Episode 142 – Coping, Letters


CW: Suicide, death, and pandemic.

Hi folks! This week we will be tackling some hard subjects, in particular dealing with losing someone during the pandemic. It’s not an easy discussion. We follow that by reading your letters.

Links for this Episode:

8 Replies to “Episode 142 – Coping, Letters”

  1. Amber-Gael

    I have (diagnosed) auditory processing disorder. (But, somewhat ironically, incredibly good *physical* hearing otherwise.) Noise cancelling headphones are helpful because part of the problem is filtering. I also read lips a lot and use captions on videos. Processing lag is suuuper annoying and I can’t watch anything with the sound out of sync either and other language with english captions is also problematic. I was prescribed fancy, high end hearing aids with some sort of filtering type software as well as the sound amplification (but amplification part is set low) that make a small but noticeable difference in hearing but more importantly (as I understand it) help my brain work less hard and help prevent the condition from getting worse or at least worse as quickly. My husband appears to also have some degree of auditory processing issues AND tinnitus. He finds bone conduction headphones work really well for him and if he needs to block outside noise he can still put in earplugs as well.

  2. Amber-Gael

    Regarding cymbalta – I couldn’t concentrate to read the entire time is was on it (2 to 3 years approximately?) and until I had been off it again for a few months. It DID help my fibromyalgia pain though and is the only medication that has ever impacted my depression at all, – though not dramatically. I’ve tried so many medications (into double digits) that they’ve basically run out of options for me to try, so that’s saying something. The effectiveness for me dwindled and I had side effects that were really bothersome so I ended up going off of it again.

    Auditory processing disorder – I forgot in my other comment on this episode… One of the things that can help are brain training games specifically made for it. There aren’t many options and they tend to be boring, annoying, and/or poorly made/designed, I find. I couldn’t manage to keep up doing them for various reasons. What HAS helped is listening to audiobooks and *podcasts* – while it doesn’t help with all the areas/facets of the auditory processing disorder, it does still help some of them (for me at least). As a side note, I find you folks very easy to hear and understand and have very few processing issues unless the interview has some sound problems (though the sound problem ones are actually better for improving the processing disorder because they make you work for it).

  3. Katherine

    That letter from Augusta Scarlett about academic librarianship and PhD programs was so wonderful because I had the exact same issue (probably because ADHD) when thinking about doing biology grad school-the “I don’t think I can focus on or stay interested in one thing that long”, and I’m also planning to eventually go to library school, probably for academic librarianship. Also, update from my last letter which you read on this episode: my doctor’s office actually managed to do a bit of a better job than usual at sending my meds to the right pharmacy, which was wonderful (and surprising)

    • Azure Lunatic

      This is about not holding the forgetfulness against the person with ADHD, episode 142 in case the comment goes on episode 1 by accident again.

      My entire household has some form of ADHD. I had developed (or in some cases had literally beaten into me, thank you Boomer Dad) good enough coping mechanisms that I didn’t notice anything other than the inability to do schoolwork that bored me, until I was out on my own. I did notice a weird ability to get kids with ADHD to listen to me, so my senior year community service project of tutoring an ADHD first grader was alarmingly easy and should have been a clue. However, since I was Assigned Female At Birth and socialized as a girl (I’m actually agender), nobody noticed until I was 25 and a roommate who also had it just assumed I knew because I have a fairly classic ADHD-Primarily Inattentive presentation.

      The point is, my primary partner of almost 4 years, what even is time, also has an absolutely classic case of something that according to the several hundred dollar cognitive test battery is *not* ADHD but for all practical purposes should be treated like it. (They’re also non-binary, specifically a conscientious objector to gender, toxic masculinity, and some of the attendant bullshit.) They are alarmingly forgetful. They have an amazing array of coping mechanisms and I will suggest that they come on the show sometime. But sometimes those fall through.

      There was an incident maybe 4 or 5 months after we started officially dating that nearly ended everything. I was still living in California, so all of our dates were remote. They had recently met a local woman. We are both polyamorous, so that wasn’t an issue, but I did have some insecurity around being the remote one. I figured I could manage that with good communication and a religious adherence to the date schedule.

      “I won’t forget the date with Azz on Sunday afternoon,” they reasoned to themselves. “It’s too important. I don’t have to put it in my calendar, that’s only for things I might forget.”

      Saturday night they had a date with the local woman, and of course during the ensuing lazy Sunday morning, they checked their calendar, found it blank, and rolled over for a nap.

      When I finally did get ahold of them, I dropped the word “date” and all emotional hell broke loose. I later calculated it as a collective 24 person-hours of abject misery. Eventually, it was my turn to fall apart on my partner. I’d originally been working on the assumption that they had willfully blown off the date, since I knew they put everything in their calendar. I said as much, sobbing.

      They guiltily explained their reasoning for not putting it in, and suddenly my tear faucet turned off and I jumped into post-incident analysis mode. They hadn’t deliberately broken a date with me in favor of the person who was physically present. It was just a small error of judgement that had cascaded badly, and the lesson to take forward was to never assume it would be sufficiently memorable later. I couldn’t hold it against them; we would just have to be careful and compensate.

      My partner had a very hard time accepting that I wasn’t blaming them for the emotional hell part of everything, but I just couldn’t. Their relationship with the local woman survived that incident, happily. (It ended a while later over something else.)

      I’m grateful that we had the practice at resolving our conflicts early on, otherwise sheltering together would be much harder. We’re lucky enough to have more interior doors than people, and everyone has robust headphones.

  4. Catherine

    Hi Kevin! I have just started the episode, and was wondering which travel kettle you have? I’ve been thinking about getting one, but just looking through Amazon gets overwhelming fast.


  5. Sharon Gochenour

    Continuing my massive run through all of the 2020 episodes, and whoo boy, it continues to be strange to revisit the first part of the pandemic. “I don’t think this is going to be over in a month” — aw man, I didn’t either, but it turns out the phrase “18 months” and the experience “18 months” are quite different!

    While the ADHD meds I started about two weeks ago are helping a lot, I am being reminded this month as I hit some anniversaries from last year and get resonance tremors to the beginnings of the huge Black Lives Matter protests that meds alone may not be enough to snap me into “normal productive behavior” <— scare quotes doing a lot of work here. I am sure I am not the only one who is cultivating an internal mososaur fed on latent rage at how last year unfolded, which every so often floats to the surface and rips to pieces other things I should be doing.

    I also had some of the same fears the one letter writer mentioned about meds changing my personality, namely that it would take away my ability to escape into a daydream at a moment’s notice. So far this has not proved to be the case, which is great.

    I realize we’re not even a year out, but I super feel Ursula on there being no back to normal, only before pandemic/after pandemic. THE PAST IS ANOTHER LAND.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.