Sunday, May 20, 2012


I've been watching the videos about the neurobiology and effects of ADHD here from a conference held by the Centre for ADHD Awareness, Canada. The ones by Dr. Russell A. Barkley are particularly disconcerting, but very educational. I recommend them mostly for those who have ADHD or have a family member with it. I don't think the idle curious will be able to sustain the interest long enough to make it thru for merely educational purposes, unless of course that is your bent.

For me, it was the most serious explication of the disorder that I've yet encountered, as most of my exposure has been the popular literature and necessarily time limited visits to doctors (Ed.D. and MD).  Full of brain diagrams, studies and control groups, and some very good information on how my medication works. (I'm so glad that I've got a medication that works as well and cleanly as it does. It's relatively new, so if I had been diagnosed years ago I could have acquired a slew of other issues. Grace where you find it.)

I don't know why, but somehow I did not think ADHD was as structurally deep in the brain as it is, or as broad spectrum. I guess I just thought it was some missing chemicals in my neural pathways that the medication patched over, and then I would be just as neurobiologically sound as the next normally developed guy. My plan was to take the meds and work really hard at catching up my life to "standard" and then go on to do whatever really "hard work" could take me to. It appears that is not to be the case.

The medication is a tremendous blessing, not to short change it one bit, but it doesn't fix everything. My brain is never going to be as if I never had it. The difference is forever, I'll never be normal or standard in function or living. I'm damaged goods for life.

I'm damaged goods for life.

Something about that fact, that stone cold inescapable fact, has taken my legs out from under me, for at least the space of the morning. I have rules. First rule is "I'm fine." I'm always fine. Family is moving again and I'm losing all my friends? I'm fine. Parents in perpetual warfare, brother in another crisis, sister dead in life and then dead at her own will? I'm fine. Bruised, used and forgotten? Move along, nothing to see here. I'm fine. The world going to hell in a handbasket? I'm fine.  See, I keep going, I keep working, it doesn't matter about all that out there, I'M FINE.

Well, I'm not. I'll never have the same resources and strength inside my own brain that most people do. I'll always be bent and missing some resources in my head. I promise you I've never wanted or tried to be late, absent minded, forgetful, blunt, squirrelly, messy, and always, always fall short. Once I found the diagnosis, I thought I was going to get fixed. And maybe not always fall short, maybe move forward and make progress and make goals and move on and move up and get over and get to the next thing. But there is no fix.

I will always be broken.

I feel like I've been told I will always be missing the left side of  my self. As if there are organs missing, parts that everyone has and of course I must because everyone has them, but now I know I don't have them at all so it will always be this catch-up substitute try to make it work so I can be welcome in polite company kind of life. Did you know that my whole life I've deliberately stayed away from people because I don't want to subject them to all the confusion my brain makes me live in on a daily basis? It's irritating and taxing for other people to be around, I know that, so I just stay away so they don't have to be bothered.

Years ago, when I had to find an internet nom de plume, I chose Sweetbriar. Not so much for the rose reference (which I was much more into then), but for the thorns. To be around me was to endure a high ratio of thorns to blossoms, and the blooms came so infrequently that really you couldn't count on me in a pinch. I'm best left in the back of the woods, a spring novelty and a home for wild rabbits. But that wasn't the life I wanted, it was never the life I thought I was going to have. I was supposed to be normal.

In school, all the tests said I was gifted. In society, I came from a good family, well educated with a good name. At work, I was the one that was going to go higher. But I never could pull it together. I could never follow thru to completion. And now I guess I know why. My legs were always cut out from underneath me, I just never knew it. I've been clawing my way over and over again towards an entire set of expectations and dreams that I have no ability to live. If all my desires came true tomorrow, I couldn't sustain it for even one day.

"Tomorrow" and "someday" have been my shelter in the storms. Even if it isn't here today, satisfaction is out there as soon as I "get my act together."  That illusion is burned away now, there is no someday and I CAN'T get my act together. What I really am is finally exposed to me, even tho I guess it may have be very plain to some others.

Thursday morning, my last day of holiday at the beach, I started praying about a little art sign I saw in a shelter magazine that said, "I do not know what it is I am like." I think it is very true about all of us, but I wanted to know more of the truth about me. I don't want to go about with some fine notion about myself that isn't really true. Be careful what you ask for, God does answer prayer.

Perhaps that is why this song kept bubbling up Thursday.

"For with much wisdom
Comes much sorrow
So the more that I know
The more sorrow grows
Like a fish caught cruelly
Like a bird in a snare
We are caught and we are captive
Unexpectedly here"

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