Wednesday, January 30, 2008


I always thought ADD was just something they were overdiagnosing hyper kids with. I never considered that adults were diagnosed with it, or that I could have it. I can sit still for long problems there - just ask my couch, my TV, and my XBox. Sometime ago though an adult friend of mine was diagnosed, and as we talked about it, it became clear that she and I were wired very similarly and processed the world in very much the same way (something I never would have guessed, even after knowing her for over 10 years). She mentioned a book about it that she was reading and I kind of kept it all in the back of my mind, planning to read the book someday, but not in any hurry. Recently though I was visiting another friend who was also diagnosed and he loaned me the book ("Driven to Distraction") and I immediately began reading it and was amazed to discover what ADD really is, and that I identify strongly with almost every symptom.

ADD is not so much about physical hyperactivity (though it can be a part of it) as it is about an inability to focus. Anytime I'm doing something I'm very aware that there are a number of other things I could be doing and feel like I probably should be doing; I flit from task to task rarely finishing one or considering priorities; constantly searching for novelty - never wanting to do anything the way everyone else does it; struggles with gambling and other ways of self medicating; I was intelligent but couldn't apply myself in school. All characteristics of ADD. As I was reading the book I laughed to myself about the millions of half-finished copies of the book that are probably out there - and indeed I stopped reading a few weeks ago and have not been back to it yet.

While not all the symptoms are inherently bad, there are so many that I could certainly live without. I want to get diagnosed and explore treatment, so I saw my primary care physician for a referral and am now in "the system", with an appointment on Monday with a therapist for an intake evaluation. I have an HMO and feel like it's a machine I'm getting into. I'm glad it's not public health care, but it's definitely a system. I don't get to choose my therapist; I have to get referrals and am told where to go and who to see and I'm sure I'll have to meet certain criteria to continue being seen and having it covered by insurance.

I saw an ad today on the train for an ADHD study at UIC that is looking for participants. I thought about responding. I don't know if they are looking for people who have been diagnosed (I don't believe I necessarily have the "H", the hyperactivity) or if they would prefer people who haven't? The ad didn't promise any compensation, so I don't have a whole lot of impetus to pursue it and I bet my HMO therapist wouldn't appreciate it. I just thought it was strange to see that ad at exactly the time I'm trying to get diagnosed.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Proud Father Stuff

Funniest thing my 4 year old daughter has said in a long time - "If I ever get eaten by a dragon, I can just punch my way out" (not sure where this concept originated for her).

I am currently loving the fact that her favorite song is "My Little Brother" by Art Brut (she does not have a little brother, and certainly not one that is 22 years old and just discovering rock and roll). She also likes to sing "Blitzkrieg Bop" and "Buddy Holly" when I am playing Rock Band.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Year's Day

It's a very quiet, gorgeously snowy New Year's Day in Chicago. Kind of like the U2 song, without the political overtones.

Coffee Review - Over The Rhine Blend

When I saw the band Over the Rhine promoting their own special blend of coffee (roasted by Chuck Roast) it struck me as kind of gimmicky. But more than just their music, Over The Rhine has always promoted a particular aesthetic, a certain way and/or quality of life involving music, poetry, nature, wine, etc... A college roommate of mine once said, "yeah I like their music, but they're pretty pretentious". I took offense at the time, but in retrospect, there was probably some truth to that. A sticker on the back of the coffeebag tries to encapsulate this aesthetic - " is inspired by our love of good music, good conversation, good laughter, good living and best-kept secrets - all of which are meant to be shared". Gimmicky or not, I couldn't resist. Good coffee is one of my top pleasures in life, and, pretentious or not, I generally enjoy the whole Over The Rhine experience, so I figured I give it a go.

The mail-order beans arrived pretty promptly, and the next morning I put on OTR's latest CD "The Trumpet Child" and set about making a pot. I'm sad to say, I've never had worse coffee from an independent roaster. I've tried 3 pots now, using different amounts of beans, and they all come out tasting like something you might get at Dennys. The flavor is very flat - not rich or flavorful in the least (disclaimer - I like my coffee very, very strong/bold). Not a suitable accompaniment to any of their music. Maybe a suitable accompaniment to a Grand Slam or Moons Over My Hammy. The rest of the bag will be donated to the general coffee supply at work.