My #ADHDphd friends in remote work: how are you doing? I am really really really struggling. Everyone keeps telling me that we all have a hard time, and that I'm not doing as bad as all that, and they believe in me. But it feels different.
I am apologizing to everyone who catches me, and avoiding everyone who can't. All my organization and self-regulation and motivation tools have been taken from me by remote work. "We're all adapting!" they say, patting me, but I am not adapting. I am drowning.
I'm sorry I missed the meeting / the deadline / the email / the appointment. I feel sick with shame. Also, I'm going to keep missing them. I'm struggling immensely and working so so so hard, and using everything I've learned from therapy.
I. Can't. Work. Like. This. I can't have everything inside one screen. I can't motivate myself from nothing and no contact. I can't go looking for what I have to do all the time. I can't keep track of it, I can't get ahead of it, I can't keep up. It's the executive function.
Everyone keeps telling me how thoughtful I am, and how smart, and how capable. That's true. But I'm talking about something different. Everything about my work environment and conditions has changed, for the worse, for my conditions. And I am in quicksand.
People I love keep dying. But this isn't grief, or depression. This is me having worked out over 17 years how to run the term marathon, and this year I have to run it on my hands, blindfolded. I can't do it like that. I can go the distance, but not like this.
It's true everyone is finding this hard. But neurodivergent people are finding it, often, truly harder. I just wish someone would believe me. Not believe in me, like "you can do it!" Because I can't. Believe in me like, "this is too hard for you, you need help." I'm drowning.
People are mad at me. Mad at me for failing to do things I warned everyone I was going to fail at doing. Things I tried to not have to do. Things I was cajoled or coerced--on account of my competence or my duty--into having to do. And then failing at. I warned everyone.
I tried. I told everyone that I was afraid exactly this scenario would produce itself, and I fought it mightily the entire term, at great personal cost. And I *am* failing at things, just like I was afraid of. I feel pretty hopeless about it. People think answering emails is easy
It's not easy. I wish you could be inside my brain, to know how incredibly hard I push myself for so little result, and I'm exhausted and miserable and anxious all the time, waiting for someone to tell me what I fucked up now, because I forgot.
So. Yeah. #ADHD and fully remote work is peeling away my mental health one discussion post at a time, one Teams meeting at a time, one library recall notice at a time. And it's NOT the same as what everyone is experiencing. It's just not.

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More from @digiwonk

5 Dec
On shame: you know, it's taken me a lot of growth to be able to say "I can't do it" or "I need help." Like, it's so hard to learn to do that when you've spent your life internalizing that your failures are moral ones and you should try hard, to admit that trying is not the prob.
So it's a huge, great, proactive thing for me to say, "I can't do it, I need help." But then imagine how I feel when people respond with, "Of course you can! You're doing great! You're so smart". It just loops me right back into shame: I SHOULD be able to do it.
It's a huge risk to admit my vulnerabilities, especially when it seems like a ridiculous thing that someone as smart as me should be able to do. Do you think I didn't try? When I say I CAN'T DO IT, please don't gaslight me. It's not helpful.
Read 4 tweets
13 Oct
No more scaffolded assignments, mostly, for right now, a thread on pandemic resilient pedagogy, by me, doing the best I can in a trying time. #ResilientPedagogy #AcademicChatter #RemoteTeaching 1/13
In general, I love scaffolded assignments: they produce mini-deadlines and mini-deliverables and emphasize process and mitigate the possibility of last-minute-panic-writing, while also making cheating more trouble than it's worth. Yes. But. 2/13
12 week terms and scaffolds means that if each component builds on the next, I have a super-fast grading turnaround time, and things are due every week. That's a lot. And then chasing laggards on top of that. It requires me to be 100% fully functioning and *ON*. 3/13
Read 13 tweets
9 Sep
What do you need in a video lecture? A thread of provocations, by me. First, here's what you don't need: new camera, new microphone, new lighting, new software. You can make EXCELLENT class videos using consumer-grade tools you already have. 1/
You know what else you don't need? A lecture, actually. Lectures project the human voice to a crowded room full of synchronous learners. A video is an intimate interpersonal communication, that happens to be "broadcast" but is experienced as from-me-to-you. 2/
In a lecture hall, we lecture because we have to: we talk loud, and slow, and show slides or write on the board so that 40-200ppl can follow along for 50-80 minutes. In a video, we don't have to do those things because the context is different. 3/
Read 14 tweets
9 Dec 19
Some things I have learned from student self-evaluation assignments in my first year writing class, a strange and wonderful thread of personal growth and useful feedback. #AcademicChatter 1/12
1. Five paragraph essays, banishment of personal pronoun, fixed topics, check-box rubrics, and literary analysis of books they don't like is what they do in high school and they learn to produce teacher-pleasing writing that they hate and find irrelevant. 2/12
2. They understand writing, then, as a chore with no point other than securing a grade so that they don't have to take another English/Writing class ever again. 3/12
Read 13 tweets
15 May 18
To my tenured colleagues: A thread on how we can be part of the solution, not just a precious relic of the way things used to be, and the manifestation of disproportionate privilege and inequity in the academy. Let's talk; please share and add. #cdnpse
A lot of us with tenure are watching PhDs leave without finishing, go into debt, suffer lousy adjunct jobs, destroy their mental health. We are watching our undergrad programs turned into scaled-up piecework. Our administrative structure turn managerial. What can we do?
Because *we*, the tenured, are the ones to do it. Who else? Marginalized scholars? Contingent workers? Trustees and boards? No. If anyone has the footing, power, and safety to push back, it's tenured people. What are you going to do?
Read 14 tweets

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