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March Madness in the Kitchen

Kitchen Remodel 001The heart was torn out of our house.  The old kitchen is gone, the walls and floor are bare, some drywall is there, but it is empty space.  When the drywall is finished early next week some paint will go on, then it is cabinet installation.  We will have a kitchen, but it is still weeks away.  Carol has decamped, but I am here to watch things.  We see one another daily and send lots of messages via all the means we have of communicating across the city.

We are two weeks into the project, and the dirty part is almost over.  Next will be paint fumes, hanging cabinets, flooring and tile, then final touches.  Sounds like fun, eh?

Here I am going to discuss my personal experience with growing up different and not knowing why.  I just knew I was not like the other kids.  I usually did well in school without having to work at it, as I am fairly smart.  If a subject engaged me, I did very well.  My weak spots were math, anything requiring rote memory, and repetitive stuff like typing.

The way I could stay engaged was by making trouble.  Not big trouble, just enough mischief to keep things stirred up, like poking girls.  Problem was, they often poked back, and the teachers always seemed to know who instigated it all.

My senior year, I flunked trigonometry when all I had to do was copy out the cheat sheet.  I flunked out of college my first year.  The Army gave me enough discipline to accomplish tasks that did not engage me, but I finished college by taking the courses that engaged me and dropping those that did not.

The same pattern followed me at work.  I still had trouble with things that lacked meaning for me, even though they were what I was being paid to do.  I called it my fatal flaw, and it dogged me for years.

I had lots of therapy and worked through a lot of things, but the fatal flaw remained.  Finally at age 59, my therapist paused, looked at me and asked “Have you ever been evaluated for Attention Deficit Disorder?”  Well, no, but the ADD checklist  was quite a revelation.  Of the 50 questions on the one I took, there were 3 or 4 that didn’t apply to me.  I found a cognitive therapist and a psychiatrist, both with ADD themselves, did the work and took the meds, and my life changed.

I am by no means cured, but have much better strategies for dealing with the disorder, and my focus is much better.  I am able to engage in tasks that I used to avoid because I literally could not do them.  I could not even start.

Knowing about ADD opened up a new world for me.  ADD’s are everywhere, and fairly easy to spot.  I also began to notice symptoms in other people I could identify with at some level.  It turns out that five disorders, including ADD, autism, major depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder share a genetic link.   This is a major breakthrough and will help many with these disorders to understand that their condition is not their fault.

I have experienced some mild aspects of all the disorders, but am mostly ADD.  The closest to schizophrenia was when I became delirious from a high fever and woke up convinced the building I was in was collapsing.  I came to my senses when I ran out into below freezing weather and the cold brought my fever down.  I have some mood swings.  I have been depressed from time to time (easy when you are harboring the secret that you are not like everyone else).  I sometimes have been withdrawn.

What I think we are seeing is some sort of a continuum, with people on different parts of the scale.  I think I am fortunate to be on the lower part of the continuum.

A good example of my ADD just happened with this post.  I wrote it yesterday (Thursday) and thought I had put it up on the blog.  Carol told me this morning that it was in the draft folder, so I put it up this morning.  Oops.

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