Books Make Me Happy, On Mental Health, Social Distancing Diaries

This is My Brain on a Pandemic, Political and Economic Unrest, Grief, and ADHD Meds.

Hi! How are you? It’s been awhile! I saw the new Spider-Man movie yesterday and it was amazing but – like everything lately – I cried a lot! Even on the parts that were not meant to make me cry!

I would say, “I’m a crier now,” except that I’ve always been a crier (my kids ridicule me all the time) and so I guess I should just say: I cry more often than I don’t, now.

Nikki and I went to one of our bigger/newer library this week so she could study and I could read. I was finishing T.J. Klune’s latest book Under The Whispering Door and I started sobbing and trying NOT to sob and the result was Nikki constantly peaking her head around the corner at me like, “You okay over there?”

This excess crying development I blame on… *gestures broadly*. I’m tired of the pandemic. I’m upset that the KN95 masks I ordered are evidently counterfeit because the fact that someone made money off this pandemic upsets me and makes me feel like an old for falling for it. I’m tired of all of it, honestly. Sometimes I just want to mute all words associated with COVID from my exposure to the world and just hide in my house and pretend it doesn’t exits for…like…24 hours? Maybe?

I used to say, early in 2021, “If Mom could have made it to get the vaccine I think she would have felt much better about life.” But honestly? I’m not sure that’s true. And also? The second everything shifted back due to the Delta variant? She would have been DONE. Her patience with everything was depleted before nail salons opened back up to customers. She hated wearing masks. She hated she could have anything to eat and drink in dialysis (because of the COVID protocols). She hated that she couldn’t go in public without being scared of exposure. So…yeah…maybe those first few months of vaccination in early 2020 would have given her hope, but she would have signed off as soon as soon as Delta made it to Huntsville.

But I’m also exhausted with my outrage of all current events…especially that involve any sort of discussion as to how our elected officials are going to vote on anything. I’m devastated that all of my representatives are Republicans (many trying to prove they’re the most conservative so they can win their primaries) and so they’re never voting in my best interests. I’m constantly bubbling with rage that access to safe and legal and affordable abortions are going to be a thing of yesteryear. The fact that the author-that-I-used-to-love-but-now-I-abhor will not just STOP DOUBLING DOWN ON HER TRANSPHOBIA makes me want to get a big FUCK TERFs tattoo to cover up my deathly hallows.

Like I said…*gestures broadly*.

But I did start taking meds for my ADHD about 6 weeks ago now, I think. I did not want to mess with stimulants since I already feel like my anxiety is too much and while my doctor did say that sometimes medicating ADHD helps anxiety, I didn’t want to start there. So I’m on Atomoxetine (Straterra) and while we’ve had to increase my dosage a bit, I’m noticing a lot of differences.

First…when my thoughts vanish from the forefront of my mind, they don’t actually disappear indefinitely. My constantly disappearing thoughts is why I carry a notebook around with me and text myself and make reminders using Siri or Alexa. Unfortunately, sometimes those options aren’t available and when a thought leaves it feels gone for good and I find it so very frustrating. BUT! I’ve noticed on mediation that the thoughts don’t go that far. For example, I was driving the other day and a thought crossed in my mind: DO NOT FORGET TO DO X. And because I was driving and Siri hates me, I couldn’t remind myself and the thought disappeared along the highway of my commute.

But then I got home and it came back! Like…just popped back into my head like it knew it hadn’t done it’s job so it was waiting for a better time!

This has happened a lot lately. So much that I actually felt myself not panic the other day when I had a thought I didn’t want to lose because I knew it would be back. So that panic I’m constantly feeling about forgetting stuff? Has subsided a bit which is nice because I didn’t even know before how much of my constant hum of anxiety was caused by that.

So it’s helping!

I just wish everything else *gestures broadly* would give me a break so I could get a feel for how much it’s truly helping. I feel like I’d notice it more if I wasn’t constantly also dealing with the despair that has settled in around the pandemic and the political and economic chaos.

One last note: I’m trying to read THREE more books in the next eleven days so I can hit 100 books in 2021. I’m not sure why this is suddenly my obsession but I’m nothing if not a fan of really nice even numbers and when I realized I could maybe do it, it became an obsession. And this forced focus on reading during all of my down time has actually really helped me with *gestures broadly*. I don’t know if I could force at any other time, but if I could harness this weird need to read A LOT every day I think I’d be better off than doomscrolling or listening to news podcasts or reading news articles. If you have any tips of ways to trick my brain into thinking I have to read a certain amount of books every week/month to simulate this feeling at the end of the year…I’m all ears!

2 thoughts on “This is My Brain on a Pandemic, Political and Economic Unrest, Grief, and ADHD Meds.”

  1. I am beyond thrilled that the medication is helping! Maybe one day I’ll see if I can get diagnosed and see if there’s something that will help me. I swear, I will have the idea to look up something and forget what it was by the time I get Safari opened on my phone.

  2. Kim I am SO happy to hear this news!! Straterra was what I also tried and also noticed improvements. My Dr described it as having been developed as a drug for anxiety but that it basically didn’t work that great for it for most people however it DID help with ADD/ADHD—-thus the comment that it can sometimes help some people with anxiety. I hope you continue to find it successful! I also am fully encouraging of less screens and more books!!! Maybe just give yourself personal challenges that you post publicly or something? so that you feel we are holding you accountable? I am learning more and more that it is just better for me over all to focus my attention on other things when there are too many not so fun things happening—some may call it avoidance but I think in reality it’s a great technique!!

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