Jessica's Mumbo Jumbo

Take a glimpse into the world of an inattentive, oversensitive,hyperactive,& unorganized 33 year old mother with Attention Deficit Disorder!

Archive for the tag “ADD”

The Struggle is Real: ADD & Motherhood DO NOT MIX!

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It’s been quite some time since I’ve posted for my blog and I have a very good reason, I promise you! My very last post was approximately written about 3 years ago, yes, I know unacceptable. But please, I beg of you, there is a valid excuse. I became a mom!  In addition to that I have ADD and to throw another responsibility into the mix, I teach Special Education at the high school level. I know, I know, I’m not the only mom out there who has to juggle a multitude of tasks, but to be honest, it’s fucking hard, time-consuming and stressful as hell and I have the utmost respect for those moms who have their shit together. I would give my left leg to have my shit together.

I’m sure many of you non-super-Pinterest-moms out there most likely cannot relate because you are simply amazing, but at least I know that there are other ADD moms out there who can. I’m really going to focus on maintaining my blog because I really need some ” me time.” I honestly don’t care if that sounds the least bit selfish because as a mom, you need that time. My “me”time usually consists of spending time in the bathroom until my three year old, Emma,  begins banging on the door while screaming          “DON’T LEAVE ME MOMMY!” On the top of her fucking lungs! Like seriously I can’t get a moment to breathe. Where the hell does she think I’m going to go? I’m in the bathroom that’s less than a foot away from your room!

I know being a mom with ADD can be super stressful sometimes, (O.K.–most of the time!) but to be quite frank, I would not change it for the world. I love being a mom and the craziness that comes along with the job keeps me on my toes. My daughter is the best thing that has ever happened to me!

Here is a list of my top ten struggles that I face as an ADD mom!!! I hope many of you can relate!

1.I tend to lose a lot of things! There have been MANY instances when I was supposed to fill out a form for Emma’s daycare and I lost the paper–not once, but a few times! Lets just say that I lose my cell, debit card, keys and anything that is considered important on a daily basis. This is an extremely touchy subject for me because losing things causes so much stress in mine and Emma’s life.

2.I am very forgetful! I might forget to bring something to a party at Emma’s school. Sorry kids, I know I signed up to bring in the juice boxes and plates, looks like you will be drinking tap water and eating caveman style! #bannedfromclassparties.  I tend to forget to sign her in and out on the computer at her school in the mornings. I can’t tell you how many times the owner reminds me how this is a safety issue in addition to his way of tracking whether or not I pick her up later than I am supposed to so that he can charge me an additional 5 dollars. I am living off a teacher’s salary for christ’s sake, can’t you cut me a damn break? Those 5 dollars add up quickly. Oh, and filling my gas tank? That is another nightmare. I found myself stranded in the middle of a major highway most recently because I forgot to fill my gas tank!

3.  Did I mention forgetfulness? Don’t get me started. This causes me to be late for EVERYTHING.I lose my keys, forget to grab Emma’s lunchbox or backpack on our way to school in the morning. I have caused us to be locked out of the house for hours. Then when I go to get the spare key that is hidden outside (which my husband hid purposely to prevent this), I suddenly remember that I forgot to put it back in the hiding spot! I forget to pack certain things that Emma may need for school (show and tell items, bathing suit, etc.). Thank god my daughter has a much better memory that I do, she is always there to remind me! “Listen Em, during show and tell, just show everyone your imaginary toy. Then when they say that they cannot see it, tell them they’re nuts). LOL

4.I tend to let her down sometimes. I  forget making promises or plans with her. I am lucky to have such an understanding three-year-old who has developed empathy for my disability.

5.My disorganization and messiness is rubbing off on my daughter and I fear this will continue as she grows up. I have gotten much better over the years because I have learned to stay on top of my piles. I started to put things away throughout the day. However, Emma does not understand the concept of putting her toys away when she is done playing with them nor does she understand the concept of  keeping her room clean. It looks like an explosion went off in her bedroom. There are piles everywhere. Can you say recipe for disaster?

6.Sometimes, I am easily agitated (especially if I forgot to fill my prescription) and when I feel that way, I tend to ignore her or get mad at the smallest things. Especially when she hangs all over me or asks me for something a million times. I fucking LOSE IT!

 7.I tend to lose interest at times when I am engaged in an activity with Emma. This causes her to feel like I am not interested in spending time with her. “Ok, mommy will color with you for a minute.” (one minute into coloring)….. “How about a puzzle now? I have to go do laundry. Sorry kid, looks like you’re on your own.”

8.She really wants a brother or sister, and although I would love to provide her with that, I know I won’t be able to handle the responsibility of having two children. “Sorry Em, it looks like you will have to rely on your cousins for companionship.” Thanks ADD!!

9.Food shopping & cooking!!! I am having some serious anxiety just thinking about this! I could write an entire post solely on the hatred I feel towards food shopping and cooking. THANK GOD my husband is the complete opposite and is like Gordon Ramsay in the kitchen. #lovemyironchef  I fucking hate food shopping and cooking. I just vomitted a little bit in my mouth thinking about it. My heart is literally pounding as a I write this post. When my husband tells me to go food shopping (after we have literally eaten everything in the house), I grit my teeth, nod and smile forcefully. As soon as I enter the grocery store, I am overcome with an instant feeling of panic and confusion. Feelings of anger consume my mind and I shoot nasty texts to my husband. “Why are you making me do this? Is this some sort of punishment?” He has learned to ignore those texts because it is my way of coping. Since I have no system or sense of organization, I just start tossing shit in the cart. When I go to checkout, and the cashier asks for coupons… my answer is always the same “yea.. uhmmmm, I really have to start using those.. if I could only get my shit together”then the cashier asks if I have my savings card… I realize that I lost that a long time ago so I plug in my old cell phone number to retrieve it… because I was too lazy to update the account. And cooking? Do not get me started… Lets just say, it is an absolute nightmare.

10.The one thing that really SUCKS about being a mom and teacher with ADD is getting myself and a toddler ready in the morning, oh, and FORGETFULNESS. Can we say fucking nightmare? My morning consists of hitting the snooze button a thousand times (literally) and rushing around the house like a madman. Dressing my daughter when she is half asleep and having to run to Wawa to buy Emma’s lunch because, well, I didn’t stay on top of the food shopping. On my way out, I realize I forgot Emma’s backpack and run in to get it only to realize I removed my key off my key ring the other day so that I could allow my car to run while I just ran in for something else I forgot. I then go to grab the spare that my husband hid only to find that I forgot to put that back. Sorry Em, looks like you won’t have your blanket or spare clothes today…. make sure you don’t crap your pants and maybe wearing your winter coat is a nice replacement for your blanket during nap-time.

And so here you have it! Just a list that I hope many of you can relate to so that you know you are not alone and that the #struggleisreal

Never forget: You are wonderful and you are doing an amazing job!!!

My Real Excuse for Lack of Blog Posts….

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I apologize to all of my followers for my lack of blog posts, but so much has been going on in my life that posting has been the least that has been on my mind. It is crazy how much your life can change so drastically in the matter of a few months! But what is my real excuse for my lack of blog posts you ask?

Well, as I have previously shared with you on here a few months ago… I was diagnosed with Bipolar and ADD about 5 years ago, and was on medication during that time frame. (Yea, yea, I am crazy and proud of it!) After I lost my job and was beyond depressed (which I did not think was possible since I was on damn antidepressants!), I found out I am pregnant! Yup, that is right! As of right now, I am 19 weeks pregnant and am due at the end of April! Back in August, I was feeling nauseous and tired as hell and I just figured it was because of my depression. That was until I took a pregnancy test and it came out positive! The next day I stopped taking all of my meds cold turkey!!! I know that is dangerous to do, but there is no way I was going to be taking Lamictal, Vyvanse and Lexapro while pregnant! I would be a horrible mother if I fed that to my fetus!! lol. I made the decision that it is more important to have a healthy baby born birth defect free rather than give birth to a baby who is dependent on psychiotic drugs with birth defects. That would absolutely kill me inside!  I have decided that I am strong enough to fight my depression for 9 months for the sake of the baby’s health.

I am not going to lie though.. Not being on my medication has changed my life drastically. Not only does my body have to fight having a mental illness and adjust being med. free… It also has to adjust to the rollercoaster ride of emotions and the crazy change in hormones that coincide with pregnancy. Talk about a freaking nightmare.

As you can see, it has been about 5 months since I have actually posted, and this is because my days pretty much have consisted of sleeping, eating and crying. When you are not on medication when your brain really needs it, it is definitely tough. Medication makes me normal. It also gives me my life back, When I was on my medication, I looked forward to blogging, knitting, photography and creating jewelry. However, when you are a bipolar pregnant woman, you could really care less about anything. The only thing I really cared about was taking care of my growing baby inside me which I truly feel is a gift from god. You know what? I truly feel that god gives us the gift of a child when we truly need it. I have seen this happen so many times to a number of people in my life. It took my husband and I one year until we got pregnant, and it could not have been at a better time.

After losing a job that I loved, I was fighting depression, and knowing that I have something to live for truly gives me a reason to wake up everyday.This baby gives me a reason to live, to take care of myself and to keep looking forward.  I thank god everyday for this blessing.

I only have about four more months left until I can truly feel like myself again, and I am proud of how far I have come. Having a mental illness is definitely a daily struggle, and I have to fight it in order to have a normal day. I never realized that until I saw the sadness in my husband’s eyes when he desperately said to me ” I miss Jess. I miss your smile, your laugh and your happiness.” “I am proud of you for fighting your bipolar and ADD without your medicine, but it has been so tough.” He even made a good point. He said “You cannot stop living your life. You used to laugh so much and smile. You used to enjoy posting on your blog!” He continued, “You are stronger than this! You cannot just sleep all of the time and do nothing. Whether you like it or not, you are a mother right now.” 

I looked down at my stomach and it had not clicked in my mind before that moment. He was right. Although the baby is not physically in my arms just yet, I became a mother the moment I conceived and what kind of mother just wastes their days feeling sorry for themselves? I made a promise right then and there that I would fight harder for my husband and our baby.

And so, here I am feeling better after our chat and finally accomplishing a task that I would have normally done when I was feeling like myself. Although I still have a few more months to go before I am myself again, I think the more I fight my illness, keep a normal routine, and do the things I once loved, I will be able to find happiness again without having to rely on medication to alter the chemicals in my brain. Well, there you have it. Prior to this post, my real excuse for my lack of blog posts is all because I have been fighting my depression and Bipolar, but obviously not hard enough. I think this blog post truly shows my commitment to fighting this illness on my own while I attempt to become normal again and gain my life back.

 

Some People Call me Crazy

Throughout my life, I have been called crazy, nuts, and a head case–not only once, but multiple times. I have been told that I am “not all there” and  am “off my rocker.” I used to be very offended by those statements, however, presently I do not take the comments personally. I actually consider them to be compliments and I feel sorry for those people who do not understand mental illnesses or disabilities.

Throughout my entire life, especially during my teenage years, I knew that something  was not right and  I just could not put my finger on it. I struggled with depression, bulimia, anxiety and anger. I just thought it was a normal stage to go through in one’s life or that all teens experienced it. When I was 18 years old, I got so depressed to the point where I was desperate to escape the pain that I was feeling. I know that this may sound completely nuts, but sometimes the pain would be unbelievably unbearable that it seemed to be the easy way out.

As an adult, I would never even consider doing that and it has never once been a thought that has crossed my mind.When I was admitted into a hosital at 18, for a program for teens who struggle with depression, I can definitely say that I  learned a lot there. It was definitely a learning experience that I will never forget.

What contributed to my road to recovery was getting to know the other kids that were there and listening to their stories. I realized that I was sane, and that I was not the only one who was going through this difficult time. I also realized that my situation was not as bad as the other kids’ situations. Although some of the kids had better home lives than I did;their depression was worse because some of them would cut themselves. .

This experience made me realize that certain events that I had experienced in my life triggered my depression. I could not deal with the fact that I was adopted, that my parents got divorced, my mom’s death, and the neglect and abuse that I had to deal with from my adoptive mother. I also had to experience being kicked out of my father’s house after my mom died. I look back and see everything that I went through and am very proud of the obstacles that I had overcome and the accomplishments that I acheived on my own without the help of any parents. Many people doubted me, but I wanted to prove them wrong.

I ended up proving those wrong who doubted me by putting myself through college, graduated Magna Cum Laude, paid for my own apartment, worked my butt off and saved $30,000 dollars from waitressing ( I became obsessed with work, especially since I have ADD). I was sick of feeling sorry for myself, worked hard to fight my depression, and kept a positive attitude that life is worth living and that I will be successful one day. I even paid for my wedding, got married and bought a house at 25 years old.

One important lesson that I learned throughout all of this is that if you want something bad enough you can achieve anything. All that you have to do is  set your mind to it. I did exactly just that and became a certified Special Education English Teacher, got a job at a high school, and held the job for three years. I was able to help many of my students who were going through the same experiences that I was going through as a teen. I even saved some of my students’ lives.

Although my job unfortunately ended in the way that I did not want it to, I will never let that get the best of me. It only makes me want to work harder towards my new goals. This is because I know that I can do anything despite my disability and mental illness. I am thankful for having the opportunity to help so many of my students’ realize their strengths and that their life is worth living.

This takes a lot of courage for me to write about this online for all of the world to see, and you can think I am crazy if you want..lol…However, if there is someone out there who reads this and it helps them realize that they are not the only one who experiences this, then I will know that I have helped someone. I get very disappointed in those people who associate mental illness with being crazy or a disability with stupidity. What makes me even angrier is when people say to me, “you graduated college, there is no way in the world that you have ADD.” OR “That is just an excuse for not being organized and your inability to complete tasks.” Well, as far as I am concerned that is complete bullshit. I would do anything to be “normal” (whatever that is!). No one chooses to have a mental illness or disability, and I am not ashamed of it.

When I met my husband, that is when my life started to get better and I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. He has always been supportive and has always believed in me. He has accepted me for who I am and says that he loves me “craziness and all.” In my early twenties, I refused to go to counseling or take medication, this is because I was in denial that I had bipolar and ADD.

During my first year of teaching at the age of 25, my ADD and bipolar took the best of me since my workload increased. You see, being a first year teacher is difficult in itself, now throw on having ADD and bipolar! Talk about total chaos. The workload caused me to have bad anxiety, which led me to becoming depressed. On top of that, I dealt with criticism from my coworkers because I was “always on the go” and spoke very fast. I hated the fact that they would always tell me to “Calm down,” and asked “are you ok?”I just wanted to scream “I am fine damn it! And I do not want to f*&*Ng repeat myself!”

I would consistently be gossipped about and received dirty looks. When our budget did not pass during my first year, I feared losing my job. I even heard that teachers were saying that I should get fired because I am unorganized. I thought “wow, that’s low. They should get fired for being complete As#$*&#@.”  Thankfully getting fired did not occur and it was my breaking point. I would not let my coworkers’ get the best of me because they do not understand mental illnesses and disabilities. I truly felt sorry for them because they never EVER tried to get to know me as a person. I thought to myself, “How the hell can they be in the education field when they do not understand differences?”

With the daily stress that I encountered as a Special Ed. Teacher and my own struggles, I needed someone to speak to. I used to speak to the school psychologist for advice when I was dealing with anxiety and depression. He would always be there waiting to listen with a box of tissues. He was the one who said “Jess, do not take this offensively because you are a hard worker and outstanding teacher, but were you ever diagnosed with ADD?” I told him that I was not but informed him of my depression, anxiety and struggles throughout my schooling. He said “intelligent and creative people such as yourself, struggle with these symptoms as well” He then suggested that I speak to a psychologist outside of school for a diagnosis.

At first, I was offended and thought to myself “who is this guy to tell me that I should get a psychological evaluation?” “What does he think I am, crazy?” That night I put a lot of thought into it and realized that I was in denial and that he was only trying to help me. I knew that he was always there to support me and helped me to believe in myself. It was the first time in my life that I chose to seek help. At 25 years old, I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, ADD, and Bipolar I disorder (manic depressive).

I then was put on an antidepressant and ADD medication. I have never EVER believed in medication, but let me tell you, it has changed my life. I can achieve more throughout my day. I do not care what other people think of me, and I worry less. My mind was always consumed with thoughts of worry, suspicion, hopelessness and anxiety.I always told myself that people were out to get me and that they did not like me. On the medication, I started to take better care of myself, became much more confident, and my depression and anxiety went away. I even stopped crying at the drop of a hat.

Medicine has changed my life completely and it has  helped me to feel “normal.” For once in my life, I  can actually say that I love my life and look forward to the next day.  It truly has changed my life and solidified that I do have a mental illness and disability. Although the medicine does not change my rapid speech, inability to be organized, and arriving to places on time, I would take that over anxiety and depression anyday.

I am extremely thankful for the day that the school psychologist gave me that advice and for my husband for dealing with my angry outbursts and the days where I went “Crazy” and cursed at him and punched walls and threw things. Not at him of course. LOL. I know…. pretty nuts right? He is a gem among gems and I can never thank god enough for having this amazing man enter my life. For the past 9 years he has supported me and is the most loyal person I know. I hope that if there is anyone out there who is reading this that does not understand ADD and mental illness, I hope this gives you some insight and a better understanding. I also hope that some readers find that they can relate to this, and  that it helps those think twice before calling anyone crazy.

Well, this took a lot for me to share, but if I can help one person out there, then it is worth it and I have achieved my goal. Thank you to those who took the time to read this post. It means a lot to me.

OH, and by the way… You are not crazy! lol

~ Jess ~

Teacher Appreciation Week My &@#$!!

 

I feel like this week should have been called “Teacher Un-Appreciation Week” It is usually during this week that teachers are given their notices of non-renewal or renewal, so why the HELL are they calling it “Teacher Appreciation Week??”

I feel unappreciated as a teacher because I was not only denied tenure, but they did not renew my contract. My district decided to show us just how much they appreciate all of our dedication and hard work  by giving us a bag of stale popcorn in our mailboxes.Just what I always wanted! How sweet. I am sure the birds will appreciate the taste of cardboard.

I have been working in my district as a Special Education Teacher at the highschool level for the past three years. I worked hard to get where I am and I absolutely love my job. I actually look forward to going to work every morning. That was until I received devastating news last Friday that I was not going to be granted tenure/renewed!

Now mind you, I have been picturing what it would be like to be awarded tenure, and in my eyes I undoubtably felt that I deserved it. I can genuinely say that I put all of my effort into teaching my students ,and that I was 100 % dedicated. That day will forever be engraved in my mind, and has left a bad taste in my mouth in regards to how the public education system is ran. It just goes to show you, that they do not have the best interest of the kids, especially when letting a good teacher go.

It is strange because I have never been fired before, but that day I could sense it, and as it turned out, my intuition was right. It all started when the Special Ed. Department was given their allotted budget to purchase materials for their classroom. I was the only teacher who was not provided with the paperwork. I asked my principal why and he stated “I must have overlooked you.”

Overlooked me? Yea right. I knew right then and there that he was lying and that something fishy was up. I hate bullshit artists.Later on in the day, my principal asked me to step into his office, and I knew that then and there that this was not going to be good. Anytime, you are sent to the principal’s office, you can never expect it to be good.

I was told that my contract was not going to be renewed for the 2012/2013 school year. My first thought: Are you %^&$%*# kidding me?  I started to hyperventilate and cry and I stormed out of his office. I know crying is a sign of weakness and all, but I think it is a sign of showing just how much you truly love your job. Of course, the news spread amongst the staff, students and parents because all that it took was one person to find out. I feel like as I walk through the halls, I get looks of pity and of disdain. I feel like I am wearing a permanent Scarlet Letter.

The even worse part of this whole situation is the fact that they do not have to give nontenured teachers a reason.  Non-tenured teachers do not have the same rights as tenured teachers. Tenured teachers have due process rights and can only be fired if they do something very bad. Now, in my district, I have no idea what they consider to be bad because we have teachers ,who,and  I’m sorry to say this, SUCK. We have teachers who show movies all of the time, come late to work, are always absent and are only in it for the summers off. This really makes me mad because I put so much time and effort into my job, and I am always there late. I have even  developed good relationships with the janitors because of this… I feel like sometimes, all of your hard work gets you no where, and goes unappreciated. Now I am back at square one–right where I was after I graduated from college.

Okay, so this whole “I’m sorry but we are not renewing your contract” thing was difficult enough as it is, but then all of the bullshit that goes along with it has made this situation that much more worse. Since I work in a very poor district where our budget never passes and has little to no money, my principal “suggested” that I resign. Hmmm.. I wonder why he would want me to do that? Are you trying to get me to not  collect unemployment so that the district can avoid paying me! Awesome… Yea, because I would do that… I have a mortgage to pay damn it. Then he tries to blackmail me with “Now if you resign, then you are more likely to get a letter of recommendation.” Yea right, like I am going to believe you.

Since I have not been told yet, why I am not being renewed, I keep driving myself crazy trying to come up with reasons. As a nontenured teacher, I have the right to request a letter from the Superintendent which states specifically their reasons for the nonrenewal. I can’t wait to open up that letter! Not.

After I receive my letter, I have the right to something called a “Donaldson Hearing.” This is an informal hearing where you can try to fight for your job. The number of teachers who actually get their job back after a Donaldson Hearing are slim to none. No thanks, why would I want to work where I am not wanted? And embarrass myself before the Board. My principal said if I do this, then I will not get a letter of recommendation. I feel like  I have wasted three long and stressful years of my life. Although I absolutely love my job.

What makes it even worse is that I have to finish working until the end of June to finish my contract. It kind of sucks having to work and when every memberl of the staff know that you were canned. What makes it even worse is students know, so at times, I get very emotional and start to cry. I know… I.am.ridiculous.

I have come to the conclusion that this job is very political. It does not matter that my students love me. Or that parents keep writing letters to the Board of Ed. telling them how crazy they are for letting a dedicated teacher go.  It does not matter if students are having a petition signed to try to convince them to let me stay. None of that matters.

What makes me livid is that I was never given a “needs improvement” in my observations (which is grounds for firing), nor did I get complaints about my classroom teaching. I received a parent complaint from a crazy parent who said I was defaming her son’s character by telling him to “step it up a notch.” I hate those “my kid is always right, no one can harm my child type parents.” Well, that was strike one.

Then, I had a parent complain who said I made her daughter feel “cognitively impaired.” Like, seriously lady, I am a Special Education Teacher, I would never do that. What parent keeps their child on home instruction for 3 years? And then has the nerve to complain  because she wanted me to provide Special Ed. services to her daughter who is an honors students.

Strike two.

Since I have ADD, I have a difficult time keeping up with organization and my time cards for tutoring. It is very time-consuming especially since I actually teach (and do not sit at my desk). I barely have enough time as it is for myself and for the work that my job actually entails. Since my husband gets laid off occasionally due to his type of work in the union, I decided to hold on to my tutoring time cards until later in the year, so then that way I could have the money for the summer.Well, it turns out that I made about $4500 dollars and the Board of Ed. was pissed. Now when I mean pissed, they were PISSED.

Lets just say that this was strike three.

I am not sure if this is directly related to my situation, however, I think that it might be. A  teacher who has bullied me for the past three years, posted some bad comments about students on her Facebook page. Then she was spreading gossip around the school that I was the one who printed the comments out and turned her in. No, sorry lady, I have better things to do with my life than worry about you. Maybe you should think before you post, and perhaps make your page private. Or maybe you should just delete your page altogether?  It is just a thought!!Did she think a parent was never going to do this? Like seriously??? Are you kidding me? Then you go around the whole entire school saying that I set you up! Go to %$##! If  I were that parent, I would have done the same thing!

I will soon find out what their reasons are once I receive the letter. I am really dying to know what their reasons are for not renewing my contract. I am also scared to read it because I feel like it will do a number on my self-esteem. But who would not want to know?I am sure that, whatever their reason might be, they are going to lie. I bet they have a family member who needs a job, and then they figure they would get rid of a nontenured teacher.

In the meantime, I am not sure what my future may  hold. This is probably a blessing in disguise, and I will realize this when the time comes. Maybe I was not cut out to be a teacher. Maybe I just was not a good fit. Who knows.I know I have many options open and I am going to start looking into going to back to school. I am not sure whether or not I am ready to try to get a new teaching job. I feel as though  I have been burned pretty badly. All I know is that it is their loss and they will eventually see that they made a terrible decision.

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