Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Excerpt from "Here’s to Not Catching Our Hair on Fire," by Stacey Turis, Plus a Giveaway!

NOTE FROM SUSAN: Enjoy this hilarious excerpt from the new book, Here’s to Not Catching Our Hair on Fire: An Absent-Minded Tale of Life with Giftedness and Attention Deficit -- Oh Look! A Chicken! by Stacey Turis, and then keep reading for a fun giveaway!

I guess at this point I should introduce myself. Hello. My name is Stacey, and I am “twice exceptional.” Sounds fabulous, doesn’t it? I mean, not only am I exceptional, I’m twice exceptional! Don’t hurt yourself congratulating me. What it really means is that I have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (AD[H]D), and I’m also considered “gifted.” It’s called twice exceptional because half of my brain is capable of astonishing mental feats, while the other half can’t even bother to lift its leg when it farts, which isn’t very productive, if you ask me. Yeah … try using that to navigate through life. It’s a mess. A person can be twice exceptional in different areas, but I was blessed with the above. And no, I don’t play a musical instrument, I don’t sing like a canary, nor do I ever stop midsentence and begin writing math equations on the nearest window. As a matter of fact, there is not one certain thing I can claim to be gifted in. I’m the proverbial Jack of all trades, master of none. All of the guts and none of the glory. None of the sugar and all of the shit. You catch my drift.

Normally when I’m meeting someone new, I immediately become self-deprecating to make them like me. “Nice to meet you … great party. Yes, my belly is hanging over my pants to my knees from eating so much. I hope my breath doesn’t kill you from the garlic dip. Is this crowd freaking you out at all? I’m sorry, what was your name again?” I know it sounds like I need therapy (and I do), but I kind of like that about myself. It makes people instantly comfortable, like they can scratch their armpits or pick the underwear out of their butts in front of me, and contrary to popular logic, that’s a good thing! Anyway, I’m pretty sure all of the above was enough to disarm you.

I’m thirty-seven years old. I have a husband, two kids, a dog, three cats, and about seventy-eight fish that hatched from our original two. I never meant to have a fish farm, but then again, I never mean for any of the stuff that happens to me to, well…happen to me. I started my own holistic pet health site, founded a holistic charity for sheltered animals (I’ve received three donations: the entire start-up cost from my father-in-law, one from my mom, and a five-hundred-dollar check that I lost), I have a holistic health blog for families, and I recently put together a program to educate families about the benefits of clean and natural living. I am my daughter’s homeroom mom, and last year I was on the PTA board, where I was in charge of the yearbook. (I’m actually still too traumatized to talk about that experience.) I keep all chemicals out of our house and feed my family only all-natural and organic foods. I buy only natural body products and detergents, and make my cleaning supplies with vinegar, baking soda and essential oils … you get the idea. As I read over what I just wrote, it makes me chuckle. It’s all true, but I still feel like a fraud, because if any of that makes me sound like I have my shit together, don’t let me fool you -- I’m a f---ing mess.

We live in a middle-class neighborhood. My husband, Dave, drives a ten-year-old bucket, which allows me to cart the kids and animals around in a big SUV, like every other mom in the carpool lane at my kids’ school. Oh, except for Trinity Jackson…she drives a big, white Hummer with a vanity plate that screams, “TRINSH2.” Don’t get me wrong. I like Trinity. I pretty much like most people I meet, and I try not to hold their vanity plates against them. All in all, we have a nice, normal little family, and we enjoy living in the ’burbs, except for one tiny problem. As you can see by my strikethrough above, when it comes to my life, normal is rarely in the equation.

Though I was coined gifted as a kid, I wasn’t diagnosed with AD(H)D until I was thirty-three (after first being misdiagnosed with, and medicated for, bipolar disorder. Fun times). As giftedness can also easily be misdiagnosed as AD(H)D, I ran into the gifted concept a lot after researching my diagnosis. I hadn’t thought about my gifted side since I was a kid. You can imagine how shocked I was to learn that both gifts have a tendency to create chaos in adulthood. It doesn’t stop when you hit puberty, buddy. These are the gifts that keep on giving. I couldn’t believe it. There I was, in black and white. My entire being of weirdness, easily explained with bullet points listed under both “Signs of Adult AD(H)D” and “Signs of Adult Giftedness.” Double trouble. Twice f---ed, as I like to say. Getting diagnosed was definitely a mixed blessing for me. On one hand there was a nicely packaged reason for all of the things I felt were wrong with me. On the other hand, it was comparable to a mental-health death sentence. I used to say to my mom, “It shouldn’t be this hard … it isn’t this hard for other people … this isn’t normal.” I used to think I could just fix myself away with my little self-improvement plans. I still do, actually -- a different one every week, but getting that diagnosis meant I could do all of the self-improvement plans available in the universe, and I would still come out as messed up as I went in. No improvements for me. Sorry, Charlie. Shit out of luck, my friend.

I’ve always felt misunderstood. Though I was never at a loss for friends, I was always told I was weird, which I was totally OK with. Weird is a compliment, I think. I just didn’t really understand what people thought was weird about me. It could have something to do with the following, but I’ll let you be the judge of that. Thanks to my two gifts, I have a tendency to be anxious and depressed. I’m completely overtaken by the moods of others. I procrastinate. I can’t pay bills or keep track of finances, and I have no emotional ties to money. I don’t put effort into relationships, except for those with people who have grown to accept me and don’t try to change me. I don’t bond easily with most people. I constantly stress myself out trying to help everyone except myself. I feel a connection with nature in my bones, but almost to the point of pain. I get in a funk where I feel dead inside. I’m easily overwhelmed. I don’t like to be touched. The sound of a telephone makes me want to put my fist through a wall. I have a horrendous temper and can snap but then forget about it five seconds later. I have horrible word recall. I often forget what I’m talking about midsentence and have to ask the dreaded, “Uh … what were we talking about?” I don’t pay attention to getting to my destination when I drive and have ended up in the wrong state more than once. I love animals so much it can be painful, and I have the chips in my teeth from grinding them to prove it. I’m emotionally and physically affected by the sadness and heartbreak of others. I can barely sit still to watch TV, except for It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia or my favorite paranormal show, Destination Truth. (Call me, Josh Gates. Your show is my new dream job!) Unfortunately, I never remember what day or time they’re on, so, thank you, DVR! Overhead lights bother me. A ceiling fan on my skin makes me crazy. Strong odors can make me throw up. I can’t make casual conversation on the phone; there has to be a purpose, such as scheduling. “What time do ya want to meet? Two o’clock? OK, bye.” I sometimes don’t understand people if they speak too fast, and then I have to read their lips, which can be awkward for everyone involved. I can’t maintain eye contact during a conversation, and if I try to, I feel like my eyes are going to pop out of my head. According to my hubby, I “have no regard for safety.” There’s more … a lot more, actually, but I think I’ll let you discover some for yourself. A girl has to stay somewhat mysterious, you know!

About This Book
A belly-laugh inducing romp through a life so convoluted and chaotic you know it has to be true, Stacey Turis’s debut gives a voice to the genius yet tormented souls suffering from giftedness, ADHD, or a combination of both (a condition known as twice-exceptional) who are too afraid to speak. With over three hundred million people suffering from ADHD worldwide and experiencing many of the same debilitating symptoms, Turis’s goal is to share her experiences so that others afflicted can rid themselves of the shame of hiding their behavior. A rip-roaring and bracingly honest look at a twice-exceptional life, Here’s to Not Catching Our Hair on Fire: An Absent-Minded Tale of Life with Giftedness and Attention Deficit -- Oh Look! A Chicken! turns the rational on its head in a rollicking depiction of a life that seems to be constantly going off the rails.

Facebook – ADHD Superhero
Twitter – ADHD Superhero
Website – Staceyturis.com



GIVEAWAY

To celebrate the release of her book, author Stacey Turis is offering one lucky reader the hilarious "Oh look! A chicken!" coffee mug shown above! Enter through the easy Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and ends at 11:59 PM ET on Wednesday, September 26, 2012.

a Rafflecopter giveaway





53 comments:

  1. I like the cool quotes section!

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  2. OMG! This is me! And my son--except that he is not ADHD--they tried to convince me that he was, but I never believed it--he's just gifted. He's a doctor now. I might have helped a little bit by bringing home a heart from my anatomy class for him take to show and tell in the 2nd grade. I never did understand what the principal was talking about when I was called in for a conference the next day. Then there was the raccoon skeleton...
    No, I recognize this and can't wait to read the book! Hilarious!
    bethelderton59 at gmail dot com

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  3. Wrote a witty comment and the internet gods deleted it.

    Blast.

    Anyway. It was something like this: I relate. Stacey, get out of my mind. Also, would you like to write my autobiography?

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  4. I like the quote "When you are fighting demons, doesn’t it seem that everything is a demon?” ~Stacey Turis

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  5. I think the book she mentions The Geography of bliss is going to be one that I pick up
    dez3b@yahoo.com

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  6. I learned what Twice Exceptional is. I would really like to read this book. Everyone tells me my son has ADHD but I just don't except that, I think he is just very gifted. He has always been exceptionally smart. Hopefully this book will shed some light on it for me.

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  7. enjoyed the cool quotes section!

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  8. I learned she's very funny and what twice-exceptional means

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  9. Ciara B.3:17 PM

    i love the quotes
    cb_shorty2003@yahoo.com

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  10. I learned that AD(H)D gave you the superpower of self-acceptence and using the gifts we're given.

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  11. Love the list of quotes on the website! HWOne87@Hotmail.com

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  12. I love her sense of humor and the new-to-me twice-gifted theme

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  13. Audra Weathers3:32 PM

    I learned that she describes herself as a "proverbial Jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none." She sounds like she has a good sense of humor. :-)

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  14. I love the cool quotes section.

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  15. I learned a new quote from that site.
    “You can’t connect the dots looking forward you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something- your gut, destiny, life, karma or whatever. This approach has never let me down and has made all the difference in my life.” ~Steve Jobs

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  16. I loved the phrase "twice-exceptional", and learning what that meant.

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  17. I learned she got her degree in broadcast journalism

    (jen487@Hotmail.com)

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  18. I learned that in 2006, she became certified to teach Yoga but didn’t, then founded pawsforpeace.com, an online, holistic pet-health site

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  19. She is considered gifted.

    felecia@twinoaksfl.org

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  20. Cálaeb T.1:14 PM

    the quotes!

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  21. I like how she's taken something that usually is viewed as a hindrance and turned it around to benefit herself.

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  22. I like the author's cool quotes column.

    bgcchs(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  23. There are some nice quotes on her blog.

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  24. i learned she has ADD

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  25. I learned that she doesn't play a musical instrument.

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  26. I love her sense of humor and the new-to-me twice-gifted theme

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  27. I learned that she has AD(H)D

    Wanda McHenry
    wbailey113 at hotmail dot com

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  28. the cool quotes section

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  29. I enjoyed reading the cool quotes

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  30. I loved the quoates and the new to me section <3

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  31. Auri Lae3:51 PM

    I love how she focuses on the positive side of adult AD(H)D, what she calls the "superpowers"...as a gifted/ADD person who wasn't diagnosed until adulthood, it really does change the way we deal with the world, and there is definitely a lot of good that comes with the challenges!

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  32. my boyfriend has adult adhd, I will be bookmarking this site and sharing this valuable information with him.

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  33. She has one of my favorite quotes on her page: “What other people think about you is none of your business.” ~Anonymous

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  34. There seems to be a ton of information here, I
    ll have to go back and browse

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  35. Nice that she sees the positives in AD(H)D, but I'm not quite sure what her 'twice' gifted means.

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  36. learned she got her degree in broadcast journalism

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  37. I love her sense of humor, funny lady

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  38. she has ADD
    BBrittBrat1398@yahoo.com

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  39. Mya Murphy7:42 AM

    hahahaha the quotes are soooooooooooooooo cute!

    myamurphy@mail.com

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  40. I like the quote "When you are fighting demons, doesn’t it seem that everything is a demon?” ~Stacey Turis. Very true :)

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  41. I liked the Janis Joplin quote: “Don’t compromise yourself. You are all you’ve got.

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  42. I love the quote “Resentment is the act of stabbing yourself repeatedly in the heart hoping to kill the other person.”
    susansmoaks at gmail dot com

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  43. I learned that not only is she gifted, but she was gifted with a wicked sense of humor!
    sarahyurga@yahoo.com

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  44. Awesome sense of humor displayed in the writings! Can't wait to read!
    Thanks

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  45. Jennifer Peaslee3:42 PM

    I learned that the author got a degree in broadcast journalism from Wichita State University

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  46. She a lot of cool quotes.

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  47. I appreciate her a approach to her condition, have a condition myself I find that how she handles it is one of the best ways.

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  48. I learned that she thinks of her adhd as a positive and not negative!
    fb: rab pom

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  49. I love all the cool quotes on the site like the “Before you diagnose yourself with depression.... by William Gibson.

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  50. Brad Merrell9:19 PM

    She is optimistic, not pessimistic.

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  51. I learned that she may have ADHD but she has chosen to look at it as not something which will hold her back but to accept it and move on, all with a wonderful sense of humor.
    lauraemerson17 at yahoo dot com

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  52. I love the cool quotes. garrettsambo@aol.com

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