I have a recent-ish diagnosis of inattentive-type Attention Deficit Disorder. This came about because I read an article describing the ways that ADD often presents in adult women and wondered how the author had managed to exactly describe what goes on in my head. Then I went to my doctor, she started reading the formal screening questions, and my spouse and I both laughed out loud because the questions managed to describe pretty much every way in which I can be difficult to live with. I am taking Strattera, and while it is not a magic pill, it is creating significant improvement. (My metric: I lose my purse/keys/cell phone about half as often as I used to, get about half as upset when it does happen, and find them in about half the time I used to. This considerably improves my quality of life!) I’m still sorting out the implications, but there is a certain relief that It’s Not Just Me Being Lazy And Immature, if you know what I mean.
During the time between 2000 and 2004, I met what is now the proposed DSM-V criteria for Binge Eating Disorder. I still consider myself “in recovery from” it – occasional relapses happen, and the underlying disordered thinking is more present than I would like to admit. The Strattera seems to be helping with this as well, but again, it’s not a magic cure-all. It also helps with the few specific phobias/panic triggers that I have, the most notable of which is being in a car in heavy, fast-moving traffic. This is always anxiety-producing for me, by the way – it’s not meant to imply that I think the person I’m riding with is a bad driver.
I also have trouble processing physical/spatial information in much the same way a person with dyslexia has difficulty processing written language. I’ve recently learned the technical term for this is “dyspraxia” and that Daniel Radcliffe has it too, so I’m in good company. :)
Medication and allergies:
I take Strattera, as mentioned above. I also switch back and forth between over-the-counter ibuprofen and prescription-strength naproxen for pain related to the bad leg (more on that later). Naproxen MUST be taken with food, especially if I took it at the same time as Strattera, or else the nausea it causes is as bad as if not worse than the pain I’m taking it to get rid of.
I am theoretically allergic to aspirin, but this was from what may or may not have been an allergic reaction when I was two years old. I’ve never tested it to be sure.
I AM allergic to tobacco smoke and to feathers. Even “hypoallergenic” down pillows or comforters are problems for me.
While this is not technically an allergy, I generally explain it as one for simplicity’s sake: MSG and NutraSweet give me horrible migraine-like headaches if I consume even incredibly small quantities. I need to avoid them.
The “bad leg” is the physical issue of most concern. I broke it when I was 14, and it’s never quite been “right” since. Recent tests reveal that I have a heel spur, a deformed big toe, and an inflamed hip joint all on that same leg. This means that I cannot walk as fast or as far as I would like to be able to (and jogging or running is definitely right out), and may frequently need to sit and rest if I am doing a lot of standing or walking. If it’s particularly bad, my ankle and foot will be visibly very swollen and I will probably be limping.
I have some symptoms that suggest that I may have PCOS or a similar endocrine disorder – skin tags, unwanted hair growth in places hair doesn’t normally grow on women, etc. However, my blood work for things like thyroid function, glucose metabolism, and the other markers for metabolic syndrome generally shows everything as being “within normal limits”, so it’s hard to tell. I am planning to seek a referral to an endocrinologist to see if I can get answers about what the heck is going on here.
I’m quite overweight, which probably doesn’t exactly help with any of the above. Because the pain and mobility limitations related to the bad leg make exercise something that must be done cautiously, and changes to diet must be done with care for mental health reasons, I’m currently focusing on improving my overall health and preventing additional weight gain rather than attempting actual loss. This may be something I revisit in the future.
I like my healthy food as healthy as possible, and my junk food to be The Real Thing. This means that I like my fruit and veggies fresh, my grains whole, my meats relatively lean, my bread with butter (or olive oil) instead of margarine, my chocolate dark (70%-90% is the preferred range), and my maple syrup and vanilla REAL.
Within the parameters of the above, I will happily eat most foods. I was briefly a lacto-ovo vegetarian, but I’ve found that while I COULD give up most meats, I live with someone who enjoys a good steak too much, and I couldn’t give up fish. (Clams were the undoing of my longest stint of vegetarianism.)
The only “recreational substance” I deliberately consume for its effects is caffeine. It has the standard effect of “waking me up” as well as the not-so-standard effect of significantly improving my ability to concentrate (this was probably the major thing that tipped me off that ADD might be an issue for me). I generally have a large coffee or the equivalent early in the day, and possibly a second one in the afternoon or early evening if circumstances call for it.
When I drink alcohol, it is because I like the taste of what I’m drinking, or occasionally because of helpful quasi-medicinal effects such as clearing congestion, not because I want to be drunk. My alcohol of choice is usually New York State wine, generally white or blush and sweet to semi-dry. I also occasionally drink beer (mostly homebrew or microbrew), other wines, various sweet mixed drinks, and the rare straight-up shot of liquor of some sort. It is extraordinarily rare for me to consume more than two drinks in one night, though I can’t say it never happens.
I generally don’t care about what substances other people consume, on a political level. On the other hand, I don’t believe that voluntary substance intoxication is an excuse for inappropriate or criminal behavior, and I don’t believe that impaired drivers should be on the road, whether the impairment is caused by alcohol, illegal drugs, legal medications, or lack of sleep.
On a personal level, being around someone who is smoking anything is likely to make me physically ill, so I do my best to avoid it. The sole exception is Clove cigarettes, which I love the smell of and might even take a tiny puff off of even though I’m still sensitive to the smoke. The Chez Geek card for Cloves has it exactly right.
I’m an Old Married Lady, and even before that, I have always been oblivious to anything short of the most blatant attempts to flirt with me. I tend to assume people are just being friendly.
On the other hand, “queer” (or “bisexual” if you want specific) is still a very VERY important part of my identity, mostly as a way of indicating “Safe Person Here” to non-heterosexual youth. There were times I was actively suicidal as a teenager because I could not accept this aspect of myself, and after coming out in college I found that this was a common (indeed, nearly universal) experience for my not-heterosexual friends. As society-in-general becomes more accepting, I am hopeful that this experience will become less common. Until then, I believe it is critically important to be “out” as an adult, to serve as witness that being other-than-heterosexual will not ruin a person’s life.
Generally, I am in favor of the simple-yet-meaningful celebration of special days. When the “celebration” detracts from the enjoyment of the day or season, something is wrong. I still find it difficult to celebrate Easter, due to having lost a close friend to suicide on an Easter weekend many years ago, but I at least attempt the going-through-motions for the sake of my kids. Independence Day also doesn’t tend to get a lot of direct celebration due to being the day after my wedding anniversary, which I’m usually much more focused on celebrating.
Facebook messages will be noticed and usually responded to since they forward to my cell phone as well as my home computer.
E-mail (to cheshire23 at gmail) will usually be noticed but I may forget to respond.
Calls/texts to my cell phone are fine. Please do not call after 9 PM (texting is OK) unless it’s an emergency or unless you’ve texted/messaged/e-mailed your intention to do so and I’m expecting it. (This way I can take the call without waking up the girls.) If you leave a voicemail or if you want me to call you, please tell me what a good time to call would be, so I don’t fear interrupting something important. (This is why I seldom initiate phone calls, by the way.)
AIM/Y!/MSN/Gtalk are good ways to talk to me, except I often forget to set away messages. If I don’t respond, it’s not because I’m ignoring you – I’m just not around or I am dealing with small children.
ONLY if it’s urgent: e-mail or call me at work, or contact John, who is usually better about contact availability than I am.