BEGIN: Life Update
So the last five months have been a lot. I've been trying to figure out a way to really express my feelings about the whole hot mess, and hopefully this word vomit will help.
Me, Myself, and ADHD
I was diagnosed with ADHD in early May, and I can't adequately express how much of a mind fuck that is. It's weird to finally have a name to everything I experienced (and continue to experience), and I'm really wondering how different my life would be if I had gotten that diagnosis sooner.
It's interesting how we normalize things when we don't know any different. The fact that my siblings and my mom are the same way means I really didn't know how it affected me...until now. I first wrote "it was a problem", but I don't think that's the right phrase. It's a problem because of how it affects my actions (or, you know, inaction), but it's a part of me, as inextricable as the mole on my face.
I was prescribed medication for my ADHD, and wow. Wowowowowow. It's like...the background noise got turned down. It's not a cure-all, and I really got to time it right to gain the most effect, but I don't feel my brain ping-ponging between things as much as it did. Again, not 100%, just like all of my other medications, but it gets me closer to being able to function.
Not too long after that diagnosis, I was asked to move out.
It's been five months since that, and I'm still struggling. To set the scene: I was finally getting medicated for my ADHD, I was going to school, I had a part-time job that didn't pay *well*, but it was enough to scrape by, especially in a house with 3 to 4 other humans with income. With the occasional other income from freelance (more on that in a bit), I was doing mostly okay.
Until that point. Now all of a sudden, I needed to find a car (this is not a pedestrian- or public transit-friendly city, a place to live, and moving on top of all of that. And still go to school, and go to work, and pack, and and and. I was stressing about my fish tank, I didn't know if I could keep my cats, or my art supplies, or really anything.
Unsurprisingly, my new-found mental health gains collapsed quicker than...a thing that collapses quickly. My schoolwork suffered badly, and I failed one of my classes. Art Practices, of all things, the class that I should have aced. Something had to give, and apparently it was that art class.
You know, the one I needed to pass with a C average in order to apply for entry into my major at the University of New Mexico.
I've never lived by myself. There have been times where it was certainly not good to be alone with my thoughts. There's a different between being alone, and being lonely, though. I'm not sure which one of those I am at any given moment of the day.
Cooking is hard, too. Not that I'm a bad cook--I'm actually quite good at it. It's just I can't be arsed to cook for myself--my love of food comes from being able to feed and give sustenance to others. My relationship with food on a personal level is...fraught, let's say. It took a long time for me to realize how I use food as an emotional balm, a comfort to soothe my troubled mind. Living by myself, I'm dancing that line between sustenance and gluttony, and the added wrinkle of the medications suppressing my appetite really means I have to be extra aware of my emotional state.
All this "knowing thyself" is fucking exhausting.
One of the things that I've *had* to do is to rigorously schedule my day to day, and let me tell you, I hate it with every fiber of my being. I don't like that level of control, that enforced moment to moment restriction on what I have to do. I know it helps with my focus, to be able to see what I'm scheduled for and make the right time management choices, but we hates it, precious.
In the last three months since I moved out, I have had extraordinarily generous friends (including you, my faithful Patrons) help me out with moving expenses, sadly which got sucked away having to fix my car. The previous owners did not do any of the recommended maintenance on it, so I had to get that all cleared up, and one of the major parts failed (a common but known failure, but still a failure none the less). Then the battery died...but it was the stock battery on a 14 year old car, so I couldn't be too mad about that. I replaced the battery myself, too, which is probably the biggest repair that I've ever done on a car. The irony that I only had the necessary tools to fix it because I got said tools for my 3d printer is not lost on me.
Then somebody sawed off the catalytic convertor on my car.
Sure, I have insurance, but I certainly did not plan on having that repair to do, especially so soon after those other repairs. Oh, did I also mention that I got a flat tire before that, and the lug nuts were on too tight and I couldn't get the spare swapped in?
Just about every resource I have is tapped, of every kind. I do need to pare down some of my belongings, so expect to see some older gaming books available at some point. I still need to sort through them all and figure out what should stay and what should go.
Holy shit, I finally got my Associate's Degree. Somehow, I also managed to get it with honors, despite everything that had been going on. I'm finishing off the fall semester now, which ends mid-December. If all goes well, I have roughly four semesters before I have my bachelor's degree in Fine Arts, with a focus in Experimental Arts & Technology, and a minor in Arts Leadership & Business.
Sounds really fancy, all being said.
Once I get my bachelor's degree, I face the choice to continue on to get my master's degree in fine arts, which if I want to teach at the college and university level, I will need to have. (Teaching licensure is separate from the degree paths.) I also found out that the University of Washington offers a PhD in Digital Arts and Experimental Media, so that could be exciting and fun.
I'm really loving my classes, though the last month and a half I've been so riddled with anxiety and panic attacks that I couldn't go into my in-person classes (Drawing III and my Intermediate Composition). My grades are...not as good as they could be in those classes. I'm struggling to play catch up with them, and I'm still working through a lot of writer's block/performance anxiety regarding writing. (Again, more on that later.) It shouldn't be this hard, and yet, here I am.
Have I mentioned that I work at a makerspace now? I got the opportunity to get into a work-study program there, which graduated into an employee position. I just got hired on as an operations technician. While I don't have as many hours as I had (about half as much), I am getting paid better. Not enough to pay my bills, though.
One of the benefits to working there is access to all of the equipment. If you're not familiar with a makerspace, it's a simmering gumbo pot of options for creating things, usually focused around fabrication methods like 3d printing, CNC routing, laser cutting and engraving, welding, and woodshop. And I get to learn all aspects of that as part of my employment. It's remarkably fulfilling when I get to work with members, seeing that moment of realization when it hits them everything that they can now do.
And I have such plans to take full advantage of those resources. No energy or time, but I do have plans.
Seizing the Means of Production
I don't think it's any surprise to you that I am a fan of unions. I have a lot more thoughts on the events of the last two-ish months, but I think they need to be separate from this. I still have some thoughts and emotions to noodle my way through.
END: Life Update
This has been rambly as all get-out, but I hope it gives you some idea of everything that might be going on right now with me. My Discord server (which you get access to as part of supporting me on Patreon, with a private chatroom for patrons) is the best way to interact with me and see what's going on behind the scenes, if you want to see more of that. I've been working on reviewing a lot of benefits for patrons, so if there's anything in particular that you want to see, feel free to drop me a chat there.
Originally published on my Patreon--thank you patrons!