k.elizabeth Profile picture
Jun 8, 2018 25 tweets 6 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Y'all know I have a lot of feelings so today is a lot. I've never been suicidal but it's all important to talk about. My diagnosis journey has been long and I've always been compelled to try lots of options and STILL felt a sense of defeat when I did find the answer (thread)
Like damn, how many years could I have had back I'd known earlier. I've always been intense. I like to perform, have a mouth on me, and enjoy making people laugh but have crippling anxiety and have experienced waves of depression before I even knew that's what they were.
I hit the worst wall after college and a breakup, cranking wayyyyy too hard through school not realizing what was going on. I am extremely fortunate that I had to capacity to tell my boss something was wrong with me when I could barely get myself to work, much less go an
hour w/out crying at my desk. I felt physically ill and sore as if I'd been carrying a dumbell around. I couldn't eat, it made me nauseous. No sleep but tired constantly. When I finally thought I'm going to get fired I said something. I tear up thinking how fortunate I was next.
My boss, bless his damn heart, said "this is what you're going to do. Here is my therapist and I want you to go." He has battled depression and survived a few suicide attempts. Even my more stoic manager said "don't ever hesitate to do what you need. Work is not the top priority"
That first therapist was transformative, it was not easy. I was sweating and shaking and almost barfed getting to my first session. Often after the relief of her words I'd get hit with a brick wall of emotions but over time much like weight lifting, the muscles formed.
It gave me the strength I needed to make a change and I moved to the city and pushed for my next set of goals. It was a very hard transition and eventually had to return to therapy. Finding a new therapist sucked almost as much as dating in the city. (Trust me it's bad)
I guess I should be thankful I'm stubborn because I decided to keep looking after the first one wasnt a fit. The one I found is my therapist today 8 years later even facetiming her since I've moved. The first few years were hard with lots of ebbs flows, frustrating sessions etc
A few years ago after hitting another dip as my coping mechanism tends to be long periods of apathy or intense over working. My therapist referred me to a psychiatrist to try medication. I tried a few doses and different medications. There was relief for some symptoms but
Side effects that made me feel off, especially as a creative. Still stubborn which has helped and hindered my treatment I wasn't satisfied. WITH THE GUIDANCE OF MY DOCTOR we decided that a daily anti-depressant or anxiety medication wasn't necessary nor ideal for ME
We shifted our focus to lifestyle and continuing my cognitive therapy as well as an on-demand option of Adavan and CBD. Things were decent for a bit but the lifestyle management part was not coming easy. I kept going ALL in on diets, exercise, cleaning, time management etc. only
to have it fall off within weeks. Therapy was helping, I got much better at accepting things I couldn't control and adjusting perspective, recovering from dips quicker. I was much better at verbalizing my needs and not carrying the guilt or anticipating the thoughts of others.
But I was still feeling like I was operating at the wrong RPM for the gear the majority of the time, either needing to shift up or about to stall out. After a very intense job change and a string of terrible treatment by men (ghosting is terrible FYI please stop doing it)
I hit the worst wall I'd hit since right after college. The one saving grace was this time I felt equipped. I recognized it and was not going to let it consume me. One aspect of this has always been the balance of the liberation of becoming aware of your illness and
feeling empowered to manage it, and the simple fact that you will always be doing just that and the world around you will continue to present the same triggers. Becoming at peace with that and being patient has been key. This time around we decided to re-evaluate the factors.
My therapist gave me a book about Women with #ADHD. My mom has asked me to look into this since I was a teenager. LISTEN TO YOUR DAMN MOMS. I was very smart (humble brag) from a young age, testing well, reading at a very high level early, but what you would call... a huge spaz.
I had to do a second kindergarten "transitional" they called it because I had a 'free spirit' and they were concerned I'd struggle in a conventional classroom despite my intellect. I could write 10 threads on the examples I should've put together sooner.
Here I was 12 years later reading a book in SHOCK. Every page was ME. From my earliest memories to my current state example after example. Of course, the clearest indicator should've been that I didn't finish the book (adhd joke). I only got half way through before knowing.
This is it. And here's the thing. Girls my age weren't getting diagnosed because it was the age of boys that were hyper or had trouble in school getting ridalin like candy and the following backlash. Between societal expectations/gender norms and the chemical differences
ADHD simply manifested differently in women. Plus, if you were 'high performing' like I was you flew under the radar in school and adopt even more coping mechanisms that deepen the symptoms and evades diagnosis even longer.
This thread is a novel so I won't go into all the examples but the traits of ADHD are things that are classified as character flaws in society: flakiness, inattentiveness, disorganization, impulsiveness, interrupting, etc. That's where it clicked for me. As if being mess wasn't
enough - it caused me stress as a student, strained friendships and relationships, held me back in jobs, etc. the wicked step sister of #ADHD is #Anxiety. And the evil twin of Anxiety is #Depression. So while I was struggling with ADHD the fall out was anxiety
from my inability to process, the constant cycle of shame and guilt of wishing I was not the way I was leading to waves of depression, exasperated by the sheer exhaustion from it all. It is not just LOL IM SO ADD I CANT STOP WATCHING CAT VIDEOS.
ADHD is a different stigma because rather than shame it's overly normalized as a joke or an excuse to take adderal. It affected my health, my schooling, my career, my relationships and cost me quality of life I won't get back. Now I'm medicated, have a therapist and psychiatrist.
I pay for my health care and scared I won't be able to keep up. I struggle w/ the lifestyle (structure, diet, etc) But I've caught breaks. And fighting for my best self is the only thing that matters. I hope if any of this resonated you fight for yourself thecut.com/2018/01/10-wom…

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More from @kathleenelee

Jun 18, 2018
This is a story from when I was young, and first shared 3 yrs ago: My dad is a garbage man and has worked for a private, not city run, company for over 20 years. This company is owned by an Italian American family. Employed at this company are a large number of Mexican Americans
One particularly grueling role in the industry is the MRF line, or Materials Recovery Facility to receive, separate and prepare recyclables from all incoming trash. The majority of the employees at our MRF are Mexican women. Mothers, sisters, daughters.
On one horrendous day, one of these women found the worst case scenario: the cold and lifeless body of a newborn infant. After some investigation, the mother was identified. She wasn't a criminal or a monster, she was a child herself, deathly afraid and felt without options.
Read 21 tweets

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