When people find out I take Adderall for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), they often want to know what that feels like. What makes my brain different from theirs? I have a really hard time answering that question, because A) I have no idea what goes on in their brain and how it compares to what goes on in mine and B) it’s really, really hard to explain. That’s why I’m so in love with this video by filmmaker Ryan Higa, explaining just some of the ways ADHD manifests itself in his life. Even though I know I have ADHD, I was shocked to discover just how many of these behaviors — like, 98 percent of them — are similar to my own, including things I never even realized were my ADHD at work. So THAT’s why I can memorize a phone number easily but then instantly forget it the second I start dialing! From now on, whenever anyone asks what ADHD feels like I’m sending them this video. [Laughing Squid]
The first person that Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old who murdered 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary, killed on December 14, 2012, was his own mother. She was murdered in her pajamas, lying her in bed, with four bullets to the head. The New Yorker has a profile of Adam’s father, Peter Lanza, in their most recent issue. Written by Andrew Solomon, it is the first time that Peter Lanza has ever spoken to the press about his son’s crimes. However, what stuck out to me most was not Peter unfathomable trauma or even Adam’s cornucopia of possible illnesses — depression? OCD? schizophrenia? insanity? — but instead Adam’s mother and Peter’s ex-wife, Nancy Lanza.
In the mid-2000s, a Yale psychiatry nurse specialist named Kathleen Koenig met with Adam after a time period in which he had started and then abruptly stopped using the antidepressant Lexapro, due to negative side effects. Throughout his teens, The New Yorker describes, Adam would frequently have “meltdowns” and cry alone, sometimes for hours at a time, behind a locked door. Nurse Koenig wrote that she implored Adam to take medication: “I told him he’s living in a box right now, and the box will only get smaller over time if he doesn’t get some treatment.”
Reading that, it seems to me that Nancy Lanza was also living in a box that was only getting smaller if Adam didn’t get treatment. Keep reading »
At the beginning of our relationship, my now-wife “Charlotte” came over to my place for the first time and my room was immaculate. The pens and pencils on my desk were organized in straight lines. You could have bounced a quarter off my bed. Even the photos and posters on the wall were a study in flawless geometric alignment.
Charlotte just thought I was a “neat freak” at first, which, honestly, isn’t such a bad characteristic when you start seeing someone. But as time passed, she realized that my neat and clean ways went much deeper than just about being organized. After we moved in together, Charlotte started noticing some odd behaviors. For example, if something isn’t arranged just the way I like it on the desk, my breathing becomes heavy and I have a mini panic attack until the disorganized piles became organized piles. The first time she witnessed this, she thought I was overreacting and told me to “calm down — it’s just a little bit messy.” Yet my mind couldn’t think of anything else but the books that weren’t perfectly aligned, the pile of paper that wasn’t neatly stacked, the odd objects — a pen, a lighter, and some sunglasses — that were strewn about without any care about their placement in relationship to all of the other objects. I couldn’t continue on with my day without organizing that desk. So I sat down and organized it as Charlotte looked on with consternation.
She suddenly knew that she was in a relationship with someone who has obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Keep reading »
Even if you’re generally a very “together” person, that doesn’t mean you’re not entitled to the occasional freak out, because LIFE. Maybe your hot water broke again right before work and you haven’t washed your hair for a few too many days. Maybe a friend had the bad sense to point out that really cute picture of your ex and his new lady on Instagram. Of course, it’s important to figure your major triggers so you can avoid any unnecessary emotional meltdowns, but sometimes things are out of your control. That’s why it’s just as important to figure out some ways to calm yourself down when life doesn’t go your way, because lord knows, there will be times when you need to curl into a ball with your hot water bottle and cry until you feel silly. Here are our approved self-soothing techniques that have helped us through panic attacks, meltdowns, and freak outs of all kinds.
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This time of year is tough. These cold months between the holidays and the first day of spring are like one giant, perpetual Monday staring you in the face. I’m generally a pretty happy-go-lucky person, but when the chilly months roll around, my personality changes. I get down in the dumps over just about everything.
This time last year, I was living on the Florida coast, where I experienced my first sunny winter in over a decade. I’d always known I tended to fall into a funk each winter, but experiencing a January without snow made me realize just how tough a time I had each year. That Florida winter, I had plenty of energy and optimism — just like I do in the warmer months. When I’m living up north, a typical January for me usually means sleeping late, feeling hopeless and getting close to nothing accomplished. When I saw how good life can be year-round when winter blues aren’t part of the picture, I knew it was time to change how I approach the cold, slushy season. Keep reading »