I ‘m pleased to report that the Verizon issue, as described in my post Don’t Worry…Get Angry, has been resolved. On March 9, 2011 I received the following email:
In case you can’t read that email (even after clicking on the image), here’s the text of the email:
Dear Valued Verizon Customer, We have processed your request for a credit to your Verizon account. Please accept our apology for any inconvenience related to your service inquiry. It is our goal to efficiently resolve our customer's service request for complete satisfaction. A credit in the amount of $430.21 will appear no later than your MAR, 2011 billing statement. You may also track your billing adjustment by utilizing our bill view tool at www.verizon.com/billing Complete the navigation instructions below to view adjustment records. Step 1: Sign in to account Step 2: Click view bill below account actions Step 3: Click payment tab to the right of bill tab Step 4: Below payment actions on right side of page click payment/ adjustments history, scroll down to view adjustment history Sincerely, Verizon Customer Care Team
I assume that Verizon formatted the email with a tiny font because they did not want to give me the satisfaction of seeing, in BIG BOLD LETTERS that I had won. (I think they also realized that, as I am getting older, I am having problems reading such a small font. [note 1] ) But I don’t want to focus on what I won but, more importantly, on HOW I won my battle with Verizon.
From the beginning of my Verizon ordeal, I kept notes on each call I made. I recorded the date of the call, the length of the call, and a few details that would help me recall the conversation. I placed the notes in a file folder and then in the vertical file holder that sits to the left of my computer desk. Each time I called Verizon I took out the folder and, at the end of the call, I added new notes. By the time I made my last call (the call that finally solved the problem) on March 3, 2011, I was able to explain the sequence of events in great detail. I was able to be extraordinarily patient (admittedly I lost it a bit several times while on the phone but each time I would go into a mini-rant I would then apologize to the person I was talking to) with the service representative and I could tell them, with great accuracy, the (theoretical) result of each previous call. (Several times I was told this issue would be resolved…obviously it wasn’t.) I was able to do this because I followed Barkley’s Rule No. 4: Externalize Key Information.
The lesson in this David vs. the Communications Goliath story is that, despite the gift of ADHD (someone once described being ADHD as like living your entire life with Alzheimer’s disease), I was able to successfully resolve this problem even though it took five months to do so. The combination of externalizing information, of always pulling out my notes and reviewing those notes with the person on the phone (memory recall and solidification through repetition), of always adding additional notes, of always placing the notes in the same place making it easier to locate as needed, all of this (I’m sure there’s more but…haha…I don’t remember!) contributed to the ultimate victory in this battle. It showed me, on a small scale, how slow-but-steady can truly win the race. But there is still that lingering Whac-A-Mole issue: eliminate anger here….and it appears over there.
I contained some of my anger during my phone calls with Verizon. When it slipped out I apologized to the person on the phone and, when I was on hold, I let loose a bit more. Yet there was still more anger that needed to get out and a bit of ranting didn’t do it for me.
Is It Really Anger?
I’m beginning to think that what I keep referring to as an “anger issue” is not an anger issue at all. In an earlier post I wrote that my problem is not anger per se but the way that anger is expressed. I’m still grappling for the right metaphor because anger isn’t quite the right word to describe the feeling. It is more like an internal tension that behaves like a rubber band in a balsa wood airplane. Specific types of events, like these frustrating phone calls, and non-events, such as disappointments or piles of bills (have you ever felt that those piles were mocking you…that they were standing there and sticking their tongues out at you and saying, “Hey moron! Here’s something else you forgot to do!”) add a few more turns of the propeller, twisting the rubber band further and increasing the stored up torque, eventually reaching a point where the propeller can’t be turned anymore and the rubber band’s torque is released and the plane flies and crashes into everything in its flight path until it finally hits the floor and smashes into pieces.
Yeah…that sounds like “the gift.”
I do not want any ADHDer who has read this post to think that, “Wow! Jeff has really got his shit together! He can now handle these long, drawn out tasks and even win. And he’s learning to deal with this anger and to get past his ADHD.” This is part illusion, part of the pitfalls of blogging and even the pitfalls of narrative that what you read follows a logic in order to make a particular point yet that point is only a slice of reality. (Did you catch the reference earlier in this post about the piles of bills mocking you? I wrote that because, while writing this post, I caught a glimpse of a pile of bills and at the top was an invoice dated for January that…surprise, surprise…has not been paid. Yet if I had not added that parenthetical observation you would not know that the nice narrative about Jeff being able to stay on top of an issue is part illusion…that the narrative forces the writer to push, outside of the narrative, those other forces that are at work…and I’m trying to bring into the narrative that which often escapes the narrative…I’m trying to capture that blooming, buzzing confusion of reality through parenthetical digressions, post scripts, italicized alternate voices.) Writing this post has helped me to remember that, yes, I CAN accomplish things in life…that, yes, I CAN do things when I am focused. But, fuck, the fucking effort required to really stay focused is the real killer. THAT’S what rips your fucking insides out. THAT’S the unending source of rage, of frustration, of internal tension. You can’t fucking escape this ADHD shit. The more I think about my struggles with ADHD the more I hate those fucking Gift of ADHD people. I despise them. I think they are fucking delusional. They are the fucking Jim Jones’s of the ADHD world, handing out their Gift of ADHD kool-aid. I’ve said it in the past and I will say it again. ADHD is a form of madness. Isn’t madness (as we think of it in lay terms) that voice in your head that won’t go away, that internal drive that you can’t turn off when you want to, that force that pushes you in the wrong direction all of the time? How dare anyone, ESPECIALLY THOSE WHO DO NOT HAVE ADHD, how dare they refer to this as a fucking gift! I can excuse the ADHDers since ADHDers are quite adept at fooling themselves (I’ve referred to ADD as Adult Delusional Disorder) but I cannot excuse those who do not have ADHD but still spout their la-la-la version of ADHD.
What is great about this fucking gift (or maybe it’s not the gift at all but my other curse, intelligence) is that I can hear the voices of others in my head. I hear them saying, “Boo hoo. I can’t live with my ADHD if all I see is doom and gloom. I need to always find something positive.” To those voices I say, Fuck You! Are you a moron? How can you fix something if you don’t confront it in all its ugliness? To always “see the positive in the negative” is NOT to confront the reality of the issue. In fact, it is the opposite. It is to RUN AWAY from the issue. It is a refusal to see reality as what it truly is and, instead, to substitute a fairy-tale version of reality.
Okay, Jeff. Calm down. No one likes anger. Gray skies are gonna clear up. Put on a happy face. Spread sunshine all over the place.
- Has anyone investigated the possibility that the reason why people gain weight as they get older is not because their metabolism is changing or because they are becoming more sedentary but that it is a Darwinian adaptation to decreasing visual acuity, hence the body gets larger in order to make it easier for other older people to see it?↩