Ramble warning. Pinball-like writing, official AuDHD style! Shall we proceed?
I recently got a bumper sticker for my 2017 silver Honda CRV automobile that reads: I may be old but that’s ok . . . I got to see all the good bands. I wanted to laugh, but then Sir Brain thought, “Is this ageism and ableism all in one sticker?”
Then the little voice in my head shouted, “lighten up.”
I stuck the dang thing on my car’s bumper.
Next, I analyzed if I stuck it in the right place. Is there a reason most people’s bumper stickers are in their windows, now? Did I miss some rule . . . yet, again?
The bumper sticker action was a right of passage.
It’s taken me over four years to get used to my new car. For four fricken years, I mourned my longtime friend, the Toyota Sienna mini-van, that I purchased the same day my middle son was diagnosed on the autism spectrum. (He is now 23). It had been beaten and worn down by three active boys, two dogs, and many road trips and commutes to schools.
With the bumper sticker, I was essentially notifying myself and said automobile that the CRV is officially no longer new and there was no need to baby it.
I was letting go of door dings, bird droppings, the long-gone new car smell (that made me ill but still felt satisfying), and so forth.
Now, if I can only stop obsessing about how many miles are on the car. Confession: the odometer is still under 22k miles; primarily, because I drove my van, while the new car sat bored in my garage for several months, and then the global health crisis hit. Bang! When I review and rewind and replay the worst case scenario in my mind, and have flashbacks of having no home for moments of my childhood, etc. etc. I need to save every feasible mile so the car lasts me until I’m 87 years old. (The age the long ago psychic said I would die. And she was right about so many other things, that I hold on to this hope as the OCD death and illness phobias crash into me.)
ADHD: Squirrel! . . . Before I forget! I ended up in bed for over two months about two years ago (2020), shortly after traveling to Los Angeles, the week before they warned Americans not to travel by plane. I’d been at a fundraiser with my partner, David, and I’d shooken hands with at least twenty doctors. And based on my extensive research (see some past blog posts), I discovered COVID-19 was very much in LA airport at that time. To put it in perspective, I typically use my inhaler for asthma once or twice a year, and during this time of not-able-to-do-anything for two months but rest in bed or couch (and cry and pray), I used my inhaler every few hours.
I’m fairly certain, as was my nurse practitioner (who happened to be on the autism spectrum and had read my book), that I ended up with COVID-19 and was/am a long hauler. Some four months after I was first sick, I was still having trouble catching my breath; it took me about a year to get back to 75% of my energy levels; and for those first two months, it felt like an angry, spoiled toddler was sitting on my chest. I slept with a rosary. I freaked out. I was overcome with OCD death thoughts, and the unknowns, isolation, and fear just about did me in.
But here I remain. Yay, me!
Fast forward to this morning! I got a TikTok notification that I should be aware that 8 hours might be too much time on the app. Obviously, they don’t know about my whole OCD thingy. After being informed my Autistic Traits List was being shared by different folks on TikTok, I decided to investigate. I had absolutely no clue whatsoever what TicTok was. Much to my dismay, after two hours of trying to figure out how to record a YouTube (as I forgot), I realized I could use my phone. Luckily, my four-year-old Samsung phone still works. (I refuse to get a new phone. I don’t want to mourn.)
I was happy (humbled, faith-fortified) to discover that the trait list, after over ten years, is still bringing many people and families understanding and answers.
Long story, short (or a little less long): Samantha Craft has a TikTok account. You can find me there at samantha.craft (note the period)
My first video is here; then I made one of our eight-month-old puppy named George Bailey. After that, I created a longer version of an introduction and update. The first one is cheery. The second one is cute. The latter one is a bit sad and gloomy. This assures me I am being myself. All over the place.
Topic change: August through February this year was very difficult. I didn’t see the point in living. I imagine that my shifting hormones (the same ones that caused PMDD, chocolate cysts, and advanced endometriosis) triggered dopamine and serotonin upset. As a result, many of my neurological and mood challenges were increased. After a six-month waitlist, I was able to see a wonderful doctor (mental health specialist). I am now officially diagnosed with ADHD, OCD, and complex-PTSD. (#AuDHD is me.) It was a validating experience and the specialist understood my brain and mind well, as she specialized in trauma and has neurodivergent family members. She lost a sister to suicide and let me know my brain was brilliant and complex, much like her sister had been.
That made me feel understood, but sad.
In January of 2022, to survive on this planet (brain/mind, moods, chronic pain, school, life, world . . . Fortune 500 consultancy work), I took it upon myself to quit coffee (decrease anxiety/GAD), lose twenty pounds (to decrease pain/improve health), eat better (very little dairy, less sugar [no meat already since 1984]), and have more fun. This last weekend I went to a pinball arcade–a great joy to be had! (I loved the Stranger Things, Hobbit, and Led Zepplin ones). I also realized: I do not like consulting for large corporations. Teaching, training, educating, weeping in public, yes. Telling other people what to do, advise, workplace politics . . . no thank you!
I’ve continued to take walks several times a week, despite the neuropathy in my feet (and hands) from POTS and recent infection. While in Mexico, this last time, I ended up with bug bites, a skin infection, and a histamine reaction resulting in body hives. I’m still recovering. (I won’t get into the hotel room that was 88 degrees with no ventilation and the power outage while sleeping naked with wet wash clothes on me and weeping.)
Squirrel! Next thought: My OCD, as of late, has manifested itself in searching on Zillow for homes, rearranging various knickknacks, and giving much to charity, when not being able to find the “right” place for an object (and the lifelong intrusive thoughts of accidents, illness, death, and dying). I get the intrusive thoughts about myself and loved ones pretty much all day long. The ADHDer in me has made it merely impossible to get new reading glasses (motivation, energy, strategy); though I have begun to try, even as I’ve had the prescription since fall 2021!
With all this, I manage to earn straight As for my first year in college! Woot! Woot!
MY BIGGEST accomplishment as of late was in September of 2021, where I did a keynote tour in South Dakota and spoke to high schoolers! Yes, high schoolers. I only had anticipatory anxiety for about four months.
Until next time. Hugs from Sam the Ham.
Apologies: With starting the doctoral program in educational and organizational learning and leadership (EOLL) (emphasis on social justice) last summer (2021), approaching menopause, becoming an empty nester, (getting a puppy to compensate for being an empty nester), and my mother’s terminal illness (travels to Mexico), and life in general (personal family stuff), I haven’t had much time to write or energy to dedicate to blogging. [Pausing, as that’s a whole lot of somethings!]
Places to Find Sam:
My outdated website in need of updates, but I keep rescheduling with the website designer (ha!)
My LinkedIn profile which is updated!
My Facebook page (my real legal name page hasn’t been touched in years)
My Twitter was aspergersgirls and now is “divergentsage” to keep up with the times and cultural preference
My Instagram “neurodivergent sage” as I forgot my Twitter name and added neuro on accident.
The company I work for, where 75% are on the autism spectrum: Ultranauts Inc. (I didn’t even have to use my sick days when COVID-19 hit; they were so understanding.)