Not having a great century...


#1

So when I first found out about my ADHD last year, I was pretty happy. My eyes were open to a whole bunch of possibilities, and I went from “WTF is wrong with me?” to “Maybe I can fix this”. And for once in my life, I had a view ahead of me.

Anyway… It’s all fallen in a heap. Sacked from my last job, temper blowouts, social ineptitude, self-sabotage finally starting to live up to the threat.

$7 has lasted me two weeks so far. Debt collectors all over me, and nothing to pay them with. I don’t even answer the phone now, unless I know who it is. And nobody else calls me, so that’s easy. I can’t get unemployment, because my soon to be ex-wife is not “soon to be” enough for the government, and they suspect her of secretly funding me my well-hidden millions.

I’ve been pretty down. Sometimes even as high as neutral. I almost got happy the other day after I finally managed to get some counseling. But it was the first session, so I just dropped it all out. As I was feeling particularly frustrated and without hope that day, I rode a wave of negativity twelve feet high, and I think I broke my counselor with it.

So today… My lovely old cat Ally.

I was forcing myself to get into a project or two. I went into my workshop and fiddled around for a while half-heartedly. My little kitten Peanut came in and watched me, played with string etc.

I’d seen my old cat around lunchtime, and she seemed happy enough, smiled at me, then I didn’t see her again.

Ally has been put out quite a bit by the new kitten, and tends to keep a low profile, so I didn’t think much of it. The back door was open, and she likes to sleep in the sun. But she will always come back for food eventually.

She’s over 18 now (I think around 90 in human years). And there is no sign of her.

I have a really bad feeling that she has done what cats do when they get old. That is, find a nice place to curl up, hidden from the world, and just close her eyes for the last time.

She didn’t even say goodbye to me.

I really hope I’m wrong, but I have the unshakeable feeling that she has gone.

She has been my friend for so long. Far, far longer than any human, or any other cat I’ve had. I had to work so hard to gain her trust when she was a kitten. She wouldn’t come out from under the couch for three days at first. It took years before I saw that she fully trusted me. To the point where if she got really frightened by a loud noise like thunder, she’d want to run. But if I touched her lightly, she would instantly feel safe, and would relax knowing that I was protecting her.

I earned her unconditional love. I’ve never had anything even close from a human.

We’ve gone through so much together. Good times and bad, with the good times gradually getting further away and less frequent.

For a long time, she was the only decent thing in my life.

But I know in my heart she will not be coming back now.

I’ve looked everywhere I can, but I’ll have to wait for the morning light so I can go doorknocking.

5% of me thinks she may be stealing some food from somebody else’s house, and that she’ll be back tomorrow. But I really doubt it.

Or maybe she thinks I’m going to work, and has hidden. She doesn’t like it much when I go away for weeks at a time and drop her at Mum’s. I’ve been clomping around the house in a bad mood, moving things around such as my “go bag” for work. That’s what normally happens when I’m about to fly out for work.

Today, I woke up feeling like I had little to live for. By the end of the day, I’ve been deflated even more.

Little Peanut is such a happy chappy, and is being extra chirpy today. But all I can see is an absence of Ally, and my heart is crushed even more than usual.

I’m really struggling to see the point of anything. She was my last friend.

I hope I see her again, but I have a black feeling. I actually cried wet tears today. Normally in my despair I go through the motions of crying, but the tears won’t come. I found them today.


#2

That’s truly rough. I hope Ally comes back, and I hope this hell-year you’ve had starts to pass.

Take your time to deal with these feelings, and don’t feel ashamed to feel the way you feel. I don’t want to overload you with info, so I’ll try to keep my responses short:

I hope your financial troubles get better but don’t feel ashamed to reach out for help to charities and food banks, they saved me when I couldn’t afford a meal and had barely enough gas to get to work and back.

You didn’t break your counselor. They deal with negativity all the time, and I doubt you are the person who has hit them with the most negativity they’ve ever dealt with. It is their job to help others release negativity, so they have some method of either keeping it from affecting them or of releasing it themselves.

Don’t give up on yourself. Since you and Ally had this bond, live for her and remember you gave her a sense of security in her life while she gave you her companionship. I’ve seen you around other threads here, and the people you talk to definitely find your insight helpful with their troubles.

Good luck, and I hope you see better days soon


#3

I’ve spent the last month making phonecall after phonecall, and that one counseling session was the only thing I managed to accomplish.

I did finally manage to get some positivity in my job search. One of the recruitment guys I’ve been chasing actually had me come in for a face-to-face the other day. He seems like a proactive sort of guy, and I felt good about it.

But I was pretty manic at the time. I let the verbal diarrhea get away with me, but I’m hoping it will be OK. With luck, I’ll find out if I’ve been successful in one or another role he’s put me down for in the next week or two. If not, I’m hoping he’ll keep throwing me at the jobs.

This is all par for the course. It’s not the first time I’ve been broke, surrounded by vultures. Just another day.

But Ally… Poor little bugger… She’s the straw on the camel’s back.

Anyway, that’s my whine for the night. It’s almost 3am, and my brain is dissolving. I’m no longer bummed out, just numb.

Thanks for the kind words Cutler. I’ll be fine. Just sick of fighting for every millimeter of goodness, and losing it anyway.


#4

OK. So I over reacted a little. Just having a bum decade, and it got to me.

I went looking for Ally at 6am. I walked all over the place, looking under bushes etc. Cats are REALLY good at hiding if they want to, or if they are scared.

I asked a couple of early risers about her, but no joy. No sign of her anywhere. It is a public holiday here today (Australia Day!), so I didn’t want to bang on doors and wake people up. I went home after a couple of hours.

And found the little bugger. She’d been locked inside a spare bedroom I use for storage. I’d checked that room three or four times, but not a peep out of her.

She just squeaked at me, and went straight for the food bowl like nothing was wrong.

Grrrr…

Anyway. The whole episode illustrated to me that I’m not in great shape emotionally just now (surprise, surprise). I need to knock that on the head now.


#5

Smoj, you are a great contributor to this forum :heart:

I am really sorry to hear that things are going so badly for you lately. I hope that finding Ally is the start of some improvement.

Being back here is a good start to picking up the pieces, and @Cutlerf is totally right that you can’t break a counsellor by telling them the 375 million reasons you are there.

And making 7 dollars last 2 weeks is pretty skilled! You have loads of great skills to compensate the stuff you don’t manage so well. And maybe when things have settled after your divorce you will be able to relax more and even the emotional dysregulation stuff might be easier to handle.

For now, I wish you cuddles with your cats and enough food for you all. One step at a time, you will crawl back up. You’ve managed before and you will manage again. You have skills!


#6

Thank you so much for that Lustforlife. Very nice of you to say.

Things haven’t been going outrageously badly, so much as they have been descending in a steady, slow spiral for decades. A millimeter backwards every year.

I’ve only lately gotten to the point where I’m just sick of it all, and frustrated beyond words. While I can’t really see much hope of the spiral swinging upwards again, I really can see that eventually the spiral will hit rock bottom if I let it go the same old way it wants to. I’m working on it.

Haven’t felt very proactive the last few weeks, but I’m starting to see the sun again now, if only a little bit of it.

As much as I’d like to take credit and own your compliments, I can’t.

I didn’t make that $7… It’s all I have from my last pay in December. And the reason I still have it because the bank machine will only spit out $20 notes. :smile:

And maybe when things have settled after your divorce you will be able to relax more and even the emotional dysregulation stuff might be easier to handle.

Sure. Maybe if I score a good job, with good people that I can really grab hold of, sort out the finances again… I’d like to be able to revert back to being the funny, charming, always smiling, smart, friendly kid that I used to be. Maybe too late now, but that kid is still inside me somewhere. And a massive chunk of him has ADHD too.

You are right. I’ve managed before, and will manage again. I’m getting a little weary of managing though.


#7

Take care Simon, I read your stort and can tell you that I know the feeling how much love you get from your buddy. I love them deeply (my dogs) and we know that our secrets and our thoughts are save with them. It’s a hard struggle to fix all the things that are going wrong for us…I sometimes keep telling myself I’m “The Fixer” especially when I really mess things up. I just start all over again and try to fix what I had broke…And believe me…At times I’m really stressed out and exhausted.
Big hug from the Dutch

Will


#8

Cheers, Will. It’s true. When it’s all caving in, it’s the animals that keep a sense of stability and proportion.

Everything is great = The animals just want to love and be loved, and eat.
Everything has gone to rubbish = The animals just want to love and be loved, and eat.

I honed that down to a fine skill, starting in high school, and then turned professional at uni.

My sequence would go something like this…

  • Work assigned.
  • Think about the work.
  • Completely forget about work and do something fun instead.
  • Pre-procastination for a few weeks or months (strategy of ignoring). Ocassional thoughts about the work, but it’s all too hard. I don’t get it. My brain hurts.
  • Realise the work is due soon. If I start now, I can hammer it.
  • True procrastination starts.
  • Deadline gets closer. Passive procrastination becomes active procrastination, and feelings of guilt develop, balanced against the thrill of trying to find the “sweet spot”: The last possible moment to actually start the work, and finish on-time.
  • Active procrastination develops a life of its own. Often with the focal point of the procrastination itself being procrastinated on, and gaining further degrees of separation from the actual work.
  • The guilt rises to the point where it’s impossible to ignore the work. The sweet spot. It really is time to get started now.
  • But procrastinate some more anyway.
  • The guilt is now a tangible force. There is a physical as well as mental tension. And anger at myself that I haven’t started yet. Surely it’s too late now?
  • Procrastinate more.
  • Time to start… Find my pen. Good. Paper. Where’s my ruler? Can’t find the damn ruler.
  • Spend an hour looking for the ruler. Where’s that f**king ruler? I know it’s here. Can’t start without the ruler.
  • While looking for the ruler, I find some old photos. Wow! I’d forgotten I had those. I wonder how she’s going now? I should call. But it’s an old number. Try to find a newer number, or a contact who can help me catch up with an old friend. Too late to call now, but I’ll forget by tomorrow.
  • Eventually find the ruler, or use something else.
  • Can’t find the file I need with the style guide for the work. I really do need that, not like that stupid ruler.
  • Spend two hours searching hard drives for the file you need (I only mentioned hard drives here, so I wouldn’t feel so pre-historic. IRL, it would have been a paper chase back then).
  • Find an older version of it, which will have to be close enough.
  • Write the first sentence.
  • Don’t like it, change it a few times. No clear plan of action, but I’ve been here before.
  • Need a coffee now, it’s 9pm now. Due tomorrow at 9am,
  • When I make the coffee, I find some food and realise I’ll need the energy.
  • Cook a meal.
  • Eat the meal.
  • While I was eating, I started watching a show. Must finish that first.
  • Start again. This time the way is clearer.
  • Write and write and write. The plan develops as more words come out, and a logical sequence follows.
  • I’m missing a bunch of references I need to make some points. The library is closed now.
  • Make them up. Write what I want to write, and then attribute it to a fake author.
  • “A Handbook on Linguistic Conventions and Formal Approaches to Semiotic Interpretation.” J. Duggan & A. Heinemann, University of Leeds Press, 1963. pp. 138-144. It helps to pretend to refer to an obscure fake book that appears to have been out of print for a long time, without digital copies. Never been caught out by one of these (but then again, my uni days were largely pre-digital). And your point is made. Nobody gives a damn, as long as you write what they want to read, and don’t make their lives harder than they need to be. Technically, it’s not plagiarism if you write it yourself, just dishonest. No time for anything else but self-justifying my dodgey tactics now.
  • Watch the clock so hard that sweat breaks out. Five hours to deadline. 2500 more words to go. 2500 / 5 = 500 words per hour. That’s achievable if I really push it.
  • Relax and watch the next episode of the show.
  • After 2 episodes, get started again as the sun comes up.
  • And this time, hammer it.
  • In a sheen of sweat and tension, put the final full-stop on the page.
  • No time to check anything, but I think it’s all good.
  • Two hours past the deadline now. Stress more. Start thinking of BS excuses for the lateness.
  • That traffic light wasn’t red, it was orange when I started crossing it. And there is a margin of error and tolerances for speed guns and cameras. 3km/h over the limit is fine. So I push it to 5km/h over the speed limit, with tactical spurts up to 10km/h over. Get out of my way, you slow driving pedestrian on wheels! Where’d you get your f**king license? A packet of Corn Flakes???
  • Bust arse to get the work to the tutor’s office.
  • Present some dumb excuse as to why I couldn’t get it there in time.
  • The tutor sees right through it, and makes some cranky noises. But accepts it anyway. It would be too much work to not accept it. “This is the LAST time!”
  • The uni tavern is between the office and the car park. Just one beer won’t put me over the limit…

Job done. Disaster averted. I’ll never do that again, next time I’ll start as soon as I get the assignment issued. Yeah, right. But a huge feeling of pride and reward that I’d beaten the system again.


#9

Whooooow Simon, how can you tell me “My story”?

I always do exactly the same…try to find excuses etc. at the end I’m also proud that I “fixed it”

But for sure, I really get exhausted of that with a big shame and pretend to never do that again like that way;-p Will it ever get better?

More and more I find out what is me and what is the adhd in me. There are nice things and nasty things about the adhd.

Really thx for your story and reaction on it, sometimes I think that we need a “denktank” (Dutch word) (“ideatank” or something like that in English) of some adhd people. I think there would be great ideas come out of us:-)

Have a nice day,

Will


#10

Ha ha… It’s funny that you say that. When I found out about my ADHD and started reading on this site, I instantly went from being unique, weird, strange, constantly misunderstood… To being just another dude with ADHD.

My uniqueness was not so unique any more. I was just another number. But also a member of a group of people who share some pretty traumatic experiences, and have found each other. No longer alone. Finally being in a situation where my circumstances make me the norm, not the outcast. For what it’s worth.

We all have so many aspects to our personalities that surprise us when we find out that the rest of the crew here have exactly the same thing going on.


#11

Your uni experience is pretty much spot on with my own. Every time I swore I’d start on time next time. Every time meaning it. Yet never being able to, and getting extremely anxious and angry with myself.
My only difference being that our submissions were through an online portal so couldn’t bullshit an excuse why it was late, as I could submit it from anywhere.
So my submissions were 95% of the time sent in the last 5 minutes before the online submission closed.

Man… thinking back on it makes me stressed.

…but weirdly I kind of miss it too?
The anxiety/stress mixed with the feeling of accomplishment, and guilt and disappointment in the submission, as I kew I had the potential to write something so much better. Or maybe it was all just the relief of hanging on by the skin of my teeth…

…I wanna do a masters now :sweat_smile:
But want to get diagnosed first and hopefully get some meds to make it a little less life-consuming…


#12

Me too. I remember a time with great pride, when one of my classmates (one from outside my circle) told me that I was pissing everybody off by turning up late, writing up my assignments at the tavern just before class, not particularly caring, and then getting top marks.

Later on, well after uni, I studied for a commercial pilot’s license. That was straight up stress, without the joy of beating the system. I had to change my attitude, when something I didn’t know, or didn’t take seriously had the potential to end with a smoking crater, and dead people.

But every time I stressed about an exam, and told myself that I’d never get it… I’d pass. And then look back saying “That exam was easy, I don’t know why I was so stressed out. But this next one… That’s going to be REALLY hard”. But I’d pass that one too.

The only one I failed was meteorology, nobody had a good time with that one, it was tough. But I put in so much effort, and studied so hard that the second time, I got the highest mark out of everybody I knew.

I guess faking it at uni prepared me a little for those exams.


#13

Your procrastination story is ace! :sweat_smile: and so true for me too :see_no_evil:

As I said, you have skills :sunglasses:

And writing is one of them. Sadly probably not an ideal career move because… deadlines, but hey…

It is one of the most amazing things to me still to discover that I am not weird or different, just an extremely average, run of the mill adhd-er :smile:

Thank you Simon, and everyone else on here, who ‘writes my story’ without even meaning to, or knowing me.