Originally posted on PATREON
Hello lovely beings,
I promised you a long blog because I thought I would get looooots of writing time with nothing else to do after Raising Steam and visiting Mishkin, then staying for a week in a Scottish cottage in the rain, away from everything, while our host, my friend Jo aka Ginger&Teal Millinery was busy working on her hats. Well –
it seems I have unlearned this „friending“ thing in the past three years when I was basically only meeting friends to frantically work on saving our projects and careers, trying to adjust to a changed reality, and everybody being so fucking exhausted all the time, that I kept assuming when people reacted with joy to my shy requests to see each other that they had barely time for a coffee and just squeezed us in politely between REALLY important things.
But I was wrong.
Our friends welcomed us open hearted, even drove some distance just to see us, and spent time with us, just us, quality time, REAL time, whole days, whole evenings, their precious free time, and even postponed urgent work just to be with us.
I had entirely forgotten this used to be a thing.
I am not sure yet I can relearn it myself.
(Sorry Rah. I was quite awkward while you were staying with us last month.)
But I will try.
Because what´s life if not friendships?
(And art of course.)
(And art friendships <3 )
we had several wonderful days at the beach,
met long missed friends,
sang in a church (without bursting into flames),
tried on a lot of hats,
and planned not one, not two, but three shows, plus talking about my next novel.
(this counts as art friending.)
Also, I got a Spider Queen headpiece.
And a hat!
I sincerely hope your summer (or winter, down there) is as good as mine, or even better.
But as promised, I’ll update you about my ADHD experience after getting diagnosed with it in July, which is also the reason this post is public.
Because in mental health concerns, what we need to do is:
Break the silence.
Break the stigma.
I admit it´s a lot easier to talk about ADHD than about „simple“ depressions, which makes me think – ADHD is, basically, the paradigm of modern life and work „ethics“. Process infinite information, be busy all, I mean ALL the time, always stand out, react to crisises in light speed …
yes, ADHD is kind of a superpower.
If you don ´t count constantly judging yourself, feeling overwhelmed 24/7, never coming to rest, never feeling accomplished, never allowing yourself to tune out of media or conversation while all the time knowing that you WILL at some point, and probably will put your foot in your mouth when rejoining the conversation…
and the constant, lifelong burnout because your inner censor never ceases to remind you that you ´re NOT DONE YET.
Depressions seem to be the opposite of ADHD, what makes me, not a doctor, instinctively believe that this is the reason so many ADHD people have them,
As a means, maybe the only one,
Even if that means not being able to leave your bed for days in a row.
So, I took the pills. And was not sure what to expect – mostly, I expected NOTHING to happen, because I keep thinking, like your ordinary patient, „I probably just simulate… I don ´t really have anything… It´s a feeble attempt to get rid of my flaws just by popping a pill instead of tackling them and become a better person…“
Then, on the third day, I went downstairs to my „home“ pub to celebrate the owner´ s (and our friend´ s) birthday. I almost never go to that pub unless to play or see a concert, and if so, I stay outside on the bench and just smile inside.
I was sitting there in the sun, sipping an ice tea and watching people. Then, suddenly I turned to Christoph and said: „My head feels like glass.“
A weird thing to say, but he instantly got my meaning.
My head feels constantly running hot, like an overpowered processor. I can deal with that, but it feels hot. Really hot.
The meds made my head feel cool, in an instant. Cool, and transparent, and settled into a shape. Like a massive piece of glass, not something that would break easily.
In the proceeds of that day, I stayed for the party, invited some other friends over to plan a video project, and ended up chatting with total strangers about life and everything. I was just there and having a good time. I had entirely forgotten I was „supposed to have anxiety“.
Since then, I have learned a lot about me, my ADHD, and my depressions.
What I have learned, through being able to take a pill and watch the feeling disappear one hour later and return at bedtime when the med stops working, to perceive as part of my ADHD, not my „flawed personality“, my depressions, or even age, or my cycle:
- I do not have telephone phobia anymore.
I probably did about 12 phone calls in the last 5 YEARS.
Of which 5 were in the LAST MONTH.
I just take the telephone and make the call. Without being terrified that I forget all vital information without being able to look it up in an email, or not getting half of which is said, or just being a jerk out of lacking attention span.
While I get that this makes sense as an ADHD symptom, I did never expect to being able to switch this on and off through a pill.
- I do not have (much) sociophobia anymore. Probably for exactly the same reasons. I can just sit somewhere and make small talk. I am not questioning myself all the time if I am assuming right what has been said twenty seconds ago.
- I work just as much as before, and focus and concentrate as before. BUT I do not spend the first hour of the day with panicking about all the many things I SHOULD do, instead of just picking one and get going.
- In the evenings I say, at some point, „I ´m done for today“, and have a nice evening, and go to bed and sleep. Before; i just would not stop working before sheer exhaustion took over. Because I never knew how it felt to be DONE. not for today, not with a project, not with anything. I kept working on everything, forever. – Don ´t worry, I will do so in the future! But the difference is, I won ´t „hope“ for a burnout as the moment where I can say „I ´m done FOR NOW.“ I do not need a moment of „I CAN not“ to stop working. That feels like three weeks of holiday, actually.
- I feel time, and I remember it. I work, or talk, or play, and at some point I say „I should have a break“, and I have one. I did not feel time passing before. Only by physical exhaustion. And also, I always remembered events like in timelapse, by single instants standing out, like a photo album, not like a movie. The only way for me to remember full events would be to have something sensual tied to this event, like something tactile or a smell or a taste. Which led to me always needing a „souvenir“ from everything I absolutely wanted to remember. This has also changed.
- I do not feel while I am doing almost ANYTHING that I could or even should do something else TOO, or at least mustn ´t forget about it the moment I ´m done with the current activity, e.g. with playing this show.
Of course, there ´s a lot of simple things that go by ADHD cliché. I do not run upstairs anymore three time to check if the door is locked. I do not have to tie all my bags and items to my body anymore to not forget and lose them wherever I go. I do not panic to be somewhere in time anymore, just to overestimate the way there and arrive two hours early. And I am sure to discover more in the future.
But all of the above are things I clearly recognise as symptoms, or even triggers, of my depressions. Which changes, like, everything.
Because I think the problem with all of the above is mainly me panicking because I think I might be doing something wrong. Which is a self replicating problem, or even a self creating one, and I might be able to unlearn this.
That doesn´t mean I am a happy camper now. Not by far. Clarity is also good for reassessing oneself and the world I live in. And that is not always easy. Or fun. But it is something new to learn to deal with. Another challenge.
I am now on the process of assessing all these finds, and working out how to deal with them also without the meds (which, in theory, I could take all my life, I do not have side effects and many people take them forever – but I hate being dependent on a doctor, a diagnosis, a law).
I do not regret having been diagnosed at this time of my life.
True, I could have done a lot of things differently, and I am certain that my career would be at an entirely different point if only for the telephone phobia, or things like being at a party with important people and feeling too shy to introduce myself to them. But also, these things are overestimated.
But on the other hand, I functioned all my life. I have discipline, more than many others, I have strategies that work regardless my mental health state. I went to the psychiatrist in the first place because I felt I could not deal anymore, because I am getting older, and the world is getting ever more overwhelming. And it is an absolute relief to have found such a simple means to, as it feels, turn back my life clock by ten years, giving my the strength and stamina to deal with life as it is, and the relaxation and coolness I was expecting of old age on top.
I do not consider this a wonder drug. I consider this as something like a prism glass. Ever tried one of these on? Opticians use them to check on children ´s field of view, and sometimes also adults. They distort the field of view for a healthy person. A person with limited eyesight though will see the world more clearly. Still, you can ´t wear a prism glasses every day. But you can teach your brain to see the world as it works for you, instead of the distorted version your lopsided eyes show you. Like bypassing the eyes.
I would like to learn how to bypass the ADHD and depressions on my own. I will at least try.
Thank you for sticking with me <3
Following post: 6 mastered versions of ANGST and FEAR for you,
and something ENTIRELY NEW before the end of August.
love you lots,