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Wednesday, March 7, 2012


I have ADD and some type of anxiety disorder. I was first diagnosed with ADD at the age of 6 (1987) and was put on Ritalin which I took up to 100mg until I quit cold-turkey at the age of 12 (1993) while I was at summer camp. I had hid a lot of the pills throughout my life anyway, so it wasn't a massive blow to my brain to quit anyway.

Mom, I guess, couldn't handle me medicated or not, so she tried to find some other way to "handle" me... she put me on some type of amino acid pills that was supposed to help reconnect the neurotransmitters in my brain that because of my ADD weren't connected. At 12 years old, I began to have debilitating migraines. That, along with being a very awkward and shy kid, made middle school hell for me. I finally quit taking those as well, and my mom freaked out- again.

I had always done workbooks called "Stop & Think" as a kid/teenager. It was logic games, puzzles, and trying to retrain my brain to think like a normal person. There was no retraining... what was getting on her nerves, what I couldn't control or had no idea was even happening continued. As I grew up though, I learned little things to help me cope. I was often the one being yelled at, disciplined, or ignored. It effected my self esteem a LOT. I know I am smart, I don't focus though, I can't mentally push myself and because of that, I don't do well, often. Enter low self esteem and I begin to feel dumb. My dad often called me illiterate as well... it wasn't because I couldn't read and write, but I often said the wrong word, or stuttered. It's a slippery slope. After a while, I just believe I am dumb. Not uneducated. Just dumb.

Little aside- I began having panic attacks while I was in college. Looking back, I probably often had problems with anxiety. I just didn't realize it, and my family's propensity to ignore me made me feel like I just had to deal with it. Much like I did w/ my ADD.

Last year (2011), I went back to a psychiatrist (or psychologist? The one that can't prescribe scripts) to get back on medication. Here are parts of his evaluation...

Whitney is oriented by 4: person, time, place, and situation. She is above average to superior in intelligence. She was appropriately dressed and grooming was good. She maintained good eye contact and spoke clearly in conversational tone. She remained relatively still; there was no excessive movement. Affect was appropriate; insight and judgement were appropriate. Thinking was logical and linear. There were no reports of bizarre sensory experiences of delusional thinking.

So, you would think looking at this, that I am not as spastic as I feel. How could someone who talked to me for only a couple hours notice that I am not stupid, yet my own parents constantly made me feel that way? It surely wasn't pressure I put on myself. That isn't the point of writing this though. I know I am smart. I ought to be able to handle things the way other people do. I ought to not have problems with keeping our bank account, or motivating myself to clean, or to remember things. I should be able to do this. That is pressure I place on myself.

This pressure, I believe, is one of the main causes of my anxiety. My inability to accept that due to a neurological deficiency, I am incapable of doing things other people take for granted. To say that makes me feel like less of a person though. I don't want to be deficient. I want to be like everyone else. I don't want to have to make allowances for certain things because I can't. Because I want to.

I was never one that thought people with certain disabilities ought to just "get over it." No one is perfect. I never pitied them, because no one wants pity. I never thought about the day to day disadvantages we are placed in. I never put it together that some things just cannot be done by certain people. At least with my ADD, I thought I could find ways around it.

You know what I've been learning? I can't. I have to now learn to ask for help, and accept the help that is given. I have to look hard at my life and notice the deficiencies and difficulties I face and work with those closest to me so that they can help me get through them. I have to learn to rely on someone other than myself. It is hard to sit here, a 30 year old woman, and admit to myself that I am deficient. Broken. Incapable. Because I am. It's not a cry for pity, or an "oh, feel sorry for me and tell me everything is OK" because it's not OK, and I don't want anyone to feel sorry for me. It is what it is. And we move forward.

Will I continue to flip out for no reason? Of course. Will I stubbornly dig my heels in because I feel I ought to be able to do something I mentally can't? Of course. Will I get over my disliking help? I had better.

That's really all I wanted to say. There's a lot going on in my head right now... a lot of processing that probably should have been done when I was a child, but not everything goes how we want it to.  And that's ok. I am grateful for J in times like these. I am so thankful he steps up when I desperately need him and won't take no for an answer. I am lucky.

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