content warning: suicidal ideation, mentions of suicide, anxiety, and depression.
I was diagnosed with inattentive ADHD back in September of last year and it’s been a whirlwind of acceptance, hurt feelings, and tears. I have an amazing support system that helped me through these last few months. I was also taught how to advocate for myself at a young age, thanks Mom, and knew how to walk the path to a diagnosis.
I have what therapists call good scaffolding. But even with good scaffolding, I struggled through life internally. My masks were strong. They started to crumble around 2014 when I lost my routine after being laid off. ADHD’ers hate routine, yet we thrive on it. We need it to live. But it physically hurts sometimes to follow through. I know how, I just can’t.
In 2015, I added a whole new layer of routine when I started college part-time and worked full-time. I had done this before with very different results. In 2004, at 21, I failed classes, lost friends, ruined relationships, and spent money like I had it. I was embarrassed to talk about failing out of college, but I realize now that I set myself up for failure, being undiagnosed in a world that barely understood ADHD was a failure in itself that I had no control over.
This time around at 34, I was determined to do well. I liked the classes I was taking. I liked my job. My mind was still holding onto negative coping mechanisms and masks that weren’t working. It manifested into migraines, anxiety, and depression. I sought help and was told to break up with my boyfriend and to avoid stress by my gp. Only one of those suggestions was good. I didn’t listen to either. I went to therapy in hopes of fixing myself and was told to do neurotypical solutions. Some of them worked. Most of them failed miserably and I was back to feeling like a failure. Except, I wasn’t failing school or work. I was succeeding. I’m actually smart!
The pandemic stole my routine from me but really, I gave it away willingly. It wasn’t serving me. It was soul crushing. My inability to not cry at every little thing spoke volumes. Those tears said RUN. As fast as possible. Run. You don’t belong here and that’s okay. You belong somewhere else.
I ran straight into my husband’s arms. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for him. 2020 would have been my last year alive and I would have left this wonderful life I’m living now behind for what I thought would be peace. It turns out, I was in a mild psychosis from severe depression. Meds were the answer. A more accepting and compassionate inner narrative has been the maintenance. None of this positive thinking crap. Positivity isn’t always compassionate and it isn’t always accepting either. My brain found comfort in death even though my body railed against it.
I’m glad I didn’t leave.
Would you be interested in reading about my diagnosis journey? Would that be helpful?