The more up-to-date the information, the more valuable it is.Katie Jacobs Stanton
My Mental Health Table of Contents
See the table of contents below for all the posts in The Winter Blog’s My Mental Health Series.
As we’ve already covered, the last week of September 2020, I was diagnosed with several co-occurring mental disorders (you can find my diagnosis post here). At 38 years old, I was finally getting the answers I had been seeking my whole life. Most of my diagnosis’ were not a surprise, either because I was already aware of them or because research had led me to them. I had researched ADHD when my daughter was diagnosed and I was aware that I had a few symptoms, though I didn’t think I had it because I believed there was no way that doctors could have possibly missed something so common for 30 straight years. I was wrong.
Some of my disorders have co-occurring symptoms, which means that I was diagnosed and treated for some of my illnesses, but some of them were being missed; covered up, essentially, by the other disorders. I had been told by the people that I loved and respected the most throughout my life that a lot of my symptoms were personal deficits; I just wasn’t good enough or productive enough or clean enough. After a while, I believed them. I thought I just sucked a little at being a human. Because of that, I never brought up a large percentage of my behaviors. I honestly thought a lot of it was just depression. The point is, I could not advocate for myself as a patient because I didn’t have proper knowledge of several of the disorders that I was trying to cope with.
Since finding out, I have learned so much more about myself. I understand myself, my brain, and why we do things more than I ever have in my life. I did not understand how pervasive my disorders were in my life. For instance, looking back I see ADHD in every aspect of my personality, my decision making, and my relationships. It shapes the way I communicate, the way I think, the decision-making process, and the way I operate as a whole. I understand myself and why my brain works the way it does for the first time in my life.
In my blog about how knowing changed me and my life, I talk about all of the things that I’ve learned and how they have transformed me in the last few months. I’ve learned that, when you understand yourself and your brain, you start to forgive and love yourself. I am now kinder and more patient with myself and for the first time, maybe ever, I feel like I deserve to stand up for myself and set healthy boundaries with the people in my life. I believe that every human being deserves that level of understanding and they deserve it way before 38 years old.
In that vein, I have decided to do a blog series, dedicated to each of my disorders. Starting this week, the My Mental Health Series will publish a new installment every Tuesday at 8:00 PM Central, for the next 5 weeks. The topics of each post will be, respectively, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Persistent Depressive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I will still be posting updates on how I’m doing and how my medical care is progressing, so make sure to check back for those.
My goal here is to educate with facts and figures, held up again real-life experience. One of my biggest issues when studying ADHD was that, while I could find lists of “textbook” symptoms, I had a really hard time finding any information that explains how those translate to real life. For example, “executive dysfunction” is listed as a symptom, but what does that even mean?! I’m going to use this series to tell you. I will update this blog post with the links to each of the series posts as soon as they are published so they are all at one easy access point.
A quick update
I also wanted to give you guys a quick update. Progress has been extremely slow, as far as my path to recovery and my medical care. Because of the holidays, providers were out of the office or closed completely, so any and all appointments came to a screeching halt. I finally started back yesterday, with my ADHD therapist (Dr. R) and things went well. We both feel optimistic about the future and are excited to work together. He believes that I can make this work and his confidence in my abilities also gives me confidence in myself.
I have a dream team of doctors, now that I have finally found the 3rd provider that I needed (my NP, Jill), and they are all familiar with one another and are working together to help me find a path forward. I know that I have privileges that other people don’t have access to and I am grateful that I have been able to find a group of great human beings who really do care about me as a patient and a person and who are really smart and know their stuff.
I have never had an actual routine in my life. I certainly have things that I do every day; go to work, brush my teeth, eat, etc., but there has never been any real rhyme or reason to it; no consistency. Sure, I log in to work every day at the same time and I log off at the same time, but even then I don’t have any routine or consistency inside my workday. Since I’ve been off work, I just sort of meander around the house with no real aim and I’m not a fan of it. I want to start building structure to my day.
Another thing I have issues with is goal setting. I literally cannot set goals. Not short term goals, small goals, big goals…certainly not long term goals. A 5-year plan?! Get outta here!! I have dreams, but I don’t know how to set or achieve realistic, actionable goals that work towards those dreams. It’s something that has been bothering me for a while, especially after starting the blog. I haven’t even set goals here because I don’t know what is realistic. I want to become the woman that I know I can be and part of that is setting goals for myself and achieving milestones along the way so that I know I’m one step closer to my dream life.
I talked to Dr. R about it yesterday. Of course, I forgot to mention it until we were almost out of time so we made a note to pick back up on it when we left off. He’s going to help me find ways to set a routine that actively pushes me toward the goals that I will eventually set for myself. We are also going to start working on self-hypnosis so that I can start meditating. We’re trying to find ways to allow my subconscious to rest and recharge and ways to help me relax during my worst anxiety moments. I’ll be sure to share updates on all of this as I work through it.
As always, I want to be as open and transparent as I can be about what I’m going through and how I am learning to cope and deal with my brain and all that comes with it. I am moving further and further away from just surviving and closer and closer to thriving. Honestly, I could not be more excited about it.
That’s it for now. I hope you all will join me on Tuesday!
Love and light. Keep fighting the good fight.💜💜
Writing about living with ADHD and mental illness and my journey down a thriving path forward. Breaking stigmas and creating community, one post at a time.