I met a person on Friday night, which happened to be the first day of taking a new medication for my ADHD. This time it’s a stimulant and really something to get used to if you’ve never had anything like it before, and I wasn’t sure how to incorporate it with the way I ate, the way I drank, the way I talk to people–my social interactions–all of that. I felt so much uncertainty about what to do with so many things and whether or not this type of medication would be a positive thing or if it would be more proof that I needed to incorporate more natural ways to combat it, in order to feel better. To feel myself again on a regular basis.
So, then, by happenstance, we were outside of a local move theater/bar, on a break from watching the NBA playoffs, and my fiance, a friend and I discussed blockbusters and the nature of them. How did it compare to what it felt like when we were little, growing up and was it really all that different? Was it that we were more naive or more open? Were we really more cynical than kids today?
This became a conversation with a stranger, standing close by, about the way that different blockbusters are represented on the big screen, and why some directors/screenwriters/actors were brave enough to show something that was a little more complicated, more gray, morality-wise, than the movies who portrayed superheroes who saved the world over and over again–to then be re-booted and shown in practically the same way less than ten years later. (Hints on what movie played at the theater?) Gradually, we turned it to what defined a sociopath, or a psychopath, and do they represent well onscreen? In that, do they need to be tweaked and made a little more fuzzy-wuzzy, so that way it wasn’t so intimidating for the audience?
To encounter something so complicated in the form of supposed entertainment isn’t likely to be what they looked for in the summer time and it wasn’t an escape to a cool, dark place, safe from the boiling outdoors. I opened up about personal situations from my past and if either one of us knew someone who suffered from these tendencies and how that exposure stimulated various symptoms of ADHD throughout our lives.
It turned out that we were the same age, that we had the same kind of romantic interactions and self-discovery: attempts to rescue men from sociopathic behavior, to save boyfriends as our love was so strong and pure, potent enough to render a “sick” man well again. We weren’t allowed to be selfish because someone had to be freed from the chains of mental illness; our ADHD tendencies shoved under the rug because the relationship forced us to be otherwise. When the relationships inevitably imploded, the aftermath was an absolute feeling of blindness frozen in a place black and far, far away.
Now that I’ve had to be so reflective about my past and present, I haven’t stopped thinking about myself and what I had to do to feel 100% myself again. What was obvious from this interaction is that this medication created a moment for me to surrender to and to feel confident. That I interacted with intelligence because I heard what he had to say, reflected, and actually responded. I didn’t wait with a rising tide of impatience for him to finish, so I could talk, and therefore not hear what he said. In other words, I had a conversation with a smart person about a fascinating topic and we became friends in that moment. It was a comfort, a joy (and even liberating) to know that I could still make new friends and that I understood how to communicate and talk to people again.
Part of it was the way that the “happy” hormones/chemicals flooded my brain and the beer and pretzels helped, too. The knowledge that to feel this way was normal? It was a nice change of pace and something I haven’t felt in a very long time in that context. Friday night was a lesson that I am headed in the right direction. Everything that I’ve done, the steps I took to get to this point, and the hard work I’ve put into have led to something good…