Monday, October 31, 2016

Home sick...

I'm sitting here reflecting while spa music sad piano tunes play from my iMac's speakers. My dad goes home tomorrow, and I'm somber. I knew he couldn't stay here because my mom and brother miss him too, and he has a home back in Michigan that needs attention, but having him here was a blessing.

My dad came at a time when I was working crazy hours, the house was a wreck, we had no routines, and we were flying by the seat of our pants. My dad came and restored order. He restored routine. He helped with the dishes and laundry which are necessary evils and normally put off in this house. He was always there to talk to. He told me stories of his childhood. We went shopping many times together, always enjoying each other's company. I think most of all, he was happy. 

Everything was so stressful lately that we were coping and everyone was on edge. My dad came and brought this warmth, sunshine, and happiness. Even though he was here almost a month, he never overstayed his welcome. He never got on anyone's nerves, and I never felt like he was the third wheel or out of place. 

Sometimes I see parents living with their kids that are in other nationalities, and I see what a close and cohesive unit they are. I never understood it before as that is not something our culture is brought up with. I admit I wondered if it would be annoying to always have your parents with you. Our American culture tends to make fun about in-laws and how people can't stand them. Thankfully that isn't a problem with our family. After having my dad here a month, I can now understand how helpful it is to have a parent be with you. My children LOVED having my dad here. Justin and my dad bonded over how to yo-yo, which was so amazing to see. 

They have voiced to me multiple times how sad they are that he's leaving. I have not mentioned that he's leaving, but they have brought it up themselves because they love having him here so much. He wakes with them early in the morning, makes them breakfast, gets their water bottles and lunches together, makes sure they are on time with everything they need every morning. They are spoiled with love. Dad even broke Justin of his habit of leaving every light on in the morning! 

Part of me would love to have him visit more often, and part of me is sad because it makes me miss my parents very much. I know Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away, and I will see them soon, but it is so hard not to live by my family. I get very bitter about it. I sometimes even get resentful. 

There are many people who don't get along with their family. I can see them moving away and never having a second thought about it. I'm very close to my family and living so far away from them tears me apart. I don't know what the solution is, or if there even is one. January will be nine years in Texas, by ourselves. I want to be able to visit my family a few times a week, have weekly dinner with them and spend quality family time. Limiting it to summers, Thanksgiving, Christmas and a few times where I'm able to fly them down appeases me but ideally isn't what I want. I want my kids to grow up and know their family like I knew mine. Yes, Michigan is cold, but that's where my family is. Where my family is, is where I call home, and I'm a long way from home...

Sunday, October 30, 2016

It's a matter of trust...

Writing. It's something I just can't force. I have to feel inspired to write. I think anyone can be a writer, but it takes inspiration to form words into coherent sentences. There have been many days where I sit down to write in my blog, and I erase the content multiple times because it just doesn't flow. When it flows, it's therapeutic. The process of being able to unwind thoughts from the dark crevices of your brain and release it through writing helps relieve stress. 

Sometimes it's the daily stress that I can write about, and through writing, I can solve my issues. Other times it is knowing that I was able to document something to remember years down the road. From time to time, people find my blog post and they can relate to what I've experienced. Writing and reading are crucial in my life. 

One of the topics I've wanted to write a little bit about is my relationship with my father. Let me add, that I have an excellent relationship with my mother, as well. It just happens my dad has been visiting and helping us out for the last month, so I have a lot to reflect upon. 

I've been daddy's little girl as long as I can remember, and I'm spoiled. Spoiled rotten. I'm spoiled with love. 

My dad and I are very similar, not just in physical traits but also in personality. Growing up I often heard, 'You sure do take after your father.' This similarity was a double-edged sword. On one hand, I could easily understand my dad. On the other hand, it made us argue stubbornly growing up. I'm not one to step down, so some of these arguments were pretty heated. I'm sure my mom was smirking deep down when my dad and I were in a heated argument, thinking to herself, 'You raised her like this, so of course, she's not going to back down.' I remember my brother telling me, 'Briana, just let it go.', But I couldn't. If I knew I was right, I was going to prove it. 

I've been spending a lot of time with my dad, listening to stories about when I was a kid, or when he was a kid, and connecting to him on a more personal level. I understand why he did the things he did that I was not able to comprehend as a child. 

One of the most valuable lessons my dad taught me was 'trust.' This story will sound crazy, so bear with me. When I was 15, I was in karate. My dad thought it was an excellent idea to put my brother and me in karate so we could defend ourselves in any unsafe situation. 

Every summer there would be a karate camp, and my brother and I would go. During one of these camps, I met a guy named Ben. Ben and I hit it off right away, and we started dating. 

We were only about a 30-minute drive away, but it was far enough where it wasn't easy to see each other often. 

I'm honestly not sure how it all came up because I don't remember, but my parents let me stay the night at Ben's house multiple times. Yes, we slept in different rooms. My dad talked me to about trust. His words were, 'I trust you. I trust you to do the right thing. The first time you betray my trust, and the entire world will change for you. Make the right decision.'

I'm a first born child, and many first born children follow the rules and are afraid to get in trouble, and I was one of them. I was a good kid. I studied hard, I worked hard and was not someone who was dishonest. 

My dad taught me the value of trust. He trusted me and that meant a lot to me. He trusted me to think about situations and weigh the consequences. Though it must have been hard for them, it was what I needed. I needed to know I could make decisions on my own and own the results to the outcome. I needed to know my parents had trust in me and believed in me. 

I never broke my dad's trust. I took it seriously because it was important. Trust is one of those qualities that make or break your character. Once you betray it, or once you tarnish your character, it's difficult, if not impossible, to rebuild. 

Twenty years later my dad and I still have a close relationship. I enjoy all the time I have with him, his stories, and his positive outlook. I value this bond we have and am thankful for all the time I've been given to spend with him making memories. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

My mind never slows down...never...ever...

My mind...never...slows...down....

I always wonder what it's like to be a normal person without an ADHD mind.
  1. Does their mind rest? 
  2. Can they literally chill?
  3. When they go to yoga and lay down in Shavasana (at the end of practice where you let your mind rest), do they let their mind rest and focus on their breathing without racing thoughts coming to the forefront of their mind? 
  4. What happens when they try to go to sleep? 
  5. What is their mind thinking about when they drive a car? 

I can tell you, from experience, that the ADHD mind doesn't focus long enough to rest. 
  • In Shavasana, I can guarantee you that I TRY to focus on my breathing, and it lasts for five measly seconds before I'm thinking about the prescription I need to pick up after practice, or what I said on a conference call earlier. 
  • When I sleep my mind races through the day, replaying it, reminding me of all the things I meant to do but forgot. My husband can fall asleep in two seconds with the TV blaring, and I can lay in bed for an hour and wonder how he falls asleep with no effort! 
  • When I drive a car, I pay attention to the road (of course!), but I am also solving a work problem in my head (I actually did figure out a solution to a work problem in my head today on the way to the gym)! 

How about these other traits? 

Do you pick fights to give your brain some adrenaline?

You should have seen little ole me growing up in the 80s and 90s. Not many people knew about ADHD then, and luckily in my teenage years it settled down. I was not diagnosed until I was an adult, so my childhood years were challenging. There is a reason I was nicknamed, "Queen bitch of the Universe." To be honest, I wasn't mean! I'm seriously the most empathetic person you could ever meet, but I loved a good argument.

There are too many stories I can tell you where I pissed my brother off so much that he would run through the house with a fireplace poker trying to beat the crap out of me (for the record he never did!) My brother and I never got along growing up. I instigated and agitated until he blew up pretty much every day. I'm sure my parents were ready to ship me off to boarding school, and it's probably the reason my dad drank at night, but my brain needed stimulation.

Thankfully my parents realized I couldn't just sit at home. They worked too much for me to be involved in school sports, and I really didn't have the attention span anyhow. Cue in the story about the time they enrolled me in baseball. I was in the outfield and was too busy watching cute boys to notice the ball whizzing by my head. Baseball was a bit too slow for me. Karate was a perfect outlet. It taught discipline and with hard work I was soon a black belt sensei. It also probably cured my brain of that much needed physical and mental activity.

Are you obsessed with music?

I think people with ADHD are naturally drawn to music. Sure, I watch tv, but I'd give up tv for music any day. I used to have music with me at all times when I was growing up. The cassette tapes were my best friend. I would even take my Walkman to school so that I could have music in one ear and the teacher in the other. I would even listen to music while taking tests. I'm sure the teachers didn't always like it but I KNEW if I listened to music while taking my tests, I would do better, and I did.

I'm also one of the only people you will find that does computer coding with headphones. I need it. I can't stand the silence. Sometimes it's the 80s, sometimes it's smooth jazz and sometimes when I'm really stressed out, it's spa music (all compliments of Pandora). It's a proven fact that people with ADHD focus better with music. I know I do.

Embrace your gifts.

What I do know is ADHD makes me unique and special.

My youngest son, Justin, has ADHD and I tell him all the time it's a gift.
  • How many people can hyperfocus and solve issues? 
  • How many people can solve problems doing normal things (like driving!)? 
  • How many people thrive on chaos and easily manage it? We live for that! 
  • Multi-tasking? We have that down pact. 
  • Creative ideas? We have that, too. 
  • Love of learning? That's a trait we have because we hate to be bored. Throw as much new stuff at us as you want. We love to learn new things! 
ADHD isn't a curse or a bad word, though some days we look at it that way. Having ADHD can make us scattered and forgetful, but it can make us passionate and productive. I've taught my son to embrace his gifts and use them to the best of his ability, and to focus on what they can do for you, and not what they can't.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Sometimes life passes by in the blink of an eye....

Sometimes you blink and you realize a month went by. A year flew by. Multiple years flew by. Your kids are getting older, and this means you are getting older, too.

My last blog post here was the beginning of 2014. 2012-2014 were years that were faced with a lot of challenges and a lot of victories. There are scars that hold a million untold stories. Why fixate on the past when you can live in the present and hope for the future? Your mind is an amazing thing. When faced with tumultuous times, it knows to block out painful memories. People will often ask if I remember this or that, and my answer is, 'No.' My mind literally blocked the bad memories. Why waste precious brain matter with bad memories? Chemo already killed enough brain cells, therefore there is a permanent sign in my brain that says, 'Good memories always.' To be honest, I was quite worried that chemo did a number on my brain. I couldn't remember so many things. Was it aging or did I really have chemo brain?

Recently at work (stick with me here, it relates to my previous story) my position was outsourced, and so I was moved to an area that I supported over ten years ago. When I first started training I did not remember a thing. Ten years is a long time to be gone from something. Panic set in. Oh dear, I can't remember anything? Nothing?

Instead of sitting in a moment of panic and in a sea of despair, I focused on one thing - learning.

I read more documents between July and August than most people read in years. I asked questions. I studied how everything worked. A month or two, that's all I needed.

I was reflecting on this the other day: I was in a rut with my old position. I needed a challenge, but I was comfortable. The outsourcing forced me out of this comfort level. It threw me into a position where I was going to either rise above everything, or fail miserably. If anyone knows me, I don't take to failure well, and I don't give up. Briana means 'The Strong' and I live by that mantra every day.

As I was reflecting, I thought, this job change, it pushed me into an uncomfortable position, but it excited me. I actually looked forward to working and learning. I looked forward to seeing problems and solving them. In fact, this job change was exactly what I needed to prove to myself that I am still fantastic at what I do.

There was a moment in all of the fog where I thought to myself, are my brain cells shot? I was honestly worried.

The answer was, 'No.' They were bored. Yes, bored.

The new position makes me excited to go to work every day. I am slammed busy, but I'm making a difference. I'm seeing progress every day. It's like biking uphill and thinking, 'Oh my God, it keeps going and going and going...' but then you stop and look back and you realize how far you have come and how much you have accomplished. That's how it is. Every day I go to work and I love it. I have to MAKE myself stop working at the end of the day. I get into my ADHD hyperfocus mode and I tell myself, just try this, or let's try this instead, and I keep trying to figure out my problem until it's getting late and I need to just stop.

All, in all, I'm elated that I'm working in this group again. My work is appreciated, I'm appreciated and I enjoy the daily challenges. Everyone should wish to enjoy their job as much as I do.