life

Depression/Suicide: Robin was not alone

COne of the things I hold dear from the week my Dad died is his comment to me that he was proud of me and that he was glad to have “his Sam back.” You see, for a long moment in time no one was sure if they would ever have me back.

Normally, I don’t speak of those times very much and especially not to strangers. It is not that I am ashamed, but rather a life long sense of shyness and privacy holds me back. When taking a psychology class in high school, we students were asked to use one word to describe ourselves; my word: private. It is a hard thing to overcome, but with this sudden and disturbing death of Robin Williams, I somehow feel compelled to reach out. Bashert says no one can tell a story as well as one who has experienced it. As the Talmud says, “Save one life, save the world entire.” or as a friend said last night, “Untreated depression is a terminal illness.”

So big breath….

I hail from a nice, middle-class family – the iconic midcentury family: two parents (each of the opposite sex), three other siblings (two older, one younger) and a rotating menagerie of pets. By the time I came along my parents owed their own home and we had a plethora of extended family. My Dad supported the family financially and my Mom supported us all at home. As I said, iconic. Get it? All American Family. Nice people.

But it doesn’t mean anything to the black hole that is Depression.

Using that crystal clear vision know as hindsight, my dance with Depression began early in life, but it didn’t become a slow dangerous tango until the early 90s when I entered my thirties. It was then I no longer had the lead over my own life. Depression slowly took control and by 1996, I was a knife blade’s edge and one signature away from either taking a heavily escorted ride to Milledgeville, Georgia or finding out for sure what happens after we cease to exist in this form.

Another big breath…

Written descriptions can never really reveal the desperation, the depth of despair that clinical Depression brings. So I am going to give something that I have never given before – a glimpse inside my mind of those dark days – an entry from my journals. I have changed names and left out a few references because they concern specific people whom I do not wish to reveal.

As you read these words, remember – I have loving parents, siblings, friends and doctors surrounding me, supporting me. Depression does not care.

11 July 96:

My well of resources is about dry. I’ve managed to hold on until now. Bits and pieces of saving grace have fed my hopes, but I can’t seem to comprehend anything of grace now.

Monday, I checked into a motel because I couldn’t bring myself to return to the house – the questions – the outrage, the suggestions, the sympathy. Too much, too much. I couldn’t be with anyone. I didn’t want to be with myself.

I’ve been on a downward slide for a long time. I’ve told you and others, but everyone seems to think they know me. That I have this powerful inner strength to help carry me through. I’ve said it in words and shown it in deeds. I’m dying.

My inner strength is used up. I’m tired and I want the pain to stop. I’m trapped and very much alone. People say wait to see what tomorrow brings; don’t let the bastards win; it’s a no-win situation, blah, blah, blah…I’ve used the words myself [remember ‘R’?]. It’s all crap when you’re on this side. She should have called the cops. I have many layers and I’ve reached one that doesn’t give a shit about promises, loyalty, or trust. It will be soon. My anger and despair are calling for rest.

I’ve begun making the lists of things to take care of – things that needs to be tied up. Sometimes it makes me queasy, but mostly it gives me calm. So much tension to be (sic) releaved.

My new little knife has become a comfort token. I’ve taken it with me everywhere. It even stays in my hand all night long. It gives a pleasant warmth.

I wonder if any sleep will come tonight? I’ve started my program of aspirin. It would be nice to rest…pack up your troubles in your ol’ kit bag and smile, smile, smile…

Depression is not just sadness. It is a deep, soul sucking despair that cares for nothing but ending the pain. It doesn’t care that you have a spouse or children that depend on you or parents that worry about you. It doesn’t care that you have fame and fortune or not. IT JUST DOESN’T CARE. It is a never ending darkness that steals joy and wonder from inside. Outside the world may seem fine, but inside? Inside there is nothing but the hunger for escape. One does not simply pull up your bootstraps and move on.

It takes a massive amount of effort and energy to combat Depression. The person with Depression is not the only one who wears out. It is frustrating and painful for all concerned. Depression is a sneaky jerk and can trick even the most experienced eye. I was lucky and had some very stubborn people in my corner, who just wouldn’t give up on me no matter how I far I fell, faked it, or pushed away. There is no ‘cure’ for Depression, only recovery. It is a lifetime battle often fought minute by minute.

Depression is a mental illness that needs more exposure and not by more loss. If you or someone you love is suffering, please, please get help. We don’t need anymore poster children.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:  1.800.273.8255

http://www.buzzfeed.com/laraparker/things-you-shouldnt-say-to-someone-struggling-with-depress

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Dreams may come, dreams may go

In the spring, I received notice that my university financial aid would not be processed unless I declared a major, met with an advisor and laid out a course schedule hurtling me toward graduation. I was informed that financial aid would no longer pay for any courses not directly involved with obtaining the degree I sought. Such is the penalty for going back for a second undergraduate degree and having no money. I have to know what I want to be when I grow up.

Some time back, I grew weary of the corporate grind, the machinations, the end of the world scenarios every time something goes wrong, the obvious greed and lack of empathy from those who have scaled the corporate mountain. I kept telling Bashert I needed to get back in school and find something else to do with my life. She finally told me to “shit or get off the pot”. In other words, do something about it or shut up. I chose to return to school.

I returned with the full intention of moving on to a graduate program here at our state Medical University. I didn’t want to become a physician, but gain a doctorate and do research. Neuroscience and psychopharmacology were the two beacons lighting my way. I am fascinated with the way the brain works. I had a dream.

I volunteered to work the night shift so that I could have my days to attend classes and study. I worked it out with my nightside partners whereby I would be the one to “close” every night except Wednesdays, the night before I had a lab class scheduled. Working the later night shift would also give me more time to spend with Yoda, picking him up from school and having supper together with Bashert.

When I got to school, it was if I had entered a magic kingdom. I’d forgotten how much I love to learn. Having a lifetime of experiences behind me, I felt much surer of myself. No longer the first time attending, scared teenager or that voiceless woman coming out of a horrible divorce situation, I was there for a purpose and with a self authority I lacked before.

My resolve of purpose faltered a year into my studies with the introduction of Evolutionary Biology and PreCalculus.

Now let me pause here just one moment and let you know something about myself. I am bitter. You see, I graduated the first time around with a GPA of 3.499 and it didn’t get rounded up. Yep, I missed cum laude by 1/1000th of a point. You know why I graduated with a 3.499?

Math.

In 1979, I took College Algebra, earned a D and it has haunted my GPA ever since.  Never mind that I returned to school, took it over and made an A, no, in college it all counts and never goes away.

What do Evolutionary Biology and PreCalculus concern? Math – lots and lots of math.

That semester was a living hell of math.

I managed to eke out a B in both classes. EvoBio was saved by my writing ability and obnoxious eagerness to have everything turned in early. PreCalculus was saved only by my four day marathon study session for the final and the good graces of the adjunct professor, who dropped three tests grades.

I looked at the remaining classes I would be required to take to earn my B.S. and move on. Chemistry I&II & Organic – math; Physics I&II- math; Calculus – math; Genetics – math.

It was then I realized that I was not going to be able to realize my dreams of moving on to any PhD. program in science. Perhaps if I was younger with more time and energy to devote myself strictly to the programs, I could do it, at least that’s what I would like to think. But with a family to care for, health issues and a job that costs me 45-60 hours a week, excluding travel time, it just wasn’t going to happen. I simply don’t bounce back like I used to and there are sacrifices I’m not ready to make. So, I had to release that dream.

It hasn’t been easy giving up.  I practically gave up writing and I my camera still lies unused. I grudgingly declared an English major and met with the English vice-chair for advisement. Corporate drudgery stared me down hard. I felt defeated, weary and wasteful. At this point in my life, what use was studying 19th century British literature going to do? I sulked most of my way through last spring and the summer.

It has taken until now to climb my way back out of that hole of disappointment.

Glimmers of light are beginning to shine through. I have partners that I work with in my business life that I enjoy and trust now. And while Family Bedlam is well, still bedlam, we are a family doing the best we can with love and hope. This semester I am taking classes I really enjoy and I have an appointment to speak with someone in the Communications department about switching to an area of study that might just help me in my present career. If I cannot move on to a different world outside then perhaps I can make the world I exist in now a little bit better.

I guess that’s the good thing about dreams. One can always build another.

Photo Credit: Photo by Vail. Undated. mtholyoke.edu

Derailed

 

 The rhythm of life can be disrupted by many things. My arrhythmia came about by lack of sleep.

 

The first or second week of May, in a sleep deprived stupor, I nearly hit a train. This was no metaphorical iron horse breathing the hot breath of mortal visions, but a real locomotive. I wasn’t stuck on the tracks or trying to beat the guard arms, no I just nearly rammed into the side of a moving CSX freight car because my brain was running on the memory of my Serta.

June found me working three straight weeks of 7pm to 5am shifts and attending an accelerated five week semester, studying Intro to Literary Theory (I never again want to read Heart of Darkness or see “Apocalypse Now”.), and doing a massive overhaul of my home. On more than one occasion, I woke to sunlight streaming through my car window either in the work parking lot or in front of my home. Very disconcerting to say the least.

 

Life was moving in pudding. Something had to give and, like our so wise government always seems to choose, the first thing to go was the Arts. Writing, outside of horribly constructed critical papers for school, was out. Photography reduced to glossed over gazing at Bashert’s beautiful shots. The summer reading books remained hostage in the bottom of my book bag.

 

Things began to flow again when one of my fellow gatekeepers returned to the office a couple of weeks ago giving me time relief and Maymester closed giving me brain relief (I earned a B in my lit class – always makes me wonder if an A would be in the works if the only thing on my list was school). My family has been gracious enough to allow me to sleep in even though on occasion Yoda was busting at the seams to get me up and going. I’ve only passed out in the driveway once in the last two weeks.

 

So, hopefully my sinus rhythm is returning to normal. I took a quick opportunity to step outside and snaps some photos today and if I can keep this up I will finish this little article. I’ve started it many times in the last few days. I’m going to catch up on all the Weekly Photo Challenges that I can. “Today” sort of loses its freshness when taken several weeks after the “today” of the assignment, but philosophically speaking it’s always today, so…

 

For those of you who so nicely signed up to follow the blog, I thank you for hanging in and not deleting my link while I was MIA. For those of you who have stopped by and left comments, I thank you also; I will answer and acknowledge the time you took to visit. I have one day planned to catch up on all the wonderful blog writings and photography I have missed these weeks.

 

Blogosphere, here I come, cross my heart.

 

Passion Doesn’t Pay the Bills

What do I want to be when I grow up?

Unless you are five years old or were born to just know your destiny, this can be quite an enormous question.  And since I am no longer five and long ago gave up my dream of being Tarzan, I find myself asking this question almost daily.

The trade I ply presently came by way of accident, really.  It was an opportunity that presented itself when needed.  A steady income, with insurance benefits for my entire “alternative” family, not something easy to find.  The job came with great bonuses, an energetic atmosphere and interesting people to work with.  OWL used to say it was like going to work at that place with the cheery mouse.

Work really was fun. But the tide has turned with the economy. What was once joy has turned to stress inducing drudgery. I find myself mired the muck of corporate offal, my feet stuck by the very things that once offered succor.

The clouds were on the horizon three years ago, so I decided to go back to school.  Actually, I spoke about going back for so long, Bashert told me I need to shit or get off the pot.

I have a degree already; a Bachelor of Fine Arts.  My About page kids around a bit, but the part about being an artist is true.  I didn’t take a whole lot of advanced sciences and maths the first go around.

My idea was to go back, shore up my maths and sciences and then apply to the Medical University, get into a PhD program and into research, preferably in the neurosciences.  I would leave the corporate world behind and submerge myself in the world of discovery.

My plan isn’t going so well.  What started as a couple of biology and math classes blossomed into, “I might as well go ahead and get the second bachelor’s degree since I’ve already done all the core work.”  So I declared as a Biology major.

Turns out though, I’m not that crazy about Biology and Math still hates me.  I take part of that back – I’m not crazy about my lab classes or some of the Biology professors or the fact that our Biology department concentrates primarily on environmental studies.  I’m not big on reptiles or plant reproduction.  The other part about Math remains.

My next thought was to look into data mining or Biostatistics.  Either would still be research, but not in the lab.  Turns out that you need a boat load of mathematics to do either.  Advanced math, such as the likes of Linear Algebra and Calculus.  You recall I mentioned Math hates me?

So, I’m back to square one.

I could slip quietly back into this good night, return to the day shift and make myself more visible to the powers that be and claw my way up the next ring of the spiderweb.

I could turn to a more stodgy major such as business (sorry Dad) and use it to advance toward the next life- sucking level of management.  Doesn’t the joy of that idea just ooze out?

All the classes I’m taking are getting farther and farther from what I originally intended.  I mean,  come on: Creative Writing?  I’m thinking someone’s trying to tell me something, but what I’m not quite sure.

Guess I have more pondering to do.  It will keep me occupied while I’m digging my next hole for archaeology.

Peace Out

I’ve been absent a while.  School has resumed, the holiday lull at work has given way to busy nights and I’m getting up in the mornings to take Yoda to school since Bashert is still working her long term sub job. Hectic reigns supreme.

That’s why I skipped last week’s photo challenge.  Peace is a fair ways from my threshold.

I must admit that peace is a difficult concept for me anyway.  To say I’ve been through a few rough spots in my fifty years would be about right.  And for the past fifteen years, I’ve learned what it is to live amongst the tribe of ADD.  Our last name is Bedlam.

In an effort to help out, others have made suggestions on how to gain more peace in my life.

Yoga just doesn’t do it for me, besides I look like a stuffed sausage in those outfits.  I’m Jewish; I don’t do pork.

Guided imagery was a hoot.  Once we got to the giant floating bubble, I lost it – I had a complete vision of Glenda the Good Witch gliding down into Munchkin Land singing to Dorothy in a quivering voice.  The leader did not appreciate my giggles.

Exercise?  See the above comment about stuffed sausage.  I’m lazy and I think I’m allergic.

The closest I have come to finding some sort of peace is when I’m involved in a jigsaw puzzle.

There’s just something zen about it to me – finding all the interlocking pieces.  But with aforementioned tribe clamoring about (okay, there’s only two of them, but you come stay a while and you’d swear there are more, too.), four cats, one ailing dog and only one table in the house large enough to work on, peaceful turns into a jaw clenching challenge to finish before it goes flying or that one last piece goes missing.

No, peaceful is not an adjective that lives in my mind, but if the theme ever comes up as “discombobulated”  I’m in the money!

Oh, please say to me you’ll let me hold your hand

Yeah you, got that something

I think you’ll understand

When I say that something

I wanna hold your hand

Lennon/McCartney

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Palm cupping palm or just fingertips held gently, the simple gesture of holding hands speaks volumes.  Comfort, familiarity, solidarity, friendship, love, safety; it’s all in a simple touch.

Nurses lightly touch hands when ministering to the ill, clergy does the same. We hold our children’s hands to guide them through the first mazes of life. We shake hands in greeting and in agreement, a variation on holding hands.  A personal thing without being intrusive.

I smile when I see my parents, now married almost sixty years, holding hands.  A small jolt of joy runs up my arm each time Yoda reaches out and takes my hand.  Bashert and I will often just lightly touch fingers to pass quiet communication; I’m still here. I care.

My friend’s husband is dying by infinitesimal moments.  Holding his hand is what remains. She sits vigil while man’s inhumanity drains the life out of both of them.  But as the hours and minutes go by, she holds his hand; comforting, familiar and loving to help ease both of them into their next worlds.

Perhaps its not such a simple thing after all.

Oxymoron & the Holiday Concert

By definition an oxymoron is a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction.

 

Secular: denoting attitudes, activities, or other things that have no religious or spiritual basis.

Christmas: the annual Christian festival celebrating Christ’s birth, held on December 25. (italics mine)

 

Thus I give you: Secular Christmas

 

There is no such thing as a secular Christmas.  I should think one wouldn’t be wanted if what is being celebrated is the very foundation of the religion.  “Reason for the Season” and all that.

Santa Claus represents Christmas.  No matter how commercialized the figure has become, his entire basis of being is Christmas, the religious holiday.  Jolly Ol’ Saint Nick appears at no other time of the year other than Christmas Eve, which apparently starts the day after Thanksgiving these days.

A Santa hat represents Christmas, not winter.  Ask any kid.  And any adult who says otherwise is attempting to skirt the issue or possibly from The Netherlands.

Now, before anyone gets their knickers in a knot, let me say this; I was born into a family that celebrated Christmas, they still do.  My daughter Nenè celebrates Christmas.  There are many Christmas songs/hymns that I truly love.

I am not antiChristmas.  I repeat, I am not antiChristmas.

What I am is Jewish and a supporter of equal representation in public institutions that are supposed to be separated from religion in the first place, at least here in the States.

I will also add that Bashert and I love our son’s school.  It is a public school that prescribes to the International Baccalaureate system of world inclusion; global thinking.  It’s one of the few remaining public elementary schools in our area that has a fine arts program and full time foreign language program. The principal is a fantastic woman, educator and administrator who stands up fiercely for her teachers, students and school.  The teachers are wonderful and creative (many of them have won teacher of the year several times over).

So why bring this up, this secular Christmas?  I’ll tell you why since you asked.

This was the description given to Bashert by Yoda’s new music teacher in regards to this year’s school holiday concert.

Don’t worry about your Jewish child being excluded because we are only singing secular Christmas songs.  Not secularly themed songs about winter time, but secular Christmas songs.

And by the way, Yoda will need to bring a Santa hat for costuming.

Excuse me?

That’s pretty much tantamount to me telling your Christian child that he needs to bring a kippah to school so that he can participate in our High Holiday concert, but its okay because we are only going to be singing prayers that the Jewish religion is based on.

The crux of the matter lies in the blatant disregard for our son’s significance and the simple minded arrogance that assumes that it just okay to have everyone conform to the same belief system.  Really, what harm is wearing a Santa hat, while singing Christmas songs, right?

In real life I work for a multinational corporation and yet every Monday and Friday now until Christmas, I am being forced to listen to Christmas holiday music via the satellite feed.  Every year I have to write an official letter reminding the powers that be, that as a multinational corporation we need to be mindful that not all cultures celebrate or appreciate the holiday of Christmas (the same music plays when someone is placed on hold).  And every year I get the same response that it was agreed upon that the music would play during the prescribed times only.  Big whoop.  I’m just the Jew in the ointment spoiling everyone’s holiday cheer.

I guess what it all boils down to; arrogance, assumptions and significance.

Every kid matters.  Every kid deserves to be seen as significant.  Every kid deserves respect.

Perhaps if we started really practicing this at Yoda’s level, I wouldn’t have to write a letter every year.  But until that happens, Yoda won’t be wearing a Santa hat during any song at the holiday joy night concert and I will keep writing my letters each year.

Perhaps someday, in his lifetime Yoda will see the true spirit of this season.

And maybe all of us won’t have to suffer the effects of Christmas music burn out two days after Thanksgiving.

A Full C Note

Today is my grandmother’s 100th birthday.

October 18, 1911.

My older brother Stravos, the first grandchild, called her Mama, following our mother’s lead.  It was never changed so our grandmother was Mama from then on out.

All of us have our own memories and images.  Those who lived with her directly have different images than those of us who just visited.  The children have different images than the grandchildren.  All of that is the way it should be.  We are all correct and wrong, just as our children and grandchildren will be about us.

This is a true story that gave me a little insight into my grandmother.

 

The Place at the Table

 

Girls were raised up right back then; Ginia, the eldest by two years and her mother’s namesake, helped cook and clean, while Annie Caroline had to set the table.  Forks on the left, spoons and knives on the right, knives to the inside, blade in.  Plates two fingers from the edge.

Her mother made Annie set the place each night.  A plate in front of an empty chair.  Empty, negative space in the tableau of the family.   What did Annie think about as they calmly passed the butter beans around and over that empty plate?  What small talk took place to fill that void amongst the quiet clinking of silver to china?  “How was your day, Frank?  Anything interesting down at the train yard?”  “Nothing much, Harriet dear, how was your day?”  “Please pass the beans.”  Did she want to scream?

Not quite five years old and sitting next to a ghost.

My heart aches for the little girl, who had to set that plate.  My grandmother.  Mama.  The sister of the boy who carried her father’s name.  Two and a half years younger than Annie, two year old Francis died during an influenza outbreak in 1916, one day after his second birthday.

Her mother said she wished Annie had died instead.  My great-grandmother.  Mar.  The matriarch of the family I love.  Annie was four and a half years old.  I wonder at the despair that would drive a mother to wish her child dead.  Was the promise of a son so much better than that of a second girl?  Annie, the spare child; the real extra place at the table.
Her brother gone and her mother mad, was Annie allowed to cry or mourn?  Was the plate a punishment for being the stronger of the two?

Girls were raised up right in the time of my mother, too.  She was the cleaner and has no stories of setting the table.  My mother, the third to bear the name.  Mom.  Mama never told her of Mar’s words.  Possibly, it was too fresh, too touchable to set before Mom.  Or maybe the warm, crusty, but yielding Mama the grandchildren knew was too much a hard baked fortress to her children.  The distance to the plate was still too narrow, two fingers from the edge.

Mama took me in when my brother was born.  For six weeks, I was Mama’s.  I was Mama, too, displaced by a younger brother.  Another plate at our table.

Mama offered sustenance, succor and security to my parent’s second daughter, the one who bore her name.  Perhaps, the seeds were sown during that time for her revelation to come.

Fifty years had improved our family’s mortality.  My brother survived his rough arrival and my mother recovered.  I’m told that months after I was returned to my mother, I would still grab my things and get ready to leave with Mama after she came to visit.  I had staked my heart’s claim.

Mama told me of her mother’s words, while sitting on the front porch of her home.  It was set before me in a moment of time right for the revealing.  A moment between a second daughter to a second daughter.  She was seventy years old.  I was twenty.  I never knew Mama had another brother until that moment.  Her words rang flat as she told the story.  Sixty-five years later her mother’s words still served her memory.  How could she sit there so calmly snapping green beans and tell me her mother wished her dead over another?  Did Mama still feel the emptiness and hunger for her mother’s love?  In my youth and shock, I couldn’t find the right questions to ask for more.

Mama never mentioned the plate or Francis again.  It, and he were put back in the cupboard with the rest of the mysteries of her life.

I treasure the moment Mama gave me that afternoon on her porch.  A gift and memory written on my heart as indelibly as the recipe card for her famous macaroni and cheese.

Girls are raised up in this day and age, too.  My daughter.  The fifth to bear the name no longer lives in our house, but there is no negative space set at the table by my son, her younger brother.  There will always be a place, but no empty plate to pass over. Forks on the left, spoons and knives on the right, knives to the inside, blade in.  Plates two fingers from the edge.

 

Mama passed away in 1989, only 78 years old.  And while her absence leaves an empty space in our hearts, there is never an empty space at our tables. Her place is filled with the laughter and kind thoughts that time and memory create.

 

Happy Birthday, Mama.

 

 

 

Where CRS meets ADD

“Where are my keys?”  “I can’t find my shoes!”  “Why are all the cabinet doors open?”  “Where’s my phone?”  “Have you seen the t.v. remote?” “Why is there a wet towel in the sink?”  “Why do we have six boxes of ________?” “I have an idea…”

Welcome to my home.

Living in a house where it is normal to find your child sitting on his head while watching t.v. is a bit of an adjustment for some. Its just another day in our house.

We are a house of ADHD.

Over the years I’ve become accustomed to various, almost empty containers returned to the fridge, while the entire pot of roast sits languishing on the counter overnight.  I’m used to the linen closet that was full on Monday being devoid of fresh towels by Wednesday.  I’ve also become inured (well, almost inured) to finding the sink that was emptied of dishes that morning filled to the brim with dish ware later that afternoon.

Incomplete conversations are a speciality in our house.

“I was talking to Money Penny the other day and she said that Stavros…did you see that tree?”

“What tree?”

“That tree.  The one shaped like a pirate with the parrot on his shoulder standing next to a treasure chest?”

“No, I did not see that tree.  Where was it?”

“Over there.”

“Can you be a bit more specific?”

OVER THERE, by the green fence with the spikey tips, surrounded by English Ivy, that looks like snakes crawling up a wall.”

“Oh, that tree (insert snarky sarcasm).  No, we passed by too quickly.”

“Never mind. That’s why Stavros can’t make it to the party next week.”

“Excuse me?  Why can’t Stavros make it to the party?”

“I told you just a minute ago why.”

“No, you started to and then we were talking about the tree.”

“Wasn’t that tree great?!  I’m going to have to come back with my camera and takes some photos.”

Becoming accustomed to all this does not mean accepting.  Oh, no, my brain bubbles over.  My patience is sucked dry so that it turns inside out.  I sigh; I scream; I mumble incoherently to myself and Shit Dog. I call my therapist.

I tried joining a couple of support groups on line, but all they did was whine about their “dear husband’s”  or “dear wive’s”.  There never seemed to be any practical advice on how anyone, let alone a same-sex couple, was to stay sane and together and maintain any kind of balance in the roller coaster ride of a life time.

Once I got passed the, “Oh, wow, there are other people like us” effect, it wasn’t much use.  It just added another layer of frustration, so I gave up and I ate cake.

Now, I’m no total innocent in all of this.  For example, there was a time when I adamantly denied ever entering a Schlotzky’s deli.  I could have passed a lie detector test, I was so convinced.  But all it took was for me to take one step inside and lo and behold I had been there before.

Growing up, whenever someone couldn’t find anything around the house, the universal cry was, “Have you checked Halfc’s room?”.  I tend to collect things.  And I can be messy.

I am also horrible remembering people’s names.  I’ve worked with some people almost ten years and if they don’t have their id badges name out, forget it.  Its all-embracing “hey you” time.  This frustrates Bashert, who can remember intimate details about people from  first grade.

Speaking of frustration, they get put out with me, too.  I don’t always get it or I seem to blame all things on their disorder.  Since I can’t see things through their eyes its their prerogative to voice that dissatisfaction.

For me, stress, sleep depravation and age have all amounted to what’s referred to as associative ADHD (a proven phenomenon) or as my family calls it CRS – your basic Can’t Remember Shit.

Where my tendencies and acquired traits leave off and their ADHD picks up can be a fine line at times.

I have added to my resume ‘finder of things lost in obvious places’ and ‘tester of hard hats’, as I can often be found in the corner banging my head in frustration after being asked “what did he say?” during movies and missing the next entire segment of dialogue.

I have also added ‘appreciator of creative thinking’.  Yoda has created the universe many times over in our living room out the most mundane of articles and he has written, illustrated and occasionally performed, imaginative stories about dinosaurs and dreams to entertain Bashert and me. He is an incredible mimic, who can pull off almost any accent he hears.

Bashert creates works of art that decorate our home and other’s.  She invents marvelous and ingenious ways of teaching kids to further their artistic potentials.  She gives people imaginative and workable ideas about how to improve their companies.  Her ‘Sweet Chair-ity’ last year was amazing in how she wrangled all those artistic egos and business people. And she throws one heck of a party!

Just a small sample of Bashert's quilling

Yoda and Bashert can also think very quickly.  Their thoughts are like gazelles to my plodding elephant.  I often get lost in their mazes of synapse firings and leaps, but I hang on and hopefully, end up in the same place or in the close vicinity.

There has been many a time when I’ve flopped down exhausted at the end of a day when I have done practically nothing except try to keep up.

My family’s ADHD may drive us all a bit nuts and lead to exhaustion on many levels, but  it also gives them passion, drive and creativity out the wazoo.

Would they have accomplished what they have, Bashert in particular, if they didn’t have ADHD? Probably.  But it wouldn’t have been the same.

It wouldn’t have been the same at all and that would have been a shame.  So we shall continue on valiantly, losing toothpaste tops, checkbooks and keys, creating beauty out of chaos and building a world with a slightly different view.

Oh, look a baby lizard….