It’s not where I am; it’s me.

And if it’s where I am, it’s still me.

I was looking up at the sheets of parceled clouds and the glowing moon in the violet night sky, mesmerized by how the former flowed softly over the latter. I found myself wishing I could do that all the time – perhaps if I lived in a suburban or rural setting, with quiet fields or hills to lay down on, or park beside. It would be in a safer location, so I could actually go outside in peace at night.

Then, being self-aware, I started thinking about how I’m always dreaming about other places, better places, happier places… It’s something I’ve observed about myself recently, especially as I’ve been trying to figure out where I belong geographically. I’ve never been entirely happy with where I’ve been, and I’ve never been wholly happy* where I’ve been.

I’ve conjectured before, but I may finally be realizing it. It may never have been about where I was as much as about me. It may never be about where I am as much as about me. Pretentious, cynical, anxious, cowardly me.

The spirit of this post is revelatory and positive.

*I like to think that I’m happy. Sometimes I question it, and often I find myself looking the polar opposite of the image of happiness. To be honest, I don’t know how one is meant to assess their happiness. I’m okay with my life, but there are times when I’m critically not. The important thing is, I don’t think I’m wholly happy. I don’t experience full happiness in my life; it tends to be either a shallow joy or an overwhelming, melancholy brand of gladness. I want to be content. I want to be at peace with my life, my surroundings, and myself.

I can’t tell if I’m lazily trying to find an excuse for my shitty habits and self-destructive mindset.

I’ve been taking several ADD/ADHD self-tests (Note: Not self-diagnoses, as these don’t exist).

I want to visit the counselling centre at my school – get a professional opinion – but I’ve been missing the time frame to do so.
Also, I’ve been feeling slightly less compelled than before, after remembering that my [new] school tends to be low-budget and is often disorganized; its lack of apparent professionalism gives me reason to doubt their expertise.
I can just imagine walking in, starting to talk about the problems I’m facing, fumbling through my thoughts, trying to organize them for better understanding by the third party, really delving into the topic, giving my interpretation of the situation, in general investing a lot of mental effort, and, to my exasperation, discovering that there is nothing to be done here: “It sounds like [insert obvious generalization]”, but they don’t have the authority to [insert crucial component of psychological counselling], and they’d like to refer me to a more professional outlet that can help me figure out what’s going on and give me the help that I need – a more professional outlet that’s either out of my way or charges me extra, and in either case, requiring me to repeat the tiring process, all the while still unaware of whether the disorder I’m associating with is the one I’m being affected by, whether my problem is one that psychological professionals can help me with, and whether they can help me in the way that will be effective.

At any rate, all but one of the self-tests have highlighted my inattention and likelihood of having ADD/ADHD.
(Briefly, I was sidetracked and took a depression test with conviction that I am distinct from it, but the results showed otherwise. I don’t quite believe it. My life is full of irony.)

An elaboration from Psychology Today:

“You appear to have difficulty paying attention, staying motivated and following through on projects. These problems may be keeping you from achieving your goals. You may also have trouble organizing even the simplest aspects of your life. You may feel overwhelmed as the responsibilities of adulthood pile up. Bills might not get paid, appointments may be missed, and work may suffer. Your attention problems may be having an adverse impact on your career, your home life, relationships, and/or other aspects of your life. These symptoms are a possible sign of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). You would be wise to consider seeking help from a psychologist or psychiatrist in order to obtain a proper diagnosis. It is also a good idea to visit a doctor so that she/he can rule out physical reasons for your problems. Once diagnosed, a therapist can prescribe medication and offer information about behavioral techniques for improving concentration and organizational skills.

ADD is a common disorder in children and in recent years adults have been diagnosed with increasing frequency as well. Adults with ADD are often frustrated by the gap between their ability, intelligence, and skills and their actual performance. They are held back by their attention problems. Diagnosis in these individuals is important because they can then begin to learn techniques and/or get the proper medication in order to become more productive. It is also important because many individuals with ADD self-medicate with alcohol or other drugs, and this can have an even more adverse effect on their lives. If this is the case with you, it is especially important for you to seek help from a professional.”

“For Adults suffering from attention problems

•Take advantage of your productive moments. Get as much done as you can. Don’t try to suppress the creative, unusual ideas you come up with during those times. Try to understand what brought on your productivity. Look at what it takes for you to be able to concentrate, then schedule work requiring lots of attention at that time.

• Get rid of clutter where you do your important work. This sounds easier said than done, especially if there are piles and piles of stuff in your work area, but working in a distraction-free environment will increase concentration by reducing extraneous stimulation to the brain.

• Keep your brain clutter-free as well. If there is something on your mind that is distracting you, take a few minutes to talk to someone about it, write it down in a journal or otherwise think it through. Then put it out of your mind as much as possible until later.

• Set goals for yourself. Break them down into small, manageable pieces so that you can feel that you have accomplished something even after the smallest task. They’ll add up. Reward yourself for successful completion of large goals.

• Think about letdowns not as a reflection of the past or the future, but as a momentary failing. If you make a mistake or don’t do well, it doesn’t mean that you will always perform poorly. And by all means, don’t go into new endeavors expecting failure, just because you have had a hard time in the past. People with attention problems can be very successful when they are interested in what they are doing.

• Exercise. Get rid of some of your excess energy.

• Time management is key. For important events, your work, or other times where you HAVE to be on time, plan ahead. Pack your lunch, iron your clothes and prepare everything you need the day before. Get ready far before you have to leave.

• Make lists – but make them manageable. Prioritize what really needs to be done and do it right away before you can get sidetracked. Don’t beat yourself up if you get distracted; just get right back to what you are supposed to be doing.

• Make a routine for yourself. You’ll be less likely to forget important things if they become habitual (e.g. put your keys on a hook by the door every time you enter your home so you always know where they are). Following routines at night (“a bedtime ritual”) can help you get in the mood to sleep, possibly preventing you from thinking too much when you should be sleeping. Routines can also be useful in work or schoolwork. Once you have accomplished the essential tasks for the day, you can feel free to be more adventurous, to let your mind wander, and to run with the creative ideas you have.

For those who have been formally diagnosed: (If you haven’t but you sense that these problems are negatively affecting your life, see a psychologist).

• Get informed. Find out all of your options – medical or behavioral.

• Meet the challenge head on. There is a good chance for improvement but it takes determination. Research shows that treatment outcome is highly influenced by the individual’s attitude.

• Combine treatments. Drug therapy combined with psychosocial interventions can be especially helpful.

• Learn to live with the ADD. That doesn’t mean you should feel that the condition is out of your control – the symptoms can be very well managed. However, finding ways to recognize the subtle signs and learning to cope with them can do wonders for a sense of control and morale.

• Find an ADD coach to motivate you and help you get organized. They are familiar with the unique needs of people with ADD and can be very helpful.

• Embrace your ADD. Many successful people suffer from ADD and still thrive. Many creative, intelligent individuals in history suffered from similar “symptoms” which were just part of what made them shine. Common words used to describe people with ADD include energetic, enthusiastic, creative, intuitive, curious and more. These are all great traits to have.

• Do not use ADD as a crutch. You should take responsibility if you make a mistake, whether or not ADD caused it. You DO have control over your actions. For instance, if you miss a deadline at work, tell yourself that you should have started earlier, rather than that ADD caused you to be late. This might help you behave differently the next time around.

• Seek social support from others with the same disorder. It will make you feel better to know that you are not alone, and they may be able to share some tips with you. There are many message boards throughout the web, or check out support groups in your area.”

Fittingly, I have not been able to finish reading these self-test results and tips.

Am I just lazy, impulsive, pessimistic, and neurotic, and too scared to admit it and deal with it?

I don’t think I can write/think anymore.

Rambling, racing self-realizations:

I wish I could believe that my parents could love me no matter what.
I’m afraid they’ll reject me the moment I stop giving them reason to love me.
I think that’s part of why I’m so afraid of failure – I mean, I’ve hit close to rock bottom – it’s not how it might affect me – what kind of deep, dark place it might lead me to this time – but how it might affect my parents’ opinion of me and attitude towards me.

I wish I could study without minding what my parents might say about it.
I’m constantly conflicted about whether I should inform them that I’m studying something when I need to communicate that, either because I’m picking up something new and wish to share the exciting news, or because I don’t want to be disturbed. I often want to, and sometimes do, hide to study or try to hide the fact that I’m studying because I don’t want to even think about what’s going through their minds, let alone hear it out loud.
I’ve never studied purely for my own sake before, and I wish I could have absolute inward (mental, sometimes subconscious) and outward (perceptible) control over whether I study and how I study (what I study, when I study, what method I use to study, how hard I study, and how much I study).
I want to be able to study without minding anyone else. I just want to be left alone. To study. Or not to study. Whatever I decide.

I wish I had the freedom to decide my own future.
I wish I were able to think freely about the my possible career paths and their consequent lifestyles.
I wish I could liberate my thoughts from the boundaries set directly and indirectly by my parents.
I can’t decide what I want to do with my life, and I feel like my thoughts are trapped.

My parents reject the idea that they’ve pressured me about my future at all, and it’s true that at some point in my adolescence, they stopped trying to tell me what I’m going to study, where I’m going to study that, and what I’m going to accomplish by going there to study that. But I did not decide for myself that I needed to go to a prestigious school, study something that could make me “successful”, and study hard enough to stand out and achieve that version of “success”.
These are thoughts that have been instilled in me since grade school that are constantly kept in check by my parents’ vocal disapproval and forceful hints. It’s true that they’ve stopped telling me what to do, but they’ve never stopped laying out what I shouldn’t do, and when there are so many things you can’t do, there are only so many things you can do.
Drawing a white line on a black sheet of paper is not very different from colouring a white sheet of paper entirely black but for a stripe. The experienced result is the same.

I wish I had the emotional support and resoluteness to pull away and liberate myself, and risk being hated, being resented, being disowned, and feeling abandoned by my parents, the only people in the world whose approval I earnestly care for.

Ritardando:

No one is visibly pressuring me, yet I feel so pressured nowadays that I stop myself from thinking at all. And then I feel like I’m growing dumber, number.

Ready and Set

Sometimes, I feel like I’m too set in my ways and my opinions are too strong. Sometimes, I wonder if my frankness and too revealing behavior are unhealthy.

Sometimes, I wish someone would come along, give me a big slap across the face, and tell me what’s wrong with my approach to life.

And actually be convincing.

Poof

I wish the whole world would just explode without giving us a chance to react.

That way, we could all end our lives without lamenting the end, as we do, or hurting those around us. We could all die together, and no one would die as a result of someone’s actions. No one would be to blame, and no one would be hurt, and no one would have time to mourn, or give up, or fight, or say good-bye in their individual, revealing manner.

It would all be over, and that would be that.

Always Short of Credible

Why is it never enough to say, “I’m having a hard time” or, “I had a hard time”?

My least favourite thing is having to justify my pain.

My least favourite thing is courage, fear, urgency, or something else finally pushing me to the threshold for blurting out the truth about my suffering, past or present, and someone I trusted with the information immediately belittling or – even worse – discrediting the pain.

My least favourite thing is repeating that same mistake in desperate hopes, or maybe renewed trust, that it wouldn’t be the same the next time around, especially after bearing an emotional falling out over the matter in the previous episode… because in my desperately, hopelessly optimistic mind, it is unthinkable that someone so important to me would hurt me in that same way again, and discredit my pains in that same way again, after I’ve clearly expressed and visibly demonstrated how…

Never mind.