Living with ADHD + Anxiety
I want to talk about something that is present in a lot of our lives, and something that really takes a toll on us.
"Katie sit down and raise your hand", in elementary + middle school I was always that kid that was talking too much or moving around too much. I never sat still. I constantly got in trouble, and I am pretty sure my parents were tired of reading "has potential but needs to stop getting in trouble" on all my report cards or seeing all this potential in me and seeing me struggle to maintain decent grades.
ADHD is different to everyone but to me, it is like having a 100 different TVs on and trying to focus on each one. Sometimes impossible, and overwhelming. This is something that I am not very open about with people, but I think this is a very big topic in colleges and adults today. Most do not even know I am struggling daily (I do a really good job at hiding it). ADHD makes me feel constantly stupid, and now instead of shutting down + believing it, I am opening up to help others like me.
I've lived my whole life as a mediocre student, hardly having the ability to secure B's. I've lived my entire high school + college career in anxiety and shame because my friends are all making deans list with a 3.5 GPA and above. It always took me twice as long to write a paper then my peers. I always wondered why my friends were so organized and why I struggled to keep a calendar going for a week.
I never wanted to go on meds, because I heard the stories. The stories of addiction. The stories of students taking it to pull all-nighters because that is how they get As. I take medication because it makes me ordinary. It makes me have the ability to focus for longer than ten minutes in lecture. It lets me focus long enough to get a paper done. It lets me focus on my thoughts, and not on the cars driving by outside in the coffee shop. I wish medication made me invincible and 'smart', but it makes me ordinary and that is everything to me.
I went to a small liberal arts school as a baby freshman-- I honestly was happy to go anywhere. I found myself overwhelmed and hardly getting B's. "Oh its college, it is harder to get good grades". That is what I would tell myself. I was lucky to go to college, to have that privilege, and I threw it away because I did not want to get medicated. Because I could "handle it".. whatever that meant.
ADHD medication has been the difference between a 2.63 GPA and now a 3.6 GPA. If two year ago, someone told me I was only 30 credits away from graduating college (a semester and summer term), I would laugh. But I am, because of my medication.
My ADHD is not the only thing that sometimes gets the best of me. Because of my ADHD, I have developed generalized anxiety.
My anxiety is like the current in the ocean. You feel like you are going to drown, you’re alive but your head is barely above water and something keeps dragging you down.
I’ve spent the last couple of years telling myself that my mind is weak. Telling myself that I am just crazy. Telling myself I am just overreacting. Even telling myself I am irrational. I push good thoughts out to make room for the worst possible scenario in almost every situation. I thought that because I don’t get symptoms every day, that its normal, and everyone thinks this way. Symptoms are random. One minute you’ll be fine, the next its like a light switch turned on and you’re different. One second you’ll be laughing, the next you feel like you’re watching yourself cry with no idea how to help yourself. My anxiety causes me to cancel plans on people, push deadlines back, and make up excuses why I have to delay my midterm because I can't think of anything more frightening than taking an exam with ADHD.
Dealing with anxiety is much better when you accept that you have it.
I’m not depressed. I’m tired of the stigma of telling people I have anxiety and then immediately get the follow up of “oh so you’re sad and depressed,” actually, I am one of the happiest people you will meet. I worry, a lot. But I am not sad.
I’m not lazy. I’m not looking for attention. Just because I lay around for 4 hours in the morning trying to start my day, doesn’t mean I am lazy. I lay around before doing my homework because I feel too anxious to start, that I am too dumb to even worry about doing it. My anxiety + ADHD tell me I am not smart enough.
Anxiety is a battle, every day, every month, every year– a struggle that I refuse to let win, the struggle I refuse to let control my life and my future
I felt compelled to write this as I am finishing up my college education because you can do it.
In the coming months, I am transitioning Life of House into more of a healthy + balanced lifestyle blog-- don't worry I will still be posting yummy recipes.
Until next time,