At my company’s annual meeting. Can we say bored much?
I made this patch a while ago and decided last night to make it into a pin with some cardboard, tape, a safety pin and a couple hours of punching holes through said cardboard. This is my first time attempting such a craft, and I’m pretty proud of the result! :)
keep up the good work!
Reblogging for inspiration. Totally making my nieces buttons like this!
Every other hemisphere gets it except the North Western Hemisphere
My mom celebrated with me. We went to Chuck E. Cheese’s with my friends.
Does the ‘July effect’ in hospitals actually exist? Kenneth M. Ludmerer argues that you don’t need to avoid hospitals in July, despite the annual influx of new interns.
Image: Little boy doctor, © 4774344sean, via iStock Photo.
My life was saved by a brand new doctor. I was 10 and had gall stones. I went to dozens of doctors who gave my mom various reasons why I couldn’t eat and would scream all day in pain. An ER doctor, fresh out of his residency, forced the hospital to get me a sonogram. If it weren’t for him, I would have died 20 years ago. I trust new doctors as much as those who have been practising for 30 years.
"If you have a problem with people living their lives and being authentically who they are, you really should go and do some soul-searching."
When you live in total squalor—cookies in your pants drawer, pants in your cookies drawer, and nickels, dresses, old New Yorkers, and apple seeds in your bed—it’s hard to know where to look when you lose your keys. The other day, after two weeks of fruitless searching, I found my keys in the refrigerator on top of the roasted garlic hummus. I can’t say I was surprised. I was surprised when my psychiatrist diagnosed me with ADHD two years ago, when I was a junior at Yale.
In editorials and in waiting rooms, concerns of too-liberal diagnoses and over-medication dominate our discussions of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD. The New York Times recently reported, with great alarm, the findings of a new Center for Disease Control and Prevention study: 11 percent of school-age children have received an ADHD diagnosis, a 16 percent increase since 2007. And rising diagnoses mean rising treatments—drugs like Adderall and Ritalin are more accessible than ever, whether prescribed by a physician or purchased in a library. The consequences of misuse and abuse of these drugs are dangerous, sometimes fatal.
Yet also harmful are the consequences of ADHD untreated, an all-too-common story for women like me, who not only develop symptoms later in life, but also have symptoms—disorganization and forgetfulness, for instance—that look different than those typically expressed in males. While the New York Times’ Op-Ed columnist Roger Cohen may claim that Adderall and other “smart” drugs “have become to college what steroids are to baseball,” these drugs have given me, a relatively unambitious young adult who does not need to cram for tests or club until 6 a.m., a more normal, settled life.
The idea that young adults, particularly women, actually have ADHD routinely evokes skepticism. As a fairly driven adult female who had found the strength to sit through biology lectures and avoid major academic or social failures, I, too, was initially perplexed by my diagnosis. My peers were also confused, and rather certain my psychiatrist was misguided. “Of course you don’t have ADHD. You’re smart,” a friend told me, definitively, before switching to the far more compelling topic: medication. “So are you going to take Adderall and become super skinny?” “Are you going to sell it?” “Are you going to snort it?”
The answer to all of those questions was no. I would be taking Concerta, a relative of Ritalin. Dr. Ellen Littman, author of Understanding Girls with ADHD, has studied high IQ adults and adolescents with the disorder for more than 25 years. She attributes the under-diagnosis of girls and women—estimated to be around 4 million who are not diagnosed, or half to three-quarters of all women with ADHD—and the misunderstandings that have ensued about the disorder as it manifests in females, to the early clinical studies of ADHD in the 1970s. “These studies were based on really hyperactive young white boys who were taken to clinics,” Littman says. “The diagnostic criteria were developed based on those studies. As a result, those criteria over-represent the symptoms you see in young boys, making it difficult for girls to be diagnosed unless they behave like hyperactive boys.”
ADHD does not look the same in boys and girls. Women with the disorder tend to be less hyperactive and impulsive, more disorganized, scattered, forgetful, and introverted. “They’ve alternately been anxious or depressed for years,” Littman says. “It’s this sense of not being able to hold everything together.”
Further, while a decrease in symptoms at puberty is common for boys, the opposite is true for girls, whose symptoms intensify as estrogen increases in their system, thus complicating the general perception that ADHD is resolved by puberty. One of the criteria for ADHD long held by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, published by the American Psychiatric Association, is that symptoms appear by age 7. While this age is expected to change to 12 in the new DSM-V, symptoms may not emerge until college for many girls, when the organizing structure of home life—parents, rules, chores, and daily, mandatory school—is eliminated, and as estrogen levels increase. “Symptoms may still be present in these girls early on,” says Dr. Pat Quinn, cofounder of The National Center for Girls and Women with ADHD. “They just might not affect functioning until a girl is older.” Even if girls do outwardly express symptoms, they are less likely to receive diagnoses. A 2009 study conducted by atThe University of Queenland found that girls displaying ADHD symptoms are less likely to be referred for mental health services.
In “The Secret Lives of Girls with ADHD,” published in the December 2012 issue ofAttention, Dr. Littman investigates the emotional cost of high IQ girls with ADHD, particularly for those undiagnosed. Confused and ashamed by their struggles, girls will internalize their inability to meet social expectations. Sari Solden, a therapist and author of Women and Attention Deficit Disorder, says, “For a long time, these girls see their trouble prioritizing, organizing, coordinating, and paying attention as character flaws. No one told them it’s neurobiological.”
Often, women who are finally diagnosed with ADHD in their twenties or beyond have been anxious or depressed for years. A recent study published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology found that girls with ADHD have high rates of self-injury and suicide during their teenage years, at last bringing attention to the distinct severity of ADHD in females. In Pediatrics, a large population study found that the majority of adults with ADHD had at least one other psychiatric disorder, from alcohol abuse to hypomanic episodes to major depression. This poses a particular threat to females, for whom ADHD diagnoses tend to come later in life.
For the two decades prior to my diagnosis, I never would have suspected my symptoms were symptoms; rather, I considered these traits—my messiness, forgetfulness, trouble concentrating, important-document-losing—to be embarrassing personal failings. Matters really deteriorated in college, when I was wrongfully allowed a room of my own, leaving me with no mother to check up on “that space between your bed and the wall,” where moldy teacups, money, and important documents would lie dormant. I maintained a room so cluttered that fire inspectors not only threatened to fine me 200 dollars if I didn’t clean, they insisted it was the messiest room they had ever seen (boys’ included!) in their twenty years of service. Throughout college, I would lose my ID and keys about five times a semester. I’d consistently show up for work three hours early or three hours late. I once misplaced my cellphone only to find it, weeks later, in a shoe.
“Often, if girls are smart or in supportive homes, symptoms are masked,” Solden says. “Because they’re not hyperactive or causing trouble for other people, they’re usually not diagnosed until they hit a wall, often at college, marriage, or pregnancy. A lot of things that are simple and routine to other people—like buying groceries, making dinner, keeping track of possessions, and responding to emails—do not become automatic to these women, which can be embarrassing and exhausting.”
As a recent college graduate cautiously negotiating adulthood in New York City, I am both embarrassed and exhausted by my struggles to keep track of objects and time. While the stakes have become significantly higher—credit cards, passports, and cameras have slipped through my fingers—medication has minimized the frequency of these incidents.
I can’t say that I know what part is ADHD, what part is me, or whether there’s a difference. I can say that ADHD medication (in conjunction with SSRIs) has granted me a base level of functionality; it has granted me the cognitive energy to sit at my jobs, to keep track of my schedule and most possessions, and to maintain a semblance of control over the quotidian, fairly standard tasks that had overwhelmed me—like doing laundry, or finding a sensible place to put my passport.
Medication is certainly not a cure-all, but when paired with the awareness granted by a diagnosis, it has rendered my symptoms more bearable—less unknown, less shameful. And while I’m certain I’ll continue to misplace and forget objects, I have discovered the virtues of a little self-love, a lot of self-forgiveness, and even using different drawers to store different things.
The drawer thing, though, is a work in progress. The next time I misplace my keys, the fridge will be the first place I look.
Let me preface this by pointing out a couple things: Tampons don’t work for me - I can only do pads. I have PCOS so I have to take hormones for a week every 90 days to have a period.
- Having to wear TWO pads (end to end with a bit of overlap) all the time because one overnight, super-long, super-absorbency just doesn’t cut it.
- Having to take two showers every day (regular shower at night and a quick rinse off in the morning) because of course the pads didn’t work as advertised.
- Having to change underwear at least twice a day because of course the two pads didn’t cut it.
- Wondering if it’s just normal ovulation or if a ovarian cyst popped.
- Standing up from a sitting position and feeling it gush. Laughing and feeling it gush. Crying and feeling it gush.
- Sneezing and thinking that you will cover the world in blood.
- Pretty much doing anything and feeling it gush. (Oh, there’s an eyelash on your cheek? Let me bleed everywhere while you get that)
- The period shits.
- The period farts where you know, you just know that you now have a splatter of blood on your granny panties.
- No seriously, the combination of period shits and period farts.
- Because I wear pads, the complete embarrassment of purchasing the huge econo-sized box of Always Super Long Super Absorb Overnight pads at CVS.
- The looks your lady friends give you when you mention that you can’t do tampons and so yes, you wear pads like a 12 year old girl.
- The sound of pad wrappers in an echo-y bathroom. “No ma’am, those aren’t snacks I’ve brought into the bathroom with me, that’s my fucking pad wrapper.”
- Having to sleep on a towel. And then having to wash said towel.
- The constant fear that everyone around you can see the outline of your pad(s) through your fucking pants.
- The ever-so-slight rustling noise when you wear a pad while wearing a skirt. Nope, that’s not your jersey-knit skirt making that noise, that’s your fucking pad.
- Can other people smell that smell? Am I freaking out about it? I change pads every hour, it can’t be that bad. Maybe I’m just freaking out. But for serious, is it bad?
- Wanting to cry because you never feel clean after wiping your ass after a period shit. For that matter, never feeling clean at all.
- FUCK the pain of sore titties.
- Not being able to find a position where you don’t feel like you’re going to leak through the pad, panties, and pants all over the place.
- The nasty gooey almost chunky but not fully solid clots that you pass. “Oh look, my uterus just shit that out, how fucking amazing.”