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Blog 2017-08-30T17:30:57+00:00

Being Social on Thanksgiving

Being social on any holiday is hard for me. I'm naturally an introvert and holidays make me nervous. Well, many things make me nervous, but holidays are a big trigger for me. This year, my family is visiting me in Portland and we're having a small Thanksgiving, which is the way I prefer to celebrate. When there are 18 people gathered around a table it makes me incredibly nervous. I love eating, and I kind of just want to focus on doing that rather than navigating between multiple people sitting with me at a table. There are so many different personalities to handle at once. I can barely figure out what the food options are and now I have to talk about my life. It's the worst when I haven't actually accomplished anything recently and I have nothing exciting to report. The easiest thing to do is to focus on the other person rather than talk about myself. But even that is exhausting. I have to come up with clever questions to ask them and then because I have ADHD I have to make myself focus on what they're saying. It's not that I'm uninterested, it's that my brain has [...]

By | November 23rd, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on Being Social on Thanksgiving

When the school system fails children with ADHD

Recently, I've been dealing with the school system in Oregon. I just came from the public school system in New York City, where there is a lot of bureaucracy and red tape. I have been a substitute teacher for the NYC Department of Education for many years. I've worked in inclusion classrooms where some of the kids have IEPs (Individualized Education Plans) and some of them are considered "general education." The kids who have IEPs have different educational needs and therefore need accommodations due to their plans. Currently, my son has an IEP, but he is not receiving the accommodations that he needs. He has focusing issues, just like me, and was just diagnosed with ADHD. It seems the teachers in this state do not understand how to deal with children with mental health concerns. I have explained to the school many times that he has ADHD and he needs certain accommodations to help him focus. But, they keep saying that he is work avoidant. They keep trying to put forth the idea that he is not doing what he's supposed to do on purpose. This is a common misconception about ADHD. I have had people think the same thing about me. [...]

By | November 21st, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on When the school system fails children with ADHD

Moving Across The Country Made Me Feel Lonely

When I moved to Portland I felt alone. It was hard being here without my parents and my close friends. For the first two months I was here I cried a lot. I called my one of my best friends in NY crying, telling her I wanted to come home, that I made a mistake. The truth is I was scared. I was terrified that I couldn’t do it, that my impulsivity would fail me. I didn’t know how I was going to make it work.I called my childhood best friend/sister and said “The thought of giving up and going back to New York feels like a relief. Is that bad?” She said she completely understood. After I called my friends and family crying every day for a while, they began to get frustrated. My best friend said “I love you but you need to do this on your own. I am here to support you, but don’t be afraid to be independent.” She was right. I was mad at her at first but she was being a good friend. I felt like I didn’t have the skill set to be here, make money, care for my kids and manage [...]

By | November 20th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on Moving Across The Country Made Me Feel Lonely

The Truth Truly Does Hurt

Anytime that I've grown as a person, it's because someone told me the truth regardless of whether or not it hurt my feelings. It's easy to appease someone's ego by telling them that they're wonderful and everything they're doing is awesome. But, the real growth comes when you are able to hear what you need to work on. Recently, I've been dealing with some harsh truths about myself.  It's difficult when people point out what's causing you trouble in your life, however, it ultimately helps you, or it helps me. Sometimes the truth, coming from someone you care about, can bring you to tears. On the other hand, sometimes people seem like they are giving you constructive criticism when in reality they are trying to put you down. And that's not about you, that's about them. But I'm focusing on the times that the harsh truth has helped me. In order to change, the people that love me the most have dropped some major truth bombs on me. I needed to grow up, I needed to stop being co-dependent, I need to be more financially responsible. All of those things were true, and I'm working on those things. It's hard [...]

By | November 18th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on The Truth Truly Does Hurt

Thinking About Something 100 Times Doesn’t Solve The Problem

The way my brain works is weird. I guess that's a simplistic way to put it. I'm not sure about other people's brains, but I know a whole lot about mine. It goes and goes and goes. I remember as a child and a teenager thinking constantly. Thoughts were always going on in there. I believed that that's the way people were. They just thought and thought. But, most people don't think as much or as often as I do. It's been a part of what sets me apart from other people and I accept that...sometimes. Thinking is exhausting, but it's what I do I guess, a lot in fact. The trouble comes when the thoughts are repetitive. When I'm obsessing about something or someone that's when I resent how much I'm thinking. I want the thoughts to leave me alone so I can sleep or at least just function. When you're always thinking, it's not possible to do anything else BUT think. To the people around you, you appear quiet, possibly withdrawn, but you're so wrapped up in your own head that you can't engage with them. I've had friends and family ask me if I was still "here?" [...]

By | November 17th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on Thinking About Something 100 Times Doesn’t Solve The Problem

OCD and ADHD are Friends

Upon finding out that I had OCD, I have to say I wasn't necessarily surprised, but I was depressed. I didn't want to admit it to myself. In a way, I was relieved, because I had been misdiagnosed for so many years and now I knew what the hell was wrong with me. I could now start working on what the hell was right with me. I could be creative and tell stories to the people who need to hear them. I could articulate my feelings to my therapist. Whereas, before I got my real diagnosis, I wasn't able to do these things well. My therapist said I was surviving, struggling even, but not living. It was a brutal period for me. But I'm moving into a relaxed/happier part of my life. It's a relief to feel happy after an intense period of anxiety that seemed unrelenting. There's some great news about my new/old friends OCD and ADHD, they get along surprisingly well. I'm not making this up. I was told by a therapist who specializes in ADHD that my OCD wants to organize things and make sure they're in the same place. Then when my ADHD forgets where the [...]

By | November 16th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on OCD and ADHD are Friends

Does Social Media Help or Hurt You?

We live in a digital age where our feelings are out there online. Most people I know are on Facebook and/or Twitter. Some of them I've met in "real life" while others I've only known from the Internet. I value and treasure all my friendships, but I'm wondering how awesome social media is these days. Recently, two close friends of mine deactivated their Facebook accounts. They each told me how much healthier they felt after doing this. They weren't bragging or shaming me for having an active social media presence. But rather, they were saying that they felt relieved from not having the influx of information that Facebook provides. Another thing that is terrible about Facebook is that many people pretend to be happy on it. This drives me crazy. If you're not happy, why you are lying about it? Wouldn't it be better to just not say anything at all? I suppose it's about public perception. You want to appear a certain way and so you put that out into the world. And you never know, right? This person could be talking in online therapy about how awful their life is. We have no idea what happens off the [...]

By | November 14th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on Does Social Media Help or Hurt You?

Four Things We Can Learn From Astronauts

Astronauts have a demanding job. They have to perform research in a place that is completely foreign to them. It's not even another country, they are out there in space. They are performing this specific kind of research in a "microgravity environment." It's not like the research a scientist might perform in a lab. They are literally floating while learning about stuff in space. We can learn a thing or do from astronauts. Here are four things that you can learn from our friends up there exploring space. 1. Be curious Astronauts are constantly researching and learning about new findings. They are just not doing it on earth or in a lab. Still, they are finding things out! The first thing we can learn from an astronaut is to always be curious. Astronauts are naturally curious people and they have to be. That's how we have all the information we do about what's up there in space.When you're curious you are bound to learn new things and open your mind to exciting information that you didn't know about before! 2. Body Awareness When you're an astronaut, your body is reacting differently to the environment it's in. You have to be more [...]

By | November 6th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on Four Things We Can Learn From Astronauts

You Have More Power Than You Think

I met a woman in Starbucks today who changed my life. She said to me "you have more power than you think you do." This resonated with me for a couple of reasons. I was feeling like I didn't know what I was doing in my life, and I was focusing on what I couldn't control. In reality, there are things that I am good at and I can control. And I turn around and re-frame things to think about what I'm good at I feel better. This is looking at myself as a powerful person. We are all powerful in our own ways. When we work on ourselves with a therapist, whether it is expensive or free of charge (yeah free therapy exists), we can see our power more clearly. Working with a professional is a great way to see your power, especially when they believe in you. As human beings, we have the power to build each other up. When I see your power, I will tell you. And when you see how powerful I am you can tell me too. When we do this, acknowledge each other's strengths, we reinforce how unique we are. I have some [...]

By | October 13th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on You Have More Power Than You Think

Oh hey, I have OCD!

I was in therapy today talking about the variety of symptoms of the shit I deal with. My therapist was patiently listening to me and all of a sudden she said, "based on what you're telling me I think you have OCD." It was if fireworks exploded over my head. Everything made sense. I never thought I had OCD because I don't have compulsions. OCD doesn't have to manifest as handwashing, stove-checking and making sure you locked the door. OCD can be many things. The way it shows up for me is I obsess about my health. I have tremendous anxiety about there being something wrong with my body. Things feel like they are a danger signal when in reality, it's my anxiety being a dick. Hearing her tell me I had OCD was such a fucking relief. I know that sounds ridiculous, but it just made so much sense. It actually relieved my anxiety in a funny way. My therapist is generally behaviorally focused, but at times it does feel like Client-Centered Therapy because I talk a lot. Whatever she's doing, I hope she knows how awesome she is. She's not afraid to call me out on my shit and [...]

By | October 13th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on Oh hey, I have OCD!

Reframing thoughts from negative to positive

I am making a conscious effort to reframe my thoughts to positive ones from negative ones. I'm not going to say it's easy because it isn't; especially when you're feeling depressed. When you are depressed the negative thoughts are extremely persistent. However, you have the capability to reframe them into positive ones. Here's an example: it was raining this morning and I did not want to go outside. Despite this inclination after I thought "I don't want to go outside," I then reframed this thought to "I may not want to go outside but once I get there I will feel better." This motivated me to go out for a walk in the nature center near my apartment. What do you think happened next? I'll tell you. I felt better. Even though it was raining I enjoyed looking at all the trees and hearing the birds at the nature center. And as a welcome surprise, the sun decided to come out. I felt rewarded for my hard work on reframing my negative thoughts. It's challenging to be positive when you're down, but ultimately the rewards are stellar. The trick of it is remembering that it is a constant exercise that [...]

By | October 11th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on Reframing thoughts from negative to positive

You don’t have to hate someone to get over them

I used to think that in order to get over my ex-boyfriends I had to hate them. If I hated them it would make it easier to move on. Sometimes I pretended like they died. I know that sounds terrible, but if they didn't exist it was easier to move forward. Being friends with your ex is tough stuff. I know it's possible, but I haven't had luck with that until recently. The way I began to see it as a possibility was due to the fact that I changed my perspective on the matter. I've evolved as a person and become less stubborn and more forgiving. That took a lot of work in therapy and taking inventory of my emotions. The truth of the matter is: you don't need to hate your ex to get over that person. Reframe the idea of breakups in your mind. Breaking up with someone doesn't mean that one of you is a villain. That places unnecessary judgment out there. A breakup indicates that the two of you were not right for each other. You are different flavors that don't go together and that is perfectly fine. You might not want to combine garlic and ice [...]

By | October 6th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on You don’t have to hate someone to get over them

Interrupting People

Oh Lord, I don't want to write this post. But, yeah...I interrupt people. I can't help it! I have ADHD and hence a lot of ideas. I want to tell you that thing before I forget it. This is especially embarrassing when I do it with new people that I meet. As if it isn't hard enough getting know a new friend, now I interrupt that person 90 times because I want to commiserate with what they're saying. Oy gavolt, as they say in Yiddish. I know that I'm not trying to be rude, but does the other person? It's hard to gauge that when you're just learning the ropes of talking to a new friend. So now, I'm interrupting people and I'm anxious about how they feel about being interrupted. This shit is annoying, but it's the life of someone with ADHD. We're well-intentioned, but we may interrupt you when you're telling a story. Listen, it's not personal...well it is in the sense that we probably like your story and want to add to it. What's wrong with that? It's not that there's anything wrong with it, it just gets misinterpreted a lot. The biggest misconception is that a [...]

By | October 5th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on Interrupting People

Revealing Your Vulnerability

  When a cat rolls on her side to show you her belly it indicates a level of trust. She knows that you are safe and she's letting you rub her stomach. I started thinking about this. Cats are highly selective about who they show their bellies to. As a human I have had a tendency to show vulnerability to people who perhaps don't know what to do with it. Maybe it overwhelms them. Who knows? What I do know is that I can't go inside their heads and figure out what they are thinking or why. What I've learned is that you don't have to let everyone see your proverbial soft underbelly. It's yours and you get to choose who you roll over for. You don't need to be candid with everyone that you meet. You don't know all of them well, and it's your right to keep parts of yourself to yourself. Even in romantic relationships, you have the right to take it slow and open up gradually. And if you need the help of a couples counselor or individual therapist to guide you in that direction, that's perfectly fine too. Sometimes there is trauma associated with being [...]

By | September 29th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on Revealing Your Vulnerability

Putting Your Pants on Helps

I was tired today and I decided to take a nap for an hour before I got up. When it came time to get up I was not into this idea. But, then I remembered one crucial step in getting up is putting your pants on. Then I got excited because, well...I like my pants. It's the little things that count, right? I began imagining how awesome it would feel to have my pants on and that motivated me to get up. Now that I'm thinking about it, I'm sitting here laughing to myself. PANTS made me get up. That's hilarious and awesome at the same time. My pants alleviated my morning anxiety. I could say I got up to write, which is partially true because I have several things I need to write, but in reality, it was my pants that were the main motivator. Just thinking about having them on was enough to get me going. I would even go so far as to say that my pants were more important than the first cup of coffee. Are you shocked? After getting up, it was a matter of finding them. Pants have a way of hiding from me. [...]

By | September 27th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on Putting Your Pants on Helps
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