Dude, I learned something today…

There’s nothing like a bit of pressure to really focus the mind.

It’s safe to say that I have been a little down in the dumps of late. Feeling like a helpless leaf blown in the wind, at the mercy of the malevolent powers that be. That most unhelpful ADHD assessment was the icing on the cake.

I finally finished reading “Irrelevant Experience” The main character didn’t endear herself to me any more than she had done at the start (Spoiler alert). I have picked up some helpful information about getting into clinical psychology, so it was useful, but the main character, grr!

She went on to steal another girl’s boyfriend (who of course turned out to be a lying, cheating ratbag. The latter part of the book was filled with the other aspiring psychologists falling by the wayside and giving up their dreams due to the difficulties they faced while little-miss-perfect got a place on a clinical training course. That depressed me somewhat.

As my best friend pointed out recently, I have a habit of picking the hardest path, refusing to compromise and then complaining that it’s not fair. She’s right, of course, and I needed that insight.

However, in the words of Kyle from South Park, I learned something today.

For the last few months I have been planning to make a medieval bellwedge tent so that Terry and I can camp on the IC (In Character) field at LARP events. It’s a pain having to traipse from one field to the other every time you want to get something, especially if it rains. Besides, when you are trying to get into costume, having a tent that you cannot stand up in is a nightmare.

These tents cost the best part of a grand, which we just don’t have at the moment. I do sew, though, and managed to source all the materials that we needed to make one. We ordered tent poles, pegs, rope, and fabric and eyelets, which came from a supplier in the Netherlands. The tent poles, pegs and rope arrived without a hitch, but the fabric was delayed. A look at the confirmation email revealed that the delivery address was wrong. Not to worry, I contacted the company and gave them the correct address. They said that they could contact the delivery company and get it send to the right place.

I have to say that I think the problem lay with the delivery company rather than the supplier.  The package seems to have gone back and forth, there were no notes left to say that they had tried to deliver it. The business downstairs, that said that they would receive it if we were out, hadn’t seen it, and any attempts to contact the supplier were met with “we’ll keep you updated”. I asked to be put in contact with the delivery company to no avail.

We didn’t get our tent for the first event of the year. We borrowed one instead, and the experience made me more determined than ever to get our own as the experience of sleeping IC  was lovely. I thought to myself, at least I’ll be able to take my time over making it.

Weeks and weeks went by and still no fabric, I sent email after email. This week, I tried to resign myself to the fact that we wouldn’t be getting it in time for the next event in May either. I tried to accept it and think about what I could use the time for instead. There were some items of costume that I wanted and a couple of commissions to complete. We had managed to source some cut price canvas that could be used for an awning, and I was thinking about damage limitation in terms of traipsing back and forth between fields.

But something was wrong. I was feeling angry, resentful and helpless. I was also feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of making that I was planning to do. I couldn’t get any of it started. A frustrated facebook post had resulted in a raft of comments recommending a UK supplier of fabric, but I figured that it was all too late.

Then something snapped in me yesterday, I had had enough. I called the UK supplier, explained the situation, and asked how soon they could get the fabric to me. Friday was the answer. I found a source of eyelets. Again, they could deliver by Friday, or Monday at the latest.

I called a sailmaker pal of mine, who had agreed to let me use part of his workshop for making the tent. I could use the workshop in the early part of next week.

I called the Dutch supplier and said that unless they could get my goods to me by Friday, I would be ordering my fabric elsewhere. He said that he’d keep me updated. I said that I’d need to order my fabric in the next twenty minutes. He got on the phone to the delivery company and emailed me in ten, offering to send out a new order, but he didn’t know when I’d receive it.

Sorry pal, but no cigar. He could have done that weeks ago when I made it clear that I needed to make my tent this month. I appreciate that the problem wasn’t his fault, but to keep me waiting for 6 weeks when he knew my deadlines was too much. I asked for a refund, and called the UK supplier.

So. I have a medieval tent to make in three days next week. Plus commissions, plus the stuff that I need for the event. I should be feeling overwhelmed and scared. But I don’t. I feel great. More focused than I have in months. I feel as though I have taken control. I feel as though I’m in my element. The pile of work that I have to do, now that I take a proper look at it, is actually doable if I get my head down. I find myself excited, unable to sleep, hence me drafting this post at 6.30 am.

I am starting to learn that managing ADHD is all about being true to yourself. This, of course goes for people without ADHD too, but for us, it’s even more important. I truly admire people who can accept things and move on, who let go, and take things in their stride. But that’s not me. If there is something that I want, I am of the mentality that I will get it, or die trying. Perhaps that way lies frustration and madness. I certainly wouldn’t advocate that approach to anyone else. But it’s what I have to do in order to feel like myself.

There is a neurobiological explanation for all this. The mundane, the boring, the path of sensibility, simplicity and acceptance simply isn’t stimulating enough to kick my prefrontal cortex/executive functioning into action, leaving me sluggish and fed up.  I need the pressure in order to stay focused. As I say, not the healthiest plan long-term, but as long as I understand what is going on, I can work with it. Maybe by balancing intense activity with adequate rest, rather than feeling as though I have to be on fire all the time.

There will always be obstacles. I will try to find a way under, round or over them. But sometimes, I have to go through them.  It wasn’t the circumstances that were getting me down, it was me and my lack of faith in myself. Letting myself be messed about, feeling like a victim.

This tent will get made if I have to stay up til midnight each night hand sewing after the workshop has shut. And every time I stay in that tent, it will remind me never to take anything lying down. For my own sanity, if nothing else.