Some things I’ve learned lately
I haven’t written in a very long time for several reasons, but the main reasons are because I have friends and family that read this blog and I didn’t want people to know what my life has really been like. And, because life has been harder, I haven’t felt very creative lately. However, several things have led me to the realization I should write no matter what is going on and not be afraid of being judged. So begins my journey back to writing.
If truth be told I must share that I am an anxious person that left to my own thoughts can make herself crazy with what-ifs. I also tend to be negative in thought, mainly about myself. That behind the façade of beautiful family, many messes are going on. I share my life with six wonderfully different people, who bless me tremendously. I can’t imagine sharing my life with anyone else. I also share a life with ADD and perhaps ADHD. I know for a fact that one person living in my house has ADD and I’m pretty sure three other people have it and a possible a fourth. I also share a life with learning disabilities and anxiety (others, in addition to my own).
Until recently ADD lived and ruled in my house unbeknownst to us. For years my marriage and life seemed to unravel out of control like a nylon braided cord fraying at the end, unraveling faster and faster as time goes on.
My own life and that of my family life always felt like a whirling dervish, as if the Tasmanian Devil had come, spun through the house completely out of control and left me to pick up all the pieces.
Everything always felt chaotic and out of control, like the plate spinner who has spun one too many plates and now he is scrambling, running back and forth to try and keep every one of them from crashing to the ground.
It wasn’t until I read a post on Facebook by Dr. Dainel Amen that suggested people with ADD pick fights to stimulate the underactive portion of their brain, that things started to make sense. This was a true light bulb moment for me! I quickly ran to find the medical report from the neuropsychologist. The one explaining the evaluation that someone in my household had done at the urging of a friend. I read the report that had been done ten years prior, sure enough ADD was listed.
I sat sort of numb, maybe in shock, could this be one of the reasons there was so much strife in our house. I went to the person with the information, and so began a journey of discovery and for me anger. I began to read the book Driven to Distraction by Dr. Edward Hallowell. The person with ADD began to listen to the abridge version on audio book, as reading is not an easy task for this person. The more I read, the angrier I became! Why hadn’t the doctor who diagnosed this said something of the significance of ADD? I’m here to tell you ADD can be extremely destructive of relationships, and families if not understood. Why hadn’t the doctor said anything to us, suggested medication, therapy, counseling, anything?! Instead, we struggled for an additional ten years, which brought me to a place of despair and grief. My marriage was a mess, my world unraveling around me, my house a disaster, my health deteriorating, my weight rising exponentially, and my anxiety so far off the chart at times I thought death would be a welcomed relief, anything to stop feeling so out of control and insane. I used to wonder if you know when you’re insane, can you reason that you’ve gone crazy? I sure felt as if I was a lot of the time.
Reading that post led to discovery, discovery through reading, through counseling, through meaningful conversations that had understanding behind them rather than anger and pain. While I began to understand more, my patience got better and hope slowly returned, but a new beast began to rear its ugly head. I guess if I have to put a word on it, I’m ashamed to admit out loud, it would be shame.
I wanted very few people to know what was going on behind our doors. I was afraid of what people would think if they knew. If they knew the “me” behind the mask, the “us” behind the seemingly lovely family that sits in the front pew at church. Would we still be accepted, how would we be judged? I mean the reality is our life is a complete mess and mostly, constant chaos. More times than not I am a screaming banshee, I’m NOT proud of this by any means and I’m working on it, but it’s the truth.
Well, God in all His infinite wisdom provided me with the chance to come clean. It was a very painful experience but overall it was beneficial and good. A very dear friend confronted me in an e-mail that just about broke my heart. While I had moved about an hour away from her almost 14 years ago, she had wanted to maintain a closer relationship than we had. Life gets busy and when we would try to make plans, things would seem to come up and more times than not my excuse was that life was chaotic and crazy. I wasn’t being untruthful, for me it always was chaotic and crazy but without any explanation further she saw it as an excuse. It didn’t help that we are in different stages of our lives, her kids for the most part were grown and I still had little people. She finally wrote me an e-mail saying that for as long as she’s known me I say my life is crazy and chaotic and that maybe it’s just best if we didn’t pursue the relationship and end the friendship. My heart sank as I read her e-mail over and over again. I understood her point of view and even knew how she got to that way of thinking. I hadn’t been completely honest with her about my life and in my defense until that time, I didn’t completely understand it myself. For years I just saw myself as some poor excuse for a mother and wife because I couldn’t seem to hold it together, function and DO what other women seemed to be able to with ease and grace. In my eyes I was, am, a failure and a farce!
Through tears, I began the very difficult and long task of composing an e-mail explaining what my life behind the closed doors of our house really looked like. That my marriage was in complete shambles, I wasn’t able to reach my learning disabled child, a couple other kids were having issues of their own, and school was such a complete effort it seemed to overtake every daily task so that now my house was in shambles too. Attempting to keep up the façade for the rest of the world was slowly killing me spiritually, emotionally and physically. And, I was sure that admitting it out loud to someone else would surely be the end of any friendship or relationship I had with them. After all, they would then see me for the farce and failure I was and who would possibly want to associate with someone like that. After composing the e-mail I waited, reread it, hemmed and hawed over sending it or deleting it, after several days I finally hit send. The response I got back from her was one of grace and understanding, why hadn’t I shared this before. It was then I began to understand how hiding things, holding back, being afraid, can be very toxic. While I’m not suggesting I reveal everything to everyone at all times, I mean I certainly don’t want the world to see me nude (metaphorically speaking) there are certain people I am comfortable being around at least in my bathing suit.
It also hit me (keep in mind this has taken awhile to finally sink in, a year or more) how much I was trying to hide from God and how much I was trying to do on my own, independently of Him. I’m realizing I need God and I need people who know, love and understand me, scars, scabs, imperfections and all. I cannot walk this road alone, I wasn’t meant to! ADD, is one of the construction messes God is using to teach me to fully rely on Him.
I don’t like it and I still struggle greatly with all the mess in my life but I’m learning. I’m learning that even through the mess and brokenness, the loss and despair He is always there waiting for me to turn and fully rely on Him. He is waiting for me to say, have Your way with my life, for me to trust Him the way a child trusts her father. So that He can build me into the woman He knows I am meant to be and when the day comes for me to stand in His glory, He can say with pride “well done, you are truly the daughter of the King!”