Never Be Late Again: The Explosive Diarrhea Buffer



Problem: You are constantly late for everything.


Solution: Include a time buffer in everything, which I call “The Explosive Diarrhea Buffer.”



Full Story:


Let’s say you have to drive from Charlotte, NC to Raleigh, NC.  You are due to where ever you are going at 6pm.  You know that it takes about 3.5 – 4 hours to make the drive, assuming you don’t speed  and construction is minimal. What time should you leave?  Would 2pm sound like a reasonable answer given all the info?  It’s probably a safe bet for an ADHD person to answer around 2pm.


Now…let’s say all the other information is the same, however, you woke up with crippling, explosive diarrhea.  You must find a bathroom every 15 minutes, and you start to wonder how many stops this road trip will now require.  If you have to find a rest stop every 15 minutes, now how long will that drive take? Now what time would you leave?  12pm?  11am?  Either of those should give you plenty of pit-stop time, depending on the severity of your stomach distress and bathroom spacing along your route.  For extra credit, imagine instead you are traveling with your recently toilet-trained 3 year old nephew.  How many pit-stops do you need now?


Consider it “Time Insurance.”  You have car insurance (assuming you own a car). You probably have health insurance of some sort.  You might even (and should, if you don’t) have life insurance.  Yet those are all to cover hopefully rare events.  While crippling, explosive diarrhea is (also hopefully) a rare event, it’s actually way  more probable than dying outright or getting in a car wreck.  Not purchasing Time Insurance for something more probable than death seems silly.


“But that’s a waste of time,” you might respond.  “I’ll not have to stop 18 times, and I’ll end up in Raleigh 2 hours earlier than necessary.”  That’s OK. Raleigh isn’t closed.  You can find a Starbucks, or even a parking lot somewhere to plant yourself with your smart phone, the Kindle App, or Audible, or bring a real book, Duolingo, Sudoku, puzzles, whatever.   That’s not wasted time if you always keep book or some other opportunity for learning with you. Or God-Forbid, talk to your friends or family that came along with you. Building relationships isn’t wasted time, either.  Further, you don’t consider the car insurance premiums you pay out all year long to be wasted, yet you haven’t gotten into a wreck in 20 years.  Time and money are both resources.  You can’t eagerly exchange money for protection, but not be willing to see the value of exchanging time for protection.


So, apply this to anything that is time bound.  Essay due in three weeks?  What if you get the stomach flu at the beginning of the third week?  Plan accordingly and put a buffer in your schedule, starting now.  When you are scheduled to study, and you think, “Man, I don’t feel like studying. This paper isn’t due for another three weeks, anyway! Netflix sounds really good right now…” Recognize you are in the midst of a micro-choice.  At that VERY moment, picture a week of explosive diarrhea keeping you away from the keyboard (cause please don’t be the guy that brings his laptop into the bathroom…).  Picture having to tell the professor, “I had a week of explosive diarrhea, can I have an extension?”  Then do the hard thing, not the easy thing. Work on the paper.


Now, could I have substituted “Flat tire” for explosive diarrhea as an example of an unexpected disaster setting you back on your schedule? Sure.  There are two reasons I didn’t.  The first is that a flat time is a big, single-time setback.  It might delay your road trip 2 hours, but it’s all at once.  It doesn’t progressively eat away at your schedule like a thousand potty breaks.  That’s real life. Real life eats away at your goals in tiny little increments.  Second, explosive diarrhea is memorable.  It is vivid, both hilarious and cringe-worthy, and it affects everything from driving, to essays, to cleaning the garage, to you-name-it.  A flat tire interferes only with anything relating to driving.  It sticks out in your memory, it’s relatable, and it applies to many more real-life scenarios.  Now that explosive diarrhea is seared into your memory, you will allocated time insurance for all your tasks, and when facing the micro-choice to do or not do the task, you will be able to easily recall this to motivate you to do the thing you are avoiding.  You’re welcome, AND I’m sorry.

Remembering things in the Car




Driving, I’d have ideas and then forget them by the time I got home. I don’t want to pick up my phone to put stuff in the notes app, and I refuse to enable Alexa or Siri.  


(Also: I’d forget where I was going on my errand routes.  I’d miss turns, or completely forget to go to stores or people’s houses.)




Install a small dry-erase board in your car, and keep dry erase pens with eraser caps attached to it.



Full story:

A major ADHD source of problems for me was any time I was in the car.  This manifested itself in a couple of ways.

  • I would forget the destination, or destinations, I intended for the trip. I spent a lot of time “backtracking” because I forgot to stop here or there for this or that errand.  For some reason, backtracking is a major issue for me. I despise it to a really unhealthy level.  The scorn I’d heap on myself for being inefficient was breathtakingly harsh (I’d never say such things to another human being).  It makes sense in the context of time being so valuable, I guess. Still uncalled for. Of course there were many times I completely forgot where I was going and would have to pull over until I remembered.
  • I’d see something that triggered a “Oh I need to remember to…” thought, which would quickly leave and be forgotten until the next time I drove past whatever it was that reminded me in the first place.  I’d once again think “Oh I REALLY need to remember to…” Then, of course, promptly forget again until the next time I drove by.  It was a vicious cycle.



Once I was aware of this pattern, I was able to try to work around it.  But the first solution I tried was horrible. I’d repeat things over and over until I got home, or park, and then would type furiously into my phone. I’d repeat the next location over and over until I reached that location, then I’d start repeating the next location until I got there. This worked poorly if another idea came up that I needed to remember or if other people were in the car with me and dared to try to talk to me. If I was repeating my next stop over and over, and I passed something that reminded me of something I needed to add to my to-do list, I was totally screwed.  Should I repeat the next destination? Or the reminder?  What was I doing? Where am I going?  Shit. I just missed my exit.


I also tried taking notes on my phone, but dangerous…so that didn’t last long. I tried voice memos on my phone, but since I have Siri disabled, as well as most things that would use the microphone (security concerns), I had to log into my phone (I don’t use the finger print scan), open the voice memo app, then start recording.  I might as well down some tequila before getting into the car if I’m going to do all that.


Then I tried writing down everything in notepad.  Several problems arose with this.  First, it would get pushed to the back seat when my son rode shotgun.  Second, it would end up on the floor, then I’d have a thought I wanted to capture, and I’m suddenly stretching trying to reach the backseat floor…and drive.  Tequila, anyone?  Third, I was going through a lot of paper, and constantly buying new pads.  I’d take the notepad into my office or house, then forget to return it to the car.


What I need, I thought…is a dry erase board for the car.  As I mulled this over, I really felt like it needed to be very visible. Dash-mounted would be great.  But not huge…I’ll need to see out the windshield.  But how to attach it?  


Through a series of amazing coincidents, I actually ran into two people who gave me the answer.  The first had a magnetic phone mount that attached to their car air vents.  The other was buying a locker sized magnetic dry erase board for their high-schooler.


And this solution was born:


There are two magnetic air vent phone mounts, and the magnetic locker-sized dry erase board sits right on top.  It’s removable, obviously.  Half the board lists my “Trip Plan” the other “Notes.”  When I get in the car, still in my driveway, I write down all the locations I need to drive to, in the correct order.  When I leave each location, I cross them off my list, so I know where I am to go next.  If thoughts come up during the drive, I repeat them to myself until the next stop light, and jot them down (or have a passenger in the car write down what I need captured).


Later, I came to learn that the previous attempts to solve this issue (repeating things over and over) was actually incredibly harmful.  When I write the post on reducing decisions, it’ll all become clear.  Stay tuned!

Weight Loss: A side story worth sharing



Problem: You are carrying around excess weight, and you have an inappropriate love for carbs.  Also, your mood and energy is a roller coaster.


Solution: Read the book “Why we get fat…” By Gary Taubes.


Full Story:  (Warning, this is really long, but I didn’t want to serialize it.)

First, pictures:

April 20th, 2018 and April 18th, 2019. 126 pounds gone!
Feb 2018 and March 19th-ish, 2019
Dec 30th, 2017 and Dec 30th, 2018
Feb ?? 2018 and March 2nd, 2019

Most of my family of origin is significantly overweight, yet I was skinny until I was about 11 years old, then I broke my foot one summer and the weight piled on.  For years I struggled with my weight, then during a college course (in my thirties!) on Health and Fitness, I managed to lose 90 pounds.  That was incredibly short lived, however.  The steps that took the weight off quickly stopped working, and despite all my efforts, the weight piled back on.  It also didn’t help that I broke my toe, derailing my half-marathon training.


Fast forward almost a decade.  I was at my heaviest (315.6), suffering from many, many health problems (fibromyalgia, sleep apnea, depression, anxiety, etc, etc), when my sleep apnea doctor recommended I try Keto (the Ketogenic Diet).  I looked into it, and it looked gross, so I passed.  Almost a year later, another doctor, simply recommended I read the book “Why we get fat…and what you can do about it.”  I bought the book on Audible and listened to it straight through in one day.  Then I re-listened to it.  And again.  This was around March 20th, 2018.  By March 24th, I had given up sugar, flour, rice, and potatoes.  I was still drinking some shakes high in fructose, as well as Diet Colas.  By April 1st, 2018 I had weaned myself off those and was full-on trying Keto.  


Now, I get that Keto isn’t for everyone, and yes it’s gross at times, especially for a former vegetarian.  I don’t eat beef, so that’s even harder for me at times.   The book changed my mindset entirely though.  I concentrated on lots of leafy green veggies, chicken breast, turkey, some pork (though not much), and a couple higher carb veggies like cauliflower and zucchini. 


Over the course of the next several months, I consistently lost 2 pounds a week.  The only exercise was mostly daily 15 minutes of yoga (more for the fibro pain than anything else), and the far-too-occasional dog walk.


Yes, I went through keto flu. Here’s what it looked like for me:

  • Terrible insomnia for about a week.
  • Terrible indigestion around 2-3am every night for about four or five days.
  • Terrible exhaustion (probably more from the insomnia than anything else) for about 5 days.


Then it was over.  I used urine test strips for about 3 months to make sure I wasn’t shedding too many ketones, which indicates dehydration.  I drank lots of water (about 150oz/day, since that was ½ my body weight in ounces), always with Mio Sport (or Mio Fit…it’s changed names). This is the Mio with Electrolytes.  Before you comment, yes it’s not Strict Keto, Yes I know that.  I’m super lucky that sucralose doesn’t trigger insulin release FOR ME.  You might not be so lucky.  Your cousin might not be so lucky.  That’s the key and the magic of this.  It’s all a grand experiment to figure out WHAT causes your body to release insulin, then don’t consume that.  


Two big (huge!!!) insulin triggers for me are actually fructose and aspartame.  I can get away with eating a fair amount of carbs a day now that I’m fat adapted (sometimes up to 50g net/day), and not trigger massive insulin release, unless I have a lot of fructose, or even a tiny amount of aspartame.  It’s individual.  Figure out what works for you.


I make a lot of my own foods, but I have pretty much a way to eat out at any restaurant.  We even go to Mexican frequently. I’m never tempted, I never cheat (though I’ve been dosed with sugar and aspartame thanks to drive-thrus and sneaky manufacturers).  I became an ingredient label detective.  There are dozens of names that sugar, flour, and starches can show up as. 


I even went to France for two weeks and didn’t cheat once. The desire isn’t there.  I militantly protect myself from any possible scenario where I might end up making a choice I’d regret. For example, in France, I rented an apartment for two weeks, so I’d have a fully stocked kitchen and could cook my own meals.  Sure we ate out here and there, but I was very diligent to make sure nothing sneaked in that would send me back to starting over with Keto Flu. 


When I go to parties, I bring my own dessert, made with monkfruit and stevia, so I don’t ever feel left out or deprived.  If I think I’ll have a gap between meals or my ability to find a Keto meal, I bring pepperoni sticks, cheese sticks, almonds, or quest bars (remember, I’m not strict Keto, I’m lazy/dirty keto for the most part).  I carry Mio with electrolytes and Whole Earth Stevia/Monkfruit blend everywhere.  I have stashes in my car, purse, office, friends’ and families’ houses…you name it.  This is 99% preparation.  


Yes, I’ve lost (as of this writing) 127.2 pounds.  I dropped from size 26 (tight) to a size 10 (actually the bathing suit I just bought is an 8!!!).  But…that’s seriously not the best part.  My pain has dropped from crippling to a minor annoyance.  I’m off the CPAP completely, my sleep apnea is gone.  I can run up the stairs multiple times without gasping for breath.  I can play on the floor with my grandbabies.  My energy level has done a complete 180.  My ability to focus has improved as well!  I no longer have 3pm sleepy spells that require some carbs to recharge to make it through the last couple of hours of work.  I am physically a different person, but also so much more.


Now.  Is it all sunshine and roses? No.  I’ll be upfront.  There are some mental hurdles to overcome.  Being so overweight was insulation for me, psychologically. I didn’t understand that until it was gone.  Being so overweight is like an invisibility cloak, protection, and a shield all in one.  When people look at you in some way, you can write it off as “It’s cause I’m fat.”  When you aren’t fat and people look at you cross eyed…what was that about?  What’s wrong with me? What did I do?  It can be a massive shift, and unveil a lot of stuff you didn’t know needed addressing.


This is where having the right support system is HUGE.  My therapist is amazing! I was working with her for a couple of years before I started Keto, and I just happened to luck out. She worked extensively with clients with anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders prior to helping me.  She gives me great exercises to work towards mentally coming to terms with where my body is now, versus where my mental image is.


Another thing is that as I became smaller, I experienced a very scary feeling of vulnerability.  There’s some past trauma I won’t get into, but the takeaway here is that (in my head), fat was insurance against re-experiencing that trauma.  “I won’t be targeted,” was the underlying theme.  Totally not in my awareness until it was gone, and I freaked out.  Again…working through that with the therapist, through awareness and journaling, and with the help of my amazing life/productivity/executive coach.


I’ve been working with the world’s best physical therapist, who happens to also do personal training.  I love that she both addresses the physical dysfunction causing the pain, but at the same time is moving me to an overall better physical place that reduces future flare ups.  Dr. Amy is the best and if you are in the Charlotte area, you must check her out.  I had to take a break with personal training while recovering from the cat-cussion, but that’s a post for a different day…


It’s been a huge journey.  And it’s not over.









Routines: A Love/Hate Story



Problem: You are a free spirit, and the thought of routines gives you hives; but you are simultaneously a disaster in most areas of your life, and chaos is your middle name.


Solution: Suck it up and REALLY REALLY REALLY TRY routines (with checklists!)!!!


Full Story:


I constantly mocked an old boyfriend who was so rigid in his routines that he refused to bend them even slightly.  My husband actually is a pretty big creature of habit, as well.  I have to say, I spent many a day frustrated because he had to do something, and we couldn’t leave until it was done.


For my entire life, no two days were the same.  I couldn’t ever be on the birth control pill because I could barely remember to brush my teeth consistently, let alone remember something so important.  So, of course, the first 44 years of my life were chaotic.  Actually, chaotic is probably an understatement.  I thought it was because I was a “free spirit” and I needed less structure because “that’s just how I work best.”  The truth is probably closer to: “I thought people who stuck to routines were rigid and boring.”  


My husband probably has helped me see the benefit of doing the same general routine consistently as a good thing.  Over the years I’ve read many (MANY) books and articles on organization, taming clutter, getting your shit together, or whatever you want to call it.  I will (at some point) review some of those books here, as several address ADHD specifically.  


So what finally clicked?  Nothing.  There wasn’t one thing.  It was like a slow boil, coming to the realization that I actually NEED structure to even come close to my potential.   I had to-do lists (oh BOY did I have to-do lists!!!) for many many years.  I tried Franklin-Covey Planners, FLYLady binders, several to-do apps for Iphone and Ipad…nothing really stuck.  I read lots of books, especially in the last year or two, on habit stacking, systems, compound effect, checklists, etc.  It was more the combination of picking various things from this or that book, this or that webinar, this or that blog article…that I started to build 9and come to understand/love) routines.  At no point did I say, “Today I’m going to build and work my routine,” or “You know, this is the day I might implement one of those systems things!”  It just progressed organically over several months of observing, trying, and tweaking.   And as it did, the love grew.


That’s not to say some sources of information weren’t more helpful than others.  Early on, one of my colleagues in France took an entire hour to show me how he uses Microsoft OneNote to track everything from to-do lists, to meetings, to communication, to project details (which I still rely on a great deal).  There was a PluralSight course that was incredibly helpful in the beginning (Time Management for Technical Professionals by Doru Catana).  An article (long since lost) specifically on checklists was incredibly enlightening.


Many times I didn’t believe any of those interventions would work (this is a common theme in my life, btw).  Instead I would approach it as “Let’s see what happens.”  It was all a grand experiment!  I certainly  couldn’t do any worse than I currently was in failing to reach my potential!  Some ideas I actively resisted, including routines.  This was something I didn’t want to actually work.  But, unfortunately routines really do work.  


For me, forgetting to do minuscule things triggered incredible feelings of shame.  This is hard to write, but I’ve learned since that this is common for ADHD people.  A good example is if I got to the car and realized I had left the driveway lights on, I’d instantly slide into a place of shame.  “I’m so fucking stupid I can’t even manage to remember to turn off the driveway lights! How freakin’ hard is it to remember? Every other person on this street can manage to remember, except me.  What the hell is wrong with me?”  All of that would race through my mind in the split second when I registered that the driveway lights were on, and debated going back into the house to turn them off or let them burn all day while I would be at work.  What routines have given me is really what they have taken away: a lot of self-abuse.  Now, I leave the house every morning and the driveway lights are off, because they are a checklist item on my morning routine.  I don’t get out of the shower without washing my hair anymore because it’s a checklist item on my glass shower wall (in dry erase marker).  Where I had to bring deodorant, toothpaste, and a toothbrush to work because I’d get to work only to realize I’d skipped any or all of those while getting ready in the morning, I’ve not had to use any of them now that I have routines.


Another thing to note is that my routines evolve and change all the time.  I usually give myself a week or two trying a specific routine version before tweaking it.  Also, accepting that sometimes the answer is that you just need to allocate more time for something is incredibly important.  For almost 8 months, I left the house every morning frazzled, beating myself up, and having to skip major parts of my morning routine.  “Why can’t I get this all done in 1 hour!?!?!?” I would wail as I peeled out of the driveway, late again.  One day it finally dawned on me: “Maybe I just need more time?”  Obvious, of course, but the obvious answer isn’t always accessible to the ADHD brain.  Instead of thinking of myself as “WRONG” or “BAD” because I couldn’t make everything I needed to do fit into an arbitrary time range…I decided to accept that my “process” required two full hours.  This was a lightbulb moment for me.  Accepting that this is who I am right now in my life, and maybe it’ll change at some point, maybe it won’t, was HUGE.

Intro – Part 4: Transformation and beyond

Through the support of my amazing team: my amazing therapist (whom, probably, I’m supposed to not name. Though, she is seriously the best in Charlotte, NC!), the BEST physical therapist on the planet, the unbelievably supportive team at my fibro dr (special shout out to Latisha, one of the best cheerleaders on the planet!), the supportive staff at the hospital, my insanely supportive (and might I mention, forgiving!!!) family, the most patient boss in the world, and last, but not least, my executive/productivity/life coach, who has tied together all the various threads of my support team and kept me moving forward even when I couldn’t see the path…I have recovered.  Scratch that.  I’ve more than recovered.  I’ve transformed.  Prior to the Lyrica mess, things sucked, but I don’t think I realized how much.  Yeah, I definitely didn’t realize it.  I very much thought *I* was broken, damaged, wrong.  But I couldn’t even conceptualize how to start to fix it all.  There was so much to do, to fix, and I could barely tread water.

Many of the things I have implemented in the last 18 months since the trip to the hospital, (and many of the lessons I learned in the hospital), directly address ADHD symptoms, or at least, the emotional ramifications I feel like come from having ADHD (disappointing others, or myself, etc.).  Several of my wonderful pit crew have suggested I share this info with others.  At one point I described an ADHD intervention I implemented as my “Brainspanx, you know, like a support structure that holds in all my wobbly bits.”  Thus, Brainspanx was born.  I couldn’t have done this without all of the support of all these great professionals, (as well as my husband, my children, my family and friends), and come out on the other side so much healthier and happier without their knowledge-sharing and constant encouragement.  When you read this blog, if I ever write “I,” translate that to mean “I, (with the help/backing/encouragement/guidance of many, many others who are far smarter than me).” Cause that’s the reality.

This blog is a love letter to them, and a life line from them to you (with a detour through my weird sense of humor).  Some ideas came to me, sure.  However, any of those ideas wouldn’t have entered my Adjacent Possible without all the information pulled in from my support systems, webinars, books, blogs, and articles, and even the college classes I ended up taking.  Without encouragement to try some pretty silly things, nothing would have changed.  In all honesty – and I do not feel like this is an exaggeration – I might not have survived the last two years at all.

I’m purposefully keeping most posts super short (hello, ADHD readers!), and give a TL;DR (too long; didn’t read) synopsis at the beginning of each main post.  If you have time or interest, I’ll give additional details and some backstory where applicable.

Welcome to my journey.



April 20th, 2018 and April 18th, 2019. 126 pounds gone!




Intro – Part 3: Things get scary

At some point I started to have “pop ups” of wanting to die. I describe them as pop ups because I’d be bopping down the high way, listening to music, dancing in my seat, then suddenly think “I need to slit my throat.” WTF!?!?!? It was, to put it mildly, horrible. I thought I was losing my mind. Things began deteriorating rapidly. I felt crippling anxiety and depression. Constantly overwhelmed, stupid, and unable to do anything at all. At work, everything was a “big amorphous blob,” and I didn’t know where to start, what the goals were, or who to ask. At some point in the beginning of December, I arranged for my dogs to be taken care of by my brother, and I asked my ex-husband to take our son and the flaming narcissist exchange student for a couple of days. Then I drove myself to the emergency room and had myself committed. Other than the ex-husband, I didn’t tell anyone where I was going. In my mental state at that time only two things really stood out. I didn’t think anyone would notice I was gone, and I didn’t want to bother anyone. This, of course, made my family insane with worry (sorry, fam!).

Come to find out – in a very small portion of people – Lyrica does this. I was voluntarily committed for 5 days. They weaned me off the Lyrica and started me on anti-psychotic meds to combat the suicidal thoughts and hallucinations caused by the formerly wonder drug. These symptoms, it turned out, would take weeks to go away. I took a break from my ADHD meds, as a side effect is anxiety.

Then, under the care of my amazing therapist, I embarked on an extreme self-care regime to heal my mental state.



Noise Cancelling Headphones are the shiz, that is all



Problem: Noise is a huge distraction in your ability to focus and impedes your ability to finish (or start) work.


Solution: Invest in really good ACTIVE noise-cancelling over-the-ear headphones.


Full Story:

I wish I could recall the exact sequence of events that led to the wonderful discovery of the power of noise-cancelling headphones, but alas, the details escape me.  It was something along the lines of this:


I kept complaining about how my coworker’s voice was so loud at work, that his voice carried through the wall of his office into my office, and distracted me all day long.  It had gotten so bad, and so annoying, that when he took a call, I’d leave my office and go to the break room, which was really equally distracting with people coming in for coffee continuously.  


During my reading on ADHD hacks, a mention of noise-cancelling headphones for children’s accommodations at school came up.  I mentioned this to hubby.


Hubby got tired of me complaining, about the office neighbor, and during a sale on, ordered me a pair of over-the-ear active noise-cancelling bluetooth headphones (~$70.00).  He then helped me find really good instrumental music (lyrics are distracting), with a high tempo that keeps my dopamine pumping (we went with something called Indian PsyTrance).


When I tell you this small step was life changing, it is such a huge understatement.  This was a GAME-CHANGER in my life.  Coupled with shutting down email, setting phone and Skype to “do not disturb,” and several other steps which have become my “pre-game routine” for focusing, I have been able to break through my crippling inability to finish (and start) anything.  


I loved them so much, and the results were so instantaneous, hubby bought me a second pair to keep at home for my college work.  As a tangible measure of the difference: Prior to the headphones, I used to have to take a one-month extension every semester for at least one, usually both, classes.  With the semester he gave them to me, I started finishing on time, and made the Dean’s list every semester.  Had I had something like this during my formative school years…I’d have been unstoppable.  Can someone invent a time machine, please?


If you are the parent of a child gifted with ADHD, noise-cancelling headphones should be the “first” next thing you try with your student.  They can be written into their IEPs, and even added as an accommodation for testing (though you might not be able to have them use the Bluetooth with music….you should investigate that before you actually invest in a pair of headphones).

Intro – Part 2: Things Sucked, then looked better

In October 2017, there was (as always) a great deal of chaos in my life.

We were hosting the most obnoxious, narcissistic, demanding exchange student on the planet which was triggering a lot of stuff for me in a long history of dealing with obnoxious, demanding narcissists. I had just moved into a new townhouse, and had decided to give up fostering children as I was finding this too emotionally difficult. I was battling constant exhaustion, which I was assured was related to my recent diagnosis of sleep apnea. Combine this with nearly 150 extra pounds I was carrying and the additional diagnosis of fibromyalgia about 10 years earlier. I was a walking disaster.

Nights were filled with constant pain, flipping from side to back, to the other side, back to my back. I was only comfortable for about 15 mins, then the position would become too painful to stay put. The sleep study revealed I never actually hit REM sleep. I switched to a new fibromyalgia doctor, and he put me on a glorious new medicine: Lyrica. For six weeks I had the most amazing sleep I’d had in years. The constant pain was tolerable enough to stay in 2-3 positions all night. I was in heaven. Mostly. And then it all started to go a bit wrong.



Intro – Part 1

I’ve always had trouble with procrastinating, with keeping anywhere I lived tidy, and being able to give any attention to anything for very long. In my 30s, I was diagnosed as ADHD. At first (for years…), I didn’t quite believe the doctors, but as I read many books on the subject, everything started to make sense. My entire school career made sense. My inability to keep my backpack, locker, or bedroom neat for even a day or two. My “flitting” from one thing to another (I’m great at starting things, nsm at finishing). Impulsivity in finances (vacillating from broke to stable and back again every other month), and again, procrastination – my constant companion.

In fact, it was procrastination, and a crippling anxiety over failure, (coupled with negative performance review at work), that really pushed me to seek answers. I’m not exactly being honest. The truth is my performance review wasn’t overall negative. Overall it was very positive, however, it wasn’t entirely positive. Specifically, I was told I needed to improve in one area.  And in my mind, it was therefore entirely negative (more on that in a later post). But all you need to know at the moment is that it felt negative to me where I was at the time, which I reacted to in the only way I knew how. I was going to fix the shit out of this. And by “this,” I meant “me.”

To be continued…


Book Review: Faster Than Normal by Peter Shankman and Edward Hallowell


If I hear the word “squirrel” shouted at me at any future point in my life, someone is getting punched in the nether region.  The word squirrel has been single-handedly ruined for me.  Skip this book if you have any audio OCD issues.


Full story:

I really wanted to love this book.  The concept of embracing your ADHD as a gift really resonates with me.  There are definitely a lot of advantages (I feel).  This book does hit on some good points, but I really couldn’t tell you what they were.  Every couple of paragraphs, the word “squirrel” is shouted (to get your attention, you ADHD person, you!), and a key point is then raised.  I can’t tell you a single point raised.  I listened to the entire book, and I remember constantly thinking, “Ok, good point, but stop fucking yelling squirrel at me.”

I could not get past this incredibly annoying aspect of the book.  Now, this was on audiobook, and maybe I wouldn’t have reacted so negatively to reading “Squirrel” every couple of paragraphs.  I have LONG known that I cannot stand repetitive noises (coworkers clipping their nails? Who does that?  Clicking a retractable pen during a meeting? Yeah, I’m the gal who will take that pen away from you…).  So, take my review with a grain of salt.  Or a big, cow-sized salt-lick.

Also, and this might be the squirrel thing tainting my opinion, I found the author arrogant in a lot of ways.  Some of it was kind of “I’m brilliant and fabulous and wildly successful because of my ADHD,” but some of it just came off as “I’m brilliant and fabulous and wildly successful, but others aren’t and never will be.”  To me, that seemed to teeter on a fixed mindset kind of view (totally my opinion, and again, I’m probably holding a squirrel-related grudge), and got kind of annoying.  

Anyway…if you aren’t bothered by annoying noises, and can weed through the self-congratulating diversions, there are actually helpful things in this book. I just can’t remember what any of them are.

Here is a link to the book on Amazon. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!