Monthly Archives: May 2014

Busy Darling… Undrugged

I have a confession to make. Lately I’ve been less than compliant with my meds. It has everything to do with being very angry about the course at the uni…. I’m facing the first evaluation this Tuesday…. and as a result being fed up with ‘normal people’.

I am off my Concerta at the moment.

I am posting this.
Listening to music.
Working on my report.
Painting my nails this colour:

Trying out a new rose tea.
Looking at city trips to rome.

At the same time.


And that is OK. For now.


You know what?

I don’t always WANT to be ‘normal’. I am grateful that my meds are available to me, but I am equally grateful for just being me. Doing 7 things at the same time, thinking about 20 more. Unable to stand still, having energy. Energy. Wow. Concerta is such an energy zapper. I dream of a world in which I don’t have to drug myself in order to get anywhere in it.

Rose tea is… rosy. And weird.

Music sounds so much better without Concerta. That’s one of my favourite things of having… nay.. being ADHD. Being able to experience music in my entire body. Being wrapped in it. Hearing all the different layers at once.

ADHD is how I am. I wish there were more like us. Really. It’s only a disorder because of the world we live in. Of course, I’m not a list of symptoms, but the way I am wired is just… the way I am wired. I suffered from depression, I had anorexia. But I was born with ADHD and will die with it. And that’s OK, God loves ADHDers.

I also may or may not have quit taking birth control pills in favour of a more natural thing. I may or may not be extremely happy about this decision, having enjoyed oestrogen power…. and this may or may not have brought us closer. Seriously. I am woman, hear me roar.

By the way. Undrugged I can clean my house in under an hour. Hah.




All WOW moments under pressure set aside – that’s not a viable long-term solution- I still feel like I have no idea how to do this.

I have absolutely no idea why most higher education is set up like this:
Lots of theory, based on what someone else thinks is interesting.
Everything has to be done in a certain -not really efficient and rather unpractical- way. Maybe that’s because many intelligent people seem to live in their cognition.
Translating theory to practice is very very complicated for most.
Bonus points for pointlessly using big words.
Pictures and graphs are for babies.

I really really don’t know.

And I really don’t understand how these people LEARN much. Some do, and are very snooty about it. Good for you, now what else do you have to offer?


Give me access to clinical practice and a library with PubMed access, give me some rough guidelines and maybe some coaching and I’ll rock your socks off.

Force me to march to the beat of someone else’s drum, force me to read a bunch of texts, to do assignments of which I see no point.. and I get stuck. It becomes torture.

I’ve tried my best to read the mandatory prep reading. I’ve spent hours trying different ways. I haven’t learned much from it.

I was so excited to be let into this programme, I almost -or no I actually did- hit my head against a lamp when jumping up and down out of sheer joy when they let me in. I really love the work bit, I love primary care.

Two months and a bit into the programme I am completely disappointed. I find my mood taking a drastic plunge on Thursday evening because free time means study time (and chores time). I hate both so much I don’t know if yelling or crying is the best response. Studying is torture. I spend all weekend trying to get myself to do something extremely boring and looking forward to Tuesday evening, when class day is over. The others enjoy the break from the practice, I dread Tuesdays because it means going to class, (sitting still, listening, more boring info). I haven’t learned much outside of simply working. I find myself not giving a fuck about most of the assignments. These people have a way of ruining anything that could be interesting. (I thought it would be interesting to sort out and present stuff about knee examination, nice and practical. I also figured we’d all get to do that, so why not do something I find interesting. So I agreed to do it. And then discovered the question was ‘what is the scientific background of the examination of the knee. Snore. Why would I WANT to present that???? ).

I have no idea what to do.

I tried looking up study tips for ADHD, none of them really solves the problem: only snore-minded people can follow this course.

It’s not worth my sanity.

I have no idea where this is going to end. I know this: I am planning to do the bare minimum and not read the prep. I don’t care. I’m wasting my time trying to do it their way, they won’t let me do it my way. I’ll see where it ends. The only really shitty bit is that I have a half-finished degree; just finishing med school and nothing else doesn’t really get you anywhere. I mean, I can work as a doctor, but I always need a supervisor. And that’s going to be less fun when I’m 40.

It’s not worth my sanity, it’s not worth my relationship.

I should never have gone to med school. I should have done some form of uni of applied sciences, finish at 22 and just get on with doing what I do best: the actual thing. It doesn’t matter that I may have a lot to offer, it doesn’t matter that IQ-wise I may (or may not) qualify for Mensa. It doesn’t matter that I can be a very good doctor, ADHD or no ADHD.

The way to get there is not for people like me, it’s for more of the same sort of people. I hate society.

And I need more time to ‘play’ in order to keep on functioning.


ADHD disability? Super power you mean?

So remember how I absolutely do not function as a student under normal circumstances?

Here’s how I function under extraordinary circumstances (and why I want to be treated by an ADHD ER doc. I think the H bit is vital here…)

We’re doing a mandatory emergency medicine course this week. I am technically the holder of a valid ALS and some other diplomas, did those courses 3 years ago but they’re pretty useless outside of the ED. Plus, three years ago…. I am not one of the most experienced acute care people here.

Prep was a 217 page reader, an e-learning and a ‘serious game’.

Estimated reading time for the reader was 440 minutes. That’s 7h20mins, an impossible task for me. Under normal circumstances.

The game was a failure, I just clicked through.

Most came prepared, I did not.

I chose to get max out of active learning, and by day 2 I started clicking.

See, I normally think of 3653 things at once, emergencies allow me that calming rush of adrenaline, and suddenly that Ferrari engine gets to do it’s thing: go fast.

Practice scenario 1 didn’t go well, too fake actually. And on day 1. Scenario 2 went well, apart from forgetting the f’ing glucose.
In real life it would have made no difference, I’d have checked it a few minutes later.

Tomorrow is test day. As a way to revise (which is why it doesn’t work the other way round!) I just used my Ferrari mind to read the 217 page reader in…. Under 2,5 h. I skipped a few pages that were definitely not relevant for primary care (I have no CT scan, for example). Concerta helped me stay awake I think.
And I did this in the hotel foyer/lounge area/bar, because that helped me focus. (Well, apart from the bit where one of the instructors asked me if I thought this was helping…)

And now for sleep, to help those brain links grow stronger.


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Third Culture

Who can relate?
Most of my life hasn’t been ‘standard’, as in: most people are born in, grow up in, marry (or not marry) in, work in… identify themselves in… and eventually die in their own ‘culture’, usually in their own country, usually within their familiar limits of normalcy. They know how life works, at least, most of them do. And if they get ‘out’, they can get ‘in’ and feel at home quickly.

Unless you stay ‘out’ for too long.

Especially if you stay out too long as a CHILD. Or adolescent. Anywhere in those years, really.

You find yourself balancing between sometimes clashing cultures, as a young one this is confusing. Nothing is clear, you don’t know which limits of normalcy apply..

Language proficiency has nothing to do with cultural identity any more. How are you supposed to be equally proficient in your ‘original’ first language if you have so little exposure to it? Meanwhile people expect you to bare your soul in a language you have no feeling in, how can you say how you feel if the language doesn’t have the words for it? And why do people judge if you pick something…. because it’s the closest thing you have to the ‘first language’ experience? It has nothing to do with cultural identity….

Speaking of which… growing up between cultures you never know who you are supposed to become…. somewhere between the two definitions of ‘normalcy’. You had no choice in being in this position, yet… one side expects you to completely adapt THEIR cultural identity if you want to be accepted, the other side wants you to remain true to your own people… and anything possibly different is met with frowns and/or grief.

The reality of life in between cultures is that
– you simply can’t be both
– things are never simple
– try answering the question ‘where are you from’.
– you never really feel like you belong, not where you are now because you’re a foreigner, not where you came from because you’ve been changed by where you went to.
– you become a sort of chameleon, but you’ll never be a leaf, or a tree. Leaves and trees don’t ‘get’ that you just can’t fit into their boxes.
– you almost never have the best of both worlds, you almost never manage to ‘please all’. What you choose to identify with will offend or hurt (depending on THEIR culture’s ‘normal’ reaction to someone not wanting to be 100% like them is) someone.
– ever tried intimate conversations in your second language? you just HOPE you said the right thing because it doesn’t feel like you feel like saying.
– you cherish the moments you feel ‘at home’, because there are so few of them. Not having to ‘pretend’ or ‘adjust’… sort of like playing a role… feels great.
– now… when you grow up in between cultures, fall in love between cultures, marry (or not) between cultures…. things are complicated. I mean, how many people have to face this difficult decision: WHAT LANGUAGE DO I RAISE MY CHILDREN IN?? Tough call.
For the record:
I grew up as an Afrikaner girl, and will always be that barefoot girl. I’m formally a ‘natural’ English speaker, I learned English outside of the home, Afrikaans inside of the home. I spent over half my life more or less in Holland. I don’t remember ever really feeling at home here, the why is complicated. My beloved boyfriend is half-Spanish, half Dutch (and that’s his preferred order). I’ve done all but the first years of formal schooling in a second language… which I wasn’t even fully proficient in for a great deal of the time.
I identify myself as South-African, Afrikaans, a white African, and perhaps as a third-culture child thanks to European influences. Not Dutch, never Dutch. There’s just too much about being Dutch that isn’t compatible with being me. I suppose I really am ‘undutchable’. I don’t want to be seen as Dutch in order to be accepted, I want to be accepted as I am. That doesn’t mean I’m not benefiting from the whole inter cultural thing, it does allow me to see things in a different light. I have gained wisdom.
As far as language goes:
I have no ‘first’ language, if ‘first language’ is defined as what you think in. I think in images, concepts. I have notes in which I used 3 languages in 1 sentence. Something about bilingual children’s linguistic development: they focus on the meaning of the word rather than on the actual word I think. If I HAVE to say which is closest to me, I’d say Afrikaans and English both are the languages my soul understand and speak. I’d get further on a formal language test in English perhaps, I have grade 5 in Afrikaans, but did as much as I could in English at university.
I did that because no matter HOW you define first and second language… Dutch most definitely is my second language. Learning in English is easier. My Dutch is excellent, on a good day I even get mistaken for a native speaker. But it’s not ‘mine’. My soul doesn’t speak Dutch, it remains a cognitive thing.
Oh, and I also speak a mouthful of French and German.


As for the future: I don’t know where I will go, what I will do. I just hope that I can find a place where I feel like I belong more often, maybe feel more connected.

The Dutch aren’t a very ‘connected’ people I suppose.

I am learning Spanish.


Because one thing I know for certain:
If we are blessed with a good marriage and some healthy very much Third Culture children…
They will speak Spanish, and I want to be able to at least understand them if they speak from the heart.

Even if there’s no real ideal language for me to raise them in. Whatever I do, it’s going to create distance.


But maybe, just maybe…
We can have ‘home’ together, regardless of how it fits in the ‘outside world’. What matters is who we are, and loving one another. And maybe we can find a place where the outside world values diversity over sameness. That would make life easier… and… MUCH more interesting.

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Posted by on May 4, 2014 in Dear Diary, society


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