Soaking sunflower seeds, which will be transformed into a cheese sauce for dinner tonight, this is when vegan/plant-based eating becomes fun and like my very own science experiment in the kitchen.
This was a simple spinach, ginger, coconut milk, banana, agave syrup and freshly juiced grapefruit smoothie that tasted so divine I don’t know how I couldn’t have it every day…
I know that cardiovascular exercise improves the cognitive function of the brain, but does it help the ADHD brain, which has trouble with executive function—the management of various processes in the brain like reasoning, problem solving, working memory and planning—and how to regulate its neurotransmitters to produce proper levels of feel-good hormones and chemicals? Obviously, any action that floods the brain with more dopamine, a hormone-neurotransmitter my own brain can’t seem to keep enough of in order to stop the potential to bite someone’s head off for daring to interrupt me at work or in the middle of a really good book, is a positive step. Is it enough, though, that I can incorporate the potential to wean myself off of medications or at least my iron-grip reliance on how much it’s recently improved my life at work and at home?
One thing I struggle with is how to keep the motivations going to do the things that make me feel better and keep me on the path to discovery. I make plans (and usually abandon them halfway through); I write lists (and lose them in my workbag); I create folders full of reminders of my talent when I need to. All of this, to keep my self-esteem at a level high enough to force that essential forward progress, and not create another setback. Except now I have to take myself to task for not keeping the one New Year’s resolution that ninety-nine percent of us end up dropping in frustration?
To remember how much better I operate at a 9-5 corporate job (someday that will be in my rearview mirror, I promise), after a run at the gym during lunchtime, works if I schedule it as though it’s time to take my medicine. It is much more uncomplicated to frame it in that way because it becomes necessary to exist and be okay with where I am in my work life. I can’t forget to take my medicine no matter how a meeting unexpectedly comes up or if I’m running behind on a project or get caught up on a phone call.
The only thing that stops me from this lunchtime workout turning ritual is how long it takes me to remember how important it is. My brain needs a zap every 30 minutes or so and if I have trouble wading out of the morning coffee or the dip into last night’s television recaps, the delay to my workday is inevitable. I set a timer in the schedule tool on my phone to keep that zap on the visual level; anything that will shake me out of my reverie to keep on task and continue on with my day.
Any article that discusses the benefits of exercise makes sure to point out that it is a natural anti-depressant and anti-anxiety agent. These are two things I struggle with, and to think that it also helps with my ADHD, again, should be and will be seen as a gift to my very special brain.
This starts the experiment, as I’m currently in between medications to try and find something that not only works a little bit better than my previous one, but that doesn’t leave me broke after refills each month.
As it often happens, I need inspiration at work. It isn’t for artistic purposes or even for projects that I’m working on, but to just get me through the day in this very strict, corporate, 9-5 world that doesn’t allow my brain to flex its strengths all too often.
My counselor suggested a small idea: an inspiration folder. Kudos from co-workers for a job well done, or a funny photo that took me out of a potential rage cave,or even sending off an alert that I had finished a project. Because I could do all this before, I could do it again, and a reminder that I could contribute.
It worked so well–the initial creation of the folder created a chain of events that improved my day in an instant–I thought I’d do the same thing at home, where I sit down in front of a blank white screen and a blank white canvas. I do these things so readily now because I’ve been so hard on myself throughout my life and it isn’t necessary anymore. Anything that makes me feel good is a step forward.
Third grade was a big year for me: the first time I was in public school after private school proved too expensive for my parents to justify on my brother and I despite the level of education and my first mentor happened to be my third-grade teacher, Mrs. Wallen.
At the time, of course I didn’t think of her as my mentor. I just thought of her as my best friend. She introduced me to the world of Shel Silverstein, let me stay indoors at recess to read and write, and submitted an application, after my parents’ approval, for the Young Writers’ Workshop.
Before that, I only thought of writing as something linked to book reports during the summer reading program at a local library and an activity to pass the time during the mini sermon given by the pastor before the dismissal of the kids to Sunday School time. The book reports led to a special award created for me the previous year, at age seven, during the end-of-summer award ceremony.
“We couldn’t believe this particular little girl wrote these reports, so of course we figured out she had a lot of help from her mom. But, when we spoke to her mom, she explained that the reports were written entirely by her daughter. We were very surprised to hear that and knew we had to create an award for this talented budding writer,” the head librarian explained. I had no idea she was referring to me and felt a happy knot of anxiety explode in my abdomen when she called my name.
The stories written during church were of the most silly and innocent of topics, generally with nature such as the sun itself hiding out from the moon and twin girls I unwittingly referred to as the Andrews’ Sisters, who solved local neighborhood mysteries. Carefully drawn pictures accompanied the stories, all found in a tiny memo book, which I showed to Mrs. Wallen later during a sunny fall afternoon recess while everyone else was outside.
Throughout the school year, I tried my absolute best to keep her close to me and win her approval, as she encouraged me with kind and constructive criticism. In my previous years, in private school, I made it a point to know these teachers as well as I could. I’d play with their kids, after school, or write them letters in the summertime to “check in on them.”
The precociousness of this never crossed my mind until much, much later in the course of a career exercise meant to find your “true passion.” Yet, it made me realize that there had to be a place where I could tap into that and discover if the slow unfolding of the creativity was still within me.
Today, this blog/place serves as a welcome home and a crystal-clear sign that I need to re-discover a writing mentor. I hope she/he appreciates my candor and proves to want to be a partner on my campaign to a purely creative existence…