I am 39 yrs. old with an off the chart ADHD diagnosis I received almost three years ago. To add to the struggle, I also have a slight manic aspect to it all. After a few trial and errors, I am on Concerta and Trileptal with very good results.
It's been a long journey just to get my life moving outside of the same cycles and routines. I feel like I've lived a million lives since I was four. People are shocked that I've been saying and doing the same thing since I was four...an artist whose been working on the same art installation. Each art project gets bigger and more complex each time I learn a new creative field. I scare myself as I know I will absorb anything that operates in a process or system with fervor. I will obsess visually as I link the patterns before me. Then I will connect it all and incorporate it into my art.
At 36, when I started to refer to everything...even people as, "components" to x,y or z system and couldn't stop my mind from racing to connect and link everything I knew there was something seriously wrong. I started to feel like a machine and going crazy. I couldn't see people anymore just patterns of behavior. I couldn't feel anything just stimulation at the time and days later processing what it meant. I was operating on two brain platforms and could not connect the dots which just led the manic behavior to accelerate.
When I was diagnosed it was one of the best days of my life and my mom's. I was very lucky that I survived because I've been in some of the scariest situations in various parts of the world without ever realizing the danger or risk. I always viewed myself as a traditional woman and was so confused and upset by people's perceptions and treatment of me and my own failure to not have any insight into it.
I've struggled through my whole treatment process; med's, psychiatrist, coaches, support system and moved forward with a healthy and wonderful relationship with a man who has ADD and a complete supportive understanding of what I face day to day. Just when I started to put my life together my boyfriend took a job in Hong Kong and we moved in together.
So I'm in Hong Kong having to start over and find a job, a new psychiatrist, routine while maintaining my old and new relationships.
The point of this email is to ask how can women deal with the guilt associated with making choices that aggravates ones condition where you have to rebuild your structure and opening up those wounds of dealing with your ADHD? I see that I'm dealing with the same "misperceptions" about who I really am. People in job interviews don't know "where I would fit in", "overly talented", "intimidating" because I'm "so diverse" as I've had a new job every two years specializing in a new field of operations. Then you have your social exchanges where you are perceived as someone with "amazing energy", "so charismatic" a "force of nature" but the reality is I am really reserved, introverted, self-doubting etc.
I know the truth...I have to rev myself up mentally each day to get out of bed. Without my meds, sometimes I feel so depressed because I can't see my "purpose" laid out in front of me. I have to have goals which are my structure in my life or else I feel so bleak and frozen in numbness. I feel like I'm addicted to the stimulation if I don't manage myself. Every feeling of negativity that creeps in must come with a mental coaching to myself that this is a temporary feeling and I will feel differently when the meds kick in, I exercise and eat a balanced meal. But it's exhausting to have to manage the "Ferrari brain with Chevrolet brakes" as Dr. Hallowell stated.
Do you have advice for someone to stop exhausting herself with her own mental coaching and analysis of her own condition? I want to lighten up but I'm afraid that my life will fall apart if I don't pay attention. My boyfriend listens, comforts and has
so much patience but I'm afraid I will wear him out.
This condition is a ride of excessive highs and lows for me. If there is nothing for me to accomplish in a big picture, build it piece by piece...well I'm on the verge of tears and riddled with feelings of guilt for feeling this way when there is so much I could do without lead feet in my mind. But the feelings of failure are constant. At present I have no accomplishment "highs" to get me through so it feels like my ineptitude is never-ending.
Any advice or sharing understanding is appreciated.