Thursday, August 9, 2012

Incompetence, ADD and Quicksand

Right now, at 5:30 AM as I begin to type this post, I feel tremendously incompetent.  First of all, I am sleep deprived.  And I'm hungry, and there is no real food in the house.  Both of these contribute to an increase in emotional response.

I feel like I've dug myself into a hole and I can't get out. And it's ridiculous.  It is completely ridiculous.  Anyone on the real life side can tell you easily what steps I should take on some of these big items.  *I* can tell you what steps I need to take, but I can't seem to take them.

It's been three years, and I am still stuck in this hole.

The reality is, even once I do start taking those positive steps, I'll still be in this hole for awhile.  There is no easy fix. 

To be clear there are some very concrete issues that are keeping me in this place.  And by place, I mean the hole, not simply here or even specifically here in this small town.

As I was trying to fall asleep I was thinking about my ideal solution to get my life in order, and to move forward. What is it that I would need to pull myself together and get past this survival mode into a mode where I thrive. 

And the answer that is abundantly clear and yet absurdly impossible and unrealistic to find is a very, very patient partner / coach.  Someone who will subtly train me while I'm not paying attention into developing better habits and better skills for managing my day-to-day life.  Much like I'm teaching the girls soccer even while we play other games.  Someone who will start out the day - preferably by jumping on the bed and wagging their tail, but that's a different memory - ready and excited with a plan for the day.  Someone who will start my day by saying, "Here's what we're doing today!" 

The key word is "we".  You can give me a plan. You can tell me this is what I need to do for the day.  And I might even get several of the items done.  And believe me, having a regular plan is a big start.  Huge start.  Big improvement over what I'm able to manage for myself.  But what I really need is someone by my side holding my hand until I learn how to do it myself. 

The person would have to have a lot of patience.  The person would probably have to love me very much to tolerate me and my stubbornness.  The person would have to recognize that even if I teasingly resist, I will relent.  If that person is there to do it with me - whatever it is - I'll do it. 

But I can't seem to manage on my own.  I can't seem to do this alone.

My life, outwardly, is a mess.  For example, the yard is unruly and jungle-like.  After the poison ivy, any desire I had to clean it up and risk repeated rash was long gone.  I do try and spend a few minutes every so often - but today, for instance, I started to itch and stopped and scrubbed myself with poison ivy oil remover.

I have GREAT reasons / excuses for a lot of what I do and don't do.  But for some things, I have no explanation at all other than I just can't.  I don't know why I can't.  There's no rational reasonable explanation - and believe me I've searched high and low for it.   ADD is part of it - and perhaps it's a big part of it.  I kinda want it to be the reason because then at least I'd have a reason.  And given that so many other limitations I've found over my life can sometimes be traced back to ADD (an inability whatsoever, for example, to read a non-fiction book unless it's telling a story).  Then, in theory, if I managed to fix the ADD - or manage its symptoms - then maybe I'd finally be able to fix everything else.


But maybe I am too scared to thrive....

In my adolescent years, my family experienced what is now fairly typical drama and turmoil, but at the time, with all those adolescent hormones enhancing emotions, it was a hard time.  I learned early on - even before the family drama - how to "survive".  I am GREAT at surviving.  That was my motto during my junior high and high school years - one I repeated often to my adult mentor - "I will survive" - and I have.  And I do.

It wasn't until I had been with my ex-wife for a year or so that I begun to do more than just survive.  That I began to do more than just provide for the basic necessities for myself.  I was in a safe and secure relationship - this woman and I pledged to spend our lives together.  She seemed to love me unconditionally - and I do, even still, believe that.  With her, I was finally able to dream, to think about what it was that I wanted out of life, and that gave me the courage and the strength to take some risks and try something new that was ultimately in many ways quite rewarding, despite the concerns others expressed over the potential folly of my choices. 

When I was with her, I finally felt free to thrive, safe to thrive.  And it was glorious.  I only have one wish in this world, frankly, and that is to be in a place in life, again, where I can thrive.  Where I can feel safe and secure to hope for more than just the necessities in my life. 

I learned long ago that the best way to avoid disappointment and being hurt was to keep your expectations reasonable.  In fact, screw reasonable, keep your expectations low and then you may just be pleasantly surprised. 

Thriving is about striving for more than what is reasonable and safe and expected.  It's about taking chances and recognizing there may be disappointments on the path, but that overall things are good.  Overall, the path I am on is leading me some place I want to go, and some place that I will enjoy when I get there - and I will enjoy both the journey and the destination.

Thriving is something like that.

With the ex, I tried something crazy and embarked in a different direction in my life.  The road I had been on was a good one - a secure one.  There was nothing wrong with the road I was on before that.  But I wanted to try this different road.  Many people thought I was nuts, including my family.  But it was a good road, and I enjoyed the journey while I was on it, and just as I was beginning to hit my stride, she got scared.  Scared that this new path might lead me away from her.  And over time, slowly but surely, she began to put big boulders on this path.  Until at one point, much like a Wile E. Coyote / Roadrunner cartoon, she took the Acme dynamite and just blew up the road altogether. 


Now to be clear, I am not abdicating my responsibility for my relationship or my contribution towards its demise.  Anyone who knows the full story or who has heard me tell it will tell you that I take full responsibility for my actions, my inactions, my contribution to the situation imploding.  But most who watched it unfold also realized that my wife was not well, and that frankly, there was a lot about the situation that was completely out of my control and also completely not about me, even though I suffered heavily from the shrapnel. 


But it makes me wonder if maybe despite how much I want to thrive, I am too scared to thrive.  I am too scared to want, to hope, to dream of something more in my life.  Because the more you have, the more that can be taken away from you.

That if I continue to live in this abject poverty, measured not simply by normal financial standards of "wealth" but with the asceticism physically and emotionally I have in my life, then there isn't much to take away from me.  (Asceticism may not be the best word, DEARTH might be a good word). 


When I first began to heal from the wounds inflicted by the Acme dynamite, I had a good friend there to hold my hand.  Who had a surprisingly significant capacity of patience for me.  Who loved me very deeply.  Who would come downstairs on Saturday mornings during the ever so brief (it seems, but wasn't at the same time) period I lived with her and would jump on my bed to get me up and going and wag her tail excited to start the weekend and set with the plans for us to do. 

She moved away, unfortunately, and left me here behind.  The two things were separate, and the latter was not deliberate - I think if she could have stayed, without taking Acme dynamite to HER life, she might have.  And I miss her tremendously. 

When she was here, fitness was important to her.  And at one point, she trained for a long distance endurance event, and I was her training buddy.  We worked out nine times a week for twenty weeks to prepare her for an awesome race.  And I lost about as many pounds.   Working out was a breeze.  It didn't feel like working out because it was time spent together enjoying each other's company.  It was time to catch up on the day.  It was fun setting the plan and preparing the schedule for the week together.  And I was in the best shape of my life.


And now I look at pictures of myself - when I take a picture of more than just a head shot - and I recognize that I am now in the worst shape of my life.  Again, I briefly allowed myself to thrive a little, to trust and depend upon someone, and they're gone and with it they took a part of my security and stability.  (To be clear I have a very strong sense of self, and a very strong core being.  This was about something more than that.  This was about life gravy - not basic survival.  Lest you think I'm too unhealthy... ;) )


ADD often makes a bad situation worse - it makes you feel like your stuck in quicksand.  Apparently the best thing to do if you get stuck in quicksand is not to struggle and flail about - it will only make you sink faster.  But instead to be calm, still.  I'm not sure, exactly, how it is you get yourself out once you are calm and still - I only know what makes it worse, to be frank.  The one time I stepped in it, I stepped out of it quite quickly, too...

But with the ADD it feels like even when I make an effort, even when I try to get out of this hole, this pit of quicksand, that my efforts only land me more securely stuck here. 


So logic says just stay still.  But I don't know, once I stop making it worse (IF I'm stopping making it worse) how to get out of here, anyway.  I feel incompetent.

I need someone to help me.  To train me.  To teach me the skills I need.  To apply some structure - not rigid, but still structure - to my life.  So that I know on Saturday I do x chores, and on such and such an evening I do such and such errands and on Friday nights I go out for Happy Hour!  And I need to be a wee bit more financially secure so that I *can* do more things.  Frankly one of the reasons I don't like to go grocery shopping is that I can't afford the cost.  And yet, I can't really afford not to eat, either, now can I?   Kind of a Catch-22 there.


So, if you know anyone who is willing to stand on stable ground and help pull me out of the quicksand, have them drop me a line.  I'm trainable.  Quite trainable.  But that someone will need patience.  And love.  And preferably if they're a cute available secure dyke, well, that won't hurt, either. 

Because even if I am scared, I still want to thrive.  I want to get out of this quicksand.  And as I think about it more - as I write about it here - I think that is the answer as to how someone gets out of literal quicksand, someone else, standing on secure ground helps pull them out... Just stick around a little longer and, again, have lots of patience.  It won't be easy... but it will be worthwhile.  That I can promise. 


  1. The sad part that is in order to attract a partner, it's kinda recommended that I have my life in order... Big Catch-22. Maybe there's someone looking for a good fixer-upper?

  2. Oh, how I would love to be this person for you, but as you know I'm sinking in my own quicksand. And as much as I want to and am trying to still be there for my friends, and especially for you, I'm failing miserably right now.

    This is exactly how I feel: "I feel like I've dug myself into a hole and I can't get out. And it's ridiculous. It is completely ridiculous. Anyone on the real life side can tell you easily what steps I should take on some of these big items. *I* can tell you what steps I need to take, but I can't seem to take them."

    I know what steps I need to take, you know what steps I should take and aren't shy about telling me, but doing them? A completely different story! I think my problem is a part of me is almost enjoying the quicksand. Or maybe feeling ready to just go under completely? Who knows.

    Big hugs! I ♥ you!

  3. Wow... :) I wasn't expecting this! I'm a totally unstable person but usually to the other extreme. I mean, I have very high expectations and falsely feel like I can do anything... I end up getting hurt but I usually bounce back pretty quickly. This all sounds nice - but the reality is that someone of a more steady and realistic nature would get much further than me.

    Hope something works out for you though. Sometimes a change of place (as in physical address) makes a difference.

    1. I admit, you've piqued my curiosity. What were you expecting?

  4. Its great how the weakest links that are capable of causing collateral damage to other people are not capable of holding themselves accountable! And need help of others ......typical .....I've been married to one of them loosers!

    1. I'm sorry you were in such a serious relationship with someone who has clearly hurt you, and that you are still suffering from the collateral damage that (s)he inflicted upon you and your life. I understand how that feels.

      Yes, I was married to such a person for ten years. And am still, clearly, above suffering the collateral damage from her inability to take care of herself, hold herself accountable, and her need of my help to get by on a daily basis, if not hourly basis.

      But as a society, guess what? We need each other. We're not really meant to go at this alone. Sure, many of us can get by just fine on our own, alone. But we are a society and we are meant to interdepend on each other. We all have our moments of weakness and we all have our moments of strength. Currently, I have been having a moment of weakness. And I think it sucks, too.

      Asking for help when you need it is not easy. And so if you're referring to me as not holding myself accountable, then I think you need to re-read this entry - it is all about holding myself accountable, and admitting that I am struggling. I am human. Sometimes it's not easy.

      I am not looking for someone to help clothe me, feed me, or shelter me. Guess what? I have those things covered. So I *know* you're not referring to me as creating collateral damage. I am a person who takes care of my basic needs, even from within a quicksand hole, and who gives back to my community on a *daily* basis. I serve in my church - acting as its volunteer adminstrator 2-4 days a week, and helping once a month at our food pantry unload the truck when food is delivered; and even though I have no children of my own, I coach a youth soccer team, and sit on its Board, run the concession stand, help with the fundraising sale, and serve as league director for one of the leagues.

      I am sorry you had a rough relationship - believe me I understand completely having been there myself, and still recovering from the implosion of it. And I can understand, then, how you can see similarities in other people and therefore assume they are just like your (ex?) spouse. But if you want to avoid causing "collateral damage" yourself, you might step back and see that not everyone is your (ex?) spouse, and that people can struggle and have a hard time with things and be different.

      And that asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength.

    2. How is anything that you just said productive? I'm reading a book you should read... "Lumping everyone of a particular race, culture, or faith into a single stereotype is a way of failing to see them as people... When I am feeling bothered about others, am I holding myself to the same standard I am demanding of them? In other words, if I am worried that others are getting a pass am I also worried about whether I am giving myself one? Am I as vigilant in demanding the eradication of my own bigotry as I am in demanding the eradication of theirs? "

      Maybe you need to not worry about others, and work on yourself. I'd start with spelling.

    3. I agree with Keaven. You definitely need to work on yourself first. And I think you may have misread this whole post.

    4. I quite often skim past "anonymous" comments that are off base because I believe it is someone just trying to stir the pot; however, this being a friend I thought I would chime in for a second by saying that in order to ask for help, which is being done here, you are absolutely holding yourself accountable.

    5. This "anonymous" person is very hard to read. Meaning their grasp of the English language is atrocious. I read it a few times and I am still not clear on what they are trying to say. Pity the fools I guess. Sorry she polluted your comment section.

    6. What I think is great is when someone pours their heart out on the internet, looking for support during a difficult time in their life, and some jerk hiding behind anonymity comes and takes a shit on it.

    7. Thanks, everyone, for the show of support. It really means a lot to me!

    8. IMO if you're going to post something that is A) not productive or B) mean ... you should at least have the balls to back it up with an email address.

      What does posting a negative comment on a blog really do? Do you feel strong? Do you feel vindicated?

  5. I wish I lived closer to BE there, but I'll just have to be HERE instead. I'm fortunate in that I'm the opposite of you -- maybe too far in the other direction for my own good. I am very independent, and if anything is going to get done, I need to make it happen myself. I doubt anyone would ever put up with me at this point. So, keep that in mind when I give out advice! :)

    First: baby steps. The easiest way out of any situation is to take baby steps. A small accomplishment is amazingly encouraging. For example: I have more crap than fits in this condo, and every time I tell myself I need to deal with it, I end up doing nothing. Then I set a goal for myself - deal with one box at a time. Like one a day, or one a week. You know what? Now that I've started tackling MANAGEABLE pieces, I am encouraged to continue. Each tiny thing I do contributes to the whole, and I can finally see progress. It makes me happy.

    So pick something. Something small. Clean it; fix it; put it away. Don't like to go out alone? Take yourself somewhere and go for a walk. A short one, but do it. And the next time it will be just a little bit easier. Once you have a positive baby step, you will want another one. Trust me, you will.

    And even if you try and fail, don't give up. Try again. Just WANTING to try is a step in the right direction.

    Also, look forward. Don't look back. The past is done, and you can't change it, but you CAN learn from it. Our experiences make us stronger and make us who we are. Look forward, and take baby steps, and begin again.

    1. Thanks. I appreciate the support. And the advice.

      You hit upon one of the underlying strategies of one of my favorite websites - So easy to read their e-mails. So easy to remark and think how simple their strategies are, and yet.. ;) It's that damn requirement of a shiny sink. But I digress. ;)

      I am doing my best to look forward. I agree that I can't change the past, and I'd like to think that when I do look back and try and figure out what I might have done differently, it is not to regret what happened, but so that if I am to face a similar situation, I can do it differently (and IDEALLY better).

      And I do agree that which does not kill us, makes us stronger. And I ain't dead yet! ;)

      Thanks again.

  6. One day at a time luv. that's all anyone can do. Ask anyone who knows me, and they'll tell you i've a habit of taking in "strays". 2 examples for ya.. My husband of 10 years now, was a "stray" as his parents had kicked him out of their basement apartment (part of their house) because whatever their reasons were..Come live with me i said. Mind you, at the time, i'd just met him online a week prior. 2nd example. I've been on my best friend's case about staying with us to get out of the hell hole he was in. A month ago he finally listened. He's got a job, a roof over his head, and although no car, he's got good company and people who wont judge him. (and we've converted him into a "whovian" lol) i've got many other stories about friends i've taken in until they could do for themselves.
    My point is, i'd love to do the same for you. Help get you moving in the right direction. However, i think we don't live anywhere near each other to do this. I completely understand by what you mean when you say you need someone physically by you to get moving. I helped my Sister through a really nasty divorce. Her Wife just up and left her one day. Leaving me and a couple friends (but mostly me) to clean up the pieces. It took a year to get her non-suicidal and moving forward. Unfortunately, my time with her was up, as i had little choice but to move out of state if i wanted to be able to keep my kids cared for properly.

    Anyway, if you want or need a person to talk to, just send me a message on twitter. I'll always be glad to help in anyway that i can.

    It's kind of an odd feeling that reading your post today, part of it almost paralleled the one year i spent with my sister. (who's not actually blood related but i wish she was) we got healthy, got fit. Spent time at the gym, spent time at her house playing DDR in workout mode & doing strength & toning exercises.

    Sorry, i'm rambling. I've not been sleeping well the past couple days. my 3yo broke the fan in my bedroom, so now it's miserably hot/humid in there.

    Regardless where i am in my life ~ i will always stop to help out a friend. even one i've not met "in person"

    We all know "THE STEPS" to get done what needs to be done. Many times what we lack is the proper Motivation. For me, i know what i need to do to drop 80lbs. But i find myself flopping because after 8 weeks, there's no real results showing. So what motivation i flying out the window.
    It's the same with anything. If you're not seeing positive results of those baby steps you're taking, it's hard to keep doing them..even if you know that's what you NEED to be doing.

    While I have some knowledge of ADD/ADHD (my 10yo daughter has a formal diagnosis of ADHD) I know in part how hard it can be to focus long enough to get done what needs to be done. I would venture to say that along with being ADD, you could be suffering some depression. You've had a lot of shit to deal with, and digging out alone is a monumental task. Some days I'd venture a guess it sucks to even want to get out of bed. But obligations - work or family or other keep you going, on auto pilot?

    Just remember you're not alone. All you need to do is reach out for, if nothing else, some virtual "butt kicking" to get your path moving in the right direction again.

    1. There's a lot here to respond to, and I likely won't hit it all.

      Yes, I was very lucky to have a "sister" like you who took me in and took care of me when I really needed it. I feel very blessed and I applaud you, too, for being that person for another. I know that it was a lot to take me on at that point in my life, but as I wrote in my post earlier today, I am tremendously grateful that she did.

      And thanks for reinforcing that I'm not alone. You and many others have made that quite clear today, and I also appreciate that tremendously. It is one of the purposes (as I also wrote in a post earlier today) of writing this blog - to not feel that I am alone in what I am going through and to let others know the same. We are all human, and while we many always experience the same exact things, we often go through similar challenges. And as I said on this post, it is nice to have someone on stable ground reach out their hand to help pull you up.

      (Sorry about your minimal sleep - hope that problem resolves itself quickly!)


  7. It takes a long time to recover from a damaging relationship. I have not (and still can't) write about the damage that my ex-h did to ruin my self-worth, and quite frankly every aspect of my life. It's been 6 years since I was divorced (and now I'm remarried and even have a 3 y.o. with my new husband) and some days, I still have to remind myself that I am not who the ex created.

    Take the time to be down, just don't let it consume you.


    1. I am sorry that you had to go through that experience. I can emphatically agree that it sucks. ;) Big hugs to you, too.

      Do me a favor? If you see it consuming me, give me a gentle smack! :)


  8. I agree with Leslie, I think it's awesome that you're recognizing that this is an issue in can be really, really hard to admit when you're standing in your own way. That being said, keep in mind that the "somebody" letting you know what your schedule should be, doesn't always have to be a person. I'm a lot like you in that I do better if I have a nudge in the right direction to do what I'm supposed to. I'd MUCH rather hang out on the couch reading than, you know, do my laundry or feed the cat...but I set myself up a google calendar with reminders for my regular chores and now they get emailed to me. (I wrote about how I did it here: Granted, a robot emailing you to wash your dirty socks isn't as emotionally fulfilling as having a fun roommate going on jogs with you, BUT, it is a good way to get headed in the right direction at least!

    1. True. And your comment may indeed inspire another post in the future re: ADD and systems. The ever evolving systems! ;) Can't wait to read your post... I have a feeling there are many more things I will find of value when I explore your blog further - more than the things I stumbled upon yesterday and mentioned.

      Thankis. And thanks for the support, too!

  9. I agree with NB Mama. When someone hides behind anonymity (and poor grammar), to make insulting generalizations on someone else's heartfelt post, it indicates two things: their own projection of their bitterness/misery, and cowardice.

    This post is honest, brave, contemplative, and vulnerable. If you can't muster up some respect for how hard that must be to share, and find the human decency to recognize the frailty of all our inner struggles, imperfections, and journeys to be better people and live better lives, then zip it or write your own lengthy, courageous post.

    Otherwise you're just adding to the shitpile of misery and nobody welcomes that here.

    1. Thank you. You are kind. Well written, too.

      I'd like to think that my response to the comment reflects my own sympathy for the clear pain the writer is in as a result of their relationship - but being in pain is not an excuse or justification to strike out at others who are not responsible for your pain.

      I think a more succinct response - in line with your comment above - would be as follows:

      I am not your punching bag. If you'd like to earnestly share your pain or your reflections on the relationship that caused you such pain or how you are getting past it, please feel free to share. You are not alone. But do not attack me for sharing mine. I will be your friend, but I will not be your punching bag.

      Thanks Pish...

  10. Well this anonymous person is either truly horrible with relating their own thoughts or they are a jackass.

    I can't tell if this person agrees with your post or if they are just taking a pot shot.


  11. I wish I could be that person for you, but as you know, until I am more secure on the ground where I stand, I can't be anyone else's primary support. It would be the blind leading the naked! ;-)

    1. Oh yeah, and as for your detractors, trolls, whatever they are, pffft. Illegitimi non carborundum.

    2. Oh, I think we'll agree that it is MUCH more fun when the naked lead the blind! ;)

  12. The point was so often people who blame everything else for their actions are virtually impossible to help! I am sorry to those offended but look at it this way why doesn't the person who claims to TAKE RESPONSIBILTY for his/hers actions seek help before they F-up?and yet continue to repeat said actions me TAKING RESPONSIBILITY is MAKING THE SAME CHOICE YOU MADE TO DO AS TO NOT DO !!!! Furthermore all you same group of followers,tweethearts whatevers how can you say you wanna help ? have you interviewed the other party "REAL VICTIM" ? So then how can you pat someone on the back and say how amazing they are but not know the real story ? I love these blogs because so many people get worked up !!!! If you post a blog you must want people to commment !!!!!!! anonymous or not otherwise private your shit.....If I tell you my name are you gonna track me down and fight me ,microwave my kitty cat? Reality is mosty of you probably have already cast an opinon on me without even knowing me since my fabulous ex also is an avid blogger !!!!!! Have a great weekend people @#$#%^^%##%&&*&*%^&%*#$%^