If you can’t laugh at yourself…

12 03 2010

…who can you laugh at?  Generally, I have no problem laughing at myself.  If I think about it I’m generally the one making jokes at my own expense (beat others to the punch, right?).  I use humor to diffuse tense situations, break the ice, fill awkward pauses, but I learned something about myself today.  I can’t laugh at Dyslexia jokes.

I saw this earlier on Twitter and I’m still not sure how I feel about it, but I know I don’t think it is funny:

Joke: A dyslexic guy walks into a bra. End of Joke.

I know that it has nothing to do with the Tweeps who are sending it around or even the joke itself.  I think it is that the punchline struck too close to home, especially lately.

Once I was finally diagnosed with ADHD and they began working out the combination of medications to manage all of my issues, the first eased the anxiety I was suffering as a side effect of my ADHD.  Clearing the anxiety out of the way brought out the ADHD full force so he could determine which medication (or ultimately combo of meds) would help me find a ‘calm focus’ that I had lost.

Throughout the process I was documenting any changes or effects I noticed from the meds I was trialing.  I (and others around me) started noticing some really weird things happening to my communication that we thought to be side effects of the medications.

  • When typing I’d swap letters by typing same finger, but with opposite hand.  So, if I wanted to type a ‘d’ I’d type a ‘k’ instead.
  • When typing (and sometimes writing) I use the homophone of the word rather than the one I intended.
  • I am losing my ability to spell or, more accurately, my faith in my ability to spell correctly. Partly because I’ve caught myself typing ‘whent’ when I meant ‘went’ and other such oddities.
  • When I wrote (printed) by hand I’d drop a letter out of the middle or off the end of the word.
  • When printing some phrases I’d either run the words together or morph them together (put together became putogether).
  • There are times where I slur when talking.  I can’t hear it, but others have and have mistaken it for my being drunk (even though I quit drinking when this all started because the combo of meds has altered me more than enough to cope with).
  • I have a large vocabulary, but there are times when I can’t recall a COMMON word or I stall trying to recall the word I wanted to use.
  • I’ve started swapping words out when talking, meaning to say one word and another one pops out.

It takes ten times as long as it used to for me to type, write, or speak.  I’m constantly re-reading things to make sure I didn’t goof on something and yet they still slip through at times (I just typed ‘atimes’).   Because some of these words are still being spelled correctly they are caught by spell checking feature.

None of that is funny. It is frustrating, time consuming, and has adversely affected parts of my life. Turns out these aren’t side effects of my medications.  The medications cleared my ADHD out of the way and exposed an uncommon variant of Dyslexia.  Icing on the cupcake? There isn’t a med for that.  We discussed scrapping medications all together, but my life was even worse before so I just have to learn how to better accommodate this new ‘quirk’ of mine while also explaining to some people that I’m not drunk just ‘unique’.

So, no, I won’t be laughing about dyslexia jokes.

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4 responses

12 03 2010
Meryl

Laughing at people who shouldn’t be laughed at aside, that joke just isn’t that funny….

12 03 2010
loudmouthredhead

Oh good, I was a little concerned I was just being oversensitive because I got really hung up on the ‘bra’ vs ‘bar’ thing.

12 03 2010
trainwreck

I experienced much of the same thing when my doctor was perfecting my cocktail. Adderall was the stimulant at the time. Took care of many of the direct ADHD symptoms. Also made it almost impossible to read at the same level (theology, history, philosophy) or to discuss the subjects with friends. I switched to Concerta and it was way better. I couldn’t type before and I still can’t type, but I can focus on the more complex subjects I have always enjoyed.

There are always other options for medication. We all react differently to them. Just because a medication takes care of the ADHD symptoms does not mean it is the right one. You should not have to accept the negative impact of a medication. I would encourage you to go back to your doctor and see what other options are available.

12 03 2010
loudmouthredhead

Thank you for the kindness and concern. My doctor ended up having to put me on a blend of Vyvanse and Dexedrine tabs for the ADHD. The one isn’t strong enough, the other is too strong, and apparently the drug he thinks would be PERFECT for me is no longer available (which is why the Dex Tabs ~ he thinks it has the same color dye in it that they suspect was useful for some of us harder to medicate ones). I also have to have an half dose of my Dex Tab and my anti-anxiety early evening to keep me from rebounding. I don’t experience the Dyslexia as much as I did while I was titring, but if I’m stressed/tired and overwhelming my meds OR I miss that late day dose (even with the alarms going off) I do have the issues pop up. He also added one more med to the cocktail and that is helping too.

I’ve been dealing with this diagnosis for a year now and it has been interesting since it turned all of my previous coping mechanisms on their ear AND it has taught me a great deal about the way some people perceive ADHD and the negative implications. Things I’ll be addressing in future posts with the hope that maybe others coming up behind us won’t have to deal with the same ignorance and misconceptions.

Basically: I don’t care if they believe it exists or not. I don’t care if they think it is over diagnosed or not. I don’t care if they think I’m over medicated or not. They could have told me I had ‘Cheez Whiz’ instead of all the acronyms I now have and that wouldn’t have mattered to me one bit. I do care that it allowed them to narrow in on a treatment that has significantly improved my quality of life and that I’m able to function once again about as close to ‘norma’l as I could ever have been considered in the first place (and I’ve never been normal which suits me just fine).

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