Tuesday, December 13, 2005

I Could Get Where I Was Going if Only My Mind Weren't in the Way

I've been wondering how to tackle today's column since I'm experiencing what I call the "slow tick". Whereas most people think of flailing arms and jerking necks when the word "tic" comes to mind, slow ticks are like being played in slow motion. There is an odd disconnect in my mind as I am aware of what to say in realtime but my mouth has a hard time keeping up. Walking becomes fun as well.
Brain: Shift to the right. Let's avoid that wall.
Me: Wha?
Brain: Shift! Shift!
Me: The wall?
It's not quite unlike wading through jello. I can see where I need to go but the world is all woogily and I'm unable to get through it with any manner of celerity. But get there I do. I refuse help whenever possible. I'll be darned and knitted if I'm going to let this stupid disability get in my way.
Don't be fooled by my bravado. The disability gets in the way all the time. Like this morning as my sweet four year old tried to help me out of the bed so she could go to school. I was moving, but in slow motion. No chance to make the bus so Nana was called and a ride was arranged. I don't drive when I'm like this. Where did I win? I force myself to move. I got that precious little angel changed, dressed, fed, and ready to go. It took me longer than on any other day but I did not let her down.
Today's column isn't about me, however. It's not about how amazingly cool I am for pushing through disability to be Wonderdad. This is about disability ~ or life's obstacles in general ~ and how we need to fight to meet our goals. To sit down and let apathy win the day is to give up on nobility and settle for mediocrity. Like any obstacle, disability is only in our way until we figure how to get around it.
People with ADHD tend to ruminate and self-flaggelate because of failure. They can see the goal line but get distracted within feet of it. Then they get so angry with themselves. This is failure, isn't it? This is stupidity, no? To lose the race for want of a few feet and an attention span? Likewise, people with severe depression miss opportunity after opportunity because they stay home in their dark caves away from others or at worst they are unable to do anything except feel sad, so overwhelming are the waves of despair and misery. They get more depressed in response to these seeming failures. But these disabilities are not failure. They are obstacles.
Sometimes it seems we use creative reasoning to keep our self-esteem intact when trying to allow for setbacks, but we play by different rules than others. Most people I know don't have random moments when they can type just fine but can't speak on the phone, but how does it profit me to constantly compare myself to people who can walk and chew gum at the same time? We shouldn't beat ourselves up over events and circumstances we have no control over, no matter how disappointing the affects may be on our lives. We need to keep in mind what our goals are. To be famous? To be rich? To be popular? Or to simply succeed? I can't say that I don't imagine being more well off financially, but I'll settle for success. It's not settling for less, though. It's being realistic. We can't run before we can walk. We can't jump to the top of the mountain. However, we can take one step at a time to get there. I am determined to be financially successful, but I need to overcome various obstacles to get there.
Remember, disability is only an obstacle when we can't get around it. Taking one step at a time is a way of pushing past our limitations and progressing despite them. This is what I tell myself when I am feeling down for not being able to dress my daughter in time to catch the bus. This is what I tell myself when I miss a self-imposed deadline. I don't settle for less. I don't make excuses. Instead, I refine my goals to be more realistic by adding more inbetween steps to them. It's how I keep myself on track and I highly recommend it to anybody overwhelmed with what life has thrown at them disabilities or not.
In today's case, I couldn't have anticipated ticking this morning, but then I stayed up late working on my kids' podcast so there is blame to be laid there. Insomnia acerbates my neurological maladies. I'll keep that in mind in the future by planning better and deciding it is more important to sleep than to finish the project. I'll also keep my doctor's appointment today. I'm seeing a neurologist for the first time and I don't want to miss this appointment. I don't know what is in store, but I'd like to pin down what my limitations are and what's causing them so I can get busy moving around them. I've got a mountaintop to reach.