Trek for Tourette: Support for Friends and Family with Tourette Syndrome

Jimmy Whales Takin' it All In

How to Ask for Money Without Sounding like Jimmy Whales

When I first started writing this blog entry, I found myself writing,

“Dear The People,

Thank you so much for being such loyal and awesome readers.”

Then I stopped myself, realizing that I had written a load of garbage.

Wait, wait, no, no! Not because it’s not true! You, The People, are excellent in so many ways. I can’t thank you enough for your continued excellence!

The problem is, if I were to explain to you my appreciation, my TRUE appreciation for your excellence, I would make a separate blog entry, no? I would never, say, compliment you and butter you up in order to cook you in the oven of FUNDRAISING. Lure you into my ginger bread house then trap you with guilt and manipulation.

Basically, the compliments were not coming from the right place, and I apologize.

This made me realize that usually when I read any articles that end in solicitations, they follow pretty much the same formula:

1. Flattery For You

2. Why We Love What We Do

3. Why We Care So Much About Said Charity

4. We Wouldn’t Be Able To Do What We Do Without Your Support And Generosity

5. Can We Have Some Money Now

I’m not saying that this is a terrible formula. It works well, and you gotta pay the billz! So that’s fine. The problem is that it’s not very sincere, and everyone knows this. You’re not foolin’ anyone, even if you tell me I’m pretty and that I look good in short shorts! (Thank you).

So I’m going to start over. And this time, it’s personal.

I’m going to start by telling you my story.

When I was growing up in the small town of Shediac, New Brunswick, it was absolutely normal to hear F words, JC words and other cussies in the house. The finger was also a normal part of our household. Now I’m not saying a 7-year-old Cindy could go up to Mom and say, “hey Ma, what the F*** are we having for dinner?” No way in heck. In fact my parents considered it offensive to swear, and we were trained to speak properly.

That means that we had two sets of ears:

1) the kind that were sensitive to bad words and would remind us to change the channel or turn off the movie if there were too many.

2) the kind that barely even batted an eye (yep, ears bat eyes now) when the shouts echoed through our house.

My dad was the unmistakeable Touretter of the house. He invited parents over who got in contact with him through the Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada, to discuss how to handle their children. I remember watching them pour out their feelings and anxieties, not knowing what to do!

My dad even travelled (and still does from time to time!) with my mom to different schools to explain to children and teachers the dynamics of the disorder.

Tourettes often includes other disorders like ADHD:

We in the business call it TS+.

The most interesting part of our Tourette adventures was the annual Bike-a-Thon we’d have to raise money:

The one that's the kid is me.

The After-Party

Tourettes Are Cool

Long story short, for me, it was a lot of fun and games. We had a community of friends with TS. We celebrated our different styles of tics, and laughed at the random and silly ones!

Oh I guess I shouldn’t say “we”! My bad. I didn’t know I had Tourettes, and neither did my brothers. We always supported Dad and our many friends, but our signs weren’t obvious back then. My Dad could tell, but we were in denial.

My symptoms have progressed since then. In 2004 it was mild, in 2008 it was at its highest peek, where I couldn’t go 10 minutes without having a tic.* Now I have it mostly under control, but things like stress, sugar or alcohol can bring it back with a vengeance! Oh and cold temperatures, oddly enough.

I was 13 when we had our last Bike-a-Thon and we went out with a bang. It was our most enjoyable year yet. They couldn’t continue though…Kids grow up and find other interests. Other life goals become a priority.

Now the Tourette Syndrome Foundation has started a new annual Fundraiser, the Trek for Tourette, to be held this Sunday, March 25th, 2012. This is the 4th Annual Trek, but I only heard about it last year.

Last year around this time, my mom was excitedly telling me about the new fundraiser, and to be honest, I ended up saying, “meh.” I’m not some cute kid who can go knock on doors and say, “Hi! Tourette Syndrome! Sign here!” and people kind of scratch their heads and go, “Well hi there little girl. Here’s 5 dollars.”

No, times have changed!

But this year I decided to do it.

I decided because back when I had a supportive community, I “didn’t have Tourettes.” Now I do, and I live in the big city of Toronto, where I don’t know too many people here who have it. So I signed up, Joel and myself, so we could meet some new people and start over with some new friends.

It’s really important to get together with people who have the same difficulties as you. If you have any health issues, mental or physical, you KNOW how great it is to feel like you’re not alone.

So that is why I wrote this blog. To express my need for Tourette Camaraderie.

And to let you know that my dream job is to help kids with TS, and give them the comfort and warmth that I had growing up, and that my Dad was able to provide for many other people too.

I know I didn’t talk much about money in this blog, and that is because the funds are my secondary reason for doing the Trek. But I will let you know that I may have overshot and made a goal of raising $200….and right now I’m at $20.

So…there isn’t much hope of me reaching my goal…

OR IS THERE??

If you’d like to help me reach my goal to bring over 20 dollars to the Trek, please go here:

http://www.tourette.ca/eventscalendar-event.php?entry_id=14136

Click “Make a Pledge” and in the dropdown list, my Team is called “Jocynth” under Toronto.

Thanks so much for listening, and IOU one “you are such loyal and awesome readers I could just die!” article! 🙂

Thanks again,

Pertobello

My Brother Psyching Himself Up For Bike-A-Thon

*Tics vary WIDELY from person to person. My usual tics include hitting myself on the forehead, jerking my neck, biting my hand, saying the “S” or “F” word, or saying other words that happen to be rotating in my mind, like my husband’s name “JOEL!!” I guess that kind of sounds like “d’oh!!” eh? 😉

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Cindy’s Return to the Universe

Hello Friends and Well-Wishers,

I’ve been away for a long, long time. Partly this was due to getting engaged and planning a wedding. But mostly it was because I read on wordpress.com that in order to get lots of readership, you need to blog often. So I wrote 4 blogs, wham wham wham! Wham! And things were going great. It was really helping my stats! But I guess my circuits were overloaded by the overblogging, because for the next few months I took to staring at my computer, mouth ajar, eyes aglaze, lips asnarl and mind ablank, instead of you know, writing stuff.

Things I’ve been up to:

Marriage! Here are the pics by our wonderful and amazing friend @vitzter:

http://vito.smugmug.com/Weddings/Joel-Cindy/20974291_6CQMWt#!i=1666825713&k=bx88RRm

Maybe some of you have seen my tweets on the subject, but I’ve been watching a show called, “The Family Guy.”

Q: Family “what?”

A: Family Guy.

Q: Hmm, never heard of it.

A: I know, I think it was some Indie show there for awhile. Seems up and coming though!

Q: I’m just kidding. OF COURSE I’ve heard of it. YOU don’t know anything about it because all you watch all day is a one-eyed chick who will never realize how much she loves her idiot red-headed friend with a heart of gold!

A: SHE WILL REALIZE HOW SHE FEELS, SHE JUST NEEDS MORE TIME, OK!?

I MEAN, LOOK AT THE FANART:

Image

See?? They belong together!

Anyway, so I’ve been watching this new show called “Family Guy” and well, let me start from the beginning. When it first came out, I was not impressed at all.

I mean, a family with 3 kids, a boy, a girl and a baby? An oafish Dad and a more-than-obliging, patient wife?

Dad has his drinking buddies. Mom cleans the house and takes care of the kids.

Sounds very much like another show that was very popular around that time. A show that raised me, yes raised me like it was my own nanny. Babysitting me while one parent made supper and the other was still on their way home from work. A show that has decided my future for me, that I would be a Quoter of Simpsons, even in the most inappropriate of times. It has taken me years to undo the damage, and to learn to control my quotey impulses, especially the line, “I don’t have to be careful, I’ve got a gun!” in hotel lobbies.

Part of this was due to extreme fandom and exposure, because I’ve met many other fans who are the same as me. A situation occurs that reminds us both of a Simpsons scene and we look at each other and just say the quote. Another part is thanks to Tourette Syndrome, a syndrome that has many delightful facets. One being the ability to pick up lines, phrases and words that you enjoyed hearing, or that you’ve heard repeatedly, and allowing them to turn and turn in your head like your head is a dryer and then when the moment comes to say the line, BING the dryer’s done and all the clothes fly out and scatter all over the room. (It’s not a good dryer.)

Q: What is your favorite Simpsons quote?

A: It’s a toss up between this:

and this:

HAHAHA “Of course in Canada the whole thing’s flip flop”! Oh man! 

Ok moving on. I’m pretty sure I’ve successfully conveyed that my affection, love and obsession for the Simpsons is much more than just sentimental. 

So when Family Guy came along, I didn’t just feel challenged. Like, hey, there’s a new kid in town. I also felt angry that they used so much Simpsons material, AND because Peter was an even worse Homer. Like Seth MacFarlane just took Homer and made him 10 times worse than he already is, and Homer is already 100 times worse than any human should be! 

You are lucky I forgot how scientific notation works, otherwise I’d fill this blog up with, oh shoot I clicked “Paint” instead of “Calculator.”

 Image

But now, a whopping 12 years later, I have…I have warmed up to the characters. 

This is because they’ve actually developed the characters. The idea of an ingenius, evil baby trying to kill his mom every episode and failing because of a small coincidental slip up:

TIRESOME.

 Image

But the idea of an ingenius, slightly more mellowed out baby, quipping with the dog for 5 minutes straight, THAT I can get into!

Q: So, changing the subject, what are your plans for the future?

A: I was getting to that… 

Plans for the Future:

1. Join me in my quest to become a more regular blogger! Be my sidekick and, more realistically, my shoulder to cry on as I battle writer’s block.

2. Got some more juicy articles about ADHD coming up. I got some nice Unhelpful tips for you! That’s right, “what not to do,” unless you want to be really unproductive…which I know you do! 😉

3. An article about RomComs. This will take you through the amazing story of how I despised chick flicks, then slowly warmed up to Family Guy, er, I mean chick flicks. But then why I still distrust them. 

4. Relationship phobias: a series!

5. A movie review for the film Cowboys & Aliens.

Q: Why Cowboys & Aliens? 

A: Because I started it in September and I’ve been meaning to finish it. I will probably have to re-watch it first, because all I remember now is naked Olivia Wilde.

6. I finally know what my new novel is going to be about! My husband says I should most probably throw in some vampires, but I don’t like vampires at all. Although, I do want people to think, “hey that’s trendy. I should read it!” So I’m making it about clones. Is that ok? Ok, how about each clone gets a little vampire conscience that appears above the shoulder?

Speaking of novels, my fave Family Guy clip:

I look forward to our future together.

Posted in ADHD, Psychology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Addictions: Featuring Star Trek as a Helpful Example

Addictions:

There all kinds of them, alcohol addictions, sugar addictions, gambling addictions, computer game addictions, work addictions, shopping addictions, fancy car addictions, caffeine addictions, Korean drama addictions, chocolate addictions, nicotine addictions, medication addictions, friendship addictions (which commonly lead to stalking addictions), addictive TV show addictions, tea addictions, crumpet addictions, and come to think of it, listening to British people addictions.

Honestly, I didn’t even know there were so many addictions until I wrote that paragraph.

  • Why are there so many addictions?
  • Where did they all come from?
  • Can we send them back to Tatooine?

The answers to the following questions are as follows:

1 – People like to take advantage of the imperfection of humans and our many wants (…that slowly turn into needs as we get accustomed to having those wants in our lives).

2 – Tatooine

3 – For now, we have not yet developed the technology to launch concepts into space (let alone getting them to congregate and line up and agree to be expelled from Earth).

But it’s interesting you should bring up outer space.

Because there was an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, that aired in 1988, called “Symbiosis”, and to quote the internet, in this episode…:

“The Enterprise encounters two neighboring cultures, one suffering from a plague, the other marketing a cure, and learn that nothing is as simple as it seems.”

So we have two planets, one is the seller of medication, and the other is the buyer. At first, the crew and of course the audience are rooting for the sick planet to just get its medication so it can feel better! (There is a delay in getting the latest shipment).

Then wait a minute, when Dr. Crusher finally administers the drugs to the two guys (T’Jon & Romas) from the sick planet, she realizes that there is something fishy in the Alpha Quadrant! These guys aren’t sick! They’re suffering from withdrawal and they are just really, really, disablingly addicted to the meds. Their disease was cured years ago, but the seller planet still depends on the meds’ addictive nature to make their money and to keep their whole economy running.

At first when I saw this episode, I was thinking, “Pfft, all you need is for one hippy, or anarchist, or humanitarian, or any kind of person who has a conscience and doesn’t mind ruining a whole planet’s economy, to let the cat out of the bag.”

But then I realized, you know, this is the first season of TNG, which also features mini non-organic life forms’ calling Picard an “ugly bag of meat,” then the crew dims the lights and they react like the witch from Wizard of Oz.

So, you gotta know what you’re dealing with. First season of TNG: Not All the Bugs are Worked Out.

Bugs aside, I realized that this episode is a great allegory for our lives today. Instead of two planets though, you just have humans. Buyers and Sellers.

Me? I’m a buyer. I find myself periodically addicted to caffeine, sugar, pina coladas, bread and french fries.

Caffeine is the number one habit I’d like to kick. Especially because when I start to feel down or dreary, I should probably reach for some vegetables and fruits, which contain nutrients that will actually make me feel better, not just make me THINK I feel better.

And that’s the problem with addictions, they make you think you feel better, but you really don’t. Because once the excitement, high or energy wears off, you’re back where you started.

How do you free yourself then?

Well, let’s ask Captain Picard.

Through most of the episode, as I remember it, Picard is lecturing everyone about not getting involved, and how it’s not the Federation way to interfere in planetary affairs.

And just when you think that these poor drug addicts are going to be stuck buying meds they don’t need, Picard says to T’Jon & Ramos, “whoops, I’m not helping you fix your cargo ship, and now you can’t get supplies. Sorry, it’s um, Starfleet protocol or something. Oh snap!” And the poor addicts are all, “AHH!! HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO US? WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE!”

What are the lessons here?

  1. Both races will now have an opportunity to advance and broaden out their economy/talents/uses of resources
  2. Cold turkey
  3. No pain, no gain
  4. The more you suffer, the more it shows you really care
  5. You can’t send all addictions into space, but you can make your own personal rocket for your own addictions that you may be struggling with.

And finally…

6. You are not going to die without the thing you’re addicted to. You’ll just FEEL like you’re dying. It’s totally different.

All the best to you! Me? I’m gonna cut back on the espresso.

Posted in Best of Pertobello, Psychology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Shia LaBoeuf, Rosie Huntington-Whitely, John Malkovich, Leonard Nemoy

Canadian Rating: PG

Despite the following things:

  1. My distaste for the first Transformers movie,
  2. My anger toward this genre of films from all the laziness that goes into making them,
  3. Michael Bay,
  4. Too much action in a movie,
  5. That I saw the movie at 10 in the morning,

I kinda liked this movie.

Obviously, a part of my enjoyment was due to expecting not to like it. Normally I will argue that “expectations” don’t affect my opinion, and I am very proud of being able to form an opinion without being “controlled” by “hype” or “build-up”, whether negative or positive.

But this time, expectations was definitely a factor. If you’re going into a fight with all of your muscles tense and braced for the thrashing of a lifetime, but then you just get Mr. Burns throwing terribly weak punches, well, it’s going to feel good. It must release endorphins when something is not as bad as you expected.

Now that we got that out of the way, here is the outline for my review:

1) Stuff I didn’t hate.

If you’d like me to dumb it down a shade, let me know! I was thinking of having a section for stuff I did hate, but it’s so quick that I can run that by you right now.

1. The final action sequence could have been shorter, because you’re watching the same thing for, it feels like, a solid hour. Even the fiancé got bored and he loves action. But there are cool things in that sequence that I discuss later.

2. And that Carly girl: too much chest and butt close-ups! Trust me, we have eyes! We can see that she’s hot! It looked too much like they were overcompensating for losing Megan Fox.

Stuff I Didn’t Hate

1) Dialogue/Humor

This happens every damn time I watch a Michael Bay movie. I’m all geared up to make fun of every pathetic/cliché/badly acted/fake/thrown together line before the writers cut out early to get wasted, using their fat wallets to celebrate their paycheques that roll in after they use material which I’m sure they stole from my grade 3 creative writing notebook.

Then I realize I’m not watching Spiderman 3 and that everything’s ok, and that Michael Bay actually does spring for good writers. Not as much as for graphics, but it’s decent. And one rule for me is that if you want to win me over, use good lines. And I’ll like it. I may not always love it, but I feel like that is the most important part of a movie. So I’ll appreciate that you had your priorities in order.

The dialogue was relaxed and natural. It didn’t feel constructed or contrived, and it even seemed even a bit improvised (something I always agree with). I assume some of Shia La – (sigh, one thing I hate about reviewing films is interrupting my train of thought to google how these actors’ names are spelled) – Beouf’s lines were improvised, because he rambles a lot, and I have a friend who is just like him and he talks and rambles like crazy and he would be great at improv, so I assume it’s the same for Shia.

3) John Malkovich

Always a treat.

4) Chicago

I have never seen Chicago get destroyed like that! I’m sure it’s happened, but for me that was new and exciting! From my observation, New York and LA are the destroyer movies, while Chicago and Miami are the feel good movies. I mean, “While You Were Sleeping”? “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”? Do you dare destroy Ferris’s hometown?

5) Leonard Nemoy

I’m not sure if it was Leonard Nemoy that I loved more, or the moment where Joel and I both realized that it was Leonard Nemoy at the same, and we turned to each other and gasped.

I feel like Leonard’s presence added something special to the movie. These autobots, especially the leaders, need powerful commanding voices that sound above-human, and Leonard’s voice is perfect for that.

Admittedly, it was very weird when he quoted Star Trek and said, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” At first, I was totally having a temper tantrum. Without revealing too much, his character Sentinal used it in a way that was really out of context, so the obsessive part of me was perturbed. But then, I realized, hey, Star Trek is mostly old news if it’s not with Chris Pine, so it was a little something for the fans. Plus I got to explain the reference to Joel, so the movie wasn’t just him explaining Transformer references to me. 

6) An Imperfect Hero

The whining did get annoying, trust me. And I will gladly complain about that. If I had to listen to Sam say one more time, “I saved the world twice and now I have to work in a stupid mailroom,” I would have sent a popcorn bag sailing toward the screen. But nonetheless, he is an imperfect teenager who makes silly mistakes, and that has much more appeal for the audience, especially because he contrasts with the older, more mature autobots.

One of my favorite lines is when he completely bombs his interview with John Malkovich’s character, Bruce. Then when Sam is about to leave he turns around and says, “look, I can’t tell you what I did but I’ve saved your life twice. I’ve done s**t that matters.” And he gets hired!

7) Compare/Contrast with Transformers 1

Here is another important key as to why I liked it even though many reviewers (who are kinder to these genres) did not care for it.

I really didn’t like the first Transformers. I felt like it was 20% character development and plot build-up (which was very good!) but then 80% action. And that is how to make Pertobello snore.

Giant wads of action do not impress me or win my heart over. Normally I can only handle 20 minutes at a time, but with Michael Bay, obviously I need to compromise. So I propose that he break it up more, which he did for me in T3.

T3:

Story, Action, Story, Action, Story, Action, Story, Action, Action, Action, Action.

T1:

Story, Action, Action, Action, Action, Action, Action, Action, Action, Action.

I never went to see Transformer 2, if you’ve been wondering about that. I heard that it went more like this:

ACTION x 10^12

So I figured I’d be ok if I missed that one.

8) Chicago Again

Chicago is a beautiful city. I was so impressed when I was there in February 2011. Just gorgeous. The shots of the city in this movie were breathtaking, and it felt like I was there again.

There was one scene where Shockwave, the crazy giant snake Decepticon, wrapped around this glass building and trapped the good guys inside (please excuse my ignorance if Shockwave is supposed to be an eel or something. I’m not up on my Transformers knowledge).

The graphics were amazing. Since the bulk of the sequence took place in the morning, the sun glistened off windows as the building was reshaped. With the morning light and the reflections on the building, Michael was able to get some gorgeous shots.

So that was my take on Transformers 3. Was it a perfect movie? No. But the important thing is I didn’t spend the movie wincing and doing a half-shrug, half throwing hands up in the air gesture either, which I do during painful movies.

It was fun, it was worth my money for sure, and I’d see it again.

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Does Everyone Have ADHD These Days?

The other day I was talking to a lady.

No word of a lie!

And we were taking about attention spans and so on, and I said to her, “I actually have ADD.” She replied with a shrug and said, “I think everyone has ADD.”

I had to admit the lady made a good point and she has good reasons for saying this. It’s true: our attention spans these days have gotten worse, as a culture. 

On the other hand, some people say that NO ONE has ADHD and that it’s a made up condition to try and account for bad behavior and laziness. I got in a semi-heated argument with someone on Twitter over this. I say “semi” because I think I got pretty heated, while he remained cool.

So why does this happen? Why is there such a wide range of beliefs? I mean, we’re not talking about UFO sightings, are we?

Why is it easy to question ADHD and not, say….dyslexia, bi-polar or schitzophrenia?

To answer these questions, I’ll start by quickly listing some of the major symptoms in adults:

___

Hyperactivity

Fidgeting

Easily Frustrated

Impatience

Impulsivity

Avoiding activities that require mental effort

Time management; not up to snuff

Money management; weak

Procrastination

Forgetful

Insomnia

___

I would understand why anyone would look at that list and say, hey, everyone suffers a little bit from these things. Easily frustrated? Come on! I almost punched a guy today for chewing loudly. Does that mean I have ADHD? He was crackling his bag of chips too! How annoying!

So, what I’m saying to you is, I get that. I really get that.

Here is the outline for the topics I will use to slowly break down the “everyone wants to punch someone” opinion. This is not to smash the opinion, but it’s to open it up and give it a good look with a microscope.

Impatience

Anxiety

Skepticism

Denial

__

IMPATIENCE 

In a nutshell, IMPATIENCE IS MORE RAMPANT IN TODAY’S WORLD THAN ACNE IN JUNIOR HIGH.

Due to new inventions making life easier, making wait times shorter, and giving us the ability entertain ourselves with smartphone games when we’re standing in line for a cheeseburger, we become in a manner of speaking, “spoiled.”

We forget what it was like to wait in the grocery line with no phone, forced to find out what Brad and Jen were up to, back in the day.

To illustrate:

2 days ago, I was watching that old Weird Al video, “Amish Paradise,” that came out when I was 10 years old. That’s 15 years ago. Someone recently left a youtube comment saying something like, “man I hate how there are ads on the screen now.”

Then someone else decided to set that person straight and they said, and I quote:

“I know everyone wants to hate on Vevo and youtube. However this makes me grateful to live in this time. You little s**ts outta be grateful. When this s**t came out the only way for me to watch this whenever I wanted to was to sit by my freakin VCR and wait for Mtv to play a vid….AND you better acknowledge that a Weird Al vid came along about every blue f***in moon. So quit whining about a 30 second ad you technology b**ches.”

I just checked it now to get that quote, and it had turned into a crazy screaming fest in 2 days.

So, how was impatience demonstrated in this scenario? Let me count the ways.

1. Complaining about minor inconveniences and forgetting that there was a time when people had to walk to school in 2 feet of snow every day, uphill both ways.

2. Impatience with the personalities and differing viewpoints of others. Instead of having a mature debate over tea, they were yelling and screaming and using F bombs liberally.

(Sidenote, could you imagine having a chat with someone in a coffee shop, and you casually mention a minor annoyance in life, and some passerby comes up to you and starts cursing at you and calling you a horrible person? Fortunately, in REAL life, this is not considered normal. Anyway. I believe that in the Western World, venting about little annoyances is a big part of our culture, and it makes us feel better. So with all due respect, please deal with it!)

So getting back to the matter, if someone says to me, “what are your symptoms?” and I say, “impatience,” well, that is not going to sound convincing. Many people deal with impatience every day. 

I was telling a good friend and fellow ADDer about a bad habit I have, where I use bank machines and I don’t read the questions. I always press the wrong buttons. I have everything set up to take out $40, then it says “the bank will charge you $1.50. Are you sure you want to continue?” and I think “eh, it’s probably asking me if I want a receipt. NAH.” then I hit “cancel” and wham, it spits out my card and I don’t get $40. And that makes me so angry because now I have to do it all over again, and it was already torture in the first place! That’s why I tried to cheat and skip the questions!

My friend said, “that sounds to me like general impatience, which always comes with ADD.”

__

ANXIETY

When I read some of the book The Everything Health Guide to Adult ADD/ADHD, it said that whatever you do, don’t diagnose yourself. There are many things that mimic ADHD symptoms; anxiety being at the top of the list. And since this world seems to be expecting more from us every day, and crunching more deadlines, and making us more afraid of bad things happening to us, how the heck are we supposed to stay calm?

Concentrating is a lot more difficult than it used to be when my parents were in school.

So, long story short, ANXIETY IS MORE RAMPANT THAN SWEARS ON YOUTUBE.

Other things that cause ADHD symptoms: side effects from some medications, spinal misalignment, head injuries and thyroid disease.

Simply not going to the chiropractor can give you ADHD symptoms.

And not only do some conditions mimic ADHD, but ADHD mimics other conditions. So it all gets very confusing!

__

SKEPTICISM

I’m not a skeptical person but for some reason I get along really well with skeptics. I might even say that some of my best friends are skeptics! 😉

This is because growing up with argumentative people, I’m always prepared for an argument, should one arise. Even though I am naturally more comfortable with common ground and cooperation, I tend to always have bits of facts in my back pocket just in case.

The problem with skeptics, and I mean this with love if you are one, is that sometimes you get into the habit of rejecting an idea out of habit, not because the facts are flimsy or because it sounds loony. That is when  you run into trouble with me because rejecting an idea before you understand it is just as silly as…wait for it…:

BEING GULLIBLE. Which is supposed to be the opposite of what skeptics do.

The same silliness applies in both situations.

Similarly, it may be silly to complain about a little ad on youtube, but it’s just as silly to complain about that complainer like they are Hitler.

So as much as certain people will say, “prove to me you have ADHD with real facts!” Yeah, it sounds intimidating, especially if you don’t have any extraordinary story, just that you procrastinate and that you hate concentrating.

But immediately rejecting ADHD without knowing much about neurological disorders comes from habit; it doesn’t come from a solid place. Can that person prove to you that you don’t have it? Do they have facts and research to back up its non-existence?

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DENIAL

Most of my life, my Dad was suspicious that I might have Tourette Syndrome, but he didn’t say anything until I was 19. That’s when he started planting the idea in my head.

I said, “come on Dad, I know I like to make funny noises, but I do that when I’m in the comfort of my own home. I don’t do it in front of, you know, real people.”

I assumed that since I had some control over what I did, that it couldn’t be Tourettes. But it might be possible that my Dad was a bit wiser than me, especially since he dedicated a lot of his time and efforts working with the Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada creating awareness in New Brunswick; a province that had zero awareness until he was diagnosed with it in the States in the 80’s.

Eventually when I was 22 I realized my Dad was right. The cute funny sounds eventually turned into swear words, and the swear words turned into physical tics like jerking my neck and biting my hand. So I got diagnosed in 2008.

Then it took me two more years to figure out that I had major problems with inattentiveness.

Sometimes we don’t realize we have a condition because we assume we know what it must feel like for that person. And you don’t feel that way. You don’t feel the emotions that you’ve constructed in your mind for the person who does have it. So the last thing on your mind is that you might be a victim, yourself!

I grew up with Touretters, because they would always come over and ask my Dad for advice. So you might think it would be easy for me to recognize that I had it, in such a…pool of Tourette knowledge. But it was still hard to apply those symptoms and feelings to myself.

Before I realized I had ADHD, I didn’t know how frustrating and painful it actually was. I just thought ADHD was just being hyper and impulsive and wanting to have fun all the time. I had no idea that it was, well, a real challenge. Like, A REAL CHALLENGE! I was a skeptic, myself. And what did I think I had? I assumed I suffered from extreme immaturity and that I would eventually grow up and get organized. So my life really changed when it hit me.

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The bulk of this article is why the definition, boundaries and symptoms of ADHD are always in question. The answer: Because everyone suffers from ADHD symptoms now and then, and it makes ADHD look like it might not be a legitimate condition.

So how do we know which is which?

It’s all about the source of your problems

Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder is partly caused by a deficiency of dopamine in your brain (as is Tourette Syndrome, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and other problems.)

Dopamine contributes to the executive function in your brain, which manages priorities, makes decisions and basically helps you keep your life and your thoughts organized. ADHDers are not as well developed when it comes to these skills and functionalities, which is what causes them to act impulsively (i.e. spending your last 5 dollars for the week on a frappucino instead of on dinner.), and to avoid anything that requires mental effort (i.e. most things you have to do as an adult).

If your ADHD symptoms are not caused by this, then they are symptoms of something else. The best thing to do is to get checked, because no matter who (or how many people) says (or say), “everyone deals with these problems,” the truth is, it’s actually not normal. We are supposed to be able to concentrate easily, so if you do have trouble focusing, make sure to find out what’s going on.

Then you can take real steps to make it better!

Posted in ADHD, Psychology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Ask A Worry Wart – July Edition

“Tell Me Your Secrets”

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My parents are coming to visit, and they want to meet my BF. That’s not the problem. The problem is choosing which one… I didn’t mean to have 20 boyfriends at the same time, it just sort of happened. How do I pick one and not hurt the others?

-A Modern-Day Snow White

Hi Snow White,

I understand your dilemma, and rest assured that it is a common one. Many women today suffer from, “Yes, Man Syndrome.” Not “yes man” but “Yes, Man.” When a man asks you for your number, and you’re too worried about hurting his feelings to say that you’re already seeing someone (or 8 or 12 or 20), you give him your number. The next thing you know: 20 boyfriends!

Your parents, being from a more conservative generation, are assuming that you have a modest number of boyfriends (5 or less). So don’t worry about eliminating all of them – that would be too overwhelming for now – but try to trim them down to a more reasonable number. Start by being honest with yourself and with your boyfriends.

Listen closely to the things they talk about. If one of your boyfriends casually mentions that he’s committed a misdeed, say murder or arson, have an honest talk with him about how you’d like to be with someone more mature, and someone who’ll take good care of you instead of murdering you if you displease him. At first he will be upset, but you stand your ground, Missy! As he leaves your house pouting, let out a sigh of relief. You’ve said goodbye to your first demise! I mean, boyfriend!

Other possible misdeeds include torturing animals, stealing kidneys, or kidnapping. All these are things to keep an eye out for if you’re looking to trim your beaus.

When it comes down to the final 10, that’s when it gets really tough. By this time you’ll be dealing with guys who are pretty ok and you’ll have formed quite an attachment to them. Now you have to look closely for your mental abusers, your cheapies, your uglies and your cheaties.

Once you cut these men, you’ll be down to a solid 4 or 5, a much easier number for the modern-day Snow White to introduce to her parents. Good luck with everything!

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A good friend of mine wants me to read her short stories and review them. I love reading, but truth be told I find this exhausting. I want to encourage her, but the writing is awful. How do I tactfully tell her I don’t want to read her writings anymore?

-An Overwhelmed Friend

Dear Friend,

Ah, this is a feeling I know all too well. I really identify with this because having ADHD, I pick up certain stories, amateur or not, and if the opening line sounds like this: “Once upon a time in a garden that everyone loved to visit..” I have already closed the book and started doing something else.

It’s much tougher with a close friend, because they’ll say, “so WHAT DIDJA THINK?” with big, watery eyes, looking as sensitive as a game controller for Gran Turismo 2. That’s right, you’re dealing with a car that could be smashed into a guard rail at any moment and explode.

I think I will call your friend “GT.”

Everyone is sensitive about his or her writing. For instance, GT knows she likes what she wrote, but she already knows the story in advance. She doesn’t get the chance to actually be surprised by twists or wonder how it’s all going to turn out. Hoping the story will have that “suspense” effect on other readers, GT asks you to read her story, grasping her leg tightly with one hand, biting her knuckles with the other, and wrapping up fearfully into a fetal position.

And she waits.

And you read.

And she waits.

And you read.

And as you read, you daydream about going to the zoo and feeding the bears, and doing all kinds of things you actually like doing.

So how can we fix this scenario?

I told my friends once, “hey, if you want me to respond to a text message within 24 hours, just start the text with, ‘some baby huskies are going to die and ONLY YOU CAN SAVE THEM! All you have to do is correctly answer this question:'” then you type “what are you up to this Saturday?” or whatever you were planning to say. It has worked EVERY TIME.

So applying the Husky method to GT’s writings, gently ask her to write about things you really care about. What are your interests? Mine are huskies, Hello Kitty, movies, science fiction, koi and other colorful fishes, Chardonnay, Futurama, space documentaries and Metric.

So find out what your interests are, and gently let GT know that she needs to include more of those things into her stories. Car chases? Romance? Advice on gourmet food preparation and dinner parties?

Don’t mention that you prefer to read about these things. Use phrases like, “it’s all the rage,” and “these days people only want to read about….quadratics.” And you can throw in whatever you’d like.

I think this method will make both you and GT happier. And you might be able to pick up some nice cooking tips along the way! 🙂

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Why do bad things happen to good dinosaurs?

-A Concerned Animal-Lover

Dear Concerned,

I’m going to assume you’re between the ages of 25 and 35. If that is the case, you are most likely dealing with the post-traumatic stress of watching “Land Before Time” when you were young.

I see this all the time. One day you’re doing fine, the next day you have the shakes and you go pale as a ghost.

I personally do like this movie, but I’ve just seen too many “Land Before Time”-related attacks, breakdowns and even suicides, for me to be able to condone a film like this for children.

The movie deals with issues that are far too sensitive and mature for a child’s mind: abandonment, racism, starvation, adventure and getting eaten by bullies. All these aspects of the movie stay in the child’s mind, and because he does not know how to process them, he suffers extreme reactions later in life.

My recommended cure: watch the Land Before Times: 2 to 13. It’s a whole saga of uninterrupted bliss. It’s the happy ending that just keeps going!

Invite your friends over, make some popcorn and grab some cool beers; it’s a Land Before Time Marathon Minus The First One!

By the end, you and your friends will be so doped up on warm fuzzies that you won’t even know what month it is!

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I want to get coffee in the morning before work, but near my workplace there is only a Tim Horton’s, a Second Cup, a Timothy’s, a McDonald’s, a Coffee Time, a Letteri, a Starbucks and a Cinnabon. Do you have any advice for how to deal with this lack of selection? It breaks my heart a little every day when I walk by these stores, that I’m forced to drink low-grade coffee just because it’s convenient.

A Grief-Stricken Torontonian

Dear Toronto,

I am very sorry to hear this. That sounds like an existence scarcely worth living.

I googled “coffee shops in Toronto” and I read on a very serious and reliable and credible website, that by the year 2015, every major intersection in Toronto, by law, MUST have at least 14 different types of coffee shops.

This is good news for those citizens who want that exact flavor they are craving in the morning. For instance, they might be feeling a Peruvian Irish Cream with a hint of Mint Jelly and Lamb flavor that morning. Or a Mini-Short Cappucino, Hold The Foam, Replace With Sponge Cake.

Posted in Best of Pertobello, Psychology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

How to Deal With Frenemies at Work

Do you have a Frenemy at work? Do you find your heart rate speeding up as you reach for the door of your office? Do you quietly think of skipping work in favor of going to the beach or maybe snowboarding, depending on the time of year and country you live in?

You are not alone. In fact in 2009, 80% of Canadian men and women were reported to having been frullied at work (Frenemy + bullied).

In my continuing research on psychology, I’ve now recognized the need to create awareness on this growing problem. But the fact that it’s a big problem does not automatically mean awareness. Frenemyship is a behind-the-scenes and thickly-veiled epidemic.

That is why I’ve released this detailed report, which will cover the following subjects:

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  • How to Identify a Frenemy (Q&A)
  • Examples of Frenemy Behavior
  • 5 Tips on How to Deal with a Frenemy at Work
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HOW TO IDENTIFY A FRENEMY (Q&A)

Q: Isn’t “frenemy” just a dumb buzz word that means “enemy”? I’m fired, aren’t I?

A: Oh yes. Anyway, you pose a very good question. Frenemy is the enemy’s cousin. They share the same interests: they only want what’s best for them and they do not mind pushing you aside to get what they want. The difference is how open they are about their intentions.

While an enemy will make their selfish desires clear, a Frenemy will try and hide them from you.

Q: But isn’t honesty the best policy?

A: Yes, it is, Q. But many people in the Western world suffer from problems such as low self-esteem, insecurity. anxiety, self-delusions, drug-induced hallucinations, concussions, psychopathy and chronic serial killing. Due these conditions, many people are terrified to lose your support, despite their bad habits. That means Frenemies shoulder the responsibily of balancing a friendship with you, while nurturing their dark side where they are plotting against you.

Q: You sound very paranoid.

A: That sounds like Frenemy talk to me.

Q: Whoops sorry! So where did you learn about Frenemies?

A: Sadly from my own experiences and observations. In the next section I will discuss a few Frenemy activities that I have witnessed over the last couple of years.

Q: Great! Thanks for being so awesome!

A: No problem 🙂

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EXAMPLES OF FRENEMY BEHAVIOR

Fran* and I started out as besties. We were inseparable. At my work 99% of communication is by email, so our inseparableness was electronic in nature.

Electronic friend-making is dangerous in many ways. For instance, I was not able to read Fran’s body language. Fran was able to disguise her evilness and earn my trust by saturating her emails with smiley faces, winky faces, LOLs, and generous amounts of exclamation marks. The happy ones.

In meetings she would boisterously say. “we work so well together, Cindy! I COULD HUG YOU!”

She said this because the projects we work on together tend to be more complicated, picky and high-profile than other ones in my department. So it really helps to work with people whom you can actually communicate with in a relaxed and friendly manner.

That was how I felt then.

Now, as I go to type “Fran” into an outgoing email, a feverish chill comes over me. I reach for my thermos, containing vodka and grape flavored Monster, to take me somewhere else. To remind me that no matter what happens, tomorrow is another day. To give me the strength to press “send.”

I say a little drunken prayer.

So, what happened to cause this change?

A small reason for this issue is me. When I started working on this nitpicky project, I did go thru a slightly bigger learning curve than most people would.

Because of my ADHD, when I start a new job, my learning curve is a longer and more painul process than normal. To briefly explain, if someone with ADHD is learning a new skill, we tend to say, “oh I get it!” too quickly, then go into autopilot. That autopilot gets us into trouble because we only know the basics, but every task has exceptions.

As these little exceptions come along, we plow through them as if they’re no different. Then our bosses talk to us and say, “remember what I said? When blah blah is like blar, you’re supposed to blabitty boo instead of lala balablahface” and we say, “Right! Duh!” and it takes a few more misses before we start training our brain to pay full attention and to keep our eyes open for these things.

Eventually we get it. And we get really good at it. It just takes time and patience.

So back to Fran. In the beginning I made some mistakes. My team was very understanding of this as I was just new. Fran’s team was much harder on me. Since I was wet behind the ears, my response to that was, “Ok I pretty much deserved that. I should have paid more attention.”

As I progressed and became more confident and capable, Fran and I continued to send each other sugary, smiley emails.

Then one day, long story short, an email was sent within my department that accidentally included her as a recipient. The email was a simple check-up to make sure something was getting done. Fran reads this email that is not for her, and decides to forward it to her higher-ups and all their higher-ups, and writes:

“Looks like another case of [Pertobello’s department] [screwing up] again.”

Looks like…another case…of my department…screwing up again.

How do I know about this? Because the higher-ups bounced the email all over the place, and it eventually got back to the sender, who called me over and showed it to me.

I was able to forgive Fran for this, because her bosses pressured her, and she wanted to be a good employee. I get that. I do.

But it’s only gotten worse from there.

Since then, any time something goes wrong, and I really do mean any time, and I really do mean something, but I don’t necessarily mean wrong, because it could be the most trivial thing. It could just be something that is not going perfectly smooth. It is often times the fault of an outside party, not anyone in my department or in Fran’s. But somehow, Fran finds a way to blame me.

Sometimes it gets so twisted, my brain can’t even process what just happened. I do extra things to keep her team happy and to keep things running smoothly, then they use those things against me if they can. I remember telling Fran that I would start doing this for her, and she acted so grateful and excited about it. This is typical frenemy behavior.

The main thrust of Fran’s behavior is that if anything went wrong, be it a computer error, an outside party error, (two things that happened all the time), or just something that slipped through the cracks, I would receive long, detailed emails from Fran explaining why specifically it was my fault (ending with LOL’s and TEEHEE’s, of course).

I often had to get my manager involved to help me fight these allegations. And I hate the sound of me defending myself. I’d rather take the blame than be one of those people who’s always trying to save their owns butts. But in this case I really had to get over that and fight for my survival.

What Went Wrong?

During these difficult times, Fran maintained her gushiness and over-the-top friendliness. This caused me to question my own sanity on many occasions.

It might not seem like much, but it is much.

With the work we do, we are in constant contact. So let’s say a month goes by after she’s frullied me. During that time I will slowly start to trust her again, and think, “ok she wouldn’t do that to me again. She’s obviously realized her mistake and wants to be my friend again.”

Time and time again, this line of reasoning has proven to be wrong, wrong, WRONG.

And that brings me to almost present day. Sipping Vodka. Listening to sad music about drug abuse and how it ruins friendships. A lone tear in the corner of my eye, wondering if it’s even worth it to fall down my cheek.

Aww.

Until recently, when I made some changes to my attitude.

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5 TIPS FOR HOW TO DEAL WITH A FRENEMY AT WORK

About two months ago, one of these ordeals actually made me cry. When this happened, my manager said, 1) this isn’t even a big deal because nothing bad actually happened, and 2) this is an opportunity to make things better.

It was that day that things in my brain started to shut down. Things like, caring what Fran thinks.

Tip 1: Do not care what they think 

Do you know why you shouldn’t care? Because 99% of the time, THIS is what they are thinking, “la la la la la bumble bee stings hurt meow meow meow meow KITTIES LOL!!!! 🙂 🙂 😉 ”

There is no point in wasting any energy trying to understand someone whose mind is occupied with thoughts like these.

Tip 2: Smile and turn the other cheek

As you know, Fran has a bad habit of arguing until I basically give up. That is one of her great tactics. The other day, she accused me of doing something wrong, and I just emailed her back and said, “Thank you, Fran 🙂 ” It felt so good to deny her the pleasure of arguing with me.

Tip 3: Remember that you are better than them

Frenemies treat you the way they do because you are a better person than them, and that makes them upset. They are jealous of something you have or something you do well.

If there is one thing you should take away from this article, it’s this:

Frenemies feel threatened by your very competence as a human being.

Remember this and celebrate it.

Tip 4: Pity them 

It dawned on me that I had 3 major things going for me that Fran did not:

  1. My managers are supportive. Her managers are punch-throat.
  2. I have more time to be flexible with my work, whereas Fran spends all day on the phone.
  3. I know the difference between “you’re” and “your.” Fran, however, does not.

It’s difficult to keep the anger down when people treat you unfairly, but replacing anger with PITY is much easier.

Tip 5: View them as children

What do you do with a child who is having a temper tantrum? Ignore, ignore, ignore. The child wants you to wait on them hand and foot to get them to stop crying.

Nah, just leave them and they’ll have no choice but to calm down on their own.

Fran loves attention. It is apparent in meetings because she is always nervously making jokes, and laughing really hard at her own comments, (tres classy).

Do not give Frenemies the attention they seek. Starve them of it, and they will go looking for it somewhere else.

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Please keep these tips in mind as you’re on  your way to work, debating whether to leave the country and start a new life where it’s warm and sunny. Frenemies are frustrating because you cannot simply steer clear of them. They make it complicated for you by demanding your love, support and attention. If you are a caring person at all (which you most likely are and that’s why they are frullying you in the first place), they will sense it on you and try to take advantage of it.

Remember that people are not entitled to receive your kindness. If these people are not showing gratitude for your good work, then do not waste your time trying to please them.

Keep in mind that their brains are wired differently, so if you say to them, “You’re being unreasonable,” then they’ll take that to mean “Your reasons babble to me.”

Haha, I really enjoy doing that.

*some names have been changed.

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Update – September 2013:

It is 2 years later and things have much improved. Did the chick learn her lesson and apologize and give me concert tickets to see Billy Talent? Sadly, not yet. BUT she has since changed roles, and I have had the pleasure of working with some very nice people in her place. My work has improved as well. It has become more easy-to-manage and there has been software installed to help us keep track of things properly. For awhile I only had to deal with Fran’s awful jokes in meetings, which was a win, but still it brought back unpleasant memories.

Then, not long ago, it was decided that my team no longer needed to attend those monthly meetings, and now I’m on cloud nine! AND I’m going to see Billy Talent in October. Things are 200% better! Always stay positive, and remember that these people are not better than you, and don’t ever give them any reason to think they are. You, the non-bully, are the better person. Unless you’re sub-bullying other people, in some sort of projecting anger kind of way. If that is the case, you should probably go to a psychologist, and focus your energies on being awesome instead.

Posted in Best of Pertobello, Psychology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments