ADHD

Disclaimer: Some of my posts may be self-indulgent musings about myself.  This is one of those posts.  I have, however, been recently asked what it looks like inside my head; so I feel that there is indeed a market for such self-reflection.  But I won’t be offended if you don’t read it.

Recently I was asked how ADHD affects my thinking, and I found myself seeking a definitive metaphor.  One that works for visualization (although not necessarily from an astrophysics perspective) is the comparison of my brain to space.  When I am unmedicated, my thoughts exist in free suspension outside of my conscious mind.  They are concepts not yet verbalized, and I often have to pause to search for the correct star before I can bring it to a more cognitively-concrete plane.  My ADHD medication brings these thoughts into an orbit (or perhaps a constellation): they are labeled, known, and easily accessible.  They are easy to find and articulate and understand.

I’ve always described my brain as having four channels, which I have now decided to categorize: immediate, reactionary, filler, and obsessive.  Immediate is the thing which is in front of me, the thing on which I have to concentrate, the thing which I work to process.  It can be the text of a book, the images on a screen, the words someone is saying to me, or the problem which I am solving.  Reactionary is my response to these things–my own thoughts about what I read, hear, see, or do.  I generally confine emotional responses to this channel.  Filler is what takes up the unfocused space.  It includes the subconscious and unarticulated thoughts–the way I feel about things or the nebulous ideas I have not processed.  Finally, the obsessive channel is a fixation–it can be a name, quote, or song lyric repeated over and over.  It can be an attachment or an image from my latest obsession.  It can be an experience.  But no matter the source, it is most likely to be a snippet repeated over and over.

Sudden Realization: When I talk or write, all of the channels seem to disappear.  I think it possible that this is the result of a unity of the components of my mind.  I will now delve into hypothetical territory.  Immediate: the words coming out of my mouth or my pen (or my fingers) flow freely and come from a place of absolute focus.  Reactionary: this part contributes to those words through the provision of details, history, organization, and direction.  Filler: the larger story and structure that I am assembling take up this space.  Obsessive: writing/talking just clears this stuff out–don’t the other three channels seem to be doing enough?

I don’t know what to do with this information or what it all means.  But I thought at least some of you would like to know what I mean when I talk about being crazy.  And if anyone who reads this has ever experienced such things, please know that you are not alone.

One last note: Often, when reviewing conversations, I remember what I have said better than what the other person has said.  I remember my words, but I remember my reaction to their words.  I have just decided that this is not just an egocentric response.  And I am not a poor listener.  I just retain my words through that channel-unity of output, whereas I retain your words as the emotional/impression’d response of the reactionary channel.  Sorry about that–maybe I can work on it.  😀

Men Who Hate Women (and other pop-culture-induced reflections)

So…right now I am (much to my own surprise) hooked on Hannibal and Bates Motel. Oddly enough, I do not connect these two, despite their psychological thriller premises, because they strike such different tones from each other.  Hannibal has a Monk-meets-Dexter tone to it, but watching Bates Motel brings to my mind the Millennium Trilogy. One of the central conflicts is the pervasive evil of sex trafficking, and I can’t help but notice the way this subject brings with it a certain tone, not only in pop culture, but in the world.

In the Millennium trilogy, the author draws a clear connection between sadism and the sex trade, and between the sex trade and chauvinism. In Bates Motel, Norma Bates is a victim, tangled in the center of a web of men who would do her violence–woman-hating bastards, if you will.  Like Lisbeth Salander, a crusader against rapists and defilers, Norma projects this evil onto all men. It is not an unfair position: the men these women encounter are evil, and they are involved in sex trafficking.

But do they hate women? I think so. Recently I have learned a lot about sex trafficking through the non-profit work of my friends (Judy, Deb & Jimmy) with A Second Cup. And what I have learned has led me to this conclusion: men who, by participation, propagation, or purchase, do anything to promote the sex trade, are men who hate women. This is a business that treats women as property, that devalues them by enslaving them and selling them–this is a business of reducing women to something less than human. This is a business of hating women.

I think this is true without exception. There is the obvious evil embodied in men like Zala–men who build their empires on this slavery, who are completely aware of the processes and knowingly profit from every demoralizing act done to each of their slaves. But there also the subtle evils of the Bjurmans and the Dr. Teleborians–the men who protect their overlords, the house slaves who stand by and take their profits, sometimes even closing their eyes to the more depraved actions of the men who pay them.

But the customers are also guilty. A man who hires a prostitute tells her that he does not consider her to be a human. He tells her that she is an object of his pleasure, a thing, not a person. He may turn away from the larger picture of slavery. He may not even know about it. But his ignorance does not exempt him. He has devalued a woman by purchasing her body. He is a woman-hating bastard.

Finally, there are the rapists. They are often not a part of the sex trade. They do not pay for the women they devalue. Indeed, they often escape any kind of accountability for the pleasure they obtain. Yet they are possibly more evil than the overlords or the foremen. They take what they want–they steal a woman’s body from her. They do not offer any price–a woman has no value to them. They are truly men who hate women.

I cannot pretend I have never seen firsthand what comes of such devaluation. And I cannot pretend that I have not blindly hated those men, the men who have stolen something precious from people I loved. Some of these women have since forgiven, but I will not. I hate these men, and countless men who violate women, the men all over the world who would hurt my family, my friends, my acquaintances, women I will never meet, women whose names the world will forget, women like me, me. I hate them because they are men who hate women.

Kathy’s Vacay

This weekend I am getting a taste of nearly full-time caregiving. My findings are not uplifting. Alzheimer’s is a cruel disease for both patients and caregivers, and the devastation is wearing on me.

What is no less wearing is the current political situation. Omi and I have experienced quite a few interruptions to our daytime programming in the last few days. Whether it’s a local update on the fire in West, Texas, or a national bulletin about poisoned mail or a report on the gun control decision or a broadcast of the interfaith service for the Boston victims, the news is no less painful than the situation in my aunt’s house.

What is this chaos? What is this fear and anxiety? What is this violence? I think the world is ending, and my greatest concern is whether I will get to hug my best friend again. I don’t pause for a second to ask what I can do or how I can care; I am too concerned with keeping my Omi in Sprite and ice cream for the day. Not that my burden is undone by the turmoil in the world, but my perspective can be greatly skewed at times.

Today I discovered the picture of 8-year-old victim Martin Richard, a hero in his own right. The image inspired me: “No more hurting people…peace.” He was a little boy, whose greatest care should have been what flavor of Capri Sun was in his lunch, yet he was more touched by what happened to Trayvon Martin than I was–I who am tasked with feeling and shaping the current world, I who am supposed to be part of an emerging leadership.

Today, my Manifaustin is to be engaged, through my attention, and care, and prayers. And I can be engaged through my example. I cannot change these problems. But I can take Martin Richard’s words to heart: “No more hurting people.” He died at the hands of that lie, for people will continue to hurt people as long as humanity continues. But he is a hero if one person sees his example and turns toward peace.

Image

Martin Richard and the sign he made in honor of shooting victim Trayvon Martin…

Today I resolve to be that one person.