Friday, March 23, 2012

I Want it NOW! I'll Do it LATER!

These sentiments are common ones, both for those of us with ADHD, as well as many with collosul disorders.  As many (or most) around us do not understand how our brains work (or don't work) it can be a source of shaming, judgement and frustration vented towards us.  Having heard over and over again "you just need to try harder," "your just lazy, stupid or crazy" others effectively bash our self esteem, and we often do a good job at that ourselves.

Those of us with collosul disorders and/or ADHD, as many observe haven't any problem "paying attention."  Rather due to impaired executive function of the brain, we have trouble doing so at will and consistently.  Hence "willpower" really has very little to do with it.  Executive function (EF) also regulates the sustaining and the placing of attention in the first place.  EF regulates our alertness vs our needed "downtime."  Many, for example, with ADHD, can related to reading a book, or listening to a lecture, and falling into a deep slumber.

Stimulant medications help about 80% of those with ADHD.  They only helped me in limited ways, and also caused a great deal of agitation and anxiety, hypomania and anger.  Strattera, however, that changes the rate of Dopamine and Norepinephrine uptake (this refers to how quickly the synapses of the brain "reload" for the next signal.)  Its truly been a miracle medication for me, after many, many years of trial and error.

While in many ways I find very minor issues with my EF, my attention, et al, my overall cognitive ability has improved far beyond that which I'd honestly ever believed it would or could.  I find myself in many ways angry with all those who would judge us, label us morally flawed, because of the symptoms described above.  My mind now, is much clearer and faster, higher functioning, my ability to communicate, to understand others has also improved quite a bit.  Now, I'm dealing with the years of self doubt and anger wrongly placed in my own direction.  True, that others did this as well, but people will do what they do, and we cannot (directly) change it.

I find myself, having to add new levels of forgiveness and self love, where before it did not exist. I also find that I've a lot of anger towards many who have judged me unfairly over the years.  But I do have to ask myself, were I in their position, without the knowledge that I now have, would I myself have judged unfairly? The answer, for me is obvious and affirmative...I (we) do it all the time.

Their exists in me now, a level of relative comfort and ease in how I relate to my life, my behavior(s), my unique way of processing and living in the world.  I will continue to make mistakes, missteps, and foibles...just like everyone else.  And (I know, its not proper to start a sentence with "and") I truly believe, that we all fall down and get up, fall down again, and get up.  The only difference though, between a failure and a success, is getting back up.  If we ever labor under the false delusion, as I had for many years that I should simply give up because I'm not going to get "it" then I've given in to failure.

For those still suffering, all I can say is this:  I firmly believe with all my heart that pain and discomfort, even disability, is a the same time suffering is optional.  I also know that in the moment, for those of us who have just fallen down (yet again), this statement can seem arrogant, can seem a lie.  I would also say, please, please, do not take my word for this...such would just be listening to the misguided ramblings of yet again another person who has not (exactly) walked in your shoes.  However, try...test it...get up more time...and should you fall, get up again, one more time.  You may just find (for yourself) the hope, the solution, the key you are looking for to succeed.

Getting up again, its not about willpower. I've already discussed this above, rather its about faith, faith in yourself, in your ability to succeed at being the very best that you can be.

I find myself feeling the pain and the suffering of many who have been and continue to be in similar situations to my own.  The difference now, is that said pain and suffering serves now only to motivate me to ease the suffering of others, in any way possible, if at all possible.

My cognitive and overall processing changes have been both so stark and obvious, as well as perfectly consistent that I have revisited within myself hopes and goals, mountains to climb, that I'd given up on.  I've decided, and I'm not sure when exactly, that I will go back to school and finish my degree in psychology.  My overall function is such now that I know I can succeed in this.

Talking to my psychiatric case manager yesterday about this, she'd asked me if I had anxiety in light of all these changes.  At first I was unaware of exactly what she was referring to.  She was referring to "the other shoe dropping", or the fear that I might and could loose my newfound and stable cognitive and emotional/social improvements.  I'd mentioned to her I had, but that I even have been "taunting" the other shoe, untying its laces and seeing if it would drop...and it won't...Surely I'll continue to misstep, but I now know I have both the tools and the support to get back up again, without any doubt whatsoever.  

To each and every one of us I wish only that we might all realize the other shoe not dropping.  May we all come to the knowledge that it can get better, and it will get better.  May we all come to understand and have faith in our own unique skills and abilities, not only to survive, but to thrive and flower into the fullness that is our promised birthright.
~Just Joe

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