Sunday, March 25, 2012

Omnipotentiality vs "My Way or the Highway"

There is a common human trait that I have seen in school and real life.  People read something, and they self identify because they are seeking answers.  On the other hand there are times in everyone's life where they read something, almost as if they themselves wrote it, but could never "find the words" to express it.

I find myself having the later experience, in regards to a work referred to in an earlier post in regards to the writings of Thomas E. Brown Ph.D., specifically his book " Attention Deficit Disorder - The unfocused mind in chidren and adults. "  In chapter 6: "Adulthood: Managing Reponsibilities, Finding a Niche" he says:

"  The young man's comment "I've always had difficulty making choices" reflects a problem with "omnipotentiality"- a fantasy based attitude, common among adolescents, that all things are possible, all choices are open.  Usually this attitude is dispelled during mid-to late adolescence as most individuals are forced to confront the reality that some doors are not open to them....With a persisting sense of omnipotentiality, they experience themselves as being on a protracted shopping trip for life options-interested in multiple possibilities, but unable to invest in any one choice enough to put up with the inevitable frustrations of getting started and becoming established...  "
He goes on to explain how those individuals with executive function (EF) disorders (like AgCC and ADHD) take longer to resolve this conflict, and that for some it remains a lifelong dysfunction.  He mentions that those of us with EF disorder carry this onto adulthood in some predictable ways.  I was particularly struck that he mentioned many of us have had (myself included) dozens of jobs, in the space where the average person may have had just a few...that we have this difficulty with the organizational aspect of "what will it take for this long term goal" and lacking the skills to plan for this, we quickly become frustrated, moving on to yet another possibility, and never settling for just one "future focus" (my term.)  

There is yet another aspect to this particular presentation of EF dysfunction.  While we are on a particular "track", we can see no other track than that which we are traveling on, so to speak, and when confronted, can become frustrated, angry, and not understand when others point out to us that the particular track we might be on may not succeed.  We all know the experience of putting our hand into a flame for the first time, we learn not to do it again...on many levels this isn't so for those of us with collosul disorder and/or ADHD.

Since I've been on this new drug protocol, Strattera, I have noticed an absolutely remarkable change in these particular areas.  I've observed that the tendency of the brain exists to "still go there," yet the longer I am on this medication, the more control I have in this area.  I give the example thus:

I really want to go back to school and finish a degree in psychology.  I'd given up on the idea, simply because I had to admit that my cognitive function was not such that I would succeed in the task.  With the combination of therapy, medication, self-awareness and self-training, C.B.T. and other tools I know have in my "belt" such as The Work of Byron Katie, there is absolutely NO doubt in my mind that I will succeed in this desire.  Now, this is where it gets even more special for me.  In the past, when I've had any sort of success in growth, albeit none as dramatic and consistent as I experience now, I would go "full bore ahead" and jump headlong into whatever it was I wanted without any real forethought or planning.  This is truly a remarkable change for me...I am recognizing the cognitive ability to clearly think about things such as what needs to be done in order for me to have a foundation to build upon to complete the task.  Looking at all the various things I will need to do and have in place, before I actively pursue this goal. (Which I am now fully committed to accomplishing.)

My life is currently, and happily so, engaged in the love and support of Troya, whom I mention in other posts.  This is significant in many ways...She has helped and supported my coming forth out of the cocoon, my coming into a fullness of my real possibilities and growth, unlike almost anyone else I'd ever known.  In her time of need as she fights this courageous battle with ovarian cancer, I have the opportunity, in some small way of returning the love, as if that were really possible.  There is nowhere else in life I would rather be.  Pain is a given, suffering is optional.  As I watch my dearest friend in these days, I'm still learning from her moment by moment.  I only hope that when my time comes to face my own eventual demise that I face it with the brilliance, faith, strength and hope that she is demonstrating to me even now.
~Just Joe

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