I am very close to telling the boyfriend about my attention deficit disorder with the hope that it may buy some sympathy.
by Jane D.
Could it be that at age 34, with a new crop of white hairs, the reality that my mother did not acknowledge my birthday, and the other reality that with all I’ve accomplished I still feel inadequate, the little girl of 10 years old emerges begging and screaming for attention? My sister was born with kidney failure and has been through a dozen plus surgeries since she was born. The devil in me wishes, at times, that I were as sick as she. I wish everyone gave me gifts and surrounded me with sympathy -- I wish I were little and cute, because, of course, I am none of these things.
In the blink of an eye, the woman is transformed into a girl -- helpless, awkward, fearful, and always wondering if she deserves normalcy and happiness. Where is this rant headed? Well, for the past few weeks and especially today, I’ve struggled with twists and turns and inner turmoil with the boyfriend. He lives in another state, about three hours away, and he is struggling with a new job with insane hours.
I am struggling with a new job, too, and dealing with the He-Boss and She-Boss, and a place packed with politics. Long hours -- leave home at 8 a.m. and return at 10 p.m. In between, I catch a swim, but even then the swimming has lost its spunk and pizazz. I swim with the anger and fury of an angry drunk, the swim completely stripped of the joy of just doing it. I pound the water with fists and huff and puff at people who swim in between both lanes. A mysterious thing occurs when I go from being a normal, creative, and witty person to someone who is anxious and totally paralyzed by fear. I can see it coming like a runaway train on the wrong side of the track, and yet I can’t stop it. I wonder if it is the same with an anorexic who logically knows that one needs to eat to be healthy, and yet distains food.
On a logical level, I know that by acting like a child -- by making demands, by spazing out -- I will repel instead of attract people. And yet, these spells of being nasty and pushing people away continues.
The Buddhaman was right. I try to push people away by taking on too much. Insecurity and fear and an innate curiosity in things drives a desire to do more, and then starts a vicious cycle of feeling totally overwhelmed and overstressed, which leads to temper tantrums, which drive men and people away. I want to end the cycle with the snap of my fingers, only it lingers like a cancer that spreads.
Outside, old man winter is not afraid to share a glimpse of the long and brutal season to come. The temperature has plummeted to the teens. Inside, the office and even the Penthouse are nice and toasty, but mostly I fear what will become of me if I don’t get help soon. I’ve already reached out to an ex-boyfriend who was the first I’ve ever told about the ADHD. Despite my quirks and our break up, he is gracious enough to listen and to help. He e-mails the names of herbs and natural supplements that supposedly sharpen memory. I thank him, we sit at a restaurant and share a post-birthday brunch, and he shows me my astrology charts. The boxes that show friends and “service” are empty, and there are other boxes that show a life of sorrow and turmoil with dating, stability, and all the things that most people take for granted, damn it. The ex says that since most of the planets are to one side, this means that this is my destiny, like it can’t be changed. I nodded and thanked him for the free reading, drank the wine, seemed okay with my fate until later that day. What if the reading is correct, and there isn’t a single thing I can do about my predicament? I feel resigned to my sorry fate now.
There are signs that the beast has returned -- there is a constant “push and pull” with people, the "I love you, I hate you" syndrome. Why in the world would a smart woman text sarcastic things to her already busy boyfriend? Why would she constantly doubt whether he will call her? Why would she doubt to the point where she pushes him away with the ferocity of someone nasty and unrecognizable?
I am mostly afraid of myself, and I am unsure of what to do. What I have done is gone down the list of psychiatrists in the neighborhood who take evening and weekend hours and that of psychologists too. Once again, I will call down the list and try out a new shrink. It has been nearly a year since I’ve been to a shrink in part because I was busy being miserable in Layoffland. Maybe I just want to be miserable. Odd, isn’t it? I am also very close to telling the boyfriend about my attention deficit disorder with the hope that it may buy some sympathy, even though I swear he is ADHD too, but maybe has yet to acknowledge it.
In desperation, I’ve turned to the solitude of the church again. There is one not too far from where I work. One afternoon, I walked past the hustle and bustle of the holiday crowds and into the sacred space. There is a little bookstore inside the church and I caught a glimpse of a charm reading, “With God all things are possible.” I bought it for a sense of hope, and for now that is the best that I can ask for.