White Priviledge 

Let me start by saying I don’t claim to understand your problems, or anyone else’s.  I have enough of my own problems to deal with.  Also, I am not just some sympathizer jumping on a bandwagon.  So hear me out. 

When I was 12, I got beaten up pretty badly at school and wound up in the hospital, with a skull fracture and damage to my inner ear.  Long story short: I’m white, he’s black.  I was a scrawny 7th grader, he was an average size 8th grader.  After spending a couple days in the hospital and 2 weeks of recovery at home, I was afraid to go back to school.  I was afraid to be white, afraid of my black classmates.  I saw only the bad.  The only black people I wasn’t afraid of were raised by whites.  In high school, I stayed in a mostly white crowd, and black kids made me nervous. 

Let’s get back to the meat of all this.  I’m white.  I’m not Black, Hispanic, Asian, Muslim, Gay, or otherwise.  I have been teased, beaten; because I was the scrawny kid, the hyper kid, the smart-ass.  Discrimination is real.  But it was never because I was the white kid.  I’ve been turned down for jobs I was more than worthy of, for reasons other than because I’m white; or for that matter male, or Christian.

I know struggle, but I don’t know the struggle of the Muslim in America.  Or the Lesbian.  Nor that of any other race.  I don’t know the Black struggle. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t real.  Racism is real.  But this isn’t about racism, it’s about white priviledge. 

What does it mean, white priviledge?  To have it usually means to not know it, but that is not always the case.  The man who talks about racism and discrimination to debunk it? Yeah, he’s got it.  The white woman who can’t get welfare and assumes it’s because she’s not black. She’s got it. 

White priviledge isn’t about whites being racist, per se; it is more about our lack of exposure to racism and the subsequent ignorance we have to the struggle of non-whites.  Not just Blacks, but all skin colors outside of white.  Assuming that the struggle for another race or culture isn’t real, can’t be real, because you don’t see it.  That is white priviledge.  Assuming something for any non-white is a certain way, that is white priviledge.  Being raised in a lifestyle with minimal struggle, no exposure to poverty, not knowing racism, having confidence that you will get by and that if you can do it, anyone can…. that could be white priviledge too.  Its not inherently bad.  To be blissfuly ignorant of the hate or injustice of the world is not a reason to assume it doesn’t exist. Some people use their priviledge to advocate for the less fortunate. 

You can’t debunk white priviledge by trying to address racism, by trying to quote this statistic or that report that says there’s now this magical equality that has suddenly appeared in the workplace or the school.  To debunk white priviledge is to prove it exists. 
Back to me.  Even with permanent partial hearing loss, I have outgrown my fears.  I welcome friends of all walks of life. And when some tells me they’ve experienced racism in their life, or they’ve witness a white person given better treatment, I tend to give them the benefit of the doubt. I’ve accepted that just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.  It’s not my place to doubt. It’s not your place to doubt. 

Wellness Wagon : I’ve lost count

This has been goin’ so long i can’t recall the week I’m on.  I know its been about 9 months since my last cigarette. My weight has been holding steady around 210.  I’m not incredibly happy with that and with so little change I’ve not posted a Wellness Wagon entry in a while.  But yesterday, I ran a 5k and placed first in my age group!  My time was about 35 minutes and I couldn’t help but think of how awful it is that no one in my age group (35-39) could run a sub- 20 minute race.   Grea that I’m getting out there and running, but I’m not really race-ready and yet, here I am, winning my age group.  I want to be that guy running sub 20’s again. 

Now, one thing I’d like to do is bring this back to my ADHD. A couple weeks ago, I was finally able to get back into a regular running routine.  I have seen a marked improvement in my productivity at work and I know that, with my competitive juices flowing, i think things are going to continue to improve at work and in life, and maybe I’ll have more to say in coming weeks!

Not everything is Progress, and that doesn’t matter

Not everything in life will be rainbows and butterflies, let’s face it.  Here I sit, in the dark of my house at night while the rest of my family sleeps.  Not just in the dark of my house, but also in the darkest place of my heart. 

I have the tough challenge of having to balance many things in my life.  I have a wife and two children with her, along with a daughter from a previous relationship.  I have to juggle my own imperfection with that of my life.  My oldest lives in two households with different rules and personalities.  My wife and I have different opinions on how to run our own household and how to raise three kids with different circumstances and values. We often find ourselves at an impass; and my emotions, my inability to see things the way most people see things, makes parenting more difficult than it should be.  

My parents are divorced and with each of them comes a unique set of difficulties and pleasures.  Annoyances and comforts.  Frustration, anger, and love.  I have a long distance and often strained,often complicated, but always worth it, relationship with my mother; and a geographically closer, simpler, yet often intimidating relationship with my father.  I can only hope to be half the parent either of them are to me.

My wife and I come from different backgrounds.  I am her city boy and she is my country girl.  I am complicated where she is not.  We can both be stubborn and I couldn’t have hoped for a better person to spend my life with; but marriage can be stressful.  Parenting can be stressful.  We don’t always see eye to eye, eithe because we disagree or because we just don’t understand where the other is coming from sometimes.

I think most people look to us bloggers for guidance, for hope.  To be fair, however, sometimes hope is hard to find.  Sometimes you have to accept that there are things in life over which you have very little control.  It could be your emotions, their emotions, the upbringing of your own children… and in the end you can’t always look to hope.  You simply have to do your best to love everyone in your life and trust that the best possible outcome will arise so long as you maintain that love and non-judgement.   

If you are a part of my life, be that part big or small; know that I have nothing but love for you, otherwise you would not be in my life.  I want nothing but the best for you, and there is no one I know who isn’t capable of finding their way to the best life they can have.  We may not always agree, and it may be my fault more often than not when things go wrong or we disagree. I accept that and thank you all for being in my life anyway.  Near or far, big or small; there is not a single person in my life I am not thankful for.  If you come to my blog for support, answers, or comfort; know that in love these things can be found. Find the love in your heart and share it.  It is there, I promise.

The Return of the ADHD Review

I came across a podcast I just had to listen to because it was about the relationship between exercise and the brain, exercise as treatment for ADHD.  I have had an ongoing series in this blog about wellness and the struggle to maintain fitness and I try to throw in there from time to time how my mental health is affected.

Justine Ruotolo talks with Dr John Ratey about exercise and how it improves the Neuroplasticity  of our minds.  Justine and Dr. Ratey talk about rigorous exercise of the body as well as meditation (exercise of the mind) and how our brain is similar to a muscle.  Activities such as dance, martial arts, gymnastics, soccer… exercise that requires constant change of position, all help with brain health.  Dr. Ratey starts by talking about a patient he had in 1981 who had been a marathon runner.  The runner suffered an injury and subsequent depression, and began exhibiting signs of ADD.  His whole life he had essentially been self medicating with exercise.  They also talk about exercise to manage behavior in children by activating their brains instead of putting them on time out.  Exercise is great for all ages and for many disorders or dysfunctions, exercise could help with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

 

Treating with exercise is what I want to do. Exercise increases receptors of dopamine and norepinephrine, and is good for all of us, not just for treating mental of physical illness but for applying our brain and body the way they are designed to be used.  Too easily we get sucked into other dopamine triggers like video games, alcohol, etc., which can damage our brains instead of strengthen them.  Exercise is great for treating aggression, depression, self discipline, self respect, as well as developing our neuroplasticity.

If you want to listen to the podcast, you can find it here.  For more about Justine Ruotolo, click here.

Recommended reading related to this topic:

Spark

 

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My ADHD made me do it

I have witnessed that support groups can be either very helpful (supportive), or unfortunately very unforgiving.  We have all experienced discrimination from people who I lovingly refer to as Normies. We act out in school, talk out-of-turn, are called spaz and retard.  This is the world we know.  A person new the the diagnosis is easy to spot, as everything that happens to them is on account of their ADHD.  When you’re talking to an entire group of people with ADHD, you don’t have to explain. In fact, for a lot of people, it’s kind of annoying.  At least, that’s how it seems to me.  Sometimes I feel like an wizened old codger watching, reading the interactions of people so much newer to the game than I.  Other times, of course, I feel helpless without the people I’ve met in the ADHD community.

For me, gone are the days of “my ADHD made me.”  I am my ADHD. Which means I must be hyper aware of what I say, how I act.  Not easy, I dare say often next to impossible.  Hindsight, though. Hindsight’s a bitch.  Shoot off an email, then realize I said something the wrong way.  But my ADHD didn’t make me do that.  My impatience did.  

I digress.  With ADHD, we know discrimination.  We know inequality. But imagine being black or Muslim AND having ADHD, or any other mental illness.  Imagine being a lesbian or transgender, and having a disability which makes self control nearly impossible.  

What I witnessed was about someone not understanding something they read about immigrants (blaming their ADHD) and how they were spurned afterward.  ADHD didn’t cause this to not understand.  That would be ignorance.  Questioning it was the right thing, that’s how we learn.  ADHD caused this person to not think about the way they asked, which further displayed their ignorance.  THEN, they were unfriended and told off by someone of equal ignorance rather than that person taking the opportunity to educate their peers.   

So while so many people are blaming their actions on the trials of life caused by their skin color, or their mental illness, or their righteousness, ignorance breeds ignorance. Racism breeds racism. Discrimination begets discrimination.  Excuses traded for more excuses.  

Be aware of your ADHD  and act accordingly. Be aware of How your race, your disability, or your lifestyle might be judged or might keep you from understanding others. Understand your own situation and how best to adress it before entering into discourse, and think about how and why others might feel the way they do, as strongly as you feel the way you do.  Be open minded about the fact that your situation may provide you with better circumstances than others.  Others’ situations may put them in worse circumstances.  Race, religion, disability; they are all real. They all cause very real problems for people. Very different problems.  
I’m not sure this is written as clearly as it needs to be.  Some things are difficult to stay PC about.  You can’t just say your problems are worse than mine or anyone else’s.  You can’t just say you know someone’s pain because you have pain.  And you can’t hide behind your circumstances.  That’s the gist of it.

Wellness Wagon: Week 34

Well this entry has cetainly been something.  This is my 2nd time typing it because I didn’t have patience enough to wait for WordPress to update, and thought it posted a draft, unedited and incomplete. So I deleted it.

Then I saw the post on my facebook page and it was the correct one. The one I deleted…
So here we are.
Week 34. No cigarettes and minimal weight control.  So, good and bad.  I ran 3 miles Sunday.  Well, I walked a bunch of it but I got out there and I’ve been riding my bike.  Which, if you haven’t done in a while, is guaranteed to make you feel old and out of shape.  So here I am, old and fat and ready to get out there and conquer the world with exercise and nutrition.  Ish.  But seriously, I hate how half-assed my efforts have been.

Lately, I ‘ve been stressing and my headache’s are getting more frequent and worse.  The other day, my wife made me some beard oil with essential oils which help me focus and help with anxiety. Probably one of the best things I’ve had for my ADHD in a long time.  She also mixed me some oils to help with tension headaches – while I was having one – just made a remedy right then and there, just for me.  Both were super helpful.

The oils should help with my focus which helps my ADHD.  The focus will help me keep up with the running, which in turn will help with the ADHD.  You see the positive feedback cycle here.  At least, that’s how I hope it works.

Hibernation

I am starting ro wonder if my winter funk is going to be a regular thing. For a few months every year now, I leave the ADHD community; and to a lesser extend, Social Media; to seek solace elsewhere.  I creep into a shell and the normal Andrew just sort of hibernates while a lesser version of myself comes out to take his place.

I think hibernation is a better term than “Winter Funk”.  Right now I feel like I’m still out of my norm. Writing these is difficult.  Usually words come easily when I’m describing what I’m going through.  Lately all I’ve been able to muster up is a lame Wellness Wagon post.  The Wellness Wagon itself is not lame.   Don’t get me wrong.  But the posts I’ve been putting up… lamesies.  But at least this week I can reshare a ridiculous old favorite: Romance and onions.

Maybe with a few likes, shares, and comments; I can work up the nerve to write again… *shameless plea for support*