Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Capitalism as a Coping Strategy, Plus Other Successes

2018 was a good year for me. Thank you all for reading my articles, sharing them with friends, and supporting me over the years. This blog, A Splintered Mind, has been tackling ADHD and depression with attitude and humor online for fourteen years now. It is the longest project, aside from parenthood, of which I have remained consistently engaged.

In the past year, I have been spotlighted in Esperanza magazine, had blogs published at, had an article published in ADDitude Magazine’s Fall issue, and was selected to participate in a blogger advisory panel. 2018 was busy, but it all came together in the Fall.

The event that took the most effort was the blogger advisory panel—even more effort than trying to get a decent portrait for Esperanza magazine that didn’t make me look like a doofus. That project involved all of my smiling daughters giving me encouragement on a bright summer day. I felt so awkward doing a photoshoot in a public park, as if I’m a looker, but my girls boosted my self-esteem and got me through it. For the Boston gig, in contrast, I had to utilize every coping strategy I’d invented, plus make up a few on the fly, to prepare and present for the panel. It was me vs. myself.

I was flown back East at the beginning of December to give my feedback on depression websites. It was a paid gig, so I spent weeks putting all my focus on making it happen. No ADHD mishaps for me! I was so anxious to be ready for my flight, I accidentally got ready a day early. I felt both stupid and liberated since all I had to do now was leisurely head off to the airport on the correct day.

This gig came at a good time for me. I needed the self-validation and focus on myself. My family life has been hectic due to the Brownie’s challenges. I haven’t been blogging. I haven’t been writing. I’ve just been busy. This gig helped me reassert my own needs into my life. It sounds selfish until you realize how completely lost I have been in my daddy duties. There wasn’t any balance.

Finding balance between what I want to do and what shouts at me the loudest is a constant battle, especially when ADHD tips the scales. To give you an idea how focused I was on fighting my own tendencies, I woke up in the hotel room on the day of the event and caught myself reading news. I lost about fifteen minutes. Fortunately, I all of a sudden realized what I was doing.

I couldn’t read news! I had to shower, dress, attend breakfast, and socialize, never mind show up on time to the panel. Sticky notes, iPhone alarms, and ToDo lists weren’t going to save me. I needed to crowd out distractions from my mind. My solution was simplistic, but effective. I chanted the speaker fee out loud nonstop to myself for the entire time it took me to haul my fanny out of the room. Any time I even feared a distraction was eminent, I’d chant the speaker fee even louder! I got there on time with capitalism as a coping strategy.

I signed an NDA, so I can’t tell you too much about what we discussed. I can tell you that I completely agreed that █████ and ███ were important considerations when a product like ████████ is brought to market. That’s why ████ ████ ██ ████████. Also, █████.

When I arrived back in Utah, all that hyperfocus had a price. I had pushed myself too far and was knocked out of commission for a week, but the trip was worth all the effort. I had a fabulous time meeting new bloggers as well as meeting old acquaintances I had only previously met online. One of those bloggers used to take issue with my posts because of my earlier anti-meds stance. We went back and forth for a while. I was initially concerned about meeting her, but it turned into an extremely positive experience (More on that at another time). I also made time to visit with family for a day before hopping back on the plane.

Most importantly, I took away from the experience several epiphanies. The first I described above. I need to take more time out for myself. I interpret this to mean that I need to socialize, date, and work on my book projects more. I’d already been exercising over the summer with a secret project, but it wasn’t enough. I still walk around like a soda bottle shaken to its limit. Those will be good goals for my 52nd year. The second epiphany I took away was that my blog needs a serious revamping. After spending a day critiquing other blogs, I could no longer turn a blind eye to my own blog’s shortcomings. I also need to recommit to a regular schedule. The final epiphany is that I miss traveling. I need to plan more trips. I don’t need to travel across the country to satisfy this itch. There is plenty in Utah I have yet to explore. I should get out there and reflect those new experiences in my writing.

I hope you continue to come along for the ride.