Girl, Disrupted (A State of Mental Health)

This topic has been a long time coming. Mental health. How many of you inwardly cringed at that? I sure did, and for many different reasons.

I’ve been told that maybe I shouldn’t talk about this. That maybe if I want to turn my blog into revenue, I should keep it upbeat. Screw that. This blog, above all else, is my outlet. That and most moms who have turned their blogs into revenue are simply honest, simply themselves.

If you’re a regular reader, you have been there with me as I have fought (I say fight, because it is a fight, and ‘struggle’ just sounds so defeatist) postpartum depression. I have been frank with you as I’ve described the lows, the relief of recovery, the heartbreak of a downslide.

Something I never, ever, EVER thought would happen to me would be to be diagnosed as an adult with ADHD. My doctor has put me on Adderall after I nearly broke down in tears in his office. The Lexapro (for my depression) had been upped, and I was responding well. But my focus…my poor, poor focus…

I have struggled all my life to pay attention. Especially in school. As a child/teenager, it was dismissed as me being bored with being taught subject matter I had already taught myself/read intensively about it (something called ‘hyperfocus’). I was what could be described as ‘flighty’, ‘fidgety’. All of my report cards said the same thing “Merry could be a much better student if she paid attention and handed in homework”, “Merry only pays attention when the subject matter is of interest to her”, “Merry is very intelligent but lacks the focus in class”. I was a source of frustration to my parents, who would consistently see As on tests and quizzes, but Ds and Fs on report cards. It was easy to tell what classes I liked. It wasn’t a simple matter of getting a B in a class I liked and a C in one I didn’t. The disparity was astounding. In classes I liked, I would get As. In classes I disliked or was apathetic towards, I would nearly fail, every time. I couldn’t be bothered to do homework. I just wanted to read. I wanted to write and draw. Something that I liked.

In my senior year, I went through depression. I was put on Zoloft. My depression eased, though I still felt nearly ‘manic’ at times from my inability to focus. I couldn’t complete anything. I dropped out of college. I blame it on depression and it definitely played a HUGE part. But the real reason? I had flunked all my classes. ALL OF THEM. I was ashamed, and rather than repeat the classes again the following semester (a viable option that many college freshmen pursue), I simply left.

I have held so many jobs it isn’t funny. I have moved almost constantly since I turned 18. The past 6 years that The Mister and I have been together are the longest I have stayed anywhere save for the home I grew up in. I never finish anything. I will start epic projects, be super stoked about them, get partway done, think that it’s just too much to chew, and quit. I started a novel. I actually (so super proud of myself here!) FINISHED said novel. All it needed was editing and then self publication via Kindle.

You get my drift. It hasn’t been edited yet.

I have had a hard time trying to get things back in order mentally, and not everyone was supportive. There’s a stigma attached to anything ‘wrong’ with the brain. I’m sorry. Not ‘wrong’… different. Most of my depression was and still is circumstantial. But medicine is helping. A lot of people think that mental issues are something that can be defeated with a positive attitude and some perseverance. This is not always the case. I didn’t choose to be depressed, and I have not chosen to have my brain work a little differently than some others.

Luckily, for all the lack of support in my depression issues before, I have an understanding partner in my Mister.

I was disrupted for so long that I came to accept myself as ‘brooding’, ’emo’, ‘sensitive’. I gave up on myself and tried to learn to accept myself the way I was, and live with that the best I could. I nearly went insane attempting that.

At a doctor’s appointment last month, I requested my dosage of Lexapro increased. My doctor did, and in the course of talking, he began asking questions about my ability to focus, stay on task, complete things I started. I also explained that living in a tiny house was really starting to get to me. “How so?” he asked. And so I attempted to explain. I didn’t do well with noises. In fact, when my house was noisy, I found it hard to think, let alone concentrate. But it wasn’t just my children. If I had a lot of people at my house, the same thing happened. The distraction of the noise unnerved me, threw me off. One thing I hear often about parties I throw is “Are you okay? You seemed really flustered at the party”.

No. I’m not okay. With noises, it’s like background noise gets turned up until it’s all my brain is focused on. I fight to get myself back on track, and I can’t, because I’m just so disrupted.

My doctor prescribed Adderall XR. I took my first pill today, and it’s like someone turned down the stereo of background noise. I put some water on for the girls’ soup, changed the baby’s diaper, tidied up and vacuumed…and then walked back to the stove and finished cooking the soup. I didn’t forget, I didn’t leave it on the stove until all the water boiled away and the noodles adhered to the pot (I did that with a pot of rice. Completely forgot I was cooking it until I smelled it burning).

My medicines are helping me make the best of a really crappy clusterbomb of crap. Sure, I had hoped to be off medication by now, not on more. But I had a horrible downslide, and to be very honest, I came close to not making it. Right now, I am seemingly on the mend, somewhat. I am trying my best to be only cautiously optimistic, but when you’ve been sad, miserable, and just plain awful for so long, any relief is just so very, very welcome. And it truly is relief.

I am a loving mother, devoted partner to my Mister, a sister, a friend, an aunt, a daughter. My name is Merry, and I am battling postpartum depression, and learning to live with ADHD. I was very apprehensive about writing this entry, but if my story helps you in any way, then I’ve done my duty. There’s hope, and you don’t have to live life this way.


3 responses to “Girl, Disrupted (A State of Mental Health)

  1. “Girl, Disrupted (A State of Mental Health) and Baby Makes Five” genuinely got me hooked with your blog!
    Iwill certainly be back again a whole lot more normally.
    Thank you ,Isabelle

  2. Pingback: Weight Loss, Diets, and the SAHM | ...and Baby Makes Five...

  3. Pingback: A Light in the ADD Tunnel - The resource and education spot for moms

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