In The Loop

A More Human Pace

You may be wondering why both of the shops are still closed. You may think that I've gone on vacation or maybe I've finally gone mental and just can't do this anymore. Maybe I ran out of money and have to close but am just in denial?

None of those are true and, in fact, what I am doing and why it's taking so long is hard to explain quickly. So I will explain more in depth if you're interested in knowing. If not, please know that yes, I will reopen soon but no, I'm still not exactly sure when.

It's been just about 10 years since I started Dots & Loops. 

It's been about 5 months since I took over Here Nor There.

It's been about 3 months since I was finally given an ADHD diagnosis. 

I have obviously had ADHD my entire life, as it doesn't just appear as you age. For various reasons, it was never caught in my youth and I adapted to living within its limitations. Doing so gave me terrible anxiety and caused a deep and long lasting depression. It was only as I was finally treated for my mental health that I realized that I may also have a neurodevelopmental disorder. Antidepressants helped but only so far. I was stuck with a lot of toxic adaptive traits, fixes and coping strategies. I was stuck in a toxic cycle.

I have inattentive type ADHD. That means that I was never a hyper little dude, interrupting class and unable to sit still. I was quiet, read a lot and was only interested in what I was interested in. If I was uninterested, good luck getting me to pay attention. I was interested, good luck getting me not to pay attention. I coasted through life, assuming I was just never meant to live up to my expectations. The true nature of my issues didn't arise until I started to work for myself and could see the way that I work and how I manage time, tasks and money. All of that procrastination that I had kind of worked in school - I was the queen of last minute. But when you own a shop and things have to look good, employees have to be supported, payments need to be made, paperwork and emails need to be done and then you also have to make time to take care of your home and yourself and your relationships, a lot of things get pushed to the wayside. My cycle became hyperfocusing at work (which was needed, because things would get neglected/procrastinated upon) and then I would work 12 - 18 hour overnight shifts at the shop until I got everything done. My attention issues made me unable to rely on myself to be able to be present on the shop floor, so I had to stop doing that and hire more help. Then I was unable to focus if I came in but worked in the backroom because the systems I had in place didn't work for me and I didn't know why. After hyperfocusing (during which, I would not be able to focus on anything else), I would be totally drained and then would normally get very low and need to be in bed for days or weeks on end (which definitely didn't help me at all). When I came out of that, I would need to hyperfocus on my non-work issues that had been pushed aside (this would lead me to ignore work again.) Then, I would realize how far behind I was at work, get into hyperfocus, and the whole cycle would start again.

I have now been put on medication that is working for me and it's pretty much night & day. When I was thinking about heading back to work after my holiday vacation (literally, that Sunday night), I realized all in a flash that if I wanted to make my shops work for me, I needed to completely rethink how I have them set up, how they work together and how I work within them. So, I've torn every operational thing apart and now I'm putting them back together. The only unfortunate thing is that when I would hyperfocus at the shop, I could complete tasks insanely quickly and get so much done at once. Now, I am working at a more human pace. It's so slow!! I'm actually going home now - cleaning, doing laundry, getting a haircut, spending time relaxing. 

I'm telling you all of this because I am a big believer in sharing what makes our brains different from each other. I believe that it's what helps us see outside ourselves and have more compassion and understanding for others. I also think that it can help you understand your own brain just that much more, and I'm all for that. I'm telling you this because maybe you also have ADHD and you don't know it and every time you see a blog post about finding a work/life balance, you just want to scream a little. I'm telling you this in case you have ADHD and never thought you would live up to your own expectations because of how you were treated by neurotypical people around you.

So, I'm currently surrounded by a massive mess but it takes a mess to get things truly clean. Once this mess is gone, we'll be open again and I'm so excited to get everything back on track (or maybe just, on track.) 

Thanks for reading and much love, be safe! 

Melanie Strong
Owner, Dots & Loops + Here Nor There

Jan 20, 2021

take all the time you need Melanie. We will be here for you when you reopen. You are stronger than you realize. Much love and God bless you. xoxo

Jan 16, 2021


Audrey King
Jan 14, 2021

Thank you for your strength. A lot of what you wrote resonates with me too. (Especially the wanting to scream at all the work/life balance checklists and tips articles). We are big fans of the stores, and how the feel. Take all the time you need.

Jan 13, 2021

Dear Melanie…
Oh how very brave you are to tell your story.
I believe that you should take as long as it takes to fix it all to work for you!
Your loving staff will do anything for you I’m sure!
And your customers appreciate your honesty and will also wait!
Be brave…be patient
With loving thoughts for you
Janice Mitchell

Jan 13, 2021

I’m so glad you found the proper diagnosis! You’re absolutely right. Knowing is the only way to go forward.

Pam R
Jan 13, 2021

Omgggg I was totally drawn to your store Nor here nor there this summer 🤩 I loved how everything was colour coded and organized. Which for a creative ADHD designer is a dream … hehe . I love your vulnerability, thx for sharing . I too was recently diagnose as an adult 3 yrs ago ( I am 45 😳) Best everrrr discovery, so I thought I’d write a book about it … why not ? Lol … still in the process , but getting closer and closer every year …. This is my year 💫hehe. . I can’t wait till you open again , but only when YOU are ready , Till then 🙂 cheers to your new explanations ✨

Jan 13, 2021

I can’t tell you how much this post means to me as someone who has dealt with inattentive ADHD through school, university, running a business , having a kid and returning to school again. I think I manage ok outwardly, but my brain just feels like chaos all the time. It’s kept me in unfulfilling jobs and routines. New motherhood has been challenging. Thankfully school is bringing out my hyper focus. Thank you for posting this🙏♥️ Best wishes to you during this time!

Jan 13, 2021

Thanks Melanie for sharing. Look after yourself and be good to yourself. You are the most important person in your life.
Take care! Svenja

Svenja Dee
Jan 13, 2021

Dear Melanie,
thanks for sharing such a private part of your life. It needs courage to do that. In my eyes you are a very strong person who will get things done – in your own (healthy) time. As individuals we are happiest and most successful if we focus on our inner selves, the potential we hold and our natural competence and resilience to make a happy and successful life instead of trying to please or fulfill the expectations of society, family or friends.
I wish you all the best and I am sure you will come back with a roar! Cheers, Marion

Marion Sawatzki
Jan 13, 2021

Thank you for talking about this so openly. Your vulnerability is courageous. I think ADHD in women needs to be talked about more!
I’m being tested next week (29 year old female) and I am very nervous about it.
I wish you all the best in finding your new groove!
Take care! ❤


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