GHDR 2022 March 3 Report: Focus Level Up!

Posted Thursday, March 3, 2022 by Sri.Tagged PROJECT, GHDR

GHDR stands for "Groundhog Day Resolutions. For an explanation, see the GHDR trope entry!

It's hard to believe that it's already March! I had started this year's GHDRs with only a vague idea of the direction I wanted to go in.

2022 Activity Ideas

  • Bring Back Challenge-a-Day
  • Create as part of a social group
  • Track for forward achievement, not for the past
  • Commit to using SSG for the new dsriseah.com site

2022 Platform Goals

  • Develop dsriseah.com and open to public
  • Use Discord to Encourage Creative Sanctuary
  • Describe the DSri Creative Mission

2022 Personal Goals

  • Be less angry and sweary
  • Develop more conviction
  • Work with ADHD
  • Work with Trans Identity
  • Develop Sri-ness

Every year the strategic goals are roughly the same:

  • Try to do more
  • Try to enjoy myself
  • Try to develop products

What varies year-to-year is how I try to approach these goals, based on the insights of the year before.

I've summarized this year's strategic goals on the right, making some adjustments as well. For the original details check out the February Kickoff Post post.

Personal Goal: ADHD

I had a very promising breakthrough regarding medication! A year ago I had tried the generic version of Adderall® (amphetamine/dextroamphetimine) and found that it just gave me a headache and extreme drowsiness for 5 or 6 hours. After a week of trying, I suggesed to my diagnosing PMHNP-BCPsychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Certified that I'd like to stop the medication and first gather some more data; she had suggested getting a neuropsychological test to get a finer-grained lock on my ADHD diagnosis as the COVID threat abated.

The COVID thread did not abate over the last year, and so I did not get the test so nothing happened for quite a while until a month ago. I was experiencing extreme "get out of bed" difficulties, the kind where it's hard to focus and I would keep falling back asleep. This was not that unusual for me, but something occurred to me based on additional reading about the use of stimulants to treat ADHD. It hadn't made sense to me because if I have ADHD and am already distracted and unable to focus, wouldn't a stimulant just make it worse? Someone on Reddit asked the same question, and this reply in particular intrigued me (emphasis mine):

If part of your brain is under stimulated, it will try to find that stimulation by other methods. You are hyperactive because that is a way of increasing the input to the under stimulated part of your brain.

I don't know how accurate this 10-year old comment is, but the notion that my brain is so _UNDER_stimulated that it's constantly on the verge of shutting down was an interesting theory. Certainly that morning it felt like a struggle just to stay focused. My thoughts were ending before they would complete, going in circles. The counterstrat I use in these cases is to not apply willpower at all (it's clearly broken) and instead letting the body find its way downstairs because it was hungry.

I took a 10mg capsule, but did NOT take the generic Wellbutrin® (bupropion) that had been prescribed to me by my primary care physican to see if it would improve concentration and lower depression. It had seemed to have a modest effect, but it was very subtle. So I skipped the bupropion dose and just downed the generic adderall. The worst thing that would happen, I figure, was I would get another headache.

Instead, I proceded to have a surprisingly clear-headed day. The next day I got up fairly easily and had a "normal" day of writing a lot of things down on paper to keep things clear in my head, and the day after that I went back to the generic Adderall. There was definitely some improvement, with far more noticeable effects than I had experienced with bupropion.

The big achievement: I ported the guts of dsriseah.com from the Hugo Static Site Generator to Eleventy, which is a more flexible system that my friend Jakob had mentioned earlier in the week. I stayed focused for 6 hours without having to take a nap or getting a headache! THEN I added a custom documentation system on top of it, working through the issues one-by-one until suddenly the dang thing worked.

If that wasn't amazing enough, I also made pancakes from scratch, a chore that I was never motivated enough to follow-through with despite my love of pancakes. I hate measuring dry ingredients and my brain usually resists anything that seems inconvenient. This was unprecedented.

I then ran out of the prescription; there were only about 15 capsules left to begin with. In the days that followed, I experienced my usual routine with the fresh knowledge of what it felt like to NOT have all those resistances and brain short circuits happening all the time. I knew what it was like to not fight all those things constantly. Before, I had thought that this was just the way "thinking" worked: it's hard, right? I had been told this by several people before, but without the actual experience I had no idea what that meant.

And so, I have reconnected with my PMHNP-BC and as of today am back on the ADHD medication.

Platform Goal: DSRISEAH.COM Website

Aside: Hugo is not a bad static site generator, but it feels very clunky. It does not generate clean output and has an idiosyncratic templating system that just gets in the way of trying to do something unique with your data.

And with that, I've achieved one of my 2022 goals already: new website up and running. * It took a good 10 hours to move away from my initial Hugo-based prototype and adapt what I'd done for Eleventy, but there have been these benefits:

  • It's extremely easy to add content and upload it. Under Wordpress, editing was slow and never fun, with constant user interface irritants. It has not been pleasurable to write using Wordpress for the past 10 years. Frictionless writing is a feeling I have not had in a loooong time! I'm hoping this leads to increased output.

Work-in-progress examples can be found here and here

  • The new system is also very flexible for organizing and styling content using my own data management patterns. Because the system itself is based on Javascript, I can easily add custom formatting features to make my life easier, and because I've been doing a lot of Javascript over the past five years it's much easier than before when I had to write (ick) PHP custom plugins.

  • The website is deployed using rsync and is completely made of static HTML file, meaning that the server I upload to does not have as much of a security issue as something like Wordpress or other dynamically-generated system like Ghost. I can also use Git to manage all my source content and back it up on Github. No need to add paid plugins for security scanning and database backup!

While the website is still currently pretty plain, I'm very excited to work on fleshing out its content and figuring out how to improve the user experience.

GOALS CLEARED

  • Commit to the new dsriseah.com site for ssg...done!
  • develop dsriseah.com, open to public...done!

Looking Ahead

For the coming months, I'd like to focus on these elements:

Bring Back Challenge-a-Day - The "Challenge-a-Day" was a pair of month-long blog series, Make a New Thing Everyday and Make a New Product Everyday. These were tiring, but the feeling of constant creating and sharing was really satisfying. To be able to do this on the new dsriseah site will require adding image gallery support, so I can at least start getting that in order.

Using Discord to Encourage Creative Sanctuary - As you may know, I have been running a Virtual Coworking server on Discord for the past 5 years. It had largely replaced my blogging activity, providing an outlet for sharing ideas and being inspired by others. This has really helped keep me sane during the pandemic, and it's also helped me refine what I think is important to me in terms of community building. I'd like the Discord to be a creative sanctuary where people feel safe to be open about what they are doing and sharing what matters to them, cheering each other on in their endeavors.

Describe the DSri Creative Mission - While I have some idea of what goes into making the kind of community I describe above, I don't have any collateral that I can share with others so they can adopt this mission as their own as well. This is also related to several other 2022 goals related to the identity work ("Sri-ness" and "Transgender issues" for example), but I think I can put thos easide for now.

So that's it! In summary:

  • It's been a good month...thanks generic Adderall!
  • I am getting things dones!

I hope this continues to be the case. I'll be hanging out on the Discord if anyone wants to chat about it, or hit me up on Twitter! Have a great March!