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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If I can write as much and as fast as I talk this should be a piece of cake!

9 03 2010

Tomorrow will mark 7 days that I’ve been participating in journaling on 750words.com and I’ve gotten a great deal out of the experience so far.  I’ve been on and off the journaling wagon for years, nearly all by hand and mostly in Moleskine notebooks. Part of the problem with that was that my notebook usually stayed at home next to bed so that I could write something in morning and then document my gratitude that night.  Unfortunately some nights I’d be too tired to write.  I also felt like I was writing into a void, your basic brain dump, a venting of the spleen, with no real commitment to writing anything if I didn’t feel up for it or didn’t have anything particulary interesting to report that day.

That is why I’ve really been enjoying 750words.  I get feedback. I get a read on my frame of mind, my attitude, areas where I can develop myself.  Fun stats that make it a challenge to myself, a competition against other cyber writers.  I’m currently ranked 275th…after 6 days…this WILL NOT do! As thrilled as I am with my penguin badge, my 42 points, and the opportunity to see my improvement and how I compare to others, I need MORE.  As someone with ADHD who has a tendency to take on projects, but then doesn’t see them through to completion I need more than a challenge, I need accountability, I need consequences for my actions…something akin to, oh I don’t know, maybe a ‘Wall of Shame’ if I should fail to follow through. SO, without further ado:

One Month Challenge Contract

I, Loud Mouth Redhead, accept this challenge to write 750 words every day during the month of April, 2010. If I succeed, I accept that my name will be added to the Wall of Amazingness. But if I miss a day or more, I also accept that my name will be added to the Wall of Shame.

In addition, I pledge to the following self-created rewards and punishments…

If I succeed, I will be grateful I was able to successfully see a project to completion.

If I miss a day or more, I will own my failure and try even harder the next month to continue to develop this habit.

Signed,
One Loud Mouthed Redhead

And there you have it, check back to find out if I’m full of amazingness or shame…I’m sure hoping for amazingness otherwise the business cards I had printed up are going to be USELESS!