Being alone is often easier, but not practical.

My best friend is often my pair of headphones.  I love to walk in the park or at the beach.  I have very high anxiety, which I do know comes hand in hand with ADD, and a walk soothes the soul in more ways than one.

Many friends have asked me to call them and let them know when I am walking because they would like to join me.  I rarely do that, sometimes it is because I do not know I am headed to the beach until I am actually there, and other times it is because I need to be alone.

After many years of hiding behind my mother and sitting in the back of a classroom, I have become quite vocal.  I have joined groups and now hold leadership positions.  This is very difficult for me.   As an educator, one would think that standing in front of a group is simple for me.  It is not.  I am far more comfortable around children than I will ever be in a room filled with adults and my peers.  Quite possibly because children are less likely to judge or it could be because their attention span is about the same as mine.

I hit overload very easily and then the anxiety sets in.  For many years, I would go to my doctor and he would prescribe me medication to keep me calm and of course encourage proper diet, with very few stimulants and exercise.  I tried very hard to follow his suggestions.

One day, it all stopped working.  I no longer wanted to take medication.  Xanax was making me into a zombie with brain fog.  I would fall asleep in the car while waiting for my daughter after school.  I felt like a drug addict must feel, because in truth, that is what I was becoming.  I went off Xanax cold turkey.

The weeks following, I was an emotional train wreck.  Hardly anyone knew about this.  I hid it very well.  I would sit in my car literally paralyzed.  Unable to get out of it to go into my own home.  I would stand in the supermarket frozen, not able to process what I needed to do.  Needless to say we were lacking in supplies, since ADD had me forgetting items and now I was too anxious even to follow my list.

I was definitely better on the days I was scheduled to work.  Anxiety would plague me until I got into the building and began to teach.  The auto pilot that was in me would turn on and raise my spirit, give me focus, give me purpose.

My work had dwindled over the past few years.  My part time job had started out lucrative but had deteriorated due to events beyond the control of my department.  This isolation, although I often craved it, was in the end not healthy for me.

While being alone, kept me from having to decipher conversations which involved more than one person, or focusing on a voice in a loud crowed room in order to form an intelligible reply, it was not beneficial to the anxiety and depression I was suffering from.

I turned again to the internet to search for help.  I found it.  I signed up for an online course in Meditation Certification.  From the moment I began to read the first lesson, my entire mind and body calmed down.  I felt connected to a world that understood me.  What I needed to help me slow down my mind which was speeding at all times.

There are so many types of mediation, of course for me, the best is being mindful.  A person with little or no attention span has a terrible time being aware of living in the moment and not thinking of anything else.  Your brain literally has to be retrained.   I am far better than I was but I have a long way to go.

I know that there are those who probably snicker behind my back about meditation practices but that is their right.  Meditation teaches tolerance to all.  I hope to hold a meditation instructor’s certificate one day utilizing my teaching skills to help others in mindfulness, focus and the ability to calm oneself.

As I sit at the computer this morning, writing, I am fighting the panic, the anxiety of life in general.  I long for a day when financial burdens do not send me into a tailspin.  I am thinking about the beach, the ocean breezes and the roar of the waves crashing against the sand.  These are thoughts that calm my soul when the crayons begin to fall one by one out of my hands led by the overloaded days that are my life at times.  At conclusion of this blog, I will get out my Zafu, which is a meditation pillow, sit with my back straight, listen to the music and put my mind on track.

I am thankful that I am no longer putting the poisons of medication into my body and I will not medicate my daughter.  The world is filled with natural ways to work on your brain and to soothe your soul.  Each person is unique and special.  Acceptance of who one is born to be needs to play a part in our daily life.  I turn to meditation, walking, breathing with purpose, music, nature and prayer to control the disruption of the outside world.  I am working on a far more natural diet in every sense of the word.  Feeding my body, heart, mind and soul with the best that the earth has to offer.  Including people who nourish my life.

Being alone is often easier, but it is not necessary if we learn how to strengthen ourselves to savor the moments we need to.   Life is not meant to be this hard.

Life is a beautiful gift.

Dropping Crayons: the beginning

My mother sat across from my first grade teacher and looked at her.  “Dropped her crayons?”  my mother incredulously asked.  “Yes” replied my teacher with a snarky look on her face.  ” I cannot allow her to go ahead in reading group because she drops her crayons quite often.”  My mother is the daughter of my grandmother, so therefore this matter did not go well for my teacher and I was placed in the appropriate reading group by the following morning.

My life has been a series of me dropping crayons.  Falling up stairs, unceremoniously dumping my pocketbook out on a regular basis to find my wallet which is lost to the many items that I acquire throughout each day.  I struggled through school, not because I was not bright enough, but because I simply dropped my crayons over and over literally and figuratively, even while attending graduate school.

As an educator, I have encountered many students, who simply encounter Murphy’s Law.  Never allowing myself to openly favor students, I chose instead to give them the patience and encouragement that was rarely afforded to me.  I would think back on how long and hard my days in school were prior to college and want to make it better for every child, even those who could not find their homework because the papers were all over their backpack no matter how many time we had organized them in  folders.

It was not until my youngest child entered High School that I discovered why the crayons had scattered so often for me.  My daughter was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder.  My daughter has tested as “Gifted and Talented” and was able to manage rather well until she became a middle school student.  Middle school was an incredible nightmare for her.  She absolutely understood the work taught, in fact, she was often ahead of the class as far as comprehension.  However, she simply could no longer focus since her class size had ballooned to over 32 students who never stopped chattering.  In addition, she could not calm her mind down to give appropriate written responses when she had a time limit.  Needless to say, many of her teachers met this with annoyance, only saw that she was inconsistent and unorganized.  She scored well on standardized tests not requiring essays and was at the top of her class.  During her final year, she missed Honor Society by an 8th of a point basically and a teacher who did not have the patience to work with  her decided that she should be excluded.  This child with very high intellect stood by and watched others walk around with medals on graduation day, while she stood bare, save for her white graduation robe over her beautiful dress.

I saw the repeat of my dropping crayons incident in her.  I did not know how to handle this.  She is a far better student than I ever was, inheriting her father’s ability to manage any mathematical issue placed in front of her, loving and devouring every part of environmental science, and having ability in art and music as well.  But she was not part of the Honor Society even with perfect and near perfect state exam scores.  Simply because she could not organize herself.  Like me, dropping my crayons among other things.

Her freshman English teacher suggested that we work towards getting her exam modifications that would permit her additional time on tests and even a separate location with less distractions.  We needed to have some evaluations done and low and behold, she fit the criteria for ADD.  In addition to my child fitting the mold, I found that I had a very high score in the area of Adult ADD.

There it was.  The open door of understanding.  I am a person who always ran to the library to find the answers.  Now I live on the internet whenever I am asking questions.  WHY?  HOW?

After years of thinking I simply was not smart enough.  I was not as good as everyone else.  I did not have the gift and so on and so forth….I knew.  A light went on for me in so many ways.  I allowed myself to be me.

As a student, I would lose entire class periods.  One minute I was sitting in class, and next, the class was over and I had no idea what had just happened.  In my mind, in my thoughts, there had been roses, princes and princesses, beautiful sunset, and flowing rivers.  My imagination guided me through the day.  I seemed to only “be awake’ during English, Social Studies and Music classes.  Almost everything else, I survived through by daydreaming, doodling, reading and writing.  I wrote entire novels starting at age 8 continuing through High School.  I have no idea what was taught in the classes while I was writing them,  I lived vicariously in worlds that I had created instead.

I no longer feel embarrassed that in a room with many people speaking at once, I cannot focus on what any person is saying.  Instead, I enjoy the decor, check out fashion and study the architecture of the building I happen to be in at the moment.  I manage.  I accept me and I love those who join in my acceptance.

I know that when I set myself to clean my house, I must write lists, stick to them and not go to more than one room at a time to work.  A person with ADD will go from room to room rarely completely a task because other issues pop up instead.

There are still many moments where I am dropping crayons, this blog is dedicated to sharing those times, in hopes that I will reach another crayon dropper and encourage them to stop and enjoy the colors, rather than scramble to pick them up.