Procrastinating in plain sight: How I made it 30 years with ADHD and didn’t know it.

Hello readers!! Man, it’s been way too long. I’m sorry I haven’t updated this blog recently. It’s kind of been one of those things… I got REALLY pumped about creating a blog at first, but then the honeymoon phase wore off. That’s not to say that I want this blog to die. I love my blog. I just need the motivation-inspiration if you will-to write something. This brings me to my  next point. Apparently there is a reason for this-my lack of interest in things after a short while…

I’ve always been a creative person. Ever since I can remember I was making up stories, drawing pictures, creating songs, coming up with new games. It was kind of my thing. I felt comfortable with routine, but at the same time would get bored with the “norm”, so I would put my own twist on things to keep it interesting.

I can remember as young as kindergarten feeling different. I could day dream like no other! I felt like I wasn’t like the rest of the kids. It was a strange feeling. On one hand, I felt like an outcast. On the other hand, I felt superior, like I would one day cure cancer or something.

In grade school, I did well. I was an excellent reader, and excelled in most of my classes. I had friends, but I didn’t fit in with the popular girls. Part of me felt defeated by that, yet another part of me didn’t care because the unpopular girls were far more interesting.

It wasn’t until I hit middle school that my grades slightly started to sink. It wasn’t by much though. I still did well in english, and social studies. Math, however, was where I met my demise. It was a downhill battle with math all the way until the end of my high school career- and even into college. Science wasn’t much better. The only way I made it though with a passing grade was because of my dear friend who let me “borrow” some of her answers. Sadly, my attempt at college algebra and anatomy and physiology courses ended in epic failure.

I hated studying. So, for that reason I would avoid it. Some how, by the grace of God, I made it through high school with a “B” average. From the outside looking in, you might have labeled me as a lazy teenager. Sometimes I WAS lazy. Every teen is. For me though, that wasn’t always the case.

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Once I got to college and things progressed to a more difficult level, I HAD to study. I spent many evenings sitting on my couch with text books sprawled out in front of me, reading the same paragraphs over, and over, and over again. I was never able to retain any of the information. I wanted to cry. I was so painfully bored and uninterested in what I was doing, that instead of continuing until I finally “got it”, I would give up and turn the tv on instead. What made it worse was, a lot of times, I would think I studied well enough only to be incredibly disappointed in myself once the test was laid down in front of me. I would know the answer. I would be able to picture it in my mind, but as far as the name or writing an essay about it, I might as well walk out of the classroom right then and there. Go ahead and fail me. That’s how I felt.

I got discouraged. I dropped out of college and have yet to finish. That was one of my biggest regrets. I just wish I would’ve known then what I know now. Then again, I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. If I hadn’t had the struggles, the ups and downs, early on, I would probably be a much weaker person than I am today. For that, I am thankful.

After my short lived college career, I got married. My husband joined the military and we moved on the other side of the country. A short time later, we had two amazing children. As the responsibilities starting stacking up against me, between deployments, 3 dogs, and my growing undiagnosed general anxiety disorder, I didn’t know that to do with myself. I was incredibly unorganized, gaining weight, unhappy, and utterly overwhelmed.

I finally went to the doctor. They ran a battery of tests, because my first thought was that my thyroid wasn’t functioning correctly, or maybe it was my heart. I just didn’t know. What I DID know, was something was wrong. I was shutting down. My body had all sorts of alarms going off and I didn’t know where to start.

All of my blood tests came back normal. It was at that point my doctor suggested that I may be dealing with anxiety. I was a little frustrated to be honest. I wanted to say, “Ok, doc, tell me something I don’t know.” Little did I know that the type of anxiety I felt on a daily basis since I could possibly remember, was WAY beyond the norm. He prescribed me medication. Suddenly, I started to see a little bit of light at the end of a very dark tunnel.

I took the medication for a year. During that year, my husband deployed. I was by myself with a 3 year old, 4 year old, 2 huge german shepherd puppies,  and an old grumpy yorkie and a family on that complete opposite side of the country. I persevered. I made it though the deployment so well, that I thought I didn’t need my medication anymore. I stopped it cold turkey. Apparently you should NOT ever do that. I did not know this…

After a few months I felt ok. But then, on October 30, I was driving my son to the pumpkin patch while my daughter was in school. I wanted to spend the day-just me and him. After 10 minutes of driving on the highway, a crippling panic washed over me. Suddenly I couldn’t breathe. I wanted to slam on the brakes and get out of the car. I couldn’t do that though. We were in the middle lane of the highway and everyone around us was doing at least 75 MPH. It was at that moment that I had realized just how big of a mistake going off of my medication was.

I waited a few more months. I wanted to see if the driving panic was an isolated incident. Sadly it wasn’t. Things got worse. I couldn’t drive anywhere, but I also couldn’t stand being stuck in the house all the time. Making things worse, I felt like I just needed to “try harder” and “fight it”. I felt like I was weak and if I just tried harder…I could be “normal.”

I reached out for advice from family. I just wanted someone to tell me it was ok-it’s ok to be on medication. I don’t know why I felt funny about that-but I did. I guess I shouldn’t have been disappointed when I didn’t get the response I wanted. No one wants to say, “yup. You’re a mess. You probably need the drugs.” Here’s the thing though, if a loved one says they’re having a hard time for whatever reason, take them seriously. They will take everything you say to heart. Many of us are people pleasers and will make ourselves sick, so we don’t disappoint others.

Many panic attacks later, I marched myself back into the doctors office and started my medication again. It helped just as much as it did before. Still, I felt like something wasn’t right.

Last May I turned 30. I promised myself I would take this year to better myself and find a way to feel comfortable in my own skin. I had never been to a therapist before, so I thought that maybe it was finally time to go.

I made the appointment. I wasn’t sure what exactly I was making it for, so when asked, I said anxiety.

I was incredibly nervous for my first session. I’m not sure why exactly. I don’t have any skeletons in my closet. I had a great child hood etc. I think my biggest fear was that the therapist would look at me and say, “ok, so why are you here? Everyone has anxiety. What do you want me to do about it? Suck it up buttercup.” Thankfully, I couldn’t have been more wrong.

I talked about my anxiety. I talked about my panic attacks. I talked about how I can never shut off my brain-how I’m always moving. As I said the words, the therapist wrote something down and looked straight at me. He said, “Has anyone ever said that you have ADHD?”

Huh?? No way. I thought to myself. While I was trying to process the question he just asked, He interrupted my thoughts. “If I had a camera in here, you would be shocked. The amount of times you look around the room, tap your foot, look out the window-What is so interesting out the window??” He laughed. I guess that sort of broke the ice.

We continued to talk. All of my anxieties, worries, habits, orbit around ADHD. All of the times I felt like a lazy useless person…All of the times I knew what I wanted to say but couldn’t get the words out…All of the times I unsuccessfully tried to organize things…All of the books and projects I started but didn’t finish…All of my indecision, restless energy, low self esteem……..All of the times I TRIED but failed in someone else’s eyes.

Everything came together in that moment. Thunder, lightning, crash, bang, boom…and then…..The sun came out. I found my way out of the tunnel.

Now that I know, I can move forward. I feel a sense of freedom now. Knowing why you are the way you are, or why you feel the way you feel is…everything. It’s not an excuse, but a reason. A reason holds so much more weight.

 

 

 

 

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9 thoughts on “Procrastinating in plain sight: How I made it 30 years with ADHD and didn’t know it.

  1. It took me 35 years to figure out I had ADHD. I don’t really have the hyper part. I eas an only child d and had just finished my parents estate (hard in and of it self) and knew something was ‘off’ in my life. Yeah, I had depression but there just felt like there was something more. A lady at work told me about her daughter having ADHD and I looked it up and was ‘wow that’s me’. I went to my family dr and she sent my to a psychologist and the rest is history. Now, almost five years later and another kid and I’m still trying to figure out how handle it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I turned 50 recently but just found out that I have ADD a little over 2 years ago. It’s amazing to finally be coming out of the tunnel, even empowering. Thank you for sharing your story! 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for sharing your journey! I really identified with your experience…so glad we’ve both found the light at the end of the tunnel 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for sharing. I felt like I was reading the chronicles of my own life for a minute. Just recently having been diagnosed at the age of 32, your experience is so very similar to mine. This makes me sad thinking just how many of “us” had to feel the way I felt in my younger years. It’s so sad, and lonely..having that secret we kept and that we just didn’t understand back then.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have basically the same story as yours. I was diagnosed seven weeks ago; went in for anxiety, too, at age 38. My almost 5 year old son was diagnosed on may 22.

    I’m trying to heal myself, so I may better help him navigate the world. One thing I’ve found incredibly helpful is to think back to my childhood, and what helped me. Example: we both have sensory issues; so I pay close attention to his, and attempt to counter them.

    Are you finding it easy to forgive yourself? Shame is the most difficult thing for me to let go of…

    Healing hugs. What a beautiful post

    Liked by 1 person

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