I'm frustrated with distractomel, who can't get her mind to sit still to analyze data and write papers. It's stretched on for days now, the painful awareness of how fragile my focus is at times. At least I have a good toolbox of repair strategies to deal with my ADHD and the desire for compassion in dealing with myself. The risk and tradeoff is that my work does slip right now, but, but that's better than my health.

The tip-over this time, I think, was a cough that's stretched on since two Thursdays ago and brought with it intermittent fever and aching; sleep time shot drastically up, useful-work time went down. I'm taking antibiotics, which leave a bitter taste on my tongue all day; I'm chugging water, apple cider vinegar with honey, massive doses of Vitamin C. Resting. Doing all the right things.

But the right things don't shore up a weary mind that fuzzes in and out of fever (today: in). The cough's side effect of drastically reduced lung capacity has also put a crimp on one of my best ADHD-coping strategies; exercise. I can't run or dance or do anything energetic enough to get my brain to settle down; I usually do that every few hours, and I haven't done it at all for 2 weeks now. I'm fine when working or talking with others -- the external stimulation and direct dialogue focus me -- but pair a fever-fuzzed brain with an unsettled one unable to blow off steam, and you don't have a very useful setup for solo work. And that is, unfortunately, everything I need to do right now.

So I'm writing down the strategies I'm using as a way to (non-physically) blow off frustration and steam, and to remind myself what I am doing right now, and for reference for my future self next time I get distracted like this.

  1. Music. Loud. Ingrid Michaelson is blasting right now. Then the Goo Goo Dolls. Pandora. Loud.
  2. Algorithmize my work into small chunks. I can mechanically read things and take notes on them, yes. I can then go through those notes and paste them, one reading at a time, into a blank document, typing notes and summaries around them as I go, building up a structure. I can write code for myself to execute, basically.
  3. Walk. Pace. Walk. As much and as fast as my tired body and limited, coughing lungs will let me. Lift heavy things. Stretch. Be in my body.
  4. Break it up with talking to people, being with people -- no guilt; I need those breathing times, those eating times, those friends-and-family times, to nourish different parts of me. I just need to watch not to overindulge.
  5. Let myself write what I need to write (like this post) and try to parlay that energy into writing the things I need to write. Be ok with small chunks and little bits of progress. 10 minutes is at least 10 minutes more than what I had before.
  6. Be gentle with myself, mentally and physically. Small puppy brain. Don't beat it up. Be nice to it. It's good -- it's trying so hard to be good -- and that's the most frustrating thing about distractomel, and about being distractomel; you try and try and try, and you know you'll always need to do this trying, and that hit-or-miss is sometimes the best you can get.

Okay. I feel a little better now. I can break down these papers: I have a finite set of readings, and for each reading I will do notes, then I will dump those notes into a paper, and then rearrange them -- algorithm. Known. Familiar. Trust the process, take the hit.

Oh, distractomel. What will I ever do with you? I'm gonna love you, crazy little thing. You're me. That's who I am. Let's go now and see what we can do.