I missed an appointment today. I started going back to see E, the licensed Social Worker/Family/Personal counselor I started seeing back in 2008. January 2008, as a matter of fact. She added a red tag to my folder of notes she’s been keeping on me, since I started sitting, for an hour once per month sometimes more, on her office sofa. E’s office is really lovely, by the way. It’s decorated in calming greys and browns with some splashes of reds and dark greens here and there so nobody goes to sleep. She has two plush sofas for a person to choose from, and the fabric is that velvety soft microfiber. Visiting E’s office makes me regret not declaring Psychology as my major in college, JUST so I, too, could have a soft-colored office with velvet-plush sofas so I could take a lot of naps between clients. Also, it’s quiet in her office. Except for when someone is crying, I suppose. Or couples get angry at each other.
At any rate, she called. I was in the midst of typing a text to her saying: sorry, ADD again and also I forgot to tell my phone calendar to alert me and I have no idea what day it even is anyway, except I do know I have to go back to work tomorrow and the only reason I’m remembering that is because self-preservation and bills/debt…can we just table these meetings until I can pull it together? I’ll send you a Sorry Check for $125 and then schedule again in the summer when maybe I’m not as stretched thin mentally.
I am stretched thin mentally.
One of the things E insisted I get help for is ADD. About the Spring of 2008, in her decades of notes, are side notes on whatever I was talking about that went like this:
Ask A to talk to dr about poss ADD.
I spend a lot of time stretched thin mentally, which causes me to forget to do things or show up places, or causes me to just decide not to do things or avoid things. I have piles of clean clothes I’ve needed to sort through and put away for months and months and I don’t. Because, in the back of my head, mentally I cannot. I think to myself: oh, it’s fine. I have another 3 hours before dinner, I’ll do it in two hours. And then in two hours, I go: eh, I can do that on Wednesday. I can’t mentally handle it right now. That’s how my particular brand of ADD works. I think?
My child’s bedroom needs to be addressed….if for nothing else so I can go through her clothes and toys that don’t fit, are broken, or just too young for her now so we can trash them or give them away. She claims she NEEDS her room to be messy, messy is who she is. Which is fine, I get it. Har har. One mess raising another. Apples. Trees. But I suspect she’s hiding a dead body of some kind in there and also I can’t find my special patchouli I ordered all the way from India months ago that’s in these gorgeous mini-vials and I am 100% certain she’s stolen all three of them and they’re under the dead body. And I want my special Indian patchouli in the gorgeous mini-vials BACK, dammit.
There are other things I’m not addressing. Like I pay bills when it becomes imperative I do so. Clean laundry sits in a messy pile on a chair for days and days til I fold it…and then it sits in a folded, messy pile on my bedroom floor. My finances are a gigantic mess. I wish I had a better cleaning schedule…I make them, but then I never do them. In June it’ll be three years since I separated from my husband and that should be addressed; it’s affecting my (and his) ability to move forward, keeping our child in limbo, and just…it’s a weird situation to be in.
E and I talk about the above things every session. Every month. Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I’m frustrated with myself beyond words. Sometimes I feel like things are wonky, but it’ll all come together.
Things are not all negative.
Like I pretty much make my bed every day, without fail. Even if it’s just to kind of throw it back together loosely. My entire apartment can be in dire need of sweeping with piles of paper everywhere, but my bed is lovely and soft, with clean sheets, and waiting for me to sink into it. Seductive.
About a year ago, I went to a job fair and was hired pretty much on the spot. I love my new work place. It’s not without its crazy or its problems, but on the whole I’m so happy there. I’m in love with it. The atmosphere is kind and supportive. It’s good there. And good is good.
I’m paying my bills. I have help for when I just can’t quite make it that month. I’m eating out less.
I have friends. I have broken up with friends over the last few years and then asked for forgiveness and been given it. I have friends who I am certain I still drive nuts because I know they still drive me nuts but I am happier with them in my life than without them, and I’m learning to be okay with their nuttiness because they are okay with mine.
And just overall, I have a lot more good around me than bad.
But I’m crap at decision-making. And my demons raise their heads and take over every now and then in ways that leave ME feeling out of control and confused. Other people may look at me as just another person in the world who’s struggling like anyone, but inside of me I often feel like I’m fighting fire-breathing dragons with tiny little swords and shields.
My ADD brain can’t consistently focus. I am often complaining (okay fine demanding) people be consistent with me, yet that makes me such a hypocrite because ha…I’m so ADD consistency isn’t necessarily my own strength. Unless I decide to make someone or something my focus, and then woe to that person or thing because part of having an ADD brain is laser-sharp focus on things and people that don’t need it…and forgetting or purposefully avoiding the ones that do. And there is only so much fast-release Adderall in the world. Which, I’m finding, is really only good for energizing…it’s not a personal assistant that gets your stuff done though. That’s a choice. Adderall doesn’t help you make choices. Or decisions. And it’s powerless against dragons.
So this is why I’m back to blogging. I have spent about 4-5 months doing no writing whatsoever. I’m not even slightly joking: I have done NO writing. None. I think I tapped out a quickly written emo poem here and there. But other than that, NO. THING. Not even in an offline/handwritten journal. And for someone who’s been writing diaries and stories and blogs since she was in 2nd grade, that’s probably not really a healthy way to exist.
I talked to E about this today, over the phone, in my pajamas with coffee next to me. Then I got on Twitter and saw this incredibly lovely Twitter thread by this beautiful soul out there in our world, about mental health and how very complicated it is, about grieving and moving on and how complicated that is, about how we are too hard on each other and ourselves, how we need to just BE, with ourselves and with other people and not push each other too hard, out into the cold, dark nights.
It hit me in the gut because, while I’m not grieving a death, I am struggling to be okay at all times. And I am often told by well-meaning people who love me and are really trying to just protect me and help me…I am told not to talk too loudly about that struggle, to find a way to keep it private. But this how humans are wired now, I think, because look: here was this stranger, this incredibly amazing and brave stranger, who just wrote a mini-blog in a series of tweets on a social media platform that is simply littered with tortured and angry and poisoned souls who are hiding their pain behind anger and hate…and she’s offered a connection. A way to say: it’s okay, not to be okay.
And these are the kinds of connections human beings should focus on. And that’s one reason I’ve always written publicly about my own struggles. And stopped because it all got too overwhelming. The pressure. To be okay.
One of the memes I see being pinned a lot on Pinterest is this one:
That’s what I’ve been doing since June 2015, when I walked out of my quiet, lovely, big house into a small, lovely, stompy-upstairs-neighbors apartment. With my child, who didn’t ask to do that but needed to be there for reasons I’d determined.
I have been fighting demons, inside and out, for going on three years now. I’ve grown so much. Growth is painful, and exhausting. But I’m stronger now. Mentally and emotionally. But I cover a lot of my fear with anger. And I spend way too much time wallowing in self-doubt and worry. I have an entire circus of demons inside of me, and they are all faces of my struggles and issues. I fight a lot of them, I’ve killed a few. But now I’m just kind of curious. What are they feeding on? Why are they there?
I’m going to start writing again. Just here, like I always did, before the wonkiest part of my journey took over. And I’m going to stop fighting my demons and start watching them, see what they feed on. Then I’m going to decide if I want to keep feeding them that or starve them. And I don’t know that I think all demons are bad. For instance, I like my angry demon. She keeps me real and fighting. She’s the source of my feisty and my spunk. I’m going to stop calling them demons, in fact, and start calling them dragons. Because dragons are kind of cute, actually. And sometimes they make good pets, like Toothless, in How To Train Your Dragon.