Saturday, November 27, 2010

Why is it these things all avalanche at once?!

Why is the reality of a stable and independent life such a difficult thing to master?? Here in the last year (more accurately in the last six months), there have been a smothering number of things that make me wonder what the hell happened to make my life such a completely opposite representation of what I always wanted it to be.

After the collapse of my life as I knew it, back at the end of January of this year, I somehow managed to grope my way through the blood chilling black of disbelief and seek professional help through pastoral counseling and relational/marital/familial therapy. To say it's been a rough trip through every gut-wrenching emotion that would possibly pale in comparison to actually having my heart cut out of my chest and skewered half a dozen times while I plead for the pain and agony to end, would be... well it would be more than melodramatic and completely over the top. I'm a coward when it comes to physical pain (I scream and pitch a fit when I get a paper cut), so I probably seriously can't make that comparison. But it did (does) hurt a bloody hell of a lot! (Grouchy eyebrows emoticon face for emphasis!) ---> >:(

Yet through the pain and the inky black come points of light and comprehension. Breakthroughs, revelations, epiphanies, call them what you will. Things that seem so simple and taken for granted every day by the majority of my peers present themselves to me as hurdles to be scaled. Slowly, basic adult life concepts are beginning to come into focus. Actually sitting down and figuring out what the absolute minimum amount of pay we have to achieve in income, to be able to obtain a unit of our own living space and not live with family, for instance. Most of my friends were processing this a good decade or so ago. Not me- I was spending the weekends getting drunk with my boyfriend at Civil War reenactments and the weeks skipping my college classes when they got too boring or when the environment of the school (being where my Dad spent most of his time for several years, before he died) got to be too much for my immature little emotional self to endure.
[Just to clarify, I didn't flunk out of college. I made straight "A"s when I actually attended class. In my third year, it did become apparent that the school administration (the 4th in 3 years) had no idea who I was or who actually promised me that scholarship (that would be the president of the school in administration #1, but administration #4 seemed to have no idea who that was or how to contact him). So they told me I could pay for my last year ($25k. I didn't exactly have that floating around in the couch cushions...) or leave. So I left. But I didn't flunk out.]

A huge epiphany happened last night at around 11 p.m. I was Facebook chatting with a friend who lives in Savannah and I was telling her about how I'm getting ready for Christmas and stuff. We were talking about a mutual friend of ours, and what I would be making her. I was sending my friend links to photos of similar things like what I would be making. Then I got completely distracted and in a matter of minutes went from Christmas to crafting to ... a chandelier made out of teacups! (Here it is, if you want to see it.) This is when the epiphany hit me with the impact of a meteor burning through the atmosphere and slamming into the side of a mountain in the Rockies: I have the attention span of a GNAT! I can't freaking focus on more than anything for 30 seconds! My clothes are everywhere because as soon as I try to start putting them up, I notice that I need to make my bed, so I try to start doing that, and then I see the bedside table with the cup from yesterday still on it that needs to be taken downstairs and put in the dishwasher but on my way down I set it on the bathroom counter and leave it because I saw kids clothes that need to be put in the dirty clothes basket- why did I even GO into the bathroom on my way to the kitchen with the glass??? GOD SAVE THE QUEEN, MY ENTIRE LIFE IS LIKE THIS!!!!! :::Panic mode initiated. Seriously.:::

The rest of the epiphany came a little later, while I was reading one of my favorite blogs, Hyperbole and a Half. This girl is so hilarious! I love her writing style and it's the first stuff I've read in a long while where I find myself just laughing until my sides hurt and my family is all like "What are you laughing at?!" The author makes a lot of references to her near crippling ADHD in her posts. Coming from the generation where if it was remotely suggested that because you had a lot of energy or cut up in class, then it was automatically assumed that you had ADHD and you got put on mass doses of Ritalin, I never really stopped to consider ADHD as a legitimate, serious, or debilitating actual condition/medical issue/socially affectation/problem. In my school experience, we all knew at least a dozen kids with ADD or ADHD, and it actually became an offhanded exaggeration. If we became distracted about anything or strayed off a conversation topic onto a tangent, we'd bring ourselves back on track with "Sorry, I'm completely ADD today or something." We didn't intentionally make light of it (at least I know I didn't), we were just so used to it being so common that we were pretty desensitized. (To ANYONE reading this who does suffer from ADD and/or ADHD, I apologize for the past callousness of myself and my peers. Seriously.)

Here is my huge and possibly life altering realization: I absolutely may have moderate to severe adult ADD myself, and never understood, never been diagnosed or treated and never realized it. The more I read about Allie and her perspective of things, her experiences and her detailed descriptions of how her ADHD affects her ability to be a responsible adult, the more I find myself looking less into a computer screen and more into a mirror.
Here are a few of the posts that hit the closest to home for me. Like, VERY close.

While I was laughing uproariously at her posts, little warning bells were going off in my brain. Like "Never mind the fact that you don't have insurance- you should get to a doctor anyway and explore the fact that untreated ADD may be at the root of a ton of your social/responsibility issues!" So I did what any other person with a laptop at midnight does: I GOOGLED IT. I'm sure what I'm going to say next is no surprise:
I found a ton of information about ADD and ADHD, including THIS. I took the little 5 minute PDF questionnaire, answering as honestly as I could and the results freak me out a bit.
What's even more messed up is that I found myself thinking that all of the "yes" answers (the "you may be ADD/ADHD" boxes to the right end of the test) apply to my husband as well!
It's one thing to be coming to grips with the fact that your life up to this point has fallen short of it's intended potential due to the fact that you may ought to have been on some medication but weren't. It's quite another to be bitch-slapped in the face with the realization that your marriage is failing, your kids are increasingly emotionally removed from both of you, and you both have less than no relationship whatsoever with your mother, because you BOTH have been screwed up for a long time. How long? Wow, this sucks. No wonder our lives are so botched up. Holy crap.

We have marriage counseling on Wednesday, Jake and I. I'm going to print some stuff and we are definitely going to have to fit some of this realization into the picture and try to wrap our brains around it. Like most of our counseling sessions, it will likely be painful. And there is a projected probability of 87% that I will cry. Hard. But I still think that the fact that I am getting the help that (I am slowly discovering a bit at a time) I need, is proof positive that I'm on the right track and can at least make a conscious effort to make my life after 30 look less like a ping pong ball in a hurricane than my life before 30.
I want to write more, but it's 4:30 in the morning and the kids will be awake soon and I HAVE to get some sleep. Thanks for reading. See you again soon.


  1. It has been common knowledge among kith and kin my attention span hovers somewhere around 7.3 minutes. I am now 63 and nothing has changed since my 3rd grade teacher ask me to sit still. This was 1953. I answered I would if I could. My friends from then (yes, we meet and have dinners 50 years later) still remember my inability for inactivity. I now embrace my ADD as does my husband. We have learned through 40+ of marriage, 6 kids and now grandiose it is what it is and to laugh at my 27 projects that will eventually be completed. Laughter and knowing I am made in God's image gets me through this thing called life.

  2. I love your comment, Momma J! I also wanted to add a sort of disclaimer that I'm not looking for/using ADD as an excuse or crutch for things that have been my own personal responsibility and I just failed at. If there is one thing I have learned in this house, it's that you should take responsibility for your own actions and situations. (We all know who I am referring to here!) I love that I'm figuring these things out, though. And I love that you also have more than 2 dozen projects that have been started and not finished. I feel in good company now. :)