bedeviled

Hey there.  Just a friendly warning, if you’re here for the recipe you may want to scroll down; the following may not be of interest to many of you, and that’s fine, but it’s something I felt I needed to write.

I had a post all written and ready about how my friend had this great sherry-tasting party last month, with all of this amazing Spanish food, lively conversation, etc. but I had this nagging feeling and it just didn’t feel right to post it. Although the party was beyond lovely and I had a great time, the evening was marred by the fact that I completely and totally flaked out on a good friend.  I was supposed to text her the address of the party, and even after having said out loud to my brother as we were walking in the building that I needed to do just that, a few seconds later I was distracted by a conversation and the thought left my mind. I then proceeded to leave my phone in my coat pocket in the bedroom all night, so I didn’t hear any of my friend’s calls or texts. To make matters worse, she had already driven over 20 miles and was in a bar nearby awaiting contact from me.

Of course, as soon as we walked out of the building to leave the party, it triggered the memory that I was supposed to have contacted her, but by then it was too late.  I called and offered frantic apologies, but the damage was done. Of course she felt, as I would have, that it was simply unimportant to me and that my other friends had taken precedence. I was so frustrated- how to explain that that was not the case; that I just hadn’t “pictured” her at the party (she decided to go at the last minute) so it didn’t seem “off” that she wasn’t there? Although it was the truth, it sounded like a lame excuse even to me.

I’ve been doing some research lately to try to understand why my mind works the way it does and why I’m often frustrated by my forgetfulness, inability to be organized or to accomplish certain tasks.  I came across the following  and it was like reading a summary of my life story: frequently losing things, trouble completing routine or mundane tasks, academic underachiever, short temper, low stress threshold and several other characteristics that were uncomfortably familiar.

These are some of the manifestations of a certain type of ADD.  Now, I haven’t been officially diagnosed, but based on a laundry list of symptoms which I won’t bore you with here, it’s exceedingly probable that this is the explanation to years and years of figuratively banging my head against a wall wondering why I couldn’t seem to be motivated to accomplish as much as my peers of similar intelligence and education, why my house is frequently a mess, and why I feel  disproportionately stressed out by life’s day-to-day tasks.  Apparently it’s common for the condition to go undiagnosed in high-functioning girls/women, because they often don’t exhibit the hyperactivity and disruptive behavior that boys do.  Because the hyperactive form of ADHD is so much more prevalent in the general discourse, I never knew that there were different types and it never occurred to me that it could be an explanation.

I couldn’t help but get emotional reading the list of symptoms and feeling this overwhelming sense of recognition, after literally decades of feeling that something was “wrong” with me but not knowing what (Am I just lazy? Why is it so hard for me to be organized? etc).   Even my blog posts, which I enjoy, often take me two to three weeks after the fact before I am able to post them, and those of you who are regular readers have probably noticed that I often sound harried or overwhelmed even though I don’t have any kids and have a lifestyle with (relatively) few responsibilities.

Lest this post be a total drag, I did want to share with you this most excellent recipe for Spanish-style deviled eggs that I took to the sherry party.  Just about everyone likes deviled eggs, and a couple people at the party said these were the best they’d ever had.  They come from a colorful and well-put-together cookbook called The New Spanish Table, and although they’re no more difficult to make than any other deviled eggs, they pack a lot more flavor thanks to the inclusion of tuna and some other goodies.

2011 is going to be a huge year for me with the new house and the wedding, so  I’m hoping that getting better informed about this condition will allow me to better manage these seemingly monumental events and enjoy them rather than feel freaked out and stressed.  Wish me luck.  As for you, I wish you all the best of holidays, and a healthy and happy New Year!

Spanish-Style Deviled Eggs with Tuna (Huevos Rellenos de Atun) adapted from The New Spanish Table
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6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and halved lengthwise (I recommend making one or two extra in case you have a couple that don’t peel cleanly)
1 6-oz can tuna in olive oil, tuna drained and flaked
2 Tbs capers, rinsed and drained
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 small or half a large shallot, minced (about 1 heaping Tbs)
2 Tbs mayonnaise
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
piquillo or roasted pepper, cut into thin strips for garnish
handful of chopped parsley

Mash the yolks well in a bowl. Stir in the mayonnaise, lemon juice, shallot and capers until well incorporated.  I like to mix the tuna in at the very end so it retains a bit more of its texture.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Mound as much of the filling as possible into the halved egg whites (you may have a bit left over).  Garnish each egg with strips of pepper, and scatter the plate with the chopped parsley.

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16 responses to “bedeviled

  1. I love deviled eggs.. This recipe is great and very nice post

  2. I totally have that, too….

  3. I recently approached my doctor with a similar set of symptoms. She basically told me that if I wasn’t diagnosed with ADD as a child then it couldn’t be ADD and was maybe just anxiety. I completely disagree with her because when we were growing up they did not diagnose ADD as readily as they do now. Like you mentioned, being “highly functional” and getting by in school meant there was no apparent reason to “diagnose” me with any type of disorder. If it truly is ADD there are ways of managing the disorder without medication. Yoga has actually been really helpful for me and has taught me how to focus better and de-stress. Meditation can also be helpful and is a big part of yoga as well. Maybe try a class or two and see if it helps.

    • When we were kids, they only looked for the “hyperactive” symptom. If you weren’t disruptive in the classroom then the teachers didn’t care and it wasn’t perceived as a problem. My guidance counselor in high school even told Mom that my underachievement was “nothing to worry about”. Meanwhile I ended up at MSU rather than a better school because I procrastinated filling out college applications and it was too late to apply anywhere else. I regret that to this day, although I’m trying to look towards the future rather than dwell on the past.

      I really want to get into an exercise/ yoga routine, I definitely think that would help, but part of the problem is time management- when I think about how to fit that in, I feel like it’s impossible. I don’t really want to get on medication, just learn some coping skills so I don’t have that frantic feeling all the time like I have a million things to do and not enough time.

  4. I’m so happy you made deviled eggs. I absolutely adore them. Even when they have been sitting out at a family reunion for a few hours…

  5. I have a couple of friends who were diagnosed with ADD (not so much the H) as adults and while not everyone can figure out the ideal meds (or has access to them), I think knowing what’s happening helps.

    The notion of “high performing” is problematic anyway and ignores the whole concept of enjoying life and finding a balance. There was this whole messed up thing when I was in (public health!) school where we could talk about the importance of mental health issues (including how stress/anxiety affects other health outcomes) for the general population, but as “high performing” graduate students it was a weakness to acknowledge our own struggles. The only thing that was supposed to matter was doing important work like picking apart a study’s measurement error or something. Now I ride my bike around LA, cook a lot and worry my parents over what I’m doing with my education . One of these days I’ll figure out balance!

    • I’m just concerned with how stress affects my quality of life and health- it’s well known that stress can precipitate physical health problems. I realize feeling “frazzled” and overextended is part of modern life, but I see people around me juggling ten times the stuff I do (especially those with kids!) and seeming to pull it off with aplomb. Like you said, I just want to achieve a balance where I’m taking care of business and not feeling like I’m always behind and struggling.

      That said, the older I get, the more accepting I have become of my shortcomings, and I do try to just enjoy life in spite of whatever limitations or obstacles I may be dealing with.

  6. Yeah. I feel like if I go to work, it’s a good day. Forget about cleaning, cooking, going to the gym, etc. I seriously have these problems. Do you think we should start a Support Group? … I’m serious. We could get together and motivate each other??

    • Well we could definitely be gym buddies, my membership at the Y is up next month so I’ll be switching, probably to the Royal Oak LA Fitness. I’ll keep you posted. (As long as it doesn’t turn into “eh, screw the gym tonight, let’s just go get cocktails” we should be fine!) 😉

  7. Yeah, I belong to LA Fitness, or la fatness as I call it. And yes, I, too, need to stay AWAY from the cocktails.

  8. Noelle:
    Been there myself and is it possible mine is only getting worse with age…Read this article in the NyTimes and thought of yer post.

    http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/19/attention-disorders-can-take-a-toll-on-marriage/

    Happpy HollyDaze!
    lex

  9. Try going to the gym before work. I know it’s hard to get motivated and wake up early to get a workout in before work, but it really is the best way to do it. It gives you more energy throughout the day and then you are free to do your other tasks after work. If you have it set in stone in your schedule and have a workout buddy it is pretty easy. I took a boot camp class for 4 weeks and was waking up at 5:30 a.m. 3 days a week. I didn’t think I would be able to do it (neither did Mike) but I proved myself wrong and it was a great feeling! Waking up earlier to go to the gym also helps with your daily tasks because you feel you’ve accomplished a good amount already so early in the day. It gives you more motivation to tackle your to-do list for the rest of the day.

  10. I don’t know, Noëlle, want to try it? I’d try before work, but I don’t know if I can handle it. My preference would be right AFTER work. But I’m willing to give before work a try…

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