Miscellaneous Mental Archive

Meditation

Posted May 13, 2019 By kmarrs

In the past, meditation has actually given me increased anxiety. This was because I was of the impression that the goal was to clear my mind completely. Which… is impossible. You can not clear the mind that has ADHD. I’m not even convinced you can clear the neurotypical mind.

Then somewhere along the way, recently, I learned the goal isn’t to clear the mind. You’re going to have thoughts. The trick is to acknowledge them then let them pass you by. Move them aside. And go back to focusing on your breathing until the next thought.

So, with therapist instructions that I’m supposed to meditate for 5 minutes a day, I attempted this. She wants me to spend those 5 minutes focusing on what I’m feeling. So I began the journey of daily meditation.

But it still made me nervous. Was I doing it right?

It took me a couple of days, but I finally downloaded a guided meditation app. The one I have has a beginner’s class that teaches you how to meditate mid practice. It’s not exactly what my therapist had in mind, as she’s since confirmed, but it’s a start. And I can spend an additional 5 minutes focusing on what Ruby wants me to focus on.

So, I guess I meditate now. I do it right before bed as part of my relaxation routine.

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End of Term – Touch of Base

Posted May 6, 2019 By kmarrs

I’m wiring this on May 1, 2019. It is going live on May 6, 2019. And the term ends on May 11, 2019. Just so we’re all in the same place.

I feel… tired. Stressed. Scared. Determined. Tired.

I have a handful of papers to read in the time that remains, for a huge project that is due by the 11th. I have to get the project itself put together. This includes all my secondary research. However, I also conducted primary research and have 2 surveys to analyze. One if fairly minor. The other has over 300 responses. I’m really overwhelmed and scared I can’t do this project justice.

On top of that I have a few more papers to write for that class. and a handful of chapters to read.

And that’s not my only class.

In my other class, I already turned in my big project because I needed it off my plate and it was less overwhelming. So I just knocked it out.

But I still have a huge final paper to write, and a couple of minor papers as well. Plus reading. Always reading. Though the reading for this class it less intimidating.

The next 1.5 weeks are just going to be super stressful. And, lest we forget, I have a surgery scheduled for in the midst of it all.

But I will survive. I am strong. I have high powers on my side. I will come through this.

I have the week that immediately follows this off from school. But then I’m right back at it with the heavy course load.

Light a candle for me, yeah?

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Stress

Posted April 15, 2019 By kmarrs

It has come to my therapist’s attention that I self create most of my stress and that I need to be taught how to not do that.

It’s on the list of things to work on.

The list is, uh growing.

Anyway, as I mentioned previously, my resting pulse is like stupidly high. So if I can get my stress under control, I can hopefully get my pulse under control.

Also. While we’re on the subject of my therapist…

I really like her still. She calls me on my bullshit without hesitation, but in a caring manor. And then once she calls me on it, she makes it clear she’s happy to do the work to help me do the work towards correcting my bullshit. It’s really great!

She also isn’t afraid to challenge my psychiatrist of 12 years. Which really takes me out of my comfort zone. But it isn’t that she thinks anything bad of my med doc. She in fact understands how wonderful she is. Ruby, my therapist, just sometimes has a better view of the big picture because I’m with her for an hour every week and that’s a lot of time dedicated to figuring out my needs.

When I found out from my meds doc that I couldn’t be on anxiety meds and ADHD meds at the same time, my meds doc and I both agreed that the anxiety meds were probably more important.

It was Ruby who went “well actually” and helped frame the consideration that my ADHD is the root cause of a lot of my anxiety and that treating the ADHD would help with both.

So anyway, therapy is great. I really like my therapist. She isn’t afraid to call things as she sees it, but just it in the most supportive manner. It’s really, really great!

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Executive Dysfunction

Posted March 7, 2019 By kmarrs

This will be a short note but I want to address a common misconception about Executive Dysfunction verses laziness.

You’re probably not lazy. Especially if you’re not neurotypical.

Executive Dysfunction is so common. A lot… A LOT of people have it.

Do you want to start the thing but are almost afraid of it?

Do you want to start the thing but you know you can’t do it perfectly so you think why bother?

Do you want to start the thing but your mind is telling you it is going to take more spoons than you have?

Do you want to start the thing but have trouble initiating?

Congratulations, it’s Executive Dysfunction.

You’re not at all even a little but just lazy.

And berating yourself for being lazy is doing the opposite of solving the problem.

Cut yourself some slack, and now that you know what it is, reread this past Monday’s post.

Also:

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Do What You Can

Posted March 4, 2019 By kmarrs

This started as a Twitter thread, so you might have seen it there, but I want to expand upon it, and I want to do that here, in long form.

Sambam is at that age where it’s fun to do chores that aren’t her own.
Ask her to clean her room? It’s the end of the world. Try to do dishes (my chore) without her help? Also the end of the world. I let her help until (if) she gets bored then I let her move on. And when it comes to her room (her chore), once a day I set an egg timer for 10 minutes and tell her to do what she can but once the timer rings, she can be done.

In reality, all her room ever really needs is that 10 minutes a day, and usually, it’s done in 5. But instead of overwhelming her by the limitless “clean your room”, I redirect it into a clear time frame with a set beginning and end. And reframe the word “spotless” into “do what you can”. This allows an overwhelming task to feel manageable. Possible. And I get a much better end result. In 10 (5) minutes, instead of the 10 days, it used to take.


Now she is happy to do her chores. Is excited (bossy) to help me with mine. And our relationship has a lot less stress in it. She is my heart and is growing into a functional and happy and beautiful young lady!


(Also, her hands are seeing work for the first time and she earned a tiny blister she’s very proud of. She worked herself on the dishes far harder than I would have worked her. But she was having fun.)


Do what you can.

That is just such an important concept!

So many of us are sick in one way or another. Mental health, chronic physical health. So many of us are spoonies. And when you are a spoonie, being given an open ended task like, “clean your room” or “vacuum the carpets” can seem so overwhelming.

I’ve seen this concept stated in many ways by many people, but I’m going to work it my way and see what happens.

Your bathroom is a mess? Start with the clutter around the sink. Put everything on the counter in its place. Now wipe it down. Out of spoons or otherwise need to move on? You did what you can. You’re free to go. But be proud of what you did! Tomorrow you can tackle the toilet.

Not out of spoons and the counter looks great but you want to do a little more? Go for it! Nothing is stopping you. Do what you can for 10 minutes. 15 minutes. Stop when you need to stop. Continue on when you have the spoons and will.

Vacuum one room a day. Look. I get it. Pushing the vacuum around takes a lot of spoons. So just get your living room. Or your office. Or the one room that needs it the most. Do what you can.

Writing a paper for class and it needs to be 6 pages and that feels overwhelming? Well, unless it’s due in like an hour, write the introduction and walk away from it for awhile. Go do the dishes. Get a snack. Just walk away. But while you do so, work the paper around in your head. After 15 minutes, come back to the computer and get down what your brain tossed around. Polish it. Add a little more. Just until it starts to get a little overwhelming again, or right before, then walk away again for awhile. No one said you have to write the entire paper in one day, unless you procrastinated. Take your time with it. Take little bites as you can. Bit by bit those 6, 10, 20 pages will form.

Do what you can.

Don’t ever berate yourself for not having what it takes to <insert task here> in one go. But don’t just do nothing either. Idleness won’t help. It’ll only make you overwhelmed with the task in general.

Back to Sammy.

We used to just tell her to clean her room spotless and, especially to a young child, that was the single most horrible thing we could have done (aside from actual child abuse, I acknowledge). To her little mind, it was the end of the world because it was so overwhelming. So one day I set an egg timer for 10 minutes and told her to do what she could. As long as she actually worked for the full 10 minutes, just putting away what caught her eye, or whatever was closest, or no method to the madness, just honest cleaning… whatever the end result was, she just needed to work for 10 minutes. I figured 10 minutes a day for a week, and we might have a spotless room.

But she bloomed. Suddenly she didn’t have to clean indefinitely. She had a clear and solid end insight. So instead of letting it build up in her mind into this huge overwhelming task, and accomplishing nothing at all (or worse… continuing to play and letting it get messier)…

The entire room took her about 5 minutes and she bragged about it. It wasn’t an ordeal. It wasn’t overwhelming. It was 10 (5) minutes worth of honest effort, end results be damned, and the end results were amazing. Better than what usually resulted in 10 days worth of tears and frustration, and mostly procrastinating.

I have executive dysfunction. It’s paired with my ADHD and depression. Tasks can seem so overwhelming and impossible to start. My head paints this big picture that <insert task here> is going to take a million hours of exhausting, mission impossible work. As a result, I’m afraid to even start. It’s just built up and overwhelming and I can’t seem to make myself start.

When I do eventually start the task, more often than not, it takes a hell of a lot less time than I feared, and not nearly as much effort as I assumed. It seemed endless and impossible, but in reality it was manageable and not that big of a deal. Certainly not what I built it up to be.

Getting started is the hard part. With me. With Sammy. And possibly (probably) with you.

So buy a little egg timer. Set it for 10 minutes. Now, not forever from now. (Or if you’re like me, give yourself a little more leeway and start at exactly x:00 or x:15 or x:30 or x:45… it just feels more solid and definite.) Set that timer and just start. See what happens.

And do what you can.

Oh! And one last thing! Don’t set yourself up for expecting perfection in the results. No one ever needs that. Your honest best is your honest best and don’t let anyone, including yourself, expect anything more from you.

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Therapy Update

Posted February 28, 2019 By kmarrs

We’re still in the early getting to know each other phase. But my first impression is holding true. Her office is really cozy and just feels like a safe space. Ruby herself is friend shaped and I feel really comfortable talking to her about anything.

Which is really great because a few sessions ago I opened up about the trauma in my life. The fact my step father was a bully. The bullying at school. My mom being a narcissist. The fact my first boyfriend was 8 years older then me, coerce me into sleeping with him regularly, and in all ways took advantage of my youth and inexperience and desire to please this older man whom was the first person to pay attention to me. We pulled words to what he was: a pedophile and a rapist.

Anyway we talked it all out and she is starting to piece together why I am the way I am.

BPD makes sense. Eve from a young age.

Being asexual makes sense. (Some asexuals are born that way. Some become asexual after trauma.)

The current project that I’m working on is tracking my emotions and recording what they do to me physically. Like how anger makes you tense up? Where do I tense?

I bought a little notebook and am planning to track for weeks beyond what she is asking of me. If I want to get rid of my anger response, for example, then I need to know what anger does to me so I can counter act it.

Also, I’m realizing, with help, that the 90% of my life that I feel stressed, the emotion attached to that is fear. Fear of failure. Fear I won’t get everything done. Fear I won’t have down time to just relax. My stress is a fear response and my stress is killing me.

So yeah. Therapy is going great and I really like Ruby. She is the best! I feel like that’s an understatement. But she is just really comforting and a really super effective therapist. She calls me on my bullshit. All with understanding and heart behind her words. And all while wearing fun socks, and no shoes.

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