Thursday, July 17, 2014

It's Starting To Make Sense

I recently turned 30 and it made me think about all that I learned in my 20’s. I don’t know if this is the same for all people, but I learned so much about myself in my 20’s. More than I ever imagined I would. I have grown emotionally in ways that I am very proud. I have learned to stand up for myself and my feelings. This is something I have struggled with since I was little. It will always be a struggle, but I have come so far. One of the things I learned about myself and recognized is that I have Anxiety and ADHD. I was pretty aware of the Anxiety in my early 20’s. It is something that runs heavily in my family so it was very easy to spot. Once I finally went to the doctor, it was confirmed and I began treatment.

My ADHD story was not as short though. This is something that I have suspected for the last few years. Without realizing it, I had learned to live with it and adjust my behaviors and actions and even make excuses for it. It wasn’t until my therapist mentioned it, that I thought my suspicions might be valid. Once I became more aware of it and saw a doctor for treatment, all of the symptoms made sense for once. Even though my symptoms are still present (since I only chose to take the medication as needed, such as a busy work day or on a school day) learning to pay attention to them has helped me in many ways. My poor self-esteem that crept about was even a symptom to my surprise.

I learned that I had this since I was young and the symptoms were just dismissed. I struggled in school to get B’s and C’s. That’s just Sandy. She is a B/C student. I assumed I was not smart enough for college. I am “a blonde” and I am “dense”. That’s just Sandy. I would forget my head if it wasn’t attached. That’s just Sandy. I can’t pay attention to anything it seems. Again, even though this is the major symptom, that’s just Sandy. I would struggle to sit through a movie at the theatre, especially one that didn’t capture my interest completely. I would twist and turn in my seat, count how many minutes till the end, or even just give up and go to sleep. I figured that was normal. It wasn’t until very recently, I thought to try my new ADHD medication for a movie, and boy, when I say it was like night and day, that is an understatement. I actually enjoyed the darn movie and it was a long one. I normally dread long movies. Once again, things started to make sense!

I will always have ADHD and Anxiety, but I am learning that by controlling as much as you can in your environment, you can control the diseases quite a bit. I have accepted the fact that I will most likely have to take medications of some sort, for the rest of my life, however I have learned that if I eliminate as many of the stressors in my life as I can, doing so can decrease my symptoms and in turn decrease my medication dose.

In recent years, I never would have agreed and didn’t agree when people told me this was possible; changing your environment to ease the symptoms. It’s not an easy thing to do. It’s a life changing decision to remove yourself from stressful people and stressful environments, but it has proven to be a necessity and has worked for me! It will need to be something that I continue to do throughout my life, but if I stay aware of the triggers and are able to change them, I am realizing that I DO in fact have some control over these diseases.

Having anxiety, I have always struggled with accepting that I live with this condition. I hate that I do not have control over my thoughts and feelings and hate that I have this disease. Not having control over my brain has made me feel like a major failure. Now, with the help of therapy and making changes in my life, I learned that I have a little bit of control. Knowing this makes it much easier to accept my disease and deal with it.