Some days I feel great. Others, I'm barely holding it together. This is one of the days I'm barely holding it together. I realize that my life has been full of pain, shame, guilt, anger, lust, defiance, and disappointment. I struggle against them, but sometimes they seem to spiral.
I've always felt that life can be so torturous, but also so beautiful. Moments or torment mixed with moments of inspiration. I've grown to see pleasure and pain as locked in a beautiful dance--expanding and contracting against each other; each one defined by the other. I swallow pain like a pill and hold it with a strong stomach. I inject pleasure like a drug, constantly moving from one stimulus to the next in a trance.
In the times when my internal world seems too chaotic, I drink until the harsh lines of reality become blurred into one another and my collage of pain becomes an impressionist painting of chemical joy. I inhale femininity and breath out lust.
I wonder what keeps me together--keeps me so glued. When the clouds are gathered and the wind and rain pelt me, what keeps me from going under? Why do I feel hardened rather than softened?
When I relinquish a dream, a harsh reminder of the limits of my freedom imposed by the extent of my freedom, what keeps me reaching for what I've never grasped, running for the finish line I cannot reach?
Nobody's supposed to be here. I walk alone to keep from dragging the innocent through my pain-spiked path--the dungeon of my heart. Seduced by the artificial with a thirst for the genuine. I'm a heartache you don't need. I dangerous thrill to be avoided like an exotic drug.
To walk a mile in my shoes you have to walk 30 barefoot through desert sands.
I just don't want to be bothered. Leave me to my vices while I drown myself in dopamine and norepinepherine inducing stimulation. Led me lace my lobes in GABA and glide with the ocean breeze, escaping the tides of self-pity.
I'm frustrated, to say the least, at this point. I sense building anxiety and impatience. I like to move on things fast. I can't stand to have to sit around and wait long for things to happen. I tend to start moving ahead even when things are uncertain out of a need to keep moving. So, to have to wait two months for an appointment is bothersome.
Furthermore, the social worker I saw on Monday told me that she thinks the sexual addiction isn't something related to ADHD, and that there is something else there that needs to be fleshed out. She may be right in some regard. There may be something that needs to be fleshed out. I've been so amazed at how well the profile of an ADDer fit my issues that I may have begun to see an ADHD diagnoses and treatment as a panacea for all of my ills, which perhaps is wrong. However, I got the sense that she was speaking more out of an ignorance of a complex symptom that some ADDers experience. ADHD, especially in adults, is still such an unknown and mysterious thing that most mental health professionals have no experience dealing with it. It is said that 85% of adults with ADHD are undiagnosed. But from my reading, I understand how the issue of excessive sexuality is related, or at least could be related, to ADHD.
I recently read an article entitled, The Viscious Cycle of Compulsive Sexuality, Shame and Adult ADHD. It was an eye-opener as to how sexuality can be affected by ADHD, especially in men. Also Hallowell, in his book Delivered From Distraction, mentions that conpulsive consumers of erotic literature and sex addicts are adults who may unknowingly have ADHD. This is because there is, as he describes it, a constant "itch" that needs to be scratched with engagement in high stimulus activities. There's a constant drive to aleviate a generalized feeling of anxiety.
Something I've also been reading about, which may be related to ADHD, is Reward Deficiency Syndrome, which explains a possible mechanism for a need for, or drive toward, high stimulus behavior that creates the itch. A genetic lack of ability to experience happiness under normal circumstances creates a driving to engage in activities such as drinking alcohol, gambling, having sex, taking drugs, driving fast, jumping out of planes or off of bridges, whitewater rafting, and anything high stimulus. This idea fits with the fact that as a youth, I was very introverted but also felt an almost constant extreme degree of anxiety. This led to a quick temper, violent thoughts, and a constant on-guard kind of feeling--like I was always one word away from knocking the teeth out of the person next to me. When I got older, I became a lot more outgoing. In fact, I became too outgoing. My academic performance in college was partly affected by the fact that I felt a need to party four nights a week. But I felt a lot less anxiety as I became a compulsive extravert.
Anyway, I started off this post intending to say that the one thing that makes me feel a little bit better today is that I just looked up the psychiatrist I am scheduled to see in March. He is apparently a very well-educated doctor who specializes in both adult and child psychology, something that is crucial since child psychiatrists often have much more experience with ADHD than those who only see adults. Furthermore, it has listed that one of his specialties is treating people with ADHD and related disorders. So perhaps there is light at the end of the tunnel, rather than a frustrating sequence of receiving inadequate help. Perhaps.
According to Hallowell, the keys to coping with ADHD are finding the right mate and finding the right job. I am absolutely certain I do not have the right job. However, I cannot afford to just up and quit. Ideally I would have my own business. I can work on that. But in the meantime, I still need an income and health insurance. So, I must find ways to manage at my current job for the time being.
Medication will help, hopefull, when I'm able to see a doctor and get a prescription. But there are things I can do in the meantime to help me focus. For one, to cut down on distractions from abnoxious noisey neighbors and an obnoxious cubical-mate, I introduce to you the earbud headphones.
These are not your run-of-the-mill, iPod-style earbuds that fall out of your ear when you move and give you an ear-ache. I find it necessary to get the high-quality ones with that form a seal inside your ear and block out unwanted noise. They can even be used to dampen ambient noise when music isn't playing. They're a long way from noise-cancelling headphones, but if you don't want to spend $200 on a set of those, these fit the bill just fine. They also work for blocking the ranting of random psychopaths on buses and trains. All I need is these and a smooth jazz or soul album on my iPod to keep me from wanting to throw my deskchair.
So, yesterday I went in for my appointment. I was hoping to get a diagnosis at this point, however, Kaiser's way of doing things is to first set you up with a counselor. I had to go all the way to Hollywood for my appointment, since they don't have a psychiatric services department in Pasadena.
I was late getting there. I was really trying not to be but the traffic was terrible, even at 10:30am. I finally arrived at around 11:15 for a 11am appointment. The counselor came out and rushed me in. I had to fill out my paperwork later since we didn't have much time left. We spoke and I described what brought me there and gave her kind of a rundown of the history of my issues and why I think they're caused by ADHD. She took out the DSM IV and started asking questions. They were familiar because at this point I'm familiar with the clinical diagnostic criteria for the disorder. She also ran through some other conditions. Then she asked me if I had considered seeking someone to get medication. I told her that I hate the idea of walking around medicated, but I'm open to it at this point. So, she scheduled an appointment for me with an actual psychiatrist. But the earliest appointment I could get is March 23rd. That's almost two months from now. That is completely ridiculous. I had to wait two weeks for an appointment with someone who's only value was to send me to someone else whom it will take nearly two months to see. So in the meantime I'm just stuck. I know I have a problem, but do to the inefficiencies of my HMO, I stuck sitting on my hands.
Of course, I'm not sitting on my hands. I have an inability to sit on my hands. So even if I end up running in place, I'll be trying to make changes. I know what's wrong now. For 25 years I didn't. Now I finally have an explanation. I can start doing the things short of medication to help myself now.
I just got word that my maternal grandmother passed away. She was my last remaining grandparent. My mom is down, of course. I've always been someone who takes loss in stride. It wasn't until recently that I actually lost someone close to me. I'd lost family members in the past. But I've never really had a relationship with those who were lost. The same goes with my grandmother who just passed away. I think I met her once or twice, but neither time was when I was old enough to remember.
It's even more amazing because I was raised by a generation who was raised by their grandparents. My father, my mother less so. But that's an interesting generational difference. It's a result of probably two things. One, blacks moving West and leaving a lot of family back East. And two, just not having a lot of money to travel back East regularly and the older family members back East not having the money to travel West. It's sad because I really would have liked to have had a relationship with them. My paternal grandmother died long before I was born. She died of pneumonia after undergoing successful breast cancer surgery at 33 years old. My father was only 17 at the time. I would be born 20 years later. My maternal grandfather passed away just a few years ago. I don't remember ever meeting him. He was legally blind. My paternal grandfather was the one I saw the most. We've actually talked before, and embraced. He was big on family and had some money so he could travel. But it was hard to have a real relationship with him because he had so many kids, and his kids had so many kids. When you're one of thirty-some grandchildren, you can get lost in the crowd. He died of stomach cancer a few years ago.
People pass so quickly. One moment you hear they're sick and the next you hear they didn't make it. Regardless of whether or not we had a relationship. I still feel her. The same with anyone who has even tangentially touched my life. You feel it. It's not sadness. It's more of a surreal reminder of just how fleeting things are. How we grow, age, and die, living on through the echoes of our voices. They memories of past laughter imprinted in the minds of people we knew. The positive things we've done. The impact we've had on others' lives. The spirits of our ancestors whisper through the ages and can be heard in the laughter of a new generation. A grandparent dies--a nephew born. Another soul to join the ebb and flow. To mature and create their own way through the vicissitudes of life. I'm reminded of the masterpiece by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude. Death and renewal. The constant flux of time. A generation is lost--another initiated.
To Mrs. Idora J. May you always be remembered. May thoughts of you be cherished for all time.
Perhaps I'd misjudged one thing I put down as a weakness in my last post. I said that I am a poor communicator. That is not entirely true. I am poor at communicating certain things. However, I am extraordinarily gifted at communicating others.
I have an ability to break down complex things into simple terms and to translate them into terms that are easily grasped by my audience. I am good at code-switching and tailoring how I speak to my audience. I suppose that comes with being very empathetic. I have honed this ability through learning to communicate with my mother and father. My mother and father are extreme opposites of each other. My father is very logical and wants to cut to the cold, hard facts. My mother is more concerned with emotions, how decisions make me feel, how they make her feel and more human considerations. I learned to gloss over details with her because she's not paying as much attention to the details themselves as opposed to the confidence with which I present them. My father listens to the details and may go off and research them himself later on, so my arguments to him are often more elegant, minimalistic, and fact driven.
I have been told that I am a very good public speaker, although I find it difficult to write and read a speech. I am excellent at speaking extemporaneously. However, I am only able to speak extemporaneously. Even in my public speaking class in college, for a long speech, I never wrote down everything I had to say, but rather, I wrote down certain points I wanted to be sure I hit, and certain facts that I wouldn't be able to remember off the top of my head. But I often ended up rearranging the order of things and elaborating on certain points that I didn't write down--which actually won me acclaim from my professors in subjects in which I had to give presentations because they said it showed a greater depth of knowledge and comfort with the subject.
What I am poor at is communicating emotion. I rarely show emotion and I am terrible at describing how I feel at particular moments. I'm often even unable to adequately respond to someone asking me what's on my mind. It makes me seem like a much colder person than I am--much more aloof and disinterested than I intend to be. That makes establishing and maintaining relationships with people difficult. But it is only one aspect of communication. So perhaps I should be more specific when I say communication is a weakness of mine. It's more complex than that.