Miscellaneous Mental Archive

Working with BPD and things, an Update Part 2

Posted September 10, 2020 By kmarrs

This new job is really working out for me. I don’t just mean the dynamics of my relationship with my client. I mean it works in all the ways my mental health usually doesn’t let things work.

It’s slow-paced so I don’t have to thrive under pressure. I don’t have sales or referral goals. I’m allowed to be somewhat nocturnal, which is an ADHD trait.

This is a job that lets me be useful to society and a community in a way that isn’t detrimental to my mental health. I could even argue that it agrees with my physical heath, considering I was able to do the job well even with no blood the past few weeks.

All in all, I don’t feel particularly disabled trying to do this job. It’s a great feeling. I really think this is something I can do long term.

I can’t actually post photos of the people I give care to. That’s a huge privacy violation. So please accept this stock photo in its place.

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A Gentle Reminder

Posted March 31, 2020 By kmarrs

We are, all of us, going through a traumatic event. This is the sort of thing that makes history books and history books are full to the brim of traumatic events.

Science shows that when someone is going through trauma, their brain is producing an overabundance of hormones that trigger rapidly cycling fight/flight/freeze responses. Every single time new data (and it can be literally anything) is input the brain spins the wheel looking for a new response. At this point hundreds of times every day.

It’s exhausting. It leads to a multitude of emotional responses, anger and depression being big among them.

So maybe be kind to yourself. Go extra easy on yourself. And while we all need to be kind, we also all need to practice forgiveness. No one. NO ONE. Is operating at their best.

So many of us are stuck in fight mode. And while we need to be mindful, mindfulness is next to impossible when going through trauma without a long history of constant practice. Even then it’s still challenging.

So forgive your fellow man. Especially those you are stuck in a house with. Hold them accountable sure. We all should be held accountable for or actions. And this does not excuse abuse outright. But please keep in mind the science behind it. And practice forgiveness to the best of your abilities.

And this includes forgiveness of self. Especially if it’s over something as simple as not being as productive as you want to be. We can’t be productive in flight or freeze mode. Fight mode is 50/50.

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Quarantine and Pandamic

Posted March 23, 2020 By kmarrs

Everything I’m about to say is useful for everyone currently in quarantine. Don’t dismiss it just because it’s aimed at those who are neurodivergent.

Look, I don’t really wanna talk about Covid 19. But as I sit in isolation (work is keeping me home due to being in the high-risk category, my job is safe.) it dawns on me that after 36 years of living with ADHD, I know how to survive not leaving my house/car, but baby neurodivergent might not. So consider this a tip on how to survive being home 24/7 for lord knows how long.

First of all, download Pokemon Go on your phone. I don’t care that you gave it up after that Pokemon Go summer where everything was golden. Bring it back. There are so many pokestops and gyms you can reach without ever leaving your car. Take over gyms, battle in raids, collect all the pokemon around you. This gets you out of the house, but still away from people. Fuck. Meet up with a few of your local friends in the parking lot of a gym that has a raid going and takedown that 5-star battle. None of you have to leave your car to accomplish this and you’re still hanging out. Also, right now you can buy 30 incenses for a single coin, so even if you can’t drive somewhere, you can still catch pokemon.

That said, not everyone has a car and therefore they really are stuck at home. So here are the cheat codes I offered my Tumblr friends.

Make a list of shows you’ve been meaning to watch, books you’ve been meaning to read, and games you’ve been meaning to play. Pepper in things like making bread from scratch and cleaning out that closet you’ve been meaning to get to. Assign each item a number. Use a random number generator. Do the thing with the coordinating number.

This helps with boredom and I find it allows me to get past executive dysfunction not allowing me to make a decision. This part is super important. It’s not boredom that is the problem. It’s executive function disabling you from making a decision on what to do and therefore you are stuck in the cycle of doing nothing. Roll once a day and try to hyper fixate on what you roll or roll every few hours as needed. As something gets accomplished in full, take it off the list.

There is a phone app called tasks that makes this list easy to build and maintain. Plus you can’t lose it since it’s on your phone. Googling random number generator will produce one you can customize to your exact needs. While you’re at it, download the appblock app and limit how much time you can endlessly scroll tumblr (Facebook, Twitter) in a day. You’re looking to limiting yourself to 2-3 hours to start and adjust so you find your balance. Pair this last tip with the ability to turn on notifications for those few blogs you don’t want to miss anything from.

If you’ve seriously got nothing to do, teach yourself a new skill. Anything you have the materials for and have been meaning to learn, but life keeps preventing. At the very least add this new hobby to your list.

Assign numbers and let the random number generator do its thing.

I tell you, I do this all the time when I have multiple things I could be doing but can’t decide between, so executive dysfunction keeps me scrolling tumblr and I get nothing accomplished. Once I had a list in place, and proved this worked, I started limiting my time on tumblr with the appblock app and suddenly I’m accomplishing things!

Also, for those of us who have ADHD insomnia and can’t seem to put our phones down at night, the appblock app allows me to turn my phone into a brick that does nothing but make phone calls between 9pm and 7am (currently midnight and 7am since I don’t have to be up early). Some nights I still can’t sleep, but this app keeps that at a minimum.

If you have any other specific problems hit me up and I’ll see what cheat codes I have to offer.

Another flower in these trying times
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Treading Water

Posted October 21, 2019 By kmarrs

Things at the new job are… going.

I love the job in general. I love what I’m doing. I’m fully on board to helping people get their eyes checked and into new glasses. I see it as a vital service. So that’s cool.

I really like 95% of my new coworkers. But…

See, my boss, the office manager, gives off the vibe of being the type of girl who bullied me in 6th grade. I got that vibe pretty much within the first few days. But I filed it away and ignored it because this isn’t middle school, surely she’s grown and matured. Right?

Well, one bright and sunny Thursday afternoon she pulled me into her office and ripped me a new one. For 15 minutes she just piled on complaint after complaint. Told me everything in my moral character, and a few job-related things, that were fundamentally in need of serious change.

And I don’t mean BPD stuff. Or even autism stuff.

My favorite example is my hair. I interviewed for the job in need of my hair being buzzed again. Not fully on purpose, but I only buzz it every 3-4 months anyway and was only just barely overdue. But I figured since I was job hunting, it could wait a bit. I mean, I got the bank job years ago with a freshly buzzed head, but you never know.

Anyway, I got the job and immediately read the employee handbook when it came to appearance and nothing at all was mentioned about hair. This is a handbook that forbid us from eating garlic with our lunch, that’s now meticulous it was, but not a word on hair.

To be safe, I went into work my first day, with hair an inch or two long, and asked her directly what the policy was. I explained I keep my hair super short, that what she was currently seeing was on the long end of the spectrum, and that if there was no official policy, I would be buzzing my head in the next few days. I did my best to get across how short it would be, but let’s face it, it was only an inch or so long at the time, so clearly we were talking short. She said she’d speak to the regional and get back to me. By the end of that first day, I had the official thumbs-up to buzz my hair.

So I did.

Now some 8 weeks later I’m learning that they had no idea how short I intended. What’s worse, a couple of patients have asked me if I have cancer. I have simply answered that my hair was a personal choice and steered conversation right back to their eye appointment at hand, all in a matter of 30 seconds. HOWEVER, those two patients asking me that means my hair is officially a workplace distraction and she feels she now has ground to dictate how I keep my hair. Mind you, if I passed as a man, this would not be an issue. We actually have a male optician with a similar cut.

While I took most of what she had to say to me to heart and will work on changing the things in the name of keeping my job, and some of them were 100% valid. I want to be upfront about that. Some of them were 100% valid things that I need to work on. I am not taking her word as the final word about my hair.

See, my hair ties into my disability. I can not have hair that is long enough to touch my face, neck, or ears. I have sensory issues.

So I have very politely went over her head to HR to ask what the official policy is on hair length if there even is one. I gave her the full story and I did mention that me buzzing my hair ties into a disability, which makes me a protected class. I did not name the disability. I said I elected not to as it did not otherwise affect my ability to perform my job. If pushed, I’ll fess up to sensory issues. I’ll blame the fibromyalgia (nerves misfiring), not the autism. I will not ever disclose I’m autistic.

We’ll see where this goes.

That particular Thursday was a really rough day and while I held my shit together to finish out the day, I did cry myself to sleep that night. It wouldn’t have been so bad if she’d mentioned even a couple of the bits of my job I’m doing well in. Because I know I’m overall really good at my job.

I know this because she was not at work the next day and my coworkers who knew something was up and got bits and pieces out of me have all rallied around me and told me I’m doing a fantastic job, I’m likable, and that boss lady is like that with everyone.

So anyway, I’m going to hang in there. I’ll keep my head low. Do my absolute best. Change the few behaviors that I recognize need to be changed. (Such as they are patients, not customers. I get that right 80% of the time, but I need to fix that other 20%.)

I think this job is going to work out. I really do. I can survive a boss who doesn’t like me, and doesn’t hide that fact, when in general I like everything else about the job.

Oh, and I do have some awesome job perks to report. I’ll talk about those in the next post. This post deserves some happy news, but it’s already getting long.

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Special Interests

Posted September 2, 2019 By kmarrs

How I went through 35 years of life not clueing into the fact that I hyper fixate and have special interests is just so beyond me.

Currently, it’s Good Omens specifically, but I’m also soaking up all media that Neil Gaiman, David Tennant, and Michael Sheen are attached to. So I’ve very much back on my Tennant bullshit. But I promise to contain it all to Tumblr other than this post.

This post is just me really allowing it to come to light that I am so very autistic. Though this can also be an ADHD trait. Both? Both.

(It doesn’t help that I’ve recently been on a (reading) Shakespeare kick, and Tennant does Shakespeare very well.)

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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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