When I was a wee lad, I was a very shy kid who usually only opened up when other people engaged me, at which point I became a talkative, energetic playmate. Because I was a very imaginative, creative kid, my shyness often took quirky turns.
In the winter of first grade, my class was making holiday cards. I don’t recall exactly what my handmade cards looked like, but I seem to remember them being decorated with drawings of snowmen, UFOs, ghosts, and robots. I do distinctly remember having a crush on one of the girls in my class and wanting desperately to give her a card that expressed how I felt about her. But I was so shy and afraid of my classmates laughing at me for being in love with someone, I created my own code of symbols, where each symbol represented a letter of the alphabet, so that nobody but I (and whoever had the key) could read the message. I wrote my love letter in code, put a key to the code in the card…and then promptly hid the card and key in my backpack, embarrassed by the entire thing and wanting no one but myself to know anything about it.
I’m proud to say I never express my feelings in code these days. Well, hardly ever.
Having been reading quite a bit on ADD since my diagnosis, I’ve found that one common trait of people with ADD is the intensity of their emotions and the way their emotions can rapidly shift based on the smallest of triggers. Which goes a long way towards explaining why I’ve always been a moody person (or as a child, “sensitive”) who has great difficulty getting past sudden mood shifts and bad feelings. People with ADD are also frequently very sensitive to the emotions of people around them, which also explains a lot about me and Brooke.
One thing Brooke and I often find ourselves dealing with is how my moods can affect hers, and vice versa. If one of us is suddenly feeling sad or anxious, it’s hard for the other person to not be affected by it. Brooke got some bad news last night and it’s really dragged her mood down. I feel bad for her and I feel bad in general. Her down mood has pulled the mood of the house down. She knows this, I know this, she’s been apologizing since last night, but we both know that there’s nothing either of us can do about it. I don’t resent her for this, and she doesn’t expect me to ignore her mood.
On the plus side, I completely understand how and why her mood would suddenly drop like this and why she would have a difficult time bringing her mood back up. I can empathize and be supportive, without resenting her bad mood. And she does the same for me when it’s my mood that brings the house down. Our emotions may be all over the place, but we know they’re all over the place, and we can generally deal with that.
It’s all part of the fun of living in an ADD household.
Now it can be told:
I posted about looking for a new job, after being diagnosed with ADD and coming to understand why I’ve struggled so much with my job and felt like it was such a bad fit for me. I started to look outside the box I’d put myself in, but at the same time, I recognized that I really like libraries, I like working with the public, and staying in my library system would be easier than trying to find a brand-new job.
Well, thanks to some excellent, understanding HR people, I’m being shifted in the library system from web content to working reference at one of our branches. Because of the nature of the job, the duties won’t really need to be adjusted much to accommodate my ADD. I’ll be working with the public more, moving around more (rather than sitting at a desk for hours at a time, staring at a monitor), and I won’t have to juggle multiple long-term projects with variable deadlines. In some ways, it’s not going to be a dramatic change, since I’ve been doing reference work for a while now in addition to my web duties (and it’s something I’ve done many times before). But being able to just focus on what’s in front of me, rather than constantly worrying about deadlines and time management, will be a huge shift in terms of mental and emotional energy, anxiety, and depression. To say I’m relieved and excited is a bit of an understatement. I’ve been struggling for the past five years. I suddenly feel…free. Free to really focus my time and energy on writing and play. Free to enjoy my time away from work, rather than worrying about everything I haven’t gotten done.
I’ll be in training this week, then officially switching to my new position and workplace next week. It’s the dawn of a new age!
I’ve had a pretty monumental change happen in my life recently–one which I’m not ready to talk about publicly yet, but probably will soon. It’s a very good change, but one that has thrown my brain into something of a muddle. So I’m taking some time off from blogging for a week or two while I figure out what I’m going to do next.
Hang in there, friends! New adventures are coming!