Procrasti-Not-Us

Working from home
Image: Brain says to heart, “Now that we work from home, self-discipline is absolutely essential.” Heart, playing video games, replies, “Speak for yourself, dork.” Link to original image here

Did you know that the term procrastination comes almost directly from the Latin procrastinatus?

This is relevant because I have a new blog page on my main site that does not have a Latin title. This pains my Partner deeply. I think it pains my Partner almost as much as typing pains the hands of someone with Ehlers-Danlos!

My Partner pointed out recently that the saga of the 9th Circle of Hell has probably become so complex that any potential new readers will have a hard time figuring out what the heck I’m talking about on a weekly basis. (The bully-in-my-brain, of course, immediately added: “even more so than they would normally have difficulty just in understanding the ramblings of someone with ADHD with pronounced hyperactivity alone.” Thanks for that, brain.) I replied that I actually take great pains to try and link at least the most proximally explanatory blog posts, so readers can catch up if they want.

He then pointed out that that effort probably costs me more in hand cramps trying to back-link enough blog posts each time I write a new one to make my story make sense to new readers – and to those of my readers with brain fog in general – than it would to just maintain a dedicated page. Because he is sensible – and my hands really could use the rest – I followed his advice.

I created a Glossary of Terms this weekend. It should contain all the key descriptions needed to understand my rather topsy-turvy life. My Partner desperately wanted me to call it the Dramatis Personae page – because Latin is awesome – but it turns out that I write a lot more about places than people, with the possible exception of him. I claim it’s because I respect the privacy of others whenever possible. It might also just be that I am socially anxious and don’t have a lot of close in-person friendships…

Either way, I couldn’t justify the Latin page title. And, the effort to create that Glossary of Terms seems to have sapped my creativity to write another blog post this week. I’ve been procrastinating long enough that I now concede that writing a blog post telling readers to read my not-a-blog-post will probably be my only post this week! But, that confession at least does allow me to honor my own and my Partner’s creative styles and kill two birds with one Latin pun title. (I hope my Partner is pleased.)

I think my brain has struggled to write another post this week because it thinks it already has written one. It turns out there are enough “Easter Eggs” in the Glossary of terms – including how I got the pseudonym Lavender, an introduction to the not-horrible therapist whom I keep claiming I will write something about someday, a new Where’s Whoopsie, and even a link to the very first piece on mental illness that I technically ever wrote – to maybe back-justify that I even truly did kind of write an original post. (The aforementioned Easter-Egg article was written on a whim for the same reason I started my blog. It technically was posted on another blog two weeks after I started my own, but I wrote it first and submitting it probably also helped inspire this blog. But, I – in true ADHD fashion – kind of forgot that it existed at all or that at one point I was open to maybe trying to guest post on other blogs eventually. Oh, well. My life is too complicated to need anymore rejection therapy right now.)

Have a look at my Glossary of Terms and hopefully learn something new about me. I’ll write a real post next week, I promise! (Though, at least on the plus side I’ve actually managed to be more productive working from home. Not having to see my bully-of-a-boss on a daily basis at least reduces the amount of time I spend frozen in panic unable to even start a project for fear of him already despising it.)

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Where’s Whoopsie #14: Where’s it Hurt?

Traveling and being unwilling to bring anything I have actually invested time and effort in with me to Hell means I haven’t posted a Where’s Whoopsie since July! I suppose I could have posted some of my decidedly not-safe-for-work swear word drawings that I relied upon instead of geometric patterns to express my feelings during my time in the 9th Circle of Hell, but even I don’t care to see them, though swearing out loud feels like a great way of reminding myself I’m not in that place anymore. I’m fairly confident some of those swear words leaked into my blog posts anyway over the past few months.

However, I feel like posting something just because I need to mentally distract myself, and typing hurts physically even if it might help mentally. Thus, I’m using the fall back of pretty pictures to make up for a decidedly lackluster pain-fogged blog post. Something appears to be going “around,” and proximity to sick people has resulted in the inevitable acute illness coupled with massive amounts of all-over pain. I would dearly love to understand how bacteria and/or viruses exacerbate joint problems caused by defects in collagen, but they certainly seem to. Acute illness seems to have triggered a truly agonizing all-over EDS joint-pain flare. I’m exhausted but on my second night of painsomnia. The next time someone compares their cold to my chronic illness, I’m going to remind them that we get all the same bugs, then have to deal with another week of our normal symptoms being on overdrive to top it off.

Continue reading “Where’s Whoopsie #14: Where’s it Hurt?”

Where’s Whoopsie #13: I am the 1 in 5

Happy Fourth of July from one of the 1 in 5. Which 1 in 5? Well, probably not the one you are immediately thinking. Yes, I am one of the 1 in 5 Americans who experience mental illness in a given year. I’m also one of the almost 1 in 3 Americans living with multiple chronic conditions (and one of the 30 million of us living with five or more diagnoses!). However, I’m talking today about being one of the 1 in 5 Americans who have gone to a protest since 2016.

Our country was founded on ideas of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Those are being denied to too many of our countrymen, including members of my own family. I believe it is patriotic to hold our leaders accountable for being the country we claim to be. My advocacy has taken place in intimate courtrooms and on huge street corners. Because I am, however, also one of those other 1 in 5s and one 1 in 3s, protesting isn’t always the most straightforward thing. Thus, this Fourth of July, I thought I’d post about how I have pulled off attending protests with ADHD, C-PTSD, social anxiety, depression, migraines, dysautonomia, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, IBS and just the general B.S. that – while they aren’t evil incarnate like the Republican leaders willingly setting Americans up for injury or death by dismantling our social safety net – even the well-intentioned Progressives who arrange protests are still often so very clueless about how to make protests inclusive for differently abled Americans.

Thus, I present Lavender’s Fourth of July Guide to Protesting as a Spoonie

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Where’s Whoopsie #12: Hear Me Tyranit-roar

Hi, I’m Lavender and I’m a geek.

You’ve probably already picked up on that by now, but just in case you haven’t, telling you my Partner and I have been eagerly anticipating the Pokemon Go Community Day with abundant tyranitars for weeks now probably confirms it.

Today was a rare good day. We went to one of the biggest parks in our city. We each managed to collect enough candy to evolve multiple tyranitars, and we participated in some rare legendary raids with enough people to actually win (even though we *cough* don’t have enough friends to field a team outside of these community days due to *cough cough* social anxiety). We both even managed to get high-level shiny tyranitars to evolve. (It seems only fitting that someone with ADHD – stereotyped as “ooh, shiny” – should need shiny pokemon). My spoons did give out before my phone battery and the event did, but with appropriate planning for water, meds, rest breaks, shade and cooling aids, I lasted longer than I expected to. The heat and sun weren’t unbearable, and we stopped for burgers and ice cream sandwiches in the A/C when I needed to rest.

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Where’s Whoopsie #11/Improv #7: Potty Mouth

What can I say? It’s been a bit of a $h177y week. Trauma guilt (see comments on that post if you want to hear about the new turd that dropped this week) is a dirty job. Dirty jobs call for Dirty Jobs.

I’ve been watching a lot of reality t.v. this week because that’s where my brain is at. I have been gravitating towards things that are less about people – because eff people – and more about the situations they are in: Naked and Afraid (survival skills), Deadliest Catch (crab fishing) and Dirty Jobs (hopefully self-explanatory.)

I just learned from the Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs that, in the historical Middle East, bedouins would consume fresh camel dung as a treatment for dysentery. Apparently, it was kind of like an old-school fecal transplant: top up the substandard human gut bacteria with some powerhouse camel bacteria and kick dysentery’s @$$ before it kicks your own. (Note: this only works with fresh camel dung. Using the older stuff just leads to more problems!)

I buy the concept. I do have to wonder who in history, however, first came up with that idea in the era before you could test such things in a sterile lab environment without any actual consuming required. Who was that human who first looked at the wrong end of a camel and asked, “I wonder what will happen if I eat the things that came out of this animal’s butt? Oh, hey! Maybe it will make things no longer come out of my butt!” This feels like it should have become a cautionary tale for a girl who claims to be down to try anything once that there is sometimes such a thing as being too adventurous.

That said, our assignment for Improv class this week is to be incredibly mindful of how we do everyday activities. Like, how we don’t grab a wine glass with a fist like a cup. We don’t even truly grab our cup like we often pantomime that we grab our “cup.” We actually flip our hand upside down and hold a wine glass underneath the wide part of the glass. We do ham-fist our mugs, however. It’s the little details like these distinctions in object work in Improv that really distinguish the professionals from the amateurs. Realistic pantomime is so much more believable than sloppy pantomime. Immersion is so much more fun for an audience than constantly breaking the Fourth Wall. Our assignment is thus to slow down and really pay attention to how we do the things we do each day. Mindfulness: it’s not just for trauma drama anymore.

Given that it is also IBS Awareness Month and I have already once legitimately performed in a scene wherein I was acting as someone straining on the toilet* for most of the scene, I have to wonder how far I should take the method acting?! Is there ever a point in bathroom humor where the pantomime becomes a little too uncanny valley? I mean 10-25% of us have been there. Probably more of us have if we’re spoonies. Ehlers-Danlos and other disorders come along with gut motility issues as a buy-one-get-one-free.

Is it funnier for an IBS-sufferer audience member to see the pantomime done well? Because on stage, at least, it isn’t them languishing in the compromising situation? Or does it just make it sadder to see it done wrong anyway? An actor doing it wrong implies they don’t have the lived experienced to do it right. It implies that even after the actor completed a specific assignment in which they observed how they completed everyday activities, they still never had the opportunity to “experience” what realistic bathroom distress looks and sounds like? I’ll never know. I have had the recent opportunities to observe the real situation in action. I “pushed” my limits in the name of accuracy on the throne and on the stage…

However, if there is a line for realism in Improv potty humor, I’m pretty sure that it stops somewhere around camel dung as a treatment for dysentery. The fact that I now know that fact might very well show up in one of my Improv scenes someday. We are encouraged to draw inspiration wherever we can. I will not, however, be observing how to pantomime that action realistically.

Happy Saturday everyone. Hoping your week ahead – like your stool – passes quickly and isn’t too hard to handle! In honor of IBS Awareness Month, which has periwinkle as its color, “digest” these three offerings and find the mistakes. There’s a periwinkle-and-brown Where’s Whoopsie for the awareness campaign, and I include two others that have brown and yellow. Because why not? When have I ever quit while I’m “behind”?

*For anyone wondering: the Improv game in which I engaged in some potty-mouth humor was a freeze-type game. Actors waiting in the wings would watch a scene until the on-stage actors naturally contorted into some sort of crazy physical pose, then they would call “Freeze.” They would tag out the actors, assume their poses exactly, and start a brand-new scene starting from whatever those poses suggested. I had been partially squatting and looking angry – about to rush a dude in a bar – at the time freeze was called. The replacement actor went with the other obvious solution for what two folks near to each other, squatting, and looking stressed could be. The new scene with him and me involved him coaching me through a “difficult food baby delivery” like a Lamaze coach. I just had to “go with it” it, as they say…

Where’s Whoopsie #10: Fireworks

When putting out metaphorical fires, it’s generally a good idea not to add any literal ones into the mix.

I didn’t this past week, but it was a nearer miss than I would have preferred.

I spent most of my twenties self-medicating my ADHD with coffee. My grad advisor used to text me before conference presentations to make sure I’d gotten my daily dose. He observed that I was always calmer after a venti double shot. I credited a coffee shop for my thesis acknowledgments. I always wanted one of those necklaces with the chemical structure of caffeine, but then I felt guilty because I somehow never managed to have the physical effects that other coffee addicts wore like badges of honor as overextended graduate students pulling long hours. How could I claim to be a true caffeine junkie worthy of her necklace when I truly could stop at any time? It was everyone else, not me, who practically forced me to keep imbibing! How could I be a true caffeine addict when I didn’t suffer for my art with shakes and withdrawal symptoms when I did stop, and when I was even one of those lucky migraineurs who benefitted from caffeine instead of it touching off further migraines?

I have fallen out of my daily coffee habit post-diagnosis. Coffee has nothing on real ADHD meds, and it’s expensive when it needs to come from a coffee place within walking distance of my work in a financial district. It is, however, still a psychological crutch I rely upon during stressful periods in my life. I am not sure if it’s the coffee itself, the walk to get the coffee from the local barista, or even the enforced social interactions with my office mates while I make the rounds and ask if they’d like a cup, too, that is most helpful, but, in any case, I will still overspend on fancy coffee as a coping strategy. The ritual of getting coffee gives me a much-needed emotional breather during the work day on the bad days.

I tend to forget my coffee on my desk until it is too cold to be worth drinking. As a result, I also own a little electric coffee warmer that I have had since grad school. I can set a paper to-go cup on it, and it will keep the coffee at just the right temperature to nurse slowly over an hour or two. The warmer has never burned the paper cup, and it has an impossible-to-ignore blinking orange light that flashes while it is on.

This is helpful because I am too oblivious sometimes to feel physical sensations like heat radiating off hot burners. I have ADHD, and, as if that wasn’t enough, I can function in a state of partial dissociation on top of it. I need a highly salient visual cue that something is, in fact, hot to save me from myself. Little things like on/off switches alone aren’t always enough to catch my eye. Heck, I am so inattentive that I sometimes must resort to physically unplugging my flat iron from the wall before I leave in the morning just to be sure I took care of it, but I’ve never forgotten to turn off my coffee warmer. The orange LED light reminds me. Or, it used to remind me.

It failed me last week. After my last cup of coffee, I never turned the warmer off. I had a moderately hot disc situated next to my hand all day and was completely oblivious to its warmth because there was no orange blinking light. I went home over the weekend and left it on. I continued to be oblivious most of Monday. Later in the afternoon when I went for more coffee, I finally noticed the problem.

The coffee warmer was more than moderately warm! It was genuinely hot – but thankfully not sparking or singed! Its heating coil must have been very well engineered! I’m not sure whether to curse the brand for their failed LED light creating a risky situation in the first place or bless their engineers for creating a heating unit that could stay on for so long without catching fire.

I have said many times before that I am ambitious and hope to eventually see my career catch fire – but not like that!

You know how some companies ban space heaters in winter? Do companies need to start banning coffee warmers, too? I disposed of the coffee warmer in question, but I know I must eventually decide whether to buy another one. There are more expensive ones that claim to have an auto shut-off feature. They aren’t from the same company, though. Should I stick with the brand that didn’t fail me when the heat was on, even though it doesn’t have an auto shut off feature? Should I buy the more expensive warmer with the auto shut off feature and assume it’s also well-enough designed that it, too, will never even burn a paper to-go cup? Anything less than that level of heating regulation probably would have gotten me fired at work! Should I give up and decide I can’t have hot things?

Or should I assume I’ll learn to be more attentive after this scare such that it doesn’t really matter which brand I buy?

Spoiler alert: no! I don’t know whether I’ll buy another coffee warmer for work, or which I’ll invest in if I do decide I trust myself to have one.

I do know; however, not to rely on myself alone. I am way too inattentive for that! Clearly, even supposedly idiot-proof features don’t always work. I didn’t fail to notice the flashing orange light of danger on my old coffee warmer – it just failed to flash! Yet, I’d be an idiot to think I’m not the idiot those safety features were designed for in the first place.

Have one fiery-colored Where’s Whoopsie this week, and two serene pastel pink colored ones. Because, after all, there was no fire. What a relief.

 

Where’s “Wool”-sie #8: New Yearling, New Ewe

I must confess: I got mutton to say this week. I’m on vacation.

I won’t even attempt to pull the wool over your eyes that this is one of my photos – though it certainly could be given the backdrop I’m looking at. I’m on vacation. I can’t help but want to ram this point home here: I don’t care to do anything that might take actual work on vacation. Not even the work it takes to upload a real pic from my phone, deidentify it and post it. Not when uploading a stock(yard) photo from Creative Commons is so much easier.

I hope ewe are able to shear some responsibilities from your schedule and take some time off today, too. Especially if you had a late night of holiday week obligations – or are resting up to stay up to midnight in a couple days!

Rest assured, however, my flock that I will be back to spinning my yarns next week.

(And, okay, have a Where’s Woolsie completed overseas anyway! Just one, though, because I didn’t bring any of the ones I had completed previously to keep it company.)

Whoopsie_Christmas3

Where’s Whoopsie #7: Merry Christmas to All and May You All Be Alright!

Twas the Night Before Christmas and in her flat on tenth floor,

Lav claimed indifference to doing her chores.

Compression stockings were hung in the bathroom with care .

Oh, who are we kidding? They showed wear and tear!

The kitty was nestled in laundry unfolded,

Knowing her owner hadn’t the heart to scold her.

And Lav with her blood pressure cuff and glass bottle

Gave up and to the sink for a refill did tottle.

When out in the hallway there arose such alarm

Her partner put hands to front door in case it felt warm!

Then to the peep hole Lavender…well, not quite “dashed.”

Wondering which of her neighbors were being so brash.

Fluorescent lights left the hallway aglow

Making it seem migraine aura explained sights below.

When what to her dazzled eyes should should say “Ho!”

But a hefty old dude and some hooved creatures, yo!

With red ruddy eyes and a belly so puffed

Lavender checked him for stroke and offered her cuff!

More rapid than drums Lav’s heart beat in her chest

But old Nick was quite healthy. He’d pass the tilt test.

Now, DASHER!, now, DANCER! now PRANCER and VIXEN!

On, COMET! on CUPID! on, DONNER and BLITZEN!

Out the floor! Out the hall!

Now, dash away! dash away! dash away all!

As dry heaves we’re hurled – and the dizziness came nigh –

Lav begged a ride. Nick feared she’d faint and fall from the sky!

Now up to the flat top the coursers they flew,

With Lav’s salty snacks – no cookies –  so had to make do!

Her partner checked her over and urged she keep drinking.

He smiled at her “proof,” but thought she was overthinking.

Yet as he tucked her in bed – and begged she settle down –

Back through the window came St. Nick with a bound!

No dirt on him – not wrinkles nor speck of chimney dust.

Modern Santa used dry clean and made no more muss.

He was hip to the WiFi, and he used Google maps.

But losing GPS signal was a load of ho ho…crap!

Could he borrow her WiFi (and maybe more snacks)?

Update Google maps and get back out and on track?

Lav’s partner just nodded, now made a believer.

He slipped back to the bedroom to wake and retrieve her.

Though a hazard to navigate laundry and clutter,

Lav’s reindeer-speed downloads set Nick’s heart a flutter!

And as he heard that telltale package go crinkle…

His eyes lit on Glutinos and sparkled and twinkled!

His droll little mouth curled up in a huge smile.

Now here was some sustenance that was more worth his while!

The three shared some tea and some gluten-free pastries

Kitty kibble it seemed, was to reindeer quite tasty!

Though Lav and her partner offered St. Nick more respite,

The night was still young. Nick had steps left on his Fitbit!

He filled up their stockings with Squishies and fidgets

With such deft sleight of hand none saw his quick digits!

And giving a whistle, he hopped back out the window.

Tucking and rolling, landing in his sleigh with some show!

And they heard his goodbye in a jolly old croon:

“Happy Christmas to all and to all a few spoons!”

 

Where’s Whoopsie #6: Personal Branding

It’s a Christmas miracle, everyone. I finished a coloring book page and made no mistakes. Zero, zip, zilch, nada. I’m still in shock, and I’m not sure I expect this to happen again. After I realized this, I was suddenly faced with the question of what do I do with that page? I thought I’d be proud – oh, who am I kidding, I was proud – but I was also a little disappointed. I can’t very well post a perfect piece on “Where’s Whoopsie,” can I?

No one really cares about my art. Presumably, readers are reading this post right now because I write something else alongside that art. I get the satisfaction of knowing someone other than me will see my coloring when the bully-in-my-brain tells me it is a pointless waste of time. My readers, I hope, get a moment’s worth of amusement and/or maybe identify with something in my post. It’s a win-win. A perfect page is just that: a perfect page and nothing more profound.

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