Work · Writing

Schedules Are There For a Reason

You know, I’ve been thinking. About my probably most likely undiagnosed ADHD prognosis. I know it’s not good to self-diagnose mental health issues, especially with the help of only Google, but, if the shoe fits I mean…? Kathleenlights basically thought she had OCD (clinical, that is) and then she did this whole video about the things she does and compared them to OCD symptoms (again, clinical, so much more than just ‘oh they’re just picky’ kind of things), and I was like, uh…yeah, I think she has a convincing case. (And kudos for her being so brave about it!) Anyways, regarding myself – so yesterday I set out to work because I was feeling better although not 100%, and then I didn’t work a lick, because I felt like “I can’t concentrate so might as well cut myself some slack. It’s the weekend and I’m not 100%, yeah?”)

No. The answer is NO. If I really do have ADHD, and I think I do, then the hard truth is that I probably will never be able to concentrate without some outside help. I’m not on medication, and even if I should be, I can’t because I think if I want to get pregnant they don’t recommend I take any ADHD medication. So I won’t be getting any help anyway aside from sheer will, and so, when I sit down in front of my computer to write, 9 out of 10 times I won’t be “in the mindset.” It will always, always be a struggle, and I have to develop some ways to cope with it. Them’s the breaks, you know. So I decided, literally this morning (you know, when we just wake up and groggy is apparently the optimal time for life-changing epiphanies), that that’s no longer an excuse. “I can’t concentrate so give up for now, try again tomorrow” is not going to fly if I literally cannot concentrate ever. Tomorrow is going to be the exact same as today. And the solution is, obviously, fuck your brain, push through, and work anyway.

Yeah yeah, easier said than done and all that. I’ve talked with my therapist about some of this (without thinking I had ADHD at the time) and he suggested to try some caffeine just to see if this makes a difference. I did, and I think it does, so I have caffeine to help (and of course have to give that up too if I want to be pregnant, ugh). Another thing is that strict scheduling seems to help me a lot. Which is kinda bad because if I deviate from this schedule even a little bit, like if I were sick, or something else comes up, I don’t really adjust and instead just falls completely off the wagon every time. I think the problem is that I feel like I have to make up for it. Like, I had a sick day on the 2nd, right? I was supposed to work 4 hours that day. Well, I didn’t, and so I thought, I’ll just work 4 hours on the 3rd, which was Saturday, which I initially scheduled to work 2 hours (weekend quota). Well, this little change apparently messed me up mentally enough that I didn’t do any work at all! Had I just completely written off the 2nd as “sick day” and moved on to the 2 hours slotted for Saturday, I probably would have gotten that done. Like, today, I’m also supposed to work 2 hours. I decided to not “make up for lost time” and just follow my initial schedule, and guess what I’m doing right now? Working! I feel like a robot that will just shut down if it deviates from its programming, so I guess the key is to never deviate ever?

(And if you’re like ‘wtf girl you’re only working 4 hours a day holy crap you lucky/lazy person’, yeah, I know. And it’s doubly shameful that I can’t even achieve that much. I want to up it to 5 hours eventually but right now I just want to get anything consistently done at all).

So my solution for now is set a schedule and don’t change it ever. If I’m sick or something big happens then just write the whole day off. Just pretend in your brain that you’re not behind, which apparently is the key to actually be not behind. I’m going to try this for the rest of Camp NaNoWriMo and see where it gets me. And if that doesn’t work either, well, May is a new month too.

Life

ADHD and Me

So I was browsing tumblr earlier, and came across this reblog of ways to deal with ADHD. They talked about how one might need a concrete timer instead of an arbitrary one – case in point, a timer counting down is just a number you can ignore, a pot of water boiling has an absolute “finish” point. So when you’re waiting for the water to boil, do the dishes. Or, put on this album (or Spotify playlist for an hour) and work until that stops. Things like that. And as I read the entry, completely fascinated, I realized that some of the suggestions are 100% how I deal with my own unproductivity. I absolutely put on a podcast when I do dishes, and whatever time left after I’m done with dishes (podcast is usually half an hour and my dishes take about 15 min) I use the rest to do other chores. I have an actual timer that beeps at me after a period so I work until it beeps. I use other podcasts for all menial tasks you have to do around the house. If I don’t do these things, chores don’t get done, I don’t work, and all that jazz.

Except I came up with these ways on my own, through trial and error to see what makes me work, without ever even realizing these relate to ADHD. I’ve never been diagnosed, and never thought I had an issue. I thought I was lazier than most people, and since I’m prone to depression, I also put these all on depression and anxiety. I then went on a Google spree about signs of adult ADHD, and, yeah, I do a lot of the things they said ADHD sufferers do. And it has been absolutely devastating to my creative career in that I just can’t get myself to finish things. It’s why my novel’s going at a snail’s pace, and I’m terrible at creative deadlines, and I never seem to get to the end of anything no matter how much I work. I fidget – not a lot, but I do, I realized that now. And they even said having ADHD is connected to anxiety and depression. So, a few boxes got checked. Of course, I can’t really rely on web-diagnosis because, you know, everything’s cancer and all. But it did get me thinking about actually getting diagnosed by a professional.

My therapist told me during my depression treatments that, he’d seen a lot of patients with productivity issues, but none of them were because they were “lazy.” Now I’m definitely over my depression, and am still not progressing as much, so maybe this is why. I talked to my s.o., who has subclinical OCD so he’s no stranger to mental health issues, and he said, maybe it’ll help you. Maybe some medication or other therapy would be the push that you need to get going in your career. And I agree. A little push is all I need, really, and who knows, maybe I’ll end up with a steady supply of Adderall and become super human or something. (Joking, okay? I know it’s addictive.)

Well, everything will have to wait until I get vaccinated, though. Plus, I’m sure if I become pregnant I shouldn’t take any medication regardless, so it’ll be a while before anything happens. I’ll revisit everything in June, probably, at the rate we’re going with vaccinations in our state. The only thing I can do is just keep trucking.