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Call Me Irresponsible

Call Me Irresponsible2012-06-10T03:51:13+00:00

The Forums Forums Emotional Journey Venting! Call Me Irresponsible

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  • #90810

    Post count: 251

    Every three months I go to the doctor for a med check, and we discuss whether I’m at the right dosage. So far I always end up increasing it because I can’t decide if I’m making progress or not.

    Day to day, I’m much improved, in the sense that I’m getting a lot more done, and I’m organizing my house for real; it seems like some long-standing clutter areas are slowly dissolving. My calendar doesn’t seem to time-bomb with surprise events nearly so often.

    So, yes, I drop the ball much less these days.

    And yet, when I do, it feels like a cannonball, landing hard on my foot.

    For the second time in the past 30 days, I’ve had people upset with me, and that sick feeling in my stomach that they have every right to be so. (There’s a third instance that I’m trying to decide whether to include in this mental list.)

    As most people do, I come home afterward and discuss the particulars with loved ones. To varying degrees, the consensus is the upset people are overreacting, and/or the situation – the context I was working in, the part that was not of my own making – was far from ideal, so it’s not all my fault….

    But I know, both before and after these reassurances, that at least some of What Went Wrong IS my fault, that I made a bad decision, or I failed to pay attention to something important.

    I’m feeling as if I will never ever truly become a trustworthy person. That I can’t be counted on, that every responsibility I’m handed is like a crapshoot: maybe she’ll deliver – lucky you! – or maybe she won’t – yet again.

    The whole thing just has me really upset at the moment. I am home at last after having spent an hour and a half trying not to cry while sitting in a roomful of people, most of them children. Right now I feel like the biggest child of all, like I simply will never mature, that I’ll always be this clueless kid, in need of a scolding, but usually (not always) spared because, well, “She means well…”

    A phrase which translates to “What good would it do?”

    I’m just so frustrated and sad, and feeling very, very small.

    Any encouragement would be greatly appreciated.


    Post count: 1096

    Hi quizzical – you described that sick feeling in your stomach very well. I bet every member of the human race has felt that. I usually get a cold feeling, then my head feels hot and then that sick feeling appears. I would defy anyone (including the ‘linears’) not to have felt that – and probably more often than they, or we, would like.

    But even though it’s universal, it can still make us feel completely c**p and desperate and low.

    But why? Nobody makes the right decisions or notices everything all the time. If you hold your hands up and say “yep, I messed up, it wasn’t intentional and I want to put it right” then I think it’s unreasonable for anyone to make you feel bad about it.

    The issue then becomes the feelings that YOU have. I tend to mull things over for days if I get things wrong – in fact even years. But that’s not healthy. The people I affected long forgot it and moved on…. So apart from a transient bit of irritation from them at the time, they moved on. It was me who beat myself up (metaphorically) for longer than I needed to do so. Perhaps that’s what you’re doing??

    So, quizzical….to err is to be human. To feel bad about it actually just shows what a lovely and caring person you are. That is a good trait, so be kind to yourself about whatever it is that you did.

    I found a quotation – not by a mega-philosopher but still wise words:

    “Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself.” -Lucille Ball

    So, keep optimism in yourself! And remember that everyone makes mistakes. The trick is to deal with the mistake and move on and not dwell on it. Once you have talked it through with those that love you then put it in the past. Pete posted on ‘just a thought’ – have a look at his post.



    Post count: 14413

    quizzacal, I can so totally relate to what you’ve poured out to us. I wish the people around us could focus on the positive a little more instead of swooping in and going on about our mistakes.

    Scattybird, your reponse is so affirming – I believe I shall print and post it!

    I had a coworker many years ago – long before any thought of ADHD – who kept a list for a number of months of all the things I had forgotten to do or had not been to her satisfaction. (At the time I worked at a facility for profoundly mentally handicapped adults.) the things I would forget were minor irritants – like not putting everyone’s clothes out for the next day – for pity’s sake! Then she took her list to our boss who called me down and wanted an answer from me. ??? Another supervisor at some point made it known that in the evening she often heard me singing to the residents. If she stepped onto our area would find me dancing and laughing with them. There was none of that foolishness on my coworker’s shift, that’s for sure (she made a switch to working in the facility’s office where her job could be more orderly.)

    Quizzical, sometimes the gripers have a different set of priorities. We have not met THEIR expectation of a job well done. Perhaps it’s more useful for us to ask if we are being true to ourselves.


    Rick Green – Founder of TotallyADD
    Post count: 473

    You will always drop cannon balls on your feet. Everyone does.

    I still do. All the time. Just less often. And with less, “OH MY GOD!! WHAT HAVE I DONE!!” because I know it’s bound to happen.

    One of the most interesting things you will learn in reading the autobiographies, or biographies, of amazing people, is how many mistakes they made, how many times they screwed up, had failures, blew it, had setbacks, changed careers, and so on.

    We are so hard on ourselves. We can tell you all of our ‘weaknesses and faults and failings’ and have trouble coming up with any strengths or remembering our accomplishments.

    Dr. Anthony Rostain talks about having his patients/clients write out a list of their strengths and carry it in their wallet. When something goes wrong, they pull out the card, and remind themselves, ‘Oh, right. I had a failure today. But I’m not a failure.’

    It’s a great practice. I’ve used it myself. It works.


    Post count: 251

    Thanks for the good food for thought. I also had a chat with my husband – who had been away last night when I came home in knots and wrote the post – and he decided my error wasn’t anywhere close to grievous, and I’d simply been the victim of some rather world-class rudeness.

    Naturally he also advised me to let it go, that rude people cannot be satisfied and are not worth our energy. It’s advice he’s given me many, many times, and each time I find myself marveling, because he clearly can do just that; dismiss the offenders with a silent “forget them,” and just move on. How I wish I could do that! It takes a self-confidence that I don’t have.

    No, instead I have hair-trigger shame and guilt, and a powerful desire not to offend, to be accepted, to be liked, loved, the whole bit. Middle child syndrome, anyone? And so when someone is calling me out, no matter the reason, no matter if they have every right or are a million miles off-base, it’s a kick in the gut, and last night’s was astonishingly swift and potent. Instead of knocking the wind out of me, it knocked the thought out of me, and all I could do was just sit there feeling the emotion crashing like a ceaseless surf long after Ms. Dissatisfied had turned on her heel and stalked out of the room.

    I am always amused by the folks who say ADDers are great in a crisis. That is SO NOT ME. I have never ever been able to think on my feet; my moments of dumbfound last an eternity. Inevitably when I tell a story of somebody saying or doing something outrageous to me, the person listening to the story tells me what I could have/should have said. Nine times out of ten it’s something I haven’t thought of at all. The tenth time is when I come up with it myself, but about three days later.

    I guess we’ve all done that from time to time, but I’m beginning to feel like I need someone to just follow me around with cue cards. Perhaps my husband, who came up with at least three different things I could have pointed out to Rude Person that would have defused her anger, or brought her up short, or defended my actions – I could have had my pick, if I’d just had his brain handy, instead of my own white-noise wheel-spinning thing up there, totally at the mercy of my emotions.


    Post count: 1096

    Quizzical – from your latest post it sounds to me like you haven’t made a mistake that you need to worry about, but you have had to tolerate a mindless bully.

    Unfortunately these people exist everywhere. How they can be dealt with depends on their relationship to you – ie if a line manager, a co-worker or someone you know socially.

    A simple calm sentence such as ‘I don’t think your behaviour is acceptable’ or ‘please treat me with respect’ or ‘you’re not a very nice person are you’ or…….well I won’t write the last option! I used the last option on a bullying boss once and it made things worse.

    Bellamom – you should have used the last unwritten option on the co-worker you described!


    So I think there are two things here – the dropping the cannon ball which everyone does and dealing with a rude person.

    Nobody should have to tolerate rudeness. But it’s easy to suggest responses when not caught up in the immediate emotion of it.

    Try to develop self belief and a sense of self worth and the rest will slot into place. Easier said than done but you can do it.


    Post count: 802

    It is good to read the responses here and I want to echo ‘you are not alone’, not in making mistakes nor in coming up against bullying.

    I spent an hour and a half yesterday dealing with a screaming, crying 8 year old because he didn’t want to have to go back to school after half term because of adults who treat him like crap; whether they realise what they’re doing or not that’s the outcome.

    And so we hold our heads up high and dust ourselves down and carry on knowing that we may make mistakes but we’re not the ones dishing it out and I’d rather be in the first camp than the second.


    Post count: 251

    I almost wish I could tell the whole story of The Bad Event of last weekend, but it would require far too much background, not to mention a lot of specifics that put my anonymity at risk – I’ll admit the odds are miniscule that anyone who knows me in non-virtual life is reading this particular thread; and it’s not like I’m some VIP who has to protect my identity from the media :) ; it just makes me more comfortable to keep identifying details to a minimum, so, alas, no story.

    But the irate person was a parent, so that ratcheted up the emotions A LOT. Nobody wants to feel like they are not doing one hundred percent when kids are involved, and her complaints – in the form of incredulous questions – just devastated me. Weirdly, i didn’t even catch on that she was angry right away. So it was almost like some old movie where somebody – and that would be me – gets hit from behind with a frying pan. Only instead of seeing stars and tweety-birds, I see personal failure and tears.

    Setting aside the question of whether I was right or wrong, the whole experience left me with a resolve to never take on that particular role again. Which is a shame, since it’s a volunteer thing, and so I feel like I’m ducking yet another responsibility, but honestly, a lot of the volunteer opportunities that come along never seem to play to my strengths. Organizing events? Making phone calls? Supervising and chaperoning? Not really the skill sets of an introverted inattentive ADDer.

    Focus on what you’re good at….

    I had a free moment in a waiting room and decided to brainstorm a few strengths that I could put on a card, per Rick’s excellent suggestion. I made a llst of about ten things, and then realized that nearly all of them were totally subjective. I’m funny? Says who?

    I almost want to run my list past some kind of review board or something: “Item four: Writes well. Show of hands, please….”


    Post count: 1096

    quizzical – from what you said above then don’t give the issue another thought.

    There is nothing on this planet more difficult to deal with than a protective parent who thinks everything should be done their way.


    No offence to parents out there……


    Post count: 845

    ” Organizing events? Making phone calls? Supervising and chaperoning? Not really the skill sets of an introverted inattentive ADDer” got me to thinking. I could make up some Buisiness Cards with my name followed by ADHD (instead of MD, PhD, MS, BS, NA, RN, JD, or whatever) and listing things like:

    Frequently procrastinates

    Member of Mensa and Triple 9

    Forgets purpose of entering a room

    Poor social skills

    Good mechanical skills

    Takes on more work and tasks then can possibly manage

    Works well alone

    Poorly motivated

    Forgets to eat and sleep when busy

    Does not return to tasks when interrupted

    Likes animals . . . more than people

    Misplaces tools

    Addicted to “Free Cell”


    I could hand out my card when asked to volunteer. (I’m not sure what phone number I should list . . . 911, dial-a-prayer, or the suicide hotline.)

    I could include a catchy phrase like “Failing to Meet Potential for Sixty Years.””

    Great thread Quizzical. In the months I have been on this site, I have gotten a very positive image of you. You’re a good person.


    Post count: 251

    Scattybird – I’m a parent times three and I certainly don’t take offense; I couldn’t agree more! :)

    kc5jck – LOVE the biz-card; that was inspired, and really gave me a good laugh! And thank you so much for the compliment! I’m feeling worlds better than I was on Saturday; so glad I have this place to air myself out!


    Post count: 14413

    “So it was almost like some old movie where somebody – and that would be me – gets hit from behind with a frying pan. Only instead of seeing stars and tweety-birds, I see personal failure and tears.”

    Quizzical, you write so descriptively – I could “see” what you wrote eg. in the sentences quoted above and that’s just one example. I always read your posts and find humour in them, so I’d say that you’re funny.

    I also love kc5jck’s biz-card idea! Heck, let’s put together a whole resumé!!

    As for the parental thing – My mother still had power to shame me for a very long time. Brené Brown stresses that shaming will NEVER motivate someone to change- and there are so many things we can’t change anyway. (My mother no longer tries now that she has Alzheimer’s.)


    Post count: 596

    Another interesting thread folks. And I agree with the others above QUizzical, your writing is very evocative, so certainly something writing related should appear on your calling card!

    kc5jck, I absolutely love your idea for the card listing our ADHD “virtues” – I think I may seriously consider it to help keep me from volunteering for things in the spur of the moment! (After I wrote that sentence my email pinged with a new message and I went to check -I can’t believe I actually just volunteered to do something that wasn’t even on the list of requests in the email – uuuggghhh!!!!)

    But coming back to the original direction of the thread Quizzical – I can relate to your reaction. I too have experienced that seemingly paralytic feeling when one is not able to speak up for oneself. I believe in my case my avoidance of conflict comes in to play.

    There’s always that awful feeling in the pit of my stomach if I have to assert myself in the spur of the moment and then after the incident itself. It’s something I am trying to overcome and so I tell myself not to worry about what people think about what I say but there is always that insecurity about people not liking me. Which seems silly if I think about it with any kind of distance. Why should I really care what relative strangers think about me? I experienced a lot of bullying as a kid so in my armchair analysis I guess that fear stays with you. Nevertheless, while it has been helpful to recognize the feeling that occurs in the sense that I can make a conscious effort to not think that way, it is hard behaviour to unlearn. No matter what logic dictates that gut reaction just kicks in anyway. It always amazes me when I’m in a meeting and people speak up to voice a negative response to a suggestion. I can speak up to agree, or offer a suggestion but would never think of an opposing thing to argue about or put myself out to argue for a cause. I guess fighting off bullies throughout my childhood took away my energy for doing it with any kind of confidence as an adult.


    Post count: 251

    I had a great moment last weekend; I was at my college reunion and my 12-year-old daughter was in a conversation with me and some old friends, and she happened to make a joke which cracked us all up. And my friend then said to my daughter, “Wow, you have that same off-the-wall humor as your mom; it’s awesome!” I absolutely beamed with pride!

    I’ve actually had some interesting thoughts regarding humor, but I think I might start a different topic for that. In the meantime, I’m glad that you like my sense of humor, Bellamom, and my writing, Nellie! Thanks so much for the compliments!


    Post count: 929

    Hi quizzical,

    I still really get a kick out of your avatar every time I see it. It shows that same sense of humor. I remember a post from you about how you can get into a very entertaining clown mode when it’s just you and your kids, and then you’re more serious and mature when your husband comes home. I’ll bet that’s totally normal, okay, and super lucky for your family. It’s a mystery why we question ourselves so much. I’m on vacation from that again…

    I really tried to post a response last week but just couldn’t make it make sense. I was too pre-occupied being way too hard on myself. We love our kids and want nothing on the planet more than giving them a good life, and hopefully protecting them from the pain we’ve had to deal with.

    My daughter has picked up on a lot of my sense of humor too. It’s bliss seeing the confidence in her eyes when I was telling her boyfriend about how funny her dry sense of humor was even when she was really little, great funny stories that made her beam with self esteem and confidence. Thanks a billion million for reminding me of that part of this last weekend.

    It bothers me a lot when people say “don’t be so hard on yourself” so it’s hard to say that to you. It’s good advice for us though. It hurts to hear it because it’s so painfully true, it’s the broken wreckord of my life… (weird spelling on purpose, cuz it wrecks my insides) It could be my worst demon, and when a person actually agrees with and even encourages my “inner bully” the pain is impossible to describe. Especially when it’s about the most important goal in our life. Please don’t let that mean ladies gibberish repeat inside your head. You do not deserve that horrible kind of abuse.

    To be the best possible parent we can be. That is a goal that deserves honor, dignity, and even gratitude. Not all parents have these same instincts. I’ll bet if you and your husband sat down together, you could come up with a list of qualities you have, and have had for a long time but your inner bully seems to always interrupt when you start to see them.

    I hope you realize how much so many folks in this camp really care about you. We’re all rootin for ya, you’ve got backup!.

    I hope to see those interesting throughts regarding humor when you’re ready to share it with us. You’re an important part of this community. You help tons of people!, we’re just so darn impulsive and running late that we forget to just say thanks. So thanks again. A lot. Tons.

    A bunch! :-)


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