Tode’s Weekly Assessment 2023-05

Mostly uneventful week. Exceptionally cold though towards the end. Not supposed to warm back up over here until sometime Sunday, but it hit -20°F Friday night. The kitchen sink and the toilet froze up. Thankfully we still have water from the tub, so it’s just a matter of making sure pipes don’t break right now. It’s too cold at the moment to get them to completely thaw out in this old house.

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Tode’s Weekly Assessment 2023-04

This week has felt rather eventful for my otherwise repetitive routine life. Felt like a lot of errands, usually I don’t leave the house unless I really have to or I am experiencing a rather social phase. Definitely in hermit mode right now since the errands felt extra busy. And super “people-ly” if you get what I mean.

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Learning About the History of Chess

Using the student led unschooling method for homeschooling can seem rather chaotic and unstructured for many people, but when you have ADHD in the home – especially when both the parent and the child have it like in our case, it can lead to some rather unexpected and rewarding surprises and roads that might not have been discovered or explored.

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Tode’s Weekly Assessment 2023-03

Okay, so one of the things I have an issue with – because it used to work for me but now it doesn’t – is scheduling the mood tracker to go live at a certain time. It used to be that it would motivated me to keep them filled out on time so that they wouldn’t be blank when they got posted.

The more independent my children become, the more erratic my personal routine is – much the way it had been before having children to be honest. The more I look back at my past, the more I come to realize just how much of an absent minded flake I must have really been. Kind of sheds some light on why my parents respond to me the way they do even now. To them, in their highly organized lives, I must seem terribly lost.

I was never a helicopter parent and now that the boys are teens, I’m completely comfortable with the idea of being a total and 100% free ranged one even though none of them ever really leave the house. We seem to be a herd of home bodies over here for the most part. I don’t know how that came to be but I am at least content and at peace with knowing everyone is safe doing their own thing.

In any case, I think I will keep future mood trackers as drafts from now on so that they can be posted when I’m actually ready to have them go live. This will probably mean that they will become a bit erratic, but I will try to avoid that as much as I can.

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Been Doing A Lot of Thinking Lately

I’ve been doing some thinking about what I’d like to do different or add to the blog since I’ve realized that it’s become nothing more than just tarot stuff when originally it was a journal. I’d like it to have more stuff of the things I’m interested in and doing. Not just tarot. Because I’m more than just tarot. I’m more than just writing prompts.

I know part of the reason I stopped writing personal posts was because I felt like all I was doing was bitching and it bothered me and it felt negative. Yes, everyone needs a place to vent. But I don’t want to be just some kind of drama queen. But I also don’t want to paint a false picture of positivity either. I just want to be me, whatever that is in the moment.

I recently got screened by a neuropsych evaluator (again) but this time specifically for ADHD. And, to no surprise to my father, med doctor, and therapist, I have it. This evaluator was even kind enough to take the time to explain to me why it feels to me that my brain functions worse now after having three kids than it did before having kids.

He straight up said that being a parent is hard for anyone, whether they are neurotypical or neurodivergent. Let’s get that out of the way. Parenting is a hard and challenging gig with no flight manual. Everyone is flying blind as they go. So yeah, that part sucks. And with each child you have, it get harder. The moment you add neurodivergence or disability to the mix, the challenge increases. And in the case of my family, we all have our own unique set. And I’m a single parent. He said this naturally pushes me beyond my threshold capacity to cope. So of course I’m going to feel off and out of whack everyday now. And the more I address each of my disorders and get them better under control, the easier things will get for me. He thinks I’m doing the right thing right now and encourages me to keep at it and continue to ask those questions and work on what I need to work on.

He doesn’t directly mention the window of tolerance, but this is what he’s talking about. The window of tolerance is the range of optimal stimulation in which an individual best functions. Some of the literature describes this window weird.

I know I do not shutdown because I’m under stimulated for example. I shutdown because I’m unbelievably overwhelmed and simply cannot fucking deal with it anymore. My youngest son calls it my “blue screen of death” because it hits me so hard. Normally, I sleep on average 4 to 6 hours, but when this hits I can sleep as much as 14 hours in a single shot. So no, I don’t think this is from not being stimulated enough. Or at least, not for me.

Because maybe from an outside perspective, I didn’t receive enough stimulation, but they aren’t seeing all the shit that’s going on inside my head and everything I’m trying to juggle and keep track of in there. I’m sure every parent reading this knows about the mental load I’m trying to describe here. Birthdays, holidays, school shit, grocery shopping, housework, if you have a job then that too. Then it’s extended family and friends. The more we think about it, the more the list grows, right? And suddenly it’s like OMG.

And it makes me think of that video I watched on Facebook regarding ADHD with the marbles. This first time I saw it, I fucking cried. Let me see if I can find it. Here it is:

And I feel like this is me as a parent every day. My marbles are all over the fucking place. Even with the clear bag. They’re falling out. I have more than a hundred. And I acknowledge that all the parents around me are struggling too with just as many marbles. This shit is hard. It’s fucking crazy. And we’re expected to be perfect and never fuck up. Which, let’s be honest here, is a stupid expectation because we’re human. We’re all human and part of being human is to learn from mistakes. Learning isn’t possible without making mistakes! Creativity isn’t possible without making mistakes. Beauty isn’t possible without mistakes.

Perfection is a horrible lie derived by shame. It doesn’t come from nature. It comes from control. From fear. That inner critic? That doesn’t belong to you. Doesn’t belong to me. It was given. To control. To mask. To hide. To put on hold the things that would otherwise make us happy.

Today I had therapy. And I was talking to her and told her that I’ve been beginning to realize that I need to start prioritizing placing my focus on what brings in more happiness rather than what avoids pain. Because I’ve realized that even though I can avoid pain, it doesn’t really make me happy. And what good is that, really? Masking avoid pain, but doesn’t make me happy. What good is it in the long run? It denies my authentic self in the name of avoiding pain and for what? Because I can’t hold or juggle as many marbles as someone else? Because I need a med that many people believe is addictive just to juggle the marbles I can hold?

And you know, that’s another thing. Is a diabetic addicted to their insulin because they need it in order for their body to function properly? Are they addicted to it because they can feel the difference if they don’t take it for one day? Can you feel the difference if you don’t drink a beer versus when you do? Are you addicted to beer? Yes, I can tell the difference when I take my meds versus when I don’t, but I can also go months without taking my meds before I realize that’s been the case. Is this still addiction? I don’t believe so, because I smoke tobacco. In two hours time I feel like I’m crawling out of my skin to get my next cigarette. Hell, a cigarette is the FIRST thing on my mind when I wake up – even before the need to pee. I can go about half a day before I get a similar feeling for coffee. Those things? Yes, I feel are addictions. Those things I cannot go long without. Those things are seldom not on my mind.

But my meds? Fuck… honestly? If it weren’t for Topmax preventing the majority of my migraines I’d probably be intentionally med non-compliant. I’d probably tell the med-doctor to fuck off because the side effects suck. These meds have caused dry mouth bad enough to destroy my teeth. They suppress my appetite enough that my boyfriend typically has to remind me to eat because even when I don’t take them my appetite is normally low enough I only think to eat about once a day. This is why I think the Abilify was such a shockingly rapid weight gain problem for me when they put me on that year ago and it triggered a strong appetite and I’m an intuitive eater. I don’t eat on a schedule. I never have. I only eat when I’m hungry and I stop eating when I don’t feel hungry. And the Abilify made me feel hungry all the time, even when I physically felt full. It was terrifying. We’re talking 10 pounds a month here.

I’m weight stable now, so even with the weird eating habits I have, my metabolism finds this very normal. I fluctuate maybe 5 pounds at most each appointment so that’s just water. And when I say that, I mean I gain 5 and then go back down. I don’t ever lose 5 and then go back up. So yeah, it’s water.

I wish doctors of all kinds would actually listen to their patients more often about what they’re experiencing. I’m grateful that right now I have care providers that are doing just that.

My PCP is actively working with me to find out what exactly is going on with my left hip and SI joint because they keep slipping out of alignment – even if I’m just sitting. Sometimes it happens while I’m sleeping. At this point he thinks it may have been a traumatic injury during the labor of my last son that didn’t heal correctly. X-rays have been done so hip dysplasia has been ruled out. So now I’m on the waiting list to have an MRI done to have a look at the connective tissue in that area. Worst case scenario I think means having screws put it to hold everything in proper place.

I have taken some initiative to learn some isotonic exercises to do at home to help keep the SI joint in alignment. Some of them can be done while sitting in a chair and they are all very easy to do. Like placing a ball between the knees and squeezing for about 20 seconds as hard as you can, relaxing, and do it again. Do this 5 times. No idea how this realigns the SI joints, but the last time I had a problem with it on the left side, it helped. Driving a clutch seemed to helped this last time too but the time before that it seemed to be the cause of the problem, so I don’t know with that one.

All I know for sure is that when anyone of any age is pushed outside of this window, they are not going to function normally. It doesn’t matter if they are neurotypical or neurodivergent. Once they are outside this window of tolerance, their coping mechanisms are going to tank in some way. The longer you are outside this window of tolerance, the more traumatizing it becomes.

And just a side note here, this is why domestic violence is so damaging for people. Victims are pushed and kept outside of their window intentionally the entire time they are with their abuser. The few moments of respite they get from their abuser is a big part of what creates the trauma bond. So yeah, when the abuser pulls them back into their window of tolerance, it’s going to feel like a huge high to the brain – especially if they’ve been kept out of that window for extended periods of time. This creates an addiction and binds the victim to the abuser, making them falsely believe they must stay with the abuser to experience that window. Please keep this in mind when talking about and to victims and survivors.

Yes, I do use the terms interchangeably. I do see myself as both. I don’t see either as better or worse than the other. For me it’s more of a matter of which one is in an active situation and which one is in a safe place. Active situation? Victim. Absolutely without question. As for when that transitions to survivor? I don’t know. Sometimes I do feel like I have come out on the other side. Other times I feel like I’m still struggling to get there. But I’m not dead, so I guess that qualifies me as a survivor either way.

But yeah, things could have been far worse for me. And it pains me to know that it is far worse for many others out there. But the thing that really gets to me is the idea of “victim mentality” because when you’re in the thick of it, shit is confusing and overwhelming, and you just feel lost and stuck. You really do. It really does seem helpless. I know at one point I did feel that way. Even if I didn’t want to admit it at the time. I felt it. And it is easier to just bitch and vent about stuff. And sometimes, you NEED to do that in order to clear it out and sort your hear so you can see straight in order to problem solve. At least, I do.

Because, eventually I did get out. And thankfully, I was able to get out safely. With all of the kids. Not everyone does. I will forever be grateful for that. He still has shared custody, but thankfully he’s been fairly civil about shit. There’s still the occasional bullshit, but I suppose that’s to be expected between ex-spouses that have never healed.

I’m sorry this ended up so long and rambling. Particularly since I haven’t written a journal entry post in ages and many of you are probably not used to posts like these from me. I had mostly intended to say that I’ve been thinking about starting a new series of posts involving the homeschooling projects I’ve been doing with Little Bear here at home. Just putting them into a format for others to do themselves if they wanted. The first one being a Minecraft project we’ve been working on with urban planning by building an NPC village. Eventually Little Bear would like to learn how to make a structure datapack with a custom village. I really want to help him do that and I would love to share all of that here.

I just really want to go back to what this blog was originally: all the things I really love, the things I’m currently interested in, whatever it is I’m currently doing or struggling with, my active projects, and so on. Basically, my actual authentic life. Not some scripted template series of posts that are the same day after day, year after year that has gotten me bored to fucking tears at this point.

I’m not going to completely abandon tarot or writing prompts. Just dial it back and do more of the things I love on here and share more of the real me. Maybe even at some point change the name of the blog. Not sure yet. And hope all of this is okay with all of you. I do understand if not.

I plan to have the first post for the Urban Planning In Minecraft Homeschool Project up here very soon for all of you. Still debating on whether or not to start doing videos for this series or just sticking with writing posts. I know I can write things well and for the moment I’m having some trouble with the various video programs I’ve tried. It’s just that I know it’s challenging to convey certain things in writing alone and that each person has their own unique learning style. I’d like to be as accommodating as I can with this series. But with that said, I don’t want to overwhelm myself and end up dropping the ball because of that.