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ADVICE Please?


Lily

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I have dysthymia and ADD. So far, no meds available here have worked. Ritalin took the edge off, but seemed to crap out on me. Now I have a great therapist, but am not on new meds yet.

I'm chronically disorganized and always late. Got a gentle warning at work; otherwise people generally put up with my lateness.

I'm also in a rock band. Our first big gig is in 2 weeks. For the past 2 weeks I've been 2 hours late to our studio practice. I can't seem to get myself out of the house. This pisses off fellow band members.

I was late this Saturday, and now one of the girls (let's call her Angry One) in the band is super pissed. Another girl in the band (let's call her M) told me, and I apologized again to Angry One. Over dinner that night, I told the band members  that I was sorry for being late, that I was off meds and would keep trying to do better. M has offered to come get me at my house next week--drastic, but it does help. I also sent a text message to everyone in the band, apologizing ONE more time.

Now, I don't talk much about being MI to people here. Because when I do, they usually:

1. freak out.

2. tell me to snap out of it

3. tell me Americans turn everything into an illness

4. tell me that everyone has my problems, and gets through life somehow, right?

Anyway, M told Angry One more about my being MI. Now Angry One says she feels that everyone in the band knew about this but her (this isn't the case; I don't like talking about it or making excuses for myself) AND that I should have told her about this AND that after our upcoming performance she may decide to quit the band because she feels so hurt (or something).

Awright, part of me is pissed that Angry One is angry at me for not talking and now threatens to leave the band. Another part of me is fucking hurt. I can't function very well now ANYWAY, so can't handle this bullshit.

Another part of me really really hates drama and would really like to just work this out and move on with life.

M doesn't want Angry One to leave the band, and has asked me to talk to her.

Because I'm ADD and not functioning all that well now, I can't remember everything I'd want to say, or express it well, so I have to write it down.

How do I go about this? I want her to know that:

1. I want to clear up misunderstandings

2. I'm pissed at her throwing a hissy fit

3. I'm sorry for being late

4. I'm fucking MI, and afraid to tell people here because of the lack of understanding I usually encounter.

Can someone please help me work thru this? I have just enough presence of mind to want to resolve this peacefully, rather than telling this chick to go to hell, but I want to stand up for my addled self too.

lily

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I think taking a pad of paper with you when you sit down with her is incredibly appropriate. Not only will it keep you from leaving out what you wanted to say, but underscores the problems inherent in your MI and shows her how important this conversation is to you. You might even explain why you brought the notes by using those last two points.

Attempt to explain that because of stigma, you tend not to discuss your MI with people, and that includes your fellow band members up to this point. Explain that keeping quiet is not an attempt to mislead people, but an attempt to avoid discrimination. (Fill in other reasons here)

One thing you probably don't want to do is continue apologizing. You have done that several times, and that's enough. People subconciously take an apology as an admission of wrongdoing. After all, why would you be apologizing if you had done nothing wrong?

Be matter of fact about being late for practice and the causes behind it, then enlist her help. Tell her that you could use her help figuring out how to get to practice on time. People instictively respond to a request for help, to being asked their opinion. It makes them feel invested in the solution and the successful resolution of the problem.

It is also inherently validating for them, as you are admitting to them that you aren't able to solve a situation, but they might be able to.

Sometimes that's not easy... it all depends on the price you are willing to pay to resolve the situation.

It will at least open things up for discussion.

Info(former advocate, negotiator and mediator)Nut

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Angry One's withdrawal from the band is a drastic response, a threat probably made in anger. Tell her you hope she doesn't follow through on it, and do the rest of stuff InfoNut suggested -- it all makes good sense. I agree with IN that you've already apologized several times and don't need to continue. Now is the time for explanation (if you feel right about that) and resolution, not continued apologies.

Sorry things went crappy for you, and I hope you find a good cocktail that enables you to function.

clumsycrawling

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NT people can SUCK.  They just don't GET IT.

I agree with taking a note pad, but you might want to put the "pissed at you" part last.  She'll probably blow up at that one and walk off, like she's trying to do with the band.  Maybe it wouldn't be so bad if she left, since she's such a hothead.

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Thanks a lot you guys.

InfoNut, thank you for the detailed advice! I will put together my little spiel that way.

Ultimately what turned things around was this: Angry One was hurt that I kept showing up late and didn't tell her I had a very good reason for doing so. She wanted to be told directly.

When M relayed this message to me, I pointed out that if Angry One was upset about not being contacted directly, she should extend me the same courtesy!

M passed that message along, and then Angry One did text me, telling me how hurt and angry she was. FINALLY, we had direct communication! So I wrote back and told her I recognized how she felt left out and confused. Then I told her why I hadn't been able to get to practice, and why I didn't tell her about it.

Turns out that she had a brief panic disorder a few years back, so understands where I'm coming from to an extent.

This coming practice, the girls have asked me to explain a little bit about my MI, and they've been overwhelmingly eager to do what they can to help.

I learned a lot here--I still screw up at work, almost daily, and run that stupid scenario through my head--the one that has my boss telling me he's going to fire me if I don't start showing up on time, and me cheerfully quitting--but I realize that I can't expect people to understand if I don't explain to them.

I think my friend (aka Angry One) realized that if she wants a direct answer, she has to talk to me directly.

Thanks again, everyone!

lily

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