Never Stop Trying

I’m trying…I really am.

The past couple of years haven’t been the easiest for my wife and me. I moved here and we got married and then things became a lot more difficult than I thought they would be. As we approach our third anniversary in August, I’m trying to stop constantly falling back after taking a couple of steps forward.

Y’see, it started out with me losing my job due to the economy back in late 2013. We were newly married and flying high, but the housing market crashed and I had to look for something as my job was directly related to housing and real estate. Then I began working WITH Sunshine at her office in a job that was supposed to be the best thing to ever happen to me.

More money…more responsibilities…more hours. Yes, Sunshine and I saw each other on a daily basis but never really got tired of one another because we didn’t working together in the office. So in that regard, it worked out great.

However, I was going through something that would end up hurting us both.

As I wrote about at the time, I was diagnosed with having Major Depressive Disorder…which began to explain a LOT of things wrong with me. I began taking medication and immediately noticed a difference. Unfortunately, the biggest side effect is how it affects one’s ability to perform intimately. This began to affect my psyche and, in turn, affect hers. Without going into a lot of detail, you can only imagine what it’s like for a newly married couple who cannot be intimate with one another nearly as much as they used to due to medical reasons.

It sucks and it’s tough on her because she can’t help but take it personally. It sucks for me because I’ve always been a very physical person in a relationship…but for the most part, certain parts of the machine aren’t working with the rest of them…so it’s really tough for each of us because then intimacy becomes something we need to plan out or even becomes WORK for us. That’s been tough to work through in our marriage.

Then Sunshine helped me get diagnosed with having Adult ADHD (primarily inattentive) about a year ago. At this point, I had been making so many mistakes at work that they were on the verge of letting me go. I wasn’t happy and was taking everything personally…not realizing that I wasn’t, in fact, a loser but simply someone who needed to have a slight chemical change in order to function “normally”.

Unfortunately, I was only three weeks into my medication for ADHD when they let me go. They were kind enough to say “it wasn’t a good fit” but I know that my mistakes and errors in judgment caused them to make the tough decision. I harbour no ill will against them, either. I realize that they had to let me go and, looking back, it WASN’T a good fit. That’s nothing to be embarrassed about, either. Sometimes the company you work for and the people you work with just aren’t a good fit for you or your skillset/personality.

Nine months I sat at home looking for the right fit. NINE MONTHS. During this time, I went through some extreme highs and lows with my motivation in life. For a few months I was running regularly and losing weight and feeling confident about my future. For a few months I sat on the couch, gained back all of the weight by eating and not exercising, and then feeling sorry for myself because I couldn’t find a good job. This cycle happened more than once, too.

And during this entire time, I wasn’t “there” for my wife. I was distant. I wasn’t connecting with her. I mean, I wasn’t mad or upset or yelling at her or anything…but I wasn’t the husband that she married. I tried, but that normally failed after a couple of weeks. This went on for nine months and I can only imagine how tough it’s been on her.

Now I’ve been working at what can only be described as “a dream job” for almost a month now. I’m getting out there at least three times a week for exercise and I’m trying to do ‘little things’ for Sunshine to help her know how much I love her. But it seems that I’m still making mistakes that make our relationship regress a little bit. And the little things I do aren’t being recognized. It’s frustrating to say the least.

I’m not really worried about us, though. I’m concerned, but not worried. We’re soul-mates…of that, I’m certain. We’ve worked too hard and come too far with our relationship to simply call it quits after three years. No…that’s not what is going to happen here, kids.

But things aren’t perfect. And in recognition of that, I’m going to do whatever I can to get us back to the ‘fun couple’ that I know we can be. I know where I’ve failed and what I need to do in order to make my incredibly awesome wife happy in her marriage again. And I plan on working my ass off in order to make that happen. I can only hope that my wife feels the same way, though lately it’s been difficult to tell.

Thankfully, we’re not talking about infidelity or abuse or other things that can shake a relationship to its core. Instead, we’re talking about reconnecting and finding those sparks that are there but have been hidden for way too long. It won’t be easy, but that’s just life.

Marriage isn’t supposed to be easy. Relationships aren’t all rainbows and unicorns. But when you know you’re in the best relationship you’ve ever had in your entire life and you never want to let that go, then you will work as hard as you have to in order to make things work. I’m just hoping that we both feel the same way and can truly do what is needed to make this work.

2016: The Year of Positivity

New Year's Eve 2015It’s all about the power of positivity in 2016.

As readers of this blog know, 2015 wasn’t the best year for me. It sucks because I was ready to tackle the year in a big way. Unfortunately, the year pretty much kicked my ass and I’ve been trying to battle back for the past few months.

Let me recap briefly…

  • In December 2014, I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder. I was given anti-depressants to try. Unfortunately, the side effects included a lack of sex drive so I tried another anti-depressant instead. This one didn’t work at all and I ended up having a horrible Christmas full of anxiety and anger. Needless to say, I switched back as soon as I could in January.
  • I found myself having more and more issues at work with my performance. I couldn’t figure out why, but I was making little mistakes in just about everything I was doing. I was starting to panic about my job security, which only added to the mistakes.
  • With some pressuring from my wife, I went to a psychologist and after a few visits found that I had Adult ADHD (Predominantly Inattentive). This was a mind-blowing revelation because I have had this condition my entire life, yet was never diagnosed. It explained SO MANY THINGS, which was really difficult for me to come to terms with.
  • I was let go from my job at the end of July due to poor work performance…two days into taking my medication for ADHD. I don’t blame them…they had to look after their interests as a business. The timing just sucked because I was never truly able to show them my best work.

That was pretty much 2015 summarized. I’ve been out of work since the summer. I’ve been close to finding a job and have gotten a couple of “final interviews”, but it never worked out for one reason or another. However, both Sunshine and I are in a very fortunate position so that I don’t have to go after just any job in order to keep us afloat. I’m searching for THE JOB, or at least something very close to it. Those are few and far between in a city of only 100,000 with an 8% unemployment rate.

I felt low in December leading up to Christmas, but because our family did pretty good with what we had, I felt as though it was time for a different mindset. I just felt that I couldn’t let negativity into my world when there’s so much positivity. I felt as though I had too much to fight for in 2016…and I felt so strongly about this leading into New Year’s Eve that I did something that was absolutely unthinkable only a year ago.

I signed up for the local Polar Bear Dip.

Polar Bear Dip 2016Sunshine had done it twice and was hoping I would join her this time around. As we neared January 1st, I was up early one morning and felt that I needed to do something symbolic that would match my feelings on needing a fresh start and a new beginning. So while she slept, I went online and registered.

I was absolutely NOT wanting to do the jump on the morning of New Year’s Day. I didn’t care about new beginnings or fresh starts; only that the water was freezing and I was an idiot for doing this.

But as Sunshine and I made our way to the docks through the crowds of people, I felt as though this was something that I really needed to do. Plus, we were a bit late to the pier and our numbers had already been called…meaning that they rushed us up to the edge very quickly and there wasn’t any time to really reconsider bad choices.

I think this video pretty much sums up how the jump went…

So there you have it. I not only jumped, but LIKED it!! In fact, I already feel like I want to do it again next year! And you know what else is awesome? My son and step-daughters were there to enjoy the moment with me; to see their dad do something outside of his comfort zone. My parents would have NEVER done anything like that. Hell…they wouldn’t even have gone out to watch in person.

Not only that, but both of my teenaged daughters thought what I did was awesome and BOTH want to do it with me next year!!! How incredibly lucky and fortunate am I to be able to experience something like that?

This just confirms to me that I’m going to have a better 2016. My ADHD is under control. My depression is under control (for the most part). My children love me and I’ve got the greatest wife in the entire world.

A job will come. Experiences will come. Living life to the fullest will come.

Bring it on, 2016…I’m ready for you!

2016 Resolutions (let’s try this again)

2016_resolutionsYes, it’s another new year and yes…it means that people are throwing out New Year’s Resolutions again. I’ve said in the past that I hate resolutions and I’ve also created some, so I guess it has only really depended on whether or not I felt I had some realistic goals for that particular year.

I’ve got goals in 2016. I’ve got real, attainable goals. So I guess these aren’t as much “resolutions” as they are goals for 2016, but they’re mine and I’m going to conquer them…

  1. WEIGHT LOSS - September 24Reach 200 pounds. I lost over 20 pounds during 2015. Of course, I gained back close to 10 near the end of the year in spite of the fact that I joined a gym in November. I feel confident, though, that it’s absolutely 100% possible to lose another 10-20 pounds during 2016. So this isn’t another “Lose Weight” resolution that doesn’t have any clear goals in place. I’ve got a goal…hit 200lbs before the end of 2016. I feel 99% confident that I can achieve this by year end.
  2. jobDon’t get a job…but get the RIGHT job. After being unemployed for over five months (so far), finding a new job is becoming more and more of a priority. We’re doing okay financially, so trying to find the right job is still something I can take a bit of time with. It’s really important that I find something I will enjoy doing at this point in my life, so I need to stay focused and work my butt off to finally get the career that I can stay at for years to come. Right now, I’m going house-wacky and I let my depression get the better of me in December…so getting out of the house and into a new work environment will be vitally important for me to achieve over the next few months.
  3. Run a half-marathon. I’ve accomplished the running goals that I’ve set for myself in the past. I initially started running two years ago and finished my first “official” 5K on June 21, 2014. I ran my own personal 10K on October 13, 2014. I haven’t really had a running goal since. I mean, I’m now at the point where if I run less than 5K then I don’t feel like I’ve gotten a good workout in, so that’s certainly something. But I want to run a half-marathon. I want to feel like I can accomplish something that I never thought I’d be able to accomplish in a million years. It’s time to test my body and push myself to the limit. Now, I walked a half-marathon on my birthday back in 2013, but walking and running are two completely different things. logo-maritime-race-weekendThe event I want to run is the Maritime Race Weekend taking place on September 17th. It’s scary to think about actually doing this, but I feel like if I put my heart and soul into this, it’s a goal that I can accomplish.
  4. money_issuesSave money. Again…this is one of those “well duh” type resolutions. But this was something both Sunshine and I were actually doing pretty well at before I lost my job last summer. We were on our way to accomplishing some goals and staying on top of things. Now we’re just a little behind and I want to make sure that we get back on track. 
  5. ADHD symbol design isolated on white backgroundContinue going to my ADHD support groups. I went to two meetings this past year, and even though I wasn’t thrilled at sitting inside of a room with some strangers to talk about how messed-up we all were, I left each meeting feeling better about myself and how my progress is coming along. I hope to make the monthly meetings a consistent occurrence for me. I think it’s important for me to continue realizing that I’m not alone with this condition. Lots of practical information about ADD is stored in the brains of those who have the condition, so meeting and talking with other ADHD adults can give me hope, which is really important for my personal growth in 2016.

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So this is my 2016 in a nutshell. What about you???

6 Life Hacks for Adults with ADHD

Every once in awhile, I’ll be contacted by someone who offers to write a post for my blog. Most of the time, the content won’t be relevant at all. Sometimes, it’s extremely relevant. In this case, Vee from My New Well wanted to write about Adult ADHD because her blog promotes health and wellness at every age and the topic is something that very important to me. I hope you enjoy this post and visit her blog.

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Image via Pixabay by anisenior
Image via Pixabay by anisenior

Though it develops in childhood, many people aren’t diagnosed with ADHD until they reach adulthood. Both children and adults with ADHD face challenges in succeeding in school and work, getting along with others, and completing tasks.

ADHD treatment often includes medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two, and the combination of medication and therapy has been the most effective course of treatment. With proper treatment and a concerted effort, people with ADHD successfully manage their symptoms and lead happy, successful lives.

That said, there’s always room for making life a little easier. Here are a few life hacks for adults with ADHD:

  1. Reduce the clutterTake Control of Your Space. Distractions are all around, and people with ADHD need to take control of their space to limit them. Though this article provides tips for children with ADHD, its advice on reducing the clutter and getting organized in the home are valuable for adults, too. Categorize your items so that you can trash those that you don’t need, store those that aren’t necessary, and organize those that you use daily. Cutting down on clutter will cut down on your distractions and help you feel less overwhelmed.
  1. Food JournalStart a Food Journal. Some foods impact hyperactivity. Log your food intake and behavior, and you may just find a pattern about which foods affect you most. For example, certain additives, caffeine, or sugar may negatively impact your mood or behaviors. Discuss your findings with your doctor and work with them to eliminate harmful foods from your diet.
  1. You are not aloneInvolve Family in Treatment. Relationships are especially difficult for adults with ADHD. Couples counseling and cognitive behavioral therapy are two options for ADHD adults who want to strengthen or repair those relationships. Supportive partners also learn how to help with treatment, and relationship goals often are met more quickly and successfully when ADHD adults involve their family members and partners in the process.
  1. Apple slicesBreak Tasks Into Small Pieces. Rather than overwhelm yourself with large tasks or grow frustrated by an inability to complete or focus on tasks, ADHD adults should break large tasks into small chunks. Add deadlines to each small task piece to hold yourself accountable and to celebrate your success each time you complete a piece. Soon, the pieces will be completed and the whole task will be finished.
  1. Love your dogSpend More Quality Time with Your Pooch. This one might see a little odd, but hear me out! Studies show that our pets are great for our mental health—helping us fend off loneliness and depression with their unconditional love. For people with ADHD, they have these same effects while also providing beneficial opportunities for exercise and helping to establish an at-home routine based on their feeding and potty habits. So, if you’ve been putting off adopting an adorable mutt from your local shelter, now’s the time to do it.
  1. Become a Morning Person. By committing to getting up early, ADHD adults will find that they are able to accomplish more because the majority of people are up at night. You will be able to do what you need to do without distractions from people calling, emailing, or texting you. And, it tends to be quieter in the morning, which also cuts down on the distractions. You also will feel more positive throughout the rest of your day, because you were so productive in the morning.
  1. Apple Silver iPhone 6 Plus showing the home screen with iOS 8.Use the Power of Your Smartphone. Yes, smartphones can be incredibly distracting for people with ADHD. But, if you use it for good instead of evil (aka Facebook, cat videos, etc.), your smartphone will help you become more organized.

Utilize your calendar and set reminders. Use to-do list apps. Take screenshots of passwords. Include pictures of people with their contact information to help you remember their names. Text yourself about the really important things you need to remember so that you see them in your notifications. The possibilities for using your smartphone for remembering information and for staying on top of deadlines and tasks are nearly limitless.

If you make an effort to live successfully with your ADHD, involve your family and friends, and utilize the resources at your disposal, you will have a much easier time dealing with the condition. And of course, adopting these life hacks is a step in the right direction.

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Vee Cecil is a Kentucky born and bred wellness coach and personal trainer. She is passionate about all things health-related and keeping others informed on personal wellbeing. She regularly shares her findings on wellness on her recently-launched blog.

 

Everything Is Awesome

Enthusiastic ParkerI’ll be the first to admit that since bumping up my medication for Adult ADHD (Vyvanse) to 60mg/day, I have noticed a few changes. Heck, I’ve noticed changes since I began taking the meds two months ago. But sometimes I wonder if it’s all just a placebo effect and I’m just fooling myself.

So I asked my awesome wife, Sunshine, to give me five things that she has noticed about me that is different from a few weeks ago; good or bad.  Where she knows me better than anyone, it only makes sense that she give her opinion on my behaviour recently.

This is what she had to say…

  1. Optimism & positivity. Not that you were ever a really negative person before, but in the past month or so you’ve been way more positive about life despite the great deal of uncertainty we’ve been facing recently.

This is one of the things that Sunshine makes fun of me about. She says I’m sometimes like the Alec Baldwin character from Friends, “Enthusiastic Parker”:

I can’t really explain it, but I’m just seeing the world in a slightly different light. Things aren’t as bad as they seem, even if they really are. And don’t let it seem like I’m trying to sugarcoat anything, either: we have a TON of uncertainty going on in our lives right now. I’m just honestly feeling very positive about where we will end up and how we will get there.

  1. Big reduction in procrastination. In the past you would put things off, lacking the motivation to just get things done. You’re much more willing to just tackle things without putting them off until “later”.

I feel like I’m still procrastinating a little bit, though. Maybe I’m not NEARLY as bad as I used to be, but I would always feel like I could get it done later. Lately it’s been a matter of WANTING to get things done. Or if I procrastinate about doing something and I’m late to get it completed, I’ll feel guilty about it and want to finish as soon as possible (ex: laundry, dishes, mowing the lawn, etc.) whereas before I would simply “meh” it away and do it whenever.

  1. Mood.Your mood is much more even in that you don’t get frustrated nearly as easily as you used to. A perfect example of this is the other day (when we were) at Point Pleasant Park, when your phone wasn’t working. You fiddled with it a bit, apologized (for) not being 100% “present”, and then eventually put it in your pocket. This was a HUGE shock to me. In the past, you would have gotten extremely frustrated and angry, and it would have put this big black cloud over the whole outing. Not this time…it was just no big deal…you put it away, enjoyed the rest of our walk, and dealt with it afterwards.

I have certainly noticed this, as well. Things that used to frustrate the heck out of me don’t bother me NEARLY as much at this point. However, having said that, I do notice the difference between when I’m on the medication and when I’m off of it. Y’see, Vyvanse is a medication that is supposed to last approximately 10-12 hours (it doesn’t stay in your system), but for me I feel the effects wearing off by late afternoon or early evening. This means that I feel different in the evening and in the morning before I take it. “Different” can be explained as feeling a bit more tense or on edge, so I’m very happy to have a more calming mood when I’m on it.

  1. Enthusiasm for life. You’re way more willing to just get out there and DO things than you have been in the last couple of years. You’re willing to get on board for a lot more things than you’ve ever been…things that you’ve maybe never done before, or never even considered doing (hello COLOURING!). You’re also getting out there and running/walking every single day lately.

Yeah…I’m doing my best to embrace life as best I can. I only have one life and I’ll get out what I put into it, so I really need to start putting in the most I can. I’m 43 next month and I want to ensure that the second half of my life is just as good (if not better) than the first half of my life. I’ve got all the tools in place (an incredible wife and family, my Adult ADHD diagnosed and looked after, and work experience that should help me find the career I’ve always wanted); I just need to take advantage of them in order to make the most of the life I have.

  1. Drastic reduction in junk food consumption!I’m not sure what the reason is for this, if it’s because you were using sugar to get a jolt of energy before, or if you were stuffing down negative feelings with food, but I’ve noticed a huge change in you in this regard. You’re no longer using food in a negative way…yes, you’re still enjoying treats now and again, but it’s not an obsession like it has been in the past (when we were eating ice cream daily…).

Vyvanse is sometimes used to help treat binge eating but is not recommended as a weight loss medication. However, whether it’s because it is actually happening or because I’m using it as a placebo; I’m not sure. What I do know is that I don’t feel as hungry as I used to. I would have cravings for chocolate and need to sneak treats during the day. I would use food as a way to make me feel better about something. I wouldn’t care about the consequences of eating a ton of junk food until the guilt hit me afterwards. Now? Now I see the weight loss from the past month (over 14 pounds at this point) and can see the finish line. I’m not using food to pass the time or cope with stress, so it’s all been a very positive experience for me.

These are all things that I have seen in myself. In terms of a personal sense of change, I feel like I’m able to concentrate a lot better. When my head is down and I’m doing something (whether it’s writing a cover letter or writing a blog), my fingers are going non-stop because I’ve got things that I want to say and I’m not letting outside influencers take my attention away.

It’s literally like a fog has been lifted in my brain, so it’s just up to me to ensure that I take advantage of the situation and make the most of this opportunity. Second chances don’t come around in life very often, so I don’t plan on letting this one pass me by.

A Whole New World

Some of you may have noticed something different about me last week. I was posting to my running blog (I Got Off The Couch) every day over the past two weeks and the posts weren’t all coming in the morning. There was a reason for that…I am currently unemployed.

No hard feelings as you’ll never hear me say a bad thing about my former employer, but I will say that the position wasn’t a good fit for me and so now I’m on a search for a new career.

Because I’ve been taking 60mg of Vyvanse daily for the past two weeks, my entire outlook on life seems to have changed. I’ve taken this new experience with a very positive point of view and am using it as a way to improve my life.

Y’see, my Adult ADHD medication has affected me in such a positive way (more on that tomorrow) that I haven’t been as upset as I probably should be about losing my job. I’ve applied for a number of jobs and realize that my work experience and resume are a lot better than I thought they were. I’ve got a newfound confidence and I’m looking forward to future challenges.

I’ve been embracing my new “summer vacation” by trying to make the most of my time. I have a daily routine that has been working well for me.

  • 08-01-2015 7-38 AMIn the morning, I go out for a run or a walk. I’ve gone anywhere from 3 kilometers to 10 kilometers, regardless of weather or temperature. I’ve realized that I’ll probably never have the opportunity again to hit the pavement without any time restraints on a daily basis, so I’m going further and harder than I ever have before. And the crazy thing is that I’m actually enjoying it! While I’m still not in the best shape (my times were better last year than they have been this year), I’m improving all  the time and that’s the most important thing. I’ve also lost over 10 pounds within the past month. This has come from a combination of eating less and exercising more, so it really is an exciting time because my self-confidence is building in a way I don’t remember ever having before.
  • Mid-morning, I’ll relax and write or partake in one of my newest relaxation activities: colouring. Yes…you read that correctly. A few weeks ago my wife purchased an “adult colouring book” as she heard that it was a great way to relax and unplug. After watching her for a week, I decided to give it a try and purchased an adult colouring book last week. Needless to say, I’ve been obsessed with it ever since. It’s much more relaxing than playing video games or juggling my laptop, iPhone, and iPad all at the same time. I can listen to music and partake in conversations because it’s not really that distracting for me. If you had told me a few months ago that I would be colouring on a daily basis and enjoying it, I would have laughed right in your face. Here are pics of some of the completed projects so far…

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  • Career BeaconOnce I eat lunch, I tackle the job search in the afternoon. I have a number of sites that I’m visiting and because I have a pretty varied background, the types of jobs that I’m applying for are different and interesting. Three years ago when I moved to Halifax, I felt as though I didn’t have much of a background to work with. This time around, however, my most recent job has given me the resume and the experience to earn the type of job I want to get. When I’m searching, it’s not a depressing thing. I’m looking with confidence and excitement about what my next move could be.

When I lost my job a couple of years ago, I was in the middle of a depressive state that affected me in the most negative of ways. I ended up getting this fantastic job that my Adult ADHD ended up affecting in a very negative way. This time, though, I feel as though I’ve got my life together and things are moving in an extremely positive direction for me. I’m saddened that it didn’t happen for me sooner, but at the end of the day it happened…so I just need to look at my life now and where it could go.

The possibilities truly are endless.