Memories, Family, and Missing Records

I remember many things about my Gran, but I received a text from my sister a couple of nights ago that brought to mind some distant memories.

Get some popcorn and something to drink. You’re going to need the backstory on this one.

Gran always had these antique bibles. She didn’t just have one; although, she did have one very large one. She had a few. As a young child I never understood the need for so many bibles. I just thought they were prettier than the bibles they had at the church down the street. These had gold leafing that appeared to be worn. The covers felt different. As I remember them today, they had the “old book” scent you’ll only smell with an antique book. But what puzzled me at the time was why she wrote inside these books… all of them. If a child was born, the name and date went into the bible. If someone passed away, the name and date went into the bible. Generations of the family could be traced with this information.

They looked something like this.
They looked something like this.

There were memories, too… If she went to a funeral she’d get a flower, bring it home, and press it in the bible. She’d place it at a specific passage for the person and she could usually tell you exactly whose flower it was years after the funeral.

As I look back I now know why she had so many – when a family member passed on their bible must have been given to her. She seemed to be the keeper of the family photographs, too. I think she was the family Records Keeper.

Many things were lost or misplaced in our house. My sister and I grew up in a somewhat chaotic environment, to put it mildly. Regardless, Gran’s bibles were always in the same place. If anyone needed to find one of them, they were always there, never moved.

I moved out of the house around 1989/1990. My Gran passed away shortly thereafter. I was young and foolish about many things in my life. I didn’t give her bibles any thought. There they sat in what was now my mother’s house.

Years later, mom eventually had to move into an apartment. She downsized her belongings and sold the home. My hoarder of a mother had a difficult time letting things go.

Finally I return to my sister’s text. She wanted to know if I had Gran’s old bibles. I told her no, I thought she had them. She has a few boxes in storage she needs to go through and she’s hoping to find them there.

It would be just like my mother, the Queen of Hoarders, to finally throw something away and have it be something this important.

Fini!

Finals are over. My last presentation was made yesterday. Grades (for me, anyway) have already been posted. I made A’s in all my classes. I worked so hard to maintain that 4.0 GPA and I succeeded. Now I can rest. I’m taking a break this summer. But I’m already planning out my downtime. I’m taking today to map out what I’d like to do on my whiteboard, just as soon as I erase everything else.

End of Semester

 

I was so stressed out this semester, especially when it came down to finals. I went into this semester as an “A Student” and I’d managed to keep it up until finals. I didn’t want to lose it. How stressed was I? After I’d finished everything and felt good about my final projects, when I was just waiting to turn everything in and make my presentations, over that weekend I had a nightmare. I dreamed I made a B in one of my classes. At least I woke up from it and recognized the dream for what it was. Instead of being panic stricken I broke out into a giggle fit. It’s good to be able to laugh at yourself.

I’ve built more relationships on campus this semester than I thought. On the last day, there were people in the lab laughing and joking with me, saying goodbye for the summer. Some of my classmates even wanted to take pictures with me. When I go back in the fall I’ll be taking night classes and I probably won’t see them. I realized I’ll miss these people more than I thought…

I'll Just Think About That Tomorrow

 

Yes, I’m taking the Scarlett O’Hara approach on that one. I’m going to enjoy my summer break and I’ll just think about that tomorrow.

The ADHD Brain and Post-Project Let Down

I decided to write about this subject because there is surprisingly a lack of information out there. Yes, I’ve found other blogs, but I haven’t found anything from the medical, psychology, or ADHD field itself (other than one book, and he doesn’t cover much). If anyone knows of a credible resource please feel free to share it in a comment.

adhd brain

 

You work on a huge project. You already have a tendency to hyperfocus, but when the project is this big and the deadline is so close, that tendency kicks into high-gear. Everything else goes by the wayside. Nothing in the world exists but the project. You may forget to eat. When you do eat it isn’t healthy. If you’re lucky, your family understands because they know this pattern by now.

The most amazing thing is the mind chatter disappears. Mind chatter? Yes. You know, internal distractions. The mind is never quiet. One worry pops in just as soon as you push another aside. You’re constantly spinning on one thought or another. Meditation never seems to work. Relax, you say? Hah! Right…

mind chatter

 

“Mind chatter is the result of a lack of distraction for the ADHD brain.” (Driven to Distraction, Dr. Edward M. Hallowell and Dr. John J. Ratey)

I can’t speak for everyone. We all have our own techniques for handling our distractions so we can get the job done. I wouldn’t get a thing done without the whiteboard in my office. I see it every day along with the deadlines. I outline each project into small parts, giving each part a deadline. I cross off my deadlines as I meet them so I can see my accomplishments. The downside to this process is it encourages me to hyperfocus. The upside is I stay on track.

I’ve also noticed I experience a huge adrenalin rush when I hit the point where I’m hyperfocused on that project. Yes, I’m stressed about hitting my deadline but towards the end when I finally know things are coming together and it’s going to work – the relief just washes over me. I feel glorious! I want to shout to everyone, “Look at what I’ve done! Look at what I accomplished!!” I’m on top of the world.

The project comes to a close and I’m riding on that emotional high. It lasts for about a day.

As I’m enjoying the well-deserved downtime, the mind chatter begins. I’m not hyperfocused anymore. I don’t have anything to “spin” on, so I spin on myself. To the person who doesn’t understand the ADHD brain it would seem I’m scanning the horizon finding something to worry about. I don’t mean to; my mind is just wandering. Most of the time I snap out of it wondering how I got there in the first place; but by the time I find myself “there”, I’m an emotional wreck over whatever I’ve found on the horizon.

These are the highs and lows of working on a project. I used to think it was just me but in my search for more information on “post-project let down” and “post-project depression” I found others experiencing this same issue. People are posting in forums and blogs, both ADHD and Project Management, about this same pattern. Yet I get no hits in the medical field… nothing confirming why. We’re all just speculating. This truly surprises me. Surely there is more information out there and I’m just missing it.

My search was not for a solution. It was more for personal validation that I wasn’t alone. I needed to know if others had this problem or if I was just … crazy. I already have a solution. I’ll stick with my pattern of planning out my projects; I just need to adjust for the project close. I have a great method for planning out my deadlines until the project ends. I just need to make sure I have something lined up for when it’s over. Downtime? We all need it, but I suppose I need to start planning something for that, too.

only human

Final Projects: Done

Ahead of schedule, I might add. Well, with the exception of the presentations I have to give this week. If they would have let me give those ahead of schedule I would have given them all by last Friday. Alas, I must go to class next week anyway. I make my presentations on Wednesday and Thursday, and then I will officially be done. Grades will be posted on the 17th.

The past month has been fairly stressful. It started at the beginning of April, when we were preparing for the “Design Charrette”, an annual event where students spend one day working on projects submitted by local non-profit organizations. It’s a major part of our grade, but at the same time it’s nice to help local charities who need logo designs, brochures, websites, and other assistance they wouldn’t normally get because it isn’t in their budget. It gives the students the opportunity to see what it’s like to work with a client in a “real-world” scenario under a tight deadline, and perhaps make networking connections.

Of course, this falls right on top of finals. Because of the Design Charrette, regular classes were cancelled in order to prepare for the Charrette on Friday. Students had time to work on projects they received ahead of time. Downside? No lecture time for upcoming final projects.

One would think we hit the ground running the following week, but we were behind schedule. We had presentations from projects we’d just completed. We lost two classes there. GAH!!!

Finally, the week of April 22, we get lecture time and details on our final projects – projects that are due in two weeks.

Oh The Stress
OMG!!! I’ll never make it!!

 

Tangent warning

Words of advice to all of you college students out there: One class/One professor. Never take more than one class from a professor during a single semester. I’m taking three classes this semester and they’re all taught by the same guy. When I saw this, I thought, “Hey, at least I’ll only have to adjust to one teaching style.” That may be true, but he gives all his assignments on the same day in all of his classes. Just remember, if you’re ever in this situation the curriculum won’t change just because you’re in two or more of your professor’s classes. And I don’t know about you, but those classes blur together. I go to the wrong classroom every now and then because I associate the classroom with the professor. Perhaps I’m “The Absent Minded Student.” 😉

 

Back to the subject at hand

Somehow I managed to complete these projects ahead of schedule. I’m still trying to figure that part out. I didn’t do a slapdash job. I even had time to create portfolio layouts for my professor to print.

Last night was the first night I quite literally had nothing to do. I surfed the ‘net a bit, then I just sat on the couch and watched movies. It was … odd.

 

It’s been so long since I had free time I don’t know quite what to do, but I do know it’s time to emerge from my cave.

Sun+Goddess
There is life outside of my computer room!