S4 E1 - 10:6:21, 2.59 PM
7:40PM Oct 6, 2021
Lee Skallerup Bessette
All right. Hi everyone, and welcome back to yet another season of all the things ADHD. Oh, hey. Nice. I am one of your co hosts Lee Skallerup Bessette, aka ready writing on Twitter.
And I am your other co host sassy sidebar. Oh no, wait, that's not my actual name. My actual name is Amy Morrison. And I'm did you work on Twitter?
You are Did you on Twitter? Can I just say that I'm recording podcast episodes for a book that is coming out with a bunch of contributors that I have. And so I thought of doing episodes. And the hardest part is the intro and outro and getting it started. And I'm just like, I'm just gonna have to record these on the slide because I do not have the same chemistry with you, as I do with my other co host Amy, well just know how to do this. Now.
There we go. The game ends and endings Lee are the hardest part. Yes, they
are the hardest part. But Whoo. Is it ever bad on these? on these ones, I have to do a little more editing than I typically do with these ones.
Because I will take that as a compliment and a testament to our great vibe.
Yes, we also have 107 episodes, or almost 100 episodes under our band. So that recorded across three entire recording sessions. Yeah. And five years,
three recording sessions over five years.
So we finally are back. It is once again ADHD Awareness Month. There's some great symmetries since we recorded our first episodes during one ADHD Awareness Month. And then I really managed to release them a year later this month. So our timeline is slowly compressing and being more like a reasonable person's timeline for these lucky lead
that were just so far ahead of our time. Right, so that we could record episodes like and release them literally a year later. Yes. Still timely. Yep. That's I like to tell myself.
But so we find ourselves again, we decided to start recording podcasts. And then the world got weird. And so the world is once again weird. In a new and exciting way. And so we are this is October 2021. Right? Is this October? Yes.
What do you think? So?
I think so too, right?
Can I tell you, Lee, my best joke I ever made up that nobody got the subject, which then produced a meta joke. So I was saying this during the Olympics, right? The Tokyo 20 Olympics, which as you know, we're held in Tokyo, right, which is in Japan, which is a 12 hour time difference from where I live, and you live. And so I would say we would get these like news things in the morning on your Apple news. And it would be like on Friday in Japan, this happened and it was like, but it's just Fridays just starting what it's like it's only Thursday here. What are you talking about? And I was like, Oh my god, this is like such a COVID the Olympics because it is happening simultaneously. Last year, and tomorrow. People would say what? I would say Tokyo 2020. And they would go Yeah, and I would say it's not 2020 anymore, and then they'll go oh my oh god. You're right. It was like, I'm sorry. That was a joke about how it's called Tokyo 2020 and we all know that it's not 2020 but like maybe we don't and so my joke like became a meta joke. Yeah, but the people who got it laughed a lot and the people who didn't get it I had to have it explained to them like look existentially lost after that. That's it hoping somebody is laughing on them right now
or said and everyone else is existentially lost being like I time has no meaning wire Yeah,
it was kind of like the Jeremy behrami of jokes Yes Right. Yeah.
So and and the Jeremy bear me if you did, this is a good that's a good place reference for those who don't, I took me a second there as like, I know that anyways. So we are recording six weeks to a month into life, attempting to get quote unquote, back to normal. ie, our kids are both back in school full time. ie University has universities have reopened and our at least our campuses have started back up in person as normal, quote unquote. And we are starting to go back to the office again, or being required to go back to the office again. And so the the routine that we the routines that we had so meticulous lessly and haphazardly established during during the height of the pandemic, I mean they were haphazard until they weren't right they were haphazard until they became okay now I know what's working but at least you know what those first two weeks it was sort of two months it was sort of haphazard it
was an emergency and then it was a temporary revision and that it was the new normal It wasn't
until it wasn't because now we're in the new new normal that's right of delta variant of but so it's it's been really hard for me now because and I know we'll both talk about how it's been challenging but one of the things that I found the kids again the kids went back to school five days a week in my house that happened mid August, mid to late August and then also swim teams started up again as normal right? No more limits on lanes no more requirements for social distancing and all of that. And then ballet started up again where everything was once again in person and not partially in person partially virtual, it was just and then we were also started new hybrid. For me in any case, we are institution is starting a for staff for non non academic, professional and otherwise staff, we were allowed to apply for a hybrid designation, which meant that we were only on campus part of the time. And our office we all got approved for whatever hybrid designation we wanted. We also were able to apply for remote if we wanted to, or if it was appropriate reasons but I was beginning to be required to be in my office I shared with two other people twice a week. And so all of that and I started teaching again in person but also not and so all of that happened within a kind of three week span just after we had finally settled in and moved and gotten everything settled up so it was like I had like maybe a week or two to breathe, right and then it was just like everything started back up again
once your tears had dried right Yeah, because the last episode we recorded I was like cranky and holed up in a hotel room having Yeah, misconstrued both of us which day we were actually going to be recording and I was like crying from frustration about all my driving and you were crying from frustration about all of your moving and they were like okay, under the season, let's come back. So when I hear and you're kind of like catching up with everybody, but what's gone on is a couple of things like first is everybody has to leave the house again a lot more like frequently so it's not just like oh shit, it's one minute to the hour I better get on my zoom thing like we actually have to go places which involves driving and like bringing snacks and making sure you have the bag like so there's a lot of like bah bah bah planning that goes on with leaving the house to go places and what I also hear is that there is a substantial ramping up in the number of obligations like pleasant or otherwise that your family is involved in right so it's not just like once a week for you know virtual ballet whatever that would look like right but it's like like all the sessions are back and then all the sessions are swimming and like all of this and all that and all the activities are back and then the third thing I'm hearing about is the new normal in the workplace which might be which I think is like a topic if we don't get to it today that might be something we would want to talk about because I think we're sort of at a pivot point in workplaces right now where the employer and the employee groups are like sort of in a staredown with one another and the employer is a little bit like you want to work from home or taking away your private deaths and then they employees like I would like to maintain access to a place to hang my coat about work but I don't want to be there every day and I think there's really a lot to discuss there but why don't we start maybe today with with the sort of mundane business of but here's where I fall partly I have to pack a bag to go places now.
yeah I don't remember like I called Tommy that I was so proud I got to the opposite I'm like and I got my coffee at Starbucks and I brought my special to go cup so I could put it in the to go cup that seals all the ways I could put it in my backpack which I rode my bike to work and I got all the way here and I had my snacks packed and I brought my textbook oh shit i have no reading glasses like now I can't read anything today I guess I'm just guessing what all of my books say but like I find myself just standing with this open backpack when like what what do I put Do I need to recite Do I have Kleenex? Where's my tech like, and I find I like just I lost that skill which was a very tenuous in me to begin with, which is like take the 15 minutes that's required to make sure that everything that needs to go to the office with you In the bag that's going to the office with you and that you know what time you have to be there. And that the transportation modality is appropriate to the weather so like to walk or ride my bike, and then that's going to change what outfit I'm wearing because like appropriateness of the weather, and the conditions and stuff and then how heavy my bag is. And then Am I going to get there and like realize I forgot my keys because like, there's some things like, if you get to work without any of like, just any one of the things that you were meant to bring, like your day is messed up. Yeah, like, Lord, if I forget my computer, I can't teach, right? Like if I forget my reading glasses, I can't read anything. If I forget my lunch, like nothing barely is open on campus to eat. From I'm like, I guess I'm hungry today, right? So I have it's just not good either. No, I found that really distressing. And we've had to drive into karate and stuff. And I find I am actually resentful of having to get in the car at 8pm and drive somebody somewhere. When like, last year, Elon was taking karate over zoom. So they would go in the basement and make a lot of noise, but nobody had to drive anywhere. So like, how are you managing the cognitive demands on your executive function of all of this buisiness now
I mean, depends on the day. So my thing is that because we are adapting and this kind of goes to the workplace thing as well. But we're adapting to this and trying to figure this out. And figuring out, you know, can a can we afford, so that everybody has to have everything, right, right. So like, right now I have my laptop which is fine to bring back and forth, right, that's sort of like okay, I can put the laptop in my bag, I understand that. Although I have forgotten it in the past I have not done that with COVID but I also have an external keyboard and an external mouse because I have this all set up that like there's the laptop here and then a second monitor and it's just unmounted and all that. So I do the same thing in the mornings, which is okay so I have to put my laptop in my bag is right at my desk, which I will sometimes forget that too. Right so I have I have the bag and in the bag when it comes from the basement and works its way up towards the door is the laptop has to go in but the external keyboard has to go in as well right because I don't have a second external keyboard I have a second mouse there, but I don't yet have an external keyboard. I also need to remember my AirPods because I don't have a second set of headsets a second headset at work and I share an office and so therefore need the headset so you know I've done it that I have forgotten the again this I have to apply don't have to but I tried to turn off the keyboard just to like not waste the charge. So I'll get as far as turning off the keyboard but it doesn't make it from being turned off into the bag. Right and then and then I take the bag upstairs the other day. Yesterday when I went to the office very proud of myself I the keyboard I the AirPods I the computer. I had it all stacked up. I walked up the stairs and I didn't I'd forgotten the bag. I didn't put it in
sure forgot 100%
Yeah, and then
go ahead and then there's and then there's like you said the lunch so what am I bringing for lunch? Am I did I remember my water bottle or not right. But then now I have a backup water bottle that works so I don't have to worry about bringing the water bottle back and forth. And and I found a pair of wired headphones but headphones nonetheless. So I don't have to worry about the air pods coming in with me to work. And then and then it's the it's the card to make sure I can get into my building. It is the keys to make sure I could get into my office. The parking pass now lives in the car. I've actually just started leaving things in the car. It's like do I need this in the house or is the only time I'm actually using this is when I'm going anywhere. It's just going to stay in the car locked away. Because it just got to be too much that I had too much stuff that I get like sunglasses, they live in the car because it's really the only time I use them as when I'm driving. Right? Wait.
Yeah, my husband does that too. I like I think this is very wise. I think you're identifying several strategies here. The first strategy is doubles. Right? So the punchline, you're gonna love this the punchline to my story where I had to call Tom and say, Oh my god, I like brought everything except my reading glasses. He said, didn't you bring an extra pair of emergency reading glasses and put them in your desk last week. And I had Oh yay, forgot,
but I forgot.
Because this like people don't know how substantially disabling the ADHD actually is right? And the more things that I have to remember and the more stressed I get about remembering the more easily I forget the fail safes that I have already put in place to protect myself from myself, right? Yeah, so doubles doubles is a great idea. I mean, you're right to flag that. So Sometimes it's a question of material resources right the material resources of the second textbook right or like the material resource of having the money to get the second textbook or the resource of having the spoons to make noise with your employer to have you know an institutional purchasing of these second things right so an external keyboard or some emergency headphones or some extra reading glasses in my case so these are ways that they were like I'm probably never going to remember right or if I do manage to remember it, it's actually so taxing first thing in the morning that I've used up half of my executive function for the day like I like to there's this image I have in my mind of like, I don't know if you've ever seen like the sort of behind the scenes photos of like somebody like, like Jennifer Aniston going to the Oscars, you know, she always wears these like, sort of very slinky, the like dresses that wrinkle really, really easily. Yeah, what they do is like they don't get dressed until the very last moment, and then when they're in the car, they're like sort of lying down so that they don't get the crease across the hips right so that when they walk out of the car, even if they've already been wearing the dress for 45 minutes, it looks like they just put it on like that's how I like to get to work with my brain dress not wrinkled, right. So that means I have to not use it I have to not be eating canopies in my you know, satin Calvin Klein sheath dress before I absolutely have to right so so part of the way to manage that is to just have doubles so that there are fewer things that you have to remember to bring with you when you leave the house or like things live in the place that you need them. So like, at home now I have like I bought if you need reading glasses, and you have ADHD, buy them from Amazon because you can buy them in packs of five for 18 Canadian dollars, which is about 45 cents American and then you can just leave one pair wherever it happens to be that you need. I have a paradox the piano and then like my piano, you can see it in my zoom right now my piano is about like six feet away from me, I have another pair on my desk, like and then another pair in my bedroom and then a pair down in the kitchen. So that I never have to remember to bring them anywhere. So that's like one way to do it, if you can afford it. But like part of the the difficulty also that having to pack that stuff all the time brings as a different sort of access issue. So I like to walk to work, it's part of my mental health care strategy, part of my wellness at work strategy. And I will tell you, because I have glass joints, that like my bag needs to not be very heavy, yet. So if I have to bring my computer and my textbook, and a lunch and a pair of indoor shoes, and an external keyboard, and some headphones and some chargers now I'm going to drive, right because it's too heavy for me to carry all of that so in this like emerging future of hot desking like at my sister's workplace they're saying like everyone's gonna have like, there'll be open desks you can sit up, but for sanitary reasons, you're going to bring your keyboard and I said to my sister, like, really like they're expecting everybody at your workplace to schlump around a keyboard with with them all the time like, like if you have mobility issues, or, you know, muscle issues or joint issues like me, or if you prefer modes of active transportation. Like you probably don't want to be like carrying your office chair on public transit with you every day. No, back and forth, right? Yep. So sometimes as as the infrastructure for stable workplace, working environments at the office begins to erode into like hot desking. And sometimes you hear sometimes you're there carry all your stuff around with you. We're all going to wind up with these like, you know, Rei giant backpacks, like we're doing a trip to Europe when we're 18. Right? They said we don't have 18 year old backs. And it's hard to ride a bike like that. Or like if everybody's starting to drive we have an even further parking crunch and, and access issues, right? So I'm very wary about about this, this presumption that we are nomadic and can carry all of these things around with us. So like beyond the fact that you and I Li and most of our listeners are never going to remember to bring the things that we need without substantial effort. Like there are other barriers to access that, that that kind of mindset produces. Yeah, yeah. So like, I worry about that, too. So what I'm trying to do now, which is I've done this with my kid, too, because like they have issues remembering to bring everything and I was like, we have to build muscle memory, right? Because like you know, I'm playing a lot of piano lately and mostly like if you're going to play the songs at the speed they need to be played, you can't be thinking about the next part you have to play you have to play it slow so many times that your body automatically moves your hand to where it needs to go. Right and so I'm trying to build muscle memory around packing my bag for work, which means when I come home, even though all I want to do is like you know like what? what Michael Cera playing George Michael Bluth. Oh yeah, as he comes in, he just like drops the backpack on the floor and then like falls over on his face on the carpet like that's me. When I come home from work, but I'm like no, have the discipline put my bag down, take my wallet out of my bag, put my wallet where it goes put my shoes in the place. Hang my keys on the hook. Bring the bag upstairs. Take the portable speaker out of the bag, put it where I need it because if I don't do it right away, I'm not going to do it. And then the next day when I go to pack or when I need one of the things that's in the bag for something else, now I'm in a frazzle, trying to find it. So I'm trying to build that routine where when I come home, I do this. And when I pack my bag in the morning, I you know, put the bag on a specific chair, and then I gathered the same items in the same order, every time so I'm trying to build that memory so that even if my brain Fritz's out, somehow, I've still walked over to the bookcase where the portable speaker is, because every day I pick it up at the same time and put it in the bag, right? It's really difficult to build that habit because we're so frazzled and distractible, it's difficult to gain muscle memory when you're not paying attention to what you're doing every time you do it. But I find when I make a routine of it, it's a little bit more likely that I'm not going to mess it up.
Yeah, I see that big time with my son. He's always been very routine oriented. And now he's in middle school. And so we everything is sort of been interrupted with us as well. Because even routines that we used to have was in a different space. And so now everything is in a different place because we are literally in a different place. Right? And so, you know, getting, you know, there was a routine that was built and he can he can slide he actually is slippery easily. But it's learning once again where everything is. Yeah, because it's like, You know why? That That place is no longer here. It's not. So he he's, we're getting better. And one of the advantages of I work from home three days a week, and then I am on campus twice a week and is he's those first few weeks was alright, you have to take your lap because everybody still is getting laptops. So take your laptop out, put it in the kitchen right here, plug it in, so it'll charge take your lunch bag out, put the freezer packs in the freezer, so that they're ready for you to make lunch the next day. Yeah. And that's and he's actually really good at it after school, except for Fridays.
Oh, yeah. Because of course, Fridays. He's
like, I don't have to go to school tomorrow. You know, if all of this and then Sunday comes around, and I'm like, dude, where's your lunch bag? Dude, where's your? Oh my gosh, maybe? when we when we were getting ready for school the first day?
Oh, no. There is yogurt?
Oh, no. No, no, no. Last year we were back on campus at least four days a week last year. So it was from it was from April or May but
that is the smell of ADHD. Is that is the lunch bag that you're afraid to open you're like Oh yeah. Oh, has this been in? Oh, no. And you know, like you suspect you put your hand in the like in the in the backpack? And you're like, if I find a lunch bag in here, it's gonna be bad. Yeah. Then you find that like, you're like, oh, should we just throw it out?
Yesterday for it hadn't burst like miracle it hadn't raced it was still sealed shut. So just don't like it's a bunch of games. Yeah. It's like just throwing in the garbage as quickly as possible.
Right, throw the garbage in front of right outside.
Um, but yeah, so he's so that was that was good. Our, our big struggle when it came to routines. was because my son that ADHD is well, and I think neurodivergent It's a lot about expectations, right? Yeah. And when things diverged from those expectations, it can be really chaotic. Oh, I had that too. Yeah. And so we moved right across the street from my son's Middle School, which was my daughter's middle school, but she was starting High School. So how are you? Oh, yeah. So he's literally a five minute walk. He has his routine. He has always gotten up early. I mean, he is out of the house before I even get out of bed. Because middle school starts at 730.
Actually, Mike was like that, too. Yeah.
And he's and you were saying about being distracted. It is funny. And it's a good thing too, because I can't stand watching him Get ready. Because he gets ready while he's watching anime on his phone. Oh my gosh, like he's sitting there literally like just sort of mindlessly making his lunch and mindlessly and he makes his own breakfast. He fries himself to a eggs and toast every morning for breakfast while
I think a lot about that leak because you told me that a couple months ago I was like what? Like Yeah, so my husband makes lunch for our kid who also I bought them some noise cancelling headphones this summer because they are have inherited their mother's auditory processing processing Yeah, yeah. Which is great. Like they used to have these like cat your headphones which like broke because they were cheap and and they were like well anyways, it hurt my ears because they were the on your headphones. And I was like you need to over here. They're like No, and I let them try mine on and they were like, ah, they made this face like, like, like yeah, it's On the son john came down and like the very hand of God reached down and said let there be quiet right so yeah so we got them because they have taken such good care of their their pair I got the pair of noise cancelling headphones and so now those are on them all the time which means they don't hear shit. Yeah like from me ever but they're like constantly carrying around like it's the iPhone in one hand. Yep. And then the big headphones on and they're like not looking around right? No so they don't even see me frantically trying to get their attention but yeah, I watch my kid make their lunch with the thing and I'm like, you know it would take you half as long Yeah, yeah, put the phone down. But it wouldn't
because it's part of the routine. Yeah, right. Like if they put the phone down they like Leo literally has no idea what he should be doing. And then you have to walk like now go get this um, but if he's got the phone you sort of watch him sort of it's drifting. He just sort of drifts through it but it all gets done. And so I think he's perfectly happy not having us awake in the morning. Sure before he goes because he just does it himself and he does it in his way and he might be about it like your Tom
gets up first time gets up at like 545 often and then goes downstairs and like does whatever he's gonna do he's like so nice to me even takes us clothes out of our bedroom at night and piles them up like folds them very carefully put them in the bathroom so we can have a shower and get dressed without waking me up, which is so nice. And so he goes downstairs and starts and then a linen will get up and Ellen walks the dog and then comes in then Tom makes Olin like something hot with protein for breakfast and they chit chat and they don't want me there because every time I'm there, I'm like, did you have that homework do for today? And I'm like mom, like it's on your I'll be like, I just want to get in here. They're like no, that's I need to be there now. So I like just stay in bed. Sometimes I wake up before they're gone because they leave at like 715 and I won't get out of bed till I hear the front door closed because I mess up their routine. Yeah, just by being there. So yeah, people get their their groove going good. I mean, I guess I can't really complain about Leo or Olin putting headphones on while they're making their lunch because I will not make supper if I do not have a podcast queued up. Yeah, it's too boring. Yes, boring. Exactly. No, that's
exactly it. But so that so my son has his routine and it he slid back into it fairly easily. It is more. He has an elementary school now. Now he starts school at 730 he leaves the house by 710 it's only for two years though. So like that used to be high school started at 730. Yeah. But yeah, it's a whole other but but it used to be that the he would do this routine over like three hours because he used to get up or two and a half because he would get up at 630 in the morning, right? And elementary school started at nine
that's too late for the kids.
Little kids are upset before Yeah, yeah, exactly. But, but he's, he's he's managed. It's fine. He goes across he's got he's excited back at school, all of his not all of his friends. But he has good friends. There. We are now the place he's doing after school activities. They have a video game club. He audition. He's gonna be in the play. For goodness sakes. I know. I know. But it's so funny he was so he wanted to do it and we asked him well, What part do you want and he said the name of this part. If you'll love this, too, is called the internet is distract. Oh, look, a kitten. That's what the play is called.
I would have written that play. If only I kept my focus long enough.
Yeah, precisely. It's a 30 minute slapstick comedy. Right? And she said the main character is trying to get a book report done but the internet is distracting. Like all right, like this just seems fitting. How do I
write down my life? Except my book report was about the internet. So I'm trapped in this like me's on a beam of like it's distraction but it's my work but it's distracts me
from my except in high school. We didn't have the internet it was just everything
was everything else. Yeah.
The spot on my desk was distracting and I decided it was time to cry clean it off right when I started the white book report. Yeah. But it's so he's, you know, he's doing you know, really well and he loves being right across the street. So because some of these after school activity, there's two sort of, after school activity blocks, there's 245 minute blocks. And sometimes the activity they want to do is in the second 45 minute block. So he brings his friends over for 45 minutes. That's amazing. I know that I've just like feed him snacks and give them something to drink. He's like I know mom. And they're like, and I'm just in the basement I just like sort of pop up and be like hello friends. So you know he's he's having a grand old time with my daughter. She started high school. Right? And we're a little bit further down from Up, up I guess up or down. I don't remember. But anyways, like that. There's a big long Street and the middle schools right across the street from us and then you go down or up about a mile and a half. Oh, Along the same street, and there's the high school. We just assumed that there was going to be a bus.
Oh no, you're too close.
Yes, we're too close. We didn't know that
you're outside the bus boundary. Yeah,
no, we are just inside the bus boundary.
To move we,
yeah. That was how was how dare we not take this into consideration when we chose this and we were like, Look, we got you into the same schools. Could you just like so then it was the drama of there's no bus? I'm not going to school anymore. Oh, ever? Okay, good. Yeah, yeah. Because it was outside like I was gonna go you're gonna Well, this is gonna take the bus skipped school, and I was gonna take the bus get home. And that was the plan. And then that didn't work. And so that was no longer and so it was like the the the idea and the planning ran contrary to the reality and the reality therefore became completely unacceptable. Well, look,
I have some sympathy for this. So yes, is Friday. Today is Friday. Fridays are always a bit of a mesh for me, because you and I always have this planned, and it's my favorite thing to do. But also since Friday afternoons are a designated non teaching time in my department so that meetings can be booked. I often get meetings booked in this and I'm like, No, I have to change my schedule. And I don't like it. And now I have piano lessons at 345 every Friday. So that's like another constraint I have to take into account. And sometimes I have insomnia, like, which means I'm not getting up in time to do my morning stabbing. Yeah. And today, our cleaning service was what they usually tell us the day before when they're going to come like well, we'll be there sometime between 1130 and 1230 for an hour, and I was like, okay, so I got up this morning. And I was like planning for that. So I had all my morning laid out and then I was going to go to campus to record with you because they were going to still be here. But they showed up an hour early. And I was like,
why? Oh, yeah.
What because like I wasn't showered because like my plan was like I was going to practice the piano for an hour. So I'd be ready for my lesson. And then I was going to shower. And then I was like, look cute. And I could go to campus and work on campus. And I would go directly from the University of Waterloo campus where I teach to Laurie a campus where my which is like across the street. Yes. Which is where my piano lesson is, that's gonna bring all my books with me. But like now I'm like, Oh, well, I am still in my pajamas. But the cleaning ladies are here. If I don't be done by the time I have to record with Lee, so I guess I don't, I don't have to go to campus, which means I would have time to practice after I'm recording with Lee. So I should have had my shower. Or but merrily, I just went like jerk inside my head and I was angry about it. These women are coming to clean my house, right? They clean my house and I don't have to clean my house. And they like said they were gonna come at 1230. But they came at 1130 instead. And now my house is clean. And I am enraged. Because I had a plan. And like I don't like making plans, right? It's hard for me to make plans. And I had to use all the spoons to make the plan and like visualize my day and figure out how to optimize so I could be where I needed to be like with the right level of not stinkiness for wherever I happen to be right now with my songs practice enough for my piano lesson and ready for all my meetings and and they just like, Oh, well, we're early and I was like, okay, that's great for you. But it's not great for me. And then I feel like such an awful person. And I had a small tantrum. And I went for a walk with Tom, which was not on the plan for today. But we can't be in the house when they're here because of COVID regulations. And the precise way to take the dog for a walk and that I was dressed wrong. I didn't have a mask. So I couldn't go to Starbucks and like Tom and delay call me down. And I was like just an hour just an hour, right? This isn't like I thought there was going to be a bus but there's no bus that I like lost my shit. It's not a good look. And I know this about myself is that if you mess up my routine, I will get disproportionately angry and upset about it. And it's quite possible that nothing will go right for the rest of the day because I depended on that routine to help me meet all of my obligations, and I cannot make a new plan on the fly. That's not who I am. So I sympathize with Cassie. But you know, it may turn out to be good for her. Yeah, to get this walk. Because Oh
no, she's not walking. Oh, no, no, no. Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no. Lee. Yeah. Lee so. So here's so this is. So we think
I'm tapping my finger at you. Can you hear it? I want this. Yeah, no, no, no, I know. I'm judging you right now.
Yeah. So it didn't help that. The first time she did the walk. It was still mid August in Northern Virginia. Right. And so she made the walk and was like, I'm gonna die. I'm never doing that walk again. Which lievable it was gross out. Oh, yeah. Right. Like it was It was when it was still like 100 degrees or 90 something degrees yeah all right and she wasn't but then there's also so there's there was this discussion and it was because I'm trying to figure it out right I'm trying to help figure it out making suggestions which is my daughter loves to plan unlike you She loves to play she loves to plan
but does not like when the plan gets disrupted
oh no not at all. And so I at first when it was suggested that you walk because here's the other thing is that so the first day of school Monday did the thing alright, I was able to sort of like create we figured something out I picked her up just because it was such a disaster that it was like okay, well this is Tuesdays Tuesday beans I teach and so I'm on campus and it's nonsensical for me to come back from campus to pick her up and then go back to campus like it's just it's nonsense Yeah, so she walks home that day, but I mean even just talking to her these are how the conversations led you'll love this. So it was you should walk well you could just walk I'm on Team kidnap you want to get kidnapped
I want me to get kidnapped Yeah,
yeah no litter and she was serious about this I'm like we live in the richest you know we live in the richest county in all of the United States are second richest county in the United States. Yeah, you are walking on a main street alongside
hundreds of your classmates. That's right. And Cassie, you're a white girl, though Gabby pitino? That for you? Right. Yeah, we'll find you within 20 minutes.
Well, and not only that, like, there are people who go to your high school who are much, much like no, no, seriously. I mean, we live in like she goes to McLean high school like this is anybody listening to the states will be like, Oh, yeah, McLean high. Oh, okay. Got that. Like, we have people who are like diplomats live in McLean. Um, you know, people, high ranking officials for government
agencies live in, sweetie, your parents are not important enough to know,
we are not important enough for you to get. But so that was deemed kidnapped. And then I was like, Well, what about we got she had outgrown her bicycle. And we were like, well, we're not going to get a new one. But I'm like, do you want a bike and she's like, well, if you remember my ankles, you want me to break my ankle again. Like, okay, so then I was on Team break my ankle, never dance again. So I suggested scooter, which was also team break my ankle and never dance again. There is a citybus that she can ride for free, right? That that stops like almost right in front of the Not in front of the school, but in front of the street, she'd have to walk on and drops her off right in front of like, where she'd have to turn down right in front, the middle school basic right to turn down. And while I while I sympathize, that while I and my husband grew up in urban areas where there was really great public transit, and I grew up taking public transit everywhere from like, a very young age. She did not, and I appreciate that. However, you would have thought that I was suggesting, right? And, and so she was but her reason. So then instead of so I was on Team kidnap that I was on Team broken ankle and broken ankle, and then walking was team dehydration and deaths, as well. And then team city boss was team harassment. Right? And she's like, do you want me to get harassed? And part of me was like, Yes, these are things that happen on public transit and I do remember having those experiences when I was a kid and good for you for trying to protect yourself but at the same time, I was also like, if you're trying to protect yourself from any and all harassment is a really bad news about the internet. You like him, you
know, to stay in the house? Yeah, like
so. So it so it kind of escalates and that at this point. It is not, it is not that big a deal for me. It actually helps me start my day, where I drop her off at school in the mornings, just we leave the house at about 730 that makes sure that I actually get out of bed because I can I can drag in the mornings, right? I can if I don't have a meeting that I got to go to, you know, it could be 10 o'clock and I'm still like, maybe I should start my day just because I have no external reasons. So okay, I'll pick up in the morning. Pick it up after school. Yeah, all right, fine, but I can't do it on Tuesdays. So we we go back and forth around the city bus and finally she's like, fine, where's the stop? How do I do this? And so I'm like trying to research Like on a Tuesday trying to get ready for my class, but to say get ready for my class, I'm trying to research what the last route is and where she should take it and what time it comes all that kind of stuff. And then she's still freaking out about it, but she's refusing to walk because she's dug her heels in on that one. And so finally, I hear nothing about the bus. And so I know that I've won, because it really wasn't that bad.
Yeah, there you go. Right. Like, like this, I think is is probably something that all of us are, are facing or have faced as, as neurodivergent people is a kind of fear of trying the new thing, right? Yeah, because there are many ways that could go wrong. And, you know, we all sort of manifest our difficulties in in different ways. I don't like to not be perfect at something. So I would be terrified and have been in my life terrified of getting on the wrong bus. And not knowing where to get off and making a mistake, I don't like to make mistakes, and have that visible, I think like, Cassie has a similar sort of vibe as well, or like other people are just scared because they can't picture it, right? Or they can spin out all the ways where like, I don't know, like, Where, where do I put my money? Or do I have to show my ID? Or what if somebody says, I actually have to pay but I don't have any money? Or like, what if I try to sit down and like, and then just get so spun out about all those things. And I think while we have our kids at home, having that that's the time we have to sort of work with them. Like I spent the weekend reteaching my 15 year olds how to start and stop a bicycle because they signed up. We taught them how to ride a bike like many years ago, and they were not that great at it because like my autistic people to have notoriously poor, gross motor skills, right? And, and bicycling is scary. And if you can't do it perfect. And then you get to a certain age where everybody else knows how to ride a bike and you don't know how to get a bike. And now you can't learn because it's shameful. And but my kid decided to take phys ed this year, where it was entirely devoted to doing long bike rides like like 10 kilometer bike rides and stuff. And I was like, but you hate bike riding a bike ride, you refuse to bike ride? And she said, Well, the other course was Spanish. And that seemed harder. And I was like, so I should not have been trying to induce you with like, let's go for an ice cream, we'll take our bikes, I should have been like, let's go for a bike ride. Or we can do some algebra. Like that's apparently what I should have done. And, and so they were still kind of resisting and they did a thing at school when they fell off their bike like trying to make it make a signal and do it slow speed. Yeah, just crash into somebody else's. And I was like, Okay, I think I know the problem. And so they agreed to go with me. We wrote up to campus for like the parking lots are all still empty. Now we're gonna practice and the skills that we had to practice were, how to start, right how to go from nothing to be on the bike and then moving forward. And then the other thing is like how to stop and get off the bicycle. Because like, yeah, Mike, and this is very common in people who don't know how to ride a bike, because they think they should be sitting on the saddle already, and then go for it. But you can't, you have to have young foot on a pedal and one foot on the ground. And so yeah, I to teach them how to do that. And the same thing to get off the bike, the bike has to be entirely stopped before you get off it right, you have to get off again, with one foot on the pedal, and then one foot comes down, and you have to get off the seat first. And then you put your feet down, which is like very counterintuitive, if you're afraid and you just want to get off the bank right now. So you put your feet down, but the bike isn't stopped. So no bike falls over and then you fall over.
And you can't put feet down either while you're still sitting on the seat. Because that's the entire purpose of
Yeah, exactly. And like but if I put the seat down low enough that you can have your feet on the ground, then your knees are too high when you're trying to pedal so so actually relying on the bicycle be a lot more difficult. So it hurts. Yeah. And they like resisted me as the old person who's like, right, yeah. And so we worked on it. And they like we're pretty good support at it. But it was like, Look, you have to learn how to do this, like, because anything else you want to do on a bike is safe. As long as you know if this feels unsafe to me, I know how to stop. Yeah, and get off the bike. Right? And I can start up again, no problems. Yeah, two most important skills. And so like, that's what we worked on. But they were finally ready to do it. But like the thing is, they were never going to learn how to ride a bike. We've already given up and I don't want I don't want them to be 25. And all their friends are like, you know, let's, you know, let's rent bikes, and they go around the see wallet in Stanley Park on our trip to Vancouver or whatever. And then be like, I don't know how, right because I could teach them now. And so I think with our neurodivergent kids, we do have to push them a little bit when it's safe, right to be like me, I will take the bus with you a couple of times. And then
and that was and that was the The challenge was for me is that this is Tuesdays Right. Yeah. I spent the whole weekend trying to have a conversation about what are we going to do this Tuesday. Let's talk about taking the bus and she didn't want to have anything to do with it. Right? It wasn't until 130 on Tuesday afternoon. She was like, so tell me about the city bus. And I was just like, oh, for the love of God.
Right? Are we doing this now? Oh, yeah. Okay, so yeah,
right. Like, I could have spent the whole weekend we could have driven because she's like, Where's the bus stop? And I'm like, I don't know. Yeah, like we could have driven the route I could show to the bus stop, we could have made note on her phone of the numbers so she could get text updates. We could have written a bus together. No, 130 Tuesday. She's like, Alright, I'm taking the bus today. Tell me how to do this. Then I'm like, and then there is these paperwork that I have to fill out that they weren't expecting. And like, I was again like I want I'm trying to encourage her. Right? And thank God, it's over text because I'm literally pulling my hair out. Sure in the office trying to figure this stuff out, getting her the proper paperwork, so she can go to the office and get a bus pass. Because you know, you can't just go and get a bus pass. Apparently you
need like worse. You can't Yeah, you know, I mean, why would it be that easy? Right? Well, it's hard. Yeah, it's hard to be gracious in those moments, right? where it's like, I tried to do this with you on the weekend. And this is the worst possible time for me, but I have to fight all that back. Because you have you have evinced an interest in the thing I wanted you to have an interest in. I'm not going to bite your head off now. But I want to
Yeah, right. You know, and and just being like, thankfully, you can't get tone in text, right? Because I'm like, you're like, Oh, really what I'm saying is okay, that's just the route, but it just comes off as Okay, here's the
route. Sure. Sure. Jokes is great for that. Yeah. Toma and leasing yourself.
Yeah. But it was just like I for the so for like the first two weeks, all of my spoons were devoted to like, what crisis? Sure. Is she going to come home with today? Right, because things weren't exactly the way she thought they were going to go. And so what reason today does she have for never going back to school again. Right, which, on the one hand, I'm, I'm trying to be really sympathetic, right? She hasn't been to school in 18 months. She hasn't like, she basically, everybody's like, well, this is should be a complaint. But she basically missed all of middle school. Right? Right. So she didn't make any real friends. Because she had come from an elementary school went to a middle school where almost no one from the elementary school went to that middle school, I went to another one. And so didn't really have a lot of time to build lasting friendships. Right? So she's going and she's she knows people, which she doesn't really know anyone. You know, she doesn't know if people that she knows are taking the same specials are, you know, whatever the choices are, that she's taking, you know, and so while High School is is new, understandably. It is also almost like starting all over
again. Yeah. Right. Yeah. And it's hard at that agent. And yes,
exactly. Right. Many of us that social network, yeah, that, that you could typically rely on in that point where it was like, I know who I can go to, to, like, ask these things about or who's gonna get dessert with me? Or who's gonna like, who lives around me so I can maybe guess, Bumble at home and not have to worry about any of this nonsense, right? Like, yeah,
I mean, I think we're all probably suffering. A version of this, I think, our ADHD peoples out there, know how anxious it is to begin new situations, right, where we don't have our coping skills in place. Many of us tend to have rejection, sensitive dysphoria, many of us have severe executive function problems, which make incorporating or integrating new information in a scene of chaos very difficult for us, right and encountering the new and the unknown is very stressful. In that way, for a lot of a lot of neurodivergent people. And I think it's important that we give ourselves like a little bit of space to be a frazzled like that, like, I used to work with a writing coach, who would say to me, like, let's just leave the first two weeks of term blank in terms of your writing goals, because a, the first two weeks of term are always a trash fire, it doesn't matter how well you've planned, like things happen in the first two weeks of term. Like you don't know how many students are going to have you don't know, like, what's going to happen. And then everybody's making all kinds of demands, just give yourself the space, do the minimum, right, don't even set a goal for writing or anything, just and then after that, you will be in a little bit more of a routine. And then you can finesse things, right? Yeah. And and like, as you know, when I get stressed out, I try to control everything, right? Yeah. But if what I'm stressed out about is my inability to control everything, then doubling down on my coping strategy, trying to control everything is like, again, a positive feedback loop, not in the sense that it produces a positive outcome. But that it amplifies the problem I'm trying to solve, which is my own lack of control, right? So I have I have two therapists, currently, we have a family therapist and my own therapist, and they both say to me, Amy, you cannot control the world. All you can control is your own reaction. Right? And so then the problem
is, though, not always. Well, no, I mean,
I mean, yes, we can, but it's much more like I mean, the level of executive function, it takes in a lot of cases, yeah, be able to control a reaction to the world, like you were saying about today. Right? Like, you know, the schedule was off. And it I, I've done this, too. And maybe you felt this way. Like, you can see yourself behaving irrationally and having a meltdown. Right? And you're like, Hmm, this is irrational, and what my therapist tells me what I can control my reaction to things. And, you know, but at the same time, Nope, I'm not smart thrown. Right?
Great. Yeah, that's where the work lives. And like they they say like, it's simple. But it's not easy. The solution is simple, but it's easy to implement, right? And so like, there are other things that could have done today, like I could have insisted that the cleaning lady stay on one floor of the house so that I could do what I planned to do on the other floor of the house, and then let me know when they wanted to come upstairs. And then I could have gone downstairs like I could have made that right. I could have just sat on the porch. It's due to vote style, and I could have remained angry, but I figured that if I had to change my plan, I was going to be angry, and probably a walk would help me Yeah, yeah, sort through it. So that's what I did. So I could see myself and like, did I want to just reach out like, sometimes the reason we do not implement, right the controlling our reaction to stuff is because at a certain level, we don't want to Yeah, because it's satisfying to have a tantrum about something in a way it's an easy outlet. It feels like a big sort of emotional release where you can have a freakout because like somebody sent you the doc I
imagine there's some dopamine involved in that to not go
I'm pretty sure that there's some mean go action going on that our brains are like numb, numb
numb. Yeah, exactly. Well, and many of us like suffer from impulse control issues as well as in the inability to control our impulses. So it just sometimes it comes out without us thinking about it. Right? And that's a difficult habit to break through. But But I will say that is the work for me is like when things are outside of my control, realizing that I can choose like, maybe not choose how I'm going to react, but I can choose how I'm going to manage Yeah, my reaction. Yep. to something because I'm smiling now. Right? I could have like yeah, you know, very tempting to text you and say like, I'm too angry. Lee and the cleaning lady's messed up my day, right? Forget it. I can't podcast and I'm gonna eat some worms, right? Like I could have just indulged in my bad mood, but I tried not to like I it's the work it's the word I'm not saying like, well, I've got this salt, right? Like today. No, no, no. But I'm still pissy for about 20 minutes, I kept saying to Tom, like I am having trouble calming down. From this. I'm like, I know I'm being irrational. And I'm sorry, I'm saying these toxic things around you about how mad I am. I'm trying I'm really trying right. And so it took me some time to do that.
Welcome back again to season four of all the things ADHD. We'll be back next week with the second part of this conversation with Amy and I about I just want to meet this weekend after I recorded this, these episodes. So I'm a little scratchy now. But we're going to keep talking about re entry. Post COVID. During the aftermath, however you wanted to find out but we're going to talk more about this process that we're going through that our kids are going through that our families are going through. So as always, you can email us at all the things email@example.com You can find our website, all the things adhd.com. And as always, you can find me ready writing or Amy Did you want on Twitter, we love getting your messages. We love seeing your tweets and your responses. So please continue on doing that. And we'll see you next week for part two or hear you next week or we'll be in your ears next week. For the second part of this conversation. Take care everyone