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Chattering Monkeys

Chattering Monkeys2011-06-03T13:26:37+00:00

The Forums Forums I Just Found Out! My Story Chattering Monkeys

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    Sean E Bravo
    Post count: 7

    Hello everyone!

    I originally arrived on this website because I’m a huge Rick Green fan *boot to the head*. Oh and because I was trying to find advice on what to do and who to go to about my ADHD. I’ve been thinking of posting for almost a year, yay, I finally am!

    Anyhoo, I’m a 36 year old father of 3. I’m recently divorced and am engaged to an amazing American woman named Jana. I was diagnosed with ADHD 6 years ago. I came home to my first wife and told her the news. She said “that’s bull$h*t you should just be more responsible”. After that, I was really afraid to think about ADHD, or what it meant to me. I spent a few years trying to organize my life, manage things efficiently and just bite my tongue whenever I felt attacked by anyone…which never seems to work, still to this day. Things really changed that day though. And eventually, my need for treatment…or rather everyone else’s need for my treatment got so intense that I really had no choice. A client of my fiancée is a nurse practitioner and specializes in ADD and suggested I get on medication…which I did. I then started getting treatment, and things are looking up and up and up.

    8 years ago, I was working as a health and safety specialist at a local hospital. I had a part time job on the weekends clowning (balloons, magic, facepainting etc.) and was deeply falling in love with face and body art. I had many people asking if I have ever painted someone’s entire body, and thought that would be fun. 6 years ago (a few months past my original diagnosis) I painted my first full body. Since then, I’ve been on the cover of magazines, various “how to” books, I’ve painted at the Playboy Mansion, Cirque du Soiliel, Tradeshows, corporate functions and night clubs all over North America. More dear to me as a success than all that is my relationship with my fiancee, Jana and my work towards finding a way to manage my ADHD. I was bullied as a kid, and married a bully. I’ve been a classic “yes, but” person with my successes in life and really lost confidence in myself and my abilities despite all the amazing things I’ve accomplished lately. I’m working on that and feel like I’m getting better.

    I sometimes like to equate my brain to an office full of chattering monkeys hammering away on typewriters, swinging from the ceiling fan, photocopying their butts and making a mess of the filing cabinet etc. With the power of vivanse, a smart councellor, and the love of a good woman I’m learning to reign those monkeys in but they still get out and hop into the Sean E. Bravo driver seat. I still feel like I’m a traveler from a different dimention, or an alien or something, but I’m learning to integrate with society a bit better now.

    I feel like there is such a long journey on this road. I’ll post challenges and the like in other posts, as I think this is just to introduce myself and say hi…and I’ll ramble on and on for days here if I let myself.

    Thank you to everyone involved in this website. It has really been a positive influence in my life this past year and I appreciate it.




    Post count: 14413

    Chattering monkeys? SeanE, I just love that comparison! As a young child I loved the Curious George storybooks and now read them to my kids at school.

    I’m not sure why I loved those stories so much more than my 4 sisters but I’m betting it’s because I’m the only ADHD one amongst them. When I heard the Curious George books I always totally understood why Geroge got into so much ‘mischief’. There was simply no other way than for him to do the things he did. George was just the same as me and through it all he knew he was still loved by the man in the yellow hat.

    So glad that you enjoy this site as much as I do!


    Post count: 14413

    I love the chattering monkeys description. That sums thing up perfectly!! Currently my monkeys are asleep, following a couple of glasses of port at a friend’s house, but so is my motivation to do anything….but then again, my motivation seems to spend a lot of time sleeping regardless!

    Well done on finding a career that you are comfortable with, and suits you (from the sounds of it). So many people here seem to struggle with jobs and ADHD.

    Welcome to the site :)


    Sean E Bravo
    Post count: 7

    I had a pretty good revelation with my therapist yesterday that I’d like to share along the chattering monkey line.

    Now the monkeys are there, and will be. But when they’re yelling at me I never really felt like I understood where that came from, and now I think I do.

    I’ve spent a life time of coming into the movie half way through, and having to piece together the beginning by what I’m hearing in the now. In other words. I’m distracted, then I realize someone’s been telling me something important, or a teacher in school has been trying to teach the class…I was busy wondering what ever happened to the band the Wallflowers, because Bob Dylan’s son was the lead singer and the bass player is really awesome in that band…..and blamo…I just realize, I should know what’s going in but I don’t. So while I may be proficient at catching up and figuring out what I’m supposed to be doing…and now that I’ve practiced it *drum roll* actually saying “hold on, I missed something, can we just go back for a second and repeat.”…..I really wasn’t growing up. And thus I’d get into “trouble” “sean never does this, Sean always does that” I’d feel like I let someone down because I didn’t meet their expectations, which of course was impossible because, I never knew what the expectation was in the first place.

    Phew…sorry, that was a hard paragraph.

    Anyhoo, So now I’m in my 30’s and my survival tactic has been to just try to presume what everyone’s possible expectation could be and then try to satisfy them. When things don’t go my way, or when things are really upsetting to me, but not really upsetting to others, I am left confused and wondering if I’m from another dimention. Which of course I am, by choice. My chattering monkeys chirp and dance about with all these expectations that I can’t possibly meet and then point and laugh at me when I get frustrated because I can’t possibly meet those self-imposed and unrealistic expectations.

    When my chattering monkeys work for me has always been when I was in the moment. I’m not frustrated at where I think I should be or feeling hopelessly unable to be where I think I should be. When I quiet things down, it’s because I’m right here, right now. And suddenly I’m in the same dimension as those around me and the monkeys start working for me instead of against me.

    I’m sorry this is a long post, I didn’t have time to write a smaller one. I hope it made some sense, I’m just excited about this discovery and will keep you up to date with how it’s going. I’m also running late. So….umm…

    Thanks for listening.



    Post count: 363

    Sean, I love that you’re doing something creative that you’re good at and getting recognition for it. That is inspiring. I’m very happy for you. That is AWESOME.

    I was a fine arts major, and worked many low-level jobs while trying to paint at night and didn’t get too far with it in the first ten years because I didn’t have outside support. Later I had the support but discovered I worked very slowly and didn’t put together enough work for an exhibition for four years. Then I had children and gave up my studio. Later, I studied graphic design and couldn’t find a job…tried to freelance but couldn’t stay motivated because I don’t like schmoozing, I don’t do marketing or have that performer’s vibe. Nowadays I make repeat pattern designs for my own amusement. I don’t know if there is a market in the world where what I do fits, but I’m OK with it. The pleasure of making these things, and finding that I can do them for hours and don’t want to stop even after I have repetitive stress injuries, comes before any other way I might spend my free time. There is something important about people with ADHD doing what comes easily and naturally, what is fun, and what is absorbing – and taking the path of least resistance. I still work an office support job where sometimes I get to use my design skills, but mostly it is classic underachievement.

    I wasn’t diagnosed with ADHD until I was 45, and am only recently learning what it is and how it’s affected my life. I’m 48 now, and looking back, I think it’s extremely important to learn as much as possible. The way it worked for me is my doctor gave me the diagnosis and a prescription, but no real information about what to do, or where to look for help. I tried CHADD online, and didn’t find anything there I could relate to. I tried a local ADHD organization, and only found what I thought was a patronizing bunch of B.S. Then I found a coach who helped me feel better about myself, but I still didn’t understand what I was dealing with. Prior to that I had done years of regular talk-therapy which was either unhelpful or actively damaging. Only by hearing about the experiences of others with ADHD in a group situation have I come to appreciate the difference between what is hard-wired brain functioning and what is morality. All that self-blame stuff has been a major league monkey on my back – and I’ve found out most of my fears and most of my real ethical challenges (like lying to cover up ADHD symptoms) are driven by the ADHD itself. So looking at it in terms of mechanics and how I can restructure my environment is more effective than guilt or criticism. I’m starting to see I need stuff in my environment to do for me what I can’t do for myself, and there’s no shame in that.

    I try to practice letting go of what goes on that’s beyond my control – like what other people do or think. That way I’m not obsessing about stuff I can’t fix, fulminating or carrying around resentments, or trying to exert my will on anyone. This frees up a lot of my energy for what I like to do. I’m used to mental noise, but being in the moment instead of rushing around to do things seems to help. My favorite Curious George story was when he tried to clean up an ink spill by spraying water into a room until it filled up with soap suds, then he stole a pump from a farm to try to get the water out. The entire progression of events made perfect sense.

    ; )

    Rock on.

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