Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Some estrogen fueled rambling ...

There have been many things going on lately.

You would think I'd be writing and updating on a regular basis ... I want to ... I try to ... I just can't.  My thoughts are all intertwined and twisted.  It is a bit frustrating at times to deal with this mental gridlock, but it is an ongoing reality ... you would think I'd be accustomed to it.

There are days where everything just falls into place, but there are many more days where my mind is a plate of pasta ... and the odds of separating them successfully without making a mess are slim.

Pam and I went to my nephew's wedding.  You would think I could write a few paragraphs on that ... I started to write ... I wanted to write ... it just didn't happen despite the fact that there was so much that I absolutely loved about wedding.

Kat was beautiful, Josh was very handsome ... the ceremony itself was very unique and so wonderful including exchanging swords (an old Norse tradition), exchanging Bibles ... but ...

As I start to write about it my thoughts detour to other things ... anything ... everything ... and then I give up.

This is the pattern.  Not just for this blog, but for many things.  It's almost like the harder I try the more tangled my thoughts get ... the more distracted I become.

You would think I could possibly write a few words about our Smokey kitty.

How gut wrenching it was to watch the alpha female of the group ... the great huntress go from healthy to completely incapacitated in a matter of a couple weeks ... how emotionally devastating it was to decide to put her to sleep, but again the distractions take me away from my own thoughts.

I have truly learned to dislike this time of year ...

"You're in the school bus industry, this must be your rest time ..."

Ummmm ... No.  This is my busiest time ... the end of the summer push to get more drivers for the beginning of the school year.  Many 10 to 12 hour days, many weekends spent trying to accomplish an endless task.

I cannot explain how stressful this is ... but the stress is pervasive and seeps into all aspects of my life.  Sort of like spaghetti sauce mixed amongst the pasts.  Even if I can untangle one noodle the sauce still covers it.

You would think that I would be able to bask in the glow of having 4 trainees pass on their first attempt despite driving daily and dealing with an unusual number of accidents and injuries, but I can't ... my brain just jumps to the next crisis or potential crisis.

Unfortunately this is also the time of year that people plan things like weddings or vacations or ... whatever.  I am just too on edge to relax and truly anything.

The medications I am taking for depression are having a positive effect.  I am not as constantly agitated as in the past ... or at least I think I'm acting a bit better ... but then again this has been an unusually quiet year.  My nephew's wedding has been the highlight and the only obligation outside of work so far.

In 1997 Pam and I met with the district psychologist regarding Timmy.  There was a concern that he was dealing with Attention Deficit Disorder.  The meeting was non-eventful, but it brought back many memories of my school days ... daydreaming in class, incomplete or missing assignments, "if he would only apply himself a bit more ..."  The end result was he did not meet the criteria for ADD ... he did meet 4 of the criteria, but it is not considered ADD unless you meet 6.

That was the same year I became a supervisor ... the same year that copious amounts of paperwork began to pile up in front of me.  I am truly not certain how I managed to complete some of the work I had ... that I have, but I can assure you it has nothing to do with time management skills or my ability to stay organized.

In 2005, after the new company took over the contract for our yard, I was encouraged to get a Franklin organizer.  The company paid for a class ... an all day class.  I was excited because I was finally going to be organized.

I knew I was in the wrong place very quickly.  I was the only one who did not show up with a brief case ... the only one who did not open the Franklin oohing and aahing over it ... the only one with only one pen and one half used notepad (the notepad just happened to be in the car, or I would have only had a pen).  When the instructor began to speak and explain how to be organized it was like she was speaking a foreign language ... nothing she said made sense no matter how hard I tried to absorb this life changing skill.  Soon she faded into a Charlie Brown teacher voice and my mind took off on a tangent ... a story to be exact.

I began writing feverishly in my form of organized story writing ... or simply put, a mess that most could not follow.

At one point the gentleman behind me, thinking I was taking notes, asked me what the instructor said.  I froze ... I had forgotten I was in a class and I was supposed to be learning something.  I froze, not knowing what to say.  Luckily the person beside him gave him the information and I went back to my story.

This is truly a common scenario for me.

I actually do listen ... most of the time.  Even if I'm staring into space or writing something unrelated or even talking I can usually repeat what others are saying ... unless ... ... unless I'm not interested.  Then, even if I am looking at the speaker my brain is turned off and the do not disturb sign is dangling.

Somehow in the midst of my worsening depression and transition issues my therapist noticed a trend.

I actually knew the trend years ago, but never figured it was a true issue ... or at least I didn't want to admit was an issue.

So I'm sitting on the couch in her office a short time ago.  I don't recall the specific conversation as we talk about so many things.  I know that I was in a better mood and we had talked about the new medications and we hit a lull near the end of my session.  She started to ask a question, but seemed a bit hesitant for a moment.  "Have you ever considered the possibility that you may have ADD?"

My gut instinct was to say, "No.  I can't have ADD." or "Why do you ask?" or to sidestep the question altogether.

Before I could think of what I wanted to say I heard my self uttering, "I've always wondered."

It was strange ... like that part of my brain was just waiting for someone to ask.

The next week we did an assessment.  It was actually multiple assessments rolled into one testing for different aspects of ADHD.  The questions were simple ... the answers were a bit more difficult.  Catharine knows me a bit too well.  She questioned a couple of my answers and we talked about them ... she flat out laughed and corrected me on one.  "Do you often lose or break things?"

"No ... very rarely."

"Tiffanie."  She stared at me obviously trying to contain a laugh.

"Alright."  I think I huffed a bit.  "Sometimes ... maybe."

She laughed.  "Misplacing is the same as losing.  I know you misplace things more than sometimes."

All I could do is agree ... because it's true.

"OK ... her we go," she said as she thumbed through the pages a couple times.  "When someone is assessed for ADD they need to meet 6 of the criteria."

"Sounds familiar," I thought.  "Now she'll say I meet 4 or 5 ... I hope ... or no, maybe ... ..."

"You scored ..." she continued.  "Twelve.  Not only do you have ADD, you have it in spades."

"Wow."  My brain drifted away from the conversation a bit.  "I didn't see that coming," I thought.

"This is good," she said.  "Now that we know what it is we can help you deal with it."

"I don't understand how I've gone this long without someone figuring this out."

"It can happen."  She sat forward in her chair.  "Especially with highly intelligent people."

"I looked at the floor and shook my head.  "Why do you think I'm that intelligent?"

"You are very intelligent.  It's obvious" she said.  "You've likely developed many coping mechanisms to compensate for the struggles."  She paused until I looked back up.  "And you have been struggling ... haven't you?"

I nodded.

For the rest of the session she asked questions about time management, organization and other issues.  She's helped me see things that I have done for as long as I can remember that is my brain compensating for its battles to function properly.

So I'm learning to deal with it.  I've been paying attention to my own habits ... when and how often I hit my mental wall ... how I manage to misplace things (that will take a lot of work to figure out all the ways I lose things) ... what tasks I have the most issues completing, or even starting.

At times it seems I struggle with everything.

After a bit of encouragement I discussed my options with my doctor.  He is still worried over my depression, but I guess I've given him plenty of reason to worry about me.  I have not been myself for a long time.  He agreed to start me on Ritalin.  I've been taking it for a week ... ... and I cannot believe what a functioning brain feels like, but it only lasts for 4 hours or so.  Hopefully he gives me the okay to take 2 doses per day.

Add this to the list of things I never asked for but yet I have to deal with.