Sometimes I have some pretty specific plans but life changes them. I am sitting here in my car that won’t start frustrated that I cannot do the things I need to do today. My niece has a birthday on Thursday and I brainlessly sent her gift to Oklahoma instead of Pennsylvania so the first thing on my list was mailing her package. The second was food shopping because I avoided the dreaded task all weekend and now I am left stranded with no dinner plan. I feel like this often…stuck and forced to deal with the situation that has been handed to me. They say you can learn a lot about yourself by the way you react to situations like this and I am not reacting at all. That is one thing about depression that sometimes comes in handy. You don’t really want to do the things you have to do anyway so when you can’t do them it’s almost bittersweet. Usually my husbands truck is here but that along with his car, is sitting in his parking lot at work so I’ll just sit here for now without the need to ponder what I will do next because there is nothing that I can do. Do you ever feel stuck? What do you do about it? How do you react?
I’ve been recognizing the need to just walk away. I mentioned earlier my new task of unbecoming who I am. There comes a time when you have to throw in the towel and step away. I am quiet by nature. I am one with the quiet and noise makes me feel absolutely crazy inside. I realized after spending too much time on homework once again, the incessant amount of noise my son makes while attempting to do work is excruciating for me. Part of me knows all too well that if he would just sit quietly and do the work, it would take him a lot less time. He just doesn’t stop. If he’s not humming or singing then he’s probably talking out loud to himself. I decided to go for a short walk just to get away from the noise. I got about three houses down when I heard the screaming. There is a boy, high school age, who lives in that house. He too is always making noise. I realize even though we are all different, we each have a unique set of challenges. The boy is autistic and I often see and hear him standing by his mailbox waiting for the bus. He screams all day long and he always seems to be outside. It’s easy to think we are the only one in the world who gets frustrated or has to deal with problems but I was reminded tonight, that’s just not true. The important thing is how we deal with those problems. We can react the same way day after day or we can find a new solution along with some healthy coping mechanisms. Stepping away helps to see the turmoil that is going on inside. Sometimes it’s necessary to be a spectator in your own life. Only by standing to the side and observing from a distance can we really get a glimpse of the whole picture. There are some things we cannot change. We cannot fix everything we think needs fixing because to someone else, it may appear that nothing was ever really broken. So my advice tonight is that when you are feeling like you don’t have any control, step away and go for a walk. Put some distance between you and whatever it is that is driving you crazy. Give yourself permission to take a break and breathe in calm and exhale the rest. You are stronger than you think so start thinking differently.
Focus, focus, focus, please focus. I find myself saying this over and over a million times a day. I know many people do not believe in ADD but I can tell you this, whatever name you want to call it, there exists a condition in which someone finds it extremely difficult to concentrate attention on just one thing. The result is devastating.
This year is particularly hard for my son. I feel like he is back in 5th grade when he couldn’t complete a thing in class. We would help him with hours and hours of homework and there was never time for anything else. This year is a repeat. The work load in 8th grade is so much greater than any other year. He completes quite a bit in class now but the amount of time it takes him to study and complete homework is affecting us all. We reach a level of frustration that is hard to overcome. I try my best not to get frustrated with him but time after time I fail. My daughter is starting to resent him because he takes up so much of our time. “Let him fail.” That’s what she says and every time I hear it I am more determined to make sure that never happens. I grit my teeth and do whatever it takes. He did much better on the medication but he didn’t like the way it made him feel. His loss of personality was the most difficult side effect for everyone. So, last January, we made the choice to take him off of it.
Sometimes I Just want to cry. I want to cry for him and how difficult it is for him to keep up. I want to cry for the free time he never has because there is always something else to do. I want to cry for my frustration and inability to show him patience when the clock turns none-thirty at night and there is still work to do. I want to cry because I need a break too and it is no kind of life for any of us when it’s always work, work, work, aggravation and no play. The clock does not exist for someone with ADD, they can only move at one pace.
He is so smart. I think that’s the hardest part to understand. I tested him over and over on his Spanish words last night. He just couldn’t remember them. He finally starts to get something and then his brain overheats and everything melts away. He needs breaks. Hours of work at a time is not good for someone who has difficulty concentrating. The misconception about ADD is that there is a lack of attention span. That couldn’t be more untrue. Their focus is just divided up among several different things at once. It’s hard to channel it on one particular thing. He is listening to me, climbing under the cushions on the couch and petting the dog at the same time. I can feel my blood start to boil as I say, go and take a 15 minute break. Like it or not, those breaks are necessary but that also means me will finish 15 minutes later than we should.
I don’t have any answers. I do my best to educate everyone about how difficult this is for families as a whole. Add that to the belief that this condition is made up and the result is not receiving any support. I dread evenings now because I know what they bring. He dreads them too. My daughter resents them and I’m sure my husband wishes my mood wasn’t so affected when home should be a happy place. He is just a kid who wants to go outside after school and ride his dirt bike. I want that for him too.
Sometimes my cat walks up to my dog and swats at him just because he’s near her. Let this be a lesson to us all. Don’t be like my cat. Keep your frustrations to yourself. Don’t you dare take them out on everybody else. We have to be better than that.
If you do your share, you won’t have to keep score. Often times, we look at our partner and carry a mental list of what we think they are not doing. After all, we are all human and it’s pretty aggravating when someone is not pulling their share of the load. The more we complain, the less they do. The voices in our head will carry on dialogue that sounds something like this.
“He didn’t pick the clothes up off the floor so I won’t wash his clothes anymore. Why should I pick up his clothes when he is a grown adult?”
In the meantime, he is sitting on the couch thinking something like this.
“She leaves her glass on the table every night so why should I bother to pick up mine? Maybe if I leave mine on the table, she wil realize how annoying it is and finally pick up hers. If not, we will let them sit on the table until there’s no more room.”
Can you see how counterproductive this kind of thinking is? You cannot change your partner but not doing your share to prove a point will not lead to anywhere good. Neither will nagging or pointing fingers.
Everyone should do their share. Marriage is a partnership where two people are meant to work together as a team. If you’re not, then shame on you. And what’s worse, if you are not doing your share while pointing a finger at your partner for not doing his or her share, than that makes you a real jerk. Knock it off, pick up your clothes and put your dishes in the sink. Then go out on a nice date and remember why you fell in love in the first place or talk about why you don’t feel loving anymore.
Lately, everywhere I look, I see articles about Misophonia. According to Wikipedia, Misophonia, literally “hatred of sound”, is a neurological disorder in which negative experiences (anger, flight, hatred, disgust) are triggered by specific sounds..
Do I believe it exists? Yes I do. I’m not sure that I want to classify it as a neurological disorder because I would have to admit having one. I started to notice my hatred of noise a few years ago. I noticed I was always annoyed except when nobody was home. It sounds almost selfish as I type the words but let me explain. It started with the television. I thought maybe something had gone wrong with the sound because I just wasn’t able to tolerate it for long periods of time. Add that to cell phone notifications chirping and beeping, video games in the background and possibly my daughter belting out her favorite broadway tune and I was on the verge of losing it. Then I started to notice the sounds of people chewing and smacking their lips together or biting their nails. It made me feel absolutely furious and I had no control over it whatsoever.
Just today, my husband and I stopped in at the bagel place on campus. I just wanted to sit outside and feel the cool air but all I could feel was the agitation with each and every noise. I noticed the cars engine as it accelerated after the light turned green. I heard the birds squealing and the beeping noise at the crosswalk almost like it was my own heartbeat blasting noise out of my chest. I heard the toddler at the table next to me crying and having a tantrum and I just wanted to go back home. The truth is, I don’t go out very often. I think this may be one of the biggest reasons why. I have quiet at home, just the way I like it. Home is my peaceful sanctuary of noiselessness and I am so grateful to find someplace that feels quiet. Maybe that’s even the reason I gravitate towards yoga so much. I just know my dislike for noise spoils many things that I once enjoyed. I used to love to go out to eat. I loved someone preparing the meal, serving it to me for a change and then actually cleaning it up. But now? All I hear is one table screaming over the other, so many times I prefer to just get the food to go. Real or imagined, there is no doubt noise affects my life in the most negative way. Don’t get me wrong, there are some noises I love like the sound of the waves when I’m sitting on the beach or the sound of laughter coming from my kids who I love so much. I also have tinnitus so I feel like the noise is there constantly and I do my best to quiet myself internally in hopes that it will carry me through the external noises of life.
What do you think about Misophonia? What are some noises that really get under your skin?
Here are my top five:
1) Dogs licking and scratching at themselves
2) Dogs barking
3) Cats spewing up hair balls
4) Televisions blasting