Since @geekmentalhelp is doing a week of articles talking about mental health, I’ve decided to nudge myself into doing something as well. This is even more scary now that some of my posts are getting tweeted/shared out by work so I’m actually having visitors.
I’m pretty open about my issues, at least the easy to digest versions. I’ve always in the back of my mind (and possibly a bit been told growing up) that I’ll scare people away. Just act normal so people want to be around you. I know I’ve been trying pretty hard to find the right balance of things. I don’t like hiding from me. I also very much like teaching and helping people learn things/grow.
I’ll gladly talk more about what I know, and my experiences, but I’m focusing on high level stuff.
So straight up, the easiest one. ADHD. I was diagnosed with it at approx age 6. I was treated my entire school live until sometime in college. Not ever taking a break from the meds probably stunted me a few ways socially, but I think I manage it really well.
Diagnoses and treatments have come a long way. From what i’ve read online, it has 4 sections now. I fall into the “Inattentive Type”, which lends itself to anxiety and depression. I think I self sabotage a lot in that area too. I don’t need to be treated special or anything. I’ve long ago learned to handle things. The key thing is that ADHD is all about information overload. You don’t have the traditional filters. I notice a lot. I process a lot. I use headphones and books/movies to blind myself from external stimulus. So at large events (bars are really bad) with lots of conversations/movement/people/etc, I can get pretty quiet as I expend a lot of energy to stay focused on the people I’m with.
Next official diagnosis is social anxiety. Now this is one I sorta disagree with. I know I have lots of anxiety when it comes to social situations, but I think its more of a symptom than an actual issue. A couple years ago I had a pretty serious breakdown. I was able to keep it together at work, so people didn’t really notice, but that took almost everything I had. I came home, ate lots of junk food, hid in my room and cried, etc etc etc. I eventually managed to get a referral that lead to anxiety medication, and a cognative behavioral therapy class. I highly recommend the class if you think you suffer from it at all. It helps you learn coping techniques, especially to help you get out of that spiral. It also helps you notice those bad/negative thought patterns that help getting you into that spiral.
I’m pretty sure I don’t actually suffer from anxiety straight up, I actually have clinical depression which can manifest/overlap with anxiety. Luckily the meds tend to treat both so I’m back to a pretty functional state. Once or twice a month I still seem to have really bad days. Especially if I havn’t been sleeping as well as usual. And there are certain topics that can really hit me hard, but overall I have seen a massive improvement.
The biggest problem I face in this department is the years and years of bad habits developing avoidance techniques. I have a farely constant fear of things, especially alone, even silly things like making dinner I just feel sick at the idea of doing and eventually order food. Again I don’t need to be treated special, but do know I am trying as much as I can.
Lastly, unofficially, I’m almost certain I have dyscalculia. I’ve been told I was diagnosed with a “math based learning disability” as a kid but we never went past that. All the symptoms of dyscalculia fit. It is essentially a math based form of dyslexia. It mostly focuses on being unable to judge distance, time, relative numbers, etc. I also have given up and just used calculators and computers for basic math. It takes me way too much time and I get kinda embarrassed. It also explains why I have such trouble with spelling, and even why i have trouble with names/nouns a lot.
I’ve been handling this, sometimes pretty silently, for a long time now, so I’m totally capabile of doing so, but I know I don’t like how much its kept in the dark. How much people shouldn’t talk about it. I know when I had my breakdown, I absolutely felt more alone than I ever have in the past. I didn’t know where to turn. I knew others had problems, but never how they addressed it. I hated it. I felt abandoned, alone, scared. I barely held it together for my doctors appointments. I didn’t know who or how to talk to people. I was afraid of scaring off the few friends I still had.
So I keep saying over and over again. I don’t want to be treated special. But what can you do, if not for me, but for others? Honestly I have no idea, everyone is different. For me, and probably many otehrs, just being patient, just being around, maybe even just being forgiving goes a long way. And with everything else, sometimes all that is needed is a nice distraction to get things going again. But don’t feel like you have to fix things. Or find a solution. Especially don’t try to “fix” things by telling me or others to just be happy, or think positive. Its much more complicated than that, but more than anything else, knowing someone is around makes all the difference.
I think https://imgur.com/a/uVIvv does a way better job at explaining some of the things a lot better.
Oh, totally wanted to mention. Every time I feel like someone praises how awesome, or smart I am, I want to curl up and hide. I am not that good. Stop compairing me to those. I didn’t finish school. I’m alone a lot. I can’t do math. Everyone knows more than me. But I get past it. I know the intention. I know I am actually good at what I do, because I try really hard, and I’m excited about it. I’m not better than anyone else. But I am good. I can do this.
I’ll end it off on a positive mental health poem. A guy speaking about how his OCD is calmed by a love. (Video)