Jokes aside, though this isn’t super explicit, I did want to do the warning. I can’t be sure that the emotions I wanted to envoke/ channel in this are present. But it was supposed to be heavy, and I wanted to warn people as to why it was. And why I am drawing with that as theme of the strip, where the warnings may be more applicable.
This is long, you don’t have to read. But it’s here, just for clarification. But it’s here, just for clarification. More explicit warnings about anxiety and depression down below, even though I still talk around it. A slight language warning too.
Minor– mentions or touches on topic. Will say “Warning: Slight.”
Moderate– goes into more detail. Maybe more Graphic. Will just say “Warning.”
Major- A lot of, or graphic depiction, or subject matter. Most intense. Will say: “Warning, extreme.”
You see, people talk about anxiety and depression as though everyone gets it. And yeah, sure. Everyone gets anxious
and I don’t want to invalidate that. But anxiety
as disorders/neuro-atypical things are slightly different.
See, as far as I can tell, the main difference between the feeling and the disorder is the length and loss and control of that feeling. It’s the persistence that implies a chemical balance in the brain, as I was told by those who were describing it to me. They are extremes, unshakable, persistent, and often irrational. Or take justifiable reasons for feeling those things, and twist them out into less rational versions of themselves.
And welcome to the nightmare for why diagnosing these things can be such a nightmare for professionals. Though, I am sure some of you know this isn’t news as a general thing. Though my version of the tale may be different, there may be elements your experience may share.
When people think of ADD
, they don’t think of anxiety and depression. In the same way people don’t associate being messy and disorganized with OCD (yeah, that’s a misconception I got exposed too which I thought was really interesting). That second part isn’t my story, though. But even that small derail of my own story in my own paragraph, IS associated with ADD/ADHD
, it’s much more complex in real life.
That’s the thing. I searched for one, god given talent, that my school would not stop trying to inform me we all had. I went through the Catholic school system, so yeah the God part was integral. But that’s just it. I would only do things I was immediately and instantly good at (also a trait common or more extreme in ADD folks) and stop when I wasn’t.
Teachers would constantly say “you can’t be a rock star over night,” and though I new that consciously, I could never get over it. It was a part of me. So I coasted. I very much coasted, cause I had confused that with “being in the now” or being “present” or whatever. “Live and let live.” But then I would never have anything done, or I would wait till the last minute.
So does my anxiety and worry over a fear of failure that most, if not all, people have make me lose focus? Or is it the focus retention? I would assume the latter, cause of panic dreams that would wake me up at night stemming from my over active imagination. I was a kid, but add add to that mix and you get possibly even weirder dreams.
But that’s not even getting into being in the closet. For years. Trying to fit in is hard, but trying to hide yourself from yourself cause you are that terrified of what people will do or say? It doesn’t justify my actions, but it does provide context, I am sure. It added to the beating myself up I was already kinda of an expert on, from being “the smart kid who couldn’t prove it on paper,” I’m sure. I mean, what evidence was there to my worth if all the things that excited people to interact with my were big puffs of smoke? Disappearing with the slightest breath of wind?
That impacted my relationships, too, that even if people would say they did enjoy my company I couldn’t believe it? So I would try harder, which pushed people away, or make me not pay attention to other’s needs. So that made things more isolating.
I have it very easy, and I am very lucky for all the things and people I have in my life. But I can only imagine what people who are struggling with more are going through, cause this was and is debilitating. It makes things that should be pretty basic pretty hard. And, just like how I was smart, but not on paper, “You don’t look like you’re struggling.” “
You don’t look like you’re struggling.”
That’s what made the struggle hard. Being told I was imagining it, or just being weak.That I couldn’t have ADD, never mind the Anxiety or depression that I tested for as well. And I couldn’t go through extensive tests that found a correlation, right?
I know I’m not “weak.” I almost got my degree with out accommodations I would’ve and should’ve been entitled too. I had a job and my own space in a foreign country on a different continent. I came out. I finished highschool. I’m not saying you need to do any of those things, just that I am not here for a “participation trophy.” I can work hard, I can succeed. Even if it doesn’t look like what everyone else is doing, it doesn’t mean I haven’t or that I won’t succeed again.
It just means exactly what it means. I’m struggling, but I don’t “look” it.
And though I could go into much deeper, less superficial visions of my stressors or shit brain chemistry, all I am going to say is that even that much was isolating.
I didn’t feel alive. I felt numb. Just kind of living cause I had too, and surrounding myself with what ever dulled that dull feeling.
But I can be more than that.
Transition makes me see that, slowly, everyday, more and more. Healing is possible. So is growth.
TL;DR: I may have first world problems, but my brain is not equipped to handle them. Despite the knowledge that I can and have kicked ass, and I just need more time before I’m there again.
And that having a system that says you’re lying and not struggling when you are doesn’t seem the most supportive, or conducive to success? Right? Can we agree on that?