Hey everyone welcome to a long awaited apparently new episode of the all the things ADHD podcast.
Oh, the day things for real be the gong in class.
Yeah, exactly. That's actually really good movie. But and the gong too. So we're back. Because life happened. That's why we've been gone. Every time we tried, like the like the end, and 2023 was supposed to be different. Am I right? Amy? Wasn't 2023 spots to be different? Yes. And it just ended up differently bad cuts. It sure
did. It shirted. This is like, we have started to try to have people over again, like for dinners and stuff. That's what I wanted for my birthday. And we we had some people over a couple of weeks ago, our first dinner party and forever two different couples, you know, we're mixing up our friends and we're like, gonna be great. And you know, owing to a whole identity theft situation and police reports and stuff. I didn't have time to cook. So what I'm doing frozen lasagna from the fancy store close to here. And I said to Tom, like, oh, no, we're those friends. Like, people come over. And they're like, how are you? And it's like something new. And crazy that has happened. And like we're the high drama friends now. Really, we don't want to be the high drama. But sorry, we have frozen lasagna because all of our credit cards are like broken and we have no time. Well, we've been on the phone with the police all day. And also Did you know your phone number can be stolen out of your phone while you're still holding it? Ha ha ha what a great day. Are they like oh, no, not again? Or like Yeah.
Oh, yeah. Oh,
like no, no, it's gonna be okay. Like we're taking tarna like, it's okay. It's okay. You're gonna be fine. Like me? I don't know.
Yeah. I could be seven different people by now literally. So I don't know.
Right. Maybe I have a new mortgage, maybe have a couple of new cars? I don't know. Could be anything. Yeah. Like, who knows? Yeah. So. So. Yeah, we've been busy, you know, reclaiming our identities and our credit rating, and canceling apples at the Apple Store made without our consent. That's a good time. How have you been ly?
Better than that? I'll say that. Like, yeah, just it's been a lot of changes around here. So a lot of good changes, but a lot of changes a lot of happy news. But also just like, it's, it's to neurodivergent teenagers. So, you know, we are dealing with issues of school avoidance with one, which is fantastic. And, you know, dealing with issues of all kinds of things with the other. But, but I've started going back to yoga.
Oh, that's amazing. Yes. So for you,
the youngest has picked it up a little and actually enjoyed it. And so as you'll, you'll love this. So I haven't done yoga in like, five years. Right? Right. And they were doing it in a therapeutic way. Right. And so we went you know, so we went to one place close by and everything. And it was what was it flow? Like they have different like names, but we didn't realize that they were like different levels. That's what they
are. And it was also a lot yoga. Oh, no. Why would you do that to yourself? Well, because
I didn't realize and so after a half an hour, we both topped out. Like I thought I was I thought I was gonna die. Well, that's possible. And and they and so we're like after half an hour just like no, we get into this. But, um, so then the bonding experience though it was it was a bonding experience. And then then they had to have to have an ingrown toenail removed. So that sort of put a kibosh on going back to yoga again. And then um, yeah, and but then I kept going to like, try them try out the various levels. Yeah, see, like, Okay, what is going to be appropriate for us? And so I've gone like six times in two weeks.
Oh, that's amazing. I'm so happy for you. Yeah,
I'm very happy for me to I have zero core strength. That's like, it's it's pretty clear.
This podcast will no,
yeah. Gay. Yeah. But like, it was really driven home to me like this. Do you have no core strength? But it always felt it I actually feel really good. Which is, you know, I was like, sorry, I actually, ya know, and so, so yeah, so that's, you know, it's it's there are good days and bad days and the good days are sort of outnumbering the bad. Nowadays at the moment, and so I'm going to take that as as a win, but it's still unpredictable Fridays are still unpredictable of what is going to be a good day or a bad day.
Yeah, all of my days are unpredictable. I have good news to report as well. Oh, good. The good news that I have to report is that and any faculty members that we have that are listening to this podcast will understand the gravity of this is I finally got a pass to the good parking lot. Yeah, yeah, the one that is the closest lot to my office. In fact, I can see my car from my office window now. Which, like, you have to know that before I was in the mid tier lot, and the mid tier lot was sometimes I parked closer to the donkeys in the park, rather than the jackasses in my office building. Like, that's how far away I was from my office. across six lanes of traffic and two traffic lights from my car. Oh, my gosh, this right before but now it's like I hopped over the ring road and up a flight of stairs into my office. Like, it's a miracle. I don't know how long I was on that waitlist.
Oh, so how long have you worked there?
18 years. Yeah. So okay, my child, you know, has managed to grow into high school. Before I got into this law. I have students who have been born since I first saw the waitlist for this lot. And in fact, I had been on it for so long that I forgot I was on it. And when I got the email saying like, congratulations. I thought it was scam. And I
of course you want at this point like
liars. I know these scammers. They just tell you what you want to hear if you don't think Hey, that sounds too good to be true.
I was like God, it looks like a phishing attempt. I don't know,
phishing attempts, like just add your credit card numbers in here and your Social Insurance Number will release your amazing new parking pass over the internet was like no, hold on. But it was legit. And that was the bright spot in my January. One of my colleagues got it too. And he was like, I didn't know. But he was floating around the department. I was like, you look very pleased with yourself. But he was like, I feel like I won the lottery. And he was like vibrating. And I was like, what? And he's like trying to figure out how to tell me because he didn't want to tell me in case I didn't get it.
So that was like, that was really great. A moment of levity. And fun and a nice fresh start. Yeah, part of the year. So it's good that we can both grab a little bit of wind out of what feels like the unceasing flow of the shit River. That's been flowing fast our lives. Oh, for some time. Yeah. Yeah.
It's it again. It's sort of it's it. You know, I'm, I can honestly say I'm doing well, right. Like I'm doing but but again, it's sort of like what but it. But get me on a different day.
We have been ly on the waiting list for coping skills. Yeah, for such a long time.
Yeah, pretty much. Yes. Yeah. That's a great
analogy. Thank you. And now when we're actually coping with stuff, we're, like waiting for it to turn out to be a fishing. Right? Yeah. So it takes a little bit of time to get used to the new reality, which is like, maybe the sheer force of bad things is like, it's an avid drip drip instead of a flood flood. But there's still a lot to deal with. And somehow we both feel pretty good. Yeah. But are both skeptical and anxious. About that? And that particular about? Yeah, but like, Why do I feel good, there must be something wrong. In fact, in fact, sidebar before we start, this is I'm going through this with my students right now. In particular, in my third year course that has an exam in it, and I keep saying to them, like there's no trick to the exam, like they came to office hours, they had this mandatory thing they have to come see me in my office about stuff. And what I found out from them is a lot of them are really, really nervous about the exam. And I was like, Why? Because we've been going over this in class, like, you know, the structure of the exam, I'm going to be giving you the practice questions, like I told you exactly what to study for it. I've been telling you. It's like not a gotcha exam really looks like if you've been coming to class, and I kept saying to them, like, if you've been coming to class, and you've been doing the readings, and you've been doing the writing in class, and you've been putting your hand up in discussion, I could give you the exam right now and you would get 70% on it. And they're mystified, mystified, and I finally like after like five or six of them like this, and I said, are you nervous about the test? Because you're feel that you're not nervous enough about the test, and that's what it was. They were feeling confident that everything that I had asked them, they understood that I'd given them the exam structure. And they were like, Okay, I don't think that's going to be so bad. But then they're like, I must be missing something. Right? I was like, Oh, my God who hurts you. But then I realized it's foreign education has hurt you, right? And everyone is hurt them they're like, right. And so I think we're, we're maybe a little bit in there, too, is like life is being operated on a setting that's like, at a higher level of difficulty than we used to think we'd be able to deal with. But it's not a crisis. And somehow we're like managing to, to make it through the maze. Right? And that will like there's got to be, this is a trap. Yeah, isn't it, but it's not. So it's a fresh start, where we get to enjoy the fruits of our hard work. Yeah, hard work, working on ourselves, going to yoga, doing meditation, talking about our feelings, trying to be proactive and not reactive and taking care of ourselves. And I think that's great. So what I had proposed that we talked about today is like this very idea of a fresh start. It's kind of like a great segue
there, by the way, nice. I like it. After how many episodes that we've done, we've finally sort of mastered the podcast. Segway as opposed to randomly ping pong game from That's right.
I mean, it's no lumpy pumpkin.
It's no lumpy bumpy. I
mean, it can always be a lumpy pumpkin. Right. And, and thank God, it isn't always like, our listeners have ADHD. They're not tuning in for predictability. They're absolutely not we'd lose them all. They have to be hanging out God, what is this podcast? Gonna start? Yeah, this is preamble Oh, wait, maybe it isn't preamble. Maybe this was the point the
whole time what's happening? The exact same thought process as we are? That's right.
That's right. Or they're thinking about something else entirely. And in about two minutes, they're gonna be like, Shit, I gotta rewind that I wasn't listening. Right, so fresh starts. Here we go. So this is like about coming out of the pandemic. And it's also about coming out of any period of difficulty where your life has been disrupted for some time. So this could be, you know, family illness, a personal life, circumstance, change a global pandemic, any of these things. And so listeners will know, I was on a burnout leave for seven weeks last semester, and because I was doing too much, and I was really struggling, and when I've come back, now, I have to be careful to think about how I can work in a sustainable way. And I've been thinking a lot about my frustrations that I was having with my teaching last semester, where I think I've even expressed it here about like, my students are weird, and I don't know who they are, right? Like, they're not behaving in the ways that that students like in this class, and at this institution in this same room that I've been teaching in forever. They're not reacting in ways that are predictable to me there. I was, like, mad at them and then mad at myself, because I was like, I know how to do this. I know what my shortcuts are. I know the things I have to say, and the things I can skip it. I know, I know how to do this. I've been doing this for 18 years, right? And it when I had said in class, like you guys must be glad to be back on campus. And that was when it occurred to me that a lot of them had never actually been on campus, right? Yeah, I was like, Oh, I'm, so I'm the one that's coming back. And they're not and I need to make space for them to be new at this. And then like, great, that was a really important insight for me. But what I failed to recognize, too, that I thought I was coming back. But I was coming to a set of change circumstances, right? Yeah. So I have, in fact, worked at the University of Waterloo in the Department of English for 18 and a half years and there are a lot of things I do know where my own offices, for example, but there are a lot of things that over the period of the pandemic have changed. Right, there are ways that I have changed, I have done a lot of research. I've done a lot of personal growth I've suffered. I've seen some things in my life, like everybody that I know. And
some things man has seen some
things like so the people that I think that I know, I don't know them anymore. I haven't seen them for three years, right? The structures on campus that I think that I know, I don't know, because everything got turned upside down for the pandemic on a lot of things have changed and are not changing back to the way that they were a lot of the changes that all of us made over the pandemic to do business as usual. We have to now undo because business as usual has turned into a different business and things are still unusual. So what I really needed to do was at the segways to your yoga to is find my beginner's mind again, right is not assume that when I talk to a colleague, I know them I don't know what's happened to them for three years I don't know anything about them anymore. Really I could i There are things that I didn't know about them and I but I every person I'm approaching now, I'm trying to be curious about them to be like there's probably substantial and significant ways that they have changed and there's probably substan chillin significant events that have happened in their lives over the last three years that I don't know about, I need to make a little bit of space to get to know people from scratch. Yeah, which I'm trying and I have been trying to rebuild my courses, as if I'm just starting at the university. And I don't need to challenge myself by changing all of the curriculum, but it's enough of a challenge to get through the semester. Right? Yeah. So I'm not thinking I'm an expert teacher at this university. I've been here a long time. Like, it's up to me to innovate, and I need to keep it fresh, like, I don't need to try to keep it fresh, right, everything is so fresh right now, in the sense of it's an open wound.
So there's that kind of
fresh, isn't there? There's that kind of fresh Yeah, it's like a fresh keel. And the keel is, right, so yeah.
And all the students too. I mean, let's, let's see all this as well, right? Like this is
I'm trying to be a lot more curious with my students. Like I had these meetings with them. They're tracking their participation over the term. And then they use that to write a report. And I know, sometimes students, you know, do this, and then 11 weeks later do something with it, sometimes they don't, right. So I was like, well, you're gonna meet with me in week four, and week eight, so that we can go over how this is going for you in terms of keeping up your, your reporting, oh, and this year, when I did it, which I haven't done this for a very long time, because it's hard to meet 40 students in one day, and not go to the bathroom or eat, which is what wound up happening to me, I was just curious, by ask them about stuff. And I was very surprised by the things that they were telling me about their lives and their impressions of school or what they were struggling with or succeeding with in the course. And, and I'm trying to make a lot more space. In my life right now at work for less aggressively doing like a try to move the ball up the field, and more listening and learning for myself. So that's different for me, because normally I'm like, push, push, push, do other things and do them really fast. And, you know, just kind of fly by the seat of my pants, I don't have to go looking for that kind of experience, that kind of experience is going to happen to me regardless, because everything is so different, that I don't need to. It's like I don't need to have two caffeine chocolates in the morning. And then a cup of coffee, right? Like one or the other. Like I'm already caffeinated that way. And so I'm interested today and thinking a little bit about what does it mean when we give ourselves the space to start over even when we're in the same place?
Yeah, no. And we're, we're very much my family is in that very much that space. Yeah. of starting over. And, and it's so funny, because like, I don't know how many times I have heard, be curious. Yeah. Various therapists, and podcasts and other things that and readings and all of that. As advice. Yeah. Yeah. No, no, but it's really interesting, though, because, particularly as a parent, right, that's a really hard space to be in. Yes. Like with, you know, it's with teenagers, I think, in particular, because it's easy to be curious with, I think small kids who want well, I know maybe easier for me, I live but like,
Yeah, little kids are so random. And they change constantly.
Yeah. And they've got this whole internal, right, marvelous, internally marvelous internal life that when they're teenagers, becomes terrifying. Um, so, you know, that so that's, it's, it's being able to and again, that as, as a parent, you want to parent, right? Parenting is a verb, not a not a not a noun. While it is a noun, as well, but you know what I mean, right? Like, we want to be active, and doing things and solving things. And you know, exactly like you said, like, leveling up. Where, you know, it is been a process of, of slowing down of, you know, being able to, like you said, listen and be curious and all that and it's it's it's been really hard but really great. Yeah, you know, in and I think that again, it it's it's a basically they say an ask the questions, right, instead of like, that is how about, we just have what we pause on that and we ask the question, how are we out, you know, why don't we ask another question about that and it's, it's been Yeah, it's been really, really helpful for all of us and I think it's, it really is made starting over a lot smoother. I'm not gonna say easier. But smoother. Yeah, in a way that I don't think it would have been otherwise.
And what I hear in, in what you're saying, and I think I can now hear it in what I was saying, is this question of slowing down, right? Yeah. To be curious, you, you are asking a question instead of presuming that you know the answer, right. And then when you listen, you can't do other things, right, you have to stop, you have to listen. If you're going to ask a question, it has to you have to interrupt your own sort of high speed flow to say maybe, I don't know. I could ask. And then when you do ask you have very little control over how or how long or to what degree the answer is going to come up. And also what it's going to ask of you after that, right. Yeah. And the I think this is a difficult thing, sometimes for for people with ADHD to do is, is to slow down, like I know, we've talked Yes. On this podcast about, like, how I get so bored. We had a whole episode about Yeah, bored, right? And fidgeting or like you got your candy crush in the meetings. And I like am knitting sweaters because it's just the things are not happening fast enough, right? Yeah. Because we're always leaping on to the next thing, our brains make connections between things really, really fast. And sometimes we get frustrated when the world doesn't keep up with us. But I think with the scale of change that all of us are experiencing coming out of the pandemic and saying that we are like, quote, unquote, going back to normal, when everything is quite different about normal is producing a collision of we think we know what we're doing, but we don't. And that that's very frustrating. Because we want to go fast. And we can't, because we keep breaking stuff, because it doesn't work the way we expect it to. And then often we blame ourselves, for things being different. For us not noticing that things were being different, and then not then not behaving the way we expect things to behave or people to behave because of that difference. And we get frustrated with ourselves. And the tendency there can be just to push harder, right and do more to get through it. And you can't and the only way really is to slow it down. And to do less like to to Yeah, listen at the meeting right now like Candy Crush your way through it or like, you know, maybe take up your knitting so that you can you can listen to people and then not talk so much or like I gave a whole day to make space for my students to tell me what was going on, for them and with them. And it altered my understanding of what's going on in my own classrooms in ways that it took me some time to think about what I would do. So it feels to me, and it probably would feel to a lot of our listeners, like when you like I took two assignments off my syllabus, I took a bunch of content off the website, right? Because I was like, I don't think I have the energy to maintain all of this and and be mad that students aren't reading it. And then I don't have time to grade these things. And I was like, I just need to pay attention to the people but more. And so in some ways that felt like I was doing less. But I sat in my office last week from my first student walked in right after me at 935. And it was like chain smoking, they came like chain smoking until 517. Alright guys didn't leave my chair. And so I will say like, I didn't get anything done. There's a tendency to think like, oh, you sat there for eight hours talking to students about their manicures and their Co Op terms. And you know what the exam is going to be about? And is this a selfie? Or is this not a selfie, and what kind of pets they have, and that feels like not doing any work. But I learned a lot from them that will impact the ways and things that I teach for the rest of this semester and possibly into the future as well. So it looks like not doing much. But maybe it accomplished something right. There was not a lot of things I could check off the list that day. I mean, I could check off all the individual names, I guess. But it still is tempting to say like I didn't answer any emails or grade any papers or do any prep or do any research or like, go to any committee meetings or read anybody's dissertation, I just sat and made chitchat with 40 students in one day and but that's what I need. And it's hard to do. It's hard to slow down like that. It's hard to stop doing things and let yourself experience things. It triggers our boredom reflexes where I think in North American culture also, we have in what psychologists described as an action bias, right? We don't want to have a feeling we want to do something about the feeling right away, right? We don't want to think about things. We want to do things. We don't want to listen to people, we want to respond to people and I think that culturally is normative. And that goes double for people with ADHD. Right?
No, and that's what I was gonna say is that like, one of the things that we've talked about before and that it says there's only for people with ADHD and other it's on or off, there's no, there's no, there's no gradiation in the speed. It's like you go and we've talked about this before, too. We go until we crash and then we crash. And then there's no rush. Yeah. And then and then we turn it back up to 11. Again, like there's no that it's zero or 11. There's no, there's no gradiation in between. And so trying to, like, all of a sudden make those notches in the, in the knob, right that it can stop on is like, it's not just like, it's, it's how do you and me managing energy levels has always been something that I've struggled with, right, where, you know, I've where, like, it's, it's impressive, I gotta say that you got through that entire day. Yeah, you know, and I'm sure you were exhausted and wanted to curl up into a ball and hide after we did that, but that, oh, I've but that like, because I the way I've, I've sort of think about it is how I had a disastrous on campus interview. Because I didn't manage my energy levels properly. Right. And so, you know, by the end of the day, like, it was I thought it was a nothing meeting, but it didn't turn out to be a nothing meeting and I had zero energy like and it was. So you know, that it's that kind of stain even keeled, right that I guess that's another thing that the like this that even keeled this of like, you know, not chill, but and, and so to be able to do that throughout the day, and still have as meaningful and engagement with the student at five o'clock, as you did with the student at 830 is actually a really impressive feat.
Thank you, I have been trying to tell myself like eight is the new 11. Right, I don't have to go out 11. And I have been, the only way I can find energy to do this is like first to forgive myself for not knowing everything that I think that I should know, right? Because things are different. I just had to acknowledge of like, I'm going to treat this as if I'm starting a new job, right where I've been for 18 years, I'm going to get to know my colleagues, I'm going to get to know my students, I'm going to get to know the structures of the term, I'm going to figure out the layout of this institution and its values to start over. And that was what I had to tell myself that it's a lot of hard work to get used to a new place like I had to make that metaphor real for me. Otherwise, it would be very hard for me to do less like I took like over the pandemic when I've been doing hybrid teaching, like my kind of hybrid teaching not like teaching online at like with a webcam or whatever it was like there was a portion that was asynchronous online. Yeah, a portion that was in person. And I was like building systems of redundancy, which meant often I was doing everything twice. So I when I was redoing my course websites for this semester, which is courses I've taught for the last couple of years, I took all the giant writing out of a lesson plans that were in the online website, which is essentially written a textbook, I had, like 12,000 words of writing just on content pages in one course and 10,000 words on the other one, and that was not counting all the sub pages and stuff. But I was like, Oh, Tom, I can't update this. And like he's like, why don't you just erase it? Right? He's like, you're gonna be in class, like, you don't need all that. And because it's true, I would get like they were really great lesson plans. And a really great website was the sort of proto textbook for these courses that I teach. And then I would go to class and get mad that the students hadn't read it. Right? Because I would have made my my lesson on top of them, having already done this lesson plan and like God, I don't know when so I just, that was like the thing that kicked it. For me that was like right before the term started. I just erased all of this content out of my websites. And I what I left in there, but you
still have as though right? Like, it's still somewhere
I do Oh no, I put it I mean, the archive versions. And I also put it all in Word docs. And that's why I know how many words I have, because I just painted it
lesson plans. I mean, it's a new instance of the course every time. And I sometimes I print out everything that I erased and I bring that to class. And that's my lesson plan. I can just teach it instead of having two lesson plans you would have been I was like, God, how did this turn out to be that I'm doing this much, that's too much. And I can't update basically a textbook worth of writing and prep all these classes and learn everybody's names, and I can't so I just erased all that. And now I don't expect that students are doing anything except the readings. Like I don't think they're reading all of my stuff that I wrote for them because I haven't written any thing for them. And I got rid of a couple of assessments that once were in person, I don't need any more. And that freed up a lot of time for me. And I would say I am spending full time hours working. But before I was spending more than full time hours and failing and now I'm like because I've made this space where I don't have so much tech stack to manage and so many things that I have to grade and so many like extras that I put everywhere that I need to update all the time. That the mental energy that I have left to sit still and listen to people and not feel like every minute that somebody gives me an answer I was not expecting in a conversation is another minute that I fall further behind on everything else that I I have to do, right. Yeah, what I did was get rid of the busy work I had created for myself. Right? Yeah, I got rid of a lot of that. And I've stopped taking shortcuts with people, I will turn my full attention to people when I ask them how they are. Because I want to know, and I'm prepared to give the time to that. If I were if it's required, right, like, and it has been. I'm not burnt out, it's the end of week five of the term. I'm not behind on any of my grading. I know the names of most of my students. I'm not angry all the time. And I haven't cried about work since, like, I came back in January, which is an astonishing run. Yeah. of success for me. Yeah, over the last, like, let's say, since my mom died, 2020, I don't think I've had five weeks in a row that we're successful like this. And like literally in the middle of it, we suffered a major identity fraud, social engineering, Bell mobility, gave our entire account away to strangers who ported our numbers to different service providers and hacked all of the emails and stole $12,000 off our credit cards. And, and the next day I taught and it was fine, because I had left space, right? First things to go wrong. And I had given myself space to be like, well, if I come out of this semester, and it turns out that I have way too much energy and I wasn't working very hard at all, then I can add some things back in. Right. I'd rather overcompensate on the, you know what I've been doing so so so so much too much that I need to radically simplify things.
How about it go back just for a second about the I could add things back in and just take that out to like, maybe just take that out of the whole planning process as well. Yeah, this whole thing of like, too much energy? Maybe.
I know, that's, that's my internalized ableism coming out, right. I hear myself saying like, here are all the things I took out of my courses, right? Here are all the things that I just assume I don't know how to do anymore. And that like hits both like work ethic and expertise, right. Yeah. And I don't want people to think I'm a slacker. Right. So even now, I'm like, Yeah, and you know, what, if I can handle this, I'll add some more stuff. Until my breaking point, right. Like, like, maybe the the Campbell is not the straw. That was the problem. It was like everything under the straw that broke the camel's back, right? Yes. It was too much the whole time. And maybe they gambled, does not want to carry that much, right. Yeah. Like,
we don't want to get to the point where there were just a straw is gonna break everything. That's right. Like it is, it is possible to like, again, it's those notches between 11 and zero. And you know, you're talking about trying to live life at an eight. But then the temptation is, well, maybe nine and maybe nine could probably maybe be maybe that'd be and, and it's almost also like the it's almost exponential. You know what I mean? Like logarithmic scale. Yeah, exactly. Where it's just like, the difference between eight and nine isn't one. It's,
it's like decibels, right? It's a factor. Yeah, every number that goes up is by a factor of multiplier. Yeah. Which is like, because we're so good at time. And interoception and proprioception, ADHD people are absolutely the right people to say, I think I can handle more than this. I'll let you know when it's too much. Because we Yeah,
yeah. Well, you will, it just will be in a very unhealthy way. Right. Like when I'm on the floor,
waving the white flag, correct. Yeah. And crying
and yeah, yeah. And just, you know, having to take seven week burnout leave. Yeah, that's right. Like, yeah, and then being like, No, I don't think it was too much. I just think I could, if I could just
do it better. It wouldn't have been too
much. It wouldn't have been too much. Yeah. That's like, you know, go ahead. No, I was just saying, like, this is, you know, I think I went through something really similar. Just out of, again, out of necessity about what was going on with my family. But like, you know, last year, you know, I did the bare minimum. Yeah. Right. Like I did the and it was enough. Yeah. Right. As like, I did it as it turns out, that was enough. You know, and I'm, it's funny, because I'm starting I'm like, I must be feeling better because I'm starting to be bored and need a new project side project to work on. I must be I must be doing better because all of a sudden, my brains like side project.
Like when my brain is happy, it wants side projects. Yeah, it
wants side projects. It's like yours, it gets bored. Great. And, and, you know, I just I, again, I was lucky that I had a job that allowed a kind of flexibility, but I never felt like I had let anyone down on the job. You know what I mean? Like I I didn't go into the office, but all the work got done.
That's right, you know?
like, I can be a good colleague or I can look like I'm being a good colleague.
Yeah. Pick one. Yeah, exactly. Right. And everybody was really understanding about that. And there was an unpredictability to everything that was going on that made it also really difficult and awkward if I was in the office, and shared office space on top of it. So that's also Yeah. So. But yeah, so it was it's kind of like I, you know, I did all the things that I needed to do. Everything got done the events, I was in charge of got organized, and they they got done. And, you know, it was kind of like, Huh, okay. Like, this is, so I don't have to do all the things. Yeah. Strange. I don't have to go at 11 I don't have to go to 11. And it's, you know, it still felt like I was going to 11 because all the other stuff, but, but like to be able to say I don't have to go out 11 At work, or even in other things like work or even some things at home are some things that, you know, it's okay to let go of some of the stuff it's okay to, to not overdo it to like stress about it in a way that is unproductive. But feels and I think that that's I think that there's something about I don't know if this is again, the kind of Western productivity thing, but there's something about feeling stressed out that feels productive. Oh, yeah. Does that. Does that make sense?
True. Well, yeah, it does. Because I mean, lots of writers are writing about this right now about hustle culture. Yeah, the cult of busyness. Like they call it right, where we you see somebody on the street, like, Hey, how are you going on? Oh, my God, I'm great. I mean, I am just so slammed at work right now. And like this vacation I'm planning on also like my wedding that I'm doing it like, kind of I'm so busy. I can't even believe it. It's kind of a humble brag, right? Like that is socially acceptable. When like, really, we should reach out to somebody and say, like, are you okay? Yeah. Do you need me to help you with? Do you need me to take any of that off your plate? And people was like, Oh, my God, like, we're just saying, we should get together sometime. And then you never do because like, oh my god, I'm so busy. I can't even believe it. Right? That is a flex in this culture. And I think it's,
it's not even that. But I mean, it's not even about saying that you have all of these things to do. Yeah, but just and I don't
feel it. It's internalized like we say it because you truly believe like, I want this person to think well of me. Right? And these are great things that I'm doing. I am so busy that I haven't had a haircut for six months, right? It's like, oh my god, I'm so productive. Like, look at me. My hair looks like hell, because that's how important I am. And you feel it right. There's something about that. That feeling
like I don't cut my hair for six months, because I just don't well, I know. But that was a no, I know. I did. I did cut my hair though. Like this is listeners can't see this. I had hair side sidetrack. I had hair all the way down. It was actually past the small of my back. Oh, my God, Lee, it was so long. And now it is a little past my shoulders. It is I chopped it.
So like what you're describing, of like, being addicted to that sort of feeling of stress is a little bit what my students were having about their exam, right? What they were worried about? Yes, exactly, was that they weren't worried enough. And they didn't think that they could do because what they they wanted to do well, right. But they didn't think that they were going to do well, because every condition of doing well for them had been preceded by massive anxiety, overwork and binge studying, right? So they're like, How can I feel good every day about this course? How can I go to course go to class, and it's like, not stressful, and I don't feel stupid. And nobody yells at me and I don't feel like I'm going to fail all the time. Like, I'm for sure. gonna fail. Right? So they take this, like, we're sort of conditioned to be like, it's sort of like Navy SEALs, like audition training, right? It's like you have to almost be dead. And that's how you know, like, you're doing well at it. Right? It's not operating, smiling. So my, my students are addicted to that. That sense, are they they made a Pavlovian Association. Yeah, exactly. Well, and success only comes when you feel like shit from stress and overwork. And that that feels good to feel like shit in that way. Because, you know, a success is coming.
And and I've seen I've seen that word. I have not appeared worried or stressed enough about things. Yeah. Where it's like, are you you know, and part of it was just like, I don't have any more worry. Yeah. Like all my worry is taken off by three more important things, no offense and everyone but like my way more important things. So like, I've taken care of it. And I know I've taken care of it because I'm taking care of it. And I did all the things on the list. Yeah, right. And so So what it what is it? What does it do any good for me now to worry about all of the things like it was it's all of this has been really great for my catastrophizing because like I just have zero energy for
three years. Yeah,
yeah. Yeah, but I just don't have any energy for it. Right? Like my brain is just like the worst has happened.
I'm out. Right? You don't need me anymore.
Yeah, you don't need me anymore. Like the worst has happened. Here you go. Like,
but how to get that experience of what life is like when you're not catastrophize? Yeah, no, exactly. Like, I'm
just like, you're like,
oh, I don't want to go back to the
No. And, and but but there is a performative LIS that is expected. Where you know, that, to look stressed out about something is to convey, again, the the importance of it, right? Like I'm stressed about this, because it's important. And it can be important, but also not stressful. Like, it doesn't have to the two things don't have to go together again, like your students, right, you get a you get addicted to it, and you have this expectation of it.
Yeah. And I think there's a flip side to it as well, I guess a second element to this. And that is that we mistake being stressed out with caring, right, so that if you are doing a job with other people, and you're not stressed out about it, it may look to other players as if you don't care. Yes, it is possible to care about a task without being massively stressed out about it. But since everybody is stressed out about everything all the time, because they're sort of overburdened with tasks, and under resourced in whatever way you can imagine is that caring has just like for my students, that learning something has come to be associated with like waves of nausea and anxiety about failure, right? So it's such that they cannot separate the experience of learning from that experience of like, duress. They don't know it's possible to have one without the other. In many cases, we don't think it's possible for ourselves and others that they can care about something that's important to us, or we can submit support to us if we're not stressed about it. Yeah, right. That's let's just say that's fucked up. Yeah, right. Yep. Yeah. When you when you think about it, right. Things that we care about, do not benefit from our bodies being flooded with cortisol and adrenaline and us losing sleep like in general, people who are stressed produce worse results, unless the result you're looking for is jumping out of a six foot sump pump hole at the cottage, right? Yeah, you can't live like that. Like that's a chased by a bear scenario. That's not like, I'm not working hard enough that my teaching because my grading load is is doable, and I still get to play piano, right? To think that I don't care enough because I'm not massively overworked about this, right? And I come back to thinking about what Bell Hooks writes in Teaching to Transgress about a student centered pedagogy a critical pedagogy, like a progressive pedagogy is not that if it does not support well being both for students and the teacher, right. So wellbeing, right? Yeah. For everyone is what progressive pedagogy is it's not stress and overwork and competitive trials and arduous SNESs. Right. And, and I think this is especially difficult for ADHD people to wrap our heads around, because often before we are diagnosed or treated, we know that generally we only get stuff done when we're panicking, right?
Because that's yes, we need the adrenaline. That's the body's
that is the amphetamines, right, like, it's like your Vyvanse or your panic, pick one, you will get stuff done either way. And so we do have a sort of physiological association of panic and getting stuff done. Such that we have the results, we only get results when we are panicking. The results are usually better when we're panicking than when we're not and but that's a pathology, right? That's like a problem with the disorder of ADHD. And that's like something a lot of us do a lot of therapy after diagnosis to get through which is I don't have to binge this, I don't have to panic this, I don't have to shove everything to the last minute because that's when I quote unquote, work the best, right? But culturally, everybody's being pushed in that direction too. So I suggest you it is possible to care about a task and not be visibly stressed about it. Right? It is possible to do a good job and then to walk away right and do something else. We don't have to be all or nothing about, about these things. And I think about my poor students who are so stressed out about being afraid they're going to fail something because they're not sufficiently miserable when they're trying to learn it. And I'm like, that's not how learning works. And
that's fucked up. Like that's let's just be like, fucked up.
up. Yeah, but it's normal. Like that's a normal case. Oh, yeah. And, and we, we often say like people will, at, at work and in all kinds of workplaces try to look busy, even when they're not busy, because if they look like they have things under control, they're like, somebody's just gonna give me more work. If I don't look like I'm about to quit, because there's too much for me to do. Somebody will give me more tasks, or I will get downsized. Yeah, right. So this, this idea of like, stress equals performance. And work that's done with a peaceful mind is you're not working hard enough, is capitalism. And it's scarcity, culture, and hustle culture. And it's all of these things such that we've built these really harmful associations of important things that we want to do like learn stuff or accomplish tasks or be there for our friends or follow through on tasks. And we, those are all good things, and we should want to do them. But we're like, I don't think I'm doing it right. Unless my hair's falling out in clumps, and I'm grinding my teeth, and I can't sleep, right. That's how I know I really care about doing a job and that is fucked up. And also, it's counterproductive, right? So one of the things I'm getting, getting my students to do, like so the reasons they were coming to meet me was about their participation portfolios, because I was trying to inculcate in them some deep learning and deep learning things like come to class, great. Read the textbook. Great. Those are both active, right? So reading a textbook, you're taking in new information, and you're making notes. Great. You come to class, I asked you a bunch of like, jackass questions about what's the difference between broadcast and cable, and everybody looks at me blankly, and then I make them google it. And then we write stuff on the board. We do that it's pretty busy. We're like, working together. And then but like, the next stage of learning is, is tranquility. Right? It's the classic shower thoughts. That's what you need. Right? Like, yeah, like, back in the day. This like Charles Darwin's famous thing, most, like very accomplished writers, scientists and stuff. They have a lot of blank space, where they're just like walking around in their lives. And the ideas are cogitating, right. And my students are taking like five courses, that's like 15 hours of instruction, time, and whatever writing they're doing, and they're commuting. And they're like working jobs. And it's like what you need, you're never gonna learn this material unless you take a minute, like, say on Friday, we have class on Tuesday, Thursday on Friday and take 10 minutes in this journal, I'm giving you prompts and be like, what did I learn this week? Yeah. What is something I'm stuck on? What is something about my own study habits that I think were great this week? Or like, you know, if I was writing an exam question, what would I write? Because that's like, you're just letting your brain kind of have a empty space, where you're allowed to just sort of have free flow, thoughts about things and like, it turns out parallel bills, I'm just noticing now, that's what I've done with my semester, right? I've built in these blank spaces. Yeah, what I've learning from having conversations with students or going to class, I'm a letting it consolidate in my head, right? By giving it enough space so that learning can happen, because you can't just stack up. It's like we're all collecting acorns. And then we don't know where we put them. Right? Like they don't, it doesn't, if you don't take a system to organize it, or they cook them or like shelve them or do something with them, then you just collected a bunch of stuff that's of no use to you. And sooner or later, you're gonna forget where you put it, and you might as well never have done it. Right. But you looked really busy the whole time. So you must be doing a good job. And, and so yeah, I'm trying to get them to, to know you can't schedule every minute of the day, right? Things are productive, even when you're not doing anything. Sometimes you just need to be talking with your dog. And you're like, Man, I don't even get how this like cable thing is different. It's like satellite and cable the same thing. I was like, whoa, whoa, wait, hold on, I get it. Right. Like, you just need to leave some space for that thinking to happen. And I think as we come out of the pandemic, and you and I have our family crises, like we need some time and space to just let shit land. Yeah, right. We've been experiencing everything at incredibly high speed and high intensity and a system of crisis, where in both of our jobs, we've been constantly asked by our superiors to extend flexibility and compassion for the people who are going through it, right. But we are also the people who are going through it. Yep. And we need that blank space. Like I have an hour and a half between my two classes. So teach one to 230 and then four to 530. And what I've been doing in that period between class number one and class number two is I push my two office chairs together, and I lie down and I put a blanket on and I do the Sudoku in the New York Times. And they are frantically prepping because I know I actually it's very energy intensive for me to teach. And if I'm going to teach three hours in one day, I can't shove a bunch of work in between the two classes I'm just going to burn out. So I'm like I'm counting that as like part of my work day because yeah, to do that performance a second time, right, different material, different students I need to calm down, I need to refill my bucket so that I could make a cup of joke when I get there instead of just being like, did I say this already without my other class?
Well, I actually wrote about this exact thing. So, um, so I edit a National Teaching and Learning Forum. It's a newsletter. It's so I have a I have a as the editor, I get an editor's column I call it neurodivergent thoughts. Love it. Very clever. V. And so this
would check GPT color though you should have maybe as chat GPT what that's called I don't know. All right, got a snort lab for that and
that's a whole other thing. We had a whole sorry yesterday that I had that I had dead like screaming a moment's notice. Yeah, in a room that's not set up for streaming. And then it was like, why is the picture bad? It's because we have a webcam on a tripod like that's like supposed to be why do we have that because like this is this is how this room is set up like I can anyway. But so I wrote about cycles because you know what? There's the joke about the February's Yes. Right. You know, everybody's got bad cases of the February's. And I know we talked about it. And of course, then I couldn't find the episode because I don't get an episode descriptions, where we talked about how like you had your like, you had your fall routine, but you didn't have a summer routine to transition into that, and how we go through the cycles. And the academic year is like that, too. Right? Where we have these different ebbs and flows that we know about, usually with our students, right, we know, you know that most of us are just clinging, you know, most of the time, we're all clinging for dear life waiting for spring break or reading week, as we call it in Canada, because it's not spring
yet. Absolutely not spring, not spring, when the spring break comes. Not every team does not spring No
Oh, not spring at all. So So So I prayed about this, but then I that I also said thinking about that podcast episode that I was gonna refer to, but then couldn't find it. It was spring fever. Well, it was spring fever. Is that what it was? Okay, thank you. I'm glad you all, it's already gone to publish. So maybe it's like going through them on them. Like, I know, it was a spring episode. And I'm like reading the descriptions going, that doesn't help me. So what I talked about, and it's a lot of what you're doing right now to with your days, but it's like, when we build our courses. You know, we have to take into considerations these differences in the cycle, right? You can't, you know, and it's not just well, like here in the States, it's not just, I have to accommodate American Thanksgiving in the fall and spring break in the spring or winter semester, it's like, you have to you kind of have to know, because spring break comes at a different point in the semester, then, you know, Thanksgiving does, but a lot of cases we don't we just are like, here we go, here's 15 weeks, let's plop it on the next 15 days out without thinking about well, you know, no one shows up the week of Thanksgiving. Right? But you know, and understanding where the students are where, you know, six weeks into the fall semester, the students are in a much different mindset than six weeks into the winter, or spring semester. Right? Because it's still dark, it's still cold, it's still, you know, they're coming back from the holidays are not as excited, like, there's all this, this stuff. But then I also talk about, like, I know things about myself that in my own cycles, right, the times that I'm struggling during during the academic year. And so not only and it goes back to that Bell Hooks quote, that's why I was yeah, you know, we're being we need to design the courses, not just for what we understand our students cycles are going to be but for our own cycles. That's right. Right. And, you know, understanding that, like back in the day, you know, I had to deal with the tyranny of the nutcracker. Right? Yes, that's right. So so, you know, December is what had to look a lot different for me, or else I was not going to be able to handle everything between Nutcracker and finals and essays and all of that. So but you know, I had to think about how I scheduled my course at that point. To be like, I can't keep having December's like this.
Yeah, that's right. And this is like, especially difficult, I think for neurodivergent people with our concept of time being now and not know, yeah, yeah, right. I don't know what I'm making for supper tonight. You're asking me to guess what the constraints of my energy are going to be in week seven of a semester that hasn't started yet. What? I can't but
if we really, if I free listen to this podcast. For example, I know that you know, every and even my blog, I mean, that's or, you know, go through my tweets.
Right now, here's even journaling by act.
I've been journaling by accident, but it's like, well in time, hops are really good for that. Right? It's incredible for me on time hop going through Bing, like, shit, like, I almost, there was the funniest thing. It's like I watch Almost Famous, almost exactly the same time every year, every year, and I don't even think about it. I am like, Hey, I think I'm gonna watch the Muppet Movie. Almost the same time every year. So I was like, what it is,
status updates are evergreen for you. You're all pops up. You're like, God, I was so weird. In 2013. You're like, God, I could have written that today. Yeah, shit. Is this my February vibe? Like, yeah, this is what I post.
Yeah. And I mean, again, that's hard. And maybe we've inadvertently, like, like you said, inadvertently ended up journaling all of this where suddenly I can, you know, yes, it's in. Yes. Privacy. Yes. All that. But but there's a there's a possibility of a level of self awareness. Yeah, that might not have insight. Yeah. insight that I might not have been able to achieve otherwise, you know, and even then, it took some time where it's like, oh, you know, I've, I have time hops from five years ago, four or five years ago, right. So like, we're Yeah, I'm hopping on itself at this point. You know, it's its inception.
The grandfather paradox, except with status updates.
Yeah. But, but again, like, you're just sort of like, okay, or even like kids, right? Like, oh, my gosh, every year, around this time. They're, you know, they all of a sudden lose their damn minds. Yeah. And then so it's like, okay, well, thinking about, Okay, well, what is going? What is usually going on around this time? That could and I'm not talking about, like, this time right now. But yeah, you know, generally, where you could be like, Okay, well, you know, what is it about this time, that happens every year, that could possibly be triggering these reactions. And again, you're right, it is really hard for somebody with ADHD and neurodivergent. But like this, this inadvertent, tweeting every single moment of my life and updating my facebook status, you know, has has
oversharing for the wind league oversharing for the wind. So I think that's really great. Because despite ourselves, then we're producing a written record that is cyclical, that you could reread and see your own patterns. Right. And that is, that is like what psychologists called Insight, you do have insight into your own behavior. It's not just I do. And then in retrospect, I'm like, oh, that I shouldn't have done that, right. But you do it over and over again, like, Oh, I think I know what's happening here, before it happens. And that's like, tremendously powerful. And I think that should be accessible to all of us, right? So jot down, we don't have to remember, it's like, so we don't have to have prospective memory. We don't have to remember that it's going to happen. We start writing things down and think about what has happened, we can see a pattern, and then we don't have to really think about it, we can be like, Well, it seems to be right. From my prior experiences that this happens all the time at this at this time. Like I know, I have the week eight fall apart. So I plan for that. And right. I talked about that all the time. And, and yeah, so things like that, where you're you're seeing these patterns in your own like he was almost famous at the same thing. Like why do I do that or like, December always goes wrong. It's because you failed to mess your work calendar and your personal life calendar and thought that one was not very busy, but the other one is overloaded, which means everything falls away, like okay, like, like my husband says, when he was a kid, he used to have to learn things the hard way, and then learn it again. And I think that's a very ADHD mode. So like, how many semesters do we have to crash on exactly the same rocks before? Like, maybe it's not just a matter of closing my eyes crossing my fingers and saying this year, it will be different. Maybe, maybe this year
is the definition of insanity again, right, right. Right. Let's do
the same things over and over again, and hope for different results. We're like, Yeah, but things are different. Like I have a different haircut this year. So surely to God, right. Everything old is new again. And, and I think that's a really powerful way to learn to make space for ourselves. And in fact that that process I have for my students of just sitting down and thinking about how your week went, Yeah, can be a way where you can begin to see your patterns. I mean, I'm still bedeviled by patterns. I don't, I don't see this happens to me all the time. Like my husband is like, synced up. I'm just it's crying to him. I don't know why I'm crying. And he's like, like, an eerie, tired, like, No, I don't think so. While I have insomnia, so yeah, I'm pretty tired. But I don't think that's why I'm crying. And I got really upset some people today. And he's like, how are your boobs? And I was like, fuck off. And he was like, No, are they sore? And I was like, No, I don't think so. Why? Like, how's your back? I'm like, I don't know. He's like, are you gonna get your period? I'm like, No, that was just two weeks ago. And then whammo the next day got my period. So we recognize, right, yeah, it was like, no, because my watch tells me that's not what's happening. Right, but he's like, all the signs. Yeah. Or they're, like crying o'clock about nothing and you're very like snuggly and angry and all that. And the next day I was like, oh god damn. Yeah, exactly. I should. I should know this not him, but he does every time. Oh, yeah, the magician about that because it's easier to observe somebody else's patterns and to see your own right. Yeah. Right. So the pattern that I am interrupting this semester is trying to do too much. And being impatient with things. Sometimes I lean into my own impatience, as you know, I'm very impatient. And I get bored by things easily. But I think sometimes that boredom and impatience does not require me to, to do more, I am impatient because I am not getting done the number of things that I should be getting done, I think maybe it's not go faster. Maybe it's, I have an inflated idea of how many things that I should be getting done. And, you know, if I get all the things done, great, but I never do. So if I reduce the number of things I'm expecting from myself, I will become less impatient with others for impeding me. And then I'm all my frustration is gone. Anyways, right? So I always thought for a long time that the solution was just get better at doing more things faster. And like maybe someday all these people will catch up with the speed that you want to operate at. But it turns out like it was my speed, that was ridiculous. And my expectations that were too high. And I was like, Oh, so now I can sit in my office for eight and a half hours chain smoking student conversations, be really tired. And the next day didn't get out of bed till 10. Right. I was like, Look, that was a really full day. Yesterday, I'm gonna like, read the Internet. And like, a side quest book for grad course I want to teach in a couple of years. Like that's going to be my easy morning today because like, it's alright, I don't have so many other things to do that I will not allow myself this chance to, to, like sort of incorporate all the things I've learned from my students by like sitting in bed with my, like, daylight lamp on my face and the cat on my lap, like doing the Sudoku, scroll on my phone and thinking my thoughts, right, but I needed that it made me a more patient and kind teacher, right? And researcher and department member and all of those things. And it's, it's really hard to slow that down. Especially now we're all coming back in a race like we must do things 10 times faster to make up for all the time we lost. And I think probably a lot of us are kind of struggling with that. But God bless Leah, you and I are struggling less than some. I know. We've been doing the
work. Yep. She includes this podcast, right like she
concludes this podcast. I have missed you. I missed you too. Missed our listeners who at least one of them has emailed to say you guys okay. Yeah.
My, my response to them when they? I said define
okay. Oh, no, that's not great. Well,
no, but that was at the height of like, everything that was happening to you with, like with identity theft and everything. So it was like, Sure. Okay. Okay. What is okay, LOL sob. Yeah. But we're good. You are here. Today we are good. But speaking of overscheduling, I have to go pick up my daughter because she still does not know how to drive. And I am like, so excited for when she does because Yeah. Next Next year, she wants to try to take classes at three different institutions for high school.
You know, like cleat sentence. Just putting that out there. No, is it Well,
so is then you better get you to him driver's license.
That's true. That's true. Quite right.
There are more words, but it's also
it's also a complete sentence. Yeah, that's right. I've never been one for brevity. So I respect that. Yeah. So. So welcome back to us. Yeah, come back to everybody. We, we hope to be
back. Next week.
Next week. Yeah, we'll see. You know,
yeah. Well, we've we've stopped making promises like let's be honest here. Like, we love you. And it's not because we don't want you here is totally us. And it's not even us, right. It's not us. It is. It is the gods pointing their finger at us and laughing That's
right. I'm pointing their broken finger at
Yeah. Sorry. All right. It's It's all right. You can always email us at all the things firstname.lastname@example.org I'm ready writing across various socials since people are leaving Twitter. So you can find me on Instagram and Mastodon I guess I'm like ready writing? Social Salonen.
I'm still on Twitter.
I'm on Twitter, too. Yeah.
We're lying to ourselves. So we're quitting Twitter. Oh, hey. Happy anniversary to me. It's my 13th anniversary on Twitter today. Oh, wow. No, mixed mixed blessing. I don't really Yeah, celebrating, right. Yeah,
I know. It's it's weird, right? Like anyways, all right. That's a whole other episode isn't a whole solo episode and my daughter is gonna get mad at me if I don't show up soon. Yeah. So um, take care of everyone and give yourself Some space they give you some give some some space