Thursday, September 28, 2006

Keeping Positive is Hard Work

I’ve been taken to task on occasion by readers leaving comments who simply can’t believe the advice I give. They’ve accused me of not really having any problems to deal with in the first place, or of being deluded into thinking I’ve actually conquered some of these issues, or they’ve left happy little comments then blogged about how insane I am. It has always made me a bit sad. Not for the usual reasons, mind you, but because these are the very people I’m trying to help out through sharing my life experiences. Instead, they have their hands over their ears shouting “I’M NOT LISTENING!”

My Cognitive Behavior Therapist assures me that is a very common thing for analysts to hear. “That’s too hard.” “I can’t do that.” “Other people may have told you they could do that, but they’re lying.” “It’s all Bush’s fault.” Fortunately, most of the commenters have not been of that variety and in fact have been fairly receptive to these ideas, but what I say flies in the face of a lot of people. Then again, who am I really? I’m just this blogger.

Well, I’m going to work through a problem today right here on these pages to prove my technique works. I’m ticking that slow sort of tick today where I can’t connect my lips to the thoughts racing in my brain. I’m speaking in slow motion, actually, which would make home schooling my daughters comical if it wasn’t so tragic. What’s funny is that I can still type at 80wpm. I bet I could type my comments to the girls and have my computer read the comments faster than I could say them. Neurological problems are so weird. At any rate, I’m not typing here to prove how sagacious I am. Instead, I’m trying to follow Point #7 of Depression: Ten Ways to Fight it Off.

Let’s begin.

I’ve got these bone growths in my mouth that I want checked out. They’re like a second set of teeth growing sideways on the inside of my lower teeth. Things get stuck under them all the time. Chips, really large peas, awkward sentences... It can be quite painful. So I set up an appointment with a specialist sometime last century. Finally, the time for the appointment came and he rescheduled. That’s OK. I could wait another week. Then I discovered I was doubled booked. OK, another week. Dutifully my PDA reminded me of the upcoming event. The specialist’s office dutifully reminded me of the upcoming event. Then I awoke this morning with poor equilibrium, my right leg marking beat to unheard music, and my head in a fog. I didn’t realize I had missed my appointment until 30 minutes past, not that I could have done anything about it had I remembered in time. One phone call later and I have a new appointment one month away. Embarrassing. Frustrating.

Then I felt it. My old friend, Mr. Depression. Sometimes he just pays me a visit out of the blue. He likes to drop by, sit on my couch, and take over the remote control. Most of the time he just drops by after I’ve screwed up. Having AD/HD makes that a common enough occurrence, but in the past, however, he’d stay for weeks. Having evicted him already from my life I couldn’t afford to let him back in so I did what I always do: I fought him off.

First, I said “No,” out loud. I don’t really believe there is a Mr. Depression, obviously. If I did then this blog would be about a totally different spectrum of problems. I couldn’t call it “A Beautiful Mind.” Perhaps “Manky Mind” would suit better. But I digress.

Shouting in the face of adversity steels my resolve. It’s silly, but it works so I don’t knock it. Then I need to find something constructive to do. I chose to dive into home schooling while simultaneously writing this very article. It was just the sort of sensory bombardment I needed to send Mr. Depression packing. Better yet, I never even answered the door.

Now, I’ve spent years developing this technique so some of you may boggle at such fortitude. The ones who don’t suffer from depression will wonder what I’m going on about and the ones who do suffer from it may very well think it’s impossible to do. I promise you, it is not. But it’s not easy, either.

Yesterday my five year old had to come with me to my CBT appointment. I tried to keep her set up with a pair of headphones, a Disney movie, and my iBook, but it was still hard to focus. My therapist, who has AD/HD, commented on how it took some doing but he could now play the TV in the background to keep li’l tikes busy while he counseled somebody. I just shook my head. I couldn’t imagine doing that. In fact, I had to ask him to shut off his screensaver because I couldn’t stop seeing it out of the corner of my eye. But with practice I know that one day such things won’t trouble me.

Wow, just think. In another twenty years I can filter out background noise if I work really hard at it. It’s so depressing. No, wait, somebody’s at the door again. It better not be who I think it is.