Dazed and Confused

Recap:  I haven’t been feeling well for awhile.  Basically ever since I fell in January (10 months ago).  Very tired, sleeping a lot, etc.

Went to the doctor.  Went to the psychologist.  Diagnosed AD/HD.

I did a sleep study on Monday night.  Unfortunately, my insurance company denied coverage of the version that my doctor wanted me to have so I got the Geo Metro of sleep studies rather than the standard family sedan version.  All it determined was that I don’t have obstructive sleep apnea.  Not a big surprise.  But it doesn’t address any of the other 90 (alleged) issues that could be causing me to sleep at the drop of a hat.

Tuesday, I went back to the doctor to discuss meds for the AD/HD diagnosis.  After discussing continuing symptoms, the doctor chewed on her lip for awhile as she typed on her laptop.  Finally, she looked at me, sitting on the examination table, eyes downcast (I was really wishing I could just put my head down and rest for a bit).

“I think we need to do an MRI.  Just to rule out anything else that might be going on.”

“Like a brain tumor?” I asked.

“Well, yes.”

So that’s that.  I’m waiting for the referral to go through so I can get on the schedule.

My head is whirling today.  A bit of vertigo and nausea.  I’m not hungry but I feel like I should eat.  Not that my fat stores aren’t sufficient to see me through an entire winter of limited resources, but just because it’s the time of day when one should eat and I haven’t.

I haven’t shared this with many people.  My husband, the band and my boss.  This is a burden that I would rather not share until I absolutely have to.  No sense worrying anyone unless it’s warranted.

I better go…my mac and cheese water is boiling.

Until next time.









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It’s been awhile

It’s been awhile since I’ve had something to say but there has been a lot happening in my life.  Here’s an update:

September was busy.  October found me exhausted and slipping.  This led me to my doctor, who increased my meds, and to a psychologist to help me figure out the rest of it.  What I have discovered, rather than finding a reason for my exhaustion, is that I have AD/HD.  Light on the H.  Heavy on the AD.

I’m 45.  I’ve gone my entire life – over half of what will be the total, I assume, not understanding why I have trouble with so many everyday activities, that other people accomplish with their eyes closed and both arms tied behind their backs.  Cooking dinner?  I get that done a couple times a month.  Laundry?  I have piles that have been sitting for months that are clean and need to be put away.  Other people do this stuff literally every day.

In hindsight, it’s very clear to me.  As it always is with hindsight.  Remember 20 years ago when a colleague/friend told me I had ADD? Yep.  She was right.  I know the “what if’s” are pointless.  But seriously.  What if I had known this long ago?  What could I have done with my adulthood?  Maybe my house would be clean and my laundry put away.

Again, pointless.  I’m where I’m supposed to be, I guess.

Next week I have sleep study.  Sometimes any diagnosis is a relief.  At least you know what’s going on.

Some days I sleep a lot.  A full night and then I take a nap in the afternoon.  Then a full night again.  Earlier in the week, I was convinced I was dying.  There’s no way a human can feel like this and not be dying.  At least, that’s what I thought.

The last 2 days have been better but now I’m not sleeping at night.  No naps, just having trouble at night.  My brain doesn’t shut down.  I wake up with music from the band running through my head and it won’t stop.  Even when I use all my favorite coping techniques, which coincidentally, are on the list of AD/HD coping techniques – I was using them long before I knew.  My legs are tingling.  My head feels like it’s full of pressure.  Achy.

Can I crawl under my desk and sleep now?  Nope.  Two more hours.  Then I can go home and sleep by the fire.  As long as I stop to buy firestarter on the way home.



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The clock strikes 9

Different but the same. Far from home but it’s all still there. The eyes of the person sitting next to me. The posture of another. Potent reminders that no matter how far we travel, some things don’t go away.

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It’s been a long time since I’ve had something to say.  Here’s a brief run-down of the year to date:

  • I fell
  • My brain was very sad
  • I spent a lot of time staring at the wall in my bedroom and sleeping
  • I went back to work
  • I gained a shit-ton of weight
  • I went on vacation and don’t remember much of it (no alcohol involved)
  • The neuropsychologist said I tested at the top of the charts therefore I have no deficits (I disagree – why can’t I remember my vacation then?)
  • I was in a band
  • The band broke up
  • I was in a duo
  • We became a trio
  • We became a quad (foursome sounds too much like golf)
  • I bought a ukulele

Now I’m getting ready to go on vacation again and I don’t know what I’m going to wear because of #5 above.  I’m hoping the weather turns a bit brisk in the next week so I can wear jeans instead of the 1 pair of shorts I currently own.  Also because I don’t want to spend a day on the lake in a bathing suit.  Ick.  I’ve managed to avoid it all summer.  Maybe I can forget to bring a suit along.  That will probably work.


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Mild Traumatic Brain Injury.  Side effects (or resulting symptoms?):  memory loss, confusion, dizziness, lack of focus, depression…and a whole host of other things.

Check, check, check, check, check.

When I first read all these things, the one that stuck out for me was depression.  Seriously? I thought.  Why depression?

Five weeks later, I know why.

I make a joke about being brain injured but the reality is that it’s scary as hell and if I don’t laugh about it I’ll be totally screwed.  So I use self-deprecating humor:  My husband compares me to a toddler so I say “At least I’m potty trained”.

People ask how I’m doing but I don’t know what to say.  Upright and coherent are pretty common and they’re usually true.  If I’m talking to someone, I’m probably upright.  Coherent is sometimes questionable.

So here’s why depression:

MTBI is invisible.  You look normal and your voice sounds normal so people think you’re ok.  What they don’t know is that your head is spinning and every once in awhile it feels like a little gnome is inside your head stabbing you with a pitchfork.

They can’t see, but may occasionally notice, that the words are floating in your head but they won’t come out of your mouth.

They can’t see that words blur together on a computer screen.  That the to-do list on your desk at work is overwhelming.

They think you don’t understand when they talk to you like you’re an idiot.  But you do.  I do understand.

Some days you wake up and feel good.  Like it never happened.  But by the middle of the afternoon you feel like maybe you’re crazy.  In the morning you felt good and could remember things but then you can’t and you don’t know why.

It’s nice to feel good but it makes the fall much harder to take.  It was so much easier in the beginning when I slept all the time and existed in a haze.  When I was too messed up to know that I wasn’t ok and thought my worst problem was a headache and sore neck.

My heartbeat pulses in my eyeballs.  I didn’t know that was even possible until recently.  I know when I wake up in the morning that if I can feel my heartbeat in my eyes it’s not a good sign.

It feels like this will never end.  Giving up isn’t an option and there’s no crystal ball to tell me when it will end.

Two days ago I thought it would be all better by the end of the week.  Today, I’m not sure it will ever be better.

I feel like a failure.  I don’t care what I look like.  I don’t care what clothes I’m wearing.  I worry about my job.  I worry about my family.  I’m mentally and physically fatigued.  I’m afraid to look through my memories and see what’s there and what’s missing.  It’s lonely, trapped inside your own head.

That’s why depression.


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The Day After

Yesterday, the people of the United States chose a new president.  Unfortunately, not one that I would have chosen.

In the beginning, when it seemed like an impossibility, there were occasionally times when I would hear an interview and think that some of his points made sense.  The farther things moved along, the less frequently that happened.

My ten-year-old son has a larger vocabulary.  That’s not an exaggeration.  I have read countless articles quoting the president-elect and for the most part, there aren’t many words of more than 2 syllables.  How is this possible?

I slept restlessly last night, with constant dreams that seemed like nightmares.  I woke to find that they were real.

It is my practice to avoid public discussion of politics because it is so divisive.  I prefer to live and let live.  Everyone is entitled to their opinion, whether I agree with it or not.

Today, my stomach is in knots and I feel I need an outlet for the thoughts spinning in my head.

Three years ago, at the age of forty-one, I started working at the firm where I am now employed.  This is the first position I have ever held where I was not sexually harassed.  Yet, a man who has on more than one occasion discussed his deviant nature has been elected as the leader of this country.  Will sexual harassment become the norm now, because this man is plain-spoken about his participation in it?  Will other men think to themselves that if the president does it and gets away with it, they can too?

When I was nineteen, I was date raped.  If I had become pregnant, I would have terminated.  If the new leadership of the country has their way, will this no longer be an option for victims of sexual crime?

I’m sad and confused and frankly, feel like this must be some horrid dream that I can’t wake up from.

But I’m pretty sure this is real.


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Friday morning, getting the good-bye hug from my groom as I left for work, he asked if I was OK.

“Yep, I’m just tired.”

How many times has he heard that?  Not a lie but an elimination of truth.

Friday night, talking on the phone, he brought it up again and I confessed that I’ve been a little down. And tired.  I’m tired to my bones.

Then he tossed out one of the most important questions.  The one that always gets an emphatic “NO” response.  Except this time, I hesitated before I answered and the red flag went up and he said he wasn’t convinced.

“No, I’m not.  But that’s a complicated question,” I tried to explain.

I managed to talk my way out of a long discussion and got off the phone.  And I knew I had to come clean and that whatever I said and however he reacted to it would be a big moment in our marriage.

I opened up the computer and started the email.  I wrote for an hour before hitting send.  The message wandered everywhere from comparisons to lasagna to summaries of other people’s comments on message boards.  At the conclusion, I think I managed to get to the heart of the issue.  The reason that I care.  The reason I strive for acceptance.  Why all the family crap matters.

After 23 years together, I was able to explain to him and acknowledge things that I have only said inside my head.  Things I’ve been trying to cover up by answering “no” when the answer was really, “maybe” or “yes”.

45 minutes later, I was writing again.  This time comparisons to  climbing a mountain, safety lines.  It was good…really good.  One of the best analogies I could have come up with to explain Me.

The next morning, I woke to find a response and it was better than I could have hoped for.

“I understand better now.  Whatever you need from us to help you through…”

I couldn’t ask for more than that.

Saturday night spent listening to music in the garage.  Sitting on the blue tarp-covered futon that will soon be a couch in the apartment, he played DJ and we sang along to all our favorites.  The only light the reflection of a work light clipped to the tool bench and the glow of the face of the stereo lights.  Spokes and wheels casting shadows on the opposite wall from the bikes hanging at the ceiling.  “Isaac’s truck” parked on a purple plastic tarp in front of us.  Two young boys dancing in the bed until they got tired and went in the camper to play games, the music too mellow to keep their energy up.

Whatever you need…

Not much more than this.


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J, C, D, S, S, T

I really treasure your friendship and your apparent ability to see things I think I can hide.  I would like to think if it were a different day it wouldn’t show but that may not matter with you.  You see the darkest parts of my soul and for some reason, you still are my friends.

That’s pretty special because a lot of people either won’t look or they walk away.  Even if they don’t actually walk away, they are absently present.  People don’t want to engage, don’t want to be involved in the darkness.

Even family, who should be the first ones to see it, the first ones to step in with a candle.  They’re the first ones to walk away.

True families are born in the dark.  Not families of genetics or law, but families of the heart.  Families of the soul.  They walk into the darkness and their energy spins until a ball of light forms and the only thing left of the black is the shadows in the corners.  Always present, but not so overwhelming.


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Time marches on but that doesn’t mean I forgot.  I will never forget.

Simon and Garfunkel have a lovely little song…


Time it was, and what a time it was, it was
A time of innocence, A time of confidences
Long ago, it must be, I have a photograph
Preserve your memories; They’re all that’s left you

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Body Armour

I get up every morning, take a shower, do my hair with as much attention to detail as I have time for and carefully select an outfit.  This can take more than one attempt before I feel like I found the right thing.  Sometimes I settle because nothing feels right.  Packing for any trip, even a single night, requires a roomy bag (at minimum)

For many years, my husband has shaken his head in exasperation while I stare into the closet, uncertain which way to go.  Or select an outfit, change it (sometimes more than once) then go back to the original selection.  I haven’t spent a lot of time trying to figure out this behavior but could summarize it with the following:

  • Whatever I choose for the day has to feel right.  It should fit my mood and take into consideration whatever the activities will be.  Is my office cold?  Do I need a cardigan or a jacket?  Do I need to run errands at some point?  Can I haul around a 40 lb. bag of dog food in the shoes that go with the clothes?  Is it going to rain?
  • If I don’t feel good in what I’m wearing, I won’t feel good on the inside.  It’s imperative that I feel good in what I’m wearing because I have enough trouble with the insides on a good day.

It is this last point, in combination with packing for a weekend that involves a day spent with in-laws, that finally clarified my wardrobe issues.  Maybe this is all very obvious to others, but it’s a revelation for me.

My wardrobe is my body armour.  My hair is my helmet.  They help deflect arrows that fly my way.

I’m overweight.  It’s not a secret since anyone looking at me would know that I should be losing at least 20 lbs. to get to a healthy weight range.  I was really close to that goal in the spring but my body started to fail me and I stopped exercising to help it heal, went on vacation and stopped recording my food intake and the rest is history.  Now I’m afraid to get on a scale to see how bad it is.  If I don’t look then I can pretend for a little longer that I didn’t fail.  That the lady at work who said I would gain it back was right.

The in-laws of my generation and younger are all thin.  Every one of them looks amazing.  They’re photogenic and would look great in a burlap sack or a swimsuit or whatever they chose to put on.  Next to them, I don’t measure up.  Or maybe I measure up too much because I’m twice the size of the rest.

I know what the female in-laws will be wearing tomorrow.  Yoga pants or some other form of athleisure.  They apparently don’t need body armour.

I will be wearing something that is intended to be comfortable yet figure flattering, in the way of a casual trouser with a nice top.  Enough coverage that I won’t be pulling at my clothes to cover up my tummy but not so baggy that I look another 20 lbs. heavier than I am.

Why do I care what I’m wearing?  Because body armour is important.  It gives your opponent fewer places to fling their arrows.

My arsenal is nearly packed.  Makeup, the hair products that I don’t generally use on weekends, multiple wardrobe options…it’s all in the bag.

Will I be overdressed?

Absolutely.  But it’s necessary.

My opponent is cagey and knows where all the chinks are in the armour.  She sees them every morning when she looks in the mirror.


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