February 18, 2011

Poem: Dream of a White Coat

I wrote a poem a few years ago. I was struggling a lot then. I think it is about trying to find a common thread through all of my different interests and periods of life.

Freud wrote in The Interpretation of Dreams that dreams are usually overdetermined, "in that they are caused by multiple factors in the life of the dreamer, from the 'residue of the day' (superficial memories of recent life) to deeply repressed traumas and unconscious wishes, these being 'potent thoughts'".

In that same way, I believe that poems are overdetermined. In fact, I think adults with ADHD are particularly sensitive to the fact that even everyday conversations are often overdetermined, which I think can account for some of the distraction we all feel during talks with friends, family & colleagues. We read subtle interpersonal cues that reveal much more about the speaker than words would suppose.

But I digress.

Dream of a White Coat

this dream never really died
it just transmuted into the unrecognized
carried in me like a body on a stretcher
and laid out for visitation
on a foggy Irish night
in a cottage
with whiskey and bread

it wore a white coat when I was young
a paramedic

it wore a white coat when i was in high school
late night studies of chromosomes and lysosomes

it wore a white coat when I became a butcher
and it wore a white coat finding dreams in the library stacks

it wore a cheap suit in an office where it cried
and none would argue it tried to appear
but I don't know where it went
maybe up north on a site by a tent
Thanks for reading,


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February 6, 2011

Job Searching, ADHD Style

It has been 10 weeks since I posted last - I took a bit of a break from writing to focus on work issues. I left my job working at a broadcast company, and am lucky enough to have received a package which will help me through for a while, while I looked for another job. The holidays were nice, and I got to spend a lot of time with my wife and our little boy, who turned 2 last week.

Recently, I somewhat presciently wrote about Adult ADHD jobs and workplace issues. There I wrote about how impulsivity, distractibility and hyperactivity can be difficult traits to have at work, and how these symptoms can have a negative impact on you.

The feedback I got on that post was heartening, and many people added comments about their own experiences. This is what I love about writing this blog - it is a place to connect with people who share similar experiences. Hearing about this makes my journey a less lonely one.

I'll say this: Looking for a job is a full-time job! I used various job search web sites, used LinkedIn.com a whole lot (feel free to connect with me there and note that Mungo is my nom de plume), and followed a colleague's advice to network, network, and network some more on LinkedIn. In the end, this is what got me connected to an agency which found me a contract position. I am starting Monday.

A job gives me daily structure. So does having a little boy who wakes up before 6 quite often, and has to get to daycare, and have his dinner and bath and bed time at a regular time. External structure is critical to me, so I have learned and viscerally learned and relearned over the past year. So having a regular 9 to 5 job is important.

When looking for a job, it is important to maintain a sense of schedule. Try to keep your days scheduled. You may need to have a few pajama-days, and take-it-easy days - because often it is hard to leave the job search when the 5 o'clock whistle blows... but try to have breaks. Go easy on yourself. Expect a roller coaster of emotions. Expect disappointment and strong emotions to arise and fade away as you attend interviews, get rejection notices, don't hear back, and heal from wounds from your previous job experience.

Connect with friends and family. Try to be open about your feelings about the job search. Accept advice and help.

Sometimes you will be called for job interviews for a job you know at a gut level isn't right for you. Attend it anyway, if you can. Interview experience is important. You often will learn something from each interview. It might be a question you didn't anticipate, and end up thinking about afterward. It may be your gut reaction to an interviewer or the location - you'll learn better to trust your instincts about whether you want to work for this person and company or not. You'll learn better how to dress for an interview. And so much more.

I found organizing my interviews and scheduling follow up calls and e-mails difficult. I used my Google Calendar to post reminders and the second I got an interview or a pre-screening call scheduled, I would add it to my calendar. If I didn't, I might end up writing it on a scrap of paper and then forgetting as I tend to get quickly distracted and leave my thoughts behind as I move on to the next thing...

Read books on ADHD to help you keep coping mechanisms in mind. The book I'm reading currently is Taking Charge of Adult ADHD by Dr. Russell Barkley. This is probably my favourite book so far on Adult ADHD (I own and have read about a dozen books in the past year since my diagnosis). I can't recommend this book enough - every adult with ADHD should read this great source.

Try to take some time for yourself. Go for walks or go and see a movie. Be kind to yourself.

I am really relieved to be starting my job on Monday. It will be an exciting role. I incorporated myself as part of the process to work on contract through an agency - it pays better that way, and I can write off certain expenses. That was a process which my lovely wife helped me with - she is really good at organizing and at paperwork. She helped me enormously through the past couple of months, and I thank her very much.

Take care everyone and be well.



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February 3, 2011

I'm Back, Baby, I'm Back...

Folks, it has been too long. A lot has happened since I last posted in October, but I'm back and ready to start writing again.

Hope all is well with you. More very soon. :-)



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