When Being Impulsive is not Spontaneous


spontaneous_adventure

When you think of spontaneous don’t you imagine someone saying, “Fuck it! Let’s drive 6 hours to the beach; we have a whole weekend for an adventure!” What about someone who is impulsive? I always pictured my spontaneity and impulsive behavior as the same… a fun outlook I added to life. Yet, as I get older and life gets more and more mundane with bills, obligations, and adult bullshit, I can no longer pretend my impulsive ADHD behaviors are fun and spontaneous because really they are making me anxiety ridden.

Daily I become more comfortable with my ADHD [read some posts about it here] and I am beginning to become aware of some crazy impulsive behaviors. Here is an example: Scottie and I are making dinner. All is good and happy and then I remember out of nowhere “OMG I forgot to respond to that email about Thanksgiving with my extended family!” and I rush to find the computer, abandoning the the peppers I am in the middle of cutting. I run out of the room in a panic as Scott yells after me, “Where are you going? I need you cut the peppers!” So, feeling very bad about leaving him in the kitchen, I tear myself away from my email and continue cutting peppers. But, this is where it becomes complicated, I am so anxious I will forget to write that email to the point where I begin to feel full of anxiety and dread. People without ADHD, like my wonderful husband, try to convince me I can write the email in 30 minutes when dinner is done. But I know, and fear, the need to write this email will dissolve away and it will never get done. I will disappoint my family by making them feel like they are not important. Or even worse, I will get this impulsive urge the next day at another terrible moment when I am driving or something. I will again feel this stress because I know I can’t complete this task or, the worst option of all, I give in and try to write this email on my phone as I drive.

I wish this was true of just little annoying tasks in day to day life, but I feel this way about almost all aspects of my life and I feel an intense, and all consuming, urge to do whatever it is I want at that moment. Most things are not even fun. It may be interrupting someone who is talking because I have a thought and I am scared I will forget it, getting so antsy in situations because I think of something different to do, etc.  As the email example shows, I am often missing out on the moment in am currently in because I am so caught up in my own insanely rapid thoughts.

Oh Dennis, you know me so well.

Oh Dennis, you know me so well.

Now, what am I learning to helps cope with these urges? My doc says the medicine helps to calm impulsiveness because it is a chemical imbalance in my brain that makes me feel this way. Great, but I can’t, nor do I want to, ALWAYS be medicated and use it as an excuse. I have a planner that I keep all my “tasks” in and this helps, but sometimes I can’t write things down and I often forget to look at my planner. I missed a doc appointment this week because I forgot my planner at home. My best friend K said I should start using my iPhone’s voice notes and then set aside a time to “action” tasks. Actioning tasks has been the best advice yet.

What are my steps to stop impulsive behaviors from become debilitating?

  • Use a planner/notebook/scrap paper/voice notes to record all tasks, ideas, and needs in that moment. Then allow myself to be free of them.
  • Have a time when I get home from work, about 30 minutes max, to sit down with all my notes and start completing them or delaying them to another time.
  • Do not buy things impulsively – it will be there tomorrow and if I need it I can go back and get it.
  • Do not make plans impulsively – I am married and it isn’t just me I am making plans for anymore. I need to be fair to Scottie and allow him to be a part of these decision [can you tell this is an area of great discourse for us?]
  • Try with all my might to listen when people talk and not allow my thoughts to become more important than theirs.
  • If I feel impulsive anxiety overtaking the moment I am in, I try and acknowledge it and let go of those stresses. Be more in the moment.
  • Forgive myself for being this way and don’t allow guilt to make me feel bad about myself.

I guess it is all about self control when it comes to overcoming impulsive behaviors. Yet, some of these behaviors are really fun at time. Life with ADHD is not all horrible. Sometimes those impulsive moments are indeed spontaneous adventures.

love, Sarah

Why I Quit Facebook and Will Never Go Back … EVER


facebook dislike

This is going to be a departure from most of my posts and may be a little text [and emotion] heavy. Just a warning!

I was on Facebook from the time I started college. This was back when you had to have a college email address to even sign up – the glory days of Facebook. It was seriously the greatest thing to ever happen to college kids. When I was assigned my dorm at ASU [Arizona State University], I was able be a part of a girl lunch organized on Facebook before the school year started. I met my roommates through Facebook and was able to visit – and party with them – before we met on move-in day. In my 4 years of undergrad I collected over 700 Facebook “friends” and 2000 pictures. My college years were completely documented on Facebook and for that I am forever grateful!

Now to today – 8 years after my first day as a Freshman in college. I hate Facebook. It has become something I just don’t want to be a part of anymore. I am about 1 year sober from Facebook and I feel like I have my life back.

There are numerous reasons why I feel like Facebook had a very negative impact on my life. For one, I feel people use Facebook as a platform to be just fucking hateful. One of the main reasons I got of Facebook was because of an anti-gay post one of my friend’s husbands posted. In the end, I learned it wasn’t meant to be so hurtful and hateful but the damage was done. I realized that he would have not said something anti-gay in person, but on Facebook there are different rules and a lack of awareness about how people will perceive what you write. I quit Facebook the day of the infamous post. I am not innocent in this either, after I read the post I immaturely posted on my wall, “When did Facebook become a platform for hate?” I wanted a reaction from my friend. And who liked this post? Random ass people from high school I never think of or talk to. I didn’t like who Facebook was making me and I didn’t like how it made me see other people. Luckily for me, I quit Facebook before the 2012 election and I was able to avoid a ton of annoying Facebook posts. I was just over reading my News Feed and being pissed and irritated for hours after.

I also had a very shitty relationship with my self-esteem and Facebook. For many years I have allowed Facebook to make me feel insecure about my life and envious of others. I think at times it can feed on the bad sides of your personality. I have a friend who use to look at people from the past and fawn in their weight gain, life choices, etc. For me, I used it to feel bad about myself [and admittedly at times enjoy seeing an old frienemy look increasingly chubbier]. But mostly, I would look at people’s Facebook personas – those having babies, getting married, traveling the world – and feel very jealous and lacking in my own life.

“Should I be getting married? Those people haven’t even been dating a year! I want to be pregnant. Should I start having babies? Everyone else is. Or maybe I need to travel more and party more. She/He has such a cool life while I am here on a Friday night looking at Facebook while my boyfriend is working. When did I become such a loser?”

And talk about feeling shitty about yourself! I once posted a picture of a concert I was going to and no one liked it. I felt like such a loser and alone. Why? Because no one liked a picture? That is just fucking insane! I had a great time at the concert and I don’t need validation from Facebook. BUT I DID.  When I posted anything on Facebook I wanted it to represent me at the moment. Do I look pretty? Skinny? In love? Popular? Fun? I think everyone has some persona they want to display on Facebook, whether it be best mom, best wife, party animal, adventurous traveler, whatever. But since I left Facebook those moments are now MINE and mine alone. When we bought our first house, I didn’t have to worry about the post that announced we were home buyers. I was able to take a really dorky picture and send it to my best friends and family. I had a choice who I included in my life and now have to go the extra mile to reach out to them. On their part, they send me pictures they post on Facebook and I no longer find out about vacations because their Facebook has some added photos.

To sum up this ranty post: I love being off Facebook. I have a life that is all mine and I no longer need to worry about how I am perceived by people from high school and how I want to be perceived. My moments are my own and I feel more myself than I ever did on Facebook. If anyone is considering deactivating their Facebook: DO IT! You will feel free from judgement and free of the pressure to judge. The day I hit “deactivate” was one of the most freeing decisions of my life. I still need to officially delete my profile, but I plan on downloading my data because those precious college years are still very important to me.

Have any of you thought about quitting Facebook? What pushed you to quit and what held you back?

love, Sarah

To be a Woman — in the Words of Dustin Hoffman


A great friend of mine showed me this amazing clip.  It is Dustin Hoffman recalling an experience that made him make the film “Tootsie.” While you don’t need to see “Tootsie” to understand this clip, this video really does encompass the inner turmoil us women go through in our need, and want, to feel beautiful. It is such a raw, honest, and powerful little clip. For the first time I feel a man, in 3 minutes, explains the sadness and disregard every woman has experienced at some point in her life (me included!) Maybe all men should dress up in drag to feel what it is like to be a woman and gain some awareness?

ENJOY and be ready to be blown away by Mr. Hoffman.

love, Sarah