An Appropriate Dosage of Hope.

So I’m downstairs, making breakfast for me and the boys.

This is an elaborate and arcane process. It involves more wandering in and out of rooms than you might expect, and trying to remember what I meant to do there. Plus a fair amount of esoteric behavior like looking for a spoon that I’m sure I was just holding…. but it’s not here anymore. Was I holding it? Is this a Matrix thing? Was it some sort of fucking magical elf-spoon?

(It was not a magical elf-spoon. Alas.)

Some of the reason for this is because part of the breakfast I’m preparing is coffee (for me, not the boys). And that means I haven’t yet had my coffee. And that means that daddy needs his medicine. And by medicine I mean the literal drug that I literally take because I want all that ergogenic mojo all up in my headbrains and bodymeats. And by daddy I mean literally me. Because I am that.

(Who’s your parasocial daddy?)

I can’t blame it all on coffee though. Some of it is just me being groggy. And some of it is me thinking about everything at once, like I do. And part of it is probably some of the ADHD (though I still never know how much to point the finger at that, as I’m still knew to that diagnosis. And it seems unfair to lay *all* my disorganized bullshit at the feet of that particular acronym.)

Nevertheless, as I walk past the end-table, hunting elusive faerie cutlery, I see my little pill-box thing.

(Because this is my life now. This is who I am, apparently.) 

First I have to figure out what fucking day it is. And yeah. It’s Thursday. But if it’s Thursday, why are there still pills in the little Thursday pill home? But I’m pretty sure that I remember taking my meds this morning. That’s why the pill thing is here, right? Because I carried it downstairs when I was getting ready to take the pills….

But the pills are still in there.

So I look at this thing, and I say, “I don’t know if I took my meds already.”

I have to make something clear here, I’m not talking to myself. But at the same time, I’m not really asking my kids for advice on this, either. Because while I value their thoughts and feelings, they shouldn’t be making certain decisions. They’re 7 and 11 years old, respectively. They’re wise beyond their years and off-the-charts articulate, but *I’m* the one who needs to fucking figure out whether I’ve taken my meds.

But why am I saying this out loud then? I honestly don’t know. I do tend to process things out loud more often when the boys are around. Maybe that’s how we’re wired as primates, to talk around our children so we can model our decision making process.

Anyway, whatever the reason, I’m talking it through, saying, “Do I risk missing my meds entirely, or do I risk doubling up on my meds? If I double up, will that make me really scattered, or will I be Super Productive today…?”

Without missing a beat or breaking stride, Oot walks behind me and asks casually, “What’s the LD-50?”

I turn to look at him, not quite sure what I just heard. He’s doing something at the sink now. “Did you just ask me about the LD-50?” I ask.

He turns to look at me, nodding. He’s not above showboating. He likes being clever. And if there’s a pedantry gene, he has it (and he got it from me) but right now he’s not doing that. Or if he is doing it, he’s gone next level and has realized the value of the slow-play. Maybe he’s learning that less is more…

Either way, he’s just looking at me with vague curiosity in his big, serious eyes, as if he can’t understand why my tone would be incredulous. As if he doesn’t know why I would be impressed that he remembered the concept of LD-50. Something I didn’t learn about until my junior year of college. Something I’m pretty sure I only mentioned once to my boys a couple months ago, probably when I was dosing Cutie with antibiotics during a recent deeply shitty medial adventure.

“Yeah,” he says.

And I just start to laugh. I go over and hug him, laughing. And I keep laughing uncontrollably for at least a solid minute.

I know I’ve laughed in surprise before. (That’s one of the big theories about laughter, actually. Some folks believe true laughter, [Duchenne laughter] only erupts as a symptom. It’s the result of a sort cognitive fuse being blown when we experience something that goes contrary to our expectations. The cognitive and neurophysiological roots of laughter is one of the many odd rabbit holes of research I’ve gone down over the years, as I used to consider myself a bit of a humorist. But that, as they say, is a blog for a different day…)

Anyway. I’m laughing. And while part of this *is* surprise. It’s also just joy. I don’t remember laughing out of real joy before I became a dad. It’s been happening a fair amount this last year as these boys continue to startle me with their kindness and honesty. They startle me by actually remembering things I’ve told them. And not just remembering. They actually understand and internalize and make use of this stuff, too….

You might wonder why this surprises me. I mean, why on earth would I be dadding so hard if not to this exact purpose? Why would I be spending so much time and energy trying to teach them stuff, if not so they would learn it?

And… yeah. I mean. Of course. That’s the dream.

But if I’ve learned anything over the last decade, is that you can care a lot, and work really hard, and do your level best… and in the end all you get for your trouble is double therapy and trouble sleeping at night. So these days I fight to keep my expectations modest. It’s the whole Buddhist thing: Taṇhā leads to dukkha. Desire causes suffering. Hope is the highwire without which you need not fear a fall.

So I try not to hope too much for the boys. The world is hard enough, and life is heavy enough. They don’t need my expectations weighing them down. I just try to take them as they come and enjoy them for who they are.

But oh it’s hard. These boys, they’re pretty great.

It occurs to me that I sat down to tell a cute (if slightly braggy) story about my kids, and it’s turned into something else. I can’t be surprised at that, though. Most people think that writing is just expressing what you already think or feel. It’s transcription. It’s explanation. I used to think that, too, way back in the day. But not for decades. Now I know better. For me, writing is almost always a process of exploration and discovery. Not always, but often.

You want to know the *real* truth? I originally started to write this little story as a *tweet* and instead it turned into a thousand word maunder where the upshot is that I’m surprised my boys actually listen to me. In some ways that doesn’t seem like much. Hardly worth the work or words.

But on the other hand, what’s better than your kids listening to you and then turning around and reminding you of what you’ve shared? What more could I hope for?

And there we are gain. Back at hope. And hope, you see, is a hell of a drug, and while that doesn’t make hope bad, it does make it dangerous. Maybe it’s just that way for me though. Maybe I have hope sensitivity. Or whatever the hope-appropriate version of drug-intolerance is. Maybe it’s that when it comes to hope, the Effective Dose is way too close to the Lethal Dose for me.

But these boys. I tell you. They are such a wonder and a delight. And so, despite myself sometimes, I hope.

pat

This entry was posted in a few words you're probably going to have to look up, Because I Love, day in the life, musings, Oot, The Art of Letting Go, the man behind the curtain, Uncategorized. By Pat84 Responses

83 Comments

  1. RevivedAdam
    Posted September 10, 2021 at 4:52 AM | Permalink

    Too true. Seldom are laughs in my adult life as spontaneous and cathartic as when they are prompted my children surprising me in that way. It must be some heady hormonal concoction of pride, surprise and amusement.

    It’s not as impressive as dropping LD-50 into the conversation – which I admit i had to follow the link – but on a family trip somewhere, we were playing one of these made-up trivia games, which on this round was “Name a country ending in M”, to which I immediately blurted out “Guam”. Just as I was quietly thinking to myself, “Shit Guam’s not a country but they wont know that”, up pipes No 1 from the back seat “Eh, Dad, isn’t Guam a territory, not a country”. Immediately dispelled my grumpy mood at the time.

  2. Sherri
    Posted September 10, 2021 at 4:56 AM | Permalink

    So I am up in the early pre-dawn hours when this post about a blog comes across my ipad. Pat is up and posting at this time. The time zone difference does not make it any better. I have at least been in bed since 9pm. I know you are being your best dad. Sometimes you get rewarded. You have to keep at it and slog ahead. Parenting takes endurance. You will never arrive. It keeps pushing the boundaries of who you thought you were and want to be. There is a lesson in recognizing and celebrating moments like these. Thanks Pat and get some rest. Yes, I will parent anyone who comes near.

    • Posted September 10, 2021 at 7:00 PM | Permalink

      Heh. I get that. Once I get parenting, it’s hard to stop just because the people around you aren’t your kids….

  3. Dorwinrin
    Posted September 10, 2021 at 5:37 AM | Permalink

    Dear Pat,
    I come back to your blog after some dark times. Parenthood hit me down in a way I wasn’t prepared for. My child is now 3yo and starting school, and now I am slowly returning to normal(?). This post gave me hope. It also reminded me that I love your writing, whether it is a tweet, a ‘maunder’ or a book.
    So, thank you for hope and writing :)

  4. Danijel S.
    Posted September 10, 2021 at 5:37 AM | Permalink

    The walking around wondering what the fuck you were doing / where the fuck you just put that thing is a very relatable experience. I do this a lot at work unfortunately. My absolute least favorite is when it happens mid conversation and I can’t remember what I was just talking about. Makes me feel like something is really wrong with me.

    Anyway, getting old fucking sucks. Hang in there.

  5. Shadom
    Posted September 10, 2021 at 5:55 AM | Permalink

    You really leave me hanging… did you take your meds or not? I cannot handle the suspense!
    Honestly though: Your boys sound awesome. Mine is just a few month old and I cannot contain all the love I feel for him. It is just bigger than me.

    • Eva
      Posted September 10, 2021 at 7:15 AM | Permalink

      I was thinking the same!

      • Ella
        Posted September 10, 2021 at 4:01 PM | Permalink

        Same here. I’m reading the entire blog and still don’t know if he did take em after all or not…

        • Posted September 10, 2021 at 7:03 PM | Permalink

          Oh god. I don’t know what’s funnier, that everyone wanted to know the end of that part of the story, or that I didn’t even realize that I hadn’t told it.

          Pat Rothfuss: All the story you could ask for with none of those pesky endings to clutter things up.

          • Posted September 11, 2021 at 6:35 PM | Permalink

            Nooooo! Damnit Pat, you still didn’t tell us!

          • Hykue
            Posted September 19, 2021 at 2:30 AM | Permalink

            I laughed almost loud enough to wake my kids up! The perfection of this comment is beyond my ability with words.

  6. Matt
    Posted September 10, 2021 at 6:27 AM | Permalink

    You sound like an excellent dad, and im sure those boys will know it as they grow into new versions of themselves. Keep giving them hope! That’s what turned all of us into who we are today. I like to think that those hopeful dreams, however unrealistic, were what lead me to be a better man. And if those dreams are tempered by a heavy world then so be it, but that’s where you get to see their character shine.

    Keep up the good work, Pat, and keep track of your medicine. We all need you around ♡

  7. João
    Posted September 10, 2021 at 6:27 AM | Permalink

    Dear Pat,
    Even though I’ve been reading your posts for years, this is the first time I’m actually commenting. Feels good. Feels good to maybe be heard by a person I admire, just like you felt good when your kids heard you.
    Leave a notebook next to the meds in order to keep account of the dosage you took. We don’t want you overdosing or underdosing. It won’t make you Super Productive Man or Ultra Lazy Being, but it can throw you out of balance.
    Thanks for writing and for hoping.
    Cheers from Brazil!

    Ps. watch out for the magical elf-spoons. They are inappropriately cunning.

    • Auri Rodrigues
      Posted September 10, 2021 at 8:05 AM | Permalink

      I can sympathize with you in more than several items and I only want to say that it feels also good when I observe kindness and nice features of humanity placed on the right places and moments. For that, I thank you por trazer um sopro de carinho e atenção ao ser humano existente por trás da obra que você admira <3 Abração a todos!

    • Posted September 10, 2021 at 7:04 PM | Permalink

      The notebook is a good idea. I’ve done it for other meds before, just not my daily ones….

      • Melanie
        Posted September 10, 2021 at 8:33 PM | Permalink

        Pocket calendar works great too! Sit them by the pillbox, check the date when you take them.

      • beatriz
        Posted September 15, 2021 at 12:08 PM | Permalink

        Pat, there’s this app called Medisafe that works wonders too. I’m not even one to be near my phone at all times, but is really simple to set up, I recommend trying it out :D

  8. Posted September 10, 2021 at 6:27 AM | Permalink

    As a parent, it can be hard to avoid the curse of Expectations. You see their potential, and wonder, like some mad machinist, if I just tweaked this or that, could I push them further? But of course you can’t. That’s their journey. We are like their bowling lane — showing them they way, catching them and resetting them when they fall. But they have to roll the ball themselves. Or not — they might just want a slice of pizza. And that’s ok too.

  9. Nora
    Posted September 10, 2021 at 6:48 AM | Permalink

    We had my Dad mark down when he took his meds in one of the little notebooks my itteh bitteh hometown bank used to have on their counters as ephemera. Dad used to used them to record his mileage. That is, the mileage on his current vehicle. Not his own steps or anything. And don’t rely on a notes feature on your phone. It will just disappear with the grocery lists still stashed in there. Trust me.

  10. André
    Posted September 10, 2021 at 6:58 AM | Permalink

    You seem like a dad I would like to be.

    Thank you for all you have done and written.

  11. Angela Harkins
    Posted September 10, 2021 at 6:59 AM | Permalink

    Kids, man. It’s so surprising to see what they prioritize for retention and so gratifying to see the little pieces of yourself that are going to live with them forever. My nieces (whom I raised) were just talking about a movie in the park I took them to 8 years ago—not the water park or the fair the same weekend but sitting together on a blanket on the grass, eating popcorn, and just being close. 💜

    • Posted September 10, 2021 at 7:07 PM | Permalink

      Yup. My advice to new parents is really close to my advice to new writers: 9 times out of 10, a small, intimate moment is worth more than a big dramatic one.

  12. Maranda
    Posted September 10, 2021 at 7:01 AM | Permalink

    I didn’t know I needed this this morning until I read it.

  13. Daniel Smith
    Posted September 10, 2021 at 7:20 AM | Permalink

    Hang in there Pat. We all support you and life is rough and beautiful…smooth and course…
    but as Bruce says…We’re just around the corner from the light of day.

  14. Alice
    Posted September 10, 2021 at 7:20 AM | Permalink

    I know this isn’t the point of the story, but there are pill bottles you can get which tell you how long it’s been since you last opened them! A lot of people with ADHD find them very handy.

    • Posted September 10, 2021 at 7:08 PM | Permalink

      OooOOOoooo. That’s good technology…

      • Liz H
        Posted October 1, 2021 at 8:07 PM | Permalink

        I came here to say this! I have ADHD and use TimerCap brand (although it’s not childproof)

    • Greg Wilson-Pyle
      Posted September 24, 2021 at 3:04 PM | Permalink

      Oh. My.

      I did not know these existed.

  15. Patti O'BB
    Posted September 10, 2021 at 8:03 AM | Permalink

    Thank you for a wonderful morning read.

    My kids are 27 & 29, and they still stop me in my tracks. It’s the coolest darn thing! So glad you are finding joy in the day and in your family. FWIW- I’m not sure it’s possible to raise kids without hope. They embody hope and potential- all of those “in the future” things. The best I could come up with was to try to have hope apart for specific expectations and uncoupled from judgement? LOL. It’s is a snake eating its tail if you follow that around to I hope I have this magical blissed out unencumbered hope! But I do hope- and on harder days, try to have hope- because for me, the other options is cynicism.

    Thank you for sharing your love of your kids and of your relationship with them. It doesn’t read as braggy- it reads a grateful. Sharing that gratefulness was kind, and I appreciate it :)

    And to add to the mounds of advice: we use a piece of blue painters tape on the pill case. When you refill the case, seal the first day’s compartment with the tape. When you take the day’s pills, move the tape to seal the next day’s pills. You can’t open the lid of the day without lifting the tape, so you have an indicator to show which are the next pills to take.

  16. Malthol
    Posted September 10, 2021 at 8:23 AM | Permalink

    My wife has much the same feelings about hope. It sometimes makes it hard to communicate, as I process hope very differently.

    • Amanda
      Posted September 10, 2021 at 11:54 AM | Permalink

      Parenting with ADHD buddies! My mornings are so similar, right down to the asking questions out loud like that. I don’t think I’ve doubled up my dose yet, but I can’t say for sure because mornings don’t make sense to me.

      I’ve definitely noticed that desire / expectations lead to disappointment, but I wonder if hope is different. I think it is. I wither without hope. My philosophy is embrace hope, and manage expectations. Be ready to shift, hold things loosely, hope for the best, accept whatever happens and make the most of it. It works as a parenting philosophy as well as a life philosophy. Most days, anyway.

      • Dominic
        Posted September 11, 2021 at 4:22 AM | Permalink

        “Embrace hope and manage expectations” – wise words indeed! Thank you Amanda. And thank you too Pat for the lovely post. The unexpected moments of grace that shine through…

  17. Theresa
    Posted September 10, 2021 at 8:30 AM | Permalink

    I experience the same thing with my anxiety medication all the time. I’m a pretty scattered person so I’ll do similar things, carry the pills over to my glass of water, sit down, take a drink of water and then open my phone and get distracted, never taking my pill. Then, hours later my boyfriend will ask if I took it, and I answer automatically, “of course!” In my mind, I was holding the bottle of pills with the intention of taking one, so that’s good enough, right? Then you go through that fun process of you trying to find the memory of you actually tossing the pill into your mouth, and realize that it’s not there. The battle continues “Did I take it? I was holding the bottle but then my boss texted me…”

    Doubling anxiety meds, or missing them, can lead to a not so great day. So I spend a lot of time trying to capture the memory of tossing a pill down my throat. Oh the joys of regular medication!

  18. Jack
    Posted September 10, 2021 at 8:49 AM | Permalink

    Our boy will be 11 months old this week and I can’t even tell you the fuzzies this post gave me. Watching the curiosity and exploration and questions develop, and how he’ll bring me books with that wide-eyed, serious look, then climb up into my lap and wait!?

    You talking about how much you love your kids and being a dad is a big part of moving the needle towards me feeling comfortable about having one. Thanks, parasocial daddy.

    • Posted September 10, 2021 at 7:10 PM | Permalink

      Oh shit. This is probably going to be the nicest thing I hear all day….

      Also, everyone else, this is good proof here of the fact that kids don’t need to be able to talk or read to love books. Just read to them, they’ll love it, and they’ll love books, and they’ll love you…

      • Barbarian of Seville
        Posted October 20, 2021 at 1:53 PM | Permalink

        A-fucking-men. Hey, once I get a-reading, it’s hard to stop just because the people around you aren’t your kids….

  19. Christofer
    Posted September 10, 2021 at 8:56 AM | Permalink

    Take care of yourself, Pat. Please! I have my proverbial demons and my pills just like you… I also have my little son who has damocles’d me with hope. Our struggles probably don’t match all that much – but know that your blog-entry resonates with me.

    Whether you read this comment or not; have a second helping of “take care of yourself, Pat.”

  20. Gray Miller
    Posted September 10, 2021 at 9:21 AM | Permalink

    Extra points for starting a post about trying to deal with All the Things with a search for spoons, elflike or otherwise.
    Thanks for this – reminds me of similar times with my kids, and since for me that’s long ago I need to be reminded. Also, from one Dad to another: you’re one of the best specimens of that word I’ve ever seen. I envy the relationship you have with your boys – but only in the way that’s a joy when you share things like this.

  21. Julia
    Posted September 10, 2021 at 9:41 AM | Permalink

    It’s curious to me that you were only recently diagnosed with ADHD, as I diagnosed Kvothe with it ages ago.!! Of course lots of parents self diagnose after their child is evaluated…

    I guess I should have written an essay on focus, hyperfocus, impulsivity and proprioception in NOTW and WMF and submitted it to Tor.

    • Posted September 10, 2021 at 7:11 PM | Permalink

      I’d read the shit out of that essay, TBH

  22. Jen
    Posted September 10, 2021 at 10:10 AM | Permalink

    Taṇhā leads to dukkha

    I’m picturing this hanging on Auri’s wall in the Live, Love, Laugh style.

    • Posted September 10, 2021 at 7:12 PM | Permalink

      *Somebody* has to have done this as a cross-stitch, I’m guessing.

  23. rmcphail
    Posted September 10, 2021 at 10:10 AM | Permalink

    If you are newly diagnosed ADHD I would like to suggest a resource I personally have found very helpful: https://www.youtube.com/c/howtoadhd

    My wife and I each pick a video from the channel to watch each night so she can learn about my brain as well. The videos are short and entertaining. They are also informative. I have been diagnosed for a while now and i am still unpacking all the baggage that comes with ADHD and I learn new things on this channel often. I helps that the woman is super cute and very emotionally honest. I often have a feeling of catharsis watching the channel.

    • Posted September 10, 2021 at 7:17 PM | Permalink

      Hmmm… Okay. Fair enough. Two recommendations here means I’ll definitely check it out…

      • Posted September 10, 2021 at 7:20 PM | Permalink

        Oh shit. That channel is so good…. Thanks so much.

    • Jorin
      Posted October 6, 2021 at 4:34 PM | Permalink

      I’d like to recommend Reedflower’s video “What’s wrong with me?” too. Don’t mind the cartoon animals.

  24. Posted September 10, 2021 at 10:44 AM | Permalink

    I am glad that you have hope, but I have to ask… Did you ever find out if you still needed to take your actual drugs? Haha!

  25. Tait
    Posted September 10, 2021 at 11:01 AM | Permalink

    We love you Pat.

  26. Graff Fuller
    Posted September 10, 2021 at 12:00 PM | Permalink

    My question is…did you ever find out IF you had taken your pills? Was it a good day, a productive day (obviously it was with this wonderful blog post) OR was it a bad day…because of or because the lack of…the pills?

    Always love what you write. Best wishes. Thanks for sharing this story about raising kids, especially in these uncertain times. Thanks.

  27. Fred Klauke
    Posted September 10, 2021 at 12:29 PM | Permalink

    You might wanna look into something like DivvyDose for your meds, since they pre-package it and print the date and time on the package, you never have to worry about remembering if you took something or not. I don’t work for them, but I’ve seen the benefits in my family. Might as well free up some of that cognitive brain power for keeping up with your kids!

  28. Therin Gower
    Posted September 10, 2021 at 12:51 PM | Permalink

    Do they have medication bubble packs where you are? The pharmacy puts the meds into day-labelled compartments with foil backs, and you have to break the foil to get the meds. To really make this work, you need to put the meds directly from the bubble into your mouth (no fair putting them down on the table!) Then if the foil is broken, you know you took the meds. (Retired paramedic here.) I well know that agonized consideration of whether or not I took my meds. Do I have a bubble pack? No. *blushes*

  29. Black_Badger
    Posted September 10, 2021 at 1:18 PM | Permalink

    This all resonates a TON for me (and I mean ALL of it). That said, rather than go to my default state and try to give you suggestions about how to track pill intake or share a similar story about my snoots I’ll instead simply suggest that the condition you’re describing might make you a hope super-metabolizer where you process hope from it’s inactive pro-form into it’s active form faster than ‘normal’ thereby leading to an over accumulation of the active compound. As mentioned that can be dangerous, but also tolerable if/when identified. If anyone wants to dive into this particularly fascinating rabbit hole look up ADME/Tox or (even better) pharmacogenomics. It’s good stuff.

  30. Sarah French
    Posted September 10, 2021 at 3:11 PM | Permalink

    This is such a lovely post, and thees days hope is hard to come by, so I wanted to thank you for writing all this, and reminding us to have hope but not expectation.
    But, also, I recently got a recommendation for these caps for medication bottles you can get online that have a little timer in them that resets every time you open the bottle, so you know when you opened them last. A little thing that has improved my life greatly!

  31. Wren
    Posted September 10, 2021 at 4:30 PM | Permalink

    This was very reflective for me. Thank you. I love seeing these posative parenting things. As a person with no kids yet, but hoping for some, I love seeing happy things where you can see what you’ve done. I have problems with hope for myself, but I have a lot of it. Its a complicated relationship.

  32. Nathan
    Posted September 10, 2021 at 11:15 PM | Permalink

    “I’m still knew to that diagnosis.” Accidental wordplay? :-P

  33. Gabriel F. Salmerón
    Posted September 11, 2021 at 10:16 AM | Permalink

    Pat, as a fellow ADHDer and writer just recently diagnosed too, I’d say that blaming you bullshit on the ADHD is NOT unfair, but necessary. I understand the part of being accountable and taking responsibility, but shifting the blame away from YOU makes all the difference. Knowing makes all the difference. At least for me it has, and has helped me forgive myself for my bullshit, and when new bullshit comes, it helps me avoid going down the vicious cycle of self hate and blame.

    Here’s a really good article that frames our “shortcomings” as just having given the wrong user manual while growing up and living in a neurotypical world.
    https://www.additudemag.com/secrets-of-the-adhd-brain/

    Also, if you can check out Mur Lafferty’s podcast ISBW, you’ll be delighted at how she talks about ADHD. Listening to her is what finally gave me the courage to seek help. She’s incredible, but if I am honest, not as incredible as your kids.

    Best of luck and understanding,

    Gabriel.

    • Han
      Posted October 10, 2021 at 9:59 AM | Permalink

      I wanted to add to your comment a contradiction I personally experience with the diagnosis, as a fellow ADHD-diagnosed person. The first thing the psychiatrist said: “Now don’t use this as an excuse,” and he handed me a book on how to overcome certain disorder-related behaviour.

      I still think this advice by that psychiatrist holds, because when I personally focus too much on the symptoms of ADHD, I sort of become that list of symptoms for a period. E.g. when I read too much about ADHD, I tend to become ADHD or start interpreting what I do in that light. And then I’m neglecting my larger self, I feel.

      On the other hand (and this is what I would see as a contradiction), when I forget about ADHD (or when I get urged to forget about it), it always comes back and kicks me in the face, when I do some impulsive things, let mood play a part too much, blurt out things, forget practical stuff, have to pay the library for being late, again.

      But given the fact that ADHD gets feedbacked negatively in social situations, it is probably a must to give yourself a lot of breaks. When I got the diagnosis, it put random experiences of my entire childhood and adolescence together. I did feel understood, finally.

      Kids with ADHD might get rejected more often, misunderstood, believed in less at school. They say ADHD is not your personality, but I struggle with that perspective. Because when someone says ADHD doesn’t exist, and I should just try more, it feels like they denied a part of my existence.

      If one thing left, then this proposition: Anyone with ADHD finishing a creative project successfully should earn a statue. :-) It’s like driving a Ferrari with the brakes on. It’s like Superman putting out fires with a head full of Kryptonite.

      Thanks for the links to the Youtube and podcast, will check it out!

      Cheers, Hannes

  34. Posted September 11, 2021 at 11:37 AM | Permalink

    Pat, I don’t know if this will help but I’ve dealt with this both personally and with my daughter and the solution has always been, trust your (or her) past self when they set up the system. The ONLY answer to the Thursday tab being open but there being pills in it is that they were not taken. Past you would never had put in a double dose. Past you would never have only part of the meds in a Thursday hole. Recent past self, while on the search for the anti-stabby elixir (coffee in other words), could totally have opened that tab and “shiny, did you see that squirrel?, I was looking for coffee” and walked off without taking it. Trust the system. It is Thursday, there is a pill left in Thursday. Take the pill.

    After all that I need to say thank you for being you and putting this up. I didn’t know I needed it, but oh how I did. Your joy of your kids is a balm and bring me more joy of mine.

  35. Jody M.
    Posted September 12, 2021 at 9:24 PM | Permalink

    Parenting often makes me feel like I’m throwing darts at a moving dartboard while blindfolded, and not learning whether or not I hit the target until weeks or years later. Every time one of my kids shows me that they actually remembered, internalized, and were able to use something that I tried to give them gives me the most unsettling combination of surprise, joy, triumph, …and yes, hope.

    (I know it wasn’t the point of this post, but the cliff-hanger is killing me. I do hope that you managed to ingest the correct dose of your medication.)

  36. Aitor
    Posted September 13, 2021 at 3:33 AM | Permalink

    No matter how great they are, your children don’t need to know the truth: that they are wonderful.
    They need to believe their dad is wonderful and your task is to ensure that every night they sleep knowing that they are right.

  37. Candace Smith
    Posted September 13, 2021 at 6:47 AM | Permalink

    Sounds like you are a pretty normal parent. At least missing items while multi-tasking will happen more often than not. We will always have hope for the best when our children are involved because that is the way we are. And unfortunately sometimes one of us will let the other down. We’ll keep hoping and be delighted when our children remember what we teach them! It’s the way we are! Good luck to you, Candy.

  38. Conor
    Posted September 15, 2021 at 2:29 PM | Permalink

    Hey man, as someone who has known he had ADHD since I was 8, I can tell you the scatterdness/lack of organization can absolutely *just* be the ADHD, but that’s the wrong way to say it/think it. The ADHD isn’t separate from you, it isn’t this outside source that influences your behavior, it *is* you. Your scatterdness or dis-organization is your ADHD and you because those things are not separate and never have been. It’s been your whole life.

    Also the desire to make points via long stories (and love of stories in general) is an ADHD trait. Cheers!

  39. Anna
    Posted September 15, 2021 at 3:54 PM | Permalink

    I also have a day-of-the-week pill dispenser, and somehow I STILL managed to take a double dose of medicine twice in the last fortnight. Argh. Oh, and that’s with the double check of also entering when I take my pills into a food diary, which I apparently also forget to do sometimes.

    *sigh*

  40. Rafael
    Posted September 23, 2021 at 12:09 PM | Permalink

    I find that the emphasis given on parenting nowadays is out of whack with reality. I recommend reading “The Nurture Assumption” by Judith Harris. We as humans have different behavioral models for different environments and parenting doesn’t seem to have any discernible systematic effect children’s personality and/or happiness outside of their home environment.

  41. benjamin haslauer
    Posted September 23, 2021 at 4:35 PM | Permalink

    Hey Pat,

    as a Pharmacist i got a lot of patients with the medication problems you describe – with each their own solutions.
    Take your time and figure it out, lots of people connect their med taking with a certain “normal” activity like “take meds when goin for a sh….” ….yeah i heard that last week – seems to work for some :D

    have a good day!

  42. Theresa Perry
    Posted September 25, 2021 at 8:59 PM | Permalink

    Though It’s interesting about you taking your meds I wish you would spend your time writing a couple thousand words the the 3 book of Kingkiller Chronicle.

  43. Alex Withrow
    Posted September 27, 2021 at 5:22 PM | Permalink

    Hey Pat! Just thought I’d drop a comment with what I’ve found incredibly helpful. I see above that Gabriel has shared an article from additudemag.com. Since I was diagnosed in late 2016, this site has been incredibly helpful to my wife and me in understanding my ADHD. I have literally cried reading some of these articles because I read them and think, “holy crap! I thought I was all alone in this.” Anyway, check out the site (if you haven’t already). I also love the “How to ADHD” YouTube someone recommended. Sometimes it’s a tough road of being misunderstood and silently suffering, but know that some of us in the big busy world get it!

    Thanks for the good story and the smiles it has put on so many faces! Wishing you the best and hoping for continued experiences of pure joy :)

  44. Aaron Cannon
    Posted September 28, 2021 at 5:24 PM | Permalink

    I read all your blogs but never comment – but I have two boys 10 & 8 and just wanted to agree it’s a great time to be a dad.

    Cheers Pat, keep enjoying.

  45. Katy Templado
    Posted September 29, 2021 at 12:43 PM | Permalink

    I don’t always check your blog every day, but it is always a delight when I do and there is something new. And this entry really hit home. My son is only 2.5, but I feel this story so hard in my heart. It made me tear up with love, honestly. Maybe that’s because I am expecting baby #2 this winter, but mostly I think it’s because parenting has made my heart soft in the very best of ways. Thank you for sharing your lovely children with us in this small way.

  46. Sparrow Nightingale
    Posted October 1, 2021 at 8:57 AM | Permalink

    Hello Pat,
    I just want to say I’ve always been a huge fan and yet this is my first time reading your blog, and that will definitely change from now on. I am a new parent to a little girl named Phaedra, she is now 18 months and i swear every day she teaches me something new. I’m on medication for depression and high anxiety. And I know I have to take my medication every day to be the best functioning parent for her.
    I just want you to know that every time I read your books, I am enthralled into the story, even if it’s my 100th time reading it, although I now have new copies so I don’t have to read the signed copies I got oh so many years ago. I hope to one day share these stories with my little girl, as she’s becoming more and more like me every day. I hope always the best for you in your life and your adventures and could only hope I could write like you. I’ve tried to write this one story multiple times, but just can never seem to get the wording right in my own head. Thank you again for inspiring us all!

    Ps: I now have a tabaxi ranger in my DnD campaign whose back story may be based off Kvothes life, just cause it fits so perfectly.

  47. Scott
    Posted October 3, 2021 at 12:12 AM | Permalink

    Fun fact: Walking through a doorway can make you forget.

    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-walking-through-doorway-makes-you-forget/

    Since finding this article, I sometimes like to think they steals thoughts on purpose…

  48. Skye Winspur
    Posted October 4, 2021 at 3:11 PM | Permalink

    Re: hope sensitivity….

    I feel a truly massive amount of hope, knowing that I was able to survive all 4 very bad years of the last president. (Covid and the extra fear it instilled in people was only the capstone to a steady piling up of hate and fear messages). I’m not sure if that hope is still justified right now … the capstone is still scaring the shit out of millions … but it does keep me going. The struggle against racism and bigotry is not over, and there is hope in struggle with comrades.

    As a 39-year-old gay man, I love reading about younger men of today coming out as gay/bi/whatever to others. It’s still a scary process but it can and usually does get better. There is so much power in telling your own story the way you really want it to be told. That is real freedom. It may not get you the biggest pickup truck or the nicest house, but those things can be obliterated by tornadoes anyway. If you have the key to your own identity box, nobody can ever take that away from you. That’s one thing I really liked about Kvothe’s story, how he grew into his identity as an Edema Ruh man, even at great personal risk.

  49. russ
    Posted October 8, 2021 at 3:20 PM | Permalink

    I skimmed the comments and didn’t see any recommendations about the “did I take my meds?” thing, so here’s what I do: my meds live next to a dry erase board calendar, and while my pills are in my mouth (not before, not after, while.) the calendar box for the day gets a check mark per pill that is in my mouth. two of my meds are once a day, but one of them is four times a day (mood stabilizer that I metabolize wayyy too quickly) so each day’s box is subdivided into four boxes. I draw each day’s subdivision line while I take my first batch of meds for the day to sorta double reinforce in my mind that yes I did take my morning meds. having this record that I physically make really helps, and I hope it sparks a solution-idea that works for you!

    • Tapati
      Posted November 8, 2021 at 4:28 PM | Permalink

      Good idea!

      Several years ago I got a small spiral memo book and started writing meds down as I take them. I write the meds, take them, and then add a checkmark to indicate that. My med-taking is complicated by my erratic sleep cycle so those morning or night pill caddies don’t work well for me. This way I note the time I took them and that info has been very handy on the occasions I go to the ER for heart-related symptoms.

  50. Job Agis
    Posted October 9, 2021 at 10:44 PM | Permalink

    I wish I was your son. Or maybe just your apprentice. I want to know the ways of the writer.

  51. Han
    Posted October 10, 2021 at 9:28 AM | Permalink

    Hi Pat, I had my ADHD diagnosis almost two decades ago. Currently trying to keep working, doing art and raise my kids in the meantime :-). Reading your posts, I feel like I empathise a lot. Love your work and your take on things.

  52. Patrick
    Posted October 17, 2021 at 1:56 AM | Permalink

    Dear Mr. Rothfuss,
    I really love your work. I have been critical of you on this site before so I wanted to also praise you on it. Sorry to get to personal, but my mom died this year and reading your books is really helping me get through it. Your books are something I always turn to when my life turns to crap. They have been a source of joy when I’ve felt anything but. Some stories have the power to move, and yours do. So all I’m really trying to say is well, thank you, thank you for creating your story.
    I truly hope you and yours the best,
    A true fan of your words.

  53. William Frederick
    Posted October 25, 2021 at 1:46 AM | Permalink

    Thank you for many things. Most of all for sharing. It is warming to see that there is light in the darkness at times.

  54. Lucas de Andrade Biagi
    Posted October 28, 2021 at 10:27 AM | Permalink

    Hey, Pat, a fan from Brazil here.

    Your writing is so captivating (even here on your blog). I got hooked on your story telling from this post from the beggining. It’s also nice hearing from your boys and the way you cherish them. Also the way you respect them as human beings before anything. That’s pretty rare to come by.

    About the meds: praise be the scientific and psychological studies development for them, huh? Haha. I felt like I wanted to share with you that I was once diagnosed with GAD (so much harmful anxiety, man) and had my meds for some time (also not without some resistance at first), until, in my case, I could drop them. They did me wonders.

    Lately – as life poses escalating more challenging endeavours – I’ve been feeling pretty anxious again. Might come back to them.

    Anyway, getting too chatty. Thanks for your work (love the books, looking much forward to the third one). Much love, from Brazil.

    • Letixa
      Posted November 9, 2021 at 1:55 PM | Permalink

      Hey Lucas <3

      Outra fã BR que vive entrando aqui para ler os posts do Pat….Força, que tudo vai ficar bem !! Um abraço, querido conterrâneo!

  55. Katy
    Posted November 10, 2021 at 12:46 PM | Permalink

    Wow. I literally haven’t ever wanted to have kids of my own, but this post gave me pause. I love the way you conceive of being a parent, and the way you hold your boys in wonder. If ever I were to have children, this is what I would want too.

  56. Posted November 22, 2021 at 2:02 AM | Permalink

    Thank you, I am happy to hear you feel that way

  57. Ames
    Posted November 29, 2021 at 12:54 AM | Permalink

    I completely relate to your note about not placing too much hope or expectations on your children. I try to remember each and every day to just appreciate my 9 & 11 year old for who they are. This past 18 months I have really grown in closeness with them and I cherish the organic and easy nature of our relationship currently.

    Love reading the stories about your babes.

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