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#427800 - 03/11/13 10:26 PM My Brain's Life As A Dumb Dog
BraveFalcon Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/25/13
Posts: 1096
Loc: The ATL


For as long as I can remember, I've suffered from severe concentration and attention span problems. They screwed me up in school, screw me up at work, have held me back in life and made me the target of endless ridicule. I've been called "space cadet", "airhead", "sped" and a host of other names that I wish I could say weren't fitting. They are fitting though. I'm all of those things, and I probably always will be.

I really don't think I was supposed to end up like this. I come from a long line of very successful people. It's like I'm an apple that fell REALLY far from the tree, then rolled away down a hill, and rolled and rolled and rolled and came to a stop in a different zip code. My grandfather was an extremely successful businessman. My father is a successful doctor. I water office plants for a living and make $11.50 an hour. Oh, but this job at least has some benefits! Never had a job with any benefits before. Spent most of my adult life working as a pizza delivery guy and a bartender. So now, at 38, I am at the pinnacle of my success! HOORAY FOR ME!!! I'VE ARRIVED!!!

I am the very definition of the term "a lesser son of greater sires". A-FUCKING-LOT lesser. Could I be anymore useless to this society?

One thing I've noticed when speaking with others who have CSA issues is that a disproportionate number of us seem to suffer from problems with concentration and attention. Why though? It doesn't seem to make any sense. Why would sexual trauma in childhood cause this and other forms of trauma not? (Save for maybe a massive head injury.) When I was in therapy in my late teens, even my therapist seemed to think the CSA had something to do with my attention problems but he never really said why that was. I can't make it add up. Can't see where the direct cause and effect is. Can't follow the A to the B to the C of it.

For me, I wonder if it's not just a coincidence. Maybe I was born like this and the CSA has nothing to do with it. Although, my first experiences with CSA did happen in the second grade and it was in the third grade that they first realized something was wrong with me and placed me in the special ed class. Yeah, that's right. Special FUCKING education. I'm a big sped! DUUUUURRRR!!! I guess that still doesn't prove anything about CSA causing the problems. Kind of anecdotal. It could just be that I was born with a defective brain and that grades K-2 were simple and basic enough that an airhead like me could float through without getting figured out.

I was trying to think of an analogy for my attention problems the other day and came up with this. (This analogy isn't perfect, but it fits, I think.)

My brain is like a stupid, hyperactive dog that is very difficult to take for a walk. Over the years people, including myself, have tried to train it to heel and walk on a leash properly but no one has really ever been able to. No matter how many times the dumb fucking dog has been punished, corrected, gently coaxed or pumped full of Ritalin, it just never really learns and won't go for a walk without constantly pulling me off in directions I didn't mean to go in. Sometimes it takes forever to get anywhere walking this dog because it just won't cooperate and won't go where I meant for it to. Then, when I finally get where I meant to be, if there are others who were headed to the same place, the conversation can sound like this....

"What took you so long?"
"I don't know. Just off in my own little world, I guess."
"LOL! You're fucking retarded!"
"Yeah, I know......"

It's like my mind has a mind of it's own. That statement might only make sense to me but there it is anyway.

As far as I can tell, there are really only four distinct possibilities that could have lead to my "disorder"......

1: I was born this way. When I was conceived, out of all the millions of sperm that could have inseminated my mother's egg, I got the defective one, and that became me. The CSA was a coincidence.

2: I was not born this way and my attention/concentration problems are just another way in which my sexually traumatic childhood irreparably fucked me up.

3: I ate a bunch of paint chips when I was little and don't remember doing it.

4: I was really a crack baby that my parents found in a dumpster and decided to raise as their own. (Probably not this one though. I do look a lot like my dad.)

I'm just wondering what other's insight to this may be. If and when CSA causes these types of problems, what is the cause and effect? Have there been studies done on this? How do you make one relate to the other? I guess that's what I'm really digging at here. How and why can and/or does CSA sometimes have the same effect on a young child's development as a mouth full of paint chips? All my life I've wondered why I'm like this and I'd like some answers, even if they don't solve the problem. Any insight would be appreciated. Thanks. Peace.

Ken

PS. Maybe I should confront my parents about the crack baby thing, just in case. smirk

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#427804 - 03/11/13 11:04 PM . [Re: BraveFalcon]
Life's A Dream Offline


Registered: 08/25/11
Posts: 886
Loc: Bouvet Island
.


Edited by Life's A Dream (04/21/13 10:43 PM)

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#427805 - 03/11/13 11:06 PM Re: My Brain's Life As A Dumb Dog [Re: BraveFalcon]
ThisMan Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/22/13
Posts: 767
Loc: upper south
Hey, Ken. I read your posting thru and even came back and read it again. Now I haven't done any great research on CSA and attention/concentration problems but I know I have the attention problem also.

The therapist explained it to me just a few weeks ago. It seems that we of the CSA experience simply learned to cope by disassociating from the reality of what was happening to us. Imagine how we learned to disengage if the abusive situations lasted for years as it did for you...and me.

We did it then as a coping skill to protect ourselves and it follows us into adulthood. It becomes manageable, but concentration on a single topic is difficult for any lengthy period of time.

And I am not a therapist by any means, but I have found that in the most threatening of situations or the aftermath of those situations, as an adult, I have an extraordinarily difficult time myself. But don't be so hard on yourself. Your brain isn't messed up. You have just learned a coping skill that protects you.

And this dialogue you shared of your experiences:

"What took you so long?"
"I don't know. Just off in my own little world, I guess."
"LOL! You're fucking retarded!"
"Yeah, I know......"

I've heard it so many times myself. Give yourself permission to be different. Again, it doesn't mean you are fucked up.

Hang in there, guy.

Bill.
_________________________
For now we see through a glass, darkly.



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#427816 - 03/12/13 12:01 AM Re: My Brain's Life As A Dumb Dog [Re: BraveFalcon]
traveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3375
Loc: somewhere in Africa
Originally Posted By: BraveFalcon
My brain is like a stupid, hyperactive dog that is very difficult to take for a walk. Over the years people, including myself, have tried to train it to heel and walk on a leash properly but no one has really ever been able to. No matter how many times the dumb fucking dog has been punished, corrected, gently coaxed or pumped full of Ritalin, it just never really learns and won't go for a walk without constantly pulling me off in directions I didn't mean to go in. Sometimes it takes forever to get anywhere walking this dog because it just won't cooperate and won't go where I meant for it to.


Ken - i had a dog like that. she would practically strangle herself pulling on the choke chain. and would get all tangled up with her legs trying to go every which way at once.

BUT she was not "dumb" or "stupid." she was actually the smartest and most intuitive and affectionate dog i have ever known. she just had a hard time prioritizing and directing all those impulses. my guess is that is you, too.

lee
_________________________
As my life goes on I believe somehow something's changed
Something deep inside...
I've been searchin so long to find an answer
Now I know my life has meaning
Now I see myself as I am, feeling very free...
When my tears have come to an end I will understand
What I left behind: a part of me. Chicago


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#427839 - 03/12/13 09:32 AM Re: My Brain's Life As A Dumb Dog [Re: BraveFalcon]
DavoSwim Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/06/13
Posts: 326
Loc: Iowa, USA
Ken,
I kept my secret of CSA hidden for 40 years, and it's only been 3 months since I started a T. My reason for seeking help was I thought I had adult ADD that kept getting worse. I had trouble focusing on tasks and would leave them uncompleted. I had trouble finishing sentences and would often end conversations in the middle and not even say goodbye. My co-workers often joked about me having ADD. Your analogy describes me perfectly. It takes me twice as long to finish simple tasks as other people take. In elementary school, I couldn't even shut my desk, it had so much crap in it. I couldn't even remember to bring a pencil to school most of the time. Even now, It's next to impossible for me to stay organized. My office has stacks and stacks of papers waiting to be either filed or thrown away. Sometimes my brain feels like a fireworks show. Neurons keep firing for no reason. When it's at it's worst, it's futile to try and do anything. I just have to wait it out. I went to a T for tests and possibly a prescription for Ritalin, and ended up seeking help for CSA. I never made the connection between my lack of attention span and CSA until I started seeing a CSA. As of now, no Ritalin, but plenty of therapy.

DavO

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#427864 - 03/12/13 02:19 PM Re: My Brain's Life As A Dumb Dog [Re: BraveFalcon]
Suwanee Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/30/12
Posts: 706
Loc: Southeast USA
Let me tell you about ADHD/ADD.

First of all, it is separate from intelligence. There is no relationship between the two. Second, it is a real syndrome with various viewpoints as to cause, significance and treatment.

One school of thought argues that ADHD is a natural and evolutionarily-advantageous trait that helps to see possibilities in the environment like quickly spotting dangers and seeing new opportunity. In a hunter/gatherer culture, this trait would be very beneficial. In today's structured school and work environment, this trait is often considered unnecessary and unneeded. I tend to follow this line of thinking. There are doubters. Some say that it is a construct of parents, school officials and psychiatrists to medicate and control "problem kids." These are kids that for whatever reason, do not fit into the expected structure. There probably is an over-diagnosis of ADHD in some cases, but that doesn't mean it isn't real.

I have ADHD. My elementary school teachers all said as much. After CSA, it got worse-and at 14, I was officially diagnosed with it. I wasn't hyperactive in the "can't sit still" sense, but my mind wandered all over the place. I have the "inattentive" variation of ADHD. As I have described it to others, it is like my mind conceives of a giant matrix that shows me multiple outcomes of different actions. I tend to want to try them all. As a kid, I was easily distracted by all the shiny things along my path. Paradoxically, I could hyper focus on a few select things that caught my attention-to the detriment of the things parents/teachers wanted me to do. I could be impulsive and chuck it all if I wanted to start something new. Unfinished projects abounded. I tested sky-high in aptitude and intelligence, but everyone was puzzled by all the careless mistakes and lack of focus they saw in me. I was the eager Labrador Retriever following everything that moved.

I don't really think CSA caused ADHD in my case, but I do think it can unmask it by removing adaptive behaviors. In my case, I was angry and moody after what happened to me. I just couldn't make myself focus. My teachers didn't really notice much, because I was at a new school. My parents noticed. They all thought it was because of the big cross country move. They as much as said that's what it was and I didn't do anything to correct them. I felt relieved that the move was a convenient cover for what really happened. I had anxiety and ADHD from the move. FIne, let's go with that.

I took Ritalin several times a day during school. I made the trip along with other Ritalin kids to the school nurse for our meds. It made me more focused for sure. I was amazed at the clarity of thought. I also was briefly prescribed Elavil for anxiety (from the move, you know).The Ritalin made, um...things shrink...like a swim in cold water if you know what I mean. The Elavil was far worse. It made my teenage libido disappear. Completely. But, I was calm and focused in the new school. So calm, the other kids called me McCool---seriously. Before that, I was so angry, I was willing to scrap with anyone who crossed me. So, was this right to be a drug zombie...maybe for the short time I was on the Elavil. I stopped the Elavil, but continued with the Ritalin. I took it only on weekdays and stopped during school breaks. There was a difference. I didn't take it when I was camping, or doing stuff outdoors--because ADHD is helpful in the wilderness.

So....up to today...I stopped the Ritalin entirely after college. I did fine through my first job and grad school...and even until recently when I took a new job with a lot more responsibility...and the need to juggle multiple projects at once while keeping political appearances up. The reawakening of the CSA also helped to spotlight the ADHD once again. Seeing my T for CSA let her to question my ADHD history. She saw signs during our first couple of visits. I scored way, way up there in the DSM-IV evaluations for ADHD. She started me on Adderall. I have to say, I feel much, much more capable of focus at work. I can get things done faster---and don't have to build in time to account for ADHD. It has also helped get a handle on CSA better than I would have otherwise.

My final thoughts....ADHD is real. I have it. It can be valuable and it can be a liability. Learning to manage it with or without meds is key to getting more done.
I have a philosophical question of medicating away a natural trait, but in reality it helped keep things from getting any worse. It was a tradeoff-and one I can take.

Will
_________________________
Cruel Summer
My Journal

-Signs and traces left in stone
Ruins of a past unknown-

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#427881 - 03/12/13 10:30 PM Re: My Brain's Life As A Dumb Dog [Re: Suwanee]
BraveFalcon Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/25/13
Posts: 1096
Loc: The ATL

Hi guys. Thanks for the insightful replies. I've heard the theory about learning to disassociate from reality at an early age leading to these problems before. For me I really think that may have had something to do with it. Not only because of the CSA but because of some other emotional traumas that had taken place as well. Haven't really posted about those much yet and I'm not sure I will, seeing as they'd be off topic.

I realize that all children can and do "detach from reality" to some degree. When children play they imagine themselves being other people and things and being in other places. That's normal. I did all that too but I think I did so on a deeper level than most and at times kind of created my own little world in my head. It was a place I escaped to and I think, yeah, detached to. Not that I had "out of body" experiences or anything that extreme but I can see where I was more "detached" than most children. A lot more. Although, that does bring me back to the possibility that perhaps I was just born with a brain that was prone to doing those things and the "detaching" was not environmental at all, but I can certainly see where it may have been.

I also was always told by my teachers and parents how smart I supposedly was but in a way, that almost makes my incompetence and my air-headedness more frustrating. There have been times when it almost pissed me off to be told repeatedly that I was supposedly so "smart". Like, if I'm so fucking "smart", than why am I such a fuck-up? If they just let me think I was stupid then at least my "learning disabilities" would make sense.

I still get ADD and ADHD confused sometimes. I've been told I have both but I really think severe ADD is more my problem. Although, I have always been on the hyperactive side as well and still am. Oh, and "learning disabilities." I was always told I had those, although the term never seemed to be anything but very generic and general. "Learning disabled" essentially means that they tell you you're really smart, you're just not good at school for some reason. That still doesn't make much sense to me to this day. All I know is, it's a label they basically stamped on my forehead and shoved me into the special ed class in third grade.

By the way, after leaving my post last night I thought it would be cute to share my "crack baby theory" as a status update on my Facebook timeline. I posted, "Sometimes I think I might really have been a crack baby that my parents found in a dumpster and decided to raise as their own. Should I confront them about that?" My aunt Melissa posted a reply, "I guess their dirty little secret is out." Then I replied "I KNEW IT!!! This explains a lot!"

I hope my mom doesn't find out I posted that on Facebook. She would be SO fucking pissed! LOL! grin

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