I’ve been a perfectionist for as long as I can remember, making sure that my best was given in anything that I put my mind too. In 2013, I started having a hard time being the perfectionist that I once was. Getting certain task done wasn’t as easy as it once was. My focus became foggy at times and I started experiencing anxiety. For those of you that have experienced anxiety know how numb it can make you feel. You can become disengaged at times and by no means is it on purpose.
I remember going out of town for Thanksgiving that same year to see family and celebrate the holiday. It was me and my husband’s first Thanksgiving after getting married and I was anxious! Why was I anxious? It’s not like I had never seen any of these people before. My body was experiencing all of these things for the first time and I felt helpless. A few days after being away, I decided to go thrifting (one of my favorite things to do as you know) and as I walked into the store, I experienced what I found out later was my first panic attack. Y’all……..I thought I was going to die! Legit! Panic attacks are no game. What was happening to me? Did the wedding planning cause me this much stress?
Fast forward, I am still having fog brain, forgetting stuff that I should be remembering and having a hard time sorting things out. I did a good job hiding it. It was time to talk to the doctor about this. Guys, I had a hard time making this appointment. I had a hard time dealing with the thought of something being wrong that I couldn’t personally fix or control.
Remember, I’m a perfectionist.
So the day has come and it’s time to figure this out. I went in and explained everything that was going on. I even had to take a test that asked me questions like, are you fidgety? sometimes forgetful? having a hard time focusing? Check, check, and check. The doctor comes in, we review everything and she says, “Princess, you have Adult ADHD.” Naw, nope, not me! I was salty! Even though I knew that was what it probably was because I’m pretty good at diagnosing myself. I mean, that’s what Web MD is for, right?
This by no means was a death sentence, but it was a ball and chain. It was something that I had to drag around life. Let’s fast forward some more. Were now in 2016 going into 2017 and this thing was kicking my butt. It was causing me to be unbelievably self conscious. I was losing all confidence in myself, my ability to hold conversations, my ability to talk without losing my train of thought. It was beyond aggravating. I discovered what social anxiety was. This thing had me pinned down. I was still good at hiding it.
This thing was controlling me. I was depressed, I wasn’t myself. I wasn’t perfect like I had always tried to be. I wasn’t any good for myself, so I couldn’t be any good for anyone else. Sometimes I forget to text back, or email back. Sometimes I don’t complete my sentences. Sometimes I’ll go from one room to the next and forget my reason for being there. I couldn’t balance life like I wanted to. I couldn’t balance relationships like I wanted to and I was frustrated. I felt like my brain was broken. Dr. Hallowell (who has the disease) once said, “Having ADHD is like having a Ferrari for a brain and a bicycle for breaks.” This is my life…..but I still tried to be the very best for myself and those around me. But a lot of times I was missing the mark.
Then there came the comments like, you don’t support me.You don’t call, you don’t care, you know Princess isn’t listening, why do you stop in the middle of your sentences? I’ve heard it all. Truth is, I was just trying to keep up. I was trying (and still am at times) to balance my life. Fast forward to the beginning of this year, other things were happening and it got harder. I beat myself up almost everyday. I was angry, angry that this thing was suffocating me, angry that I just couldn’t be normal. I felt worthless. I felt misunderstood. I was different, different from who I was even four years ago. A couple of months ago I decided to expect what I was dealing with and began to show myself grace.
Grace was a word that I knew very well. I heard it all the time in church. I knew that it was something that I needed but by living a life trying to be perfect, I was saying to God that I didn’t need it. I began doing some soul searching. I cried out to God. I told him that I was sorry. Sorry for not giving grace to others, sorry for not giving it to myself. All of this has taught me just how much I need God, how much I need help from others, how much I have to continue to humble myself daily. This thing called life and all that comes with it will show you just how much you can’t do this thing alone.
ADHD used to make me apologize a lot. I would apologize for things I had no control over. But today, I don’t. What I’m learning is that people do not know how to give way to human imperfection. I had a friend tell me to, “always consider the cause.” It hit home like crazy! Rather it be your husband, wife, friend, mom, dad, co-worker, that may hurt you, or distance themselves from you for whatever reason please “consider the cause.” Because sometimes it may have nothing to do with you.
All of this has made my heart break for those who suffer from mental illness. It is still so misunderstood, so denied, and those who suffer from it, do most times in silence. This has made me come to the defense of those who fight tears daily over something that can make them feel helpless. Admitting and saying that I have ADHD, a mental illness was hard for me. But I had to do it. This disease has changed me. But everyday I’m giving myself grace. Everyday I’m becoming more and more comfortable with who I am. Everyday I am realizing that I still have so much to give. Everyday I tell myself I am still creative and smart. This doesn’t change anything. It just may take me a little longer to finish things and I may do things a little differently now, but ADHD doesn’t define me.
I want to say thank you to everyone who stuck with me through this moment of silence. Thank you for every comment of concern for where I was, every message to see if I was ok. I truly appreciate you. Much love!