Content Warning: Sexual assault, sexual abuse of a child, PTSD, anxiety, depression, ADHD, bipolar disorder, dissociation, trauma
I want to preface this all by emphasizing that even though every day is a struggle and life is exhausting, taking things as they come is the key to making it through. Let’s be honest, there are so many things that need to be done, but that doesn’t mean I have to like doing it. Sometimes it’s easier to do things and be mad about it because at least it gets done, right? Anyways, let’s jump in.
I have a long list of diagnoses including PTSD, generalized anxiety, depression, and ADHD, as well as a family history of bipolar disorder. I also have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which only adds to depression and anxiety because of the hormone fluctuations.
Dealing with ADHD and PTSD at the same time is a wild ride. I am constantly fighting to not dissociate the day away, and when that works, I do the wrong tasks and get nothing done because the time flew by unexpectedly. I feel like I am not taken seriously a lot of the time because “everyone has ADHD nowadays” and “it seems like having mental health issues is something people use to be quirky” as if I chose to feel this way.
It’s hard to put into words the things I think and feel because I never learned how to “feel my feelings” and there’s way too much going on in my head. I’m scatterbrained and unmotivated, but if I manage to put myself on autopilot, I can get stuff done and declutter my brain for a while. The only problem with that is I won’t remember doing the stuff and if anyone has a conversation with me about something while I’m in the middle of a task, I won’t remember what they said. Bottom line, try to stay out of autopilot if you can and know the signs of a dissociative episode. Easier said than done, I know.
I don’t remember the last time I really felt at peace or content. I was sexually abused at around 10, but didn’t tell anyone until I was 20, because I figured I could forget about it and life would move on. I was successful for a while, but in the meantime, I was helping one of my best friends with her mental health. It was hard to see my friend struggling, and it was very easy for me to tell myself that I could have it worse, so there’s no reason to ask for help. When I got diagnosed with hypothyroidism (Hashimoto thyroiditis), I figured my depression was just a symptom of that and told myself I was cured when I started taking medication. My house burned down about a year later, and this is when autopilot came in. When I say “autopilot” what I mean is putting myself in a box in the corner of my brain, so I can shift my focus on doing things that I feel are more important. It’s hard to explain. The man that abused me ended up moving in next door, so my anxiety spiked and after a few years I finally caved and told my parents. Shortly after that, my friend group/roommates kicked me out of the apartment and even though I had my partner of now 9 years, I felt completely alone. It’s been a few years now since that happened, and I’m proud of myself for making it through. It really is amazing how much people can withstand.
To anyone else who’s dealing with the same issues, if I knew you, I would make sure you understood that I am incredibly proud of you just for making it through the day. Thank you for reading, and I hope this is helpful.