The anxiety at the thought of taking a phone call last night was borderline crippling.

When: November 2, 2022 | Where: Home

Hey Ricky,

I don’t know how long this is gonna be; I’ll try to keep it interesting.

I’ve struggled for a while now to maintain friendships. It hasn’t been for lack of desire; I value my friends greatly. But, I’ve struggled badly to keep up my end of the communication.

As I’ve learned more about myself in the past 4 years, I believe I’ve come to understand more about why.

As you may remember from the SC game in 2018, I wasn’t drinking. I don’t remember how much I talked about that at the time, but I had quit for good a little over 3 months earlier.

Getting sober is a big deal for anyone, but for me it was important as much for what it finally allowed me to address about my own biology as it was for simply stopping me from drinking myself to death.

I have ADHD. Reflecting back in time, that probably shouldn’t surprise you. You, more than anyone, saw firsthand what it looked like when a smart kid with ADHD tried to tackle life at a big university (along with working to pay for it). Come to think of it, thank you for putting up with my chaos for all those years; it couldn’t have been easy.

Until finally seeking help in 2018, I didn’t really understand what ADHD was. I knew I’d been a classic case as a kid, before it was a “thing.” But, as I understood it, I’d outgrown it.

I thought that was how it worked; that ADHD was a childhood condition, and that you grew out of it. There was definitely a major change in my hyperactivity when I hit adolescence.  Once I got there, I was finally able to control my impulses to the point where I wasn’t the pariah I was in elementary school. I had no concept that ADHD was more than that.

I’d heard the term “adult ADHD” as if that was some different ailment.  And I’d listened (too much) to the opinions of a lot of people who believed “Adult ADHD” was little more than excuse-making by people who were lazy or lacked discipline. The problems that plagued me at UCLA I pinned firmly on what I figured were character flaws.  I continued to blame myself for the next 30 years (give or take).

I honestly hate the term ADHD, because it asserts that there is a deficit of something. The reality of it is the opposite. I characterize it as a surplus of noise or commotion. Like the static and mixture of stations you get when trying to tune an old AM receiver to a faint station late at night. It’s constant, and it’s a battle to be able to focus on a few important things in the midst of the constant chaos.

That’s where alcohol came into it. There’s a huge correlation between people with ADHD and substance abuse. It’s simple self-medication.

Alcohol turns off the noise. Turns off the whole radio. Over the course of a week of struggling to manage my course load, the noise would become more and more of a burden. It felt louder as the week wore on in the way that a crying baby feels louder after 3 hours than he did when he first started.

I distinctly remember having my last class of the day in Young Hall on Thursdays, and knowing that that was an acceptable day to drink. And the relief that I felt when I started walking back to the dorm knowing that I could finally let go of the week. How much of a relief it was to be able to shut it all off (even though I didn’t really have an understanding of what I was quieting at the time). It was like hitting control-alt-delete on an old Windows system.  The reset was worth the hangover.

This is getting long… so I’m gonna gloss over a couple of things and see if I can arrive at my point before you retire.

Fast forward to December, 2018… a month after the SC game, and the shrink finally gave me Adderall (after 4 months of non-stimulants that did nothing). I still wasn’t sure about the whole ADHD thing at that stage, but I knew that 4 months of sobriety hadn’t quieted the cacophony in my head.

Adderall was diagnostic certainty. 30 minutes after taking it for the first time, I felt some approximation of normal for the first time in my life. It was less like shutting off the radio (like alcohol), and more like tuning the station in so you could hear it without static or interference. It’s been life-changing.

But, I’ve also come to understand that brain commotion is only one aspect of ADHD. With the noise quieted, I’ve been able to see myriad ways in which my brain architecture is just different. For instance, while many people tend to think and learn linearly, I tend to form an understanding of things in a way that looks more like assembling a jigsaw puzzle. Little segments get worked on here and there, and eventually they connect to other little segments, and the picture slowly comes into focus.

My brain is a free-association factory. Every thought comes with tangential thoughts that my brain wants to follow. And, while I’ve found ways to turn that into a strength at times, much of my life is still spent restraining my mind and forcing myself to focus on the things that I have to focus on in order to lead a productive life.

Forcing-focus (you read the term hyper-focus a lot in ADHD literature) requires a lot of mental energy and a lack of distraction. Neither of these things is conducive to catching up with someone I haven’t talked to in a while by phone. A phone call during a work day can completely derail an entire day.  In the evening, I generally just don’t have anything left and need to zone out to recuperate.

Phone calls are also a bit awkward because my mind is always jumping from topic to topic, and everything that gets said prompts new thoughts. I have to work hard to restrain myself from constantly interrupting, because these thoughts often leave (for good) as quickly as they come; and when one feels important, I don’t want to lose it. 

I also end up bouncing from subject to subject, and I’m honestly just a bit self-conscious about it. I try not to be, but after a lifetime of trying to appear “normal,” it’s unnerving to let go of the harness.

All of which kind of makes me a pain in the ass. So, let me abruptly stop the back story, and talk about where that leads.

I was really happy to hear from you. And, I would like nothing more than to connect and catch up. And… the anxiety at the thought of taking a phone call last night was borderline crippling.

So, first, I just wanted you to know that it isn’t personal. It’s my issue. I’m working on finding ways to overcome it, but it’s a work in progress, and I probably need the help of my friends to make it work. A logical first step seemed to be to lower my guard and let you know what was up.

I’ll say that I’m pretty good with Messenger/WhatsApp/Viber etc. communication. I think it’s because I can communicate when on my brain’s schedule… if I think, “hey, Rick would find this funny,” I can send that without investing in a 45 minute conversation. And, if you think, “I should show Lemuel this,” I can look at it when it doesn’t derail me. That’s worked well with some other friends (Rowen is one).

For a call, how would you feel about a weekend call? Some time during the afternoon? I’d really like to know what’s happening in your life, and I get that Messenger conversations have their own limitations… and that not everyone is a fan of them.

I’ve had an eventful year. I cycled from Santa Cruz to Savannah, Georgia for the first four months, and just finished a mountain cycle from Lancaster to Tahoe a couple weeks ago. Surprisingly, I’m still not skinny, but I’m not as gigantic as I was 12 months ago. There was a trip to the Indian Ocean with Hal in between those, and I’ve been seeing a girl for nearly 10 months who was a member of the… (shhh) usc trojan marching band.

Anyhow, thanks for taking the time to listen. Looking forward to catching up in one way or another.

I will seriously sober up tomorrow. Just so we can have this conversation.

When: August 8, 2018 | Where: Home

On August 9th, 2018, I began my first day of sobriety. I was more or less alone. Angela and I had separated nearly 2 months earlier. She had gone back to her home town to search for her own sobriety. I had stayed behind to find mine in the midst of the construction zone that our house had become over the 2 months before her departure.

For nearly 2 months after her departure, I had stopped drinking, started again, and thoroughly convinced myself that the death spiral I’d entered was a controlled descent that was all simply part of my plan to get clean.

I was alone, save for the comings and goings of contractors and my terrier, Rascal, who would keep her body in contact with mine on whichever patch of level space we could find to sit or sleep… and drink. 

Myself… Contractors… Rascal… and one other person. A voice in the ether, who had asked how I was months earlier, and had received an honest answer.  Who had continued to remind me that someone cared as my life disintegrated.

Robin was there.  As the 19 days of my final binge accumulated, and darkness muffled everything else, her voice remained present… three time  zones distant, but present all the same.

What happened the night of August 8th won’t be written up in anybody’s guide on how to get sober. Nobody will vouch for the ethics of either one of us or praise us for any high ideals.

But, it IS my story. It IS how I found sobriety… and how I began to reclaim and restore myself. At 6:46 pm on August 8th, 2018, I grabbed an imperfect but outstretched hand.  This is how it happened.

Robin: 3:09 PM
Awe. See? You should listen to us.

Lemuel: 3:09 PM
I definitely should have.

I really never thought you gave me a second thought.

Robin: 3:11 PM
Not so.

Lemuel: 3:12 PM
Allen clued me in later, when I was in college, and we had kind of a disastrous date at that point. But, I never realized.

Robin: 3:12 PM
What do you mean?

He clued you in. Oh, Lord. Ha ha

Lemuel: 3:13 PM
Do you remember the date we had, when I came home from LA? I was kind of all over you, and you were feeling (I think) a bit used?

Robin: 3:14 PM
The gun point night?

Lemuel: 3:14 PM
Was that the same night? I thought gun-point was still high school.

Robin: 3:16 PM
I don’t know if it was the same night, but I remember both. Gun point night was in collage. We bought beer from Tony at 7-11. That’s why we were at Carter’s parents house because he was home from school, too.

When the SWAT guy wanted to kill us

Lemuel: 3:18 PM
I think they were different nights. I owe you an apology for the night I’m talking about. I was at my most selfish.

Robin: 3:19 PM
I don’t remember ever feeling used by you. Did I tell Allen about that?

Lemuel: 3:19 PM

Robin: 3:20 PM
It didn’t sound like anything i would have shared with anyone. What did I tell him?

Lemuel: 3:21 PM
I just felt it. And I felt sick about it. I’m a guy. Guys are dicks. I was looking for one thing that night.

You didn’t say anything to Allen after.

Robin: 3:23 PM
I’m kind of surprised that bothered me . I completely adored you.

Lemuel: 3:23 PM

Robin: 3:23 PM
Right?!?! What was I thinking?!?!?!

Lemuel: 3:24 PM
I know what I was thinking.

Robin: 3:24 PM
What did Alien clue you in about. Was I pathetically moping around school after you left? . That’s kind of embarrassing.

Lemuel: 3:26 PM
No. He just said you were still into me. Nothing more; nothing less.

Robin: 3:26 PM
I just wrote collage ️.

Lemuel: 3:26 PM
And, I tried to use that to get laid.

In all honesty

Robin: 3:27 PM
I’m pretty proud of myself then, albeit surprised.

And Alien instead of Allen. Good grief my eyes are old. 🙄

Robin: 3:34 PM
I wish we could have been more honest back then, but that’s youth for ya.

I don’t really believe that everything happens for a reason, but I do believe everything is a teachable moment. It makes us who we are. Maybe we are of much more use to each other now than we would have been then. (Although, one night wouldn’t have hurt. 🤔)

Lemuel: 3:36 PM
One night wouldn’t have hurt at all.

Back to the stationwagon…. my first night ever being intimate with a girl. Sorry I forgot about the star… but I’ve got other memories.

Robin: 3:41 PM
All good, I hope. 🤭

Lemuel: 3:43 PM
You talk about bullshit? I’d love to hear my sales pitch about that star. Cause I guarantee you my thoughts were somewhere closer.

Robin: 3:45 PM
Ha ha ha ha, I’m sure mine were, too. You don’t have to carry all of the shame.

Lemuel: 4:07 PM
Are we flirting?

Robin: 4:07 PM
Btw, Kathy was the aide for my English class so I rarely went. I failed the class and had to go to night school.

Lemuel: 4:07 PM

Robin: 4:07 PM
We certainly don’t need to be.

I got an A. Just sayin’.

I don’t know what we’re doing. I know it’s been nice catching up with you the past few days. If at any point we need to stop, say the word. We don’t need labels, though, do we? I mean, we aren’t canned goods! 🙄

Lemuel: 5:08 PM
I have ZERO desire to stop talking with you. Just got off phone with Angela. Very nice call,k but she and Sherrie were really drunk. So, I’m kind of in outer space.

Lemuel: 5:19 PM
No bullshit, riight? My marital situation is uncertain, to sayt the least. I’ve established that one of the biggest mistakes I ever made in my life was “dumping” you. You’ve said that you and Brad aren’t married.

Getting that I’m a disaster right now, is this something worth pursuing? My assumption is that you’re happy, so I haven’t even raised the issue… but,..

Jesus, this must sound crazy. I just felt us getting close to flirting, and figured better to get it out there now than later on.

Lemuel: 5:20 PM
If this is not something to pursue, I hope to hell you’ll still be my close friend. Just wondering if I should be thinking about more.

Robin: 5:24 PM
You’re going to have to give me a few minutes. I’m surrounded by my entire family at the moment. Be right back.

Lemuel: 5:25 PM
Awesome. Glad I caught you at such a perfect moment.


Robin: 5:25 PM
Our timing was never very good.

Lemuel: 5:27 PM
Sorry. Laughing my ass off at getting a message like that in the middle of all the fam. So sorry

Robin: 5:31 PM
SAME!!! My mother’s always loved you, though.

Lemuel: 5:31 PM
Let me be more clear this time. I AM interested. I may have uderstated that previously, but I don’t want to make the same mistake twice.

Robin: 5:32 PM
You’re killing me right now. . Did I mention my whole family is here?

Lemuel: 5:33 PM
Do they like juggling acts? I can do that.

Robin: 5:33 PM
Who now think I’m ready to be admitted because I can’t stop laughing at the irony.

I really have missed you.

Lemuel: 5:37 PM
How might it work? You’ve got kids. I obviously can;t be like this around them. Your youngest is what? 6? I’d have to learn to be a parent. I’m soooo willing to do that stuff.

Leaving Angela isn’t a huge hurtle. We’re half way there. I have NO idea of your own situation.


Robin: 5:40 PM

Almost bedtime.

Lemuel: 5:43 PM
Don’t know what’s going on there, but please don’t leave me hanging. I think I know part of the answer from you non-response. I hope its what I think it is.

Robin: 5:43 PM
I won’t leave you hanging.

Lemuel: 5:44 PM

Robin: 5:48 PM
How much did you drink today?

Lemuel: 5:48 PM
So far?

So far?

Maybe 3 glasses of wine.

Robin: 5:49 PM

Lemuel: 5:50 PM
I’d call myself inebriated. Not fucked up.

Robin: 6:08 PM
I’m baaaaaack.

I’m going to go in order, starting with Angela.

Lemuel: 6:09 PM
I’m here

Robin: 6:09 PM
What the fuck is Sherrie thinking. Aren’t you incredibly angry with her?

Lemuel: 6:13 PM
As I said, she’s really flawed. Oops

Robin: 6:14 PM
We all are, but Goddamn, you’re way kinder in your explanation than I would be.

Moving on…

…and getting real. You tell me frequently that you love your wife. Do you love your wife or do you love who you believe your wife is capable of being?

Lemuel: 6:20 PM
Good question. I’m not certain of the anaswer

I don’t know.

Lemuel: 6:25 PM
I’m awake and listening now

Robin: 6:25 PM
That seems very real an honest.

I can’t give you all of the answers that you want. I’ve already broken a huge self-imposed rule with you and, given time, I’m sure I’d be willing to break even more. There are so many X factors in both of our lives. I don’t even know where to start or what to think really.

I know I want to see you in October. I would love another chance at a better night than we’ve had in the past.

I know I love talking to you and I miss you dearly.

I also know how much I appreciate the fact that we can pick up where we left off 30 years ago.

Robin: 6:32 PM
But you’re married and I know you love her dearly. I also know that you are in a seriously bad place in your alcoholism. There are reasons AA does not allow male/female sponsorships.

Lemuel: 6:35 PM
I don’t know where Angela and I end up. That was part of the deal when she left. She told me she was going to sleep with her married ex.

…if I have a chance to unscrew a situation, I will jump into your arms tomorrow.

Robin: 6:36 PM
I need time. I don’t want to be your back up plan.

Lemuel: 6:37 PM
Jesus. That isn’t it at all.

Robin: 6:37 PM
Wait, why would she say something like that to you?!?!

But she also told you 2 days ago she wanted to come home.

Lemuel: 6:38 PM
Don’t know. It was kind of hurtful but honest.

Robin: 6:39 PM
So no matter what the deal was when she left, things are clearly fluid.

Lemuel: 6:40 PM
So… I’m not wrong to pursue you?

Given that I have to sort my stuff out.

Robin: 6:42 PM
I am super hesitant to have this conversation with you while you’re drinking.

Lemuel: 6:43 PM
Okay. Will you talk to me honestly when I sober up?

Robin: 6:44 PM
Absolutely. I would love to.

Lemuel: 6:46 PM
Wow. I will seriously sober up tomorrow. Just so we can have this conversation.

Robin: 6:49 PM
You’re so easy.

I need to change my password for messenger but I’m not sure how.

Robin: 6:55 PM
I can’t remember my password and I’m afraid I’ll get locked out so I stopped .

Lemuel: 6:55 PM
So easy… lol. But I am very in to you, and apparently I fucked it up pretty badly the first time. I’d like a second chance. If one is actually available, I just won the lottery.

Robin: 6:55 PM
Did she sleep with him?

Lemuel: 6:56 PM

Robin: 6:56 PM
You didn’t fuck up.

Lemuel: 6:57 PM
My feelings for you are entirely independent from that.

Robin: 6:57 PM
I believe you.

Lemuel: 6:58 PM
Thank you.

Robin: 6:58 PM
Tell me something funny.

Lemuel: 6:59 PM
Bear shits in the woods. Looks at bunny, and asks, “does the shit stick to your fur?” Bear wipes his ass with the bunnie…

Sorrie.. bunny was supposed to say “no.”

Robin: 7:01 PM
That makes so much more sense

Lemuel: 7:04 PM
Poor fucking bunny. I mean the bear just needs something to get him from a to b. Utilitarian. But hey! Here’s this bunny rabbit. Might as well ask.

Dunno. Funniest thing in my head.

Robin: 7:04 PM
That’ll work.

Lemuel: 7:05 PM
I’ll sober up for you. Then, we can talk for real?

Robin: 7:06 PM
It was super sweet of him to ask, you know. Most people don’t ask others if it’s okay to shit on them or wipe their ass with them.

Yes, for real.

Lemuel: 7:06 PM
Bears are very polite

Robin: 7:07 PM
Yogi always shared his pic-a-nic basket.

Lemuel: 7:09 PM
I’m grateful you’re sweet on me, and I WILL do my best… but I’m no catch. Hope you don’t regret this.

Robin: 7:09 PM
I don’t regret you.

Lemuel: 7:11 PM
Well, I’m gonna do my damndest to see where this leads. You’re amazing.

10/9: sober up

… for Robin.

No… for me

Robin: 7:13 PM
I was just going to say that.

Lemuel: 7:13 PM
But you are providing extra motivation.

Still Pedaling

When: Match 28, 2022 | Where: Natchitoches, Louisiana
Miles Cycled: 2,473 | Days on the Road: 98

In early February, I spent a few nights in Scottsdale, Arizona. I was stressed out because I hadn’t been finding time to post to Lemuel’s Ramble. I was also having difficulty managing all the gear (especially the camping gear) and packing on a day-to-day basis.

A friend suggested that cycling across a continent might be enough for the moment. Maybe the blog needed to wait. Maybe the rigors of camping on top of the straightforward difficulty of the cyldle were more than I needed to take on at once.

I’d been thinking a lot about my adhd, and how it truly has impacted me… how I’d forced my way through life by pounding my head against it.

After some time to consider it, I took the advice. I sent the camping gear home, and resolved to document my journey and thoughts after I’d accomplished what I’d set out to do.

A lot has happened since I last wrote, starting with 2000+ miles I’ve cycled. I will write about it all at length in the months ahead. For now, as I was sitting here having hotel room coffee for the umpteenth time, just a quick hello to anyone still listening to let you know I’m still going, and that things are going well.

It’s less than 900 miles from here to Savannah, Georgia, where I intend to wrap things up. I’m much stronger, and a bit lighter than I was when I last updated. And I’m feeling positive about the journey so far, and about what remains of it.

More to come… but maybe not for a few weeks. 🙂

You probably wouldn’t take me for someone who gets hurt easily

When: January 17 , 2022 | Where: Palmdale, California
Miles Cycled: 382 | Days on the Road: 28

***Writing this on my second night in Palmdale, after summiting the highest climb (3,237 feet) I’m likely to see on this side of the Mississippi.***

I’m probably the biggest guy you’ve ever seen on a bike.  I’m without a doubt the slowest guy on the road (at least I haven’t passed anyone yet). I am very likely the most sincere and genuine person you will ever meet. I’m kind and compassionate.

I’m smarter than most.  But, I often get out of the shower, having forgotten to rinse the soap off.   ADHD often makes me scattered.  I can be talking to someone, start a sentence, veer into a series of tangents, and find myself still talking several minutes later, completely unaware of what my point was. I think the people who know me well think it’s endearing.

My sense of empathy is sometimes a burden; sometimes I feel what others feel so strongly it hurts. 

I’m a pleaser, and seek approval.  I wouldn’t have really believed that about myself prior to getting sober.  Or even for some lengthy period of time after that. I remember coming to the realization around Thanksgiving of 2020, and still taking a couple of months to actually believe it.  I saw a meme recently that said,

“A child who can sense that they’re not living up to their parents’ expectations becomes the adult who betrays themselves for validation.”

Reading it, I felt like I got hit in the solar plexus. It seemed to explain too much about me.

I’m big (as noted), and I have a booming voice.  You probably wouldn’t take me for someone who gets hurt easily, but I am.  I got hurt deeply before I left.  That’s too big a topic for this post. Suffice that it’s made me question my most deeply-held beliefs and principles.

By the time I left, my voyage of physical health and self-discovery had become as much about escaping and forgetting. I left 5 days before Christmas, because the idea of Christmas… the idea of celebrating anything felt like a giant and cruel practical joke to me.  I wanted no part of it.

Rejection hypersensitivity is a common trait among those with ADHD. The first time I read that, I burst into tears.  For the truth of it, and for the myriad ways rejection has seemed to seek me out over the course of my life, from the extreme bullying I endured in elementary school and my parents’ apathy about it, to the machinations my father’s fifth wife went through to exclude me from his funeral.

My Ramble is not a feel-good story right now. Maybe it will become one, but I’ve always sought what’s real, and that’s what I’ll strive to give you as this progresses 

At the moment, I’m taking refuge in the business of undertaking this excursion. The actual cycling and the logistics of being on the road and navigating across a continent have added up to a lot of work. After managing that, creating “Lemuel’s Ramble,” and trying to build it into something worthwhile has taken up what time remains.

I will say that my state of mind has generally improved over the past 4 weeks of cycling.  I was feeling thoroughly alienated from most things when I rolled out of my driveway alone.  Much of that has worn away as I’ve used some of my time to reconnect with friends, and to make new connections

My physical strength has improved a lot, and with accomplishment… even accomplishment that’s still largely unshared… has come some positive energy. 

A friend asked if there had been any moments where I wanted to quit, or felt like this was crazy.  Oddly, that sounded like a foreign concept to me. 

When I left, there wasn’t much for me at all at home.  I felt compelled to be gone from there, and to get on with the business of this quest as soon as was possible.  Nobody would confuse me with Tony Robbins at this point, but I can say that I’m exactly where I want and need to be. The idea of going “home” sounds terrible.

I am not inadequate

When: January 12, 2022 | Where: Carpinteria, California
Miles Cycled: 276 | Days on the Road: 24

ADHD finds all kinds of ways to remind me of my inadequacy.  No.  Let me change that word to “disability.”

Inadequacy is what I felt for most of my life, as I bought into the still-popular notion that ADHD — especially among adults — is really just excuse making for those who lack discipline and work ethic. 

I struggle with the word “disability,” because I feel like I’m commandeering a word meant for people with “real” disabilities. I’m still so conditioned to believe that my disorganized mind doesn’t qualify.  That if I just tried harder to focus my thoughts, or to stop absent-mindedly setting things down in places I won’t remember, or to be more “diligent” when reviewing important details… If I just tried harder, I could be like “normal” people.

But, trying harder is never going to change the fundamental architecture of my brain. My brain will never work the same way as a “neurotypical” brain. That fact is always going to cause me to miss things others see plainly.  My brain is always going to struggle to keep order from becoming chaos.  It’s the brain architecture I was born with, and the fact that I’ve done well in spite of it doesn’t change the truth that it’s always been disabling.

I am not inadequate.

I was tearing up when I wrote that last sentence. I’m laughing now, because I realized that I sat down to write an update on my travels, and got characteristically waylaid by my thoughts.

What I was starting to say was that I got reminded of my “disability” yesterday when I discovered that I had not actually published “Lemuel’s Ramble” yet. For more than a month, I had thought I was putting my thoughts out there for the world to see, and only discovered yesterday that every last idea was stuck in blog purgatory, just waiting for someone to notice the “publish” button… which I hadn’t.  So, people who clicked links to entries from social media were informed that “Lemuel’s Ramble” was “COMING SOON!”


Dotting i’s and crossing t’s is never going to be my thing.

It’s fixed now, just in time for me to start heading inland, which I should be doing later today after stopping at a bike shop in Ventura. 

My handlebars are just a little too low or too forward, and arm fatigue is proving to be a bigger issue than leg fatigue.  I’m hoping they’ll have the part (or parts) I need to solve the issue today, so that I can continue on to Santa Paula or further before dark.

I picked you up every time you were broken

You’ve talked often about how your personal childhood trauma of abandonment has driven your worst instincts.

Ostracism is a very real and close cousin of abandonment. A childhood spent exiled to the periphery. That kid who walks alone out by the fence, and glances up carefully to see what the other kids are doing, but not long enough to be seen looking; terrified of the repercussions of being seen looking.

Years of therapy haven’t erased your abandonment issues. Years without therapy have certainly not erased my issues with being discarded. Thrown away. Cast aside. Unwanted. Unloved. Unacceptable.

I can never adequately convey what it’s like living inside a head with ADHD. What I can tell you is that the voice never shuts up. The thinking never stops. Every horrible thought is repeated over and over and over and over again, and I just want it to stop. All day. Every time I wake up at night.

There were a few times in school when someone pretended to want to be my friend. Those were the most painful. I would get sucked in. I’d believe in it. When the inevitable reveal, with its ridicule and derision, came… it was an abyss.

This feels like that (which isn’t to say anything about you or your intentions, but only about its effect on me). For two and a half years, I was told I belonged. I mattered. I was important. I was needed. I was loved.

And, this reveal is unfuckingbearable. I just want it all to stop, and my ADHD impulses push me to seemingly obvious answers…

anger… you’ve been wronged… lash out…

indifference… you don’t need her… show her… shut her out… see how SHE likes it…

stoicism… distraction… kindness…

But, it’s like solving Pi. My brain spins endlessly, and every decimal place is another empty hallway leading to more empty hallways, and none of them bring any peace; only more emptiness.

I’m going to come over and give you your pillow. I hope you’ll see me. Talk to me. Look me in the eyes. You asked the same of me many times, from similarly awful places. I don’t believe I ever said no, even though it meant driving long distances and deprioritizing myself. I’m almost positive I never said no.

Our relationship was broken. I thought our friendship was enduring. This shouldn’t be my trauma. I was a good friend. I was always there. I picked you up every time you were broken. This should be somebody else’s trauma. I’m in the wrong life. Someone else’s timeline. None of this is right.