2009-04-30

How To Straighten A Room... ADHD Style!

One of my most severe ADHD features is my disorganization and my inability to focus on trying to get organized. Even though I mostly live with Diana, I still maintain a bedroom at my mom's house, which gets very disorganized during the two days a week that I spend there! If you want an idea of how to straighten a room ADHD style, here you go.

1. Decide to straighten the room, usually because someone else is nagging you to do it.

2. Start picking things up off the top of your desk and putting them in drawers.

3. Come across the "sensory box" you assembled about a year ago.

4. Start going through the sensory box and playing with everything in it.

5. Decide to create a sensory bag, which will be like a sensory box except mobile, so you can take it everywhere with you for your sensory needs. Begin working on that right away.

6. Imagine yourself explaining to someone about each item in the sensory bag and how it helps you.

7. Remember you're supposed to be straightening your room.

8. Start to make your bed.

9. Stop halfway through, because you're just going to go to sleep in a few hours anyways.

10. Find some extremely overdue library books under the bed.

11. Wonder if you're even allowed in the library anymore.

12. Decide to go downstairs and order a book on Amazon.com so you'll have something to read... since you can't go to the library!

13. Remember you're supposed to be straightening your room.

14. Shove your backpack and some other items in a corner.

15. Become really sick of straightening your room. Feel desperate to get out of there and do something else.

16. Pace around the room for a few minutes.

17. Have an allergy attack and sneeze about forty times.

18. Shove everything else into drawers and the closet as quickly as you can.

19. Decide your room looks good enough for now, and that you'll work on it some more tomorrow. Or next week.

20. Decide this would make a great blog entry. Go downstairs and get started on that right away.

Now do you see why my room (and my car, and any other place I inhabit) is always messy?

2009-04-23

Dropping Into The Drop-In Center

I found out about this weekly drop-in center through NAMI DuPage. It said it was a drop-in center for people with mental illnesses (including depression and anxiety, bipolar, things like that...) and when I called to ask about it, they described it as a social group where you could do different activities, arts and crafts, go on outings, etc.
Well, I've tried joining several social groups geared towards the general population an they've always been a bust for me. I just really don't fit in anywhere. There are groups for yuppies my age, groups for hippies my age, groups for this and that. But even in groups geared towards my own interests, like volunteering or writing, I've felt like a social mess. So I figured... "I'll give this one a chance."
So, basically, there's a few things of importance.
1. It seems like most of the people there have intellectual disabilities. Later, I found out that many of the people who go there live at a near by group home, and are diagnosed with mental illnesses like depression but also have intellectual disabilities, but the group is specifically for people who have mental illnesses, no matter what else they have. It seemed like most people were people with things like, for example, Down Syndrome.
2. I liked it! Yesterday they had speakers come in who did pet therapy, and brought the pets in. We got to hear about pet therapy and what it does, and we got to play with the dogs. One lady's dog was trained specifically to help people with autism. He's a sensory dog! I need one of those! People were really nice, too.
3. So I totally want to keep going back.
What do you think of that?

2009-04-17

I Refuse To Turn 30!!!

This morning when I was at my mom's, she asked me, "What do you want for your thirtieth birthday?"
My answer?
"I want to not turn thirty!"
I know that a lot of people don't want to turn thirty. Diana, who is six months younger than me, complains about it all the time. Thirty just sounds scary, for some reason, when you've always been in your twenties or younger!
But for me, its different.
See, my friends who have turned thirty or about to, don't like it because they think it makes them feel old. but they're already living as adults. They have homes, and children, and careers, and regular lives. They can handle themselves with maturity, confidence and poise.
(Poise, ugh, I hate that word! Luckily, its something I'll never have!)
My friends who are turning thirty don't sit and rock when they are upset or anxious. they don't pace the floors or bounce against the walls to calm themselves.
They don't have trouble finding words when they talk to people. They don't stammer and look away. They don't walk out of a room to avoid talking to a group of friends and family members because the sight of so many people at once overwhelms them. They don't avoid parties because they can't dance and the loud music hurts their ears.
My friends don't still get yelled at by their parents for being messy. Nobody tells them that they musn't sleep on the couch downstairs, where their cat sleeps, because they will wrinkle the blankets. Nobody tells them they musn't sleep with the TV on, or that they must eat something other than cheddar cheese sandwiches, or that they need to get off the computer. Nobody questions them on how much money they're making, tells them to stop hanging out with their friends, or demands to read their mail.
Nobody looks at them with disgust and says. "You're thirty years old! Act it!"
Some of my friends look young for their age, and when they meet new people, they might hear, "You're thirty? I thought you were more like twenty!"
But nobody starts laughing or choking and saying, "I thought you were about twelve! You're thirty? Seriously? Thirty? Whats wrong with you?"
Every year it gets more and more embarassing to tell people my age.
But telling them I'm thirty is going to be the worst!

2009-04-15

Wind Sprinter!

Usually I take care of my nieces during the week... but Jimmy hasn't been working a lot lately, so I find myself with a bunch of free days! I'm trying to put my days to good use, though. I've found a work-at-home job rewriting articles, for about three bucks an article. (For me, that translates to about fifteen dollars an hour, but they only send me the articles in bunches of five each day.) Also, I've been trying to get a little bit of exercise in!
I have trouble getting exercise, partly because it is just so boring to me. Before I got my driver's license (at age 21) I was really skinny, because I walked or rode my bike everywhere. It was really inconvenient. For instance, if I needed groceries, I'd have to ride or walk to the grocery store, and buy only whatever groceries I could fit in my backpack or carry on my handlebars! But, it was healthy! Now, though, riding my bike seems pointless. People say "go for a bike ride," but where am I supposed to ride to? Just riding around in circles is pointless and boring! I can walk my dog, but that isn't a lot of exercise, since she likes to stop every few feet to pee in each and every yard!
Anyway, one of the articles I rewrote mentioned wind sprinting, which is basically running as hard and fast as you can for a few yards, and then resting for a few minutes, and then doing it again. It keeps your heart rate up and helps raise your metabolism! It works good for me, because it really only takes about twenty minutes out of my day. For instance, today when I was running errands, I just pulled over at the running track, and did two laps of wind sprints. (I know two laps doesn't sound like much, but because I'm out of shape and I hate running, I felt like it was a great start!) Then I just got in my car, went home, and proceeded with my regularly scheduled day.
I can really feel it, still, even though its been hours! My heart feels like its beating differently, and my muscles are sore. It feels good, though, in a way. I really do need to get more exercise, I guess! I'm also going to try to start drinking water. But I am not giving up my Dr. Pepper!

2009-04-14

Social Networking For ADHD!

I'm not quite sure what I would do without the Internet. In a lot of ways, it has opened up the world for me. I have a lot of trouble communicating in "regular" ways, but reading and writing have always been my strong points. The internet has allowed me to explore the world through reading and writing. I've been able to do lots of new things in life... for instance, finding jobs, joining AmeriCorps, taking a bus trip across the country, spending a year in AmeriCorps, finding support groups, joining playgroups with the girls... because I've been able to research it ahead of time without having to speak with anyone right off the bat. It relieves my anxiety when I know what to expect, and it makes me feel like I have choices, and have a little more control over my life.
I really love blogging. I have this blog, and of course I have my other blog, Slow Down, Gym Shoe! Blogging has helped me to look into other people's lives, and to share my own life with other people. It gives me a way to have a social life that I'm comfortable with.
Another thing I love is social networking. I started out with MySpace, and was able to reconnect with a lot of old friends and a lot of my cousins that I had never gotten to meet in real life. More recently, I moved over to Facebook, and thats where I do all my social networking now. For me, social networking means updating everyone I know about things that I am doing and how I am feeling, reading about whats going on in the lives of the people in my life, and playing silly little games with people. It may seem insignificant to many people, but Facebook has helped me to forage connections with a lot of people in my life!
The newest social networking site I've joined is Adder World. Its a lot smaller than Facebook or Myspace. Its part of Ning.com, which is a site that allows anyone to start their own social networking community. It has 866 members already, and includes forums, blogs, discussion groups. etc. Its pretty cool! So if you're looking for a place to discuss ADHD and other topics, and make some new friends across the country, check out the badge below!

Visit ADDer World Anything and Everything ADHD

2009-04-13

I'm a Top Health Blogger!


This is a picture of Hayden playing with a bucket this morning as we waited for Abby's bus! It has nothing to do with today's post, but I like it anyway!!!

Hi everyone! I'm excited to announce that I'm now an official Top Health Blogger on Wellsphere. I'm going to be blogging for the ADD And ADHD Community. What that basically means is, while you'll still be able to read every entry I write here, but people will also be able to read the feeds on the Wellsphere site.
On that note, I just wanted to introduce myself to any new readers that may be reading this from Wellsphere. And I'd like to invite anyone who wants to to ask any questions they might have... about me, my profile, my life with ADHD and Aspergers, etc. I'll answer your questions within the next few days!
Right now I'm dead tired... we had a long day today, and everyone in my house is getting sick again. So I think I'm going to shut down the computer and take a short nap!

2009-04-12

Happy Easter!


I hope everyone had a great Easter! Mine was awesome! In the morning, I was at Diana's house and helped Brandon, Abby and Hayden with their Easter egg hunt. Then I went to my mom's house, where I stuffed and hid eggs for my little cousins to hunt. My mom had a family Easter party at her house, and I watched my little cousins hunt Easter eggs and played outside with them. After that, I went back to Diana's house for her family Easter party. Basically, I am really full from all of that food!
Sometimes holidays are really hard for me because of a lot of people squashed into small spaces, with everyone talking at once and stuff, and no place to get away for an escape. A lot of people recommend that if you are at someone's house for a holiday you should ask if there is another room you can go to to relax if you need a break from all of the commotion. But in my family, even if a holiday is at my mom's house and I could go up to my room there, my mom would get really pissed if I did that. She would think I was acting like a bratty teenager and should be downstairs socializing at all times. She even gets mad at my dad (who has similar problems like me) if he goes into the basement while people are there!
The good part is it was nice out, so I was able to go outside a lot with two of my cousins, which was better than being outside. They had brought their bikes, scooters, skateboards and other outdoor toys, and they also spent a lot of time running around in the backyard with Trixie! So it was much better than usual for me.
Anyway, I am probably going to sleep soon, cause I gotta watch the girls in the morning! I hope everyone had a great Easter!

2009-04-10

Easter Kitty

2009-04-09

My Favorite Thing!

Have you noticed I made some changes to my blog? I'm really proud of them! I figured out how to change the "skin," and I really like this one. I also tried to make my blog look less crowded. I've been giving my other blog the majority of my attention lately, but I'm going to start working more on this one.
Anyway, I don't have a whole lot to say today (its been kind of a boring day) so I thought I'd share with you my favorite thing in my mom's house. Its my video rocker!
This one isn't one of the fancy ones that can be hooked up to your video game system to make noise and vibrate and stuff. Its just a simple chair, on the ground, and it rocks! But it rocks great... you can rock yourself all the way upside down! My little cousins like to play on it when they come over, and its fine because the chair is sturdy and safe. (It did originally come with a seat belt, for the worry warts among us!)
I have a habit of rocking when I'm sitting down, especially when I'm worried about something. Rocking soothes me. So I really love sitting in my video rocker because I just rock and rock and rock! Today I rocked upside down and just stayed there, upside down, for about half an hour, contemplating life! If I ever get a place to live, I'm going to put it in the living room so I can rock while I watch TV. Right now, its up in my bedroom at my mom's house, so I have to rock with no other activity going on!
You want one? I found a similar one on Amazon. Check it out!

2009-04-08

Show Me The Money! Wait, No. You Better Not Show It To Me.

One major problem I have in life is that I seem to be always broke! Every time I think I have a little bit of money in my pocket, something happens to yank the money out from under me and leave me broke again!
According to the website called Attention Deficit Disorder Resources, adults with ADHD often have problems managing money. Here is what they say are the most common problems:
* Bouncing checks, and losing or not paying bills (Yep, this is me!)
* Impulsive spending or buying things on a whim (Sometimes, mostly on things involving the kids... but I also tend to be an especially impulsive buyer in bookstores!!!)
* Being unable to save for big ticket items such as new dishwashers, vacations, children's college, or retirement (Yeah, I can't save up for the life of me!)
* Losing checks or not keeping track of checkbook balances (I have trouble keeping track of balances... I try to do a lot of it online, but when things don't show up right away, that screws me all up!)
* Being disorganized with papers, making it impossible to locate them at tax time (LOL Oh yes!)
* Large credit card balances (Not really, because I've just never had a credit card that allows a large balance! With the problems I have, I know better than to even try to get a credit card with more than $200 credit on it!)
* Procrastinating doing taxes (Actually I've been pretty good at that in recent years... mostly because I want the refund!)
* Forgetting when the car payment or mortgage is due (Doesn't apply to me, because I own my car!)
* Not earning enough money for survival (Well, I technically don't earn enough money for survival, and can't afford my own place to live, so this covers me!)
* Not saving for the future (Wait, didn't they already mention that one?)

Here's a good example. With Easter coming up, I wanted to get Easter gifts for all the kids in my life. I counted out six little kids... my three little cousins, plus Abby, Hayden, and Emily. For Brandon, Sarah and Megan, I figured I'd just give them candy, since they're getting too old for cheap Easter trinkets! Also, I wanted to get Trixie and Sammy-Joe each something.
I was running low on money, but figured this out in my head... I had $49 in cash that I had saved up for the occasion, plus $39 on my Paypal debt card. I wasn't even going to dip into my regular checking account, and was just going to use the money I'd saved up.
At first, I was doing pretty good! I went to the Dollar Store and got plastic buckets and shovels for all of the little kids, which I figured they could use to play in the sand, water, garden, or whatever over the summer. At Target, I spent an additional $8.00 on packages of large animal shaped Easter eggs, figuring I could stuff them with candy and give them to all of the kids, including the big kids! I didn't really find anything else worthwhile at Target.
Then I decided to stop at Walgreens... and thats when things went horribly awry! They had a whole bunch of cool stuff for about $2.00 each, plus a lot of things that were "buy two, get one free." I thought to myself, "I'll just grab a bunch of stuff, and since its cheap, I know I'll have enough money for it." Because I suck at math, anyway. I got them each some cool toys, plus a couple bags of candy to stuff the eggs with. And a two liter of Dr. Pepper, of course!
When I checked out, it turned out to be $40.00!
I was like, "Huh? How can it be $40?" But when I looked at the receipt, it added up right, even with all of the "three for two" deals and stuff.
I mean, I probably only went over my budget about $20... but to me, that could be a tank of gas, or an oil change, or 2/3 of my car insurance for the month. (Weird how most of my money woes involve my car!)
Its all good though, because over the weekend I'll probably get money from Diana and Jimmy for last Monday and yesterday, and that will replenish my supplies. Except then I'll probably feel like, "Dang I'm rich!" and go spend it all on... I dunno... Dr. Pepper or something.
Maybe I'm just destined to be broke!

2009-04-06

Apple, Desk, Ball!

Sorry I haven't been writing in this blog very much lately! I've been focusing so much on my kid blog, but I'm gonna try to write in this one more regularly... not just when I'm having a horrid day!
Anyway, things are going OK. I got food stamps now. Today I had to go to the doctor to see if I could qualify for medical insurance on my LINK card too. It was in the city. You don't get a choice about where you go to or when... they just send you a letter with the date, time and place, and you'd better make it there! I took the train down to the city and walked to the place. The appointment was at 2:00, but can you believe they didn't call me in until almost 4:00? Then the doctor just asked me a few questions. He said the words "Apple, desk, ball," and I was supposed to remember them for the entire time and then repeat them back. I did it... I've done that before. Every time you do an intake for any sort of mental health thing, they ask you to do that. They also ask you if you are seeing things, what the date is, who is the President of the United States. I was like, "Man, these questions are hard, can I poll the audience?"
He also wanted me to stand on my tiptoes and touch my toes.
The appointment took about fifteen minutes. So, basically, I was there for over two hours, but only fifteen minutes of it was actually seeing a doctor!
The reason I want to get Medicaid or Medicare or whatever they're calling it these days is so I can get my medicine. It would be good if they qualify me as disabled, because then I might be able to get help with other things too. The weird thing is, I write pretty well, but in real life I have a lot of problems. If you met me online, you'd think I was really smart, but if you met me in real life, you'd think i was a spazz! Part of this is due to the Aspie tendencies I have. (I don't know if i have real Asperger's Syndrome since I've never been officially diagnosed, but I do definitely have ADHD, and I also have a lot of similarities to Asperger's!) For instance, if you see me walking down the street, you might see me flapping my hands or muttering to myself. You'd think, "There goes a crazy person!" Right? But its really just that I slip into my own world so easily! I might be flapping my hands because I'm actually signing ABC's to myself... I have a weird habit of spelling out my thoughts sometimes. Its a stimming thing. And as for talking to myself, I might be repeating something I recently heard or something I recently said, going over it with myself. I forget that other people can see me. I might be running my hand along a wall as I walk, because I'm always needing to touch things. Today on the way back from the doctor's office, I got into an elevator, and turned and started writing invisible letters on the wall with my finger and humming. It was because I was still so anxious and wound up due to the doctor's appointment, and I was thinking about it and going over it in my head, and wasn't really aware of my own body. Then I turned and realized the other person in the elevator was staring at me! The lady exited quickly and hurried away when the elevator doors opened!
Even people who know me well might not know how much trouble I have. I can hide it for short amounts of time. ESPECIALLY around my parents and other family members... because my mom gets so mad at me, she gets embarassed of me, and its really nervewracking to me. At family gatherings I can often be seen sitting alone because I get so nervous... except for around the little kids. Little kids are so nonjudgemental, they bring out the best in me! Anyway, I can hide my troubles for a while, but they always come sliding out.
One way that my problems cause me trouble is when I have a job. I can usually make a pretty good impression at an interview. I have enough social skills to know that you are supposed to smile, look the person in the eye, sit up straight, speak clearly, act confidently, etc. I can pretend. But once I start a job, it becomes pretty obvious. I get so nervous around new people, I actually get nauseous! I have trouble learning new things and following directions. I have trouble understanding what people tell me to do.
I remember this one job I had for a while when I was about 19. It was at Kids R Us. I thought I could handle working in a store, because it was a kids' store! I was told to do something with the shoes. I don't remember what it was... probably because at the time I didn't fully understand what I was meant to do. I just remember sitting in the stockroom for way too long, basically hiding out, staring at all the shoes and trying desperately to find something I could do. I was also good at going around the store and finding loose things to put back on the racks. But as soon as a customer asked me a question, I would panic! We were supposed to actively go up to customers and ask them if they needed help. But since I was terrified to talk to new people, and I was terrified that I wouldn't know how to answer their questions, I spent more time pretending I didn't see customers and walking in the opposite direction! Every time I had to go to work, I would get so nauseous and sick. Finally, I quit, because I just couldn't take it anymore! I was starting to get depressed from knowing that I was going to be so nervous and confused each day at work!
The people who know best about the problems I encounter are Diana and Jimmy. Especially Diana! Sometimes she's like a translator between me and the rest of the world. She gets me to laugh at myself and she tries to explain things to me. But sometimes she gets aggravated with me too... I embarrass her in public, just like I embarrass my mom.
What I have really is an "invisible" disability... and some people would think I have no disability at all.
Well, at least I can remember those three words... apple, desk, ball!