Yes, these journal prompts are getting more and more cheesy. I am on day 15.
Well, one example of where I am choosing myself is that today I signed up to be part of a research project to help adults with ADHD with self compassion. It does sound rather cheesy I know, but I am willing to try anything in my efforts to stop giving myself such a hard time.
I have to do journal posts, meditation and other stuff as part of the study for 3 weeks and my data will be used by a PhD student. I feel it’s my duty to help them PhD students out because my gosh PhDs are hard!
All my previous attempts at doing meditation so far have failed, I can’t even do it for 10 consecutive days using the Headspace free trail thing… so we will see, and doing journal posts here hasn’t gone that well given I am on day 15 of the ‘daily’ journalling prompts after starting it during the first lockdown.
Anyway, I’ll keep you updated if I have any helpful experiences as part of this research project which help me to ‘choose myself’ 😛
well here it goes with another ‘journal prompt’ this one is supposed to be about a time someone has misjudged me. To be honest I can’t think of any examples, probably because I havent had much interaction with actual people for any extended period of time in the last 2 years, other than my parents of course.
I guess where I do feel misjudged is with dating…I know I am cynical now with regards to dating. I am almost so used to being on my own and hanging out with myself and having my own time it feels like trying to fit my life around someone else is almost not comprehend-able. Sure there are times I get lonely and download dating apps and have an optimistic view that the right person, the one who will add more to my life and challenge me and make me believe in love for me is out there, but honestly it’s just so much effort and requires so much energy and I just find it so hard to even get to the point where I want to go on a date with the person. I get bored so easily chatting on the apps and I know that’s the ADHD and I know I need to make more effort because no one is going to take the time for me while I am giving off these uninspired nonchalant vibes. But, I have no idea how to change up my thinking. It’s all or nothing. I am either hyper fixated on them and get totally carried away or I don’t even remember they exist…
Anyway I’ve gone off track; surprise surprise.
I guess where I feel misjudged is in the fact that if you are single or on dating sites people think you are desperate to be in a couple and this goes especially for the people that you are on the date with.
The reality for me is that this person would need to be absolutely amazing for me to consider a second date, I need instant chemistry. Now they are competing with the life I have now, the life where I don’t have to worry about what some one else wants and needs, I can do whatever the hell I like (within reason of course). So sure sometimes this ‘single life’ is a bit lonely but it’s also pretty amazing in the sense that I don’t need to rely on anyone else for my happiness.
Now I accept its very possible that previous relationships have messed me up in the sense that I now feel quite anxious about the idea of being in a relationship because I know because of my personality and my ADHD I am an easy target for being controlled and coerced. It’s happened before and I just cant have that happen again, life is too short for that shit.
So yes, I feel misjudged by what people assume.
Don’t get me wrong, I hope on some level the right person is out there, but just because I might be on a dating site it doesn’t mean I am desperate to be in a relationship. Most of the time I actually feel that I am desperate to not be in a relationship, I guess this is why I delete them so often; but yes generally the idea of being in a relationship makes me feel anxious because I now associate romantic relationships with the imagery of having a dementor sucking the joyful life out of me and leaving me as a shell.
My My that got dark and I don’t really want to end this blog post on such a negative image haha. I am aware how sad and cynical I have become with regards romantic relationships for myself but what I will say is even though I feel like that (and these feelings are based on my lived experience so I can’t really change them) I know lots of couples in amazing loving relationships so I know they can exist and there is hope.
But, if like me you don’t have the energy to chat to people on dating sites and just go on them because society makes you feel like you need to be in a couple then I hear you!
There is definitely something powerful in being in a relationship with yourself. It is cheesy and cliche but love yourself; take yourself out on dates and then at that point when you aren’t looking for them that special person will just appear (at least that is what ‘they’ say and I hope ‘they’ are right).
Thought I’d write some words pondering on my experiences with ADHD medication since I was diagnosed this April. 80% of people with ADHD respond well to stimulant medication and caffeine actually makes their symptoms lessen; it makes them calmer and more focused. Unfortunately, as I have always felt more anxious and hyper as a result of caffeine I suspected I would be part of the 20% of people for which stimulants do not work, and I was right.
After trying two different stimulant meds and experiencing my symptoms actually worsen; along with experiencing high blood pressure, I was then put on a non-stimulant widely used for people with ADHD who don’t respond well to stimulants. But only 50% of people with ADHD feel their symptoms are less on this non-stimulant medication…sadly this medication didn’t seem to work either, I felt more anxious and my rejection sensitivity was even worse. Now I know everyone would say they don’t like rejection but my response to anything that I interpret as rejection is really quite extreme and I always take it personally, even when I know it isn’t personal like I can’t seem to convince myself that they don’t think I am pointless as a human being and I massively catastrophise the situation. For example I got asked to give a 10minute talk on my work and then the next day got told they could no longer fit me in the schedule. This I saw as a personal rejection and I ended up walking in the common area by work for 2 hours crying, escalating this situation in my head that I wasn’t doing a good job and my work wasn’t valid and the academics didn’t care about any of it and my house job was pointless. When this happens the only way I can snap out of it is that I literally run out of energy from all the crying and anger, and then it’s just like I am stuck in an ADHD paralysis for hours.
Anyway, my psychiatrist had one more medication she wanted to try me on. This one is actually not widely used for ADHD but there is some research in the USA that it can help with ADHD symptoms. These meds are actually used in the UK for people suffering from SAD and/or trying to give up smoking. But yes, I am so happy cos they seem to work – I still struggle with my racing brain and I find it hard to focus on tasks in work but overall I feel calmer and more able to handle rejection and not escalate it and take it personally. So yeah, the point of this post is that it took 7 months to find a medication that actually helped me. Everyone is different; but if you have a diagnosis and you are trialling meds then stick with it. I found it really handy to document how I was feeling on the meds each day in a note on my phone. Then I could feed back all that I had experienced to the psychiatrist when I spoke to them- because as is typical with ADHD you forget stuff if you don’t write it down and then you can’t articulate what you have experienced because you can’t remember…
Well, lockdown has been great for this. It’s been a great leveller. This reality; it’s really something actually.
REALITY CHECK x 10.
Hmm, I guess I’ve realised I don’t actually need all those things I thought I needed.
I don’t need more; I already have everything I need.
(I realise that I am speaking from a place of privilege here; I have a nice roof over my head and a garden and I’m in this lovely bubble here in the South Wales Valleys where neither me or my parents have to go out and see people. We can do all our work out of the confines of this dinning room).
But, yeah, as long as you have your health, and your family are ok and you can contact them and your friends. That’s really all you need.
I’ve realised too, that I really didn’t appreciate how special it was to be near actual people and have actual face to face interactions in reality. IRL!
My aspirations and ambitions for the future have actually shifted as a result of this experience though.
I don’t feel in a rush to get back to my old life.
Of course I wan’t to go out to meals with my friends and play roller derby and go swimming with the triathlon club… but knowing I can’t go back into schools and interact with young people in real life means I am really quite content with this work from Wales life (again I realise I am very lucky and privileged here!).
But, with regards to life ambitions. I’ve never been someone who had a 5 year plan. I was never someone with a 6 month plan either to be honest. I only ever strived to have some travelling adventure in the diary to look forward to and that was enough for me to be content…so it does feel really weird that my calendar literally has no future travel plans in it. I can’t even put in a date for when I go back to England…
I’ve always been a ‘live in the moment’ type of person, which I think maybe makes this whole situation a bit easier for me. For example, I’ve never really aspired to get promoted in work, or to have more responsibility; some people might say that’s because I am a woman and we aren’t confident in our own abilities and we hold ourselves back where a man wouldn’t.
The truth is I am confident that I could work at a higher grade, but I don’t want to. I did a PhD, not because I really wanted to, just because I didn’t know what else I should do. I was told that because I got a first it was the natural next step. I never stopped to think about the extreme effect four years of PhD would have on my mental health. I don’t regret my PhD but I wouldn’t recommend it to a friend lol.
For me trying to get promoted and have more responsibility it’s not worth the stress. I’m so grateful for my PhD because without it I wouldn’t have been able to have this job; this job that I love. But I still find this whole ‘Dr’ thing embarrassing. I don’t feel like I deserve it and I don’t like using it, again I realise this embarrasment and awkwardness surrounding my title might because I am woman, or maybe it is just my personality. But I don’t want people to see I am a ‘Dr’ and feel like I am trying to say I am better than them, or smarter than them. I am just stubborn, that’s the only reason I have a PhD. But I digress, the stress, the responsibility of working ‘at a higher level’ it’s just not worth it for the effect it will have on my mental health; I’m cool with this level :P.
Life is short and I have enough money to be happy; besides I am getting anxious now just at the thought of having more meetings about stuff, even if they are virtual lol.
I like to just get on and do the stuff, I actually really like doing the thing.
The real problem for me is being forced to make a plan, to sit down and think and not just throw myself in, head long. I need constant supervision, to stop me going off on tangents (probably the ADHD). I like doing all the things, but I have to be careful as I do get easily overwhelmed and then it gets so bad I can’t do ANYTHING…
But, If you too are a ‘grafter’ that’s nothing to be ashamed of. In the end, we can’t all be high level managers, someone has to actually DO the things!
Society says that at 35 I should have a husband, and kids and a mortgage; that after 10 years in a job I should be promoted and be line managing someone, and have more responsibilities. The reality is that I am currently single and back living with my parents…society would perhaps say I am failing…but I dunno, I don’t think I am, and that’s all that matters.
And anyway, the reality is we are in a pandemic and people are dying. Those people didn’t get a choice. I still have a choice about how I want to live, so I will make the most of it.
I will make the most of my reality, of this moment, of this life; while I still can.
Final thoughts on this reality
Don’t let society dictate your timeline.
Decide what you want your reality to be. Make peace with it.
The only expectations you have to live up to are your own.
(Can you tell I have just been watching series 1 of After Life ? :D)
This a tough one, I find it very hard to focus just in general. So easily distracted, I am.
But actually working from home in my parents dining room (with my Dad working on the same table as me) has been ok!
I would even go as far as saying I am actually more focused here than in my office in work.
Because I have no commute to my ‘office’ I literally get up out of bed and get straight into my workout gear (I usually go for a run or do a workout in my lunch break), go downstairs and check my emails in the ‘office/dining room’ with my morning coffee.
With my coffee I flag any emails that need to be addressed, write some ToDo’s for the day in my notebook (from tomorrow it will hopefully be a new snazzy Bullet Journal – I’ll do a post at some point about my attempt to bullet journal in the future).
Then I go into the kitchen and make my porridge and then I eat that in the living room while watching the news (I can only handle a few minutes of the new in the morning if I am honest) and then I am good to go. I start work straight after that.
I take a lot more breaks here in lockdown but the actual work itself is done in less time, I think because I am able to be more focused.
I really struggle to work from home back in England because I have a small flat so the ‘office’ is in the living room, which means I can see the TV and all sorts of other cool stuff I can be doing instead of work, right there in my eye-line. Here in Wales all I can see is this screen, this table and the window to the outside.
Another reason I am able to focus better now is because just before the lockdown I invested in some noise cancelling headphones. These were a great investment, thoroughly recommend especially, if like me, you suspect you are ADHD. Also, my parents (especially my Mam) they watch the news A LOT, like every hour! So I am so grateful for the headphones because I can tune the news out, which is definitely a plus for my mental health right now.
For work, I can also just tune out and do 25 min blocks using the headphones by using the ‘Forest’ app which is really good, because after you use the app for long enough they actually plant an actual tree…
I have also signed up to ‘Brain.fm’ which is a similar app but with a different calming/focused music each time. This focusing music in combination with the noise cancelling headphones has meant that I am actually able to be actually really focused and productive here in Wales. Yay.
Also, I find having 2 or 3 things that I am trying to achieve in one day is actually better for me than just having 1 thing to do. The problem for me and my (ADHD?) brain is that I get bored of a task so quickly, especially if it is monotonous data entry or analysis, so if I can do a 25 minute burst while listening to the Forest app and then have a little break and then come back and sit down and do something else for another 25 mins then that makes all this admin stuff a lot more manageable.
Usually in my job I am out in schools or community spaces talking to people, I am a very social person and my job is being a communicator. So normally I avoid this type of daily screen work like the plague/coronavirus, it’s a bit like torture lol. But actually this extra time we have now to do all this admin is good in a way, because now all this ‘boring’ stuff I’ve been putting off, I have no excuse not to do it and it is quite interesting, in manageable chunks at least 🙂
In terms of what I need to truly focus on today… Well, I think for me it is just making sure to be present in the moment.
Just doing one thing at a time. Breaking it down and chunking it!
So if thats data analysis work I will focus on that and close down all the other windows on my computer and just have that document open on my screen. I will move my phone off the table and all the other pieces of paper relating to other tasks will get filed away so they aren’t in my eye-line.
When I go for my run outside later, I will remember to look at the sky and smile at each person I run past at a safe distance. Then later when I am reading in the garden in the Sun or sat on the sofa with the dogs watching TV I will focus on being present and grateful that I am alive and I have a job I love.
Ok this is the 2nd journal prompt from the Morning Journaling website- so I thought I would give it a go.
I guess in lockdown here with my parents, what are we like 4 or 5 weeks in?
I’m sleeping in my old room, surrounded by my old fluffy toys and I am 35, so that’s a bit weird I guess.
So yes along those lines I think one of my main thoughts that has been getting the best of me is that I am regressing lol….I am single, back in Wales and perhaps a bit scared that that is going to be it for a long time. I will be single and adrift, without direction or another person to direct my love at.
It’s actually not such a sad thought to me though, it scary but I am not sad, not anymore anyway.
This fear, is also really interesting. Like I don’t necessarily feel like it’s a bad thing.
It’s very cliche to say but I am using this lockdown to actually try enjoy this extra time, where I am literally forced to remain single…I can do whatever I want…I can just take the time to assess what it is I really want.
What do I love about myself?
What I need to go forward?
What do I want my life to look like in the future?
Do I need someone else?
I am still not sure what I want to be honest.
So I just have to keep going with what feels right.
For right now.
There is some fear that this might be it.
But there is also a kind of fire in me about what could happen, it feels like I am on the edge of something and that’s exciting.
I am still feeling really uninspired at the moment so I had a look online for some journal prompts to inspire my writing of this blog.
The problem is that for someone like me with ADHD (self diagnosed :P) is that I then spent about 30mins reading through all the possible prompts on about 20 different websites; deciding that each prompt and suggestion wasn’t appropriate/I wasn’t in the mood to write about that particular subject.
So, yeah, perhaps journal prompts aren’t for me and this blog needs to be more natural and not forced…Just stuff I feel like writing about when the mood so takes me.
AND If this means I don’t write anything for days then so be it.
However, with all that being said I did actually find a journal prompt site that did have some good ones on. These were on discobumblebee.com and were on the subject of depression and anxiety.
I guess in these difficult times of self isolation and self distancing journalling might be a good idea. Even if you don’t normally suffer with depression and anxiety, you probably are experiencing it at the moment.
It’s actually a great opportunity for everyone, because we all need a little help with our mental health, especially now. Journaling can give perspective, perhaps. Anyway, it seems like a good place to start to think about what we have to be grateful for; even though this whole situation is really pretty sh*t – we are human so we have to have hope.
So here is my first ‘successful’ attempt at a post inspired by a journal prompt:
‘List 20 things that make you smile’
Cwtches with my doggie siblings
Starting a new book (actual books preferable over Kindle books)
Buying new books (many kindle book buying binges have already occurred during lock down!)
Listening to audio books while running (especially thrillers)
Matt Haig’s books/quotes/audiobooks/insta/twitter posts
Travelling (preferably on planes but trains and boats are cool too. Not a fan of buses or taxis!)
Long walks/hikes in the mountain or by the coast
New shoes (specifically those with make me look like a gangsta)
Phone calls with my parents
Voice mail conversations with my friends in far flung countries
Decaf coconut lattes (specifically from Pret on the Uni campus)
Astronomy themed clothing
Dancing (kitchen dancing will have to do for now!)
Dead lifts (#GetThemGains)
Singing/ rapping (specifically to Lady Gaga, Eminem or the Greatest Showman soundtrack)