Posted in ADD, ADHD, and EFD, Anxiety and Depression, Life, Organization

Hijacked by Stress

We’re taking a short break from my prissy eyes. They will come up in this post, but Take 4, Part 4 is being delayed by life right now. Not that you even expected it this soon, of course — all two of you (and that’s probably being generous) who’ve stuck around to see if I ever post again. 😉

I can already feel the tsunami of overwhelm taking over my mind as I struggle to think of how to even begin, and am forcing myself to push on through this tedious sentence to make myself commit to this post. I’m also listening to the Legend of Zelda 25th Anniversary Symphony, and it’s nearly the thing that overflows the bottle I’ve been shoving all my feelings into this week so I can get stuff done. (Not that I’m getting a lot done; just the bare minimum to get by. Depression is a hell of a thing.) I love this music so much I can barely handle it.

In addition to my stupid eyes being stupid, and an inability to buy glasses without having to send them back multiple times (and allergies making my eyes feel raw and tired all day long), I also have some mild family drama that I tend to forget about until it crops up at random times and becomes emotionally conflicting; a good friend I’ve only had for a year has moved away (though I am very happy for her; she really needed the change); there has been a lot of drama with the Symphony I’m heavily involved with, and we’re scrambling to finish up the 75th season with a bang so there’s also a lot of planning and activity to keep track of; I still have a ridiculously messy house and no productive routines to speak of; I’ve barely written anything but the last blog post in months; and, on top of it all, we found out recently that one of our old friends has basically committed a long, slow suicide by alcohol, and lied his ass off for years about it and a whole bunch of other things that make us question everything we thought we knew about him forever. It’s extremely emotionally draining, and there are so many feels to feel that I can barely process them. They come in waves, when I least expect them, and the residual fatigue from all of it is kicking my butt.

My heart hurts right now. It’s heavy in my chest, and tight. And it’s not just emotional pain, it’s also the overwhelming nature of all the emotions put together. If my mind drifts over to a thought about needing to clean off a section of my table — or even just fill in the calendar for this new month and put it on the fridge — I feel this surge of sadness that kind of sticks in my throat and behind my nose. It’s as visceral as it is psychological — but it’s not enough to make me shed actual tears. I’m not much of a crier, honestly, and haven’t been since adolescence. It takes a lot to get me worked up enough, or it takes a very particular trigger (and there are very few of those). I can feel like I’m going to cry all day, but I probably won’t actually shed tears. If I do shed tears, they might not even leave my eyes. If they do, there aren’t many. I just have to blow my nose a lot. But it’s the same kind of rush and ache from head to gut that steals your breath and makes you want to go curl up under a blanket for a few hours. Not fun, and not easily ignored.

Since I’ve been researching ADHD and Executive Function Disorder (EFD), I’ve learned a lot about the signs and symptoms of each, and I know that at least with ADHD, it’s much easier to be overwhelmed with or by strong emotions (link is a slide show, but it’s not annoying like the click-bait ones), and have your actual brainpower hijacked by said strong emotions. I’m usually pretty good at regulating, but when I am bombarded by stress from several angles at once, the regulation goes a bit haywire, and — to use a Star Trek reference — I have to make the decision whether to take power from the engines (barely running on impulse control) to run the shields, or drop some defenses and less-important functions in order to keep the engines running and maintain life support.

For example, in the struggle to try to stay positive and on task — or even start a task — I feel like I’ve lost the ability to speak in a coherent manner, or I’ve lost whatever tenuous control I had over my ability to concentrate long enough to remember what it is I’m doing and why I’m doing it. If I do manage verbal coherency, I feel tension in my chest, and laughing — even genuine laughter; I don’t usually fake it — feels painful. The loss of concentration is like staring at a shelf in the grocery store (something I did today) and knowing there is something there you need to find, but the memory of it keeps sliding out of your head as you become overstimulated by all the labels and things around you. You can even stare at your list and hope you can concentrate long enough to find one of the things on it that should be in front of you, and suddenly all your energy is directed at this one thing, and you walk out of the grocery store utterly exhausted after having only bought maybe ten things…

I get angry, too, but lately I feel like sadness has kind of overwhelmed the anger, especially when it comes to our friend dying in the hospital. I want to be sad, but I’m also kind of angry with him. But I can’t stay angry, or even grieve for him right now. I’m just…depressed. Depressed with a side of tension. I think I’m sad for my husband, too, who was closer to our friend than I was, and has been spending the most time with him and his family. I have no problem with being emotionally supportive, but I hadn’t realized how much of it I’ve been taking on, myself, until this weekend.

I have things I have to do this week: commitments to fulfill, kids and pets to take care of, cleaning and shopping to do, a big Symphony gala to make it through next Saturday. I’m not so depressed that I’m completely nonfunctional, but there are other daily things I’m letting slip by, because managing to do the caretaking and socializing that needs to be done takes all the brainpower I have. I feel like I’m moving through molasses — like there is not enough caffeine in this world to wake me up all day. Crazy weather changes and allergies are not helping with that, either. Ugh.

But this, too, shall pass. Times of refreshing will come. And I have The Legend of Zelda, Breath of the Wild to help me escape once in awhile. I’m trying to use it as a reward for getting important things done this week, and I have sort of managed to keep from letting it be too much of a draw on days I have a lot to accomplish and no time to play.

Anyway, that’s what’s up with me right now. I have more developments in the saga of my stupid eyes that I need to finish documenting for your entertainment. Even if it’s tedious and annoying, it’s more fun than this.

Posted in ADD, ADHD, and EFD, Anxiety and Depression, Blogging, Children, Life, Mommyhood, Organization, Pediatric Feeding Disorder

January 2017

Oh, look, it’s January! Time to make resolutions I probably won’t keep! Time to renew my commitment to a mental facility to do more writing, especially in my long-neglected blog!

This time, I have incentivized myself. I’ve purchased the domain “coffeeandlollipops.blog” AND made calling cards with that info, and the forwarding email “deltasierra47@coffeeandlollipops.blog”. (It’s clunky, but it’ll serve for now. Especially since I’ve already printed cards. But if you want to contact me, use that address!)

This is in anticipation of launching a big plan to, among other things, document my struggles, failures, and successes in helping my kids learn to eat. I’ve mentioned before that they have feeding issues, but it’s kind of long past “issues” now into “disorders”. As in, I feel safe diagnosing them both as having “SED” (Severe Eating Disorder), without the need of a medical professional to do it for me. Granted, SED is an umbrella term, but one that is becoming more widely known and accepted, as “SPD” (Sensory Processing Disorder) and “Autism Spectrum” have been.

Before anyone worries that I’m one of those WebMD parents who thinks they know better than doctors, I want to remind or inform you that my kids are not toddlers or speshul sneauxflaykes. They’re eight- and six-year-old boys who have been eating five foods or less since introducing solid foods, have been to a few years of OT and feeding therapy (with small progress), and who would rather starve themselves past the point of feeling hunger rather than try to learn to chew anything, including treats like Jell-O, ice-cream, or cookies.

If that doesn’t convince someone of the severity of this situation, nothing will.

They do love lollipops, though. I daresay it’s the only solid food my six-year-old eats. So there’s hope!

In addition to blogging here, I hope to start vlogging, as well, and might set up a separate blog the boys can contribute to in the far future, which will feature their own videos. I bought them an inexpensive action-camera set-up for Christmas so we can create cooking videos. I homeschool them, and realized that cooking classes would be a great way to learn all kinds of concepts, and my eight-year-old mentioned that it would be fun to put some of our cooking exploits up on a YouTube channel. (He’s been angling for a YouTube channel for months; this is one way I can cave to his request while also making it educational and limited in scope. If it were up to him, he would post videos of himself rambling on about everything and nothing, pacing back and forth in our cluttered living room, and I just can’t let him do that. I’m a mean mom for promoting meaningful web content. 😉 ) So watch this space for kitchen antics!

Before that can happen, though, I have to address another extremely severe issue in our house: Ridiculous Overabundance of Clutter (and dog hair). It has gotten so out of hand, I could ALMOST make it on the TLC “Hoarders” program. Yes, really. I am not exaggerating.

I’ve always been a messy person. I know now that it can likely be attributed to a level of ADD (and OCD, but not the clean kind) I’ve always had, but got out of hand after I had kids and lost my ability to keep up with it. Now, I fight fatigue and motivation every day, and can just manage to stay on top of most of my outside commitments, making the kids’ food (for home and travel), doing the dishes, and emptying the trash. This is compounded by the fact that my husband is on a nine-month deployment (Army, someplace that rhymes with “Little Beast”), and it’s winter, so depression and anxiety are at their highest, too. I admit I haven’t really done much school with the boys this year, even though it’s the first year I’ve had to declare to the school district that the eight-year-old is homeschooled.

I’m a hot mess, y’all.

Which is why I need to blog — or, rather, “document” — my journey back up the downward spiral I’ve been on for awhile. In about a week I’ll be leaving for the Feeding Matters Pediatric Feeding Conference, which I managed to talk myself into going to this year. I’m really looking forward to it, not only because it’s in Phoenix, AZ, in the middle of January. 😉 I’m hoping I’ll be able to network as well as learn some new things and gain more advocacy for our situation. I wasn’t happy with what I’ve had available to us in the past, but I’ll address that in a later post. For now, I need to go make lunch.

Here’s to a successful 2017! 🙂 Feel free to post your own resolutions, struggles, recommitments, etc., in the comments. Please refrain from advice at this point, however, though well-wishing is welcome. Soon I’m going to write a more comprehensive post about feeding disorders and the issues we’ve had to deal with, and why conventional advice for “picky” children just cannot work for us.

Thank you! See you again SOON!

Posted in ADD, ADHD, and EFD, Anxiety and Depression, Organization

A.D.D.? Me? Why do you say th––hey SHINY!!

My husband was listening to a radio station the other day, and a woman was speaking about how ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) usually manifests differently in girls and women than it does boys. Female ADD tends to show itself through clutter (can’t concentrate long enough to finish a project), being late to everything (no real good concept of time), and traits that tend to characterize a person as flighty, lazy, undisciplined, and directionless. She also said that it’s extremely underdiagnosed in women, because usually one sees, say, a homemaker with the above traits and just thinks she’s a slob who never learned how to run a house. And the woman characterized as such believes that, and addresses the fallout (depression, anxiety, shame) instead of the root cause (inability to focus long enough to Get It All Done).

Now, I’m not advocating more medication for women (or anyone) with ADD. I still believe ADD is as overdiagnosed and overmedicated as autism. But just because it is overdiagnosed does not mean some people don’t struggle with it. Adult ADD has kind of become a thing in recent years, and I’ve joked about having it in the past (never taking seriously that this could be my problem, too), but I have to face something in my life: There is something about my brain that does not function like a normal human’s is supposed to function, and it is Making. Me. Crazy.

I’ve always been cluttered. AL.WAYS. I have always been a daydreamer, a people-watcher, more effective at night when it’s dark and quiet and I can pinpoint what I need to focus on. As an adult, I get overstimulated very easily, and I’m anxious, scattered, HORRIBLY cluttered, and exhausted by a busy day — especially a busy morning. I have always sabotaged myself and as much as I intend to finish some things, it just never happens.

When my husband told me about this woman who was basically describing me, he said he began to think that, maybe, ADD wasn’t some kind of throwaway diagnosis, after all. I did a little research on my own, and realized that, sure enough, I now had a name for my dragon! This beast I’ve been fighting for years, and that’s gotten worse with the chaos of having children (and subsequent hormonal and activity changes).

What I don’t want to do with it is use it as an excuse. It’s not that I was poorly disciplined as a child or never taught such-and-such — I’m an adult, and have access to anything I want to learn about how to conduct my life. It’s that I have only ever faced these problems as things to be ashamed of, reasons I am a lousy, unproductive individual — character issues, rather than issues of brain/hormone/emotional dysfunction. What I need are strategies to overcome it. To harness that dragon and make it MINE.

I’m reading a book now called “Your Life Can Be Better: Using Strategies for Adult ADD/ADHD”, written by a psychiatrist with ADD. It’s probably one of the most straightforward, ADD-friendly self-help books I’ve ever read, and I’m enjoying it so far. 🙂

I want to go on and on, but part of my problem is the inability to judge the flow of time. I have ten minutes before I have to leave, but I don’t know if I have ten minutes’ worth of tasks to do to get out the door. So I’ll wrap this up for now, and write something more later. See? Progress! 😀

Posted in Mommyhood, Organization

Routine Thing

I really need to work on my cleaning routines. I’ve known this for a looooonnnng time. Last night, I cleaned the kitchen after I put Beanie to bed. I realized that that was a routine I could get behind: Put Beanie to bed, tidy/clean the kitchen. Then play on the computer. 🙂

It’s a start, anyway. 🙂

I’ve been putting off a lot of my computer use during the day, because a) I don’t have a good place to put the computer for easy access by me and no access by munchkins, b) it’s not as easy to use the computer while nursing Beanie anymore, and c) I’ve been on the computer too much as it is. If I use my phone to check Facebook and email during the day, I don’t really need to check the computer except in cases where the phone can’t handle what I need to look up, or I need to print, or whatever. Like updating this blog, for instance. 🙂 There’s an Android app for it, but the reviews are not pretty, so I’m not even going to bother.

I’ve always struggled with a morning routine, though (mainly because I hate getting up earlier than my children–who already get up too early, in my opinion), and that’s the most important time of the day to have good routines set up. But I often don’t gain momentum as much as I fight inertia all morning. By the time afternoon rolls around, I sometimes feel like I’m just waking up, or falling back to sleep again. Bleh.

I am usually an all-or nothing person, but I’m slowly teaching myself that small changes build up. What I ought to do, though, is find someone to watch the kids (preferably somewhere else) for a few hours while I attack my bedroom or another area. Or take a nap so I can do it another time. 🙂

I should revisit my Flylady book again . . .

Posted in Identity, Mommyhood, Organization

If my day were a tag cloud . . .

. . . the word “NO” would be utterly massive in the center and eclipse all other words, with perhaps the exception of “GENTLE!” and the boys’ names. (Incidentally, Beanie can say “no no” — his second word after “da da”. You’d think he’d be more proficient with “ma ma” with as often as Pie says it, but oh well!)

I was just thinking of that, as I told Pie for the fiftieth time this evening to NOT BE WILD AROUND YOUR BROTHER!!!11!

Anyway, remember my last post? Oh, well, neither did I. I had to go reread it. 😉

A lot has been going through my head lately, much of it centering on “Oh my word, HOW do I organize my day when I can’t even find the time to put away my own laundry??!” I know there are lots of tips and tricks out there. My father- and mother-in-law recently visited, and she helped me with some cleaning and organization. That woman cannot sit still! I wondered how I could be like her. I, personally, LOVE sitting still. Which might actually be my problem . . .

I’ve been noticing a serious lack of movement on my part (other than carrying a ten-month-old on my hip while making the three-year-old’s food, or lifting the three-year-old up to the changing table — which will hopefully end soon, as we’re trying to potty train), due to a serious lack of energy, which has led to an increase in bodily aches and pains. I’m just barely under 170, which is pretty good for me, but I’m sure more of it is fat than muscle, like it was when I was first pregnant with Pie. I desire activity and exercise, but not quite as much as I desire not having to wake up before 8am. Obviously, I have some priorities that need to change. 😉

(By the way: This is why one should have children at a young age. Because starting when you’re 30 means you’re dealing with energetic toddlers and preteens on your way up and over the hill!)

I have lots of other whining I could be doing, but I find I have no desire to. I’m actually in a pretty good mood, though I could easily crawl into bed and go to sleep right now. But I just got the kids in bed! I have time to myself! Umm . . . what should I do with it? I have LOTS of choices. One might say too many choices, because I get overwhelmed and don’t do anything. Argh! I should make a list. But first, some tea . . .

‘Night!