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29 July 2020

diagnosis.


it's been some time since i took to this site to update "you" on my life. whoever "you" are these days. it's fair to say that i have massively lost my mojo this year, lost my love for words, and lost my ability to travel and explore the world. it's sucked, massively, but it's had its ups and down.

in my most recent (recent: it was april, it's now the eve of august) update i talked about honing my photography skills and making the most of the sunshine and what have you, and maybe that was wonderfully optimistic for what was probably the strangest few months of my life. since april, things have been.. interesting.



shortly after my previous post, i found myself spiraling down a drain of depression. it started with a few things that went wrong at work, compounded by not being able to address my triggers as i'm stuck in this flat by myself 24/7, and on top of that, not being able to drag myself anywhere inspiring for a break. a chat with my doc saw me signed off work for a few weeks, and an increase in my medication. i also took up cycling. it was coincidental, but turns out, i bloody love cycling.

i've never been one for meditation, for mindfulness or any of that woo woo stuff, but when you're cycling away on two wheels all you can really do is focus on not falling off. it's quite therapeutic, actually, and so yeah - cycling 10km a day (ish) coupled with a new dose of meds kinda helped. it made things a little easier, but it didn't fix anything. being away from my team and navigating a job i already feel pretty imposter-y in has been really hard. and it has become quite.. heavy.



i'd been noticing little things about my behaviour for a while now that seem heightened because of the lockdown situation, and when i looked into them in combination with my anxiety.. it all pointed to adhd. i did some research on this disorder, and felt an emotional relief when i read the memes and stories of people who live with it. and that's it, the moment i realised it was an actual disorder with my brain and not me being me, i felt such a wave of emotion that i realised you don't "suffer" with disorders, you live with them. i "suffer" from anxiety, but that's because i live with unmedicated adhd.

a disorder that's becoming increasingly diagnosed in women later in life, as the spectrum for any autistic disorders (adhd is on the spectrum) doesn't include female symptoms, only male ones. if you think back, how many little boys did you know growing up who were treated for adhd, versus girls? in girls, the symptoms of distraction, inattentiveness and spontaneity were seen as adorable and whimsical, but in boys it was seen as a problem. but now, more women are being diagnosed with what used to be called add, and is now referred to as inattentive adhd.



i won't bore you with the details, but what you need to know is that i now have to wait to be seen by a psychiatrist, as a gp can't treat a cognitive disorder. and the current wait time is 18 months. so, that's nice. and in the mean time i continue being treated for my anxiety - a by product of a mental health disorder i can't be treated for, for another 18 months. seems whack, but that's the overworked and underfunded NHS for you.

i feel so relieved to know what is going on, and that i'm not alone in living with this brain fog, and my line manager and team have been soooo great about it, by giving me room to breathe, and making allowances for the things i need so i don't crack again. i joke, but i cracked. turns out i am an introvert who - on occasions - likes to work with others. i find that i rely on others to keep me motivated and not distracted, to keep me in line and to bounce ideas and struggles off of. being stuck alone has meant i have to do a lot of that myself, which is not fun long term.

but anyway, apparently there's no more pandemic* so we can travel again, and i have planned a few uk holidays, but i'll share those with you another time. maybe.

anyway, we move. 

*there is definitely still a pandemic, wear a mask.

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@imbeingerica