A New Kind of Balance

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It’s so much easier to deal with ADHD.

I can create strategies and buy cute shit to help me feel empowered with time management support. I’d get planners and subscribe to apps that remind me of tasks and goals.

To be honest, I never imagined I’d been living with an ADHD brain. I simply thought I was imperfect, slow to succeed, and built for mediocrity. It took years of breakdowns to understand my breakthroughs.

Once I emotionally integrated the belief that I was already whole as I am, the journey of self-actualization opened up a pathway for grace and forgiveness.

My ADHD brain has given me the capacity to be creative and avant-garde. I can work with being inattentive. I can manage impulsivity. I am skilled at crafting holistic strategies with off-ramps and contingency plans.

The ADHD doesn’t concern me.

The OCD is the clown in a sewer luring me to an abyss of darkness and doubt.

I used to always think I was quirky. I wasn’t obsessed with washing my hands. My compulsions were more mental.

I was well aware of my behaviors with a paranoia that I was always at the risk of being criticized, judged, or disciplined – I would hide anything that didn’t resonate with normalcy.

As a latch key kid who spent many hours playing with puzzles and reading encyclopedias, I easily created an alternative reality where I could get lost in my delusions without getting found out. 

I would listen to the same songs on repeat, watch the same shows or movies, read the same books, play with the same games, and eat the same foods. I found solace in sameness.

For someone who prides herself on being unique, I crave the monotony of sameness so that I didn’t have to make a choice.

I love options and hate deciding. I embrace possibilities and am more comfortable with inaction.

The duality of my inner and external worlds were always at odds when I knew I needed to be accountable to others. When it was just me and my world, nothing made sense and it was the only way I knew how to be me.

I lived in my head so much that I created an imaginary mouse friend to keep me company. The adults in my life to this day don’t know how to regulate their own emotions so there was no way I could have expected them to support my disability with compassion or empathy.

Having an ADHD feels like a walk in the messy park whereas OCD feels like floating into deep waters without a submersible. I became some comfortable with the darkness that sadness became my home and anything that disrupted my solitude was like ripping out my roots.

The hardest part of dealing with OCD is recognizing that it has been the anvil in my descent to madness but it has also served as an extension of my body which makes separation feel like torture.

I’ve been so emotionally invested in having nonsensical compulsions.

I positioned my obsessions as personality quirks. I normalized intrusive thoughts that they became my default setting.

Breaking from who I thought I was by confronting the ways I’ve been complicit in sabotaging my potential is the hardest journey to take. I don’t expect to heal overnight just like I didn’t get sick overnight. But I also don’t want to treat my conditions like a plague when they’ve been instrumental in cultivating the person who is writing this now.

I’m grieving a life I never had and I am also embracing a future of self-awareness so that I don’t have to give up more of my essence to a disability that needs me to live with distrust of myself.

Eventually I will find a new balance of chaos and peace, of ambition and integrity, and of ADHD and OCD.