You’re Not ADD (Part 6): You’re a Virgo

How many ways can you explain away your personality?

Life in the Fast Brain | posted by Kristen Caven
“I will always have this tension inside me,” I explained to my husband once, as we pushed our baby around the lake on one of our weekly walk/talks. “I’m a Leo/Leo Rising, with my moon and all my other planets in Virgo. I’m like a lion in a cage with all of this powerful artistic energy that can’t come out except through the perfectionist side of me.” This was the emotional “stuck point” that I came up against year after year… the painful feeling that I could never truly accomplish my goals. That I could never be fully understood, that I could never truly get traction because I’m always at war with myself somehow.
But when it all comes down to it, neither Astrology nor Psychiatry can help you when your glasses are on your head and you can’t find them.
— Kristen Caven
My understanding husband would laugh at the paragraph above. Not necessarily because I left out his eye-rolling, but specifically, the fifth word after the quotation—“once.” I explained this known fact about myself enough times that he would bring it up sarcastically in our arguments about incompletions. “Yeah, I know Leos can’t remember there’s laundry that needs to go in the dryer, bla bla bla…” (But he’s a Cancer/Gemini cusp, so I’m used to the different sides of his personality…)
Astrological readings have brought me a nice perspective in my life, the two or three times I’ve done them. (Learning Mars is in my house of marriage helped me stay married, since I’d probably have these spats no matter who I was with.) Astrology has helped me be more accepting of other peoples’ personalities (Capricorns, for example, don’t tend to like talking astrology), but more importantly, to be accepting of myself. The good Astrology books I’ve read have helped me understand that our stories may be somewhat sketched out, but we are free to shape them for better or worse, since every human quality can have a negative or a positive expression. These understandings have helped me strive to be a better human being.
When I began my journey to understanding ADHD in adults, I spoke to a friend whose life keeps taking those telltale turns one’s life takes when one can’t keep one’s thoughts inside one’s head…. “For me,” she said. “It’s just because my Mercury’s in Virgo and my Sun is trine with both Pluto and Uranus. Plus I’ve got Chiron conjunct North Node.” I very nearly blurted out, “I wonder if there’s a pill for that…?”
Anyone who is not Astrology-averse must wonder about its relation to modern Psychiatry—since, after all, we are talking about the same human minds that have been on the planet for millions of years. Both fields are observations on the subtleties of the mind, tied to available science (Psychiatry: Chemistry; Astrology: Astronomy), more complex than people realize, imprecise, and, I might add, mutually maligned. In Medical Astrology (yes, it’s a thing) there’s been some research into the connection between natal charts and ADD that points back to chemical sensitivities.
But when it all comes down to it, neither Astrology nor Psychiatry can help you when your glasses are on your head and you can’t find them. That’s why it’s good to have a husband.


You’re Not ADD (Part 5): Want some Prozac?

Trying to get a diagnosis can be quite a thrill ride.

On my health plan, they have a process by which people are diagnosed with ADHD. First, you go to the 2-hour talk on Adult Attention Issues, where they pass out a test. Then you wait three weeks and they send you a letter. Yes, you have it. No, you don’t. It’s like getting accepted into college... or not. If you do, you get some meds and 4 appointments with a therapist who may or may not know anything about ADHD in adult women.
“When you have ADHD,” the teacher droned on, “you need to be entertained or you lose interest.” I wanted to bolt after twenty minutes of her slow-moving, monotone presentation.
— Kristen Caven
If, because they have awesome services in the Pediatrics department, you ask your child’s psychiatrist something like, “I think he’s this way because of me,” they won’t really talk to you; they’ll say to go stand in line in the Adult department. (If you cry, because you don't understand and are desperate to ask questions like "is it because I was a terrible mother and could never teach him how to floss every night because I can't remember to myself?" Well, they’ll close the door extra-fast.) So, you just keep worrying and having all these questions that no one will answer until you do all your listening first.
In the Adult Attention Issues session, which is standing room only, they describe every aspect of what it feels like to have ADHD. I sat through this meeting twice, five years apart, and had to sit on my hands to keep from raising them every two seconds to chime in with additional information, since it was all so familiar. The test is full of questions that make you sound like a loser, which I’m not. On some questions, I had to be perfectly honest and answer both “Rarely true” and “Always true,” since one answer is correct when I’ve got fun things going on in my life, and the other is correct when I’m feeling overwhelmed. I wanted to explain this to someone, but no one ever asked me what I meant.
The first time I went through the process, they said I was on the borderline, not “disordered” enough to have ADHD, and the psychiatrist kindly offered me some Prozac or other anxiety medication. But I am not a fearful person, I told her, just an overwhelmed one. I only really worry about one thing: can I keep my shit together without dropping all these balls I seem to attract? Besides, I am keenly aware of my body and highly sensitive to medications; I even ask the dentist for a half-dose of novacaine. So Prozac? Thanks but no thanks.
The second time I went through the routine, same story...except now you had to wait 3 months to talk to a psychiatrist if you were 'borderline'. I decided to go ahead and take the 6-week Adult Attention class while I waited. It was all I could do, again, to keep from blurting out and being the cleverest one in the room. “When you have ADHD,” the teacher droned on, “you need to be entertained or you lose interest.” I wanted to bolt after twenty minutes of her slow-moving, monotone presentation. The woman next to me was just as agitated at the poor organization. We supported each other in chiming in. But the teacher said, “please hold your questions and comments until the end.”
One day I got a call, asking me not to return to class. I was baffled and hurt, feeling like I did in first grade when the teacher saw me as a trouble-maker after I screamed from a bee sting. The concussion had added to my antsiness, but was I really as disruptive as they said? Turns out they had intended to kick my confidante out of class for other awkward reasons, and the teacher (who assured us she didn’t have ADD), mixed us up. But I couldn’t take any more. They gave me a refund and I went back to square one.