Tuesday, August 5, 2014

ADHD Physics and the Art of Vacationing

I work a lot.  I have a full time job. I'm a wife and a mom to two very high-spirited boys who demand a lot of attention. I do housework--not very well--but I do it. I volunteer. I look after an elderly mother (my own, yes; and she's quite a handful). And lately, I've been writing web copy for quarters for a popular crowdsourcing site.  I don't sleep much.  And when I'm not doing any of the worky thingies or sleeping, I perseverate. 

Some might call me a workaholic.  I like to think of myself as dedicated. Engaged. Energetic. My chart says I'm hyperactive.  A psychologist might have referred to me once or twice as "avoidant." 

As it turns out, however, everybody's wrong.  Now, I'm used to being wrong.  I've become quite comfortable with it over the past couple of years, since I've been on medication for ADHD, because I am blessed to now have some clarity about how a "normal" mind works, which is virtually nothing at all like my mind works au natural.  My mind, it seems, is a bit like a helium balloon:  if no one's holding onto it to keep it near the Earth, it will most likely float away, sail hither and thither, until it eventually pops from excessive pressure, and makes a child cry. 

But now I have this other perspective, the one I attribute to the particular alter ego of mine that I refer to as Lucan. Yes, Lucan, the Wolf Boy.  Lucan needs her besties to explain to her things like coupons; how to buy things in a store; how to get across town; the dynamics of child birthday-party invitations; cooking in a crock pot.  Most recently, IPG/Lucan sat across from a dear friend, furrowed and confused, feeling like the world was crashing.  Physically and spiritually, I was a wreck, and in typical fashion, Balloon Brain wanted to float higher and higher for the great metaphysical answer to all my questions of being, which of course, once answered would help me attain fulfillment.  But no.  My friend was there to work with Lucan.  So she did what any good friend would do under those circumstances:  she pulled out a pin and popped Balloon Brain.  "You need a vacation.  You need to take a week off from work.  Then you'll be fine." 

Oh!! Lucan take off!! Like aiirrrplane?!  Lucan fly!   "No," my friend insisted.  "Like sit on your butt drinking coffee, and take naps.  Do fun things with the kids." 

I thought, "Now who's talking gibberish! I don't even know what you're saying."  But Lucan is a faithful student, if nothing else.  So I went to my boss and said, "Yeah, so I'm thinking I might take a few days off next week."  Well if she didn't just light up like a Christmas tree.  I'd be exaggerating if I said she looked like she might just push me out the second story window to help me on my way; but it was a tad disconcerting how eager she was to have me take that vacation.  And in that moment I came to terms with the fact that I had run myself useless. 

How in the hell did this happen? Well, I think I figured it out.  It's basic physics.  I'm inert. 


Medical professionals with expertise in ADHD might refer to this as an internal-regulation deficit.  In other words, I'm basically like an old muscle car with a bad ignition and even worse breaks.  It takes  some work to get me going; and then God help me, because the only way I'm going to stop is if I run out of gas or crash into something.  And sometimes I'm apt to run out of gas while I'm crashing. 

The upshot of all this is that I really suck at vacationing.  Vacationing requires one to stop and go at the same time.  To be good at vacationing, you have to be able to plan things, schedule things, buy things.  Even staying on your butt drinking coffee is hardly any fun if you can't remember to buy coffee, until your caffeine addicted 84-year-old mother starts in.  She survived scarlet fever, diptheria, the Nazis, the Russians, Disco, and the Bush Administration.  But if she doesn't get a good cup of coffee NOW (100% Arabica), it's all over-she's done.  With that surrounding me, I don't really need to do anything on my own.  I've got plenty of help getting batted around in lieu of deciding my next move.

So this "vacation" business is tricky.  I'm doing it now, actually.  Vacationing, that is.  Still in my clothes from yesterday (because I didn't actually go to bed), intermittently cleaning, blogging, "tying up loose ends" remotely for my job (that's not "working," because I'm not supposed to be doing that.)  And of course, trying to figure out how to vacation, because if my life is anything at all, it's a giant quest for useless knowledge.  I've got four more days, plus a weekend to figure it out.  Thank goodness my mother made me buy that coffee. . .

I'll check in.  Let you all know how it's going.  I'm truly hoping to glean some knowledge from all this - some tips that perhaps I can impart to you, on how to be less like a runaway freight train, or a boulder, or a crazy balloon, or a wild-animal-child.  And more like a regular person who vacations.  I'll let you know if I come up with anything