a getaway. If I could sum up my life in one sentence…

One of the most important things in life is taking time away. This is something I had to learn to do by myself for awhile. I had to learn to enjoy my own company. Now my person and I are learning the art of shared space: getting away and being alone and together all in the same short span of time. These are days that I will relish. With our budget finding affordable getaways is essential. This time we have decided to come to : The Black Swan Inn      We used Groupon to accomplish this mission.

The Inn is only missing two of my most affectionately regarded elements of getaway, which are: a large jacuzzi tub, that easily fits two, and a fireplace. The Maine Stay Inn, Snowflake Inn, and Paradise Stream Cove Haven are favorites for this!  I am  about the cozy factor, about being on a Lake, and quaint New Englandy towns in fall. This is my personal heaven. The only drawback to this particular place are that the walls are quite thin and you can hear all the goings on. Today for example some type of hammering went on for abour 2 hours. Not one to fixate and not just ignore such a thing, I have to say it got pretty obnoxious for awhile there. It has since stopped though and piece has returned.

On this getaway we have: no fewer than 15 books, snacks, healthy and not so healthy, usually from Trader Joes (a major favorite is Le Delice De Borgougne and pears), San Pellegrino, and collection of various libations from a local liquor store. Namely a six pack of Sam Adams Octoberfest, 2 bottles of Malbec that neither of us has tried, and as a last minute impulse purchase 2 small nips of Revel Stoke Pumpkin Spiced flavored Whisky. Going to the local places is all part of the fun I have learned. I have gotten somewhat over my fuddy duddy ways of packing and bringing everything, so as not to pay inflated prices. Have I mentioned my new idea to go sober for October as a matter of health and weight loss kick off before the Holiday is really underway? Our only exception will be if there is a Two Roads event with family or we do a wine or beer tasting, but otherwise this is the plan.

The books we brought: Courtney is currently reading Practical Magic. We love the movie, but there is always so much more of the story in the book. My book that I am reading of this nature is Julie and Julia, because I fell so entirely in love with the movie. Meryl Streep (who plays Julia Child) and her husband, played by Stanley Tucci, have a relationship that one can only dream of. This movie is one of several that upon watching became the wake up call in previous unhealthy relationships. I thought as I watched, “it is possible for two people to treat one another with dignity, grace, kindness, and the utmost affection”, and it turns out after some brave moves, it is indeed possible. In addition to these we brought: The Infinite Jest, Lisey’s Story (the most recent Stephen King I tend to devour with glee, this is the one I am reading), The Artist’s Way, 3 books on ADHD, The Disorganized Mind, Driven to Distraction, and something about better organizing. Courtney brought Rising Strong, Daring Greatly (both Brene Brown books), The House of the Seven Gables, Creatures of a Day, Love’s Executioner, A year by the Sea (an absolute favorite). Reading is a shared joy of ours and I couldn’t be happier that rather than ask me why I need so many books on a 4 day Getaway, she simply smiled wryly as she plopped her stack down next to mine. We just get one another, and most importantly we have long since realized the gift of not needing to criticize or micro-manage. This gives us so much more room to enjoy the other’s special qualities and talents.

Among the other qualities that make us so successful as a couple, I believe that having much the same temperament and ideas about how we like to spend our time together is of key importance. We both would probably not be found participating in a Spartan Race or Tough Mudder. Our speed is probably more reflected by Courtney asking me, “honey perhaps at some point we could do a “Couch to 5 K together?”  I love this about us. We are foodies, lounge rats, and if it were not for wanting to be around a very long time to enjoy one another we may never lose some of these new and happy relationship pounds. At some point very soon we will get around to this, maybe…. If only to be able to better love ourselves and experience the confidence that comes from giving oneself a goal and then following through. How anyone manages to make this a priority when they have as many big dreams as I (we) do… I may never know. We also share many responsibilities together as well including 3 kids, 2 dogs, each our own jobs, home ownership, and her putting up with my labrador of a mind with a writer’s imagination and heart.

Our most key shared belief of importance is that when difficult situations arise you work them out together and enjoy the closeness that provides, rather than bailing via emotional affair or otherwise. We also thankfully, share the same values. I often tell her that I’ve failed enough at love to know quite well when I have gotten it right. I have finally gotten it right. Whether slowly on here, or all at once in the book, I hope to unlock with this blogging, the ability to tell the whole story.

Although there were several minor setbacks to getting here, we finally are. I had some kind of bizarre allergic reaction last night. We are unsure yet whether I’m developing a seafood allergy (this would be tragic), or if perhaps somehow cat got into my system. It was extremely unpleasant, my face was burning and one of my ears hot and swollen. We spent the evening icing me and keeping me comfortable. I had to not whine about the fact this is not what we had planned or the fact that if I am being honest I would acknowledge that my Crohn’s Disease may be brewing a storm for us.

A favorite quote by Author Rachel Wolchin…. “My entire life can be described in one sentence: it didn’t go as planned and that’s ok.” In the case of love, it’s easy to say now, that this turned out in the best possible way. Prior to this I could have told you how miserably I had navigated the waters of love. If that isn’t perspective…

I meant this post to be more about the getaway, but I suppose this writing is reflective of the true purpose of the excursion anyway: to reflect and reconnect to ourselves, and to one another. I hope everyone gets to feel this way.

Amidst the long walks and scouring of antique shops

stopping for a beer with the locals

the lake side views and decadent meals

strolling through the newly changing leaves

your hand in mine and near to your smile

new life is breathed into my soul

I am always grateful

 

Curveballs

How do you manage when stress hits seemingly at the worst times?

Today went about as far against the plan as one could get. So my lovely person and I were supposed to go on a few day getaway courtesy of Groupon (I love Groupon getaways). After the immense planning it takes between business and family to be able to have the space to do this, amidst all of the stresses of regular everyday life, this becomes something at times our sanity nearly hinges on. Things to look forward to are of utmost importance in the scheme of getting through the more mundane, difficult, etc.

This morning began with one of my 13 year old twin daughters in a funk. That is putting it oh so nicely. For anyone out there who has lived through the tween phase and hormones you know what I mean. This included a full bout of door slamming and aggressive sighing. Attitude before sunrise (or coffee for that matter) is something that I have a more difficult time exercising patience about. Being an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) one of my special instructions for care is to have some meditative time to ground myself before anything coming at me in the morning. I also have a tough time sleeping after intense emotional battles. This particular situation is just another aftershock in what has been a particularly difficult earthquake in our home. If it had ended here I would have taken awhile to ground again, but sadly it did not.

Our French Bulldog Sigmund Freud woke up with paraphimosis, a delighful condition in which the penis gets swollen and stuck outside the foreskin. It looks like a giant red strawberry, but I assure you there is nothing sweet about this. This is the 4th time he has had this issue. Each time after splendidly interesting DIY attempts to fix it, we have ended up at the Emergency Vet to the tune of around $300.00. We have been advised that Neutering him *might* fix the issue. That wasn’t convincing enough to schedule the appointment. I was also kind of hoping he might be able to be a Daddy someday. Sadly today that dream has ended. We were able to convince his vet to neuter him at the same time they fixed the problem. This was about $600.00. I just spent $200.00 the other day for an over-growth of yeast in his ears. Frenchies are a cute novelty, but very expensive. He’s safe and well by the way, seemingly pain free (and testicle free).

The financial piece just adds insult to the already burning injury of the fact we were supposed to pack this am at a leisurely pace and head to our destination. If you add difficulty with an ex-husband that could primarly be described as a power/ego struggle and having nothing to do with the best interest of the children, then it’s really a party.

So before I slip into too much angst again about this situation I will say that several years ago a few events like this would have made me behave really badly. I would have been snappy at those closest to me. Believed that the bottom would fall out from under me. Become so stressed that I became ill. I easily slipped into a Bruce Almightly like storm of feeling sorry for myself. Due to the level of overwhelm I often experience it’s easy to FEEL in a moment like you may not make it out alive, and I behaved as such.

In my 36th year I am thankfully learning that events like these, even piled on top of one another, do not in fact make the world stop turning. In fact I have even learned at times to laugh, yes laugh, when I have a day so absurdly bad that my eye begins to twitch. The one reprieve from the Universe (with a little help from my ability to ask for my needs) was that after describing today as one of the worst I ever experienced, the people at the INN took pity on us and moved our getaway one day over without charging anything extra. A RARE and valuable relief.

My dog is alive (bulldogs sometimes have a tough time with general anesthesia and this had also made me put off his neuter). My kids are healthy and relatively happy despite our occasional bouts of wills. While I would much rather use all these vet bills for a vacation to Ireland, I am able to pay them. And also nothing of mine has been destroyed by a hurricane or any other natural disaster. My practice thrives. I have amazing people in my life who support and love me. Surprisingly, not enough of my hair has fallen out (due to stress) to cause a noticeable difference. I do have a thick head full, thank goodness. 😉 Also I love what I do for my career and couldn’t imagine my life any other way.

So what do you do with the Curveballs life throws at you? Do you handle them gracefully? Do you kick and scream and fall apart? Do you feel sorry for yourself? Do you get angry and indignant? Are you able to roll with the punches and fairly quickly put things into perspective in such a way that you can move on quickly and not hang on too much to poisonous anger? How long does it take you to bounce back?

Some of my favorite coping mechanisms when I can’t shake feeling overwhelmed and like certain doom is on the horizon are:

A nice long hot shower (or bath). I find few things that can’t be fixed with them. It’s one of my favorite resets.

A cup of tea. I like honey lavendar stress relief by Yogi in particular.

Paying more attention to the simple things like forcing myself out of my head when I am walking the dogs. So that I notice the color of things, and the smells, a butterfly maybe, or an interesting looking bird. The simplicity of smiling at a neighbor.

Listening to music that is relaxing or speaks to my soul.

My absolute favorite though is the way my person lightens my heavy and weary soul during these times. How she knows how to let me vent and breathe. How she doesn’t instruct or try to fix everything. How she knows just how to calm me without doing anything intentionally. Her presence has become a safe harbor for all of my dark moments. Now that they are not taken personally or panicked over, they leave as fast as they come. They have shrunk in size and duration and I feel free of the angry beast that used to inhabit me when I was stressed or scared. I am beyond grateful for this. The effect ripples into everything that I am and that I do. I am a glass covered lake at dawn, still, calm, and transparent. Nothing to hide or worry about being discovered.

*note if you haven’t yet found this person in your life: romance yourself. Wine and dine YOU. Watch silly videos to laugh. Be your own harbor until you’re ready to settle into someone else being one.

What are your ways of coping with the unknown and stressful?

We are going to try again tomorrow. Right after therapy with my daughter, because practice what you preach 😉

Stay Tuned…..     <3

*Conclusion* Bad days make you look for, see, and appreciate the little things that much more.

Writer Overwhelmed…

Writer OverWhelmed by Sarah Lentz

*Writer Overwhelmed by Sarah Lentz is the book that I am currently reading. It is simple and practical and the author self publishes. She seems to hit quite many nails on the head with regard to what can hold us back from getting out  our most treasured sentences, metaphors, thoughts… words. I may put little passages and quote her throughout. She also likes to design book covers.

My writing feels all balled up in my throat. It leaves a sad taste in my mouth everywhere that I go.

I’m having a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) moment, day, er week maybe. I was dangling on a Vyvanse string of hope and the frustrating result of that experiment has thrown me into a funk. 🙁 Hope is an understatement. I was excited beyond words that I have the willingness to explore this new possibility, primarily because I hoped it would help me be able to focus so I could organize my thoughts better to be able to write. Also as a recovering hypochondriac I was thinking that perhaps if my belief about medication has been adjusted then perhaps I really was just hyper-sensitive to every nuance, and now that I have grown around this that it could work. It’s very disappointing that it didn’t. I am not sure whether to try a lower dost of Vyvanse (or another type of the medication), or to take this as another piece of evidence that my inclination toward natural treatment is honestly my reality, and to embrace it. Where HSP comes in to play with this is that even if I find a medication that doesn’t give me a severe migraine, I am well aware of the high/sense of euphoria that this medication created. As an HSP the high’s feel higher, and the lows feel lower.  So for me personally it seems easier to stay balanced by managing this with coping mechanisms and self-knowledge versus with pharmacology. It’s always the hard way with me, or it feels that way anyway. I am working currently as seeing that not as a bad thing, and recognizing the gifts in it.

I began this post a couple of days ago and what happens is that when I am not in my magical cloud of inspiration, I seem to not be able to pick up and continue. I will read what I wrote over and over and stare blankly into space. Then during a session today the person said something about doing well at something because it came from their heart. This statement was a reminder of something that I hold sacred as a part of my belief system. People don’t care about how much you know, they care about how much you care. I can’t think of a single thing I have read where you can actually feel the author’s experience that hasn’t proved to be powerful for me in some way. I certainly did not want to stop reading it. So if this is the key then maybe I don’t need to be all figured out with my writing. What it seems like I need to do is write about things close to my heart, let that speak for itself, and allow my work to take shape. In other words “Rome wasn’t built in a day”, so I need to adjust my expectations and just keep going.

So for now I have 3 books I am looking at about ADHD and I will just continue on with my self-work, and with my writing….

Thanks for reading…

Pharmaceuticals are Not My Friend

One of my biggest battles in life is trusting the system of Western Medicine and going against my urge toward Naturopathic medicine. This became of particular interest when I was very sick prior to my diagnosis of Crohn’s Disease. I was put on medications such as steroids (Entocort) and 6mp (death). I had terrible migraines and all kinds of other systems. So it should come as not surprise that when I got put on Humira for my Crohn’s I was terrified. The fact that it put me into remission and while it does have some undesirable effects, it has changed my life for the better makes this battle extra confusing. During the time I got diagnosed I was extremely stressed and unhappy in all other areas of my life, so it has been tempting to want to not put any “chemical” into my body. And yet… if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Humira is tricky because if you come off of it, it may never work the same for you.

I have a long history of medication being something I seek when I want the road to feel a little less rocky. Not wanting to always tough things out on my own. There is something about my system personally with regard to hormones and neurochemicals in my brain. This is absolutely to do with being a Highly Sensitive Person. Doctor’s would treat me like I was crazy that I couldn’t be feeling this or that on a medication, but I know how I felt. Two different attempts at birth control and they turned me into a lunatic, and I had to come off right away. Also after having my son I went to a Doctor because I felt sad, and came home with Paxil, and at one other place in my journey it was Lexapro. Both had horrific effects for me. I couldn’t feel either thing happy or sad, and I had all sorts of weird symptoms, the worst for me was not sleeping for 2 weeks with severe racing thoughts.

Since I am a Clinician organizing my thoughts around this is extra important. People often seek me out for information on whether they should try a medication or not. Everyone’s body is different so I keep my experience aside and just share both sides of the education. The potential side effects and how to be cautious and that for some people they report they work quite well. In my personal mind I often try to sort through landing on a belief system. Perhaps the reason I cannot do this is because it is different for each individual. I think I would be more comfortable personally at least if I had one solid belief. We human beings certainly do try to minimize our discomfort at all costs.

Anyway as you may have read I decided after all this time to give a medication a chance again. I thought maybe because I am not a hypochondriac anymore, or because I have been able to be on Humira and it works that perhaps I could find some relief for my ADHD in Vyvanse. I took my first pill yesterday. It was a Saturday and I had a day full of Client’s and my son’s birthday party later so I was very apprehensive, but I also didn’t want to be unrealistically scared. People take this all the time right. Well during the day I felt amazing, a clarity I have never felt before. I was absolutely focused and my mind was quiet from all the chatter. I could have cried. I did I think.

However, later on I began to notice some weird symptoms. My ears popping and ringing especially from going to standing after a sitting position. I tried to just ignore it thinking I’m making things up (I often attempt to invalidate my experience, this is a deeply rooted battle for me). Then later on I began to develop a really bad headache. I have done all my reading so I drank plenty of water (a ton actually), didn’t have caffeine, did all the “right” things… you know. I took tylenol for the headache and proceeded forward. I also had some pretty awful heartburn that isn’t a usual thing for me and a lot of nausea. I was thinking that I would be willing to suffer some side effects and keep giving it a shot at this point, but I was pretty discouraged. Until I woke up Sunday morning with the worst migraine I have ever had in my entire life (and I’ve had some pretty bad ones).

I battled it all day yesterday. It got to the point where I almost went to the hospital. The waves of discomfort were almost unbearable. I was only getting tiny moments of relief here and there. The emotional aspect of this was crushing to me. Part of being Highly Sensitive is that you feel everything in full technicolor. I had been so excited at this hope, that I was able to follow through with the appointments and keep pursuing this, and then the feeling of the medication. The migraine was so severe I will probably never touch that medication again, even if someone attempted to convince me that the side effects would pass. The other problem with this if you try to ride through them is that if it stays bad you always have to wean off the stuff. 🙁 If you lift me very high, the comedown is equally if not more low. That is a thing about me. This is why even with my family history etc I am not in danger of abusing any substance because I am so keenly aware of every nuance in my body. I can’t even smoke pot, and sometimes the joy people seem to report on the stuff makes me wish that I could. But even the handful of times I have done that in my life it just makes me feel off in a way that is unpleasant.

So the result for me is that I do not like my mental state to be altered whatsoever. I have such a completely sensitive system and thus far finding natural things, and doing the cognitive and behavioral work to change things seems to work for me. I often wish there was an easier answer or a little more relief, because I do “white knuckle” it a lot with these things. Then there is also the piece of second guessing myself on if I actually have something or don’t. It’s really a lot to try and figure out, but I am learning more each day. And one of my greatest strengths is that even after the hardest situations I’m typically ready to jump right back up and try something else if one thing hasn’t worked.

So back to the drawing board on my approach to ADHD. Some people would try another med. Whether it is that I just know myself so intimately, or because I am already exhausted from that process with Crohn’s, I think ultimately my path is this way for a reason. In the past I am tempted to feel sorry for myself or say things like why are things so hard for me every step of the way. But at this point that all just seems silly. I am made to come up against these challenges so I can learn and then be able to share that knowledge.

Stay tuned…

Let’s Get Personal… my ADHD story. Part 1

I suppose so far this blog is sounding like exclusively an ADHD space. The truth is I didn’t know how I would organize it or what it would become. I only knew that I HAD to write. I have spent so much time running in circles in my head and complaining to everyone I come across about how I want to write a book, but can’t seem to get it out. My wonderful partner in crime (and love) said write a blog, and suddenly it’s like a had a motivation I wasn’t able to find before. Funny how certain things in our lives can tease around our periphery and suddenly one day even though you’ve heard it time and time again, it’s like MAGIC! A lot of things about this love are like MAGIC, you will hear more about it than you care to by a certain point.

I am sitting here at Escape in New Haven with 6 teenage boys. We are here on the eve of my son’s 16th birthday. The fact that I kept something alive this long and he is more than successful as a human being kind of blows my mind to a degree that I can only entertain that truth in small chunks and still be enshrouded with disbelief. Also when I say more than successful as a human being I mean so much more than just his excellent grades or that fact that he is utterly pleasant and charming to be around, I mean so much more. Future blog post…

I just tuned in to another group that finished and the guy controlling the game said “fresh eyes fixes all”, and I liked it. see ADHD 😉

Ok so the real point of this was to share my story with ADHD because this realization and journey is new to me. Well I could more accurately say that new knowledge has made me able to put words and thoughts to feelings that I just tried to manage on my own. It is much easier to cope with things once you understand them better. I like to make connections, recognize patterns, and crack the code on my own personal psyche. (as you can see the game lingo is absorbing into me from sitting here).

A great deal of my life I have spent analyzing myself for signs of trouble. I attribute this to having been around so much chaos and the way it impacted me left me observing with the hope that my life would not feel that way. I wanted to do things differently. My WAY of doing this initially was to closely monitor myself and others for danger. This developed a great sense of conscientiousness (probably an overactive one actually) and character, however there are some drawbacks. Hypervigilance is exhausting and it takes up a lot of energetic space.

This was a real “bear” in graduate school when I was learning Diagnosis. As anyone who has skimmed or been subject to the DSMVI can attest you can easily have a number of things wrong with you that you had never imagined before. Add to this a great imagination with the tendency to automatically go to the worst case scenario and you have a recipe for disaster for sure.

So as a therapist obviously I listen to people’s struggles on a daily basis. One day not terribly long ago a person was sharing their struggle with their bi-polar disorder and was listing some of the negative effects, one being that they hadn’t opened their mail in a month, and various other ways that their life had been effected. I couldn’t help but think well hmmm I often don’t pay attention to my billing or my mail or various other things. I was relating with a lot of other things they said, and since I am often on the look out for mental illness in myself (I was darn willing to create one I was so determined at certain points, glad that part of my life is over) I went on a research path.

As is the case with many things in my life I couldn’t have imagined that just putting a couple of ingredients together and seeking could change so much. What I mean is that being a recovered hypochondriac, now I don’t Google for the terrible. I still Google because I am a curious sort and often an initial search can lead to reputable info on the topic, and I ignore the crazy outlying terror stories that are the exception not the rule. I like to find others with similar experiences etc. So I was looking at 2 main things the possibility of bi-polar disorder and PMS. Over the past couple of years I can literally map out migraine headaches, extreme mood shifts, and various other unpleasantries by seeing where I am at in my cycle. This is something when I was younger I would have poo poo’d as I did not like limitations. I especially did not like excuses for poor behavior, and I saw women who behaved bitchy to others citing their period as an excuse as unsavory.

I ruled out bi-polar because the way I use diagnosis (rarely because I hate them, there will be a post about over-identifying and the dangers of diagnosis) in general is with much consideration. When I do use it I make sure we use it together as a tool to enhance knowledge as a way to come up with more suitable coping mechanisms.

Anyway during my search I found articles that linked things such as ADHD and PMS and their interaction and the Perfect Storm effect of the mixture. I also read similar articles to do with Depression and ADHD and how it is often misunderstood. Here is a favorite: http://www.everydayhealth.com/columns/jeff-emmerson-living-with-adult-adhd/depressed-with-adhd/

So many bells rang in my head. So much of the suffering that I endure. For me one of the biggest aspects has been owning my own practice. It is easy to see my Client’s. I love that part. But learning how to create systems for the financial aspects, and how to stay on top of billing is so entirely daunting to me. I will occasionally force myself to get on top of it, but for weeks at a time I will freeze up and do nothing. Then due to this in the back of my mind I am always worried I have neglected something too far.

I actually began to write this post while out at Tyler’s birthday party and since I didn’t finish I am not at an entirely different space with things, and of course with more pieces of the story. I don’t have enough energy to finish this tonight, but I am going to continue it soon for sure. My son turned 16 today. I am so grateful for this. Other aspects of today were not so great. I will be writing about this soon.

ADHD Update from My Appointment Today….

 

“No matter how much you want to force yourself to pay attention boredom allows curiosity to find the key and open the dungeon door, allowing attention to escape and find some interesting place to visit.” – Dr. Edward M. Hallowell

So I went to my appointment with the Neurologist. I took a Quotient test, which was really interesting. You can learn about it here. http://www.quotient-adhd.com/product/product-overview/

I was diagnosed officially. I begin Vyvanse tomorrow. I am very hopeful and really interested to see how this turns out. I have a history of heart palpitations and a tendency to freak out if I feel jittery or like my heart is beating irregularly at all, so I am truly hoping none of that occurs. Medication and I do not have a good history together.

The possibility that I might be able to not feel as overwhelmed and the relief of anxiety and irritability of not being able to even begin something is nearly unimaginable. It is only with a great amount of research that I have realized that I feel a lot of my life has been largely effected by ADHD. One of the most important things that I want to change is the ability to sit and listen to my kids in such a way that they can FEEL my interest. My mind tends to wander and I zone out in almost all situations unless there is a huge motivating factor present. It pains me to say this would happen so much with my children, but it is usually the result of being pulled in so many directions at once that I become too over-stimulated to listen as well as I would like to. One of the reasons I am so successful in my practice is that the need of the client captures my attention like few other things do. There is definitely an amount of guilt that it doesn’t work the same way with my kids, especially when having such a hard time makes me irritable on top of things.

This ADHD has been in the background of all aspects of my life, and I really didn’t understand until more recently how profound an impact it has had. I had no idea that people who suffer from ADHD have lower levels of dopamine as well. This makes sense why mood can also be highly effected. At times I feel like a crazy person, and again get PMS in there as well and forget about it.

As I am writing this I am scanning articles for evidence of some of the difficulties of ADHD in relationships. I had no idea how much ADHD has been responsible for a lot of my difficulty in that department. Speaking of that a huge force that is making my life incredible right now is my partner, Courtney. This is the first time I have been with someone that embraces me so well that I have been able to have the space to realize these things. Prior to this my relationships were filled with such strife that they basically took up any energy I had and then some. Our number one secret in love: We give one another tons and tons of space to be who the person is without reactivity, defensiveness, or judgement. This again will be an entirely separate blog post, but for now I just have to say that I wouldn’t even be figuring this out or getting the support that I need in the way that I am without this new chapter with her.

I throw so much information at this woman on any given day. I send her lengthy e-mails, many text messages, every article I find interesting (which is a lot), voice memo’s, and any possible whim of an emotion that I may have. In addition to this we have a group chat with my 3 children that is often abuzz full of information to sort through.  She has not once over the course of our relationship sent across the message verbally or otherwise that I am being too much. This was life changing for me. I have shared with her I would often have partners scan the length of something I sent before even digging in, and already be commenting on it, as if it is so much work. I can share every single aspect of my mind in it’s entirety with her, and the only result of this is that she seems to somehow love me that much more. I don’t know how I got so lucky.

An excerpt from an article on ADHD and relationships:

PRACTICE

COMPASSION

“This is indispensable within any relationship. A person with ADHD often feels disappointed, overwhelmed, and frustrated. When a person with ADHD appears to be acting selfishly, it may be that he or she is feeling overwhelmed with their own thoughts. ADHD takes up a lot of mental and emotional bandwidth. It’s exhausting and often the ADHDer is struggling to get through the next task. Slow down, be compassionate, and refrain from judgment. Your ADHD loved one will respond lovingly to your kindness.

An ADHD relationship requires patience and compassion, at times more than other relationships. Understanding what it feels like to have ADHD- without judgment- will help both partners stay on the same page and allow you to regain a peaceful, happy home.

The more love you give, the more you will receive.”

Source: https://add.org/six-secrets-to-a-happy-adhd-relationship/

 

Thanks for listening everyone. I look forward to bringing you guys along for my journey through this, and welcome any comment or sharing of your experiences on here as well.

 

The Perfect Storm: ADHD…Combined with High Sensitivity and Pms.

Just trying to write this post is an exact example of what I am talking about. Let me see if I can paint you a picture. I have one of my twin daughters laying in bed with me talking at random every few minutes (which I wouldn’t trade for the world, but does interrupt concentration ha). My bulldog is whining from the kitchen. My phone lights up from the occasional text. I can see the reflection in the mirror of the ceiling fan whirring. What’s even more difficult is the process going on inside my head. At any given time I am thinking about: if I have confirmed my client appointments for tomorrow, what I need to pick up from the store for dinner, that I really should be doing laundry or one of the many tasks I have been neglecting, that I really shouldn’t have eaten TacoBell for dinner, that I should have gone to the gym (engaging the should and shouldn’ts is really another blog post entirely), what appointments I need to make for my kids, for myself, for the pets, and a various thousand other things. I could go on forever like this … It feels as if the only way I can concentrate ever on producing anything of substance is if I was often in total silence. I am rarely in even semi-silence.

“I feel like I have so many thoughts inside me dying to get out that I am just bursting at the seams…”

Blog posts that are on my mind currently. Palo Santo the Sacred wood and my  current obsession with holistic methods. Parenthood and how does one survive it. Love and how I am doing so well at it recently ;). Psychics and my journey with becoming a believer. My recent experience as a Red Cross Volunteer providing Disaster Mental Health services in Houston Texas. On learning to be “lighter”, becoming a mother, blended families…. on and on. Oh and I would also like to write my gorgeous partner because that’s what we do. more on that later 😉

At any given time I want to read and write both equally and can never decide which so when I sit and try to do either I am usually thinking about the one I am not doing. This amount of chaos in my mind wears me out swiftly and often makes my chest tight with anxiety. This means I constantly run on over-drive and then crash, and concern myself mostly with comforting the deep level of exhaustion I experience that is only complicated by having Crohn’s Disease. Over the past couple of years I have noticed things becoming dramatically more difficult during certain times of my menstrual cycle. So finally in a fit of frustration I sought out solace in my friend Google. Google is a place where I often go to type in exaclty how I am feeling and find more information on the topic. It is comforting for me. Or now that I have mostly recovered from my hypochonria enough to not only focus on the terrifying things, I find it to be.

These  articles I came across are very validating and full of information.

http://untappedbrilliance.com/adhd-and-pms/

https://www.everydayhealth.com/add-adhd/what-happens-when-pms-strikes.aspx

Holy Hormones Magnified by ADHD

So now I knew I wasn’t crazy and I am definitely not alone. Now to go about figuring out a diagnosis of ADHD. I was diagnosed as a child and there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that I have it. As a Mental Health Counselor I know a lot about what goes into the process from the diagnosing end, however this is mostly with children/adolescents, and mostly from the other side of the desk. So tomorrow I am going to a Neurologist in Stratford to see about getting a diagnosis.

I am nervous about this. Primarily because medications that help with ADHD are stimulants and my system seems to run on overdrive as it is. Of course as one who does her research I know that often times medications that treat ADHD make anxiety worse. So back to those fun and real “easy” questions of which came first… something about chickens and eggs. Will ADHD medication make my anxiety worse? My history with medications is a tough one. I am an individual who is hyper aware of even the slightest change in her force field, and not a fan of medication based on past experiences. At this point though I feel as if I would do anything to be able to concentrate better, listen better, focus and be able to complete a single task at a time without thinking about the next 20, or a thousand other things simultaneously.

Often times when someone is speaking or giving direction or my kids are talking to me I can’t seem to focus. Truly one of the only spaces I become fully present is in my practice. When a person’s need combines with my joy for growth etc it is as if my “powers” are activated. But left to my own devices outside of that demand or someone who will definitely call me out on not listening (which is also often really embarrasing especially when it comes to directions etc.), and I really really struggle. This creates a big deficit in confidence. I remember being a kid and given a set of directions for example while playing roller hockey, to do a certain formation through a set of cones they had set up, and for the life of me unless I watched someone else do it many times I could not do what they verbally told me. I have to slowly be shown, and try several times physically myself until I can commit it to memory etc. There are times I have felt like something in my brain is broken as a result of this. I know that I am not stupid and the older I get I understand the world more often as each individual has unique gifts and we are wired differently. The same things I struggle with are also conjoined with some of my most beautiful aspects.

Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of all of this is if you give me a clear and well defined task that requires discipline and committment I am aware I can succeed at it, provided I am allowed to put all of my energy into that task. If I set my mind to being more healthy I can definitely do so, but then I have to let many other aspects slide. If I set my mind to love I am capable of being the most considerate person you have ever met, but then other things slide. If I set my mind to my home looking like the poster child for HGTV then it would be just that, but then I probably would forget to pay my bills and my business would most likely go up in flames.

I become so overwhelmed by this whole process I just freeze up often. Irritability is probably one of my biggest symptoms, and since I possess a keen degree of self-awareness I am never blissfully ignorant to how unpleasant I can be when I can’t figure out how to focus on things that are important to me. With me everything feels important. Here is an article about High Sensitivity and ADHD.

https://www.additudemag.com/hypersensitivity-disorder-with-adhd/

Like many people I have been trying to tough out a lot of my feelings and the things that are overwhelming. Luckily I have a supportive person that I can literally vent my every single emotion to and she does not take it personally, defensively and allows me the space I need. This is a huge piece of my ability to cope.

I know that if medication does not work I will need to utilize natural coping mechanisms and make other adjustments. I spent so much of my life trying to catch up on things I learned or started late that I became used to moving at a dizzying pace. My mind also races so quickly this is a natural state for me. I have to work extremely hard at slowing myself down and re-wiring what feels like how I am naturally made. This is not easy.

So for now Doctor’s appointment tomorrow and I will keep you posted.

 

 

 

Allow me to Introduce Myself….

So here I am taking the first step in an adventure that has been 36 years (and perhaps much more if you ascribe to belief in past lives) in the making. I am a person who becomes overwhelmed/overstimulated so very easily, and it is difficult to tell whether this is a product of identifying as a Highly Sensitive Person, ADHD, or just the fact I wear MANY hats. One of my biggest obstacles to writing this is asking myself if I can organize the material in such a way that YOU, the reader, will get something important out of my work, as well as be entertained. I seem to doubt in my ability to do this, despite much tangible evidence towards the opposite. Writing about my many doubts and fears and what I do to overcome those I am sure will also be a big part of this. Maybe I will write this for just me. Who am I kidding with that one?  I like to share.  If I can’t share my enthusiasm and my journey, for me, it’s like it never happened. Fortunately after many failed attempts, I have found a partner who embraces my many thoughts and giant labrador-like enthusiasm for life as something that enhances hers. This is largely responsible for the fact I am here now, able to start this new venture with passion and patience toward myself.

I anticipate writing about EVERYTHING that one could possibly be curious about throughout the human experience. I will share what things that I am so you may know what the hell you are reading about, even if sometimes you don’t know why.

I am a 36 year old woman. I am a mother of 3 kids, my son is about to turn 16, and my twin girls are 13. I am a partner and have screwed up enough in the love department that I will proclaim myself an expert in this topic. That badge was won with many battle scars.  I am a Licensed Professional Counselor who resides in the State of Connecticut. I am a business owner (by accident) of my own counseling practice in the town of Fairfield. I am a person who often pauses and looks at her life with a type of awe that most of my wildest dreams have become actualized.  I am a Stephen King fan, perhaps fanatic is more appropriate. This is very interesting because I am quite sensitive to violence and tend to shy away from such material, but his writing and the intelligence of it, I cannot dismiss. He has a keen awareness of human nature and this is neatly woven into all his material. I am an old-soul. I am deeply spiritual and yet my personal expression of this or a specific plan that I ascribe to could only be described as eclectic and constantly in flux. I am a person who, like many, has some deep scars from a strict religious background, so this area often causes me conflict. I am a concrete and pragmatic person who desperately wants to believe in and keep magic alive in my heart. I am infinitely curious about EVERYTHING. The primary thing that pulls me is individual people’s experiences with life. As it turns out I ended up in the perfect field for this, in a place in this world that feels like a privilege rather than a burden. I am a person who does not take this for granted. So many people seek and do not find it.  For as long as I can remember I have wondered about every tiny thing about people I come into contact with, the stuff that most would not even consider, and certainly would not ask; but I do. I do not have much of a sense for being socially appropriate or “shoulds”. I cannot seem to find the patience for them. I have the tendency to be naïve, particularly when it comes to believing in the best in people, and I plan to keep this even if all logic at times stands against it. I am poetic and wordy and perhaps learning to be more organized and concise will be a positive by-product of this project. I live mostly in my head, most of the time.  Learning to moderate this so I can have the reward of having a close relationship with my family has been one of my primary tasks. I am a person who likes to process all of her thoughts and feelings out loud, and strongly believes in the learning that can be acheived through this. I am someone who fears being a burden, which means that the aforementioned has been quite the journey. I am a natural born leader and teacher who struggles with much self-doubt. I am a voracious reader, a hopeless romantic, a poet. I am a lover of stream of consciousness. I am a person who has an over-developed introspection and an under-developed repretoire of anything that you do not need to reach to the deepest parts of yourself to harvest. I am an Oregon girl at heart, however 14 years has me quite assimilated into the Nutmeg culture.

On motherhood: The very second I think I have made progress or cracked the code on a particular challenge, a new one is spread out before me. I didn’t become a mother the day those beautiful gems were placed in my arms, rather I am becoming a mother every single day. I fail as much as I succeed at this, and learning to be OK has been all part of the fun. I have Benjamin Buttoned to a degree as I have been told is quite typical of Capricorn’s. Even now as I type this I am hesitant to add so much pseudo-science material, and yet again it will be all part of the process.

On Life Stage: I am in that pre-midlife crisis stage where my metabolism has not-so-kindly dropped off a cliff and I am tasked with re-evaluating my self-worth in other terms besides what can be observed externally. In simple terms  I am struggling with approaching the second half of my life. Where did the first half go?

On Health: I have Crohn’s Disease and have an entire journey to share throughout regarding chronic illness coping. I am a recovering hypochondriac who will probably always need to manage those tendencies even if I can now tell myself I am not dying when I simply have indigestion.

I am NOT a professional English anything and often during this blog I struggled with comma placement. This contributes largely to the self-doubt we talked about earlier on my ability to be classified as a writer. I am a writer of depth and heart, and probably not one of precision and accuracy with attention to grammar. I am hoping to learn more and get better at this as I go. I will try not to make it unbearably painful to get through as I learn 😉 I appreciate raw process so I do not know why I am having such trouble feeling what I must produce is a sparkling finished product. This is probably a symptom of living in the land of over-acheivers. Think Stepford wives here. Anyone remember the last line?

Welcome…. let the journey begin.