Turning point?

This grill hasnt’t been used in a few years.  Makes me feel kinda nostalgic.

I’m just chilling here, having a drink and grilling, thinking about where I was in life when I got this grill as a gift fom my parents. I was smoking, though no one really knew. I wasn’t in the best health.  This grill, though.  There was nothing more relaxing than sitting next to it with a beer in hand cooking dinner. Using the grill gave me a sense that I was properly adulting.

Fast forward 8 years or so….

The grill has been in storage, in favor of a larger box shaped smoker/grill that was great the first couple years but it could not stand up to the rigors of constant grilling.  The metal shelf that held the briquettes and wood literally cooked away. I tried replacing it but it was no use. I probably grilled 3 times last year. 

So I’m sitting here, contemplating life and whatnot, and I realize that another thing that happened last year was I really started to hate my life. I had not stood up to the rigors of constant adulting. I felt like I wasn’t good enough for my family, llike I was nowhere my potential. So I quit smoking, did my best to pay more attention to my health, and it’s been an honest to goodness battle ever since.

I started a blog series called the Wellness Wagon. It was meant to be a means of holding myself accountable for getting better. It worked for a bit, until it didn’t.  Eventually I found myself writing less about successfully treating my ADHD through diet and exercise and more about failing.  It was depressing.

I’m trying it all again, though.  Less writing, more doing, this time.   The failing grill is kicked to the curb and the old reliable Weber is back out.  Similarly, I’m going back to what I know.  Way back.  Yes I will be drinking every now and then. Yes I will skip runs.  But I will run. I WILL BIKE AND SWIM. I WILL CARDIO.  Not on a strict regiment were I’m beating myself up, but regular exercise will happen, and regular healthy eating will happen. I will make it fun or at least keep it interesting. This slump I’m in where I feel like crap about myself and don’t want to be around anyone; well, that’s the new battle I’m fighting.  Honestly, this isn’t about me feeling motivated, energetic, and empowered.  I’ve simply realized that things aren’t as they should be, and I already know how I need to live to get my life right. I just need to do it.

I’ll start with more grilling, more enjoyment, more relaxation. I need to learn to appreciate my life and my opportunities, and to make the most of them.  If I don’t feel like I’ve earned a night of drinks and/or relaxation, then I’ll go out and run or bike or swim and get my blood pumping.  I will reward positive efforts and I will simply abstain from those vices I have not earned. This is my new strategy.  Wish me luck.

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Wellness Wagon: finale

I’ve come to realize that with only having regular disappointment in my efforts I’ve come to resent my wellness wagon experience and trying to write about it. I’ve lost track of the real purpose of this blog and it’s time to reboot. But first, let’s recap.
I have gone 1 year without a cigarette.  I have been running, off and on, and I’m not in terrible shape.  Another great thing that came out of this past year is the return of the Alumni Run. When I ran cross country in high school, we began the season each year by inviting the alumni to race against the current team. That ent away after I graduated.  I reached out to the current coach and we are beinging it back!  The first race is in August!

So that gives me something to work toward.  I still feel unhealthy and I’ve had a lot of days where my ADHD gets the best of me. 

So the lesson learned here is treating ADHD with exercise and diet requires strict structure and discipline, which of course I lack.  What isn’t shown in my wellness wagon posts is that once you do successfully develop a schedule and stick to it for a few weeks, it starts to get easier and it does work.

So what comes next?  

Well first I wrote about growing up with ADHD, sprinkling ing random stories and rants (season1).  Then I turned my focus to treatment with diet and exercise (Season2).  I am going to go back and share my favorite posts so far, and then start writing new posts, sticking more to a diary format , only writing when I have something to say instead of trying to stick to a weekly post.  I shall call it…  season3?  Meh, sounds lame but we’ll see.  So hats off to the wellness wagon.  I am still unmedicated and still looking for brain hacks etc, for my ADHD, but no more will I be writing about exercise etc., just for the sake of writing something.

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.