I have ADHD. I also have been diagnosed with clinical depression, though it seems to be on hiatus, and I have some rather spectacular issues with anxiety that have never been given a formal diagnosis. I’m pretty sure that both the depression and the anxiety are largely due to the difficulties that come part & parcel with ADHD. Unfortunately, knowing that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with them.
Last weekend I completely fell apart. My systems (for dealing with my ADHD) stopped working, and I fell into a bit of depression. I’m pleased that I didn’t also have an anxiety attack, but I still spent more time crying and saying nasty things about myself than I would have liked. And yes, I’m feeling better now - much better, in fact - but I’m still very much aware of just how easily these things can sneak up on me.
Yes, I said “sneak up on me.”
I’m not always as aware of my own internal (emotional) state as I could be. As a result, things like last weekend tend to seem like they’re happening for no reason, or at least happening rather suddenly. In reality, the stressors build upon each other until I lose control and either become depressed or have an anxiety attack. And I’m exceptionally good at stressing myself out.
See, before I was diagnosed with ADHD, I used anxiety to help manage my symptoms. I became hypervigilant about a lot of things and worried about pretty much everything (except for when I managed to completely forget to worry about them, which happened sometimes too). I dealt with depression on my own every time it surfaced, and I had meltdowns (anxiety attacks) pretty regularly. Medication (for ADHD and, later, for depression) helped with everything, but didn’t make it all go away. I’m not on medication anymore, but it seems that my mood is still fairly constant without it, and my anxiety is not quite as high as it once was.
Of course, because I’m so dang good at stressing myself out, I do still have brief periods of time when I have to deal with minor depression or extreme anxiety. I am trying to learn some Cognitive Behavioural strategies to change the thoughts that result in meltdowns and depressive states, but it’s not an easy thing to do on your own - even with the help of a workbook.
And so I am going to look into counseling again. And possibly ADHD Coaching (which is offered by the Learning Disabilities Association of Saskatchewan). I need help with this, and while I would like to be back on medication for ADHD, I’m well aware that a pill is not necessarily the best answer for me.
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