Jul 24, 2014

stress head

So this medication in combination with my recent anxiety and depression diagnoses has been making it more difficult for me to get to sleep. I was frustrated to the point of tears trying to sleep last night, and by 4am I was ranting and raving and pretty much did not want to exist anymore. My head was throbbing, my eyes were bloodshot - I was completely exhausted and I couldn't get to sleep. So instead I was filled with worries and sadness over all of the things in my life that are worrying me right now. This resulted in a post with a super agitated tone, and so I'll try to rewrite this now. It's only 2am this time and I've managed to knock out some homework in the absence of sleep, so I'm significantly less stressed. I also had a kind person chat with me about all the crap I've been going through and talk art, so I've managed to shake the black dog for the night (well, as much as I can).

My frustrations lie in my lack of ability to control emotion and impulse control in social contexts. As much as I might appear to be deliberately aggressive towards people, what's really going on is much more...well...I'm not sure if I should say complex or just worse. I'm not sure. I have no intention of hurting the people I care about at all. I end up emotionally hypersensitive and quick to respond with angry outbursts, with no understanding of the impact of what I'm doing at all.....until it's too late, I've hurt feelings, and I've lost someone I really cared about.

This is generally the point where I want to apologise, but am so scared that I'll just snap and hurt someone again that I withdraw entirely instead and start just absolutely hating myself. I also end up isolated, but the main thing I feel is just utter concern for the other person and self-blame. And sure, I can't help it, but I still just upset someone I really care about. That doesn't go away. And that's horrible. I feel horrible. Medication has absolutely knocked this symptom of my disorder for six, but at this point the friends that I have (I feel) neither know or care about that. So I'm at a really difficult point right now where I'm really not well and really need people around, I can actually be a decent friend to them for once, and nobody wants a bar of me. As a result I'm struggling just to get out of bed, feed my pets and wash my hair some days. In the last month, I've dropped 6 kilos unintentionally. Some of this is a medication side effect, most of it is due to the distress of isolation absolutely killing my motivation to feel hunger or much of anything else at all really, other than shame and misery. I know now that the emotional and impulsivity issues are being treated it will slowly get better, but this is literally my lowest point and on top of that I'm dealing with some pretty serious hate.

This video explains what is actually going on. And I'm sorry if you have felt like I was ever trying to deliberately hurt you, friends. Friends? Whatever you are now. All I ask is that if you do want to discuss me, involve me in the conversation. Being backstabbed and isolated is extremely hurtful and damaging to me. It's successfully dragging me further into depression during the first few weeks of my life where I can actually do anything about resolving these social issues.

Jul 21, 2014

there's been a change

Some people might've noticed that I took this blog down for a few weeks recently. I've spent the past couple of months coming to terms with diagnosis, and then trying to settle into medication after that. Things have been very up and down, and on top of that I've had a few social issues pop up pretty much at the worst possible time and so I've been a bit of a mess. I'm starting to feel like I'm finally settling into medication now and things have stabilised with me really significantly, internally and externally.

Having a close friend let me down right as my dosages got changed was quite difficult, and with the stress of the grief process behind diagnosis, being suddenly isolated during a period of extreme change, getting some bad marks at uni which I then ended up having to (and I continue to) try to resolve through disability support well.....I just really felt like I should take this to a more private place until I felt like things were a little more stable.

I've started a private blog on top of this, because I feel like I made this blog to be something that was useful to people, and creative, and interesting....and in times of stress it just felt like it was turning into reactive outbursts of anger and pain and anxiety. I don't really think that's going to do anything positive for anyone, and so what would happen is I'd lash out when I was super overwhelmed because of my illness, end up isolating myself and hurting people unintentionally, act tough and aggressive to mask my embarrassment, make things worse, get frustrated at myself for creating a shit storm, delete things, get worked up again, and it would just go on. So I'd have this nice blog and then I'd go through a rough patch with workload, friends, personal stuff, and it'd would just be a mess. I've taken down a few things here and there because I think they were hurtful in hindsight, but there are a few things around on here as well that I suspect I haven't gone through and weeded out. It wasn't really a thorough thing, just a few entries deleted. If I have a really hard time from now on, I'm going to try my hardest to tease out the issues and cope with it in a less public way.

Anyway, I feel like now is the right time to start writing again, because for a few weeks there have been some really positive changes. I'm forming much more stable and meaningful relationships, and people who have known me a long time are more eager to be around me, have commented on how I'm like a different person now but still me (more stable and relaxed), things are just ultimately starting to settle down. I want to keep writing, one because I like to share creative things on here and play with the odd thought experiment and discuss things like science, art, craft, pets, friends, family, fashion in a positive way that is going to involve sharing positive things with people, and two because I want to look at the changes over time in myself as well. I have recently gained a few followers suffering from the same illness, so perhaps my journey can help them feel less alone too. Or be useful somehow, I don't know. If not, I still want to just share creative, nice things.

The past few weeks have been very tough. Medication has not been quite strong enough, and I've been feeling anxious as it wears off here and there. It's gone up again now and I'm feeling significantly better ADHD wise in the last two weeks, but I've also just been diagnosed with anxiety and depression. Themes surrounding feeling alone, struggling with uni, and coming to terms with a lifelong disability seem to have just slowly beaten me down, but I'm staying aware of how I feel and making an effort to go out and interact with people and I think in the last few days I've slowly started to feel better.

It has been quite tough, I still have many moments in a day where I'm close to tears or just very tired or internally restless, but I think if I keep trying it will keep getting better. It's hard. It's very hard. I am so lucky that my family have been there for me during this time. In the past, spending more than a few hours with them would end in a big fight and I'd end up furious and in tears, and that just doesn't happen anymore. I'm working on recording a song with dad, and we've been able to go and spend time with grandpa together which is so important to me. Grandpa is 95 and he's just gone into an aged care home as he had a fall over Easter which fractured his back and he is now in a wheelchair. He's really depressed and in pain and I'm so glad I wasn't so wrapped up in my own illness over the past few weeks and that I could be here for him. I bring him in photos and drawings I've done and leave him messages on notes that nurses will find after I leave so that even when we leave he will get a message here and there that I'm thinking of him. I'm glad I am there for dad as well, and that we all have each other through all of this. It's such a tough time for gramps. I want to make it as nice as it can be.

Mum and I are getting along much better as well. I feel like I was so sensitive to everything before now. Everything was dialed up to 11. It hurt my eyes to be outside on a sunny day. Even slight noises would keep me awake at night or distracted from tasks to the point of complete agitation and distress. Someone brushing past me or touching my hair would make me jump. And it was the same emotionally as well. Everything was too much and then I'd snap when I couldn't stand it (which was often) and things would get progressively worse as a result. And I'd upset people and hurt their feelings in the process.

I'm not quite settled just yet. I might not ever be. Medication helps with ADHD, but there isn't a cure or a complete fix. It's made a huge difference though. Being depressed and anxious on top of that means there are some days where I'm utterly useless. I just can't get out of bed or focus on a task at all. But the reality is, I think I've been clinically depressed and anxious for some time, and just not really dealing with it appropriately or being honest with myself about it, trying to act tough when that was possibly the least useful thing to improve the situation. So it sucks, but it's all out there now. I still have moments where I get really overwhelmed and upset, but the anger is just melting away. It's improving things all over the place, because the more I become someone people can actually be around, the more I feel supported and then my quality of life improves which in turn helps with the depression and anxiety. I just have to keep at it.

I'm having a tough time with sleep because of the medication, so I'm pretty exhausted. I tend to take at least 4 hours to fall asleep at night. Then I'll either sleep through appointments, uni, events, or I'll be wrecked. But it's an improvement on what has been. I feel like there might be hope of some kind of stability and normality in my life now that will be ongoing rather than short lived.

I guess now I have to go out and reintroduce myself as the person I am without so much ADHD causing me to overreact to the people in my life. That fills me with anxiety. I'm scared that people's existing perceptions of me could send me into further depression or make my ADHD symptoms worse, but I also feel like I need to start somewhere and be brave and strong about this a little longer. To the people who have been there for me through this hard time as I have come to terms with myself and my disability, thank you so much. Some days I've been a joy to be around, some days I've cried a lot, others I've blurted silly things out, others I've stayed in bed and not had an appetite or been much fun because I have had no energy. So thank you for keeping me on track. I had a rough one last night again but today I feel less down. I'm not getting much done, but I feel a bit better on the inside.

Jul 3, 2014

past tendencies

I wrote this over a year ago, before I had any idea what was going on:
I've been drawing a bit tonight, which always seems to be good for clarity. I just decided I was finished, I'm settled down ready to sleep (it is past 3am...) and I thought about how useless I am in crowds. I've never been able to figure out why the fuck I can talk about things profoundly in a chat window or one-on-one in a moving car, or in a small group I know, wandering around - but turn into an unintentional class clown in a bigger, louder atmosphere.

Particularly lately I've been extremely awkward in bigger groups. I don't think I'm a big groups person. I think I get overwhelmed. Not just in terms of anxiety, it's as if I can't focus. There's a huge amount of difference between my thought patterns in a loud atmosphere full of people, and my thought patterns in a quiet room alone. Everything gets messed up. Maybe it's an extension of the whole auditory processing thing I've always struggled with. After a while, everything blends into one and all that is left is...noise. Sometimes I wonder if others are so affected by this; they don't seem to be. I guess it doesn't matter, really. I'm just letting my thoughts wander.
Sometimes I wonder how the hell it was not picked up in my childhood. It makes me really sad. Like grieving for the life I could've had.

how not to treat someone with a mental disability - ADHD

Since being diagnosed, I am noticing people treating me differently. I'm going to talk about that now, because it's really getting to me.

Oh I think I might have ADHD too...
Are you fucking kidding me. Just stop. Don't try to relate to the hell that is my life by making this about you. Maybe you do, maybe you don't. Go and put on your grown up pants and get it checked by a fucking doctor, don't come to me and say that sort of shit. Come back when you're diagnosed. Seriously. You wouldn't say that to a cancer patient, you'd get it checked out. Don't fucking say it to me. I will be there for you every single step of the way if you think you have it and you are actively working towards getting it looked into, but it's not appropriate at all as a conversation filler.

You're overreacting, you don't really feel that bad...
Excuse me? Did you just crawl inside my body and figure that out for yourself? Don't tell me how to feel. If I say something is wrong and I'm not feeling okay, that's exactly what I mean. Don't shrug me off like my opinion on my own wellbeing doesn't matter.

Anyone that treats me like I'm suddenly not as smart or capable as I was before I was diagnosed...
Hello. I'm still the same fucking person. My abilities are through the fucking roof, I could probably put you to shame. The thing is, I'm running with a brain that randomly bombards me with endless information, making it hard to make sense of anything, at its worst. I'm trying to keep my life together while simultaneously picking up the pieces of my last mess while running at a deficit. That has no impact on my intelligence and I have still achieved amazing things in my life. Run a search on the correlation between ADHD and intelligence. If anything it's positively correlated to higher intelligence.

Bullying me or writing off my feelings because I'm diagnosed now...
You are the worst kind of person. The absolute fucking worst. I'm a human being. If you do something really shitty to me, like tell me my dad is a cunt that doesn't give a shit about me while simultaneously shutting down my discomfort and anxiety at being trapped in a place while my meds wear off, YOU are the one with a problem. That's a horrible way to treat a person. Perhaps you forgot I was a person. Would you tell a neurotypical person who was upset, that their dad was a cunt that didn't care if they lived or died, and just keep repeating it over and over while the other person got upset? Because that in itself is bad. Doing it to someone with ADHD is actually even more horrible for your victim. Why don't you take a read of THIS? I might also mention that ADHD sufferers, especially those with hyperactivity and impulsivity in the mix, have about a five times higher-than-normal risk of suicide. So guess what, you're the monster. And no, that wasn't even a hypothetical situation I just wrote about. Somebody actually said that to my face.

Continuing with a repetitive/droning loud noise or distraction that I have told you is bothering me because you find my reaction funny....
Do I even have to explain this? That's as bad as taking away someone's crutch and laughing at them when they get upset and need it back.

Finally having a diagnosis for what has caused me pain and suffering my entire life does not signify the sudden existence of an open invitation for people to treat me as sub-human. ADHD is not a learning disability for naughty kids. If you think that, you have no idea what ADHD is at all. Some of its bedfellows are autism, bipolar disorder, and major depression. It is almost certainly incurable in the form that I have, and it means the executive function of my brain is severely impacted. It affects focus, attention, impulsivity, wellbeing, emotion, work, social life, academic life, everything I do. It is not a joke. I am not here for your entertainment, nor to be your easy target for bullying, abusive behaviours. Medication helps make it easier, but it doesn't fix it. I don't get a cure. I'm still struggling every day, just to get a little bit close to what others consider normal everyday life. I'm isolated. I'm suffering.

I deal with hating myself on a daily basis. I don't need you to do it for me. I feel like no matter how hard I try to get anywhere or do the right thing, my presence alone will only ever make things worse. And yet here I am, still trying. Seeing specialists, trying medications even after the last one had me projectile vomiting and feeling like ending my life. I'm trying my hardest to be a functioning member of society and a good friend. Please try to have some understanding and cut me some slack. I hate to be isolated, but abuse and ignorance from people whose opinions I really care about is so much worse. I feel like I have no respect and no sympathy from 95% of people since my diagnosis. I'm the only person fighting for me some days. Please don't make it harder. I really do care about people, it's just that I'm symbolically swimming through wet cement to get where most people can walk.

Where was I five years ago? Where were you five years ago? I'm not worthless and I won't let you make me feel like I am. If you want to understand more, read THIS too. If you care enough to try to understand.

Jun 25, 2014

fur child

I did it. I survived the first half of honours. My thesis literature review is in. My exams are done. I finally have time for the people I care about. My friends. My family. My fur babies. Yes, plural. I pick up my dog's new little sister tomorrow. I'm so happy. This is something I've planned for years and it's finally happening and my little fluffy family has doubled in size and everything is wonderful. I'm so glad I could do this for my dog and I can't wait to have another little fluff ball in my life. I just can't wait.

I feel like this year has been so big already, but in different ways to the last few. This is a year where I've kicked the people that brought me down out of my life and got some answers. I'm finally starting to feel properly happy, probably for the first time in...well..I was sort of happy in like 1993 I guess, but I have never been heading towards true contentment. I feel like that's starting to happen now, one day at a time. Just a couple more years of hard work and I'll be exactly where I aimed to be when I set myself on this course five years ago.

And I'm finally on holidays! It's so nice to have time to myself. So very nice. I've caught up with people dear to me and read books and made art and I really needed the break. Thank you to everyone in my life up until now who have shown their true colours, I'm glad I've been strong enough to get rid of you. But thank you a million times more to the people who have been and continue to be a hugely worthwhile part of my life.