Friday, June 06, 2014

ADHD: Looking Back & Laughing

Mini roses - Made with Paper
I'm a very lucky individual. I just wish that all of that luck was good. There always seems to be a balance. For every contest I win, there is the EPA letter declaring that I will be fined by the barrel for industrial toxic waste dumping.[1] When I first started this blog in 2005, I used bad luck as one of my topics of choice. You can read a classic entry here. In the end, however, I decided that writing about bad luck was at cross purposes with my efforts to think positively. So bad luck was dropped.
That doesn't mean that my luck magically transformed into a rainfall of positive li'l Nestles Treasures from Heaven.[2] Recently, I have been having trouble buying a working stylus. My chronic motor tic disorder robbed me of my drawing skill years ago. I walked away from the art desk and all my dreams as an illustrator. Since my divorce, I have been dabbling in art again and recently wanted to step up my efforts. I chose to do it digitally since erasing mistakes was as easy as a tap, and I knew I'd be making a lot of mistakes. I began with fiftythree's app Paper and their nifty doodad, Pencil. It promised to provide the closest drawing experience that matched my old style: A pencil tip, an eraser, and the ability to easily smudge the pencil lines with your finger for gradation. By pairing the Pencil with the iPad, Paper knows which end you are pressing against the glass. If you press without the Pencil, it interprets that pressure as a smudge stroke. Genius!
Unfortunately, my first Pencil was defective. It erased just fine, but the drawing side would only smudge. So I returned it for a replacement. Then the replacement arrived and the drawing tip worked like a charm! Too bad the eraser side didn't. It wouldn't pair correctly and only made smudging strokes like the defective Pencil before it. You could erase something by smudging it into oblivion, but for $60 I expected better. Today I received a return label to send it back for another exchange. Here's hoping the third time's the charm.
Years back this would have sent me over the edge in rage. How dare they single me out with shoddy equipment, blah blah blah… I was tightly wound. Now I just laugh. This completely reminds me of that time I tried to rent “The Ladykillers” from Blockbusters DVD mailing service. It took me four times to get one that wasn't cracked. And only that one movie ever gave me trouble. So bizarre. That was a turning point for me. Before then I would have ranted, written angry letters, demanded to talk to supervisors, etc. Instead, I laughed and blogged about it. I was almost disappointed when the fourth copy arrived undamaged. I'm sharing all of this with you because we truly can train ourselves to manage ADHD anger and low tolerance for frustration. I just hadn't realized how successful I had been with my own efforts until this Pencil fiasco. Sometimes the luck we get is just dumb, and the things that go wrong are nobody's fault. The folks at fiftythree have been wonderful to work with. I'm sure I'll get a working unit one day. Could I ask for more? Well, a working Pencil on the first try, I suppose, but that paper airplane is out the window.
In the meantime I have found a solution: I shall draw with a real pencil on real paper. Voilà! No Bluetooth pairing problems! It's almost like I'm a genius or something.
I am glad that I began this journey to master myself and learn to write about these problems in entertaining ways. I can't say this is the most entertaining article I've written, but as I warm up my mind for the revisions on my overcoming suicide book, I'm glad I took time to share this. Too often ADHD tips here are about the fiascos of my life. At least this one time I wanted to write about a success.

  1. That was a fun day. I was in my early twenties and called the EPA in a panic. It turns out some company with a name similar to my business name had been naughty, but the EPA didn't know which company so they sent out a blanket batch of threats to all businesses that had a similar name. Gotta love government efficiency.  ↩
  2. How I miss those devilishly delightful chocolate treats.  ↩