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Sound the alarm

Hi all I ever talk about is Scattered Minds, hope you like that. Probably you don't like that. I am sorry. I truly try to write about other things but this is what is pre-occupying me.  I have spent days reading and re-reading this book.  My dad read it, too, and we've been having phone talks about it.  Jesse and I have an email thread about a single chapter of the book that was 3,053 words last time I counted it. Every conversation I've had about it has been valuable in one way or another.

There are so many parts of this book that I have highlighted. Here are some of them.

"If you were told that in the next week, at some unpredictable moment, some unnamed disaster would strike you or someone close to you, and that you were helpless to do anything to prevent it, your response would quite probably resemble the habitual mental and physical behaviours of an adult with ADD. You would have difficulty focusing your thoughts, and your mind might feel like a squirrel on a treadmill: racing but not going anywhere."

"The Vancouver psychologist Gordon Neufeld calls anxiety "an attachment alarm". Its role in the survival of the human infant and child is to signal when our attachment relationships, which we are absolutely dependent on, are threatened. It is useful, unless it becomes a chronic state."

"A deficit is incurred when one pays out more than one receives. The child with ADD has had to pay out more attention than he or she has received, which is precisely how he or she has incurred an attention deficit."

All three of these quotes really drive home for me all the ways ADD and anxiety really reinforce each other. Seeing it laid out the way it is in the first example actually makes it seem so obvious that I don't even know what to say about it other than just point at it with my eyebrows raised and "Huh? Huh?"  That top paragraph absolutely describes my resting state so much of the time. And the second paragraph is a really good explanation for anxiety, the way I experience it anyway.  The things I am most anxious about are the state of my relationships. Like, by FAR. I'm not saying that isn't ALSO something it would be good to work on, but one thing at a time okay?

Two things push my anxiety buttons the most, abandonment and conflict. I worry that someone will all of a sudden stop loving me for a reason I might never know, and I worry that all affection anyone has for me is conditional on my never saying or doing something they have a problem with. When I try to imagine both those fears, they feel different. The former makes me feel like sobbing, the latter makes me feel like screaming.

I don't feel very in control of either, but with certain vigilance I think I can keep most interpersonal conflict at bay until I can't recognize myself anymore.  I feel completely unable to prevent abandonment.

Here are two things that I feel like are true but they make no sense to me so I am still trying to pull them apart and see if they stand up to examination:

1. If I am secure enough with someone to have conflict with them, I also am really afraid they will abandon me.
2. If I am fairly sure someone won't abandon me, I am most scared of having conflict with them.

Gosh I am really glad I have therapy tomorrow that's for sure. Like I said, I am not sure if I am 100% right about the above, but it is how I feel right now.

It is also worth noting that I panic when I am myself angry at someone I love. I am still trying to figure that out, too.

Okay here are some more quotes:

"The classroom behaviour of ADD children, to give a common example, is frequently said to be disruptive. They seem to have more interest in interacting with their peers than in the material the teacher would have them study, which may simply mean that they are trying to get their relationship needs met.  If they tend not to be do this very successfully, they do it all the more desperately.  Their brain's attentional system cannot switch into "schoolwork mode" when it is consumed by the anxieties about the child's emotional connection with the world."

This is me a lot. I know I have had times at work where having my relationship needs met (by my co-workers) was completely preoccupying. I don't mean like I wanted to have significant relationships from them, but I wanted to interact with them and feel like we were in sync about ... possibly anything.  I guess that was never really going to happen for me there, which is part of a long list of reasons I got super phobic about that workplace.

So that passage is super interesting to me and for sure reflects a lot of my experiences of myself in work places.

"The nagging hunger for emotional contact explains the oft-observed "paradox" that many children with ADD are capable of focused work in the presence of an adult who is keeping them company and paying attention to them. This is no paradox at all, if we see the opposing roles of anxiety and attachment in influencing attention: attachment promotes attention, anxiety undermines it."

I have so many tasks that I need someone to sit with me for me to be able to do.  My dishes, especially. Most domestic things.  I get pretty antsy in the bath or shower.  Walking, especially if I am in a hurry. Um. I think those are the big ones that are so difficult for me to do unless someone is near me (even if they are doing something else) or talking to me on the phone.  But like I said in this entry, I am super lousy at being alone in general, not only when I have one of the above tasks to do.

My therapist, Demian, recently asked me how I manage when I am by myself and can't get the reassurance I need to feel okay, and I was like "I have no idea, I am never really not able to get that reassurance."  I can gchat or text or even call anyone I need to at any time and have them tell me that we are okay. Obviously this is not a good solution to the problem, let's be clear, I am just saying it is the solution that I have been using.

Demian thinks that asking is bad for me because it sort of automatically creates two possibile realities in my head. He says if a person who was totally secure in their relationships was made to ask their partners/friends several times a day if they were mad at them, they would become more and more insecure all the time.

So that's interesting.

I need to do more things alone.  I went for a long walk and met a friend for lunch and walked home again last week, leaving my phone at home.  I was super proud of myself about that, and I also felt a million times better for having done so. Like I actually felt like a completely different person.  I wonder if I would be able to do that once a week, go for a walk and leave my phone at home.


( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 2nd, 2013 01:11 pm (UTC)
I don't even know what to say because this is so completely inside my head wow.
Apr. 2nd, 2013 06:34 pm (UTC)
Everything about this post is great.
Apr. 2nd, 2013 06:52 pm (UTC)
Apr. 2nd, 2013 06:55 pm (UTC)
Apr. 2nd, 2013 06:55 pm (UTC)
Mar. 3rd, 2014 08:01 pm (UTC)
I wanna talk more about this! What parts do you relate to?
Mar. 3rd, 2014 10:05 pm (UTC)
Okay I just re-read the entire entry (I couldn't remember commenting until I realized the post is from almost a year ago!) and the only part that is really resonating with me right now is the stuff about needing a lot of reassurance from people all the time.
Apr. 3rd, 2013 09:46 pm (UTC)
As a person who believes I may have ADD a little (if you can have it just a little)... I find this fascinating. The two statements you're unsure of make sense to me.

I am very interested in this subject... keep talking about it if you want!
Apr. 6th, 2013 02:51 am (UTC)
Are you reading or listening to Scattered Minds?
Apr. 6th, 2013 10:45 am (UTC)
No, I haven't gotten around to it yet. I find the passages you've posted up to this one difficult to follow; perhaps because reading online is difficult, perhaps it's the out-of-context-ness. This is the first one that made sense to me.

Reading about ADD isn't on my priority list; I don't find whatever symptoms I have overly detrimental; although a lot of what you say rings true, not all of it does, and I find the hyper-focus part is amazing for getting work done.... I haven't found it necessary to get diagnosed... perhaps that means I don't really have it. It's certainly not the adHd kind if I do.

In any case, I recommend The ADD-Friendly Guide to Organizing Your Life - that is, if you're a Messy Person. It absolutely recommends having someone sit with you while you clean/sort through stuff, but the quote here explains why that works and that makes total sense!
Apr. 5th, 2013 02:08 pm (UTC)
Keep talking. The gabor mate quotes make me cry.

I just started reading, When the body says no, but I'll probably ditch it pronto and read this instead.

I also have just had to decide not to see Gabor Mate in May because I'm going to have to be in Toronto the following week, and I don't want to be out of town two weeks in a row. This makes me sad.

If I read the book, can we have coffee and compare notes? I would really love that. I'll be in TO from May 7th to May 10th for a conference. What say you?
Apr. 6th, 2013 02:51 am (UTC)
Yes for sure!!!!
Apr. 6th, 2013 05:20 am (UTC)
Clearly I need to read this more! I got bogged down.

I can relate to the abandoment stuff for SURE. And the classroom description (I always got in trouble for "Demonstrates self-control."). And like you, the social stuff with coworkers often felt like my job--I used to feel like going to my job was like hanging out in the dorms (partly because it was).

I end up having to check in with people a lot about whether or not I'm doing the right thing for them. I don't feel that fear of conflict...I just fear leaving conflict without having solved it. Or something.

I wonder if I always have a podcast in my ear when I am walking because of that alone stuff you mentioned?

Please keep posting about this.

Apr. 6th, 2013 09:35 pm (UTC)
I read this book ages ago when I was on the waiting list to see a psychologist for testing. At the time, I knew that it made sense, but much of what Gabor Mate was explaining about ADHD didn't seem to resonate as deeply with me as another book I recommended a while back on FB. That one was called Women with Attention Deficit Disorder by Sari Solden. While not everything about all the case studies she describes in the book have been my experience, a fair bit of it did make sense to me -- especially around how women socialize, and their experience of how hormones effect ADHD symptoms during the menstrual cycle.

I wrote in my LJ about how I came to seek my diagnosis. I can't remember if I included all the details about the process, but I'm sure that the basics are there at least. When were you diagnosed?
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )



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