I briefly alluded to my depression issues in my post on Hyperfocusing. Depression makes everything seem harder. Small stresses become huge. Little problems can seem ginormous. Problems that would be legitimately tough to deal with at your best become insurmountable mountain ranges full of rampaging orcs, bloodthirsty demons, and many other monstrosities that nightmares are made of.
“Man up!”, they say, “Push through it!”, “Just choose to be happy!”
These exemplify a huge societal problem men with mental health issues have to deal with. We are expected to be tough and strong, and any sign of weakness is cause for criticism. We are suppised to be strong, both physically and mentally & to not be is seen as a flaw in our very being.
Some of my readers will know that I was recently diagnosed as having High-Functioning Autism, likely what used to be called Asperger’s Syndrome. It is also highly likely I have ADD as one of the most prevalent symptoms I display is “Hyperfocus”, which is very common in ADD/ADHD cases. Here I am going to try and give anyone that has never experienced Hyperfocus some idea of what it is and how it affects my life.
I don’t know if that’s the proper clinical term for it, but it seems to be the most apropos. Even though it is somewhat self-explanatory, I know from experience that many people have no clue what it actually means. It’s not just “getting lost in something” or “getting into the zone”. It is total & complete absorption in something to the point the rest of the world ceases to exist to your mind and all sense of time is lost. I have honestly thought I spent maybe 5-10 minutes on something only to be told it had been several hours. People can talk to me and I might even respond, but I often have no recollection of having done so or of what either of us said.
The plus side of Hyperfocus is that when I’m interested in something I can learn it very quickly if given the time to focus on it. This was been a benefit to me in my professional life as I gained a reputation for being able to take on new roles and thrive quickly.
Many of you that follow me on Twitter know that my dad has been having health problems lately. He’s had several scary falls in the last few months & it’s become apparent he’s no longer able to live at home. He’s 72 & was in decent shape his whole life outside a 60-year long smoking habit he kicked a few years ago.
However, when he was 65 he had a bad motorcycle accident & hasn’t had use of his left arm since then. He did major damage to the nerves in his shoulder that left his arm basically paralyzed. He can move his hand & elbow a bit, but there’s no movement in his shoulder. This means that really can’t protect himself that well when he does fall. Luckily he hasn’t had any serious injuries from his falls…yet.
What does an atheist say to his dad that’s facing congestive heart failure? Well, I made a joke about death not being scary, it’s just like the billions of years before he lived.
Today my dad went into the hospital because of a fall. While there they figure out his heart is having trouble. When I left (my brother was there) they were taking him for chest x-rays, but before that, the doctor asked the question, “If his heart stops, do we try to resuscitate him?”
I thought I knew what my dad would say, but I told the doctor to ask him since he was of sound enough mind to answer that himself. I was somewhat shocked when he said, “If there’s a chance of it working, do it.”