it’s not a label, it’s a bridge (part two)

I know I have ADHD. I’ve worked at embracing that, at changing the way I perceive things about myself because of ADHD, at being more patient with myself because of it. I write about it enough here, and share about it enough elsewhere (like Twitter and Facebook), that I’m cool with people knowing that I have ADHD. But, back in 2013 when I had my psychoeducational assessment done, the tests came back inconclusive for ADHD. They gave me specific points to work off of at school: try certain study strategies, receive accommodations, and consider ADHD medication to see if they alleviated my symptoms. I did all of the above—and they all helped. So, I became more certain that I had ADHD. After several months on meds, I became positive. But, I hadn’t seen it on paper. Paper really changes nothing, I know ADHD is real, I know ADHD in me is real, but paper told me my tests were inconclusive. And I think I needed paper to tell me, inside, even after two years on meds, that inconclusive was no longer the case. So I can finally stop those doubts.

Once a year, I see my psychiatrist. Yesterday was that day. I got a new prescription for Concerta, and asked her to fill out a form enabling me to access support services for students with disabilities, as I plan to return to school in the Fall(-ish) and study web development. Because that’s a good combo with a degree in gym, yeah? I hand my doctor the form, and she fills it out as I stare at her doggy in the corner (her name is Haley and she is cute. I was very excited that my doctor had her in the office today!). I quietly take my phone off the table beside the leather chair I’m sitting in and take this picture. (Haley came to visit me in the waiting room, too.)

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I slide my phone back down, into my lap. Dr. G turns to ask me, “How severe would you say your symptoms are?”
“I thought that was a weird question–I really have no idea how to answer that.”
“Let’s see what psychology said.”
She flips through my chart, reads some pieces of my assessment to answer the question, and continues on with the form. We discuss my previous accommodations, she notes them down and asks me to review the form. Looks good (I realized last night that we forgot to note down the alternate format textbook accommodation, but that can be dealt with).

As I reviewed the form, though, I had to do a double-take.

Diagnosis: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. DSM-V Diagnosis and classification number: 314.00. Retinopathy. Symptoms: inattentiveness, distractibility, some impulsivity, [arrow pointing down] vision. Severity checkboxes. Mild, moderate, and severe with an X beside. X beside permanent condition.

Because, her classification of my ADHD (314.00 on the DSM-V, or “Primarily Inattentive”) as “severe” is a lot different from “inconclusive” that I previously saw in writing.

i would but just can’t seem / to ignore what i can’t see.

—cause, let it happen.

As always, this doesn’t define me, but helps explain me. Like many ADHD-ers, I just felt different for much of my life: it explains the frustration, the self-doubt, the guilt that was associated with not being all people thought I should be, the huge shift I’ve felt in my world on meds, the issues I had in school, the issues I had/have at times interacting with people, the sensory overload, all the freaking feelings that sometimes just overwhelm me. ADHD helps explain that. Those things are all a part of me, and so is ADHD.

Now I know that yes, I fit solidly into this obscurely shaped non-box that is ADHD. I think, maybe, that just knowing that will help me move forward a bit more now. Accept my quirks, accept how they fit into this journey, and to roll with it, ‘cause I’ve seen it not only in me for myself, but on paper for myself.

It’s complicated to coexist peacefully with something that is so much a part of me, but simultaneously has dramatically impacted my life in perhaps not the most positive ways prior to my diagnosis. I can’t do anything about that, though, so I’ll continue to own this piece of circumstance—even if, for today, I can’t grasp the “severe” bit. Though it doesn’t really matter anyways—it’s all about how I choose to see what I’ll do with ADHD today.

i used to blame the circumstance: now i see it’s in my hands.

—effect, let it happen. 

This is what ADHD looks like.
Me.

But, I am far more than ADHD.
And I’ll embrace the good that has come with those four letters, too.

adventures in MN: mini roadtrip summer 2015

I spent the [double long] weekend in Minneapolis. I tried to write a Facebook status update on Sunday about it. It kept turning into a blog post it was so long. Now it’s Thursday and I’m trying to recreate what I had (except that’s impossible, and also I saved it somewhere and think my phone ate it.

Anyways. After a super chill day at camp on Friday (my wish was granted: I got such a chill camper on Friday. He was awesome. He and I hung out in the bean bag chair filled tent for a bit and both discovered we were going to Minneapolis for the weekend, so we talked about what we were going to do there, and he told me these crazy stories from dreams he’s had, and then our morning activity never showed up so he basically played soccer for two hours. Then after lunch (pizza!) some coaches needed to stay back to clean up while the kids and coaches went to the pool/splash pad… I agreed to stay back, and after 45 minutes camp was disassembled, loaded into a couple vehicles, and the kids memory books were assembled. That left… an hour and a half to hang out with the other coaches and camp director and eat freezies. For real.), I left camp early to hit the road to Monticello, MN with my aunt and grandma. The border people are pretty okay with the answer of because Dean is going to school/working in America for the summer, they get tired of us quick and let us keep driving :).

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Minion Twinkies? Yes, please! [I also bought Banana Creme Pie ones. With Minions. Because obviously.]

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The next day, we drove to Minneapolis. Eventually, Dean let us into the building (he had to pay with a check [not cheque] for our guest apartment!), and then we went for a drive to the park.

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Because I like subjecting people to my ADHD sometimes, here’s a picture from back at the apartment. BAGEL WEDNESDAY! Which is not the same as FREE BAGEL FRIDAY from WheezyWaiter videos of old.

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Back to “real time”.

We went to Breugger Bagels and then back to the park to stand on a boat for a couple hours.
It was hot out but there were photogenic things so it was fun. (Are things photogenic or just people?)

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Pano-park-rama.

And here are a bunch of out-of-order pictures from the riverboat tour.

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I took about one decent picture indoors. Then we went outside so that’s the last one with glare.

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Our boat had a crown. Minnesota Queen. (Also, yes, it was the Mississippi River, and yes, there at one point was a Mississippi Queen tour, or maybe there is. And no, they did not play Mississippi Queen by Mountain on there.

Dean was disappointed. Obviously.

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But then we made faces inside a lock as our boat rose. I didn’t intend to look quite that ridiculous, and I probably intended to at least be looking at the camera.

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This is an interesting tree.

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Bridge graffiti interests me.

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Here’s a landslide. Weird, eh?

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We went to Punch Pizza for dinner later that day. I love that place. If you’re in Minneapolis, I highly encourage you to check it out. Also another thing I learned about the next day, is WHIRLYBALL. Yes, that sounds ridiculously fun, even without knowing that it is basically lacrosse in bumper cars. My friend Heather told me about it at lunch at Houlihan’s. Also, when Heather (and her service pup Becca, who gave me a hello shoulder nudge when I got in the car!) picked me up, Heather surprised me with E. L. Fudge cookies! (There was a brief period of time where they disappeared from Dean’s Target, and this worried him. Heather went on a mission, and sent me a picture one day. And sure enough… provided me with E. L. Fudge cookies of my very own! :D).
 
Heather, Scott and I have made it a tradition to get together if at all possible when I’m in the area (they are AWESOME and I highly appreciate this!). This time, we had to sandwich it in between Scott playing basketball in the morning, and Heather having art class in the afternoon. BUT, it totally worked… mostly! 🙂 Scott and Heather ended up tag-teaming a bit, because basketball was super awesome—so, unfortunately, they had minimal hang-out time with the three of us, but I got lots of hang out time with each of them :). Scott drove me back to the apartment where I hung out briefly and then we went to Cupcake on University. (Obviously I love that place, and think you should go there too, if you’re in the area.)
 
When we got back, my aunt continued preparing dinner at the apartment—risotto, garlic mashed potatoes, salad, and chicken wings for the meat eaters—a proper-ish home-cooked meal for Dean and his roommate Derek (…and us, of course). We also went and played frisbee on the lawn of the architecture building briefly. Derek is better than I, but we both aren’t great at catching. Also, it’s hard to catch when Derek repeatedly threw the frisbee six feet higher than me. ;))
 
The next morning, Dean stopped by at 6:30 AM to say goodbye before he went to work (concerning bridges, actually). My aunt took a trip to Breugger Bagels again (because they kept giving us surveys where you got three free bagels?!) for bagels and cream cheese, and then we packed up and hit the road…
 
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Goodbye, Minneapolis.

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…by way of Albertville outlet malls, a Target for lunch (if you’re a smarty like Gerry, no, there is not a dining area in Target!), a Dollar General in Barnesville, Fargo’s West Acres Mall…
 
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and on to Grand Forks for Erbert and Gerbert for dinner (yes, I’m having pb&j and broccoli and cheese soup!)
 
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…plus I still had a cupcake and a half to eat…  
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…and some shopping. 
 
Oh, and the hotel pool at the Expressway in Grand Forks was awesome. Not only was it asthma-friently salt water, we think, it also had pretty coloured lights in it! And a basketball hoop in the pool!
 
And that’s about it, so we went home. (Or that’s about it because we went home. Whatever.)
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I still want to play Whirlyball, obviously. It’s on my list for next time. 😉

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