Tuesday, March 16, 2021

When it's ADHD, but You Don't Find Out Until Your Mid-Thirties

 So, diagnosis update. I have been formally diagnosed with ADHD, inattentive type. It's been a long journey to get this diagnosis, both before and after I suspected I had it. It really sucks that I had to realize it myself before I could try to get formally diagnosed because it's something you have for your whole life and is usually diagnosed in childhood. But, because I wasn't a 'behavior problem' when I was young, and I got good grades, no one saw any reason to test me. I'm not sure that they completely understood ADHD in girls when I was young. My mom says I could never sit still, but I could sit still in class. I think I was always so scared of getting in trouble that I was able to minimize some of the symptoms. But, I wasn't really living in the world for a long time. I would daydream and stare into space a majority of the time but I was smart enough to not need to pay attention in class and I read books every chance I could get, so I was intuitively good at english and spelling. My mom worked with me on many concepts outside of school and made her own worksheets and lesson plans. I think the tendency to daydream was not only a result of ADHD but because I was being bullied in school and my dad was struggling with his own issues and would get really mad sometimes. I learned to be quiet and to not set people off. And I learned to be in my own little world and just endure what was happening in the real world. So, briefly I will say that I also have been diagnosed with PTSD, because of my childhood and then abusive romantic relationships as well as several assaults in my adult life. I think I also have PTSD from dealing with undiagnosed ADHD. I have had these symptoms all my life and have been asking for help with them for over a decade.

  •  My struggle with being on time
  • starting tasks
  • completing tasks
  • being very sensitive to any sign of rejection from other people
  • strong, overwhelming emotions
  • not being able to understand people when they speak at first - sometimes it seems like they are speaking another language and then if I'm given a few seconds, I can process what was said and suddenly I understand it. 

    These have been very scary to deal with and I always just thought there was something particularly wrong with me. I thought I must be lazy because everyone was telling me that I just needed more self-control, more will-power. I was told by a therapist that "you'll be on time when you want to be on time." It was always assumed that my struggle with being on time was because I didn't want to go to that particular place, even though I've insisted that it wasn't true and that I wanted to be on time. No one believed me. Even my own mother thought I was lying to get out of doing things when I said that I forgot to do them. Both my parents thought I was extremely passive-aggressive and that being late to family things was some sort of manipulation tactic.

     Especially the auditory processing disorder. I have always thought that I was just stupid. Or that it was anxiety. I say "what?" a lot. So much that I get embarrassed that I haven't heard someone and I just pretend that I did hear them and I try to guess what they said. That doesn't always work and it gets really awkward. Sometimes they repeat themselves several times and I still don't have any clue what they're saying. Sometimes I just give up and get quiet. Just go back to my fallback of enduring the situation until it's over.

    My current theory is that ADHD and PTSD are at the root of my other diagnoses. I think I get depressed because I can't do things that other people can do so easily, and I didn't know why until now. It's hard for me to relate to other people, because I don't just do things because I want to and when I think of them, and I have trouble participating in conversations because I can't understand what's being said and sometimes the conversations move too fast for me to process, especially if there are a lot of people involved. It's so alienating, and I've developed social anxiety because of that and because I wasn't a normal kid and spent so much time in my head. I've always been anxious about sharing too much with people about my daily experience because they will reject me. My boyfriend in college lost a lot of respect for me when I said that I watch TV to shut off my brain. He told me he couldn't believe that I would admit that, because he just didn't understand why you would want to shut off your thoughts, and he thought that was something only lazy people would do. I have too many thoughts. Sometimes I get into a thought loop and it just repeats the same thing over and over and over.... Sometimes I think about something in my past that is really upsetting, actually for much of my life that type of thought has been almost constant. It's really hard for me to get on a different track cognitively, and switch to thinking about something else once I start thinking about negative things, and TV is a great tool to help me shut things down and get into a different headspace.

    I just want to feel ok. Like I'm not a failure and a screw-up. When I don't have to do things right away, I watch TV and I get on my phone and cuddle with my cats and just revel in the feeling of not having things due and not having anyone demanding anything from me. I do that every chance I get and the result is unfortunately that I end up not getting things done. 

    I don't think I deserve condemnation for using TV to medicate. Or for using sugary foods and binge-eating to help with my emotions and then gaining a ton of weight, or for developing OCD to compensate for forgetting things all the time, or for developing dermatillomania because I'm restless and anxious, or for developing a strong freeze response when I feel threatened, or for being a really quiet person because I want to avoid upsetting other people and/or making them angry at me, or for developing this weird thing where the expression on my face doesn't match what I'm feeling - which is an effect of trauma.

    I am frustrated that I was not diagnosed earlier, and that I was misdiagnosed with bipolar and took lithium for so long which I didn't need to be taking. I'm frustrated that my symptoms were ignored by so many people including my parents and several different mental health professionals. I am frustrated that I feel like I still can't talk to people about this in a way that will make them actually believe me that I'm struggling with these symptoms and not being lazy or trying to manipulate someone. 

    I am happy that my parents finally believe me and are finally beginning to understand me better. I am glad that I have this diagnosis now so that I can try to get treatment and so I can finally understand myself and work toward a solution to what is the root of my problems.

Saturday, September 5, 2020

vent 2

 AND you ask me if there's something you can do to help me pack but it's a fucking trap.


Because what you really mean is if there's something you can do to help that YOU think is WORTH doing. You don't give a shit about what I think or the things I care about. You think those things are stupid.

I have tentatively given you a couple options.

They are apparently too stupid to even consider. Why would I ever want help hanging pictures? Why would I want to paint? Everything I tell you is ridiculous so why would you think I would tell you anything else? Why would I trust you to help me go through my things when I know you will just look at it with condescension and contempt? Because I am a burden to you, and all of my things represent that for you. 

Why do you think I avoid you when I'm home? Because I'm lazy? Or because it's too difficult to talk to you or hear your gigantic exasperated and exhausted sighs whenever I pass by your office. Because you look at me with contempt. You don't have to say anything for me to know how you really feel. I know what you think of me it's written all over your face.

I hate this. I hate feeling this way but what am I supposed to do? How am I supposed to make it better? It seems pretty hopeless. 


I peeled so much skin off my feet tonight. That's going to hurt tomorrow.

vent

 Here I was, thinking that my dad and I could actually have a healthy relationship for one second.


Guess not.


He's such a toxic, problematic person. Am I annoying? You think I'm a jerk? Maybe you should think about why I am that way. Maybe I could have every therapist and psychiatrist I've ever had write you a letter. I don't even remember half of their names so maybe that should clue you in as to the damage you did.


That would be so many letters.


Did you know the state considers me MEDICALLY FRAIL due to the severity of my mental illness? I get extra fucking benefits because of it.


Fuck you.



Monday, August 24, 2020

That Serial Killer I Dated, Part III (TW-assault)

In therapy today we talked a lot about past relationships and how they made me feel about myself. The Serial Killer came up and my therapist told me that he does a lot of work with people who have trauma and PTSD and that actually in most cases the first instinct is to freeze. He told me I don't need to feel bad about that or own it as a part of me that is defective because it's a biological response that happens in a lot of animals. They may end up running but at first they freeze.

To some extent I already knew that, but I also took it as a sign that I am passive and defective. I wrote the first part of this in 2014 and I know the incident happened before that, but I'm not sure exactly when. I just now skimmed what I wrote and it's hard to read. I had forgotten most of what happened, especially his name. I don't remember some of the things I wrote actually happening, and maybe that's a good thing. I'm not sure I would recognize him if I saw him. But then again, I'm sure I would recognize his mannerisms like his posture and the way he talked, that was definitely distinctive. And his thin, light blonde/brown hair. Definitely similar to Trump's toupee. I've thought a few times about what I would do if I saw him again, especially since now I'm working in a similar field to what he was. I've always tended to think I would threaten him, and tell him that I would never be alone with him and that if I saw him doing ANYTHING inappropriate with a patient that I would end his career. Or just tell his boss what he did to me, and try to get him fired. I've fantasized about him coming in to the therapy department, seeing me and then just walking out again because he would know that he wouldn't be able to work there. Or, that I would reference the movie we watched to see if he remembered and then watch the color drain from his face as he realizes that I OWN his career and I can sink it with just a few words to coworkers and bosses. 

My therapist said that we brought up a bunch of things I haven't thought of in a long time and it might make me have some uncomfortable emotions, and I guess we'll continue to talk about this next week. It's nice to feel heard and feel like I can be honest with someone without it going badly. In the end, this series of posts is not about the Serial Killer, it's about me. I would like it to be about me moving forward and improving and learning to trust people - but not putting my trust in the wrong people. There are some really terrible people out there and they don't deserve my trust or my time. 





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Monday, July 27, 2020

Fuck

I had my psychiatrist appointment today. It lasted forever and I'm not sure about this guy. He said that family physicians are more appropriate to treat binge eating disorder, which says to me that he doesn't believe it's a psychological issue. And, that's just crazy because the last family physician I told about my binge eating practically laughed me out of the office. She was so condescending. Maybe I am just a fat, lazy asshole who eats too much. That's what everyone seems to think. And now I'm a drug-seeker too, because I want to stay on Vyvanse prescribed to me by my last psychiatrist. It's the only way I've been able to lose weight ever, and it's urgent for me to lose weight because I don't want to die from covid-19 and I'm currently obese which is a high risk factor. I can't just diet, it makes me gain weight because I can't handle it. But everyone thinks it's because I'm fat and lazy. But, it's a stimulant so because I want to be prescribed Vyvanse, I must be just trying to abuse it. I hate all of this. I want out of this backwards country. I don't know where to go because people suck everywhere. Maybe I'll find a place in the woods and go off the grid and never talk to anyone again. 

That sounds so amazing.

He doesn't think I have bipolar OR ADHD. But tell me, if I don't have ADHD then why is my memory so bad? He asked me who my last psychiatrist was and I couldn't remember her name. So he asked me, oh, how long did you see her for? Well, about a year. So I know he probably doesn't believe that I don't remember her name. But I truly didn't. People think I'm just lying when I say I don't remember things or when I don't know why I'm late, because it doesn't make sense to them. But I don't know how they CAN remember stuff. My brain is Swiss cheese, why does everyone else have sharp cheddar? 

These are my things. These are the things people think I do on purpose;

*Late all the time, for everything. I've been written up, even fired before. It doesn't stop me.
*Forget important dates
*Forget to do things that I said I would do or that I was asked to do, even if it was just a minute ago.
*Forget the past, anything from details of vacations, events from childhood, how long did I work at that place was it three months or a year? I don't fucking know. My whole life leading up to right now is basically a blur. Some things stick out in my head but mostly I have to think really hard about even what I had for breakfast this morning. 


How come I once was at the doctor and they asked me for my height and I said, "I'm 6 foot 5" and it took me a full five minutes to figure out why the nurses were laughing. Because I didn't think I was wrong and I wasn't telling a joke. I think I got it mixed up in my head because I'm 65 inches tall and I just said the wrong words for the units. I don't know. Who forgets how tall they are? 

Why does my mind go completely blank sometimes when I'm asked a question? And I can't remember anything about whatever the question was?

How come I can go to the psychologist and they ask me, "how was your week?" And I can't remember a SINGLE THING THAT HAPPENED THAT WEEK. Or they ask me, " what thought was going through your head at some particular point?" And I have no idea?

How come I have so much trouble with word finding? I once worked at a library and someone asked where a book was and I couldn't think of the word "bookshelf" to direct them to where it was.

How come sometimes when people talk to me it sounds like a foreign language for a few seconds and I have to think hard to figure out what they said?

Why do I get so obsessed with what people think of me that when I worked at *redacted* I would just sit in my office with my head in my hands, staring at the wall because I couldn't focus on anything except thinking about what people downstairs were saying, whether or not it was about me, and whether or not they hated me?! 

Does that not sound like ADHD, auditory processing disorder and rejection sensitivity disorder, the last two of which are common with ADHD? 

Why is psychology so subjective? I hate it! I don't want to have so many different psychiatrists and psychologists having all these different opinions, it's like, THIS IS MY FUCKING LIFE!!!! I want fucking answers so I can deal with it and move on! And frankly? I don't want to have to keep things from people, I want to be able to show them who I really am and be open and stuff but if you tell someone you have bipolar disorder then they think I am going to shoot them! When, I'm so fucking passive if someone put a gun to my head I'd probably apologize to THEM. But people get so afraid of that word they will disappear out of your life as if you had actually threatened them. I'm sick of it. And if there's a doubt that I'm bipolar I'm going to take that doubt and just go ahead and say I'm not. And it sucks for all the people that are because it makes you feel so alone that all the things you go through every day you can never tell anyone in case they find out about the bipolar and leave or accuse you of creating a hostile work environment when really you just need a friend. It's fucking bullshit and I'm so done with all of it. 







Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Chaos

That's the only way I can describe living in the United States right now. 

Chaos.

I've already started thinking about leaving the US but it's not like you can just drive up to Canada. I have only looked into it a little but it seems like you have to have a master's degree and some savings. Plus my family is still here. But I don't think there's a very good future anymore in this country. Fascism is on the rise here, kids are getting shot in schools and I don't trust our government at all to deal with the coronavirus. But I don't want to go into all that right now. I just want to express my disappointment and my frustration in my country. I'm overwhelmed and I don't know what to do, I don't know how to fix any of this or how to even try. I don't know what the right thing to do is, should I be taking every precaution to protect myself, my cats and my parents - since I'm living with them currently, or should I be out protesting? Risking life and limb to try to improve civil rights? 

I just read that Obama signed something into law when he was in office that gave federal agents the power to do what they are doing now in Portland. Of course I can't tell if it's really true, who knows what's true anymore? But now I just feel so disillusioned. I feel like Bernie Sanders was our last chance to stop this runaway train but the people at the top are driving it and are not going to let it slow down. 





Again with the blog thing

So, I think I should start writing in this blog again because I think it's important for me to have some sort of journal. I just don't remember things well, if you asked me what I did for Christmas last year, I have to think really hard to figure it out. And it blows my mind that other people can remember that stuff! And it makes me feel like shit when someone asks me a question like that and I just can't remember at all. Or I'll say what I think might have happened but it's wrong. 

My therapist awhile back suggested that I might have ADHD and I said no, no way. But then I kept thinking about it and noticing how my coworkers processed and remembered information so reliably and quickly. At first I blamed it on the bipolar, or the lithium, or missing my dose of lithium, but I've read up on it and talked with other therapists (I've had a few over the years) and I think it really explains a lot of my symptoms. I think it's even possible that it explains some things that I attributed to bipolar. I talked to my most recent therapist and she thinks it's possible I might not even have bipolar.

WTF??!!

My psychiatrist is going to do a med review when I see him in a few weeks.