time lapse photography of railway and building during nighttime
My Take

Update: Attention Deficit Disorder

Happy Saturday everyone! I hope all is well in your world. December is almost upon us and the Holidays is something I want to discuss with you soon. Because this is going to be fairly long though, I’ll keep the Holiday post for another time and use today as a chance to update you.

I was stupid. I shouldn’t call myself stupid, so maybe I’ll say instead that I did something foolish, reacted poorly and deserved the repercussions. Wednesday evening I was writing about this big part of my issues that I hadn’t shared with anyone yet. I’ve been trying to get it down but it’s very hard because I get triggered every time and the urge to hurt myself is very strong. Instead of seeing my worker like the other time when I wanted to buy razors at the pharmacy, I went ahead and did just that. Bad, bad, me.

Warning: This might be triggering and slightly graphic. Skip this part if you don’t want to hear about self-harm. I apologize in advance; this is also my attempt to get some sort of closure I guess.

I went to my room and cut over the bad cut that made me come here in the first place. It’s been taking a long time to heal and it doesn’t help that I’ve been picking at it sometimes when I feel empty or anxious. The blade was incredibly sharp and I got lost in the mode of self-destruction. I get this tunnel vision where I don’t think of anything else. I have to admit that this one was particularly dangerous…I was so lost that I wasn’t feeling any pain and the blade went very deep. It’s disgusting to say this but I was cutting slowly. Normally it’s a swift motion which hurts less but this time…anyway I shouldn’t be getting into so much detail…I guess I’m still trying to process it. I’m sorry.

The truth is that I didn’t want to stop and for a few seconds I actually thought about how easy it would be in that moment of not even feeling the pain to…well…again I don’t want to go into detail. My intention was definitely not to kill myself but I have to admit that for a few seconds I was thinking about it without actual intention. What ended the cutting was Mia. She was taking a well-deserved nap but woke up and looked at me. I remembered my promise to take care of her and some part of me realized that I was heading towards a very bad state that could escalate. I didn’t care about the damage I was causing but without giving myself an alternative I shoved everything dangerous into an empty box of bandages. I tightly wrapped up my arm with the last 2 rolls of gauze and asked to speak with my worker. Actually, mumbling would be more accurate…I was so shaken that talking was really difficult. He surmised what had happened though.

Long story short, I was still bleeding, I saw 3 workers, they called the supervisor and I had broken my contract of no self-harm so they were obligated to send me to the hospital. I cried so hard and begged not to go; that I was fine and would be good and not do it again…I would do – or not do – ANYTHING. But it was out of all of our hands at that point which was entirely my fault. To save me an ambulance or taxi fee one of the workers drove me to the hospital since it was the end of his shift. I’m incredibly grateful for that…the last time I took an ambulance it cost my parents $500! NEVER AGAIN!

As soon as I got to triage they admitted me right away. (The only funny part of this story is that the nurse asked me who had done the bandage. When I said that I did she said she was very impressed and couldn’t have done any better. I’ve had a lot of practice…for sure that’s sad but a compliment is still a compliment.) When she saw the cut she was convinced I had tried to commit suicide. She wanted stitches to be done immediately and then a psych eval and a sitter. Yippee! I understand their position but, like I said I wasn’t actually suicidal. I was separated from Muffin for the stitches and there was a nurse who got quite upset at me about her being there even though the Crisis Centre called before we left to ask if she could stay with me and they said yes. Because it pertained to Mia I had the courage to tell her not to talk to me like that and be rude…I didn’t do anything wrong (at least not with that), and it’s not my fault there was a miscommunication. I was thankful for another nurse who signalled her to back off.

Being without Muffin was the hardest part of the ordeal…I was worried about her the entire time! I think the doctor is the one who told the others that I needed to be with Mia so that’s incredibly fortunate. He was very concerned about the cut; nerve damage and infection since it was open for days, raised, inflamed and re-cut. It’s true that the numbness I’ve had for years got even worse. So they gave me IV antibiotics, a tetanus shot and stitches but the doctor still wasn’t happy with the result. Finally I got to be in an isolation room and Mia was brought to me. A humongous relief!!! A psychiatric nurse spoke with me and she eventually accepted that it wasn’t a suicide attempt. I had to reemphasize that and how beneficial the Centre is for me so I could hopefully get out of there as soon as possible. She was very kind and said she’d try her best to have the him see me that same night. He came after I had taken my nighttime meds and it was exceptionally difficult to stay awake but in a way it’s a good thing that all of this happened. If it hadn’t I wouldn’t have found out something incredibly important.

I told him about the poor relationship I have with my psychiatrist and his apparent refusal to reevaluate me despite it being 2 years or more and how I have new symptoms and feel like I’ve been misdiagnosed. He asked if I minded being asked some questions. Let me just say that this man restored my faith that some psychiatrists can actually be good and care about what you think … seeing as it pertains to US after all!!! He asked me what I think. What a novel idea! Anyway he asked me some questions entirely new to me and then revealed something I never would’ve imagined in a million years: That I might’ve had undiagnosed ADD for years. It would explain my extreme passion/interest that dissipates all of sudden and is replaced by something new. It explains the constant need to move, stay busy and have a focus or else I feel hollow and depressed. It explains my forgetfulness of recent things, restlessness, inattention to small details because I rush around…it explains a lot. He then said that the right medication to address ADD could change my life and being on all the meds I take without feeling better than I do is absolutely ridiculous. The meds I’m on would mask some of my ADD symptoms but never fully address it meaning I’ll never feel quite right. Here’s the biggest eye-opener of all: I’m not sure if I’ve ever talked about this but in one stay at a mental hospital I was friends with a patient who consumed a lot of drugs. He offered me speed and being in a vulnerable state / not caring what would happen to me, I accepted. For about two weeks I was taking those pills and really enjoyed it. What surprised me though is how I didn’t experience the whole 15 coffees feeling and such that we hear about. I just felt good. Happy. Clear. Focussed. This psych asked me if I had ever taken speed and then how it made me feel after I said yes. It turns out that this reaction is normal for someone with ADD. It would be ‘self-medicating’ and stabilize me rather than make me high like a ‘normal’ person. ADD medication uses safe and controlled amounts of amphetamines as treatment. Wow. I would have never guessed but all of this explains so much. Apparently BPD, Bipolar type 2 and ADD have blurry lines and are often either confused/misdiagnosed or co-morbid (occurring at the same time).

After that meeting the psychiatrist agreed to discharge me and I could leave at night or in the morning. I wanted to go as soon as possible so they gave me a taxi coupon and I got to come back here. Super super grateful!!! Anyway now my mission is to contact my psychiatrist and see if he agrees so we can start a new medication and modify things while I’m still here and safe. We had no such luck yesterday which was disappointing…at least I’ll have a better chance of him listening to me and taking me seriously this time since someone who works here will be on the phone with me.

Lastly I just want to share how many mixed emotions I have: Anger, frustration, hope and relief. I’m so frustrated that it took this long to potentially find the right diagnosis and medication. We’ll see… but if this does turn out to be right, it’s another sad example of how many people are misdiagnosed and not truly listened to. I can only imagine how different things would be if I had come to this Centre years ago or if I had had a better psychiatrist. What’s done is done though and what matters most is how we choose to move forward.

The Takeaways

  • Good things can happen even in the midst of a really bad situation. There’s always an opportunity to learn.
  • A fresh perspective goes a long way; it’s easy to stay in the same paradigm but stagnancy is really bad. Mental health/mental illness often changes form and it’s best to get additional help if your current professional doesn’t realize this/act on it.
  • When you’re in a place meant for support and you have access to speaking with someone at any time…try to speak up about harmful urges before they get too strong. I definitely waited too long! The longer you wait, the harder it is.
  • It’s difficult to assert our needs and the right to be respected when we feel bad, but it’s important and empowering to do so.
A super kind crisis worker is teaching me how to knit cotton dish rags.
Squirrel duty is a big part of my job!
For some reason Muffin and I have equal space on the bed. I don’t mind; it’s cute and funny!

2 thoughts on “Update: Attention Deficit Disorder”

  1. That’s so great to get a diagnosis that makes sense! I hope your psychiatrist agrees and prescribes a stimulant for you. I take dextroamphetamine for depression rather than ADHD, and a lot of doctors have a massive stick up their ass when it comes to that class of medications.

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