Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Predominantly Inattentive

DistractedI haven’t been around in quite some time because I’ve been processing something. This something was potentially a massive break-through for me and the numerous issues I’ve seemed to have over the last few years. My depression appeared to be under control, but yet there was still something “wrong” with me. Or should I say…something not quite right.

So I went to a psychologist about a month ago. She and I spoke about depression but then we started discussing the symptoms of ADHD, primarily because Sunshine had mentioned that my actions reflected numerous symptoms of the disease.

After two weeks of questions and quizzes, my psychologist took the time to thoroughly go through all of the information. She asked that I bring Sunshine with me to the “reveal” appointment on Tuesday, just because it was important that she understand what was going on with me. 

The official diagnosis, as the post title suggests, is ADHD: predominantly inattentiveAdult ADHD

What this means is that I’ve got a chemical imbalance that doesn’t allow my brain to process things the way it should. What it DOESN’T mean is that I’m bouncing off the walls or anything. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a neurobiological condition that affects your emotions, behavior, and way of learning.

The symptoms that primarily affected me directly were:

  • Often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in work or other activities;
  • Often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks;
  • Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly;
  • Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish duties in the workplace (not due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand instructions);
  • Often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities;
  • Is often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli;
  • Is often forgetful in daily activities.

Obviously, this has been affecting my ability to work at my job. There are other symptoms that affected me on a personal level, but we’ll dive into those on another day in another post. 

At this point, I’m overwhelmed with the diagnosis. Sunshine and my psychologist think I should be excited and happy with finally knowing what is different about me. My problem is that I think back to all of the fuck-ups and mistakes and bad choices I’ve made over the course of my lifetime…choices that should have been done differently. 

I realize that I shouldn’t think that way, though. I need to take solace in the realization that I’m NOT the lazy, unmotivated, unskilled loser that I always thought I was. With medication and hard work, my entire outlook on life will change completely…and that’s a massive undertaking that overwhelms me even more. 

Believe me…there will be more writing about this over the coming weeks, months, and even years. My entire life has been shifted on its ear, and in a good way. 

I just need to take things from here and see where life takes me.


The Evolution of the Dad (Guest Post)

Dads are awesome. They take care of us, answer our questions over and over, give great advice and make us laugh at their expense. And for that, we appreciate them. But have we ever stopped to think, how alike and different we are from them? 

Since Father’s Day is just around the corner, Shari’s Berries put together a visual on how much dads have changed through the years. It’s reminiscent of dad’s days in his Ford Cortina with “Born to Run” blasting from his speakers. Whether cooler than us or not, its always a great time to celebrate dad. hero-new-old-dad-rd2


Throwback Thursday – Anthony Cools

One time I has sex with a chair in front of a large audience. Seriously. WANT TO KNOW MORE???

Heh…

014 (2)Okay, here’s the story. Back in the late 90’s I was a DJ at the local “club”. I’d play Backstreet Boys and Spice Girls and AC/DC and whatever top 40 hit happened to be getting played on the radio. It was a small town (about 9,000 people) so being an actual “club DJ” wasn’t something I did.

015 (2)We would have traveling performers come through from time to time, like both male and female strippers, concerts, and hypnotists. In the mid-to-late 90’s, the “adult entertainment hypnotist” was extremely popular.

Basically, people would volunteer to go on stage and get hypnotized. Unlike a family friendly show where they would smell bad things or be “so hot that you can’t stand it but not take off your clothes”, this show would feature people doing incredibly nasty things.

Anthony CoolsI don’t remember much, but at one point the hypnotist, Anthony Cools, lined us up on stage for a “simulated sex” contest. We would then, one at a time, have sex with a chair with the audience cheering for who they liked the most.  Another time he would shake people’s hands and every time his hand touched theirs, they would have an explosive orgasm…resulting in hilarious results.

Cools was good…REAL good. He had an entire set-up where the whole performance was videotaped, and he would sell the tapes after the show (the set-up would make multiple copies in minutes).  Yes…I had a video at one point. I don’t know if I still have it or not, as it may have been lost in the multiple moves I’ve had in the almost twenty years since I participated. Anthony Cools was funny, personable, and entertaining as hell.

How good was he? He’s currently doing a show 5 nights a week in Las Vegas at the Paris, Las Vegas. You can find more information about him on his website here: http://www.anthonycools.com/

Needless to say, I’ve never been hypnotized again but would LOVE to see one of his shows again one day. If you’re in Vegas, I would HIGHLY recommend it.Cools Las Vegas


A Depression Update, Afternoon Delights, & a 10K

I’ve been asked about where I’m at in life after my last update. For those needing a quick recap, I found out that I was clinically depressed back in December. That diagnosis started me on anti-depressants (Venlafaxine) and things progressively got a LOT better in my life.

But Sunshine noticed that I still wasn’t 100%. There were still things that were “off” with me. She did a little searching online and found something that we both believe may be the root cause of EVERYTHING.

But I didn’t want to assume or jump ahead. I had my first meeting with a psychologist about two weeks ago and spilled as much information about myself as I could in a 50-minute session. Because of this new “thing” that Sunshine and I diagnosed “amateurly”, I was brought back last week to do some online testing and fill out some personality questionnaires. I go back later today to see if I am what I think I am. If that’s the case, my world may change.

Really cryptic, I know…but this could be a massive breakthrough for me.

In terms of my relationship with Sunshine, things are going really well. Are they perfect? No, but they are certainly on their way to a really good place. We’re laughing almost every single day and are doing what we can to spend time together away from the couch. It doesn’t always happen, but we’re trying…and that’s all that matters right now.

One of the drawbacks of anti-depressants is that it affects a man’s performance in the bedroom. Without going into too much detail, my medication prevents me from “reaching the finish line”. It also decreases sexual desire, which REALLY sucks.

It’s gotten to the point where I’m picking certain days where I don’t actually take the medication so that we can be intimate later in the evening. Most times that works and does the trick. It probably isn’t the best thing for my body, though…as skipping a day here and there on a regular basis might limit the effectiveness of the drugs. But being intimate with my beautiful wife is extremely important to me, so I guess certain sacrifices must be made.

Another side effect of the medication is an increased appetite and weight gain. Over the first month or two on the anti-depressants, I ended up gaining about 10 pounds. I’ve been holding steady and battling that weight gain ever since, but I feel like I’m doing well to fight it.

I’ve been running again on a regular basis. In fact, With the exception of yesterday morning and last Saturday morning, I’ve been outside either running or walking every single morning. I ran 5K twice in two weeks and decided that this past Sunday would see me actually attempt a 10K.

10K done! Can't wait to do it again! #CouchTo10K #fitness

A video posted by Todd (@canadianbaldguy) on

I did a 10K last year (twice!), but I was in a lot better shape and had been running for months. I’ve only really running for a few weeks now, but my body seems to be agreeing with what I’m doing. So I actually completed a 10K in just under 90 minutes…an achievement that really gives me hope that I can do a half-marathon by September.

So all-in-all, my life is busy. Heck, my life has more than its fair share of ups and downs. Thankfully, a lot of it seems to be progressing upward at the moment. You gotta love forward momentum.


Changing the Outside Influences of a Child

The thought between my ex-wife and I was that there was a reason our son was lashing out in a negative way. Don’t get me wrong, Ankle Biter isn’t throwing tantrums all the time and he is still the loveable kid that we’ve tried hard to raise…but he is having moments that have given us pause.

Obviously, starting a fight at school and texting really inappropriate things to his friend were the items that caught our attention the most. The week before, though, he got mad at his mom and actually slammed the door.

An eight year old. Slamming a door.

So she opened it up and explained that they weren’t going to do that in their house. You can get mad, but slamming doors and stomping off isn’t going to fly with her. I’m behind her 100% on that, too.

We tried to think about what things were affecting him in a negative way. We came up with a list of items that we thought we would have to crack down on:

  1. Violent video games – Listen, even the Lego games are violent in their own way (hitting somebody and watching them explode into blocks). But one of his biggest pleasures is playing those first-person shooter games. Whether it’s Halo or Call of Duty or whatever. He’s got a ton of those games at his mom’s and one of those games with me. Beginning now, those are being set to the side. Is it adversely affecting him? We don’t know, but the desensitization to violence is certainly there…especially when he brags about a “head shot”. I’m also going to remove the wrestling video games from our weekends together. This will kinda suck for the both of us, actually, because we’ve been playing these games together. But I have a suspicion that he’s maybe getting geared-up from wrestling, and if that’s the case then it’s too early to expose him to that. We’ll still allow games like the “Boom Beach” or “Clash of the Clans” apps, Age of Empires and other strategy-based games, and all the Lego games that we’ve collected over the years.
  2. Violent movies – I don’t normally let him watch movies that I don’t find appropriate. Maybe my sense of appropriateness differs from yours, but to me something like Godzilla or Lord of the Rings isn’t too bad because it’s not real; there aren’t people killing other people. It’s monsters and orcs and wizards and the like. But he has been taken to movies like It’s A Good Day To Die Hard (not by me) and shown other movies that probably weren’t the most appropriate for him to see. So for now, we’re cutting back on those. Just the other night, he asked to watch I Robot on television, but his mom said “no”.  That’s exactly the type of fast-paced action shoot-em-up that we don’t want him to be exposed to right now.
  3. Videos on YouTube – This one is slightly different because we can’t sit there and watch every single video that he watches. I mean, I’ve heard him watch a “gaming mod” in which grown adults are screaming like kids as they chase around and shoot at each other. Every once in a while, an f-bomb gets dropped. Do we shut off the video right at that point? Or do we give it another chance and hope the guy playing the game doesn’t curse again? Do we let him watch home-made videos of kids using Nerf guns to shoot at each other? Is that any better or worse than him watching a clip from WWE.com? Regardless of the debate, this is something we’re going to have to keep a very close eye on.

It’s funny…I grew up believing that television shows and movies and video games couldn’t affect me as a person. They didn’t influence my behaviour and any suggestion otherwise was just stupid. But now? Now I’m a father and I’m concerned that my son is changing, so I’m willing to do whatever I have to do to keep him the way he is now.

Could it be parenting? I suppose it could be, but his mom is single and has never had a boyfriend since we split up (that I know about), so Ankle Biter has never seen violence or cursing in her household. Sunshine and I have had arguments on occasion that he has been exposed to, but that happened maybe two or three times over the course of the past six years. And again…there was nothing in those arguments from at least six months ago that would cause him to start a fight with another boy at school.

I’m concerned. Maybe it’s just a phase and I don’t have to be worried. But maybe it’s him lashing out because of a bigger problem or issue that he doesn’t want to talk about.

I guess only time will tell.


My Son Got Into A Fight

Last week, my son (Ankle Biter) got into a fight at school. He’s only 8 years old and in the third grade, so it wasn’t a hardcore UFC-esque battle or anything…but still; this took his mother and I by surprise.

He’s normally a super-quiet kid, unless he’s with his friends. He’s friendly and outgoing. He’s a kid who would back down quickly from confrontation of any kind. I mean…this is a kid who is somebody I’ve never had to really worry about when it comes to acting up.  So when the ex-wife called me on the phone to explain the situation, I was really surprised.

The fight at school was basically my son grabbing another kid by the head, throwing him down to the ground, and pinning him there. Apparently, there were some shoves and kicks, too…but nothing crazy. His mother asked him if he was angry at the boy and Ankle Biter said, “Yes”. When pushed further as to why he started a fight with him or why he was angry, he claimed to not remember.

And honestly, I don’t know what’s worse: the possibility that he’s covering for something else or the possibility that he can’t actually remember why he started the fight.

Not only that, but she caught him texting some very inappropriate messages to a friend of his. Stuff like “Fuck you” and “I’m gonna kick your ass”. To him, it was all a joke; to the kid on the other end, it was confusing; to his mom, it was completely unacceptable.

So now we’re both wondering what’s going on with him? Why would a (seemingly) perfect child begin acting up in this way?

I’ve only been in two fights in my entire life: once in high school (but that’s another blog post for another day) and once in elementary school. If I think back far enough, I’m pretty sure that the “fight” was really me just punching another boy on the side of the head and then running like hell before he hit me back. After a bit of a chase, the teachers stopped us and took us inside.

Is it just testosterone? Is it just a matter of “a boy being a boy”? Or is this part of a much larger issue?

The school made him sit in detention for the entire week and his mother grounded him (no television, iPod, laptop, or xBox for a full week), so he was punished. And really, this was the first time he’s ever been punished like this, so he wasn’t very happy about it. The hope is, obviously, this is a deterrent to him doing it again.

Apparently, he’s been extremely embarrassed about the whole situation. He BEGGED his mom to not tell me. He asked her to also not tell the babysitter who has looked after him since he was a toddler.  He didn’t say why he didn’t want to tell me, but he definitely did not want me to find out.

Obviously, the communication between his mom and I is good. So even though she broke Ankle Biter’s trust by telling me, she knew that she could trust me to not say anything to him about it. In fact, I was hoping he would come clean and tell me during our FaceTime conversation on Thursday evening.

“So how was your week?”

 “Fine”.

“You weren’t around when I tried to call on Tuesday (i.e. the evening he got caught texting his friend those inappropriate messages).”

“Yeah.”

“Were you not around that night?”

“No.”

I thought I would try one more time to see if he would give me something…

“So how was our week at school? Anything interesting happen at all?”

“No…not really.”

“Okay…so it was kind of a boring week, was it?”

“Yeah…kind of.”

Sunshine looked at me on the couch and we were thinking the same thing. It was sounding all too easy for him to just brush the whole thing off and/or lie about it. If I hadn’t been contacted by his mother, I wouldn’t have had any idea at all that anything was wrong.

I think that’s probably the most concerning thing right now. I’m sure there’s a very logical explanation as to why. He probably doesn’t want me to get mad or be disappointed in him. I can totally get that. I don’t get mad at him very often at all (we’re never together long enough for me to get angry at him for any reason) so he doesn’t want to change the status quo.

I had just hoped that our relationship was a little bit stronger than that. Maybe we don’t talk enough when we’re together. Maybe I need to open up to him a little bit more so that he can feel a bit more comfortable. Maybe being “fun dad” needs to take a back seat to “sensitive and caring dad” on our next weekend.

In the meantime, both his mother and I are taking steps to remove certain stimuli from his life (more about that tomorrow) that will hopefully calm him down a bit. We’re taking each day a step at a time and are really hoping this change was just a bump in the road.

I’ve got an incredible son who I’m proud of for a multitude of reasons. I just don’t want him to change too much as he gets older.


Grace & Frankie

NetflixWhen Netflix Canada suggested I try a new comedy, I was a little hesitant. I mean, I haven’t seen a really good regular comedy series in quite some time. The wife and I love Orange Is The New Black, but it’s not really JUST a comedy, so I don’t know if it counts. We recently completed the entire ten seasons of Friends on Netflix, but we just don’t watch a lot of comedies these days…which is odd since we love to laugh. Grace & FrankieBut I thought I’d at least give Grace and Frankie a try.

Netflix’s new original comedy was released earlier this month. It’s an older cast featuring Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen, and Sam Waterston. Really, the show is described as an example of how today’s families can shift, rearrange, and blend in unexpected ways.  In a month where I’ve been blogging about “modern families”, this certainly fit the bill. The plot of the show goes like this:

“When Grace and Frankie’s husbands leave them after 40 years of marriage—to be with each other—the women find themselves facing a change they never expected. They shift their perspective to get through it together, with the support of their new blended family and, of course, a sense of humour.”

For an exclusive sneak peek, check out the trailer below.

At first,  both Sunshine and I weren’t overly keen on giving it a shot, but we both decided to be open-minded. We’re glad we did.

There’s just something about Jane Fonda dropping an F-bomb that makes me smile. I wouldn’t say that this is the best comedy we’ve ever seen, but it’s certainly entertaining. We’re about five episodes into the show and we certainly don’t hate it (there are thirteen episodes altogether).  I’m not sure if I completely buy the gay relationship between the two husbands (Sheen and Waterston), but I’m enjoying the slow progression of everybody being adversaries to slowly becoming friends.  The supporting cast is quirky and fun and helps show how crazy today’s families can be. 

We’ll probably finish out the season just to see how things progress and end. If you’re looking for something a little different, this might be the comedy for you.


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