Until you have been in my brain you cannot tell me ADHD is not real.
Science says ADHD is real.
Why I have to on occasion argue this fact with people, is still very confusing to me. Although I guess it is the same reason people choose not to vaccinate their children and re-start outbreaks of diseases previously eradicated from the developed world—they choose to remain ignorant.

As I once said to Jess in Calgary, “Stupid people are not your problem”.

Sometimes stupid people make themselves our problems, though, which is unfortunate.

Other times, though, smart people affirm what you’re putting out there. (Thank God for smart people!)

Yesterday morning, I shared a video on Facebook about “pill shaming” people with mental health issues. You can see the video here.

And yes, ADHD very much falls into this category. After all, everyone is just popping Ritalin (or now, Adderall more accurately) as a study drug and nobody actually has ADHD, right? Wrong. Obviously.

I have a have a friend who recently started ADHD medication again, after we had a conversation about ADHD on a dark drive home from a friend’s party in the country (I have a half written post about this somewhere that I really need to get out into the world). He, like me, has found the of meds after not treating his ADHD for over a decade positively life altering.

Yet, when he posted this on Facebook, that he was starting meds, the doubters, the disbelievers came. And—thankfully—many of us fought them back with science. I’m not sure disbelievers enjoy PubMed links being thrown at them, but damn it, I went there. Because that is how we fight ignorance and misinformation.

With freaking science.

Yesterday, when I posted the link from Mental Health on The Mighty, I did so with the following text:

This.

I’ve had so many people ask me why I need ADHD medication.
Because there is an imbalance in my neurotransmitters, that’s why. No I can’t just “try harder”. I tried life on hard mode without a diagnosis for 21 years.
Maybe it doesn’t keep me alive like other meds do, but it does make my life so much better.

Six minutes later, my friend from above commented this:

I like how this publicly happened on my Facebook lol

I replied

Um, FACT.
And we SHUT DOWN those haters. 😉

Alongside this, as of the time I am writing this, 20 of my friends chose to “like” or “love” this post. Another friend commented “Yes! Well said.”

There is power in finding people who get it. People who understand.

Because we all spend enough time fighting misinformation. Fighting people who shame you for not trying hard enough, even if you’ve tried harder than just about everybody for decades to get by without medication—often without so much as a diagnosis to understand why your brain is differently wired.

It’s much better when we fight ignorance and misinformation together.

The only way we can stop stigma is to share our stories, and being fiercely proud of our stories—they make us who we are. ADHD is a piece of me that makes me who I am. I’m proud of that piece, proud of my quirky, neuroatypical brain. Of seeing life differently. I chose meds to be part of my journey, to help me harness the joys of my ADHD brain better. Vyvanse (or previously Concerta) doesn’t cure me. It doesn’t make me neurotypical. It just makes me better able to balance the joyful parts of my ADHD with the frustrating parts (and I still get endlessly frustrated with myself. But it’s so much better).

Sometimes medicine is a part of “trying harder”.

And I’m thankful that many of my friends seem to get that.

It is the first day of Fall, the people of the internet (aka my friends on Facebook) are telling me. It’s kind of hard to believe given I got back from beautiful California less than a week ago where it feels like summer and is generally pretty. Alas, my favourite season—Fall—is upon us, and I engaged in an (iced) pumpkin spice chai at Vancouver airport at probably ten-something PM on Monday night.  (Pumpkin spice chai is amazing. I was getting ehhh about normal pumpkin spice lattes, honestly, and I am thrilled by pumpkin spice chai lattes.)

And is obligatory on the first day of Fall, listening to Come Winter by Daphne Loves Derby (on repeat), as has been my general habit since about 2014, if not earlier.

If you’ve got Apple Music, here’s a link to a slightly different EP version that I’m enjoying.

Fall is my favourite season not just because of pumpkin spice. I enjoy the cooler weather, the jeans-and-hoodies combo, the foray into toque-season (without the brutal cold associated with toque season), the fact that Goalball starts soon (and archery!), the fact that my lungs generally like Fall, and the fact that I get back to a bit more solid of a routine—for the lack of routine I generally have, even in the non-Summer months. Despite some of the worst moments of my life happening in the beginning portion of Fall (looking at you, 2013 and 2014, and even 2016), these have all come with resolution attached—“part of a change for better” (I Swear This Place is Haunted, A Skylit Drive)—or at least a piece of resolution that produced a change I can, at least now, feel positively about.

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This year, again, fresh off a return from Stanford Medicine X, and subsequent #MedXHangover and ongoing recovery, I feel that sense of renewal, that sense of recharged passion and purpose for creating change, both in myself and in the world. It doesn’t hurt that I’ve got some other advocacy-related travel opportunities in the works (travel may exhaust people but it energizes me), or that I met so many amazing people last weekend at MedX. It doesn’t hurt that the people I met and the experience I had at IDEO for the Medicine X – IDEO Design Challenge re-inspired me to think differently, creatively, in terms of “How Might We”s and innovation and possibility and better. No, spending a glorious two days with one of my favourite people on earth, Stephen, in Santa Cruz to relax and recharge even prior to embarking on the Medicine X whirlwind of inspiration, that didn’t hurt either. Meeting a dozen Canadians at MedX reminded me that things are possible, change is possible, even in our slow-moving, lack-of-progress medical system (although I maintain Toronto is more receptive to change than Winnipeg/Manitoba/our ridiculous healthcare-killing Conservative Government is). I am ready to do more. Batteries recharged.

I am re-energized. Re-inspired. Thanks both to California, to the MedX Family, to friends, and to the crispness of Fall.

Well, I’m sure another pumpkin spice chai latte wouldn’t hurt, either.

Today is Wordless Wednesday except with words. So it’s just Wednesday, really.

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12:## am | kitchen. Bedtime snack pumpkin pie, BOOM.

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12:## am | kitchen. WTF, Winnipeg. It’s October 12th. Snow is not okay.

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11:22 am | kitchen. I swear I do leave my kitchen. It’s #LDchat time, like it is every (or most, for me) Wednesdays!

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##:## pm | bus stop. I wrote half a blog post while I sat here because I got to the bus stop 11 minutes early. Also the snow went away and there is still a flower at the bus stop.

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##:## pm | mall. I found all the sweary colouring books and sent this picture to Tara. Then she bought a sweary colouring book (which kind of surprised me, actually!)

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##:## pm | my office. It’s still weird typing my office. Anyways, I’m super into both Command hooks and what the Internet calls office hacks now. So I put three more command hooks onto the wall—two are pictured here so my writing junk and dry erase junk doesn’t actually take up room on my desk.

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##:## pm | car. Driving to IKEA. The camera never captures the pretty sky…

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##:## pm | IKEA. Uh oh, the LAPTOP (which has a LAPTOP label on the other side) is BROKEN.

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##:## pm | closet. Trying to get paper plates for a craft for work… WHY the eff is there so much carbonated beverage in my house?

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##:## pm | my office. Refreshing my memory (aka re-learning all over again) about energy systems, adenosine triphosphate and lactic acid for a blog post.

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11:16 pm | my office. I plank in my office because I have foamy tiles there and it’s nice. The app said it was a day off today, so I just held the plank as long as i could moderately comfortably. To think I started at 55 seconds 13 days ago. (Don’t tell me about why rest days are important or whatever, kay? I have a kinesiology degree but it’s called a plank challenge for a reason.)

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11:28 pm | kitchen. Actually heading to bed before midnight because I’m going to a thing about budgeting in the morning (who am I?). My dad always leaves coffee cups and stuff here under the microwave. To like, reuse in the morning (or, if my mom is away, all weekend). It’s not like we don’t have a dishwasher he could put it in.

PS. I did the 3 minute Mindful vs. Mindless bitesize meditation after this. Yay.

Today is the last day of school, so Steve and I thought it would be a good day to check out the dinosaur exhibit at the zoo, without a lot of kids running around (just the under 5 types that happened to be there). So, off we went to the zoo with Guide Dog Murray to visit the dinosaurs, because we thought Murray would probably enjoy that (okay not really, but we wanted to go and it’s always cute taking pictures of adorable puppies with things).

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As we walked down the path to the dinosaur exhibit, there were some peacocks ahead, which was cool until the peacocks caught sight of us and our black, four legged friend named Murray.

And they started running.
Towards us.
AT US.

I’m not sure if I swore in front of all the children, and I’m sure Steve doesn’t remember either because we ran.

I didn’t actually realize until I looked back after we’d started booking it back to the entrance that there were not one, but two peacocks chasing us and squawking at us. Somewhere in there I finally thought to scream which freaked them out a bit and they stopped charging towards us. We kept running until they were out of sight.

Of course, Murray got all excited that we were running and he was just bouncing around as we ran. Silly dog, had zero clue that peacocks wanted to eat him. Which is probably for the better. Look, despite how adorable tall Steve finds my short legs running, I only ever run for legitimate reasons—also I learned how to run in university. #kinwin.

After about 200 metres of running (I don’t know how far it was, I think that was Steve’s guess), I could no longer see the terrifying peacocks. We stopped and slightly more calmly made it back inside the entrance area where we paid, and walked up to the ticket lady that had processed our admission and informed all the zoo staff that a service dog was coming in by radio.

“Hi, so we just got chased by a peacock out there…” I told her “Can we get a refund and we’ll come back one day without the dog?”
“…Oh wow. Uh yeah let me just go talk to my boss.”
“I know, things you never thought you’d hear when you came into work today, right?”

We got our refund after our five minute zoo trip and went to the gift shop.

Murray still got to see some dinosaurs, but they were tinier than anticipated.

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And there’s the story of the shortest zoo trip in history, probably.

And the story of that time I got chased by a peacock with a dude who never saw it coming and a puppy who probably thought we were playing. 😉

When you have

your pulse and blood pressure checked. A blood draw. An EKG. Eyedrops and eye pressure checked. Bright lights shined into your eyes…

You know you are alive.

When you have

a dog lick your hands out of nowhere and rest his head on your leg. A conversation over coffee. Poutine, no matter how bad it might be for you. 11,359 steps on the Fitbit and counting. Excited hugs and high fives from kids. Coloured your hands pink with food dye and laughed, then fingerpainted with coloured pudding at work with three boys. A run in on the bus with a friend you haven’t seen in forever and you both jump off a stop later to go for Subway, a trip to Bulk Barn, and continue on to Toys R Us and Dollarama and CATCH UP. A silicone Lego ice cube mold arrive in the mail as a late birthday present. A million messages flying around about the plans for tomorrow and next week…

You know you are living.
I know I am alive, even if a little scarred.

And I know I am living. Fully.