I’m Trying

6 Jun

Monday I was diagnosed with ADHD.

Wait, let me back up.

I’d been waiting for the results of my evaluation for about two weeks. I’ve suspected I have this [condition? disorder? disability? mental illness?] for about four or five years. I’ve struggled with symptoms my whole life.

Back to Monday.

I am 35, and I sat in the psychologist’s office as he told me that I definitely should have had a diagnosis decades ago, and should I ever go back to school I will be entitled to accommodations, which I should have had the first time, and that medication will work, and I cried so hard that when I left the office the receptionist asked me if I was ok.

I started going back to therapy about two months ago, and have gone regularly since then. About four and a half weeks ago I started taking Zoloft. The very nice psychologist who did my ADHD evaluation talked me through my diagnostic report, talked me through my options, recommended some books and tools, and then sent me back to the care of my therapist and the psychiatrist who manages my meds. All three are the same practice, and thus can easily share my records (with my permission), which is good, because I couldn’t find my ass with both hands right now. 

I expected to feel better if/when I got this diagnosis–

(I was never 100% sure I would. Of course I very strongly suspected, or I wouldn’t have spent so much time and money and emotional energy getting an evaluation, but I always entertained the possibility that the doctor would say “nope, you’re just a lazy, melodramatic bitch who’s wasted everyone’s time, that’ll be seventy million dollars.” I’m such an optimist.)

–and I did. I felt and continue to feel a tremendous sense of relief. I fucking told you I was trying. I am also experiencing regret, rage, resentment, sorrow, grief, fear, and an upset stomach that is in part from the Zoloft and in part from the stress of upending everything I understand about myself. I am reading everything I can get my hands on about this topic (reading is my hyperfixation!) and for every quiver of joy when I point at something in a book and scream “THAT’S ME” I also experience the further implosion of my self-perception. It’s one thing to say “I think I have this condition.” It’s quite another to be told that I do have this condition, and have had it my whole life, and furthermore this condition is the reason for everything I hate most about myself.

I know I have a lot of work in front of me, and I’m not sure I’m ready for it yet. I only recently crawled out of a depression hole so deep I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to get out of it. It’s worth noting that I closed a show on Sunday and opened another one on Wednesday, so I’m a little wrung out anyway, and now I’m reevaluating everything about my life. My stuff is in total chaos–mr. biscuit doesn’t mess with my show stuff even to clean it up, which I legitimately appreciate–and I had to cancel rehearsal today because I just couldn’t. I’m being as gentle with myself I can, given that I have historically not believed in being gentle with myself and given that it’s show week. mr. biscuit is taking excellent care of me. I read books about the condition in small chunks (while playing Assassin’s Creed and Diner Dash and scrolling Twitter, huh, ok, I might have an attention problem) because it’s too real and it hurts too much to read for too long. My support system is being very supportive (especially those who’ve experienced this before), the cats are being snuggly. I have a heating pad and a blanket and a big glass of ice water, and I have therapy on Monday and a little blue pill that I take every morning that is giving me a platform to stand on in this ocean of feelings. 

There was a teacher at my middle school, a very loud and intimidating old man, who constantly harped on the refrain “No excuse, no excuse, you ain’t got no excuse.” It was obnoxious and kind of scary and I wasn’t even in any of his classes, but he used to yell it so loud everyone could hear and it’s stuck with me since then. I brought it up to my therapist a week or so ago, in context of the semester I almost failed out of college*, and she turned it right back around:

“It’s not an excuse. It’s a reason.”

I’m glad I started therapy and antidepressants before I started this ADHD thing, because I’m not sure I could do it otherwise. I‘m a mess right now, but three months ago I would have been a disaster. 

*this is another story, but it involved two jobs, a bounced rent check, the violent deaths of a friend and a cousin, several brushes with eviction, and undiagnosed depression so severe I spent many, many days unable to get out of bed. There were weeks I only ate because I was dating mr. biscuit, and he had the compassion and the resources to make sure I ate. Did I tell my professors any of this? No, don’t be ridiculous. No excuse, remember?

3 Responses to “I’m Trying”

  1. suddensight June 7, 2019 at 9:34 am #

    Thank you so much for sharing. I have always had so much respect for you, and this just makes that stronger. It also helps me a feel a little less alone in this big, angry world of authority figures screaming “no excuse!”

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