Sometimes you gotta just chill. You gotta chill your thinking process.Ghostface Killah
Hello, lovelies! I hope this post finds you well! The week has been eventful and slow, all at the same time. It’s funny how time passes. Because of COVID-19, we’ve been pretty much locked in the house for a full 12 months! In my household, we have an ADHD-Combined kiddo, and two ADHD parents (Hyperactive and Inattentive, respectively). It can get interesting, to say the least. The days are long and the months are short, but like most people in these trying times, we’re just doing the best we can to get by under unusual circumstances. Honestly, though…distance learning may drive me to an early grave! I’ve got a lot on my mind and I want to tell you about it, so let’s get into it. Today, I have for you: an announcement; an update; and some random thoughts from this superhighway of a brain.
First, I have an announcement to make. Back in January, I debuted the first of a 5-part series, My Mental Health. Over the last 5 weeks, I have given you an overview look at all of my brain disorders and some ideas on how they affect me. I have decided that I am going to continue the series indefinitely. Each week, I will discuss specific aspects of my mental illnesses and ADHD and what they mean for the people who have them. Stayed tuned next week for My Mental Health: ADHD Extended. There was so much that I didn’t get to cover in My Mental Health: ADHD and I felt like it was almost too surface level. I will still be posting updates and other mental health topics throughout the week, as well. I hope to see you all there!
Also, I set up a community forum on the site. From the home page, you can click on “Community Forums” and register from there. The board is registered members only and will be closely moderated. It feels a little 2002, but I got an idea and I ran with it. My intent is to have a safe space for people with ADHD and mental illness to be able to talk, resonate, and commune with other like-minded people. The page is already live, so sign up and start communicating today!
Now for an update on my recovery journey. I am officially three visits into my EMDR therapy. We haven’t started the actual treatment yet, but there has to be a build-up of trust and knowledge before we can start. I will describe the process more fully once I’m further in and have a better understanding of what it is and how it works. What I know now is that I’m scared. At first glance, I thought it was nervousness, but it’s fear. EMDR processes traumatic memories. For the process to work, you have to recall traumas while the treatment is in process. It’s difficult to explain, but it essentially moves the memories from where they currently are in the brain into the logical part of the brain so that you can process them differently and in a healthy way.
There is something in EMDR called “the answer.” Each person has their own answer; a coping mechanism that you learned during the trauma (for a lot of people, since childhood) that you have honed and exercised. The answer starts as a valued coping mechanism, but it becomes so familiar that it is almost a part of your personality. Our answers are what keep us safe when we perceive danger. My answer is avoidance and I have it whittled down into a finely sharpened tool. These days, I avoid almost any uncomfortable emotions or thoughts at all costs.
My homework for next week is to come up with a chronological list of the traumatic memories that I can remember, starting with the first memory and ending with the last time I felt out of control or unsafe. I find that I’ve forgotten a lot of the specifics of my abuse…only the pain. EMDR can “knock loose” some of the memories that I have buried and that scares me. For it to work, you have to be in a certain frame of emotion and I’m afraid that my brain won’t let me open up enough to remember those old, forgotten hurts. Mostly, I’m just scared of the pain. It will be taxing to remember these things; to talk about them. If the treatment works the way they say it will, I won’t have to be afraid of the pain anymore. The memories will still be there, but the emotional charge that is attached to them them will be gone. I’ll keep you posted.
The truth is, I’ve only been doing okay lately. I’m still working hard on the blog and going to my appointments and staying med compliant. Yet, still, the obsessive thinking and the intrusive thoughts needle their way back into my brain. Anxiety still sits on my chest some days and I’ve experienced whole days that I’ve given up to old, internalized anger. Hyperfocus has been a blessing and a curse. I’ve spent hours a day at the computer; sometimes forgetting to eat and use the bathroom. On the same token, it seems that having something to focus on helps with alleviate anxiety and intrusive thoughts. I’ve been dissociating a bit, as well. I had an appointment with Dr. R on Monday and I was dissociated through the entire appointment. It is the weirdest thing, though, because I didn’t tell him. Who better to tell that you feel like you’re inside a strange bubble than your therapist? But I locked up and I went through the motions for the entire appointment. I plan to tell him next week.
On the outside, I look like I’m thriving. On the inside, I’m on the edge of “not okay.” I see the doctor on Monday for a med check and hopefully, I’ll be able to get myself straightened out. Some days are harder than others…it feels like I’ll never get (and stay) better or it feels like my dreams are an unattainable joke. Without my dreams, I start to feel hopeless and depression loves hopelessness. I keep pushing through it; writing through it, but I want to be honest here. Recovery from anything isn’t easy. Not every day is a good day. I don’t always have control of the situation. I keep pushing through; fighting the good fight.
A Final Thought
I’m still trying to calm my mind down about the blog and my abilities and I’m pushing through. Last night I saw a person on Twitter talking about getting too caught up in the results to enjoy the process. She said, “the outcome had become a cage.” It resonated with me and made me realize that I need to slow down and focus on why I’m doing this and let the rest fall into place naturally. I’m miserable with my day job and, therefore, where I am in life and I want so desperately to build something worth having. I’ve been learning so much and making strides toward my personal goals while I’ve been on leave; it’s amazing to realize how much energy it takes to sit at a computer and work toward someone else’s dream all day. I just need to remember that my focus is not collecting readers or getting more followers on social media; it is on breaking stigmas, creating community with people who are struggling with a brain they may not understand, and giving a voice to all of those who don’t have one. I’m here to write, plain and simple.
Part of the reason that I’m not good at making goals is because I can see the end result, but I have a hard time seeing all the steps in between. I can see where I want to be, but I’m never sure how to get there. When I try, I sometimes get tangled up in all the fine print and details. I start trying to apply rules and deadlines where there are none. Eventually, I either throw out what doesn’t work and keep what does or I burn out altogether. I refuse to let myself get the point of burnout with this project. It means too much and I am too passionate about speaking up and changing minds.
Like I do with most new projects, when I started bullet journaling I overwhelmed myself with ideas and I tried to pack them all in at once. Within the first few days, I was already skipping layout updates and, within the first month, I had abandoned it completely. I took almost an entire year off, I regrouped, and I’ve been journaling ever since. I allow for myself to make mistakes and to learn new things. Most importantly, I allow myself to toss out what doesn’t work for me and keep what does. Now if only I could make that same commitment with things that are more important than a notebook! I’ll just keep reminding myself that I am not lost. My desire and passion for what I am doing have not waned an ounce. I am exactly where I am supposed to be and I’m right on time.
That’s all for today, y’all. Thanks for stopping in for an update. Stay tuned later this week when I discuss other people’s expectations and how we internalize them as our own and a post about burnout and the toll it takes on our mental health. Can’t wait to see you there!
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.