It’s time to sit down and do some work OH LOOK AT THE SHINY THING!

Wall of text incoming about my experiences with ADHD.

I received my ADHD diagnosis in 1989. My PE teacher at the time complained to my parents that I had trouble paying attention and showed extreme hyperactivity. During PE, also known as PHYSICAL EDUCATION. I remember her complaint. The activity for the day consisted of hitting two sticks together to the rhythm of some music. This probably bored my six-year-old self. After a brief meeting with a doctor, I received a prescription for Ritalin, which I took every school-day for the next 8 years. I did not receive therapy. Because of my teacher’s complaint on my extreme hyperactivity (she was an older woman who hated kids (according to my childlike memory and opinions of her at the time)), I received a very high dosage for my age. My mother recently told me that I became the most depressed child she’d ever seen, and that I’d cry for no reason I could give. My dosage lowered very quickly to average levels.

When I hit 8th grade, I grew fed-up with it (yay rebellious teenagers!) and informed my parents I would no longer be taking my meds, as I felt depressed. I also had no appetite and had trouble making friends, due to me pretty much being a zombie.

The weeks that followed resulted in an almost complete shift in my mannerisms and mood. I became more outspoken, friendlier, and started making friends faster. My grades also dropped from A’s to B’s (or lower. C is for Credit), but my parents were alright with that, as I became an all-around happy and social person. They regretted the medication, and I didn’t even hesitate to forgive them. They couldn’t have known what the pills were doing to me, and they were just trying their best to help me. I know that for a fact.

However, I also didn’t know what the pills were doing to me. Because my very young diagnosis, I never really understood that the pills did, unknowingly, work as intended. But nobody figured it out because I quit the pills right at puberty, so many assumed the new changes in my personality and appetite were normal alongside the hair in places where none grew.

In High-School, I had extreme difficulty memorizing facts. Concepts and theories, I could get. Asking me to name all the parts of a dissected Star Fish (“Uh… is that a clavicle? What do you mean ‘No?'”)? Failure. Time-travel paradoxes and the ideas of alternate timelines and universes? No issues (there is a timeline where Marty McFly just vanishes from his parent’s house and is never seen again by anyone). I digress, as I’ve (surprisingly) lost track of what I meant to talk about. So I suffered through History, some Math, Biology, and Chemistry. However, in more creative and critical thinking classes like English? I started doing much better (this is subjective, as I actually sucked at English until my Senior year with a brilliant teacher (Thank you, Mrs. Stovall!)). But I never noticed that I did something odd in those classes, something that (looking back) I finally understand: I read. Not an earth-shattering revelation, but bear with me. I read books for fun during lectures. While the teacher talked, I had some book in my lap, be it a Star Wars novel or a crime-thriller (my sophomore English teacher often told me I scared her because not most teenagers would choose Thomas Harris’¬†Red Dragon as light reading material). I would focus on the book instead of the teacher, yet the teacher’s words went into my brain more than the book. I found myself becoming distracted by the lesson, and paying more attention to it than the other classes where I HAD to stare at the slides and try to focus on what the teacher would say, and then walk away clueless as to what a mole of a chemical actually meant (I’m still kind of vague on this).

Go forward again to college. I took my first history class online, and found that the teacher put as much effort into the class as I did. The textbook had an online website with multiple choice questions for each chapter. During the first test (which required taking at a testing center on campus), I realized the professor straight up copied the questions from the website and just rearranged the order of them. No change of wording, no trick questions, 100% plagiarized test. I sold my book and proceeded to make a 90 in the class after only memorizing the review questions(a 100 required a 6-page essay, which I wouldn’t do because I sold my book).

The above sounds random, but it’s a lead-in.

The following semester meant taking the follow-up to that history class, only in person. No more online shenanigans.

And I suffered. I could not focus or concentrate. I took extensive notes of dates, people, places, and whatever I could. I read the assigned chapters at least once a night (something that helped immensely, but not enough). I conceded my chances of a high B in that class and started struggling for a passing grade, before thinking of dropping the class.

And then I started doing very well. Amazing turn-around, according to my professor. She asked me what habits I’d adopted to improve so much.

I adopted a bad habit.

Instead of paying attention, I just started listening to music and trying to just absorb as much as possible from the book, but I always played it softly and only in one ear.

And I suddenly learned everything. She distracted me from my music, and somehow that stuck in my brain. I realize now that I’d mimicked my high-school behavior with distracting myself from the distraction.

And that’s also when I knew my PE Teacher called it from the first few weeks of knowing me. I did, in fact, have ADD.

As a kid, I didn’t know what the pills did for me. I just knew the side-effects were ruining my life.

I’m thirty now. And I can not focus anymore. My motivations, my ambitions, my plans for the future? I never stick with them. I don’t stress out, because nothing seems important enough to worry about. I graduated high school without medication, but that’s because high school is simple. College, though? 10 years. 8 switched majors. No clue on what I should be doing with my life. I think I only graduated because I finally convinced myself that not graduating and owing them $50K is a stupid thing to do, so I just pushed through it. But right now? Nothing drives me. I wake up, I dick around, I go to sleep.

And it’s been happening for months. I can’t stay on one project long enough to complete it. I have three projects sitting, at 99% ready to go, and I know that after this post, I’ll probably play Minecraft. I don’t ride my bike anymore, I don’t exercise anymore, and I’m depressed that I’m not more bothered by my lack of drive. I’m not depressed that I stopped doing things I said I’d do, I’m depressed that I don’t care more about stopping.

I constantly seek distractions, now. I can’t even watch TV without doing something else on my laptop. If I’m just sitting, trying to watch something, I become anxious and stop focusing on the show I’m watching. I’m almost done with season 2 of Deadwood, and I only know the names of 3 characters, tops. And I only know their names because I played with my phone during those episodes. I do stick with the “Distract from the distraction” method for getting things done. The only issue now is starting it. Completely apathetic, I never start now.

I’ve taken at least 5 breaks in this post to sort music files I’m not even listening to, I just remembered that they were out of place. And now that they’re in their right places, I won’t look at them for months. I’ve moved on.

I’m sick of it. I can no longer function like this. It’s not too late for me. So, with a lot of heavy decisions on my part, a weighing of pros and cons, and telling my pride to stick it, I’ve decided to finally talk to someone about this: all of you. And, possibly, a therapist.

And then something surprising happened. Something I did not expect.

When I voiced my fears and my decision to some people I know, an astounding number responded with anger (some very close friends and family fully supported my decision, making me love them more): at me and at therapists. Far too many said I just needed to stop being lazy and that I should save my money because there’s nothing wrong with me. Others even said ADD isn’t even a real disorder (I don’t listen to their opinions).

And that fucking hurt.

I’m not trying to garner attention for myself. This is not a pity party I’m throwing. I can get attention other ways (which I’ll mention later if I remember).

I feel like, that, when someone mentions ADD or ADHD, it has this stigma of being “just for kids.” Hell, I thought of it that way for years. The other thing is that I feel like many people are incredibly uninformed of the debilitating effects it has on life. One hears “learning disability” and thinks “Well, that should only matter in school.” It doesn’t. A learning disability makes school difficult. It also makes every fucking thing I try to do more difficult than it has to be. A learning disability is not an inability to memorize facts or pay attention. It is not one thing. It is a combination of many, many frustrating and hateful things that make my head spin when I try to do ANYTHING. Focusing on one thing that’s important to me is almost something I can not do anymore. I just now realized I needed to put some soup I bought in the fridge for tomorrow, despite that being my plan for it an hour ago (it’s still good).

Why does this hurt? Because I feel like many of my friends just don’t understand my head. Many think “Oh, just change your habits,” and everything will finally work out in the end.

I’ve been trying to change my habits for ten years. I’ve tried everything I can. You can not believe the fury that explodes behind my eyes when someone tells me “just get a calender and use it every day” as I think of the many planners and lists I’ve made and not stuck to. I can even see my tiny notebook I carried with me for a month to jot out ideas. It has maybe 8 entries, and it’s on the floor, where it’s been since October. There’s lists on my computer of things I need to do. These lists are years old, and I’ve still not done those things. Most of them are irrelevant. But I’ve tried everything I can to change habits, and I just don’t care enough to stick to them. I feel nothing. No guilt, no shame, just a general sense of “meh,” about productivity. And that that’s all I feel is what infuriates me, but not enough to do anything about it.

Others think therapy will fuck up my brain with bullshit and nonsense. I am hesitant to believe them, and wonder of their animosity towards mental health professionals.

But the thing that hurt the most? I actually got called a lazy asshole, looking for an excuse for my laziness. As if I want to revel in it. As if I can finally say “It’s OK that I’m a lazy, unproductive non-member of society! I have a note from the doctor!” A few people even told me “just get a job you hate, so you’ll get a better one.” I know myself. If I get a job I hate, I’ll definitely quit very soon. I don’t think along the lines of “If something sucks, improve it!” I think “If something sucks, get rid of that thing.”

Fuck. That.

I’ve been called lazy all my life. As far as I know, I am lazy. Why wouldn’t I be? I have no drive or ambition or motivation to accomplish anything. I must be lazy.

…but what if I’m not? What if? Think of all I could accomplish. That is something I would love. I would love to work to my full potential, oversee projects to completion, have something that I’m proud of, or have my life be god damn normal, for once.

So why should I not talk to someone? Why shouldn’t I stop avoiding my problems and get some help? WHY SHOULDN’T I?

The worst that happens? Nothing can be done by anyone but me, and that’s the same path I’ve been on for years. I go back to struggling, but I know it’s my only choice if I want to change. But I have closure, and might try harder.

The best that happens?

My life works. That’s the outcome. My non-functioning, non-motivated, non-prioritizing life becomes normal.

It is one goal I can’t get out of my head. I’m fully focused on it. And I won’t stop this one.

Don’t worry about me. I’m confident, and I’m sure I’ve made the right decision to schedule a talk with someone who can hopefully help.

As soon as I get around to it. Tomorrow. Or the next day. Probably next week. If I feel like it.

Shit.

Oh, and for the record? Here’s basically my train of thought while writing this.

My feet hurt, I should take off my shoes (shoes are still on). If I tilt my head, then the nostril will unclog. I’m hot. My face itches. C’mere, kitty! What time is it? Oh, it’s earlier than I thought. Why is there so much trash on my desk? What time is it? Oh, I just checked. Did I brush my teeth (followed by staring into space before realizing I don’t brush my teeth normally at 7 pm)? Ok, take my shoes off (still on). Ugh, the ice in my drink melted and now it tastes bad. Wait, what books are these stacked on my desk? When did I last buy gummi bears? Check email, yeah still nothing but ads, which is all I get anyway, so why do I have 4 email accounts still? Yup, drink still tastes bad.

Why wouldn’t I want to make that shit stop? ūüôā

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Short and Spooky

I shivered at his red curls, his yellow jumpsuit, and shied away from his pale, painted face, red lips forever giving him the appearance of madness. His words were peppered with half-chuckles as he attempted to speak in the manner of someone trying not to laugh hysterically at something obscene. I pulled back, but my chains gave me little freedom from where they were riveted to the ground. Through the open door shown a brilliant light, the twin pair of golden arches that brought me to my doom for I did not know what they truly represented. He spoke again, grabbing my face in his gloved hand and turning it to gaze upon the abomination that once stood for joy and family.

“Did you not hear me?!” He shrieked. “I asked you– ha! I asked you a question?!”

My eyes watered and my face began to ache in that iron grip. I tried to shake my head to indicate I had not heard.

He leaned in close and spoke one last time. “Have. You. Had. Your. Break. Today?”

I screamed.

Star Goodwins is live!

Well, I’m following through on my project, and have decided to put all of my Star Wars nonsense at its new home at Star Goodwins!

That is where I’ll host all of my Star Wars talk, ramblings, reviews, musings, and etc.

I’ve decided to put it all there to keep it organized and separate from my main blog site.

So head on over and expect the first review in a few days.

Suggestions are appreciated, of course, and I look forward to writing and being read again!

http://stargoodwins.wordpress.com/

And I’m aware that the title is terrible. I am also aware of the fact that I don’t care.

Holy Hell, Almost a Year?

Wow, I really fell off for a bit, eh? Last post about a NaNo project that went nowhere (though the story has grown on its own since), and before that I was trying to write 750 words a day. Unfortunately, I just… stopped. Motivation flew out the window, creativity fell to the bottom of my priorities, and I lost all interest in my work. Depression, I suppose, from a futile job search coupled with bills and student debt flooding my life while I drowned in beer. It wasn’t writer’s block, but a deep rut of apathy and laziness.

Since then, I’ve moved across town to a more affordable place, but my writing rut persists. I looked briefly into the world of Freelancing, and then I panicked and ran the hell away from it. It’s terrifying, and I don’t know how people can do it!

I’ve started learning a programming language, but that’s going poorly as well, as I need some things explained as if I were five.

But enough feeling sorry for myself. That’s bullshit. I’m so sick of me being like this, that I’m going to start a project (and hopefully stick to it). This might be the biggest task I’ve ever undertaken (except for the unfinished books and stories I throw words at occasionally). It’s also a window into how nerdy I am, as I haven’t touched this particular subject in over ten years. But I’m starting to become reacquainted with an old obsession of mine, and it’s getting bigger. As days go on, my thoughts are turning back to my old love:

Star Wars.

Everything Star Wars.

Books, comics, toys, legos (which are AWESOME and why didn’t we have Lego Star Wars in my youth (except at the very end)?), cartoons, music, re-edits of the movies, video games, EVERYTHING.

I think I wrote about my Star Wars love ages ago on my previous blog (Here it is, in fact). In that post I mention the duffle bag full of books that haven’t been seen in years.

It’s time to open that bag.

My project: I’m going to read all of the Star Wars novels I can. Chronologically. I’d do comics, too, but I think I’d go broke finding them all.

But I’m going to try to review every single one I can get my hands on.

Starting with Dawn of the Jedi: Into the Void.

Review will be up soon. It’s good to be back.

NaNoWriMo 2012: Let’s do this

Switching my 750 words a day to NaNoWriMo. Today, hit 1756. So far, so good.

It’s a story I’ve tried to write before, called Foreigner, about genetically created humans who also have horns on their temples, making them look like devils.

There’s not much planned right now, other than the main character smokes, drinks, listens to Hank Williams and apparently lives in a bastardized future version of Austin. Weird how my brain works.

Sparks

Another daily writing story: The prompt this time? Write for at least 300 words about a boat, and a fire. Focus on creating a compelling setting.

Again, thanks to http://750words.com/ and http://chaoticshiny.com/wegen.php

I will say, it’s liberating to get the prompt and then go without building or tuning (or even editing, so don’t go berserk if you find billions of errors). All of these I do will have maybe a few minutes of planning. Perhaps I could record one someday. Anyone interested?

Enjoy the story. I had fun.

Read the full post »

750 Words? And Random Writing Prompts? What?

Hello, people who are still sticking around. I’ve been writing again, but not as much. The job hunt is rough, but I’m keeping busy. How? I’ve been writing using a site called 750words.com. The goal? Just 750 words a day. Simple, effective, easy. But how do I get my ideas? How do I fight writer’s block? Another site: Chaotic Shiny. It’s a site with random generators, and I use their Writing Prompt generator to try to bash out something with no planning or editing. Not always easy, but doable. So I’ve decided to post a few of my exercises until I come up with useful posts again. And I don’t always stick to the 750, as I tend to go over. But at least 750 is the goal.

Here’s Friday’s prompt:¬†Write for at least 700 words about a weapon, and a locket. Focus on distinguishing characters through dialogue.

Read the full post »

August 31, 2012 – Reading List Updated

Hello, Internet people. It’s been so long.

Not much from me right now. I’ve been having an overly relaxing summer with very little activity and movement, aside from my beach vacation (that I never would have left if I didn’t have to). I didn’t read that much in the past two months, honestly. Maybe I’ll increase my posting again, soon. But anyway, a reading list update.

Fantasy:

The Sword of Shannara – Terry Brooks
I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. I’ve had it on my shelf for almost a decade, but never could get past the first 3 chapters. It felt too rushed, and the characters had nothing I liked about them. Yet. I decided to keep going, as I don’t want to add to my list of unfinished books (very short list). I can’t bitch about it unless I finish it, right?
So I pushed on. And suddenly the adventure started and I began getting into the characters. And it paid off.
The story is basic. I see people go completely berserk when they review it, calling it a Lord of the Rings rip-off and demanding the author be violated through his pee-pee hole with a metal pole covered in tiny barbs. Jesus, people. Take it down a notch. The book is very similar, in that it is about a normal, unskilled person has to quest for a magical object to destroy ultimate evil or something. So it’s a fantasy-quest story. But it’s not a rip-off. Get over yourself if you think it is.
Where was I? Fantasy quest. Starts slow. Wraps itself up nicely at the end. Enjoyable.

Science-Fiction

The Forever War – Joe Haldeman
I enjoyed this book immensely. An enjoyable look at the effects of faster-than-light travel to a soldier who goes through a war beginning in 1997 and ending in 2917 (or so. My math is a little fuzzy). The universe changes around him. Humanity and Earth drastically change with every trip. A month away, and centuries go by. Haldeman handles this very well, I thought.
I picked it up at as recommendation after reading Old Man’s War by John Scalzi. I’m glad I did.

Redshirts – John Scalzi
Another Scalzi book. Ever notice how every ensign on Star Trek dies horribly when around the main crew, some of which shouldn’t even be down on the scary alien planet? Ever wonder what would happen if one of those ensigns figured out why? This is their story.

06-30-2012 – Reading List Updated

I updated the reading list with two books I recently finished. I’ve also since turned it into its own page at the top for easy access. I’ll keep doing this, and list the books I read as I add to it, so you don’t have to skim it for every little change I’ve made.

 

Hyperion – Dan Simmons
Very good book. It is more or less¬†Canterbury Tales¬†in space. Dan Simmons tells multiple stories, each with their own styles and it truly feels like multiple writers telling their own stories. I don’t know where to even begin to describe the story. But I’ll try. Seven pilgrims travel to the planet Hyperion to meet a creature that alters time and space and destiny, all while a war for the planet and the fate of all human life is about to break out. They tell their stories to each other to try to figure out the significance of why they were chosen to meet The Shrike (said time altering creature).

Speaker for the Dead – Orson Scott Card
The sequel to Ender’s Game. ¬†Less action based, more spiritual and a good concept in the ideas of alien biology and culture. Didn’t think I would enjoy it as much as I did. it is a slow book, but it is very interesting. A xenobiologist (a biologist who studies aliens) is studying a new species of alien called “Piggies.” What goes on from that? I can not say. It reminds me of¬†Fuzzy Nation.

 

Happy reading!

 

 

Just a Quick Update

Hiya. I know I’ve been gone a while, and I apologize. Just wanted to toss out that I finished school and now have a Bachelor’s in English. So I officially know how commas work.

Probably.

Updates will start sometime in the future. For now, I party.