Doing What You Need To

Sometimes it’s important to know why you’re failing.

No, seriously. And it’s important to admit when it’s something, if not external to you, so intrinsic to you that you can’t do a hell of a lot about it.

Not as an excuse, but as an engineering problem. And so that you can figure out how to go back and this time not fail.

I have problems with this. My kids have problems with this. My husband has problems with this. Most of my friends have problems with this. This is why I decided to talk about it, even though it’s a bit cringey and it feels like I’m making excuses. I’m not. You need to admit what is making you fail, before you can do the thing and not fail. And even when it sounds like an excuse, it isn’t. It’s just a factor most people don’t have.

It’s been a shock to me as I get older to find that a lot of the issues I’ve struggled with since childhood are either physical or really bad training at a time when I couldn’t do anything about it.

It’s even harder to accept it.

Look, there are two problems here: one is that I often forget I have a body. My mental image of myself is fairly disembodied. I even think of physical tasks without taking in account the fact of my size, height or age. And feel vaguely guilty when I can’t reach the high shelves, despite that being something I can do nothing about.

Admitting that the body has other, more nebulous limitations: like ability to pay attention, or a quirky brain that scrambles digits between seeing them and writing them down …. that’s even harder, because I feel like I’m making those issues up and that I am at some level giving myself stupid excuses not to be perfect.

Nobody is perfect?

Well, that’s the second problem. I never really expect ANYONE else to be perfect, but I get very upset at myself for not being so.

And damn it, I know I’m smarter than the average bear. So there was never any excuse for not having perfect grades, when I was in school. Except that of course, I did all my studying and school work in short little intervals, followed and surrounded by vast oceans of time in which I roamed around in my own head. This might involve physical stuff, like taking notes, reading on something that I had no business reading on (up to and including rabbit holes of finding all the books by x in the house, and finding out if his characters all looked alike, as I vaguely remembered) or simply sitting with my brain doing the equivalent of having too many tabs open.

It wasn’t till 57 that I got treatment for ADD. Mostly what convinced the doctor is husband’s explanation that if I’m in line at the grocery and it takes more than two minutes, and I didn’t bring something to do, I’ll wonder off randomly, and leave the cart there.

This drives him — and me — insane. And all my life I thought I SHOULD be able to control it. Only of course, I couldn’t. Will power only goes so far, and as older son puts it “Mom, you’re not ADHD. You’re ADHD AF”.

Taking meds — which I hate, btw , but that’s life — gave me the range, and helped me see the difference between being on and not. This means when husband is trying to get me to choose something he’s showing me on the computer, or whatever, and I space out in the middle of his sentence I can point out the meds ran out, and I don’t want to have caffeine late at night. It’s not that he’s not interesting, or I’m not interested. It’s that my mind is flitting around like a cat on LSD. I CAN’T keep my attention on it, no matter what I do.

Is this an excuse? Well, I could use it as such. But what I actually found is that now I know what I was doing wasn’t normal, and where normal is, I can fake it for a time after the meds run out. And get stuff done. Tiredness though, means my will power goes to pieces, and that’s fine. At that point I can’t do serious, intellectual a follows b work, be it writing or buying something I need, by evaluating three different models. It just won’t happen. And if pushed, I revert to bad habits from when I was vaguely aware I wasn’t normal, but was trying to hide it, and pointed at one thing and bought that. (Don’t go there. No, really, don’t.)

Now I know it wasn’t normal, and I couldn’t make it normal by will power, though, I can work around. It’s like any other physical disability. You work around it.

Some disabilities are easier to deal with. Once I found out I was mildly dyslexic and PROFOUNDLY digit dyslexic, it started being easier to control both, and I worked out a great deal of tricks so I don’t confuse digits, or don’t measure twice and cut– Oh, hell did I do that again?

Sometimes knowing “thing” is there and working around it is all it takes.

The weirdest thing is finding out at 58 that a lot of the things I thought were moral failings are actually and for real physical issues. I could no more will myself to pay attention to something not fascinating to me for hours at a time than a deaf person can will themselves to enjoy symphonies.

There are other things, too. Weird food dislikes or avoidances that turn out to be the fact I have an issue with that food, and/or with a texture. And other minor stuff.

It’s a relief to stop beating myself and going “I have to try harder” and instead go “Oh, yeah, that’s because of x. Can I work with it? Do I want to?”

Does it make life easier? Yes. Is it a cop out? Oh, no. If I still want to do thing y I have to come up with a way to do it, despite and besides x.

But it means the reasons I fail are no longer “mysterious” given my status as brighter than the average bear. And it means that I can try again, in a different way, avoiding the definition of madness.

And sometimes I can even fake normal for long periods at a stretch.

Now do I wish I’d known this … oh, let’s be generous… 40 years ago? Damn Skippy I do. I’d have got so much more done with the time I’ve been given.

But you know, better late than never, and at least now I KNOW. And I want you to know as well.

Forgive yourself for what you can’t help, and work with, over and around things too. And yes, that also means your body’s sudden, irrational “I don’t wanna.” Find ways to bribe it to do what you want. Or get someone else to do it.

You’re not a floating brain bubble. And the ape must be appeased. And when you learn to appease it, the brain can reach much further.

Now stop beating yourself up, and figure it out. Even if it involves doing that ickiest of all things: forgiving yourself.

288 thoughts on “Doing What You Need To

  1. I’m reading this– and confession time :). I am unable to write anything creative in the afternoon and evenings. I can edit… but my creative side seems to be used up by then. I have a real problem with corn products. This makes it very problematic when I eat anything processed. I may seem friendly, but I need a lot of time by myself. If I don’t have this time, I become cranky and irritable. When I am near too many people or a certain type of person too long, it feels like someone is scraping my nerves. When I say I am on my last nerve, it’s time for me to leave. Our world has a problem with introverts and doesn’t understand them. If I confess to being an introvert, then some idiot thinks I’ll become a Columbine shooter.

    1. I wrote two books. The easy parts I wrote whenever I had free time. The hard parts were done late at night, after I would normally have been tired and gone to bed, because it was only then the clamor in my skull subsided enough for me to concentrate sufficiently to put the pieces together.

    2. My ex used to have very frequent, multi-day serious migraines. When she cut out everything corn-related, they stopped like flipping a switch.

      1. That’s like alchemy. How did you know to get rid of corn, of all things?

        1. She tried eliminating a bunch of other stuff first: wheat, all gluten, dairy, etc, on the advice of a nutritionist we know. Those reduced the occurrences but not entirely. Finally she cut out corn and that did the trick.

          It’s super difficult because corn is in EVERYTHING, and she’s sensitive to even traces, like someone touching the corn chips and then touching the potato chips she’s about to eat.

          1. A nutritionist, not an MD. Of course.

            She must have been reduced to hard boiled eggs and water.

            1. There was a whole series of stomach-turning experiments with non-gluten non-dairy non-corn products. The coconut flour was particularly awful since I apparently have a sensitivity to coconut. We eventually found a potato-based pasta that was actually pretty good.

              But she pretty much can’t eat any processed foods that aren’t niche-market, and she can only eat at restaurants that will work with her to make sure there’s no cornstarch or HFCS or whatever.

              1. Well, I’m a little biased in your favor so I’m not hugely sympathetic, but that’s hellish trying to maintain a diet that won’t mess you up.

      2. I have migraines. I have less of them since I started taking riboflavin. However, since I’ve only been off everything corn recently– I’ll watch to see if my migraines completely go– that would be wonderful.

      3. I’ve been having increasingly serious trouble with my migraines. One of the most infuriating symptoms isn’t the brain melting pain, it’s the inability to *think*, and my job depends on thinking.

        About a day prior to my migraines, I find myself unable to concentrate. Unable to *make* myself work. I haven’t really been able to explain how inhibited this makes me. It also sort of sneaks up: I get distracted, then I become unable to block out the world, then it becomes nearly impossible to keep my attention pointed where it needs to go. Finally I get stupid-tired, can’t even continue existing tired. No-physical-exhaustion-could-possibly-justify-it tired to the point of collapsing and eventually passing out.

        Then a few hours later the mystery of my sudden lack of dilligence is solved by brain melting agony. I’ve been losing about 2 random days of productivity every two weeks now to these things.

        1. I looked into migraines some years ago for my wife, who routinely got them. Found studies suggesting low magnesium levels so put her on a pretty significant supplement (mg, calcium, and zinc). They pretty much went away. Not saying it is “the” solution, but it certainly could be a solution. And easy to test.

    3. I’ve been told, to my face, that introverts are just broken extroverts. I’ve also been told that if I really TRIED I could be an extrovert.

      Why would I want to? That’s equivalent to a dog lover saying that if you just TRIED hard enough, you’d hate cats. Duh.

      1. Wonder why it’s so important to whoever told you that for everyone to be an extrovert. Sounds like he finds introverts threatening.

        1. Our society really vilifies anyone who doesn’t fit in, or doesn’t WANT to fit in. Back to the tribal thing, I suppose. Anyone who doesn’t fit could be a threat to the community. For a very long time, those who didn’t fit could always go somewhere else, escape to the fringes, but that is no longer an option.

          1. “Our society really vilifies anyone who doesn’t fit in, or doesn’t WANT to fit in”…any more so than any *other* society, today or historically>

              1. “Because the US is far less that way than the rest of the world”…agreed, least as far as any part of the world that I’ve ever heard about. The > at the end of ‘historically’ in my last sentence was supposed to be a ‘?’

            1. There’s a reason I (and I’m not the only one) always call him “Sigmund Fraud”.

    4. I have always been an introvert….from my childhood in the ’50’s, which I won’t delve into here, to present day. Working as a RN for 40+ years was rewarding, frustrating, exhausting…after I retired in 2006, I realized I just wanted one thing only——quiet, non-stressful time for just “me”. I realized that through all my working years, I had worked as hard to “care for very ill people” but also to push myself to be an “extrovert”, a people-person. And deep in my soul, that is very hard and extremely exhausting for me. Now, in retirement, I am finally MYSELF. It is a tremendously “freeing” feeling! Many of my friends think I’m a bit weird and antisocial….fine with me! These last years that I might get to have will be years when I am myself and feel very happy and settled. If you see me at the grocery store, I will love to say “hello” and have a chat…just don’t ask me to join your ladies Thursday night dinner group!!

      1. What others don’t realize is that introverts do like occasional social time… not every minute of every day. One of my ex-sis-in-laws used to follow me around so she could talk out all her ideas. It drove me crazy. I just wanted to have quiet time.

        Being married to an introvert was great. I would greet him at the door then leave him alone for a couple hours while I made dinner. We would eat together and then I would do my thing and he would do his. When we wanted to be social we did. It was the first time I could be around a person for long periods of time and not feel he was stepping all over me.

        1. So true. I spend the most time reading with the cats visiting me periodically. But family social time is very enjoyable. Being retired means I don’t get spun up to high speed by problem/ crisis solving. It took a few years to learn to slow down.

        2. When hubby retired, even with me working, I was afraid I wouldn’t have any downtime after work. Was not looking forward to MY retirement, we’d be joined at the hip. The old joke: “Three times the husband, 1/3 the income.” Guess what! Those were his concerns too. He golfs, and is involved with the men’s club there. I do my thing. Again. I’ll say hi to the neighbors when I see them out in the front, but social butterflies we aren’t.

            1. It is. We even don’t get on each other’s nerves when we take off for a week, two, or three, together …

                1. After 43 years (including dating), I guess we’ve figured out how to work at it. We do have a lot of examples to emulate.

                  My grandparents, 73 years.
                  Mom & Dad, 52 years.
                  Dad’s oldest sister, 58 years.
                  Dad’s younger sister, 60 years (and counting).
                  Mom’s younger sister, 61 years (and counting).
                  Mom’s brother, 48 years (and counting).

  2. Age does this to me. There are plenty of “I used to be able to…” that are pretty obvious, but some are big surprises.

    And then there’s the sudden realization that closing in on 60 years old means it could possibly now be a questionable decision to be up in a tree hanging on with one hand while sawing off a diseased brach with the other, due to “I seem to be taking longer to heal nowadays”, not to mention “wow, looking at the stats a lot of people seem to expire due to falls”.

      1. Gee, the entire insurance world is letting me know that I turn 65 in 4 months …
        Wow. I had no clue. Really. As if I didn’t already know …

        /sarcasm off

          1. Nah. According to Johnny Carson, “old” is “15 years older than you”.

            You -> “old”
            15 -> 30
            30 -> 45
            45 -> 60
            60 -> 75

            1. I can’t be old. At first it was Grandparents are old. Now that they are gone, it’s Mom is Old. She’s 87. I don’t get to complain about turning, whatever. So I turn 65 in October, hubby turns 70 the following February. He always gets there first so the age is not-old, no big deal, by the time I get there.

              1. Mom admits to being old. OTOH, at 98, she’s not going to try to fool anybody.

                68 for me, and depending on circumstances, I’ll either feel old or not-old. Makes getting up in the morning a whole new adventure.

    1. Age does that to all of us. So far I’ve been able to figure out how to still get most of the “I used to …” things done but the tools I use and the rate of progress on most projects is, of course, far different at 82 than it was when I was 28.

      Just typing this, my mind flutters away from the keys at least thrice per paragraph & I need go back at least twice or thrice to catch most of the typos.

      & hanging from a tree limb cutting off a diseased branch, I only do that from a ladder nowadays and I tie the top of the ladder to the tree.

      I still clear brush, fell trees and buck into firewood, but any over 7-8 inch diameter I first rope up high and tension with a comealong to assure it falls where I ain’t. I don’t quite trust my judgement when I just notch and hinge a tree, that it’ll go where I want it to any more.

      I will allow my days of mountain climbing or spelunking are past but life ain’t over until it’s over and for most tasks I can find workarounds and ways to compensate, be productive and enjoy.

      I suspect that’s true for many and I’d recommend it for all. Ain’t no good reason to give up living to keep from dying.

      Parenthetical aside; (I did check this for typos thrice, but I won’t be surprised, if after I hit the ‘post comment’ button, I see 2 or 3 more that I missed and can’t correct.)

      1. After writing the above I went out and dropped an over 40 foot spruce. Even tied and tensioned it tried to come the wrong way, my cut was too far down the notch. I think the Big Guy Above has a good sense of humor and a good laugh (As well as giving me a good object lesson, that I should check everything thrice, trees as well as paragraph typos.) at me getting a bit too cocky

        1. Good for you with all your activity. It must be in your make up or else you wouldn’t or shouldn’t be in Alaska.

    2. Yup just hit 60 myself earlier this year. Back 7 or 8 years ago I used to do a Korean martial art Soo Bahk Do. I finally gave up because as I advanced (and my age advanced) the more complicated techniques ended me up with lots of little micro injuries that meant I didn’t attend waiting for them to heal and so didn’t advance. These days as I work I realize that I just don’t have the focus (or heck the ability to SIT for 8 hours) that I had even in my late 40’s. It is frustrating, worse than having no flying cars is no anti-agathics, though I still hope from time to time.

        1. Tai Chi Interests me but I haven’t gotten back to that. Soo Bahk Do is a seriously hard style (i.e. favors attack) that has a mix of various Karate, Korean style Martial art and Kung Fu influences. It really requires some pretty serious fitness, and I was even mor rotund than I am now :-). Used to fence (epee and sabre) but that is even further back. Historical European Martial Arts interest me, but the only local place is in Cambridge, and the bits I’ve seen are very athletic.

    3. “a questionable decision to be up in a tree hanging on with one hand while sawing off a diseased branch with the other”

      So I’ve got four more years of trimming my own apple trees before I need to figure out an alternative. 😃

      1. Oh, you can still do it yourself. When you look down from the “dwarf” apple tree you are wedged up in doing the same trimming thing you’ve done for years and suddenly notice that a fall could be problematic, you go order the electric pole chain saw gizmo so you can work from the ground.

        I’m OK paying to buy new tools, but there’s no darned way I’m paying someone to do yard work. Yet.

  3. Having children on the spectrum of autism (one profoundly and obviously so, and one towards the other end) has caused me to take a look at what I struggled with in the past and present.
    I have realized that my behavioral oddities, interests, and difficulties with social interactions indicate that I grew up on that spectrum, without realizing it until very recently.
    Unfortunately I think it is the thing that also prevented me from having the career I spent years getting the credentials for, and 20 years trying to break into.
    Dang it…if I had known 20-30 years ago what I know now…

    1. Both of my daughters are on the ADD/ADHD spectrum. the elder girls issues are more subtle, the younger ones were less so. A very observant 2nd grade teacher looked at my younger daughter and immediately realized something was odd. She was VERY verbally capable and bright and cooperative, but her reading skills and math were awful. We spent some money and had her professionally tested and they figured out that although she was very bright (95%+ percentile IQ) she had issues with focus and executive function. In the process of the testing we had to fill out a bunch of behavioral questionnaires and realized that the elder daughter actually had worse issues on some the stuff the queried about. We were also also to get them both tutoring to help learn coping strategies in addition to using medications. Younger daughter has a BS in mechanical engineering, elder has Double major BA’ s in math and education working on a Math Masters. So if you have a child that SEEMS to have issues get them tested the sooner the better because this can often be helped/mitigated.

      And Dear Hostess when you have time and money (hah!) consider finding someone that does this kind of testing. It’s expensive (1-2k for a full series), but a properly done battery of tests can give great insight into the problems. ADD/ADHD is NOT a single issue, its a bunch of things that end up lumped together as a diagnosis and the techniques (and medications) to work around the different issues vary.

      1. Because word press is “helping” (not as much as windows, but hey) and posted my question in a random spot on the thread, here’s a repost..

        What age is it appropriate for, and what are the keywords I’d be looking for. May want to have the little ones tested when they’re at the right age.

        1. When to test, if there is a thought of an issues the earlier the better, somewhere in the kindergarten to 2nd grade (US) range. Younger daughter got help startiung in 3rd grade and by early high school was confident and effective. Elder daughter got picked up at the same time but was 5th/6th grade. She had better coping mechanisms, but never got the confidence in her abilities until mid college. And she had a LOT of frustration up through grade 6 or so. You’re looking for a Psychologist/Psychiatrist or LiSW who SPECIALIZES in ADHD or ADD. Depending on state if you get a diagnosis you may want to get an advocate to help set up a 504 plan for accommodations. I would not test unless there are some clear signs (or family history) of the issues. It is expensive (basic battery is 4-6 hours and was 1-2K in early 2000’s) and I would say some of the practitioners are a bit into the snake oil side of things, find other parents in the area and ask. Some children think the testing is a fun game, others find it stressful. In addition there is a tendency to over diagnose young males as they have different behavior than girls (yes I said that 🙂 ). It similarly leads to UNDER diagnosing females. Also Schools will offer limited testing (Due to Americans with Disabilities act) BUT it is often not in their interest to find the issue and testing will be done by less skilled individuals (usually someone who has had basic training in administering the test), so best to get your own specialist in addition.

      2. The big batteries of tests can (sometimes) find issues that are not obvious. My older daughter had a 2 day test regime. They found that she was bright (99%) but could write only at an 80% level. The 29% difference would be considered a handicap if she was less bright, but the difference needs adjustment . I realized from the report that I have, and my mother had, the same issue. At work I always used dictation to typing for this reason. Early Dragon pro was helpful.

  4. When I found out that prospagnosia is a thing and I wasn’t ‘lazy’, it made a huge difference. I stopped trying to recognize faces and found other ways.

    2020 was the payoff for me: a mask has absolutely zero impact on my ability to recognize people. So much so that I greeted a neighbor at the store by name from behind and she didn’t recognize me when she turned around and had to ask who I was, and it was a very surreal reversal.

    1. I have a touch of that. It has caused some embarrassing “social interaction” moments.

      Interesting, my wife and I were once watching a movie, and I mentioned one of the actors resembled someone we knew. She became indignant, no way, where did I come up with that?! So over the next few months I pointed out other “resembles someone elses”, sometimes people who might as well have been clones, that she denied any similarity between. And she’s the “normal” one.

      What seems to be happening is that we’re picking up on *much* different points of similarity.

  5. Also– here is two of my food avoidances — beets and peas. (I can eat fresh off the plant peas, but anything else … I really really hate)

    1. If it’s canned peas, that’s not even “odd!” Canned peas are an atrocity! (And canned asparagus is … shudder)

      1. And Canned Spinach euuughh. Popeye was one tough homgre to eat that crap straight out of a can…

          1. Fresh is lovely (especially just sauted quickly). Frozen is tolerable. Canned has no redeeming qualities, horrible taste, smell that assaults your nose, texture that makes you gag and color approaching olive drab.

      1. I’ve accidentally managed to breed some exceedingly heat-tolerant peas… several of the volunteers are still merrily producing after we hit 104 and stayed hot, while the normal peas are already keeled over and gasping. Since peas are only fit to eat at a certain youthful stage straight off the plant… guess which I will have to restrain myself from eating so I’ll have ’em for seed next year.

        One ancestor was a commercial “heat tolerant” (not THIS much!) variety, and the other was a sugar-pod type, miscegenated at random but you can tell the cross cuz the pods are normal but grow first, then the peas fill out, instead of all at the same time. They’re also very bushy and upright… wonder if the key is really a better root system.

        1. Ooh, I was unaware of that. We’re supposed to hit 99° this weekend; maybe I should move my mobile planters into the shade.

          1. Dude, yes. Either in the shade or put those plant nets over them so they get the indirect light.

          2. At the very least, shade the roots. Planters get too damn hot and cook the poor roots.

        2. What would it take to convince you to sell/trade some seeds?

          I can promise to stress test the heck out of them and report back.

          1. […and Lauren] Seeds! must resist eating, so I have seeds…. yes, yes, seeds should be available…

            Five pea plants, out of about a dozen volunteers, are showing marked heat resistance (a 6th isn’t as sturdy and is not producing nearly as well, but its peas stay sweet and tender up to mature size, so it goes in the seed bin too). One of the purpose-planted, from the same mixed gene pool, is also showing early signs of being similar. Planting was way late as we went from winter-through-mid-May to summer heat with no spring between (and no rains), and that did the purpose-planted peas no good. The volunteers have been up since April; the planted are still small, but we’ll see what they do. Methinks fall planting is really the way to go, but clearly it’s not the only factor.

            I’ll be saving back some sweet corn too … I prefer this “Burpee Triple Crown Yellow hybrid” (which despite the name, breeds true) — 75 days to harvest, somewhat less attractive to grasshoppers, and by far the most tender and flavorful corn I’ve tried. (If your growing season is really cramped, try Sunglo Hybrid — 60 days from sprout to ear. Not quite as tasty, but better than some.) Last year commercial seed was entirely unavailable, so henceforth I’ll ensure my own supply.

            Other seeds of which I’ll have way too many:

            Canadian Red rhubarb. Does not like sun =with= heat but will put up with one or the other so long as it gets water. I’m fairly sure there are elephants lost in the patch. Slow to mature from seed, but gets there.

            Parsnips. The one I left in the ground last fall is the size of a tree and probably has 40,000 seeds in progress. This is about 39,998 more parsnips than I will eat. Slow to germinate. Tolerates heat.

            Random onions. Right now I have reds blooming, and what might be a Walla Walla. Will be growing out some Sunions for seed when they come through the store again (they’re fertile, which some onions are not); lost my previous seed to misadventure. You only need to plant the root core, and it’ll grow back. Am starting to think fall planting and overwintering is a better way to grow ’em; they’re too slow from seed.

            Garlic (they make bulbils, not seeds, but the bulbils keep a couple years). They’ll makt a patch if you let ’em.

            Elephant Garlic — no idea yet if it makes fertile anything, but it’s blooming.

            Feral tomatoes, they’re everywhere. Mostly VT100 (red cherry, my very favorite; breeds true) and probably some yellow cherries, hopefully no Huskies (did not like). Drop a fruit on the ground and next spring you’ve got a tomato patch, like it or not.

            Random squashy things.

            Also available, chokecherry (wild type, very astringent), wild plum (gaggy sweet, good for jelly or wine), sweet crab apple (bright red flesh; bears every other year; this year it might not be mixed with other apples as blooming didn’t overlap. The one cross I know must be its child is a spitter.) We’ll see if the Nanking cherry has anything.. the older bush didn’t (excessively hardy, fruits later in shade).

            Looking for: BEER APPLE!!! pinkish red, barrel shape, usually only seen as rootstock after the grafted tree dies.

          1. We should start our own seed exchange….

            Come harvest season, holler my way… (um, at which addy am I most likely to see it if it gets spamtrapped?) … try [devil at doomgold dot net]

  6. On that note: Basic blood tests are useful diagnostic tools for a lot of issues that can be alleviated, and should be a regular occurrence at physicals. For instance, depressive symptoms can come from vitamin D deficiency, thyroid hormones being out of whack, or low iron in your blood, and all three of those are easy tests. (Two of them are usually in a standard blood panel, even.) So if you have a doctor who wants to jump straight to mental meds before doing a physical workup, be sure to ask for tests to eliminate other issues.

    For me, it was critically low iron, and it took six months after I realized there was a problem to get a diagnosis. Iron supplements helped a bit, but I had to deal with the problem at the source. (The irony is that I just got a blood test and my iron is still low. I actually hadn’t noticed, since it was higher than it got even with supplements, but I guess I should go back on them.)

    1. Vitamin C. You need it to absorb iron. I once fix tiredness by eating an orange with my iron rich cereal.

  7. One of the big problem with psychological problems is that they FEEL like moral failings. I suspect my dealings with depression are similar to yours with ADHD: there’s something wrong with ME that I can’t simply enjoy time with my daughter. I’m a failure as a mother that I can’t be playing with her 24/7. I’m a failure as a wife that when she has problems, my husband also has to worry about whether dealing with it will send me into a depressive episode. I can tell myself that it’s not my fault that something is wrong with my brain chemistry, but knowing that fact and really believing it’s true are two different things.

    Analogizing it to physical ailments sometimes helps, they way you did with deafness. One of my professors in graduate school told me that she agonized for a long time about whether to admit to her colleagues that her child had depression. She eventually realized that if her daughter was seriously ill with something else, like cancer, she would tell everyone in a heartbeat, they would all be sympathetic, and they would understand when she needed to take time off to go to the doctor or care for her kid in other ways. Why should a mental illness be any different? I’ve tried to take the same mentality that my depression is a disease just like my diabetes, and neither one of them is my fault.

    As I say, I try. But you’re right that forgiving yourself is far harder than forgiving other people.

    1. Also depression. I mean, it’s just having seen dad and others struggle with it, I knew what to look for, and created for myself a “map” to see what’s real and what isn’t.

      1. It does make me wonder how much of your depression (or your dad’s) was a side “benefit” of ADHD. ADHD can be an immense contributor to depression and/or anxiety and ADHD is highly genetic.

    2. For me the real bear is not knowing I need to forgive myself in the first place.

      I’m learning that my mother’s opinion of me was something I had to agree with to survive–(she died a week ago tomorrow, so family survival isn’t an issue. That died a few years ago.)

      BUT I made an agreement that said “Yes, I’m x and x and x,” none of which were true. And that’s the cool thing: I can break every agreement I find.

        1. Thanks. Mom is mom, so the grief is heavy. And I forgave her for everything she thought needed forgiving–all was well between us before she left.

          1. Sorry for the loss. It can mean a lot for both to be on good terms with each other when one passes.

            1. Yes, thanks. I’ve got a good counselor/coach, and good instincts as far as saying what I need to say.

              Don’t know what to do? Head for the darkest part of the forest. That’s the work.

      1. yes– I made a few agreements with my Dad.. I can now break them 🙂 because the caveat was until you died. He died in 2019.

  8. Bit of it all methinks, especially exacerbated by Dad’s passing this Spring. I am also falling afoul of some of the fun I had as a youth and the bastage Arthur Itis. My body is no happy, and lately sleep is not something I can get in enough of a dose.

    1. I’m learning that grief kicks your butt physically. I hadn’t expected that.

      Mom died from her stroke a week ago tomorrow, thankfully, really. All I am able to do is maybe some painting, maybe 1,000 words of fiction in the AM, and lots and lots of old movies and Murder She Wrote reruns.

      I’m “sitting shiva” through tomorrow, so I’ve set aside the “you’re a lazy-ass” till then.

      1. Yes. And it comes back at random moments. God bless, and wish I could offer a physical hug to go with the virtual one.

        1. Someday I’ll take that hug. We’ll multiply it then for all the missed times. 🙂

          And yes, the randomness is familiar. Dad died of pancreas cancer about this time of year in 2015. Every so often my heart will burst and it’ll be something about Dad.

  9. Ah, yes, this. My father was a distant, uncaring engineer who had no interest in his kids. Not much in his wife, either. Only in the last decade did he, and we, realize he’s on the spectrum and always has been. He’s unable to determine social cues, he’s unable to express emotion, and he blurts out the most awful criticisms without realizing how much they hurt. He has no filter.

    But once he figured this out, he’s tried with painful determination to reach beyond his autism and tell his kids he loves them. He’s awkward. He’s gruff. And then… In March I did a window visit with him at the VA home and there was a gentle snow falling. He told me on the phone the next day that I was a vision of beauty to him, with the snowflakes catching in my hair. He knew I was there because I love him, and he loved me too. You only need one of those moments to fill that sad, empty parental reservoir inside of you. Painful though it was for him, he gave me that moment.

  10. “Why analyze failure(s)? Concentrate on success!”

    “If you want rockets that don’t blow up, you need to find what makes rockets blow up and then NOT do those things. Now, we don’t TRY to make rockets that blow up.”

    “So how do you find out?”

    “Build and launch lots of rockets – and look into what works, AND what doesn’t. Eventually you learn enough to build rockets that don’t blow up. Usually. Nothing’s perfect.”

    1. Once ze rockets go up who cares vere zey come down
      That’s not my department says Werner von Braun

        1. Which means that you’re not hypocritical.

          You too can be a big hero
          Once you’ve learned to count backwards to zero.
          In German or English I know how to count down
          And I’m learning Chinese
          Says Werner von Braun

  11. Mrs.Hoyt’s signature phrase, the which I have appropriated shamelessly, had to come from somewhere.

    Build up, build over, build around. Ca ira.

    After all, we are not going to let the fool dewberries win, are we? Even if the dewberry-ness is our own brain-wiring.

  12. I never really understood the ‘don’t talk about it’ surrounding mental illness. Especially when it was physical (or chemical) and hence not something one could control in any way. When I discovered that I had a brain chemistry imbalance, I had zero trouble telling people. It wasn’t any different to me than telling them I had damaged cartilage behind both kneecaps. And let me tell you, once we found the right medication to deal with it… I have always been a firm believer in better living through chemistry, while at the same time wishing people weren’t so quick to rush to medicate things that didn’t need to be. If I had known that how I felt and experienced the world was so out of whack I’d have gotten brain meds way, way sooner.

    I also discovered, in my very late 30s, that I was ADHD. I was browsing the web and came across a blog post by someone who had ADHD about how it felt from the inside. I was gobsmacked. This guy was describing me, right down the line. But I wasn’t ADHD, was I? I mean, they medicate kids for that. So I did a bit of research and it manifests differently in females than males, and often much later. A week or so later, after thinking about it hard for a while, I told one of the ladies in my crafting circle while we were knitting happily away, “You know, I read something and I it made me really think. And I think I might be ADHD.”

    She looked at me, frowned a little, and said, “Honey, I thought you knew.”

    So I brought it up with my soul sister a week later. Her response: “Wow. I assumed you knew.”

    I hadn’t a clue.

    So I take my brain meds, faithfully and gratefully, every day. And I use the coping methods I’ve discovered to focus on things I would otherwise find boring, or huge and overwhelming. Which sometimes involves an emotional support human whose sole job is to remind me, from time to time, what it was that I am supposed to be doing when something shiny and interesting catches my attention, to bring me back on task, or to point to the small portion of the huge and overwhelming job that I should do next, so I can avoid looking at the whole thing and freaking out over how impossible it all is.

    I’m still far, far from perfect, but I do know, now, where some of the pitfalls are so I can edge around them instead of constantly falling into them and feeling like a complete and utter failure.

    1. “I never really understood the ‘don’t talk about it’ surrounding mental illness. Especially when it was physical (or chemical) and hence not something one could control in any way.”

      I’ve had to practicaly slap paternal family members upside the head, even the kind, well-meaning ones who should know better to talk and not be ashamed. Our family has a history of mental illness and I was kept practically in the dark about it until my depression blew up spectacularly in my early twenties and I had to be hospitalized.

      A paternal cousin once told me her ex husband brought up the possibility of therapy for their small daughter because “she cries all the time” and she dismissed it. She takes medication for depression, so does an aunt of ours, and the grandmother we shared. I nearly face palmed. She’s a very good decent person, with no small amount of common sense but it was just NOT talked about in our family. I seriously sat her down and said “Look I’m not a doctor, and you know your daughter better than I do, but DON’T dismiss her emotions as “just a sensitive little girl” because people did the EXACT same thing to me and made me feel like it was might fault for not being able to suck it up and stop crying and having no idea I had a serious problem until I was in a hospital recounting my history and a doctor asked why the hell my parents never got me any sort of help. I don’t know if (your daughter) needs professional help now or in the future but PLEASE don’t dismiss it so out of hand.”

      1. “I’ve had to practicaly slap paternal family members upside the head, even the kind, well-meaning ones who should know better to talk and not be ashamed.”

        Actually, it’s real simple: You will become unemployable in many fields, and lose some or all of your civil rights starting with the Second Amendment.

        1. This. And some colleges will kick you out so you don’t upset other students (once you are not actively suicidal/depressed/manic/hearing voices) and won’t tell your family why or what’s wrong because FERPA/HIPPA.

        2. I meant talk amongst ourselves. Realizing that this stuff runs in our family and that I might need professional help instead of simply yelling at me to stop crying so damn much would have saved me a lot of grief growing up.

  13. This post, Sarah, was like you looked at me and said “Good Lord, let’s go sit on the front porch.” And then you told me this post.

    Mom died, blessedly, a week ago tomorrow. The grief is kicking my butt less every day.

    Today I learned my sister and BiL, in whose spare room I live, decided it was better to risk my car being towed from the overnight lot in which we both park rather than tell me they had gotten a notice two days ago that overnight parking was now illegal. My car didn’t have a sign when they got theirs on their truck, which sits adjacent to mine.

    WtF? I asked and was shamed for asking.

    So I read the post and cried and cried ’cause all I could think of was “I am not alone, I am not alone….”

    I’ve regained my appetite. 🙂

    Build up, build over, build around. Ca ira.

      1. The article looks terrific, thanks. I just scanned the first few paras.

        Yes. Yes. And Yes again to all you said.

        Crummy timing has it hitting me harder that it might ordinarily.

        1. But they can catch it! And they can transmit it! And that can KILL GRANDMA!!!@!!~!!~`


          (Nowadays it doesn’t seem to be so much “grandma” as “immunocompromised people” as if they didn’t know they needed to specially protect themselves already.)

        2. The Red Curtain of Blood news is that the Make a Wish people now won’t do their thing unless the terminally ill kid and relatives and friends all get the not-vaccine shot.

          Tweet with video from the Make a Wish cretins.

  14. I feel this post so very much.

    I was only diagnosed with ADD* eight years ago, at 48.

    The diagnosis went like this:

    Me: [fill out 20-page questionnaire]
    Doctor: [after reading it] Let me tell you your life story.

    And he got everything right except the “you were a fuckup in school” part. I wasn’t, because I was interested in academics so focusing on my schoolwork was never a problem. Remembering to bring in my permission slip was always the problem. Remembering to check out my band uniform was always the problem. Remembering to show up to my self-scheduled test in college was always the problem.

    After dropping out of law school and working some stupid jobs, I’ve managed to maneuver myself into careers where I was interested in what I was working on and therefore could focus on it and succeed — first digital prepress and then programming (although I’m senior enough now that I can flat-out tell my managers that they should assign someone else to maintenance programming and assign me to building new stuff or I’ll lose interest).

    The problem, still, was always remembering to do the OTHER stuff. My marriage basically failed because I could never remember to call the plumber, or stop by the store on my way home, or pay that bill, or whatever. She would ask me to take care of something in the morning, and by 10am I was hyperfocused on my work tasks and had completely forgotten. And then she would get angry, because in her own abusive childhood, someone telling her “sure, I’ll take care of that” and then not doing it was always a deliberate lie intended to get her hopes up and then hurt her**. After ten years of “oh hell, honey, I forgot, I’m sorry” (sincerely meant every single time), getting an ADD diagnosis was too late and she was too hurt and too angry to be willing to adjust her expectations.

    The most stressful part of my day was walking up the steps to my front door and wondering “what did I screw up today?” I would vow to myself over and over that I just needed to Try Harder and Just Not Make Any Mistakes, and blame myself when I inevitably messed up again. I had that exact thought: “I know I’m intelligent, why can’t I just do this right, there must be something (morally) wrong with me.”

    Unfortunately, medication did not help me. I tried Adderall for six months, and it made me lose 15 pounds and clench my jaw/grind my teeth a lot, but it did not help me focus on my job (because I was already doing that just fine), and it definitely did not help me remember to call the plumber/pay the bill/stop by the store.

    So since my divorce, I don’t particularly have any need to Try Harder for anybody and I can just accept that I have ADD and implement survival strategies. I never lose my keys because they’re always in the right front pocket of my pants or the pants I was last wearing. I write down my shopping list on a whiteboard on my fridge as I think of things or notice I’m out of something, and then I literally take a photo of it before I go to the store, so I don’t need to remember to put something on the list nor do I need to remember what was on the list when I get there. And so forth.

    The biggest coping strategy that I’ve started lately is not to start any new projects until the current one is finished. And oh man that’s hard. I’ve allowed myself the leeway of planning new projects in the evenings and whatnot, but I’m forcing myself to not start on the bathroom built-in or the potting shed or my current bedroom or anything DIY around the house until refurbishing the big bedroom is done and I mean DONE. I have yet to implement any strategies around tools, unfortunately, so I still spend half my time wandering around wondering where the hell I put my screwdriver. I guess I need to put together a properly organized workshop. After I finish the bedroom. 🙂

    TL;DR: The most valuable thing reading about ADD after my diagnosis taught me was: there is no Try Harder. It is what it is. Don’t use your diagnosis as a reason to be irresponsible, but understand that you can’t defeat it by an act of will alone. Improvise, adapt, and overcome.

    * (I prefer ADD, not ADHD, because other than fidgeting like a mofo I’m not particularly jump-out-of-my-chair hyperactive. A “caring” type took me to task about this on FB once, about how “ADHD” was the accepted term now and less stigmatizing than “ADD” (how, exactly?), and I had to tell her “I’ll call it whatever the hell I want. I’m the one with the syndrome, not you.”)

    ** (She would also get angry if she asked “do you know where X is?” and I said “I don’t know”. Because in her childhood, “I don’t know” had the unspoken “and fuck you” tacked onto it. If I had asked and she said she didn’t know, I would have said “okay” and kept looking. If I wanted her to help look, I would have asked her to help.)

    1. Oh the number of times someone asked for some piece of information, repeatedly, and had to told that “don’t know” MEANS “don’t know” and NOT “If you ask a drillion moar times the answer will magically appear.”

      1. Or they’ll keep asking the question rephrased in various ways, as if you were too stupid to understand what they were asking the first time.

        1. Oh that was also ‘fun’ on those *SPECIAL* tests…. like they aren’t so transparent an *ox* can see right through them. I never had the idea to deliberately answer all the ‘different’ “SAME QUESTIONS” differently to see what might result.

          1. Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Profile, yes. After a while you realize most of the questions are variants of the same thing: stealing, religious fervor, and homosexuality. Kinda made me wonder about the people who wrote it…

    2. I currently can’t find the xacto knife. I know I had it outside last week, so I’ll probably find it in a pile of mulch somewhere. I found a rusted potato peeler in a pile of dirt last week (?!).

      As long as I could remember to WEAR it, a toolbelt helped. Because if I could make a habit of putting whatever it is back in the belt rather than on the nearest flat surface, it made things a lot easier to find. And whatever I needed for a particular job could go on the belt.

      Another thing that has helped me in the past is taking a mental “picture” of the item when I put it down.

      My brain is currently working on four projects that are planned but not yet begun while it resists finishing the one already started. Silly brain. I do understand why (most of my projects involve multiple “I’ve never done this before” sequences, and starting something I’ve never done before is nerve wracking) but it’s beyond irritating.

      1. That bit about “if you get a replacement, the old one turns up”?

        A cheap little hand-held engraving tool I had since the late 1970’s or early 1980’s went missing. I *KNOW* it’s _somewhere_ in the place. And a year or two ago I gave up and bought the replacement…. and, to my SHOCK, the original has yet to turn up. I am starting to suspect that wormholes/gateways to other dimensions/universes just might be real….

        1. The edge finder went walkabout and I couldn’t find it. Probably hadn’t used it since early 2020, so after a few minutes of looking, I said to hell with it and made an order from the friendly machine tool place. Upgraded to a set of multiple variants, too.

          The original will likely show up, but there’s a reason why I have multiple screwdrivers the same size.

      2. One of the issues I have is when the project is finished, rather than neatly putting the tools away, they get forgotten on the last work surface. I’ve spent enough time trying to figure out where the big (farriers?) nippers went off to that *trying* to be OCD about returning tools is slowly gaining ground.

        Not sure if it’s ADD or what, but my short term memory blows chunks. The biggest pain is when I need three or four tools/materials for a project, and by the time I’ve gotten item #3, I can’t remember where #1 was placed. (I used to use the wood stove as a drop surface for such, but that idea proved to be suboptimal when I forgot I’d left a plastic widget on it before starting the stove. Replaceable widget, but frustrating.

        Coping strategies:

        Find a consistant place for a drop zone, particularly stuff leaving the shop. I’ll put stuff that needs to go back to the house in front of the man-door.

        Shopping lists! Because KungFlu and because $SPOUSE hates masks more than I do (blue-white stellar surface vs interior of a blast furnace), I did most of the shopping from April ’20 til I blew out my knee. Now that I’m able to do so, I’m back shopping. I do usually manage to notice that I forgot to write Bananas on the list. Still, if it really needs to be bought, if it’s on the list, it usually gets bought (or looked for, because Chinavirus).

        The Costco list (now, every 4-8 months) gets typed up and printed. Enough changes, I’ll edit the list. I also keep the older lists to be a template.

        Appointments and daily reminders: I use a calendar program for them. The current one is Orage, but that one will go away with the next major release of the operating system, so I’m slowly figuring out the quirks of KOrganizer. Those lists cover things from daily notes (take Med X at this time–2 hours after the others) to weekly (read the CPAP memory card, call Mom) to medical appointments. Yearly appointments work, and I’ll stick a reminder on Jan 1st to update the wall calendar in the bathroom.

        1. I use my phone calendar. Plus I have a small one on the frig.

          I too have a drop zone for everything. Either the kitchen table or a specific spot in living room. Either that or try to remember where I last had whatever. Fun is when the last place I put phone or glasses is one of the two drop zones, but can not find, because one of the cats decided they didn’t belong there. Phone they can only knock it onto a chair or the floor. Glasses they can cart off too … It is a game we play “Where are mom’s glasses! (The phone can be called. Not in the habit of putting it on buzzer.)

          Most people I’ve worked with get accused of kepto writing items. Pickup a pen at someones desk to leave a note, take pen. Not me. I tended to take pen to leave note, leave pen with it. Overheard saying at work, and still at home … “Dang coffee cup doesn’t heel!” Or phone, or glasses (which don’t stay on my face and they aren’t pushed up on my head).

          When we travel. This last trip? I drove my sister nuts. I had to put everything away that wasn’t being used, even if it was going to be used again before we were through. Nothing is totally unpacked from suitcases. Even dirty cloths have a specific location, in our room. OTOH when we make a sweep through to ensure nothing was left behind, it is a quick sweep. Then too, we have more than a suitcase each and a cooler. There is: Suitcase each, Dog’s bag (gear and toys), Dog’s crate (folded), Dog’s cooler (food/treats/meds), Our cooler, my day pack, hubby’s camera pack, and finally laptop bag (need to find something that will hold the small laptop bag and dog’s gear bag contents, or something that will hold both bags). If anyone wants to know what it is like traveling with a Service Dog … ever travel with a toddler? She’s better behaved, but still …

          1. Yeah, one can carry a lot. Previous trips, suitcase, CPAP machine and a computer satchel went in the room. Now I try to get the CPAP in the suitcase, but the travel laptop needs a hard case, and the KungFlu satchel holds the Kindle. Add the kitchenware case (suites hotels have iffy knives and the implement selection is uneven), the toiletry/portable pharmacy case plus cooler(s) and grocery bags. I used to get hitchhiking mice; I think they’re gone, but I don’t leave accessible food in the Forester overnight. Mouse-chewed emergency bars just don’t work. (They’d get in and set up shop by the spare tire and the big tray above that. One got in the heater ducts–the smell of mouse-pee was disgusting.)

            With the suite, I’ll buy the Costco chickens and refrigerate them the day I hit town. Before that, they’d travel 2 hours in their own cooler warmer and would fall apart by the time they got home.

    3. My own marriage failed, I think mostly because I didn’t know how to navigate with the Asperger’s Syndrome I didn’t know I had. There was also a cultural attitude that “If you fail, it’s because you were too lazy/selfish and weren’t trying hard enough.”’s not quite that simple. And I had seen a young woman suffer, socially with failure to meet demanding responsibilities and those same cultural attitudes, when most of her problems were finally traced to hypoglycemia. I thought then that mental problems can be just as painful and debilitating as physical ones. Later, I learned that many mental problems ARE physical. The details of how the brain functions are still rather mysterious.

    4. My husband has ADHD, so I am often roped in to be auxiliary memory. Which is how he’s managed to make lots of healthcare appointments (leading to things like a CPAP, for example). When he’s focused on work, he’s focused on work, and a text message (or verbal, this last year) means he can get things done during office hours that need to be done during office hours.

    5. My doctor tells me adults don’t have AD H D, only ADD. My doctor is wrong. Yes, fidgeting, but I also find myself suddenly across the house doing something ACTIVE. And I write best when walking on a treadmill. This is not normal.

      1. I think it’s entirely normal. I cannot think sitting down. I do all my thinking while walking about.

      2. It’s frustrated hunting behavior. Predators need to concentrate, often to exclusion, if they expect to eat, and there’s an equal drive to find prey to concentrate ON (which can seem like flitting from one thing to the next). We still have the instincts, even if we can’t use them in our daily lives. And I’d hazard those instincts are strongest in the more odd, which is to say, the more Neanderthal.

        Consider what happens if you lock a border collie in a closet — pretty soon it’s doing weird obsessive shit and climbing the walls, because the need to be DOING is too strong to turn off on demand. (Herding is just interrupted hunting behavior.) Conversely a pug might go okay and just sit down to wait for whatever comes next.

        Our modern lives are too often the equivalent of locking humans into closets, and some of us just aren’t wired for that.

      3. Except the H isn’t just physical, it can also be mental. Hyper-focus is totally a thing. When I was in college I’d still be sitting in front of my jury-rigged computer desk (tower on the floor, monitor and mouse on top of dressed, chair jammed between dresser and end of bed, keyboard on lap) writing furiously at 1:30 in the morning, which my roommate yelling at me that my keyboard is too loud. It’s when I’m talking to folks that I have a tendency to pace or wander around, which some people have no idea how to deal with.

            1. Doesn’t everyone? – Pace while on the phone … Even when phones were (are, i.e. work) tethered. Now days, with cell, only place I can’t wander is where the call might cut in or out, which normally is nowhere.

      4. People look at me funny because I have to get up periodically, walk around, and jump about, flinging my arms everywhere. I nearly broke my hand a couple weeks ago doing that, because I schwacked it against the chair in my office. It’s mostly healed, except for when I want to grip things. Or clap my hands.

        But I can’t just sit still. I have to be moving, and/or doing three things at once.

        The Bugbear and I both have these tendencies. Fortunately about different things, so we can complement each other.

    6. I lost my motorcycle key at work two months ago. Damn thing still hasn’t turned up.

      I KNOW I had it IN MY HAND when I walked in the front door. I stuck my time card in the clock, picked up the latest PO’s, walked down the hall, through two rooms, turned on some lights, set stuff on the workbench, did a few other things, and realized that I didn’t have the key any more. No clue when or where I put it down.

      Fortunately somebody let me borrow her car to go home and get another key. Stopped off to get a new key made on the way home. Haven’t lost that one.


      1. I lost the tractor key one day. Several months later, I found it–in the parking lot at the vet’s. The key was mostly usable, but the fob had been broken. I’ve since switched to a somewhat more secure means of carrying the working keys and only taking the relevant vehicle keys for the need. I didn’t need tractor keys then and there…

        1. We only carry the vehicle keys we each use. When on vacation, we each have a set of the vehicle with us, and only one set of house keys. For storage location, we use to keep the spare keys and unused vehicle keys on magnetic hooks on side of refrigerator. That stopped Jan 2001 after the house was robbed. The (4th vehicle) pickup was sitting in driveway, with both set of keys hanging on refrigerator. That it was not stolen is beside the point. It could have been! NOW all spare keys are kept in an electronic safe with the financials, camera equipment, and sometimes laptops (used to be all the time, but we’ve slacked off here). They also didn’t take any financial information or stored not using credit cards, but again, could have. Now the laptop, game systems, cameras, jewelry etc., all took an unrecoverable walk out the door.

          1. With our old dog, we’ve switched to not leaving her alone, so once I was able to drive again, either $SPOUSE or I will do the shopping–usually me, because of the physical therapy (and a bunch of other medical/dental appointments in July. Sigh.).

            $SPOUSE keeps all vehicle keys in her purse; I’ve discovered that too many vehicle keys in the pocket means that inconvient buttons get pressed on keyfobs. Haven’t embraced the key safe, but our gate is locked and we have stay-at-home neighbors now.

  15. ADD oh Lord ADD. Everyone but my daughter has it in this house.

    I have great sympathy for people with allergies. I’m allergic to coconut, which sounds innocuous until you realize that Sodium Loral Sulfate/palmate etc., is made from coconut. Thus, everything that foams is made with coconut. Every single shampoo, detergent, conventional soap, cleaners, and sanitizer. I have to use the old lard and lye soap our grandmothers made.

    Finding this out helped me a lot. Now, if I could only get to the bottom of the ….. oooo squirrel!

    1. Chech some of the Castille soaps, or some of the Etsy craft soapmakers and see if a custom soap can be found.

      1. It’s easy to make great soap without coconut oil. If you really want me to, I can craft a recipe.

        My soap uses a small amount of coconut oil because it’s a cheap source of bubbles/lather.

  16. A friend of ours had terrible headaches. Then one year after Pennsic, where we have a communal kitchen, she realized that for those two weeks she hadn’t had a headache. She started to think about what was different and it worked out to, much less to no processed food, very few canned items….wait a minute, no soy!
    When she got home, she deliberately ate something with soy, and got a horrible headache. Now she reads labels carefully and if it’s got soy, no deal.

    1. I’ve got a mild legume allergy, some beans I can do, others not so much. Soy is on my ‘avoid if at all possible’ list. And it is in freaking everything! I’ve had crunchy types try to tell me that soy is all natural and no one can be allergic to it! I reply that arsenic is all natural, too, would you like to try some? Thankfully, my sister’s SO, who is also the household chef, understands and makes everything that he can from scratch. This makes meals a tad more expensive, but there’s way fewer gastro-intestinal issues all around. Though I was made very sad when it turned out that cashew chicken was now on the verboten list, where before it had been a lovely treat.

      Also, interesting thing, We learned that some of the folks who have recently (in the last decade or so) turned up ‘gluten intolerant’ are nothing of the sort. My SIL thought she was, and had started getting all her bread gluten free. The last time she visited, she helped herself to some of my father’s homemade wheat bread, fully expecting to pay for it later, but wanting to enjoy the taste. There was no payment later. My father’s wheat, that he grinds himself, is over 40 years old and dates from before the big agro corps started spraying Round Up on the fields to make them all ripen at the same time. Some of these people (though by no means all, I know there are truly gluten intolerant people in this world) are actually reacting to the chemicals in the flour, rather than the flour (gluten) itself.

      1. Fellow I used to work with (poor guy came down with pancreatic cancer..) had a kid who seemed sensitive if not outright allergic to damn near everything. I joke he should try some particular kiddie cereal as “it’s made of 100% artificial.” A few days later he thanked me for that ridiculous suggestion. Seems it really WAS so artificial that it had NONE of the problematic ingredients and he had a Very Happy Kid for that.

      2. Also, the “old” wheat is NOT the same as the “new” wheat – which has just enough difference that one very long chain cleaves in a different spot or has a slightly different few links… and since that’s NEW (1960’s, so under 100 years, not over the centuries…) so full adaptation by the population simply is Not There. (Yet?).

      3. Some gluten intolerance appears to me to be an overdose issue. They started altering bread wheat in the 1950’s so it now contains MUCH more gluten than is natural. Then bakers often ADD gluten so their bread rises better.

        The overdose damages the digestive track over time, making gluten itself harder to digest.

        1. It took a fair number of years to correlate s system of horrible symptoms to gluten intake. As it happened, I got more sensitive as time went on, but the tricky part is that it takes about 30 hours for symptoms to commence. (And up to 7 days for the full-blown version symptoms to dissipate.) OTOH, $SPOUSE is allergic to gluten, so a diet that works for her works for me.

          I have to be careful of the shop-made salsas at the taqueria. Some of the people use cornstarch, others use flour, and it’s up to whoever is preparing them.

          Plug: The Bette Hagman GF cookbooks are well worth it if your gluten issues are real.

          (I’ve heard that higher gluten wheat got popular for various breads, particularly the crunchy types.)

  17. Although as a child I was intelligent, I was also physically slow, clumsy, and weak. I was taught from an early age that I was a lazy shirk..I tried to reject the label and “prove” that it wasn’t so, but I more than half believed it anyway. It didn’t help that I repeatedly failed at higher education and in finding and keeping a steady job…and the only jobs I could get hired for were low skilled and physically demanding. Repeated failure, repeated inability to follow through with my good intentions, and the inability to answer “What’s wrong with you?” made for chronic depression. I finally gave up on formal higher education and became obsessed with a self-education program..which unfortunately produces no credentials. It wasn’t until I was over 50 that I was finally diagnosed as on the autistic spectrum, and with a debilitating heart condition, which meant that I got to reinterpret *some* of my various failures as clinical symptoms instead of moral failings. But even knowing this much, although I’m not alcoholic or drug-addicted, I still stumble through life as if I were. Nevertheless, I persist. What else can I do? Even if my controls don’t work well, drifting through life with none at all would be even more disastrous. Lay down and wait to die? Borrrrring.

    1. Suicide as a default isn’t fun, and it just doesn’t work.

      Knowing how to move forward in the best way, or any way at all that gets me closer to where I want to be is really elusive. As it has always been.

      This post really helped make things clearer for me.

  18. I realized a while ago that I have a strong tendency to get bored in mid-project and abandon it for another…very much Gemini characteristic IMO, my Gemini granddaughter does the same–so I laid down a law for myself that, barring extreme events, I would finish everything I start….That improved matters a lot, as my wife would testify…

  19. Jesus are you sure you people aren’t mind readers? You’re not pulling feelings and memories out of my head are you? Sufferer of lifelong depression here, can relate to so many previous posts. A sincere thank you to all those who shared. And I would like to add I love this place with every fiber of my being. You guys are the best.

      1. I beg to differ. This post was like you took transcription from my heart.

    1. I second your thoughts. I personally haven’t had a bad depression problem, but I can relate through my late wife and my son. He’s really bi-polar and lives with me, along with his son. Good to have a place you can talk about these things without judgement.

    2. Pretty strong evidence that I do not read minds. 🙂

      Thing is, the folks who find here a comfortable place to hang out may have a bunch of stuff in common. Politics, sci fi, or even just the ways we like to talk about things.

      These may correlate to philosophy in common, ideas in common, or being shaped in similar ways, such as by the experience of similar problems.

  20. OT, but the Rasmussen poll linked from Insty has a stat that struck me as pretty amazing in the details:

    A majority of Republicans (70%) don’t believe Biden won the 2020 presidential election fairly, a belief shared by 10% of Democrats and 45% of unaffiliated voters.

    It’s that 10% – one in ten Dem voters agree that their team, The China Joe Muppet Show with special guest Dot Not Black, are FICUS and VFICUS respectively – and that’s even with the internals and corrective weighting to match up responses with likely voter real world splits being something not disclosed anywhere in the various sub links on methodology and such, so I bet it’s worse than shown.

    1. I think this widespread skepticism about the legitimacy of the 2020 election is very important and an excellent sign. When things start going downhill under leftist rule (as we all know it will) the lack of legitimacy surrounding their regime will bite them in the ass. People will stop obeying and listening to stupid, destructive orders and the widespread notion that “they just cheated their way to power” will help. Leftists will get shriller and more insistent, “no we really did win, anyone who says otherwise is just a conspiracy theorist, respect my legitimate authoritah!”

    2. Hell, Guatemalans don’t believe Biden won the election and they KNOW election fraud when they see it.

      Literal banana republics are pointing at us and laughing.

        1. Except for the people who think we’re a disgrace to decent conservatives, for using our brains to actually think instead of to balance out our fat arses and keep us upright.

    3. Ot they can’t admit, even to themselves, much less to a pollster, that they have doubts.

  21. A timely post for another week of black dog attacks on my end… My own spectrum diagnosis was 10 years ago and while I’m not sure how much I trust it a lot of the dumb things I do make a lot more sense with it than without it. Not sure if or how much ADD is part of things or not on my end, though I do have a hard time with things that don’t catch my interest and occasionally things that do… As in I still haven’t worked up the energy to actually finish out the game series I got two of the kitties’ names from yet, it’s been that kind of messed up several months. And depression? Yeah, that one’s always been a killer, and while I at least finally grok why my now-former stepfather’s behavior was the way it was and how that screwed up my own training workarounds aren’t coming easily, especially professionally and personally. A lot of times it feels like just when I’m ready to take a major step forward in my life I either end up with a family problem or some kind of large-scale problem (like the Covidiocy) sets me back to the beginning (if not worse) and it’s completely exhausting. I might be doing better than I was in some areas but it still feels like it’s come a little late for me, too. Anyway, sorry for the ramble…

    1. Slow progress is still progress. And we all move at our own rates. Platitude, yes. But true, too.

    2. I was just raving about this a little today.

      Choices matter.

      No matter how difficult things are, good choices can build into better habits, that can help you through challenges.

      I’ve made a lot of bad choices, feels like I’ve wasted a lot.

      I’ve spent some time very unhappy about that.

      One of the choices I try to make now is to remember that even if things look impossible in the moment, there may still be something I can do in the future.

      If I pass before I get anything more done, I at least know that I’ve tried some of the time.

      Maybe I don’t pass immediately, maybe some of the next attempts work out better, and maybe I get something done.

      There’s a time and place for the “Don’t try, get it done” speech.

      If you are alive, if you are paying attention, and trying to figure out how you can fix things enough to get stuff done, you may succeed. Better than not looking, or thinking that things never can improve.

      Had some disappointments lately. Some challenging times. But, I’ve handled it better than I would in the past, kept trying longer.

      I may still not get things together, but I’ve had more success trying than I would have beleived possible at some points. I’m going to try to sleep tonight, and see what I can get done tomorrow.

      1. A lot of that rings true for me, especially the parts about making bad decisions and feeling like I wasted a lot of my life. And thankfully the part on feeling like I’m handling it better, too. Here’s hoping things go well for both of us and that sleep helps too. I’m definitely a bit short on it!

    3. Your words are a balm to my spirit, so I say the more the better.

      Hugs for the black dog. I wish I were there to hold your hand to make it a little better.

      1. Glad to be of help there, Kathy, and I appreciate the good thoughts. I think I’m past the worst of it this week, though who knows what next will bring. Still, I plan on recharging as much as I can with my cats until then.

        1. 🙂 I hope you have many days with your arms full of warm, furry kittens.

          My big boy, Sunny Jim is about 16 pounds, a long-hair American. He’s been climbing up into my lap the past couple of weeks in a way he’s never done before. It’s nice.

          1. Kitties absolutely know when you need them! I’m in the process of clearing out a room so my 21-lb chunky butt tortie can get used to a diet, though I plan to let the others visit her of course. Snuggles definitely won’t be a problem with mine, though, especially my youngest two! They’re both very pushy snugglebugs and the youngest definitely knows how to play up his good looks. He’s some kind of long-haired seal point cat – either a Ragdoll or Balinese mix (leaning towards Balinese) and he knows how to work those colors, blue eyes, and huge, fluffy tail!

            1. You just wrote a short story in my head. What a delightful brood you’ve got!

              My Jimmy plays up his vocal chords. The boy loves to hoot and holler and wawooooo just because.

              1. Thanks! They’re a quirky bunch of four: two torties (the aforementioned chunky butt and her slim princess little sister), a black smoke snugglebug, and the aforementioned seal point snugglebug and they’re the biggest things keeping me going when the black dog bites. Jimmy sounds like a lot of fun, too! Talkative kitties are wonderful to have!

              1. So do I. He sounds like he was one awesome cat and editor and that poor Havey just isn’t quite up to the task. I know I couldn’t count on any of my four to be supervisors, especially not the youngest two snugglebrains!

              2. At least you seem to be healing. Before, you were saying you didn’t think you could stand taking in another cat ever again. Actually wanting one sounds like progress.

                On that note, does anyone know if Leslie Fish is still online anywhere? I just went to see if there’s an adoption process for the cats she breeds, but her website appears to be down and searching didn’t get me anything.

                    1. Unsurprising. Ever since she identified the Russian Collusion as a typical COINTELPRO like she saw in the 60s/70s, she’s been “a right wing shill”. As it was, there were filk circles in 2005 that wouldn’t allow her music to be performed unless she was there.

                      One reason I left that fandom.

                  1. How long ago was that? I don’t remember seeing her here and I’ve been around since… [checks] Yikes, 2014? Doesn’t feel like nearly that long.

                    I was going to check and see if she had a cat available for adoption in case you were serious about wanting one. Although maybe I should wait until you finish moving, now that I think about it.

  22. I guess I’m one of the “lucky” ones – I inherited a nuclear temper from my maternal line, so they caught my ADD in elementary school as part of addressing my “anger issues.” The issue there is that it was the Era of Ritalin, and _that_ felt like losing half of my brain: sure, I could think more clearly, but my range of thinking was so reduced that it was like I wasn’t myself anymore. I managed to get off of it by an agreement with my parents that if I could “learn to control myself” (whatever the heck that means) they would let me off the meds, and after a rocky middle school my coping strategies carried me through to both marriage and law school.

    Day one of law school, they informed us that half of us would fail out, and of the rest, half would be depressed and the other half would be alcoholics. After which point I swiftly discovered that my coping methods were deeply inadequate, and not in a way that I could easily discuss with my peers, especially in such a competitive environment. I made it through, but not at the level I was accustomed to performing, resulting in my adding depression to my “How are you screwed up” card. Luckily, my wife has the patience of a saint.

    So the last ten years have been spent juggling depression and ADD coping methods, with attendant self-loathing and recrimination; the voice that intones, at every victory or failure, “but you should have been better than this” is never silenced. Chemical interventions haven’t helped, because they fix the “problem” but leave me not feeling like myself. But I’m still moving forward, one stagger at a time.

    Thanks for the post. It’s good advice, and I probably needed it today.

    1. I wish my parents and I had known about ADD when I was a kid, because it would have helped and accounted for so much. On the other hand, I’m very glad I was a kid-with-ADD before the Ritalin Era, because my adult experience with Adderall showed that it wouldn’t have helped and everyone would probably have just kept piling on the meds.

      1. My parents certainly wanted to pile on the meds. The numerous arguments, debates, and goal post movements associated with getting free of Ritalin served, in many ways, as my first litigation.

      2. My parents refused the meds for my youngest sister (diagnosed ADHD with an emphasis on the “H”. A matter of “Fix the problem or she’ll be medicated by the school”) and found other ways to deal with it. Mom found a recipe that kept my sister stable enough for school and worked with her intensively when at home.

        I’ve seen people on ritalin, and no WAY I would want that for anyone I care about!

        1. My experience with Ritalin is at the root of at least 75% of my resistance to “better living through chemistry” for issues of this sort. Food wasn’t much help for me, though.

          It sounds silly to say, but a lot of my coping methods involve leaning into the ADHD — training/tricking my subconscious into throwing out reminders of other projects as a bulwark against hyperfocus when that’s detrimental, making sure that I have 2-3 different things that I can be working on simultaneously, and arranging my work-day for “bursts.” On the other hand, other strategies go really far in the other direction and are influenced by various meditation practices (both for the anger control issue and because, like many young boys, I was really interested in martial arts during that period). I’m not sure that they’d work for anyone but me — like I implied above, I kludged them together during middle school while extremely suspicious of anyone who offered advice or seemed like they wanted to “help” me.

          1. Doesn’t sound silly at all. Everyone finds their own ways to compensate, or they sink.

        2. I’ve seen people on ritalin, and no WAY I would want that for anyone I care about!

          Note that there are some people, such as myself, for whom it’s exactly what they/we needed. I can actually decide for myself what to concentrate on now, instead of having my brain go off in different directions all the time. Ritalin is certainly overprescribed, but please don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. There are some people for whom it’s like taking off the invisible shackles and setting them free to run the way God intended them to.

            1. I interrupt my own thoughts all the freaking time, as a new thought arrives. My brain has a tendency to parallel process, so newly arriving thoughts run right over the top of earlier thoughts constantly! The trick is shunting those new thought onto side tracks where they can keep until there’s time for them, but it doesn’t always work.

              1. Never heard by me, never, ever – mostly by rude family members ..

                “You are off track.”
                “Wait. Where did that come from?”
                “Get to the point.”

                Never, ever …

                /sarcasm off

                All. The. Time. To the point, I rarely actually talk during most conversations.

                OTOH heard from clients “I prefer to ask you because you’ll tell me Why, without me asking”. Everyone else? “If I want to know Why, I’ll ask.” …. I can’t win. Now that I’m retired, it is the Everyone Else I’m interacting with.

                1. My ADD-diagnosing doctor moved his practice far away, so I briefly went to a different doctor. We had an hour-long introductory conversation about stuff, like you do, and only afterwards he pointed out that he deliberately went off on wild tangents three separate times. That was his diagnostic tool: people with ADD (like him) would follow right along with no problem and introduce their own tangents-on-tangents; neurotypical people would get confused.

                1. When people ask me if I’m talking to myself I tell them not to interrupt. 😛

                  Granted, I only do this with people who know me and realize I’m NOT going to go on an ax-murder spree…

          1. It seems every new (or “new”) drug gets some initial successes, such as your case, where it’s exactly the right thing or close enough and all is well. And then it gets applied across the board, where the fit is not so good, and, eventually, it is realized that it’s a fine tool, but not a universal tool. It’s sort of fascinating in a worrisome way to see what new(ish) drugs are the fad of the time. Valium was hugely huge for a while. And Prozac is a wonder, for some, but that was hugely huge for a while, too. And… so on.

            1. Ritalin isn’t exactly new; it had been around for decades before I had it prescribed. However, your broader point about fads in prescribing drugs is largely correct, that minor mistake aside.

      3. We refused the meds for number one son when he was young. He’s on the spectrum and used to blow up periodically. I would essentially sit on his head until it blew over. It was not easy, but we believe that the long term gain was worth the short term pain. He’s functioning well, studying for a PhD — I doubt he’ll finish— he writes, and holds a job. Next step is to get him out on his own. I think if we’d kicked the can down the road with the meds he would never have developed the coping mechanisms that allow him to function and we’d be setting up his siblings for a lot of pain. He does OK but he’ll always need to be looked after a little and we’ll not live forever. The whole point was to get him able to function on his own and pay his own way.. Adding chemical dependency to that mix would be ugly.

        Number two son is better able to function but is more the classic ADD kid. What he needs is a nice young lady to finish the civilizing process. The WuFlu lockdown was not good for him, but he’s out and about and we’re hoping for the best.

        My daughter simply sails through life all serene. She married a nice, young, ginger — that was important — computer programmer and she runs his life for him. Blissful they are.

        1. #2 son used to blow up. It was a sensory overload thing. We called it Donald Ducking, because that’s what he sounded like.
          Now he controls that and pays for it in stress and anxiety. I’d rather he donald ducked.

          1. Number one son never, quite, got violent but it was a near run thing. He brandished a couple of times, I just took it away from him. He would rage, then relax, and then cry. I used to feel so bad for him. He has so much anxiety.

            I like the Donald Duck description — I do that from time to time, number two son does a very good impression. Number one son gets the deer in the headlights look and then tries to run away, Beats the hell out of what it used to be, and we haven’t had an outburst in about a decade now. I can see him catch himself sometimes.

            I think the root of number two son’s issues is that he sees very clearly. Almost Knurd in fact. I get that when I’m depressed, which to be fair is most of the time, but he seems to have it even worse than a I do. He tends to burry it in athletics rather than booze, but we watch him very carefully.

              1. We’ve never had him tested (primarily because we weren’t going to fight the medication issue, as wouldn’t allow) but always wondered if our son was on the spectrum. His issues were:

                1) Over stimulation. But the result was a retreat from the over stimulation. If not allowed to retreat, then we had a meltdown. For daycare, the instructors were told to let him self-“timeout”*. School that worked out to it’s own benefit. Who complains about a quiet, non-disruptive, student, who gets their work done?

                2) Hyper focus on the research, on the doing. Getting him to write up the results, OTOH, let alone readable (his handwriting … well it is better than his dad’s, barely). Took him forever to get the (then) required cursive certificate. After that, in classwork, teachers had to put up with his handwriting (including the SAT test essay reader … it is the content not the script). Written homework (and scout merit badge, Eagle paperwork, etc.) were typed on the computer and printed. Getting him to talk about anything is like pulling hen’s teeth.

                * Spawned an adorable story. When self timeout started (almost immediately because he started at 10 months, this was well established already at home), when he self put on timeout, or was put on timeout, there were two others that would join him. He’d do the same when they were put on timeout. They were the 3 musketeers. All born the same month.

        1. Oh, I started self-medicating with caffeine at around age 9, sucking down any Coke I could get my paws on.

          Whenever anybody says “I think I might have ADD” I ask them if they can have a nice relaxing mug of black tea before bed.

          1. Oh, this is the thing. I think THINK ADHD might come from mom but mom has other issues (like bipolar) that makes it had to know for sure.
            OTOH it just occurred to me that while dad doesn’t have it, it MUST run in his family, because the family custom, every night, before going to bed, was to have a mug of ink-black tea.
            Considering how much ink-black tea grandma drank, apropos everything and nothing it might very well be HER I get it from.
            Which would explain the school careers and eventual great successes of uncles and aunt.
            Dad, as I said was the ‘good boy’ who did well in school.
            It also probably explains why teachers who’d known my family before me gave me a WIDE leeway. “Oh, Almeida girl wants to spend 4th grade under her desk? Whatever.”

          2. Snap. I never actually thought about that. I used to drink espresso so I could sleep and have drunk at least a pot of coffee or tea a day since I was about 14. Number two son drinks Irish Breakfast tea all damned day since the normal kind is just too wishy-washy.

            1. Pre-pandemic my caffeine diet was three mugs of Earl Grey in the morning, a Coke with lunch, two more Cokes in the afternoon, a Coke with dinner, and one or two more Cokes in the evening. Other than (unrelated) sleep apnea, I have never had any issues sleeping.

              Post-pandemic I’m trying to cut down, so now it’s three mugs of tea then no more than four Cokes for the rest of the day, swapping out Coke Zero for at least two of the regular. (It tastes like Diet Pepsi, which my parents drank so I got used to it. Diet Coke is horrible.)

              When my daughter would draw pictures of Daddy when she was little, there would always be a little red can in one hand. She was diagnosed with ADD last year at age 11, so now she’s starting to hit the Coke/Coke Zero pretty hard too. More trips to Costco, I guess.

                1. And this is the only place I’ve found people like me. Everywhere else everyone screams at me to quit caffeine. And get a mammo and a pap.

              1. I can’t stand diet Mountain Dew straight. It’s OK mixed about 50/50 with regular Mountain Dew.

                It’s LOADED with caffeine.

                1. $HOUSEMATE related the story of a local/regional newspaper cartoon that had a Gov. or Lt. gov of Texas about to endorse “Diet Mountain Goo” and things built up for some time and then suddenly it was all off. “What happened?” “I tried some. Diet Mountain Goo would choke a goat.” And now we might have DMD, if need be, but we know what each other means if “All they had was goat-choke.” or such is said.

                2. Which is why I could never see the point of “Caffeine Free Diet Mountain Dew.”


          3. Whenever anybody says “I think I might have ADD” I ask them if they can have a nice relaxing mug of black tea before bed.

            There are multiple varieties of ADD; the doctor I saw in Dallas a decade ago told me there were seven or eight gene complexes (I think that was the number) that have been identified as causing some form of ADD, which is one reason why the inheritability numbers vary so widely (she quoted a range from 30 to 85 percent, and said that the wideness of that range is a good clue that it’s not all that well understood yet). For me, I’m highly sensitive to caffeine, and can’t have it after about 6:00 PM if I want to go to sleep at night. But I’m definitely ADD: Ritalin calms me down and helps me work better. So while that question may be valid in filtering for some forms of ADD, including the one you have, it’s not valid for all forms.

            1. Yes, that’s true. Insensitivity to caffeine seems to a sufficient but not necessary symptom. And obviously I am not a doctor.

          4. This is the first place I’ve ever been where people talk openly about needing an espresso before bed. Like me.

            Caffeine mellows me out, and people keep yelling at me to stop drinking coffee?

            1. I had half a pepsi once because it was the only liquid on offer at the time, not even water, and I lay awake until about 3 am listening to my hair grow. On the other hand, codeine does the same thing to me as caffeine, and I can drink chamomile tea all day long without becoming the least bit drowsy. I long ago concluded that I was just a mutant of some kind and hoped that a cool power would eventually show up.

                1. I’m weird around opiates, as in, they make the pain go away but nothing else. I don’t get any “high” at all. And Dilaudid after my sleep apnea surgery made me stop breathing. I’ve always wondered if that was connected to my ADD or if it was a separate issue.

                  1. Alcohol acts the same way on ALCOHOL.
                    Me, otoh. any opiates make me SEE things, and make me extremely dizzy.
                    And by things, assume singing cartoon lizards.

                  2. I hate opiates, though given strong enough pain, I’ll take them. Needed a fair amount of Norco after knee reconstruction, but titrated off in a few days. Took several more for my GI system to forgive me. (Colace helps. Some.) OTOH, Metformin causes constipation in me, too. So much for the warnings.

    1. Interesting. Now that I think about it I might do a variation of this–I’ll have to pay more attention and try it consciously rather than just “leaning” toward the foods (usually fermented) that I want. Unfiltered city water is no longer even an option, I “lean” away from it automatically.

    2. There’s nothing mystical about it. Human sense of smell is nearly as good as a hunting dog (we have the same calibre of olfactory bulb in our brains), but we’re far less AWARE of it. And it’s a very good tool for biochemical compatibility… you’re not aware of the reaction but it makes you crave THIS and reject THAT, depending on your biochemical needs of the moment.

      It doesn’t always do so sanely, tho. Estrogen deficiency can cause middle-aged women to go vegetarian (heavy on soy) because suddenly “meat smells bad” but what’s really going on is they’re craving phytoestrogens as the nearest available replacement. Which in the long term makes things worse by suppressing thyroid, but nature is only concerned with extending a fading reproductive capacity. Similarly, being hypothyroid can make you crave carbs and sweets, to feed the starving brain.

      Ever seen a little kid have a panic attack over some offered food? it’s because they can smell something that their system says is POISON. Twigged to this when I saw an otherwise-normal 4 year old go into total panic escape mode after one SNIFF of spinach (mouth clamped shut and there was no getting spinach into that kid short of shooting him with it). Why? Oxalic acid is basically poison to growing bones, and apparently he could smell it, and instinct said POISON.

  23. I’ve never met anyone like me, but these posts give me great comfort that such folks do exist. Thanks!

    Speaking of the “spectrum,” I’ve been watching Clifton Webb films. “Sitting pretty” (You tube) is a good place to begin. He plays himself (as always), here a genius, writer, major aspergers, with a live in babysitting job that leads to publishing a salacious account of the goings-on among the residents of Hummingbird Hill.

    Slow checkout lines: I lay down on the floor after the second “price check” sent someone scurrying about the store. A manager came over, very concerned, I told him that I just had time for a quick nap here.

    I take great comfort in a principal I learned in AA: “Everything is exactly the way it’s supposed to be.”

  24. What age should they be at to run them?

    And what keywords should I be looking for?

    I’m thinking, even though ours seems pretty normal, and has very high spacial reasoning, I know I’m a bit off, and have some certainly peculiar learning hobbles, so even if it turns out they basically normal, I’d rather check that early, then find out there are issues later.

    1. It’s going to depend on what you’re looking for. ADHD, for example, is typically not looked into much before first grade, because the crossover between ADHD and “typical child behavior” is pretty large. Autism, on the other hand, can be diagnosed within a year and a half or so. (My eldest is on the spectrum, diagnosed at three and a half, and if I’d had my youngest first I would have noticed it sooner. Heck, there are behaviors in babies just old enough to make eye contact that can be a pretty clear giveaway.)

      1. Probably from my side it would most likely be autism or some degree of the spectrum.

        I know I’ve got one of those hilariously weird physical learning disabilities: I actually can’t draw curves, which makes writing anything by hand… interesting.

        My solution, rather than take notes or do homework, was to reinvent the wheel on every test. Still have a horrible tendency to do that too…

    2. The problem is BRILLIANT kids mask the disabilities. We finally caught younger son for sensory/vision/hearing issues, he was in 6th grade. The psychologists told us if his IQ weren’t through the roof, he’d have been found out in pre-school, because his issues were that severe.

      1. My diagnosing doctor said “yeah, ADD sucks, but you get a 30 point IQ boost out of it, so it’s not all bad.”

      2. With number two son, we were told he,wouldn’t get any services because the ADD “wasn’t interfering with his school work.” Mentioning this is a good way to send the wife into a rant. I suspect that it came down to the district not wanting to spend the money — he was in parochial school but they still have to provide the service, and the school not wanting to classify him. The last is truly bizzare. Classified children’s test scores aren’t counted and number two son always scored off the charts on standardized tests. By not classifying him, they could report significantly higher scores than if they classified him.

        Ultimately, we pulled him from school, homeschooled him for a year, then sent him to a Catholic boy’s high school where he thrived. We just did Latin and redid the entire math curriculum from the beginning through algebra since we weren’t sure where it had gone wrong. For the rest, he read books, no shortage of those in this house.

        We have a family history of this. I hated, hated school and my father used to joke that I broke his record for the largest gap between grades and test scores ever recorded — I’m a spectacular test taker. Number two son had the high test scores but got better grades than we did. Grade Inflation has done some good I suppose.

    3. There are a lot of challenges that can show up, they can suck in very different ways. They can show up at different ages, with different symptoms, and intensities.

      Trap one is ignoring the possibility of issues, but trap two is studying all the issues, and having a false positive on everything.

      There are a lot of terrible mental illnesses that can be comorbid with extreme intelligence.

      Basically, everyone has problems, everyone has things in life that are difficult. You can start on with that as a fundamental baseline assumption for “my kid should know that they are working on preparing to deal with this”. Someone who is perfectly normal and healthy by every measure of mental health is still going to need discipline, awareness, and thought about how they are choosing to live their live. A perfectly healthy person can by chance experience a bunch of difficult things, and find themselves trending depressed. Actual mental health issues are more extreme and more specific. Telling between ‘not standard, or at least not the same flavor of standard as my parents’ and ‘these signs are definitely to the point of illness’ can be a very specialized skill. So, basically, pay attention to them, study them, and think about what kind of people they are.

      There are congenital problems, showing up from very early on. There are also things that show up later, I’ve heard of bipolar showing up around thirteen, but I think I’ve heard it can show up in the twenties.

  25. A. You are wonderfully and fearfully made. We all are. God knit our DNA for a specific purpose. We can be grateful and praise Him for all the blessings we’ve received and live with Him forever in Heaven or die cursing and raging as we slide into Perdition. Yeah. That’s heavily paraphrased. Read the Bible for yourself and choose how you want to go.

    B. There are no coincidences. God, who is only, always, and continually good, puts us into situations for His purposes. And how we react is how we grow or decay.

    C. Worshiping any politician (Biden, Trump, Obama, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Reagan, etc.) is no different than worshiping a little wooden, stone, or metal idol. None of them will life a hand to save you or volunteer to die in your place.

    Always choose wisely.

    1. A. Have read it. Several times. Though not this year.
      B. Nah, that’s just the Author propaganda. We all use coincidences in the plotting.
      C. If I give you the impression I worship a politician, you might want to fix your reading comprehension.
      I’m simply more scared of the communists, open and not. Is all.

      1. Sarah, I was not accusing you of membership in the Cult of Personality. Maybe leading one by virtue of your witty prose (and by the way we need more).

        If we ever meet, I’ll explain how I came to believe B.

        Be well!!

  26. The weirdest thing is finding out at 58 that a lot of the things I thought were moral failings are actually and for real physical issues.

    One of the books about ADHD on my bookshelf is titled “You Mean I’m Not Lazy, Stupid, or Crazy?” It’s a pretty common reaction for people to have once they start taking medication that is actually effective, and figure out that they really can metaphorically run a sprint now that the invisible-but-heavy shackles have been taken off their legs. They just assumed they were slower than everyone else, because they couldn’t see the shackles. But once someone helps them figure out the shackles were there and removes them, they find out that they had plenty of speed in them after all, they were just being handicapped.

    Actually, the “they” in that paragraph should be “we”, because that’s the analogy I came up with to explain how it felt to suddenly be able to do the things that everyone else could do: stick to one task for more than fifteen minutes at a time, for example. The incident that first made me realize that I probably was different than other people was when some friends of mine moved into a new place, didn’t like the color scheme, and spent two days painting it. I asked the husband of the couple, “But wasn’t that boring?” And he answered, “Sure it was boring. But it needed to be done, so we just did it.” To me, prior to finding effective medication, that sounded like “Sure the item was 100 feet in the air, But we needed to get it, so we flapped our arms and flew up to reach it.” That’s when I realized that what seemed impossible to me wasn’t impossible at all to most people, and I decided to find a doctor who could advise me on medication. And then suddenly the shackles were off, and I could function much better as an adult who could say “It’s boring, but it needs to be done, so I’ll just do it.” I can hardly describe how amazing it is that I can actually do that now.

  27. Apparently this is a real T-shirt (via Insty open thread-no link to where one can get the shirt provided):

    1. I typed “sorry my patriotism offends you t-shirt” into the Goog and it returned six pages of vendors.

  28. Obstructive sleep apnea can also affect your ability to concentrate and get work done. You should read up on the symptoms and maybe have a sleep study done.

    1. Sigh. I think I mentioned it in the post.
      Because of my mouth construction, I probably had apnea since I stopped growing. I finally got it treated in my fifties, because having gained a lot of weight due to hypothyroidism (galloping) I finally fitted the profile they look for.
      Yeah, I know. It was a problem. The ADHD remained, though. As did other stuff.

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