Author Archive:

How To Deal With Missing A Writing Day

AKA, How To Keep On Track Without Being Self Ableist And Self Destructive

So, my eyes refused to work yesterday, and they are battling with me today. Since I am feeling terribly discouraged, I decided — because I have to do this emotional work anyways — it would be good to make a post I can share about it, so that I am continuing some sort of consistent update to the website.

I suppose the first thing to start with is outlining the limits my body and brain place on me in regards to writing consistently. This has nothing to do with external factors such as the amount of hours in the day, or scheduling around other people and appointments; this is all about my battle with myself and trying to find a healthy compromise in the middle. Key word being healthy.

For the most part, my biggest issues are:

physical issues

  • exotropia
  • migraines
  • allergies
  • insomnia and/or inconsistent sleep cycle
  • back pain


  • poor focus/concentration
  • poor executive functioning
  • hyperfocus and obsession with task completion
  • perfectionism
  • depression

But I want to break this list down into a different pattern, one that is more honest for the problem at hand. I want to arrange these issues as sources and consequences.


  • hyperfocus and obsession with task completion
  • allergies


  • exotropia — from hyper focusing on screens
  • migraines — from eye strain from being stuck in the hyperfocus mode
  • insomnia and/or inconsistent sleep cycle — lack of sleep from being stuck in the hyperfocus mode
  • back pain — from not moving while being stuck in the hyperfocus mode
  • poor focus/concentration — from not sleeping or remembering ADHD meds from being stuck in the hyperfocus mode
  • poor executive functioning — from not sleeping or remembering adrenal support from being stuck in the hyperfocus mode
  • hyperfocus and obsession with task completion — from inflammation from allergies and the cycle feeding itself from being stuck in the hyperfocus mode
  • perfectionism — neurosis building and justifying being stuck in the hyperfocus mode
  • depression — from mental and physical neglect from being stuck in the hyperfocus mode

Probably not the take you were expecting when reading this post, where I started off complaining about how eye strain is preventing me from getting shit done. But that’s the thing; the eye strain isn’t preventing anything. I got shit done at the expense of my health, and the eye strain and migraines are a consequence of that. Because I have behavioral aspects to my neurological wiring that make task completion dangerous to my health.

Oh, to be clear, it’s not the “they worked themselves into an early grave because they couldn’t get their stress under control” issue. I’m addicted to task completion and I don’t know how to balance a life with doing a thing. This is my default. I will always neglect my health to complete (or work toward the completion of) a task. And I do not have the skill set to balance that yet.


Somewhere within the autism and OCD is a pattern of behavior when it comes to task completion that is absolutely self-destructive for me. And it is something that I know I will be struggling with forever. This is who I am on a base chemical level. This is who I am.

I can highlight the problem quite easily in regards to playing video games, something that I don’t do anymore. I play suduko these days, and that’s it, solely because it’s extremely short, and there is only one way to win it, and winning does not level into another challenge, another game.

The last time I played a proper video game — and thank fuck it was a shortish one — I didn’t sleep for days until I completed it. It was years after I stopped playing video games. My partner bought it for me for my birthday, and became so concerned for me, he kept trying to get me to leave the house, just to get away from it. Once I finished the game and saw that it had another mode after winning, I realized I had to throw it out, that I was going to kill myself if I didn’t remove it from my life completely.

This has to do with the way my brain will find a shape with repetition and hold that shape, getting stuck. Once in that shape, I will hyperfocus, feeding off the neurotransmitters I’m gaining as I’ve adapted to the task, repeating the task for the reward of those neurotransmitters indefinitely until I am finally pulled away to see that I have completely neglected my health and my life.

Hyperfocus comes easily for me even with the ADHD. It’s how I learn to do new things while many others will skim the surface of something but be unable to stick with it long enough to really gain the pattern required to learn something. I joke about my inner animal being a rhinoceros, ever since young, blind and stumbling in a direction with such determination, not seeing the obstacles, not hearing the voices that say you can’t do it, not feeling any blow that might hold me back. And that can seem really positive to have such willpower as you focus on a task and get it done, but there is a cost to having this be my default.

I can pick the wrong direction and keep going. I don’t naturally have the ability to stop and take stock and see that I haven’t slept, or eaten, and that I’ve neglected my personal life. And even when I do have that ability to stop, my brain is still in the pattern of going, of completing that task. And it is very good at finding ways to convince me that I should complete the task so I can be free of this trapped state.

But Once I’m Free? Once I Inevitably Complete A Task?

My brain is still stuck in the shape, in the neurological pattern, and I still have to figure out how to task switch after days or months of focusing on one thing that has managed to arrange my brain in a pattern. And honestly, it can just be a matter of hours, yet stepping out of that state is still the hardest thing ever.

I just want to go back into it. I don’t want to have to feel the pain of my body, or face the complexities of the life that is crashing down around me because I’ve neglected it, or even the complexities of thought that are required for things that are not so single-minded. There is a great escape in being allowed to think about only one thing for hours and not have to face the difficult world we all live in. And my neurological wiring is rewarded on so many different levels when I hyper focus. Shit, I get paid to escape.

I become the task in the way my brain and muscles remember through constant repetition, and I can come back to any task later, reconnect those connections with a little work, and it’s all there, waiting. I get to do so many different things; be these things. I know who I am in those moments… And if I’m a person outside of all of that, I have no fucking clue. I have never hyper focused on day to day life. Being a person is being lost without a task to do.

My brain is an organic computer in a body that has no actual innate purpose to have that computer; it’s just there, insisting on systematizing a chaos that is absolutely supposed to be chaotic.

Where It Went Wrong This Week

I stumbled into a couple issues this week I wasn’t prepared for. I didn’t even notice some of them until writing this now — which is why this process is so damn important. It’s essential to stop and really look at how it goes wrong to properly problem solve.

The short version is that after 2 days of writing, I told myself to rest my eyes when I woke up with a migraine starting yesterday. But instead, when the meds got it under control, I decided to do some coding, which triggered the neurosis long into the morning, leaving me with my eyes again screaming at me today.

And that could have been it, could have been really straight forward… but I looked around my house today, and I saw it was mess. I hadn’t been keeping up with tidying each night before bed. And I hadn’t remembered to eat — breakfast had been a slice of bread the last 3 days to let me take my meds without putting a hole in my stomach, and I hadn’t had any lunch. I repeatedly kept forgetting my second round of hydrocortisone.

I wasn’t sleeping well cuz I was trying to fix my sleep cycle so I would be awake during daylight hours — didn’t take, btw. And I had stayed up late on day 2 to edit a blog post without thinking of the consequences, which was probably why my eyes hurt on day 3. And I had been putting way too many emotional and self worth ideals on me getting back to writing, which was making me push myself blindly toward some lofty goal and feel like shit if I didn’t achieve it in the one way that my perfectionist side was insisting upon.

I had neglected my life at some point in the course of the first two days of writing, and it took another day and another headache for me to stop and see I had already fucked it all up and didn’t know how to solve it. After promising myself I would be watching to prevent my self-destructive tendencies from taking over.

So here we are, day 4 of writing, only having written for 2 days, trying to figure out how I’m going to do this without destroying myself. Because I don’t actually know how. I just know that I have all intentions of figuring it out while having little experience in doing so.

This Is Exactly What I’ve Been Worried About

The main reason I haven’t been writing these last 2 years isn’t the executive dysfunction. It was the wake-up call I got when my working memory and executive functions broke 3 years ago, and I found myself staring at a wall every day not knowing what I was supposed to do. I had to make what I called an executive functioning board where I created note cards of tasks that needed to be done. Like taking my meds and supplements, having breakfast, doing laundry, getting dressed, cleaning, grocery shop, etc. I had to do that for months upon months, checking that board of mundane tasks after each was done, so that I could be a person living a life.

I started to see how much time it took. I started to notice how these were things that rarely got done when I was writing. Not just on the day of writing, but when my mind was in the pattern of writing. And it was so much worse when I was making art. Art was as destructive as video games to my brain. I would wake up, wake up my computer, and go right to where I had left off before bed when I was making digital art. And I would work on that art until long into the morning hours until I was too tired and would fall asleep. That would happen for days straight until I finished the piece, and then I would find something else to art because my brain was happy to be repeating a pattern, no matter the consequences of health and life.

When my executive functioning broke to the point that I could barely do anything, I was forced to truly stop for months upon months. It was only then that I was willing to face that I had never successfully negotiated with this obsessive aspect of my brain. I had only ever neglected my life around it. Every single time.

I Don’t Know What I’m Doing

The only way I know how to deal with this part of me is what I did with the video games; not interact, not engage with the element that triggers my brain into this behavior. I don’t have a skill set to deal with this, because at a base chemical level this is my default. I become addicted to doing tasks.

Right now, I’m trying to manage the consequences as I get back to writing, because that seemed like a logical take. I had hoped the ADHD treatment would give me adequate neurotransmitters support so that my brain might not fall into this pattern of behavior. It doesn’t seem to be the case.

The reality is, I need to do this. I need to be allowed to function in the world doing the things I love whether my brain turns it into an obsessive mess or not. To feel fulfilled as a human being, I need to be able to do the things I love to do. It’s just… what I’m battling is so bizarre, so impossible and unyielding.

It grows strong as I grow strong, and loses power as it steals all my energy and neglects my health. It decides a lot of my perspectives on the things I do, especially in the moment. Especially my priorities and values when I am in the grip of a task.

And once when I break free and step out to face the consequences, I find myself in a society that champions this self-destructive aspect of me. That feeds the obsession, and normalizes it, and suggests I’m not going far enough. That instead, I’m just the wrong broken form housing this addictive will, and if only my form were stronger, or better at time management, and could do all the things that it is impossible to do at once, everything will be fine. That my inability to find balance has nothing to do with the fact I’m dealing with a dangerous behavioral aspect of myself that would destroy me, but instead that I am lacking as a human being on some level because I am struggling at all.

Having all this time off from writing as I learn more about my autism and ADHD has helped. It has shown me that life is more than just doing things. But it doesn’t solve the neurological wiring. It doesn’t make my default healthy every time I go to do a thing. It sure as fuck doesn’t stop the gas lighting of an end-stage capitalist society that would watch us all die just to reach some dumbfuck productivity metric. (Did we do it efficiently enough? Could we have reached environmental collapse faster? Come on, people, synergize!)

Solutions Require Looking At The Problem

Did I sit down to write a plan of how to move my days around when this happens so that I can adapt around the migraines that result from writing too much? Yeah, because that’s my brain digging in, trying to modulate the consequences while still doing the things. And yeah, it’s something I will likely do, because I want to stick with this. But I’ve lost two days of writing, and what I really need to do is work on my mindset as to why I think that way when I absolutely spent yesterday working on my business and coding, and today writing and figuring out why I’m falling behind in taking care of myself while writing.

The neurosis, the perfectionist — the self destructive ableist — who is ingrained deep inside me thinks I need to be more of a computer, and to do things in such a way, instead of accepting that a whole person is involved in what I do.

I hope this gets easier. Not the consequences of when I fuck up — clearly I need them to see I’ve gotten off path because otherwise I will check out of my life indefinitely. No, just to notice that I’m losing myself and switch out. I think that’s what I really need to find. The reset out of a hyper focus brain shape activity.

This is the first fucking week, and it’s not my eyes that have failed me. It’s me for not sleeping enough, for not taking breaks, or stopping and putting more time into my personal life on my writing days. I ignored the self worth I was feeding into getting back to writing, and as a result, I ignored that I was justifying blowing through my healthy boundaries because “productive = valuable person.”

I need to schedule a healthy life in — not out of a neurotic need, but because when I’m stuck in the neurosis, I can’t see anything beyond the task. It is my world, my identity. I need something to be able to break my obsessive brain open and let me out, not once every week, but repeatedly throughout each day. I don’t know what that is — I don’t know if it even exists. But it’s my job to find it.

Writing Sprints for the Neurotic and Executive Functioning Impaired

One of the realities of my executive dysfunction is that I have a horrible working memory, and working memory is important for writing a story. And when writing a long series, it’s basically essential.

Now, thankfully my working memory has improved some with ADHD treatment and cortisol support. I am no longer the person staring blankly at a wall trying to remember wtf I was doing. But that doesn’t mean that I won’t read the paragraphs before I got to where I left off, start typing, and then stop because I forgot what the character was wearing, or if they just said that and am I being repetitive, or wait, is this inside or outside setting wise. Who the hell are these people again?

If I give into finding the answers to these questions — very good, important questions that should eventually be answered — I’m going to have to slog through reading again and find each answer while pissing off my eyes. I won’t be writing. When doing writing sprints, I have to embrace the concept that working memory doesn’t matter, and that all those little details (was that tentacle purple or green?) don’t matter. I can fix it all on the next draft.

Why? Because writing sprints are never the final draft.

If you go into writing sprints as the last version of your story, you’re setting yourself up to crash and burn — you know, if you can get a single word on the page first. If you think you’re rushing to write the last version of your story, that could mentally freeze you into not writing at all — not particularly helpful as a writer.

I like writing sprints for 3 types of drafting:
* the sketch draft stage where you need to flesh out an outline (notice I don’t recommend sprints for the outline phase),
* the rough draft phase where you’re fleshing out that sketch,
* the developmental drafts where you have a few scenes (or even a whole book) written but something is missing, it’s just not there yet. So you go through the process, sprinting paragraphs to entire scenes to get the final shape before the final edits.

Writing sprints bring a freedom to draft writing that other writing styles don’t. It’s not just about discipline and productivity. I can sprint thousands of words a day, but if they’re not the right words, I’m not really showing up to write. Sprints can let your creativity run wild in a very focused way that fits into a story format, focusing your energy at getting the majority of the structure filled out. Writing sprints get a book written — not plotted, not changed, not polished. Writing sprints are when you get that story out with about 90%+ of the right words. Then other aspects of the process come in to make sure you get a finished, polished story out.

So… What Is A Writing Sprint?

Writing sprints are timed bursts of writing. It’s when you focus up, set a timer, and refuse to let anything interrupt your writing until that timer goes off. I make sure I have an outline and/or rough draft written before I reach this stage. Sometimes before I start sprints, I will quickly edit or write a fresh outline up for the scene to ensure I can stay focused on the plot points.

My writing sprints have two different forms depending on what I’m doing at the time. There’s the dictation sprint, which is me talking into a headset with the dragon naturally speaking software on my laptop. Or the writing sprint, which is me typing on the laptop. Dictation is much faster, sort of. The connection between my mouth my brain compared to my fingers and my brain is much faster, which can actually be difficult if I don’t force myself to slow down. As a result, my dictation sprints are usually only 3 minutes, sometimes 5 if I’m feeling less energetic and stupid mouthed — cuz my mouth will get stupid when I’m tired. My writing sprints usually average around 6 minutes.

I make a point to have short writing sprints. I don’t want much more than 200 words by the end of each sprint. Part of this has to do with what I follow-up with, which is the editing sprint, and part of this has to do with understanding the way my brain works and supporting it as needed. I have a bad working memory. I can lose the topic, and the longer I am doing a sprint, the more likely I can stray from my focus. 200 words is more than long enough to get a point across. If that one point surpasses 200 words, it’s probably too long anyways.

Do I sometimes feel frustrated that I’m pulled out of a paragraph? Yes. Do I sometimes want to keep writing and ignore the timer completely? Absolutely. But I don’t. Even though it admittedly makes me slower and can break up my flow. I know that I cannot handle editing for long stretches at a time, so if I fail to stop my writing in a timely manner, I’m the only one to blame for my eyes screaming at me during the editing phase.


I use the clock app on my phone to time my sprints. I find it important to have something outside of my laptop to time me so that I’m not opening and closing windows all the time. When I first started sprints, I would use the timer on my laptop and I would have arrange all these windows into perfect little slices cutting the screen so that I could see everything and just click and all that, but setting it up was a pain and something would always end up moved during normal use of the laptop. It made me twitchy, focused on the wrong thing, forever fiddling to arrange them perfectly.

Now that my vision situation is worse, I just find it easier to have my work screen be focused on writing, and something off screen focus on timing. This doesn’t mean there aren’t issues with picking up the phone every time I stop a sprint, especially with my ADHD brain that does not want to work but instead wants to play, but it’s rare that I’ll actually allow myself to look at notifications or browse the Internet, etc. I stay in the clock app and only switch from timer to stopwatch depending on the sprint type.

Editing Sprints

I wasn’t joking about editing sprints; they’re absolutely part of my process no matter how asinine it might sound. I started doing editing sprints when I realized that I was spending all this time editing books instead of writing new content. While going through that process of doing the same thing over and over again I was
1) so repetitive that my brain was taking on a shape I couldn’t get out of well enough to do any other kind of writing (aka, the creative kind) and
2) bored out of my fucking skull, which was making me even slower at editing.

I realized the solution for this was to edit as I go. So while writing sprints require a timer to keep me within a set amount of time, I keep my sessions short so I don’t have too many paragraphs to edit immediately after.

My editing sprints are completely different from writing/dictation sprints. I don’t use a timer for editing sprints, but instead the stopwatch. And the only reason I’m actually timing my editing is to keep me on track, and not because I believe there’s a certain amount of time to do this in.

I mean, if I’m honest, I enjoy comparing the metrics I enter into my sprinting spreadsheet after each session, and that gives me an idea of how well I’ve shown up for the day. I find it encouraging, which is the only reason I do it. If I found it discouraging I absolutely wouldn’t. Editing is too important to half ass… Maybe quarter ass.

Sprinting Spreadsheets

If you’re curious, this is how I set up my sprinting spreadsheet. It’s gone through multiple versions over the years, this current version breaking things down by a writing week, with a cumulative total at the top (to encourage me if I miss any days starting out), and in a warmer color palette than the neon blue and pink theme I had before.

I made the functions work so it’s easy to put in the exact time amounts and it converts into minutes and seconds. You might notice that the day’s hours don’t add up to a lot, yet I’m sitting in front of the computer for these writing sprints, on average, 4 hours. Because ADHD. Because human, not robot. Because if we try to measure the productivity of humans based on metrics instead of reality, we don’t let them breathe, or play with cats, or eat, go to the bathroom, stare off into space, look things up, etc.

So to be completely real, it might look like I’m getting a lot done in a short amount of time, and maybe I could be doing more, but this is a day of writing. At least, a 4 hours day set aside for writing sprints. I don’t time the writing I do at the end of the day where I’m not focused and my ADHD meds and caffeine have worn off. I know I’m sitting there just as long, the way I’m currently editing this part of this post at 4am.

So What Is An Editing Sprint?

For me, because this is addressing my executive dysfunctions and the limits of the software I’m using if I’m dictating at the time, editing sprints are a couple of different things. The main one is for clean up.

If I dictated my writing sprints, I will still be reading and typing my editing. Dictation is a very good reason to do an editing sprint. No matter how good the software claims to be and is evolving to be, it’s going to fuck up. A lot. It’s going to need training, and if you have dragon, you will find that the more you train it, the more problems it might adopt as you go along. Editing immediately after the dictation sprints will save you hours of going “what the fuck was that supposed to mean?”

It’s honestly something I should do when dictating these blog posts, but unfortunately these blog posts require a different sort of thinking for me, and I am very bad at stopping that thinking in the middle of the process to edit. I’m not starting with an outline to keep me on track like I do when writing a story, so my poor working memory is making me rush through and keep going before I lose the thread.

Mainly, I find myself typing instead of dictating when I’m writing a story. Part of this is plain old self-consciousness considering what I write, but another big part is how my eyes are doing at the time. Generally, I like to read as I write. It helps me focus, and helps support that very wobbly working memory that I have. I need my notes/outline open next to the text I’m writing to keep me on track, meaning I need clear sight to the screen and my eyes working.

When I’m dictating, the main reason is because either my thoughts are too fast for my fingers, or my eyes are killing me, and looking at the screen just isn’t a priority. Or, in this case, I’m dictating because my back is killing me from sitting and writing yesterday, and I can’t sit in my normal spot, forcing me to stand with a set up that is so difficult lighting wise (and impossible keyboard wise), that it’s causing me eye pain. It’s something I’m going to have to solve, obviously, but not this moment.

When editing a 6 minute writing sprint, I’ll focus on the obvious cleanup that my computer is blaring at me first, such as spelling and all the missing j’s and q’s that my keyboard has decided don’t exist without slamming on them. But I may also do some developmental editing. Sometimes it will just be a different perspective of the same line, trying to stop the repetitiveness of the way I write, or to make it more clear to communicate by breaking up my many run-on sentences (so many). I might move sentences around if it makes more sense, or preserve them because they feel like they’re not on point to the current topic but I know something is coming up where it will suit better.

Sometimes it’s trying to show a scene instead of telling it, and that involves a different way of thinking for me that doesn’t blurt out in an easy flow during a writing sprint. That doesn’t mean I can’t sprint through to sketch that perspective with a rough shape. It just means that those sorts of perspectives usually need more time for me to slow down and make sure the sensory data is communicating well during the editing sprint.

Staying Focused

There is an overwhelming desire to support my working memory during these editing sprints. It usually turns into a compromise of if I’m going to research or not. The main thing is I shouldn’t. I know how it slows me down, and I know that I can get stuck and not move to the next sprint. To avoid that, it’s really important that I stick to not stopping and reading through a bunch of text with strained eyes to get an answer that isn’t necessarily important. Instead, I have to make the habit of writing a note and then highlighting it in a not too obnoxious color — because all my old notes are in colors that scream at my eyes at the moment and I don’t want to look at them — so that I can come back to it later on a more extensive edit.

But I don’t always behave when it comes to things like this because I have OCD. And that’s not a term I throw around lightly, but a diagnosis, and sometimes I just can’t go forward until I have an answer to a question. It’s better to look for that answer during the editing sprints where I have a stopwatch to point out how much time I’m pissing away just to quiet my brain. It’s important to never let those questions be answered during the writing sprint phase, because then it becomes acceptable. And once my brain is like “hey, we can do this” once, it will push to do it every time. So separating these brain triggers out of the writing sprint phase is a must.

Keeping Things Novel

I like pushing my brain to think in a “show, don’t tell way” during the editing sprints phase. I like the results, and I like the challenge. One of the reasons of having the editing sprints phase was to not be bored as fuck, and finding something to keep my brain engaged so that I’ll stay focused really helps in that endeavor.

Editing is a good time to fit description that’s been glossed over, and find ways to really put the character in the scene, in the moment, and the reader with them. That can be through sensory data, having a peek into their emotional world, making sure to filter things through the character and not just the narrative voice.

My ADHD makes reading things that aren’t direct facts and info boring — I’m looking at you recipes — and when writing, I’m forced to repeat over the same scenes again and again and again. I probably exaggerate as a result, just to keep my own attention… and I’m okay with that. I get to call that my style at this point.

Editing Sprints For Works In Progress

If you’re interested in sharing your works in progress, I highly recommend adopting the editing sprint phase. It’s allowed me to have something to show subscribers before a story is complete. For my business, that’s everything. For my OCD, perfectionist vulnerable side who is terrified to put anything out that isn’t exactly what it’s supposed to be by the end, it’s a compromise that allows me to keep going.

I know stories go through drafts. I know that the writing process is a messy chaos of starts and stops where nothing connects until you do the work to make it connect. But for some reason it’s like putting a bunch of uncooked sticks on a plate and calling it a meal when I show my drafting process. Expecting people to pay me for that is just too much for me to handle. I feel like a hack. But with editing sprints, now I feel like I’ve at least cooked the sticks before serving it to people, as if to say “yes, it’s not food, but I am definitely a cook.”

Starting a subscription site not only saved me when my health got so bad that I couldn’t write for years, but it has also helped a lot in fighting the neurotic aspects of my brain. Many of my stories don’t change much past the editing sprints stage — there’s nothing innately wrong with them. The bulk of the writing is fine. But by allowing myself the opportunity to believe the stories could change drastically and still putting them out into the world as is, I’m giving myself an opportunity to let go of finding the perfect words, the perfect story form, and get on to the next writing sprints.

Okay, but when do I actually answer those important story questions I put off?

Usually at the end of my writing and editing sprints sessions, which can last for hours, easily, I will step away from the work. Maybe I’ll have a meal or just move around, feed the cats who have been waiting, see my family if they’re home at this time, and just be a person instead of a writer. This space is important. I don’t think people understand the physical wear writing takes on a body, never mind on brain, and if you don’t refuel and move and do something else, it’s not particularly healthy.

After I had my break which can also last hours — because I set my own hours and my family is a major priority — I will usually come back in the quiet hours of the night and look at my work for the day. I will expect to work for hours on the editing that follows.

I don’t do any kind of sprints at this time; my brain is not here for that shape. Instead, I look at the notes that I left for myself while rereading the work, and add more notes if I see things are missing. I’ll find all my questions and start answering them, at the same time going through and changing little things here and there, stuff I might’ve missed in my editing sprints, or things that have to change now that those questions have been answered.

The only problem I have with this current system is that I am usually tired by this time a day. My ADHD meds have worn off, meaning my focus can only be as good as it can be by the limits of my brain. I will miss things. It also means my neurosis can creep in and want to stay up even later and later, trying to get it right. I have to set hard limits with myself about these things, and when I’m tired, that’s really difficult.

That said, I find this stage is important for the next day of writing. It let’s me get the scene where it needs to be, and to be able to have some creative downtime to develop things and see the work as a whole instead of small 200 word bits that I’m looking at when doing the sprints.

It’s also good to help create a routine of posting at the end of the day, updating the website and keeping myself accountable. Honestly, that’s really what forces me to stop my neurosis at the end of the night even as it wants to flareup and be louder as my brain notices that I’m putting out an imperfect draft.

When I update the website, I’m forced to notice how fucking tired I am. The eyestrain, the many questions that every story forces me to ask again and again of is this the right direction or this, the physical exhaustion on my body from the act of typing and hunching over the screen; I can ignore these things when I in the moments writing, but not so much when I’m struggling to navigate a website with hidden menus, forgetting what tabs I need to open and where I need to go to update things.

Even though a part of me just wants to stop and wait till it’s perfect and not put anything out, updating after every writing day is important. That neurotic voice is not helpful in getting a story written. And honestly, by being tired I have worn that voice down so that it has less power over me so that I can post. Which is great. Fuck that voice.


This ended up being much longer than I was expecting, and I still have things about the writing process I want to share. I think I’ll save it for another post (cuz tired =_=), and leave this one here focused just on the sprinting stuff. Hopefully someone will find it helpful.

My Writing Week

A Day For Maintenance

Well, it’s Monday. My first Monday since mostly completing the website theme. Officially my first Monday of getting back to real writing. There are some things I need to figure out, those things to be planned today, actually. I thought since I wrote that big thing yesterday about what I do/did to stay on track for writing and running this business, it would be a good time to actually, you know, share a bit of it. And then do it.

The nice thing about doing a little blog about getting back into writing is that it has me writing right after getting up and having breakfast. It has me thinking about writing even if I’m not chapters into writing a novel. It reminds me that writing is easy, just so long as I get out of my own way.

A big part of starting to write again is this struggle of choosing where to actually start. There are a lot of stories waiting to be updated, and some still require a lot of reference notes and reading to even remotely get to that place. And those big stories, they’re valuable. Valuable income wise, but also valuable sentimentally wise. Aka, I care about them too much to fuck them up, and there’s a danger in that kind of thinking. But for now, I’m going to find the gentle path and fuck up a different story first XD, just to get used to these doubts and insecurities so I can push them away for the bigger stories.

A Grand Experiment

Getting back to writing is a grand experiment in a lot of ways as I push my brain to be more than its limits currently are. And I know it could reach that place once, but after the months of my hyper-sensitized trigeminal nerve screaming at me and my pituitary unable to demand the required cortisol, my brain changed. So I’m building the support structure I think I need before starting, hoping it will evolve to what I need once writing as my brain changes. And that’s kind of exciting.

I’m an adventurer of thought, if not anything else. I love to see what the human mind can do. As much as teachers had claimed the calculator would make us lazy, it made me push to be more efficient to understand how I needed to think, and then use the calculator to support and bring accuracy to the problem solving I was doing with math. Creating tools to support basic human deficits is damn exciting because it allows us to be more. But only if we, as individuals want to grow instead of stagnate.


Planning A Week At A Time Starting With Rest

Every Monday is my “maintenance” day. It’s the first day of my official work week after a weekend focusing on family time, household errands, and personal hobbies.

Giving myself the weekend was something new for me to make sure my entire life wasn’t about work, but also required because of the unavoidable distraction my loved ones pose. Oh, I fought it for as long as I could. Only to realize I was perpetuating some self destructive ableism on myself by failing to rationalize rest. I do that; I will logic self destructive behavior and call it productive, and I know I’m not unique in that department. We’re all going to drop dead one day, and no, I don’t want to have prioritized work over living. I’m not apologizing for that.

Taking the weekends was to help my mindset, to accept that I was going to be distracted, and that instead of feeling frustrated with it, it was a sign I shouldn’t be working during that time anyways. Because I would work all the time. Once my brain gets into the ruts of a behavior, it stays there. It found the shape, the pattern of thought to work forever, and I can be a total grumpy fuck if not careful. Weekends are set aside to ensure that I’m a decent human being who rests, who spends quality time with family, and has other shit going on than staring at a screen all day.

It also means it’s a time that I’m not putting all the household stuff first, just finding a way to fill the rest time with a different work. That’s for Monday.

Maintenance Monday

Maintenance Mondays exist to get me back into the mindset of doing after the weekends of playing. I deal with the emails that weren’t required to be dealt with immediately while running the laundry. I figure out medical shit and appointments, bills, important household stuff that has to be addressed. I tidy up the kitchen and bedroom/office. I plan and make meals for the week, or make sure I’ve got easy make options so I’m not starving my brain during work hours. I plan my week of writing, the goals I want to hit, the time I’m willing to spend (because I always go over, not under, and time is everything.) I then plan my allergy shots and errands around that time frame.

This week I have to plan more website updates alongside writing. Because of the eye situation, I have to figure out just how much screen time is going to result in a migraine and plan around that. Using Word is hurting my eyes, and Word is how I make those PDFs. I was able to get Scrivener to a beautiful layout for writing, nice soothing colors and perfect font size. It doesn’t hurt as much, and I wish I could get Word to the same place, but it’s time. It’s a trade-off of pain where to invest in solving a problem while it causes a problem could steal away days of my ability to write. So that is my big thing to plan this week.

Defend The Routine

Because Monday is the day I manage my life and business, and plan the week, it’s also the day I have to guard as fiercely as possible. It sets me up for the week, and if some random doctor’s appointment or someone home sick interrupts this day, I will either push it to Tuesday, or the worst case scenario is I lose the week, lose the rhythm, the thread, and wing it hoping the energy I spend actually leads to something productive. Never good with ADHD.

The biggest importance of Maintenance Monday is that it acknowledges that working from home is a fucking problem that has a million distractions that need to be addressed before work can get done. I can’t have laundry waiting for me when I’m working; I’m going to do the laundry because when I’m home, my priorities are with my immediate space. I can’t have a messy room because visual disorder hurts my eyes and no, I can’t afford an office. Walking into the kitchen to make a quick meal before getting back to writing can mean being completely interrupted by cleaning a messy kitchen and then forgetting what I was doing, losing the thought pattern of writing.

Just like with human distractions, where I have no ability to compromise once they’re in my space, it’s the same with disorganization and mess. I won’t win. My focus will go to the immediate problem that needs solving so that I’m then allowed to get back to work — and know, I don’t want to work. Not really. So every distraction from work means the very real possibility of not working. On Monday I solve those biggest issues, and every evening before bed I will do a quick tidy up to solve them again (because I live with slobs and cats). Anything less is setting myself up for failure.

A Day For Ongoing Projects

Mondays are also the day I get to put some time into the big organization projects that need doing, but are dangerous to touch on a work day. Because if I get in the habit of trying to tackle the intense clutterfuck thing that happened after 10 years of being ill, moving, and two different episodes of mold taking over this place, suddenly my week could be about doing that. Because it IS important. And my brain prioritizes my immediate space instinctively because, hey, years of allergies has turned this into trauma. I have to not trigger that instinct.

I have a lot of big projects waiting. The one I’m doing today is getting the rest of the holiday decorations taken down. I was holding off, hoping that we could do it as a family, but yeah, it never happened. I put them up alone as well, because I can self motivate and others can’t. I suppose at the heart of it, because I care and they don’t. We have a garage full of things that were supposed to be taken to goodwill when we first moved in here, but it never happened. A basement full of moldy storage that was supposed to be dumped when the black mold hit the house, and it sat there when the white mold hit, and is still there.

Being sick has been difficult when I’m the only one who cleans. Running a business when an entire dirty house has been dumped into my lap as people walk in and out throwing their shit down anywhere they want in shared spaces and thinking they’re not responsible… it’s impossible, really. I don’t get to leave the house to work like other people do. The eye sight issue has made that pretty impossible, and my work environment outside of my clean space is far from ideal. And at the end of the day, it doesn’t get to matter. What I prioritize is my choice, and I’m not obligated to solve other people to be allowed to live my life.

I solved my room before getting myself back into the routine of writing. I painted, got fresh storage in here, and decluttered. The important thing was to have visual balance, soothing colors, and lighting that wouldn’t contribute to eye strain. I fostered a space to love, to feel calm in so that when I go to create, it’s easy and familiar. Any project can be swiftly boxed up and tucked out of space to make room for writing or to give me a distraction free view. I don’t have to worry about cats knocking things down when there’s nothing to knock over.

If I had decided not to do it all in one go, Mondays would have been the day to work on it, doing a piece at a time. Monday lets me take care of some of these big things a bit without turning it into a daily work day thing. My work week is for the 4 days that follow Monday.

A Four Day Writing Week

I write 4 days a week. I work a 5 day week. Do I still find myself working on the weekends? Sure. I’m only mortal (for someone who keeps saying work sucks, it’s really hard to pull me away.) But these 4 days are the days I count. The days that matter. The days I set aside to do the work with writing sprints and editing sprints (oh yes, you read that right. Editing sprints, because I have no fucks left to give.) 2 of these days also require the huge distraction of leaving the house to interact with beings who are not cats long enough to get my allergy shots.

Leaving the house for anything is about the biggest distraction I can think of from doing work (even worse than having people in the house cuz sometimes they’re actually quiet), so this is no small feat.

The Greatest Distraction Of All: Leaving The Planet

Leaving the space of work is like leaving the world behind. I am defined by my environment. I don’t know why; I could romanticize it or what not, but it’s the reality I deal with. It’s great when I need to escape a mood, but it has the same effect when it comes to losing the brain shape I need to focus on work.

I become an artist outside the house, falling in love with the landscape, or the go getter who is getting errands done, or the drop in who randomly says hi to their partner at work (because being home alone sucks.) And it shouldn’t be such a big deal. Being spontaneous and fun shouldn’t ruin an entire day of work. But it does for me.

My brain takes a certain amount of energy and time to twist into the right shape (this is a metaphor, peeps, just saying. My alien traits have not evolved this far, thank you). I need structure, and I need consistency, because being spontaneous doesn’t mean spontaneously writing 5000 words on a different story. It means deciding to paint my ceiling, or rearrange the pantry, or clean out the garage and sort what’s going to goodwill.

There is so much waiting to get done, and the more my physical health and energy return, the more this body of mine wants to fuck off and do all the things, all at once, to an amazingly belligerent degree when external resistance is felt. I get angry when something hurts or I feel tired — how dare anything hold me back after years of chronic fatigue and adrenal insufficiency! XD And that anger is also a wonderful excuse to keep me from getting my work done.

Self Motivation Has To Be From The Self

Anger is great for ADHD when you don’t have motivation. Unfortunately, it can be hard to direct. I’ve been feeling a lot of anger in regards to the anti-trans bullshit happening lately. The normalization of it. The consumer market exploiting it. I’ve been fucking pissed, and I’ve used that to show up every day and remind people I’m still here. That I’m not letting them push me out of my life just because they’re that fucking selfish they want transpeople to disappear because we don’t fit their concept of what’s allowed to exist. Fuck that.

I don’t recommend having your motivation be in defiance of an external factor, not really. Because you don’t get to control that. You can start relying on getting great reviews or feedback or even anger — I have found some amazing inspiration from some rather outraged reviews. XD But when it’s silent and it’s just you and your thoughts, you have to be ready to self motivate. Every time.

I think this is one of the hardest things for self published writers to really understand. That when they put a work out into the world and no one says a word back, this is going to define them. What their brain generates in the silence is going to decide if they keep pushing forward, or if they give up. That what their brain generates can change at any damn moment so that if they were being their own cheerleader, suddenly they can be their worst enemy and not be prepared for it.

It sucks. It’s absolutely normal and it sucks.

We are our greatest enemy. The brain is the most dangerous weapon, sharp teeth once tearing into thought now turned inward, tearing into the ego, the dreams, the motivation and leaving everything bloody. We’ve evolved to feel this as social beings. Shame is part of our biological makeup, but just like stress gets triggered from nonsensical things in the modern world, so does shame.

Do You Really Know Yourself?

There is nothing domesticated about the human psyche. If you think you have trained yours to be gentle and loving, that you will never be tested, it’ll be a lot harder to push back when those biological factors activate and turn on you.

Because it will. Vulnerability is in all of us, and from that vulnerability springs our greatest warriors. Warriors who turn on ourselves to logic out of the pain — to just stop doing the things that bring the vulnerability, like putting yourself and your work out there. Your greatest lessons will be learned when the brain comes in to fill in the silence when you were expecting social validation. In the same way I have a day to plan on how to keep my shit together through the week, you need a plan for how to keep it together during those moments. I have one.

If you’re doing this, if you’re real about this, you will be seeking those moments. You will be seeking to grow as you seek that pain and tell it to fuck off. But you have to be honest with yourself that the vulnerability is there. That the pain hurts. That you have to feel it to deal with it and overcome it. Like any muscle, one can get stronger dealing with this stuff, but it’s going to be the worst pain in the beginning every damn time, and there isn’t a shortcut.

Writing isn’t hard. Showing up is where the majority of people fail. And you will find system after system telling people you just have to write 100 words a day, or sit down for an hour a day, or sacrifice a main character to the writing muses on a full moon, etc, etc. And yeah, maybe they’ll get a story out of it… but then what? What do they do with it? Does it ever even meet another set of eyeballs?

If you’re not showing up, there’s a reason not being addressed. Like my reason of working for a living sucks and I don’t like being home alone all day. And if you don’t acknowledge it and do the work to accept and deal with it, those reasons will always decide for you.

The will is an extension of the subconscious; if your subconscious has decided something, it’s decided. It will be your default until you deal with that shit. And every time you feel resistance to dealing with that shit, you’re being given a path of where to go: into the resistance. If you’re not seeking that pain and facing the things holding you back, you’re not really doing this.

There’s a reason so many entrepreneurs are sociopaths, and 1 in 5 business leaders are psychopaths. They don’t have to do this work to get to where they are. The psychological wiring just isn’t there to battle. Everyone else does, and it defines if they’re going to make it or not.

Congrats for not being a sociopath. Here’s some pain to guide you forward.

Why Writing Feels So Difficult Lately

The writing tab…

So, for starters, I’m not sure if this is going to be of any use to anyone. If I’m real, I’m writing this for myself and sharing it to hold myself accountable. Yes, you, as a reader, are now part of my experiment in keeping on track. Thank you.

Could this hold valuable information to a would be or current self published writer? Maybe. It might be difficult to relate to me even though it’s the familiar topic. I’m, uh, unique. The whole autism, adhd, disability, enby, choosing to write taboo erotica for a living thing. On some level, this is about overcoming adversity, I suppose, but really, it’s far more mundane. It’s about holding myself accountable even though things feel difficult.

I guess that’s rather universal.

Getting to the point

So I started Sunday sitting down and writing about what it takes for me to get back into the habit of writing. There’s a fair bit of irony there because I’m not actually back in the habit since writing my last book the beginning of 2020. I’m working on it, remembering what it’s like. Had about five real writing sessions once I got my computer screen less caustic to my eyes between updating the website. One session was super easy, the others not.

It is not like riding a bike again. It is not the most natural thing ever. It’s not fun and exciting and full of promise. It’s a slog to get my brain to focus and twist into the patterns it needs to twist into to get back into the flow.

That’s not new for me; I’m horrible at task switching. I’m someone who specializes… I don’t know if that’s the term for this, but it suits my purpose. I metaphorically hit my head against a wall repeatedly on a task until I win. That ability for the twists in my brain to get real deep with enough repetitiveness can make me pretty good at most anything with enough time. But it also means that I can be slow to learn. My brain is gathering all the information — far more than it really needs — forming connections around it, organizing it, squirreling it away with certain associations (many visual and spacial and movement related).

I’m just around for the ride, doing the repetition again and again until the ability is fully formed. Then I get bored and want to learn something new — because I hate myself — but that’s a different problem. The main thing is, my working memory might fail me, but whatever is being stored in my movements is always there, that neural pattern waiting to activate. As a result, I don’t do change well. I don’t get to fully access how I task switch. And I also don’t get to decide why it sometimes feels like moving a mountain and other times just a flip of a switch. This is just who I am.

Writing this has been easy. The words flow. I know what I’m saying and why I’m saying it. Writing fiction isn’t always so simple, but it doesn’t matter. The ability is there, waiting to activate, even after years of illness. Just… I’m not showing up consistently.

Not because it’s hard — I’m used to things being difficult. Not because my eyes hurt or I have a shit work ethic. I spent Sunday writing about 5,000 words on what I do to do this job consistently, and the raw truth of it is… Working to live sucks, and I don’t like being alone all day.

I know, it’s so fucking mundane

Oh, I could talk about all the things I do to prepare my space. How I juggle and compromise and lose to distraction, and how I get back after and focus. How I use routine to keep me focused, little movement and sensation cues to keep me in the moment, doing what needs to be done. I have a lot of them — my ADHD isn’t new, yet I wrote a lot of books. I know how to do this. I know how to trick my brain into focusing long enough to get things done, and my brain is better now. Clearer without the mold and allergies flaring things up, or the low cortisol stealing my thoughts.

None of that changes the truth that I want to write, but being home alone while everyone else is at work is so fucking boring that I sleep through the morning so that someone will be home sooner to when I wake up. Being sick has been so isolating, and I just miss being a person around other people — not all the time. Not even most of the time; people are fucking difficult on me. But I miss basic human interaction.

That’s what I’m seeing as I return to writing, return to building back up a pattern of behavior one would call a career. Writing is isolating. It’s not something I can do with others around me. I can’t have the TV on or the radio or a podcast. I can listen to classical music, and that’s about it, otherwise I can’t focus. I won’t go into the health issues of sitting in front of a computer screen for hours on end, but it’s pretty undeniable in regards to the negative impact it has on my eyesight.

I am someone who is very okay with being alone for long stretches of time. Yet this job is too isolating, and it’s one of those gigs that doesn’t lead to changing that. I just got my health back, and this job wants me to be stuck in my head for 8 hours + a day. As much as I enjoy the characters I’ve created, that’s not me spending time with friends.

I’ve done this; I have spent years upon years focused on work, not building social connections, and no, it doesn’t get better. This is an essential aspect of humanity that needs feeding, and repeating the same unhealthy behavior isn’t going to fix the issue.

So that’s where I am at the moment, after a week of having my family home because we all had to quarantine together cuz my brother got covid again. I’m going to wake up late on Monday, and do my Monday Maintenance, which is basically a routine of taking stock of the house, work, and life. I’m going to plan everything out for the week, clear away any distractions I can to get ready to write for the following 4 days, and just feel lonely. Left to wonder if I even know how to write a concept of a person when I only speak to the same two most days.

I’m going to have to get the fuck out of the house. That’s the only answer. Doesn’t matter if my eyes make driving difficult; this is not sustainable. The thing currently getting in my way isn’t poor focus or some personal failure of behavior/willpower. I’m just too alone all the damn time to enjoy what I do. The humanity well is empty.

Is this where the trope of writers hanging out in coffee shops came from? Because people actually want to be around each other? *sigh* Somehow, I’ve become everything my teen self hated…

New Year, New Resolve

Hey peeps, it’s been a lifetime, huh?

Sorry. It’s been difficult to reach out, difficult to face this shit. I had really high hopes that the ADHD meds were going to give me my brain back, but after some more scans, more info — more time — things are proving to be complicated.

For some of you, this might be the very first newsletter you get from me. (Who the fuck is Sadie Sins? Wait, is that the writer of The Paranormal Academy for Troubled Boys? Demon Bonded? That really weird monster fuck fic?) Yeah, I still live. I used to write these things weekly. I used to be a very enthusiastic, fuck it all and write a ton of words, oversharing everything type of person. Life has just kept knocking me down though, and I’ve become rather, I dunno… disheartened, if I’m real. Quiet and cautious. But it’s a new year, my mind is set on hitting some writing goals already, and yeah, we’ll see how it goes.

The Good, The Bad, The Medical

So… where to start? I guess we can do a good news, bad news, good news thing. Try to balance shit out. I guess good news would be… fuck, I honestly don’t know the last thing I updated with you peeps. Let’s see… Okay, so let’s start with the BEST good news. We adopted 2 kittens!

Caught! Harley and Mal caught wrestling on a decorative bedspread.
Harlequin chewing on a paintbrush
Malachite wide eyed and adorable

Harlequin is the ridiculously precious pink nosed tabby, and her brother Malachite is the handsome tuxedo. It was a gift to be able to adopt siblings (my twin brother and I were adopted together, and although not cats, I know that going through big changes like that is much easier with a friend.) They came to us slightly feral, but now they’re cuddlebugs (with boundaries) and are getting along well with our two senior cats. These babies have really been magical. They make sure I’m awake at the right time of day (food time) and then let me sleep until they want to play. They needed a lot of attention when they came to us as kittens, and it’s been worth it. They really are the sweetest.

Badish news would be… the adrenal insufficiency. We figured out it’s secondary, meaning my adrenals are still currently functioning, just that my pituitary isn’t sending the info to produce cortisol. The end result is the same — lifetime of low cortisol — but yeah, the treatment is working and a lot of my fatigue and anxiety has been resolved.

Also, they found a cluster of cysts in my pituitary. No clue if they’re what’s causing the lack of communication with the adrenals, but it’s something to watch just in case other issues start happening that could be caused by the cysts changing size.

Some amazing news is that I’ve taken down the clean room! My allergies are under control, and the reactions I have are nothing like they were when they were knocking me out or causing screaming pain. I still have issues, but as long as I’m not exposed to anything so extreme like the house being taken over with mold, there’s no reason to believe that my symptoms will ever be that bad again.

I’ve been arting a bit, getting into sculpture lately. I started because when Halloween hit, I didn’t want to deal with the mold allergies when carving a pumpkin, so I carved a foam pumpkin — which I think came out pretty damn cool.

monster pumpkin with wicked tongue carved out of foam and foamclay and dripping in uv resin, surrounded by festive squash and corn

I’ve been trying to get a couple of other things made, but it’s been more difficult. I think I’m not so good with small art, fine details (even though I love details.) I worked on this painting for a bit, doing a mix of acrylic paints and posca markers.

I want to finish it, but to be real, traditional painting needs certain lighting I’m not sure my eyes can handle atm.

Fox hiding in shadows as a mouse sneaks among brambles and raspberry blood dripping teacups

As for why it’s not going as planned, aka, the worst bad news…

This is actually really difficult for me to talk about. I’m still processing it, trying to face what it means for me long term. It’s basically why I haven’t had an update for nearly a year now, and a reason for a lot of issues when it came to art and writing, reading too. I was hoping time would solve this. That getting the adrenal insufficiency dealt with, and the ADHD treated would result in this, just, going away. Because why would all this shit hit at once, you know? But it hasn’t been fixed. It’s actually gotten worse in some ways.


I guess the basic explanation is my eyes are fucked. It’s a condition called exotropia, where both my eyes are turning out toward the sides of my head. It’s like being cross-eyed, but in a reverse, lizard-esque version. There is no cure, no surgery option offered (and there’s a lot of mixed info on if surgery actually helps), no thing to pinpoint and resolve that will then fix this. I had hoped — and hope is such a fucked concept when I think of it — but I had hoped that it was the cysts in my pituitary putting pressure on the optic nerve because, hey, that could be something solved. But no. This is just genetics. I hit 40 and my eyes expired.

It’s not completely new — I was in an eyepatch as a kid — but it has progressed into something worse than what they thoughts was a lazy eye back then. My first true understanding of the symptoms was about a year and a half ago when I went in to get my eyes checked because 2 dimensional objects were looking 3 dimensional with certain colors floating above the surface. I was getting clear blind spots in my vision, and weird panic attacks in the car when driving and as a passenger. My brain couldn’t track the movement of the vehicles properly, and for whatever reason it was triggering anxiety and causing overwhelm.

And that’s the root of the issue here: this eye thing isn’t just messing with my vision; it’s fucking up my executive functioning, exasperating the ADHD. Because my brain is struggling to process the data coming in from my eyes, it’s failing to record things into memories at the same time, failing to work at a speed of thought I’m used to, failing to focus on tasks, etc.

There are some treatments I just started that have helped. Eye drops, closing my eyes for half a minute throughout the day, gentle washing of the eyes, using a humidifier. I take migraine preventive meds every morning — because the eye strain leads to migraines that can last for days otherwise. I wear prism lenses that help focus my eyes forward even if they’re looking sideways. I need to get a proper set of screen glasses that are basically like reading glasses, making my prescription slightly lower to help with eye strain. When I first clipped a pair of reading glasses over my glasses, I started to cry. It was such a relief, almost like every muscle in my face relaxing for the first time.

I’ve currently been experimenting a lot with my environment, altering the color and intensity of the lights, painting and moving things around to make my room less visually cluttered. Because I struggle to visually process with my eyes going in different directions, too many things in my field of vision can lead to overwhelm, and from that overwhelm comes all the executive dysfunctions. And it doesn’t take much — I might not even notice it as it’s happening, such as the angle of light creating a glare on my glasses — but the consequences are pretty intense. Even with the migraine preventative routine, the pain still starts up, nausea and photo-sensitivity hits, the eyes grow tired super quick, and I can lose the day.

To make things pretty much shit, screens cause an extreme amount of eyestrain for me. The color of the light directed at my eyes, the brightness, movement, any flashing of images, slowing of blinking. I currently can’t see my cursor as I type this — chasing it to edit is maddening and causes pain. I actually wrote this on the 1st, and then it took 3 days to be able to try again, with me first changing the fonts, colors, and font size of the writing app just to make it easier — but they do help. There are things to help, even if it can’t solve the problem.

The blunt reality is, I spend a lot of my time with my eyes not focusing on anything. I didn’t know it — my normal has been to have this condition be less intense and to just end up in a horrible mood and be exhausted up until now. I used to get a lot of migraines, but I had no idea of the connection to my eyes, to the digital art, to the writing/editing. I have somehow managed to see the world around the edges of my vision most years and not notice. It’s only when I’m asked to truly focus — like on a computer screen when typing or making art — that my eyes are moving as directed, focusing on detail, and it fucking hurts.


So, that’s where I am right now. I’ve basically finished the reference database — it’s empty of data, because I’m going to have to read my old stories to be able to fill it in, and reading has been misery for years now — but it’s mostly complete. I feel so much better physically and energetically since getting the allergies and adrenal insufficiency treated. My anxiety is damn near gone. I can join the world again — not at night; I’m painfully photosensitive in the dark and with blue/intense light. Now it’s just facing this one giant, life defining thing and trying to find a way to say fuck you to it so that I can be creative again.

I saw a neuropthomologist only a month ago, and kind of had to shut a lot of things down to get through the holidays. Even though I’ve been dealing with the condition for a long time now, I feel as though it’s all new now that I’ve gotten the answer. I had hope before then. Fuck, I had hope after, thinking if I just didn’t strain my eyes, I’d be able to go back to doing my thing. I left that office with so many tools to help my eyes. Then I tried to make some computer art for the holiday after a few weeks of following the eye treatment protocol, and the pain I went through for a simple line art — still haven’t finished the damn thing — was so intense, lasting days after, I was just crushed by it all. It was only minutes looking at that screen before the pain started. I’m probably never going to be able to make another book cover again…

And that’s absolutely heartbreaking in a way I can’t fully go into right now. Because before I was a writer, I was an artist. Digital art was the most affordable, ease of use route to go, and I miss it so much. If I had known about the condition back when I stopped making art, maybe this would have been easier. Back when suddenly I couldn’t handle the bad mood I would always end up in, the headaches, the tension in all my muscles while making art. When I just couldn’t be interested in making it anymore, aka, I couldn’t focus on the task… maybe I would have seen how it was the same with how I stopped reading years before then after being a reader for the majority of my life. My brother has ADHD and he can still read, but I just assumed my ADHD kept me from focusing on reading. Nope, it’s the eyes turning.

But would knowing have helped? Or would I have just felt like all the things I loved were being stolen away starting in my teens? I got to believe that I was just bored by the stuff I used to love, that I was chasing novelty. I didn’t understand that novelty was the only way to help me override the way my eyes were glitching out. I needed something to drive me into the struggle of seeing; I needed a new challenge to stay with the pain.

And really, I don’t know any other way after so long.

So, fuck it. This is the one life I’ve got. There is so much shit I’ve never chosen for myself that I’ve had to deal with. I would much rather deal with the consequences of the things I do choose for myself, such as to write even with fucked up eyes. So I’m problem solving, as I do, experimenting, and just letting my inner rhino blindly push forward no matter the mess I make.

My eyes are fucked whether I use them or not; doing the thing isn’t going to make them worse. It’s just going to hurt and turn me into a grumpy ass with a migraine most days. Fine. There are so many people out there who hate their jobs, and feel like shit as a result. I love my job and if I feel like shit, that’s just part of being a person with fucked up eyes who works.

Learning How

Balancing life with creativity just isn’t something that comes naturally to me. Maybe, in some twisted way, this eye thing will force me to learn. I’ll have to take breaks. Sure as fuck can’t do this for hours upon hours a day like I used to. I’ll have to work with the speech to text software. I’ll definitely have to invest in an editor if I ever want to publish again; I can’t do that sort of eye strain to myself. Editing is hell — editing this newsletter is hell, and as hard as I try, I know I’m fucking it up and getting too tired to care. But it’s a newsletter. Expectations are far lower. If I have weird headers every few paragraphs to help my eyes organize data, no one will call me out on it the same way as if I tried that when writing a novel.

Really, I have nothing left to wait on; I got my answers as to what’s been happening to me. It’s time to get back to creating. I need to finish painting my room and hiding any visual clutter. I have to get proper glasses for screen work, but the clip ons are enough to get started. And as I go forward, I’ll be adapting, looking for the right lighting, timing, computer set up, etc, to allow me to write with as little pain as possible.

But really, I need to break the habit of the last 3 years where I fail and give up whenever I’ve tried to sit down and write. I have my answer, I understand why it’s not easy, and I need to accept and push through to get a win. It’s partially why I’ve been arting again. Every win matters, even if when my mindset is low, I just see the pile of things I can’t finish. But just because art is hard, doesn’t mean I can’t art. Just because the screen is impossible to work with doesn’t mean I can’t sculpt. I just sanded and varnished a tabletop yesterday and installed it as a new desk — seeing with my hands, working in space helps. With the right lighting in my room, I can paint, even if it’s not close to the same as my digital art. It’s art in a different form.

I think, starting out, I might spend some time on an easier story, something that doesn’t require me to remember a lot to move forward right now. Reading through hundreds of thousands of words to catch up in Demon Bonded or PATB might just break me if it’s where I start after all this time.

Like, it’s been years, and shit as I want to admit it, I don’t know if I can do this. Writing used to be my escape from the pain happening around me. Now I’m… what? Choosing pain to be able to write? That’s the blunt fucking reality of it. This isn’t actually ever going to get better. If creativity wasn’t a part of who I am at an essential level, rationally I would never choose this. Rationally, this is a self destructive path where I should instead be looking to accept my limits and live a different life. But this is who I am, and is the only way I can truly be fulfilled, so, yeah. It is what it is.

I’m probably not going to talk about it much going forward. Maybe if I find something that really helps, I’ll share the good news. But this is going to be my default. It’s been my default the last 18 months, and I’ve suffered every damn time I tried to do basic shit with my eyes. (I currently feel like my left eye, left top teeth, and right temple are twisting in my skull just from trying to navigate this webpage to do a final edit and post this.) I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t want to think about it. It has to become background noise, otherwise that feeling of fragility is going to win. I can either be resolved, or I can feel victimized; I can’t be both, and only one option allows me to continue to create the stories I love.

A Fresh Leap

I self published my first story back in November of 2015. I had no idea what it would mean for me, what this writing thing would become for me. Hope. Self empowerment. Connection. It became a part of my identity, and I wasn’t prepared to deal with losing it so suddenly after the mold hit in 2019. Writing has been my lifeline through an intense ride of chronic illness, and even as I know that treating the ADHD, adrenal insufficiency, and allergies has solved the chronic fatigue and pain, to think that I could still lose that lifeline after solving so many problems is just… the worst.

I have been waiting so patiently, trying to do things right, trying to make sure I don’t fuck up everything I’ve built. But that’s also a big problem with me; my stupid brain thinks there’s a “right” way to do things. Such madness we embrace every time our thoughts feel like universal laws. So I’m here in 2023 to fuck it up — to take a chance just like I did in 2015, and hope for the best. I had no regrets then. That leap into the unknown brought me everything. I have no reason to believe it will be any different this time. There’s always so much more to gain than lose.

I hope through the good and bad of last year, you’ve found something that is driving you forward. I guess I’m a grow towards the sun type of person, even when feeling like shit is so much easier. It makes a difference — it brings change when things are unbearable if they stay the same. It’s good to shake off the stagnation and create a new path to follow. So here’s to a new year with new paths, new hopes and joys, even if they might not look like what we expect. It’s still joy.

Happy New Year, peeps, and I hope life is kind. And if it’s not, I hope you can still find kindness to direct within and without. Peace.

April 7

Disability visibility and self ableism

So, this might not be of much interest to those who are just here to read, but it’s something of importance to me because it relates to who I am as a writer. Especially during these last 6 years of illness.

I was recently diagnosed with ADHD and autism, but before that diagnosis was 6 years of torment, and before that a lifetime of PTSD. You’re only seeing this website because 6 years ago I became so sick and bedbound, I decided to start my own business and self publish. I have been ill this entire time — but my skills as a writer have fluctuated greatly, seeing these sharp declines and improvements. This, on learning about my autism, now makes sense.

It wasn’t brain damage and repair; instead these language fluctuations are associated with autistic burnout. Now, the allergies and dopamine drops I was experiencing aren’t necessarily autistic burnout, so much as because I’m autistic, stress on my body can lead to certain symptoms. So having a chronic illness such as being allergic to mold and unable to handle the scents of certain things can result in autistic burnout.

Why is this important? I have psychologically kicked my ass for years now, waiting for my ‘brain to come back’ so that I can allow myself to write. As a result, I internalized my ability to write as part of my self worth, internalizing this very normal part of my existence — the part where stress breaks me and my brain loses language skills for a period time — and saw it as a character flaw, a moral failing, failing at being a person, instead of part of who I am. This vicious, cruel, internal bullshit I spew at myself is ableism. Instead of accepting myself for who I am, I was being an asshole to myself — not making anything better, might I add — and just being miserable.

This is also connected to the perfectionist problem I have. Because I’m waiting to be ‘perfect’ before I allow myself to write. Aka, I am the biggest dick to myself for nonsensical reasons to protect myself from what I saw as inevitable failure. What failure? Who the fuck knows. I started a business sicker than I have been in my entire life; I have no clue why I thought I could fail when at this place. But I managed to get a little bit better, and I saw any return to ‘the worst’ as failure. Fun.

I am now aware of this, and working on it. Which is why I’m also writing again. And this will be a process, because I’m still angry with myself that my writing is not at a level or ease that I know it could be, and therefore my brain has decided it *should* be. But whatever, until I get a therapist, this is where I’m at on this topic. I need to write when my brain will let me write, even if it’s total shit, because if I don’t, I’m judging myself for this very normal autistic trait I have of losing language skills when I’m ill. I don’t get to do that to myself — I’m bad enough without being that level of hateful over something I have no actual control over. Autism is me. That’s it. Time to fucking love it instead of this knee jerk hate fest.

If I were a scientist–which I am not, but my brain would like to be one once it grows up >_> — I would love to point out all the correlations I have found with autistic burnout and low dopamine. These loss of language skills are also connected to low dopamine. Stress of any kind is connected to inflammation, and chronic stress lowers dopamine, leading to cognition, memory, motivation, emotional regulation and impulse control losses. My multiple chemical sensitivity could be just as easily explained as how my brain processes scent because of autism, leading to what feels like screaming in my head, and pain through my entire face over certain scents. The fact that I become more ‘neurotic’ — which is really hyper systematizing — when I am ill, is an autistic trait growing more extreme in correlation to inflammation. My agitated tics show up during sensory overload and illness — inflammation exacerbates autism, and potentially it is that drop in dopamine which is the trigger.

I have not found anything online on how to cure/treat autistic burnout outside of ‘give it time,’ but I suspect if they instead started helping to improve dopamine levels and support adrenals, autistic burnout would not disrupt the lives of so many autistics, disruptions that can last for years for some.

This shit needs to be studied, but I am not a scientist. I’m just someone trying to crawl back into my life after so many years of exhaustion and illness. I am also someone who is trying to come to terms with my disability instead of ignoring it, and only showing up on my ‘good’ days, which have been so damn few that I haven’t been showing up at all for months at a time. I need to deal with this and accept my situation. I designed and built a fucking clean room to overcome all these immune problems and multiple chemical sensitivity, and for some reason I thought I could just pretend none of it even happened; I’m living in a bubble pretending I’m not disabled, and no, that’s not dealing with anything.

I’m trying, babes. I am fallible and broken and I try every day with subpar results, but I’m still trying. I only like to be seen when I don’t have to struggle to do the most basic of things, but that just leads to complete isolation and this illusion of how life is for someone like me who is disabled. They talk about disability visibility, but honestly, if I keep hiding away, I become the reason I’m erased in this really fucked up, sociopathic world that only wants to show the most beautiful, idyllic, abled among us. I have never lived in that lie of a world — I have never wanted to — but for some reason I still managed to contribute to the illusion by not showing up when shit gets so damn difficult.

So here I am. Tired. All the time I am tired and I don’t like to talk about it. But I’m still here.


March 30

Unraveling the number cage

So you may notice a lot of numbers disappearing from the chapters/events/scenes to be replaced by short titles. Maybe it’s just me having too much time on my hands waiting for ADHD treatment… but I’ve been thinking about the things that trip me up as a writer since starting the subscription site.

It wasn’t something I actually planned to do, write while being observed. I was used to finishing a book then sharing it. I didn’t think it would be difficult — all I do is write at this point. But I realized in the middle of writing Hellcat, having done about, oh, three extremely different drafts of that book until I got to the end, changing it so many times on the site while readers watched it transform, that numbering things made me feel trapped. Like, I had to make a scene 5ab at one point—and don’t get me started about the mess of the PATB serial as I tear through the rough drafts building the completed form like a tornado—and it just felt dumb and annoying because suddenly nothing was the right number when I added scenes in the middle, and I’ve been using ??? for certain scene numbers just to claim this isn’t definitive, the number might not be this, don’t hold me to this! XD

It’s a mess. I write in drafts, and I change shit around, a lot, which is totally normal (things do not automatically appear in their final form on the page; it’s a process that requires the initial ideas to then spark the later ideas), yet I’m so stuck on patterns and systems—and to be clear, I’m not being glib about this being a disruptive thing. It seems quite brilliant to be able to find any pattern in a puzzle or sequence—once aced a PSAT of analogies not knowing a single word in front of me just based on pattern recognition. My brain zeroes in on this shit, and it all seems fine until you realize there is no pattern and your brain just assumes everyday things means something and that patterns must be found and created. My brain gets stuck on pointless labeling structure—it’s so fucking dumb.

It’s all in my head. I’m fucking neurotic. A part of me loved the idea of these really neat, simple number systems (the balance of the same pattern on a screen to scroll through is just so lovely to the eye), which is why I switched to them in the first place. And then here I am realizing I don’t feel like I’m ALLOWED to change things around because I’ll mess up the stupid system I made up in the first place! XD Oh, and if I do it for one story, everything I make has to have the same fucking system—there is no half-assing with this brain of mine. All or nothing.

Do not have my brain. Seriously, no one should have to deal with this madness. @_@ Although, this could be a part of autism—I have autism, recently found out when I got the ADHD dx. So definitely have this type of brain, just don’t let it rule you. Avoid the triggers that turn brilliance into tormenting dumb fuckery. Otherwise, it’s just this damn cage of nonsensical rules that pop up, something that writing in general has a lot of minefields. Grammar nazis are dangerous to a brain like mine, this insistence that something like the language we made up must be followed to precision (an elitist, ableist, classist claim, btw) when language is an evolving, ever changing medium that now includes n00b, c0mpu732 50c141 14n9u4935, and emojis ??? as normal forms of communication. Like, fuck my auto correct that used to help me and now just gaslights my spelling choices.

So, yeah, anyways, getting rid of numbers when it comes to scenes and such. The final, final books will have numbered chapters, but until that point—for my own damn sanity—I need to not use numbers. So of course now I’m just fucking around naming all my scenes that used to have numbers, still seeming mad as fuck about everything as I obsess on this part. The whole point of this is to be less neurotic about shit, I swear. It just doesn’t feel like it during this part of the process… >_>

But it’s important in its own way. It’s like coming at things sideways, dragging me into thinking about writing even as my brain struggles to focus. The fucking thing can focus on numbers, on patterns, on coding (fucking hate coding, just to be clear, even when obsessing over it) but it is still struggling to translate ideas of plots into scenes.

Soon. 2 weeks and I should have my first attempt at seeing which ADHD med is going to work for me. I’m already dreading the possibility that the first one won’t work—this has felt like the longest damn wait to get help for ADHD, and everything that slows it down is just unbearable. But whatever. I can’t function without treatment, so I don’t have a choice. Gotta wait it out.

Oh, but binge watching the The Great British Baking Show during this long ass wait. Some good is coming from this all. XD


I’m Back! ? With ADHD. ?

Hey peeps

It has been a super long time. I never actually wanted it to go this long between newsletters, but the topic of this newsletter is basically also the explanation of why it took this long: ADHD. And with this topic comes a lot of emotions that need to be processed, and a lot of research I had to take on where I needed to understand exactly what it all meant. I can’t even claim that I am past this process, only that today I feel in a good enough place to be able to talk about it and face these really complicated feelings of vulnerability that come with it.

I’ve never been one to hide what I’m going through, or even just hide facets of myself. That’s not really who I am on any level. But I think partially that comes from this place of being happy with who I am; I’m proud of the things I’ve accomplished and overcome and how I’ve grown to be a better person as a result. These are not feelings that I remotely associate with learning that the struggles of my brain for so many years has to do with ADHD.

I’ve read a lot of people who are in a very positive mindset about it, are likely much further into their journey of processing their ADHD, and they talk about it as a gift as they focus on all the things they can do as a result. I am not there. Not remotely. I am angry with my brain for not working the way I want it to, and I’m angry with myself for not being able to make it work the way I want it to. I have lost so much time that I could have been putting toward writing or making art or building my business or just anything — living my life! — all because dopamine and norepinephrine aren’t getting into the exact parts of the brain they need to get into, resulting in these life disruptive symptoms.

for starters, my brain wasn’t working in the cleanroom…

So, I came to learn about my ADHD in a somewhat roundabout way. It was a couple of elements that honestly were built on a lifetime of how the fuck did I miss this. When I first realized I had a huge problem was actually this year after I completed building the cleanroom and I was no longer being bombarded with allergens. I was seeing huge improvements in so much of my health, but something was seriously wrong. I couldn’t focus or remember, I couldn’t keep my mind still on a subject long enough to pin it down. And when it came to writing, I couldn’t load the information in my brain of the books I was working on long enough to then take that information and creatively move forward into the story. My working memory was failing spectacularly, and I had no idea why.

I thought it was brain damage from the last mold attack, but I couldn’t understand it because my brain seemed to be working better during the time of mold hitting it compared to when now I was free of all allergens. I thought maybe there was a leak in the cleanroom or something, where allergens were still getting in — something I missed. But no. So I decided to deal with it, the way I always do, and problem solve and find a solution. The first thing I needed to do was figure out how to do basic tasks in my life. It took me hours to start my day, hours, and not just because I was fatigued all the time but also because I couldn’t remember to do simple shit. Couldn’t remember to take my meds or my supplements. Couldn’t remember to eat, never mind make food. Couldn’t remember to wash my face, or brush my teeth, or water the plants, or to get dressed, or to clean up around the house.

I ended up getting a smartwatch and set up all these notifications to remind me to do basic things. It worked for a bit, and then it didn’t work at all because I started to ignore the notifications. This thing that I literally set up to remind me to do things, my brain was now actively ignoring, and I couldn’t figure out why. So then I used these dry erase notecards and created tasks which I set up around my room as a visual reminder, because visuals were working for me as long as they were in my space. I couldn’t remember to look at my phone, or pay attention to my watch, but if this big card was right in front of my face I could remember to look and focus on it. But that wasn’t working much until I realized I needed to start writing down the times I did my tasks, to help me make time real to me. Because it was just slipping by. My brain wasn’t recording the minutes, and life/hours/days were just slipping by with me not getting basic shit done.

While struggling with this and attempting to create a structure that I could turn into a habit to just do basic things during the day, I was also looking for supplements to help. Brain boosters mostly, omega oils, neuron growers as I feared that this was some level of brain damage, and supplements to help with focus. I didn’t really have a name for anything that I was dealing with at the moment, ADHD wasn’t even on my radar, but I stumbled across a supplement that was used by individuals with ADHD who were trying to naturally deal with their ADHD symptoms after the stigmatization of their medication. The one I tried was specifically for focus and attention, and wasn’t really a supplement but a prescription drug in other countries but available in the US as a supplement. It seemed a little sketchy, but I was desperate, so I tried it — and it worked.

a little pill called aniracetam

It was like a light turned on my brain again, and I could write. Not only could I write, I did write; that was when I wrote the first two scenes of Demon Bonded Apprentices. And I thought this is it, this is the solution. I’ll just take this drug for the rest of my life, and my brain will work, and I’ll be able to write again. It had a very short half-life, which required three doses a day, and it was expensive, but it was still my answer and I was ecstatic.

Except this drug didn’t just do what it was supposed to do, it also impacted my serotonin levels. For whatever reason, this is not an aspect of my neurochemistry that can be raised without severe agitation and depression. SSRIs are extremely dangerous to me, and this particular focus drug didn’t just raise dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain, but also serotonin, making it unusable for me.

So the light in my brain turned off again. And my desperation and depression grew. I’d had the answer, but the side effects were too dangerous to pursue. And I couldn’t find anything else like it. I could learn enough about the drug to realize it was raising dopamine in the brain, but that was it. Then I came across a random YouTube video about executive function disorders connected to ADHD, and it all clicked into place.


executive dysfunction disorder courtesy of ADHD

In the video were explanations of what I was already doing to function in my life by creating the visual cues of the notecards around me to create a structure that I could rely on to remember to do things. As well as the focus on making time concrete through timers and writing it down to check in. The more I learned about what executive functions were, and what disorders in these functions look like, it was clear to me that this was exactly what I was struggling with. So I had found the names for the problems finally, and I had found the cure in regards to the need to get dopamine and norepinephrine into a certain part of my brain along with positive habits, and I also had a name for this condition, which was ADHD.

ADHD is highly heritable

The funny thing is, if it hadn’t been for me finding this video linking the very things I was doing to executive function disorders connected to ADHD, I wouldn’t have believed it. Because my twin brother has ADHD, and our behavior has never been the same. He was a hyperactive child, and I was not — well, I wasn’t hyperactive around other people. It’s apparently rather common for young women to repress hyperactivity as they follow social cues from the gender role they are placed in, while young men are not given those same social cues. And I also learned that ADHD doesn’t always present with hyperactivity. That ADHD can be overlooked in intelligent people because they’re very good at getting around the symptoms of their illness to a point. And it’s only once they reach the level where they can’t fake it anymore, that it all falls apart.

So how was I faking it? Well for one, I was writing term papers overnight and getting As on them. As long as I could get the work done, school wouldn’t notice HOW that was happening. And when I couldn’t get things done and school did notice, it always seemed to come back to the difficult childhood I’d had when in foster care. I wasn’t being held to the standards of my potential, which is why it was missed that my capabilities were limited in ways that matched the pattern of ADHD.

And honestly, being diagnosed at the same time as my brother when we were kids probably wouldn’t have done much. Our adoptive parents didn’t see his ADHD as something that should be medicated — our mom was afraid of the medication. And as my twin grew into adulthood, wondering why he couldn’t seem to feel or want things, he couldn’t motivate himself, he couldn’t focus on things outside of his hyperfocus of reading or video games, couldn’t seem to pull himself out of the depression that had followed him for so long, he never once connected it to his ADHD. And it’s only now, as I watched my emotions turn off, my motivation turn off, my spark for life and novelty and joy just disappear as dopamine failed to reach the correct part of my brain, that I can fully understand why everything was so much harder for him. Your brain is working against you, and everything is so much more effort than it should be, and eventually you just want to give in and stop trying.

the allergy link

There’s a bit of a dark irony in all this, as I came to understand why my symptoms were getting worse instead of better now that I was living in the cleanroom. The allergies were helping me focus. The overstimulation of my immune system as it was pushed into fight or flight mode every time I took a breath, was pushing my adrenals to flood chemicals which helped to transport dopamine into the brain. I grew up in a moldy basement from the years of 5 to 27, and when I left that house my immune system was set to critical as it had over targeted practically everything because of that long-term mold exposure. So even as my body was overreacting to everything and gaining huge amounts of inflammation and having these histamine responses that were draining dopamine from other parts of my body to give me Parkinson’s symptoms, the adrenals were using the stress response to get dopamine into the brain enough to get my executive functions to work.

This is why I didn’t become a writer until I was bed bound and sick from all these allergies. The only way I could overcome my ADHD enough to write books was by being in a body that was so overwhelmed and in a state of stress that it couldn’t move anymore. Before that point I could never stay/think still long enough to be a writer until in a body that was basically dying. It was the most horrifying realization, one that truly made me wonder if there would even be a future for me if ADHD treatment didn’t work.

I am currently in the middle of a 1 to 2 month long assessment by a psychologist who will decide if I have ADHD or not. At the same time I’m helping my brother get his health insurance finalized so that he too can start this process, get the assessment he needs, and finally get medication to treat what has completely interrupted his life. I am full of doubts and uncertainty, a lot of fear that at the end of this assessment this doctor will fail to see what is so clear to me after just the minimal amount of research — and I never stop at minimal when it comes to research. I’m scared that the medication won’t work, or that it’ll have a frustrating side effect like the other drug I tried that raised my serotonin levels. I’m scared of a lot of things because I see not just my life and future hanging on this diagnosis and getting access to appropriate treatment, but also a fair amount of my identity as a writer.

Writing was the first thing I’d ever been able to succeed at. I’ve been good at things before, but never consistent at them. Of course, now I see why — how ADHD has impacted so many facets of my life is almost impossible to count now that I can see it clearly. But that doesn’t mean these frustrations with myself, these feelings of failure to not do what I know I can do if only that damn switch will flip in my brain will suddenly evaporate just because I know about ADHD now. My nervous system still needs to believe it, and that is a much longer journey of processing.

estrogen is required to produce and transport dopamine to the brain

I’ve had one really amazing twist in all this, which was trying estrogen supplementation. Apparently as women age, their ADHD becomes more prominent as their estrogen levels lower. Hyperactivity can increase if there is an imbalance and testosterone is higher than estrogen, as well. I knew I was in perimenopause for some time now, at least for the last five years, but I didn’t think it was something that would be addressed until menopause itself. But after listening to a podcast directed at women with ADHD, I bought an OTC natural estrogen replacement cream from Amazon, and the changes have been amazing.

Not for my focus — I am possibly more distracted than before. But my working memory, my energy levels, my mood, and spark for life have all returned. I get up every morning feeling happy, and do all the things that I need to do, and I’m more aware of time and how it passes. And if things get a little complicated, I know how to just add in a visual cue to remind me of what to do that day, or set a timer or reminder for future events to keep me on track. And when my day is done I actually feel tired, and I can fall asleep for a change, and then actually sleep through the night. My back pain is mostly completely gone now. My quality of life has improved, even if certain aspects are still a struggle such as writing. That has been amazing, and I’m really grateful for this discovery.

I wish I didn’t live in this place of frustration with myself, and I know it’s going to be a while — maybe a lifetime to stop looking at this like some ridiculous failure. When I look back at the times I could write, I see the mad dash it was. The last book I wrote was in 10 days; for all the times I was telling myself that I could do this, I was missing the stress and anxiety that was fueling me as I ran for some arbitrary deadline just to be able to function. I’m hoping as I move forward that I will have a better relationship with myself about this. It’s funny, because I know I did this with PTSD; I learned to love myself after facing terrible trauma and the very natural survival instincts we have. I don’t know why it’s so hard to not feel betrayed by my brain, but that’s where I am right now. Even as I know that I have no control in this, I still blame myself for not having enough willpower to somehow overcome what is literally a structural disorder in the brain itself.

I hope you’re all dealing okay during this long pandemic, and if you’re in the US, the shitshow of watching a bunch of fascists try to take over the Capitol because half of them can’t understand that easily debunked conspiracy theories aren’t founded in reality. >_> Self care is extra important during stressful times, and I hope you’re all remembering to take care of yourself.



If you find yourself interested in this and want to nerd out, here are some playlist — because reading is really difficult for me, even though I’m a writer, and videos/audio help:

November 3

The Perfectionist’s Web

Okay, so all the audiobook stuff of the moment is finally done. Yes, there are still the fanfics, but I’m leaving those to be recorded specifically for the weekends. I’m not good at dividing my time during a day, so I would rather ensure I focus on my writing on weekdays and then give the final recording stuff attention on the weekends.

I want to slice through these waiting stories and get shit done. All of them. Just knock them out, one by one, scene by scene. I’ve been doing a lot to deal with the perfectionist side of me that sprung up once my brain started coming back after the mold. It’s fear, vulnerability, identity all mixed up in if I’m choosing the ‘right’ words, the ‘right’ plot, etc, and it’s been freezing me in this rather painful web. I think I’ve broken through, but I imagine this will be a work in progress, overcoming the psychological damage that came with having my entire life swallowed up by illness for so long and just feeling unanchored and unable to find myself in it all.

I plan to show up every day to have new stuff written, even if it’s just a few paragraphs. You can’t face writer’s block if you don’t show up. I will record each scene only once it’s fully written… And yeah, think that’s it. I’ve been feeling well, trying an experiment with CBD oil that’s been helping my health a lot. My brain is feeling better, my memory almost where it should be. And believe me, I fucking need all the help I can get as I wait who knows how many months long to see if the fascist orange dickhead is voted out, and if the electoral college will honor those votes.

But fuck that shit– I refuse to waste my energy on it. Let’s get some awesome stories written already! ♥


August 19

Audiobooks and Perfectionism

I think I’ve finally reached the point where I can just post audio without it being perfect. Sometimes I have to trick my brain into shit–if you lived in my head, you’d understand. I need to call it a ‘draft’ and ensure I mark it accordingly, and if I do that, I will be able to record and put the rest of the audiobooks up–possibly every single one of them–this week.

A thing happened today, one of those wake up things in life. I found myself sleeping on the cleanroom floor as allergies once again took over the main living space so completely, my heart rate wouldn’t return to normal until I locked myself in the cleanroom. I don’t think I’m waiting for ‘perfect’ when I’m waiting for livable, but the reality is, most of the shit I’ve done when it comes to writing and art, for that matter, was while living in mold under extreme stress as my brain was overrun with neurotoxins and my dopamine system was breaking down. I have done nothing while life has been in any sense of the word perfect, and expecting that I’m somehow going to get more things done if only my existence could be momentarily comfortable just isn’t really realistic.

This body is broken–it overreacts to most every thing now. The dream of affording a house that isn’t full of mold is pretty low, unless I want to magically have a fuck ton of cash and move completely away from the state I grew up in to find some low humidity either freezing cold or boiling hot area to live where mold is less likely to grow. I built the cleanroom understanding that; sometimes you have to make your space because it’s just not going to be handed to you. The stars do not align– not in shitshow 2020.

This is still going to be a struggle for me–not the audiobooks, I can already feel I’m past that. I’ve given myself a bridge to cross with the idea of making drafts that will eventually be edited up nicely, but until then, it’s something–anything–to improve accessibility for all readers. No, perfectionism–the dream of being allowed to have my brain when I’m writing certain stories so they can be the best they can be. That’s going to be a lot harder to overcome. But it’s my job as a human being who needs to accept the limits my body and environment place on me to do the work and deal with it as it strikes.

So, yeah, expect a lot of audiobooks being posted this week and the next. Each chapter will be marked clearly visibly as either draft or not– if there’s music at the beginning, it’s a completed edited audio chapter, if not, then it’s a draft. Simple. I’ll be rerecording some of the original audiobooks too where I was just learning the system and fiddled with things that conceptually seemed really fucking cool, but I did not have the skill/knowledge to pull off–looking at you, I’ll Tell with your weird voice mods.

Hope you’re all doing well. Depending on if that solar flare hits tomorrow, this shit might all be moot anyways. 😉