8 years ago, my uncle died. His death itself was not hard on me. It’s more his memory that gets me emotional. Or should I say the lack thereof. This is typically a day of grieving for my family. He was relatively young when he passed so it hurt all the more as an untimely passing. Except for me. Sure, I cried when I heard. That day, though, I realized that ADHD was at the same time a blessing and a curse.

The blessing

I retain very few memories of growing up. My memory, both short term and long term, is terrible. Because of this I feel distant and disconnected from the people whom I am literally distant from.  So, when there is a death, there is no overwhelming grief associated.  I didn’t have a strong emotional connection anymore, because I rarely talked with him.  He wasn’t on social media and we lived in different states.  I literally went years at a time without talking to him.  So the grief associated with his passing was bearable, compared to what the rest of my family went through.  In that, I feel blessed.

The Curse

I literally have a handful of memories of my uncle.  I know when I lived closer we did do things together, but I don’t remember much.  The memories I do have were great.  Driving around San Diego listening to NOFX, going to the beach, and riding up and down the alley by my grandparents’ house on his 3-wheeler…  I have one memory of each of these things.  But I know that there were more.  I had a childhood full of experiences with all my aunts and uncles, my grandparents, and childhood friends, but I’ve mostly forgotten.  I feel guilty and sad because of it. I join my family in sadness, and yet it’s not the same.  I feel like mine is under-qualified, and I am undeserving of empathy.

While the rest of my family mourns the passing of a family member, and celebrate his memory, I mourn the passing of his memory; almost jealous because I can’t properly grieve.


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:




Wellness Wagon: Week 20

Monday.  The most productive day of my week, except when it comes to running.  I’m still recovering from being sick, and this morning’s run didn’t happen.  I set all my clothes out last night, I went to bed thinking about how nice it will be to get a run in at the beginning of my day and be balanced and focused.  But this morning, my body had different plans

I went to bed at a decent time, got 7 hours of sleep, but when that alarm went off at 4, I felt like I had been hit by a truck.  I opted for the extra 90 minutes of sleep and now I feel a lot better.  I will have to see about running tonight.

But now that I am thinking about it, do I have to run?  Right now, I’m just trying to exercise and be healthier.  I know I’ve been talking about cardio and stuff but I mostly run (if I do anything at all).  Maybe it’s time to change that up.  Maybe tonight I’ll play Dance Dance Revolution with my kids, or Just Dance; and get some movement in that way… I think I need some variety.

Cigarettes.  A fellow quitter started back up last week and I was really put to the test as we spend quite a bit of time together and he smelled like cigarettes.  I am happy to report, however, that I still have not smoked, and it’s now been 20 weeks.  I’ve been drinking pretty heavily, and with some recent family drama regarding alcohol, this might be a good time to revisit my alcohol policy.

Food.  Boy have I upped my sugar game.  I have been eating so much candy.  So. Much. Candy.  That has to stop!   I really feel awful too, when I go too long without decent food.  So this week I’m back to home made Paleo chicken salad for lunch, and back to watching my carbs and getting more protein in my breakfast.


Wellness Wagon: week 19 and the routine 

Anyone who has ADHD knows routine is crucial to success.  I’m no different. here’s mine:

Monday: wake up at 4am. decide I need another 90 minutes of sleep more than I need exercise. spend the rest of the day feeling depressed and guilty that i’m not pursuing the lifestyle I want.

Tuesday: not a run  day.  think about exercising anyway, decide against it because life is exhausting enough.

Wednesday: finally run before work. feel better about myself.

Thursday: re-stablish  self loathing and hope I have the descipline to run again hy the end of the day.  I don’t, but I drink enough to not  care. 

Friday: last day of work, start to plan a long run for the weekend. feel pretty good about it.

The weekend: 50:50 chance I’ll run as planned. one more week under my belt…

This is my life.  I post regularly about going weeks without cigarettes and staying healthy, but don’t think for a minute that it’s not a struggle.  the key is knowing that  I’m making more good choices than bad.  

I am sick again. so there’s that.  It’s just a cold. 19 weeks cigarette free, and still kept off about half the weight I’ve lost this year. I tried running Sunday but I was so wiped out from being  sick that I only made it about about 1.5 miles. but that’s still better than sitting on my ass, right?

Still steady at ~ 200lbs.  feeling somewhat pessimistic at the moment. however a fellow quitter broke this week and started smoking again, and I remained on the path of the non smoker.  a proud moment for me.

That’s all for this week.

The ADHD Review: resurrection 

There are so many support groups out there for those of us with ADHD.  Join this group and try that seminar and read this book.  And they are all helpful.  I began an effort a few months ago to pursue more knowledge about ADHD and share the highlights of what I’ve learned.  I’ve shared blogs and podcasts and I’ve started several books, but with a change in responsibilities at work, all this research suddenly came to a halt.  The ADHD Review, as I’ve been calling it, has died.  At least, that’s what I was thinking this morning.  I began writing the eulogy in my mind and realized  I had still been able to share new things and be inspired by other people, and it wouldn” be fair to just bring that to an abrupt halt.  So I’m going to keep trying. I may not be able to share as much, or learn as much, but I will do what I can, when I can.

Wellness Wagon : Week 18 – 10K

Week 18. The Sycamore Pumpkin Run 10k. Sometimes it looks like that I’m really starting to step up my game. Actually, I ran a race. All that means is I ran that race. I hardly trained for it, and it was a real wake up call.

I fully support taking medication to treat ADHD. For me it just wasn’t the way. Its important to know however, that while you are not putting any chemicals into your body by using exercise and nutrition to treat your ADHD, you still put yourself through a lot of stress. Its very difficult to figure out a set time of day several days a week to exercise. For me, the commute to and from work means that I have to run in the morning. That means getting up at about 4 o’clock in the morning, going for a run, getting ready for work, working all day, then getting home at 6 p.m. and maybe having enough energy to make dinner before I crash. Sure, as I exercise more I’ll have more energy and I’ll be able to do more at the end of my day when I get home; but that hasn’t happened yet. So I’m faced  with a daily dilemma of having to decide whether not to get another hour sleep or get off my butt and go for a run before work.

One thing that I’ve recognized is that while it’s definitely a struggle to try to do the same kind of exercise several days a week at the same time of day its a little easier if you change a few things. For example, I prefer to run, however it’s easier to put a cardio routine into my afternoon one day instead of running that morning. I can do cardio at home in my living room where I don’t have to worry about who’s watching my kids. Plus, they have the opportunity to see me exercising and it motivates them. It inspires them  to do the same and they turn it into a lot of fun. So there’s that.

So here we are Week 18 and I ran a 10k. I thought for sure that this race would be tough, and it was; however apparently I’ve done enough training to achieve more than I thought I was capable of. My goal was to run the 10k in 78 minutes. My finish time was 64 minutes, and that’s after I was able to get my phone out of my armband to stop the timer. There’s nothing quite like that “next day soreness” after a hard run or a hard work out to remind you that you still have a long way to go. I do still have a long way to go. It will not be easy, however I know now that even though it’s been difficult to stay on task over the last few weeks, the fact that I’ve kept trying got me to where  I am now;  and the fact that I’m going to keep trying is what’s going to get me to my next milestone. So for anybody who is reading this and is inspired to exercise; even if you don’t have ADHD, even if you just want to live a healthier life; understand that it’s going to be hard and you may not feel results but every once in awhile if you throw something into your routine like a race or a challenge or a competition to gauge your progress you might find yourself pleasantly surprised.