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Opening Doors, pt. 2

November 29, 2011

My 30s were a time of searching, for me to figure out what my capabilities were and to work towards something tangible. I knew by then my adult life was ruined. I was facing so many deficites in terms of living autonomously. I needed to purposely think about other things than to bask in the embarressment of all my shortcomings. I was still living with my parents, I had no relationship, any income I could produce at that time was the equivalent to spare change for persons my age who were out working in a secure job. And all the while, the friends and family in my life were in complete denial there was anything wrong with me. My parents kept saying I was being too hard on myself, that everybody loses keys and wallets, not everybody can be the CEO of a corporation, and similar kinds of denials. I would complain to friends about me forgetting way too many things to simply pass it off as absent-mindedness. They would simply shrug it off as no big deal. I just needed to be more positive.

I was starting to look for answers. Yes, there were areas in my life that were improving over time. It just wasn’t happening fast enough for me. The conveyor belt of life continues to move us along.  I didn’t want to be stuck living at my parents house as I entered my 40s and 50s. What was going on in my head? Did I have deeper developmental challenges than I was aware of? It wouldn’t be until the age 33 that I would learn about ADD. We had seen a 60 Minutes program that discussed the issue of ADD. It talked about the people who acted impulsively or were hyperactive and could not sit down for very long. My mom was wondering if that was something I had, but the show didn’t give enough information for me to know if ADD symptoms included forgetfulness or deficiencies in reading. Those were the biggies for me.

By the time I had learned that I was, in fact, ADD, my mother had passed away already and my father was very sick. Three years later he passed from this world. Almost at the exact time I had discovered everything about ADD, I found myself to be completely on my own. My parents had left me some money, which kept me financially afloat for the next 10 years, but it felt like I had been shut out of society. The several books that talked about ADD presented rosy pictures of people suddenly taking various prescribed medications and then living happily ever after. Finding treatment for me wasn’t so easy. It took me over 5 years, and 5 therapists, to get properly diagnosed, and then another 2 or 3 years to start taking some medications. These therapists are very expensive to see. There are only a handful of specialists in the United States who can accurately detect if I truly was ADD or not. Some have told me people can have ADD-like symtoms and still not be ADD. The thing was I didn’t want these symtoms at all, regardless.

The other problem is that there are a variety of medications on the market, and even the therapists aren’t sure which ones are best for a patient. The therapist will prescribe one med for the patient to try, and then if they don’t work, they can try another. The therapist initially prescibed a pill called Concerta for me. A bottle cost me over $100.00. Between the $150 sessions to see the doctor and the $100 to get the pills, I would run out of my inheritance money in no time. I took one little pill and it was like all the lights were turned on in a darkened room. The clarity was unbelieveable. The feeling was like swimming through crystal clear waters where I can see for miles all around me. Was this the clarity I had been missing all my life? Everything from reading, to remembering people’s names, to conversing with others, was a completely new experience. I wanted to savor those pills somehow–take a pill every two days, take them only when I needed crystal clear thinking. But I wanted crystal clear thinking all the time. I knew eventually I would need to get another bottle

After a month, I would need to get another bottle of Concerta. The second batch didn’t provide the same clarity in thinking as the prior. At first, everything seemed a little hazy. I wasn’t sure if that would only be temporary or if that was how taking meds was going to be. Somehow, I got through that bottle of pills and purchased another–the next month. The next bottle produced a similar clarity as the first. The clarity was very nice, but these Concerta pills specifically made my heart race very fast. One of the problems with taking these meds were the side effect. One was the inability to sleep at night. I had cherished my sleep time and feared anything that would interruped my sleep. For that reason, I had been hesitant at taking any meds. Regretably, at the time, I thought about discontinuing taking Concerta. Maybe there was something else, but I didn’t want to pay another $150 everytime I wanted to see the med doctor, so that I can get another prescription of something else. There was too little information available for persons with ADD to figure out what they should be taking.

I was feeling stuck again in my life. It was like I was cursed with this thing (ADD) and any remedy that would help me find normalcy in my life was being kept away from me. Perhaps there was some kind of alternative or natural threatment I could have been doing that would help set me straight, but if they existed they were beyond me. Some kind of natural treatment that would only cost a fraction of the $250 I needed to pay per month. My life just sucked, no matter what I did to change things. I had to be stuck being me, with a disability only I could detect. If I had more severe mental challenges, I could have found some supports. If I were able to function more efficiently, I could find better ways of existing. The question about the existence of God always nudged my curiosity. Even though God sometimes seems to be a logical impossibility, my mind wants to believe something is guiding me. Throughout all of my trials, I have felt God has had a hand in all my actions. Always at a time I felt I had reached a limit to further personal growth, another door would open, bringing in a new way of living.

After my parents died, I made the decision to move to Portland, Oregon. My true love was New York, and I dearly wanted to move there, but would have been a big leap after living in California for 17 years. My plan was to move to Portland, figure me out, and then make the move to New York when the proper time came. Portland reminded me of a miniature vertion of New York, with the addition of lots of pine trees, hills, and distant mountains surrounding us. Also, Portland lacked the congestion typical of New York. Living in Portland (completely away from everybody), gave me an opportunity to reconstruct my personality, and prepared myself for new challenges ahead. Living there, I would continue to meditate regularly, take writing classes, join book discussion groups, and take communicaton classes. Between the writing, meditation, and communication classes, I would consciously learn to speak effectively and mentally analyse things I wanted to say before I spoke. I wish I could have perfected my public speaking skills at that time, but that was not yet ready.

I had come to the conclusion that life that I wanted was completely my decision. I wanted to live a particular lifestyle, but there were learning disabilities and ADD in my way. I wasn’t able to materialize the life I wanted earlier in my life. There were a set of barriers blocking my access to the life I wanted. There are ways for me to deal with those obstacles. I need to decide on a set of long-term goals that I would work towards, no matter what the obstacles were. I had learned by meditating, I could direct my mind so that I could find the success that I wanted. By meditating, I had learned to quiet my restless mind, conserve energies so to use them in more important areas, and to clearly determine what I want and how I would get them. I had come to the conclusion some years after living in Portland that moving to the New York area would allow me better opportunities to find work, find help with ADD, and to pursue my writing. So towards the end of 1993, my move to the East became a reality.

We need to clear our lives from the clutter. There are lots of things that can get in our way from us reaching our goals. We get involved in relationships, there are dozens of electronic devices wanting to get our attention, there are people wanting favors from us. Once we know in our hearts what we want and when we know how to achieve our goals, everything else can wait. It is good to help others and to make outselves available, but we set the boundaries. It is vitally important to remain focused on what we are doing. We know our goals are the greater good, and once we have pursued our goals, we can know how to destribute the rest of our time.

For a number of years, writing had been something I wanted to pursue. I have always been a deep thinking person. Always wondering about things most people tend to overlook. I was never one to talk much. Writing has been a natural outgrowth of my rampant curiousity, or an attempt to express ideas when I was alone. I’d always felt God was with me and guiding me. Mentally I would talk to God as though he were right with me. I no longer believe in a person figure of God, but I believe in something called Divine Intelligence. To me, there is an intelligence to everything. It just exists as gravity just exists. Everything exists because of gravitational forces. Likewise, the physical universe is ultimately guided by Divine Intelligence, which ultimately is responsible for the development of human intelligence.

There were times I needed a little guidance in pursuing something. I would utter a prayer for a desired outcome to happen. Often, the outcome would happen or something else would happen. I always saw these as God answering a prayer. The act could have been coincidental, but this would be a consistant phenomenon happening over time. There are many reasons for me to no longer being alive at this time. I could have long ago starved to death, or I could have died from the stark loneliness. There were the several times I had moved where I could have been killed. I still exist just the same. I can still smile and feel happy. I feel that all I have been through has been for a reason. Again, it all could have been coincidental why some friends helped me move to Queens, New York. Living in New York has been a dream-come-true. I’ve been wanting to live here since I was a child. My life seems to be unfolding on cue.

What I am saying in a roundabout way is to continue dreaming, even when you think the dream won’t happen. The mind is a powerful instrument. It was created by Divine Intelligence. The mind is a individualized version of Divine Intelligence. It allows the intelligence to exist within us. We are a part of the “bigger picture”. It needs to work naturally. When we meditate and then let go of the clutter, our intelligences (our minds) can do its job in providing the success (our goals) we are looking for.

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