So, if you’ve checked out my About page, you’ll know I’m obsessive-compulsive (diagnosed) and chronic depressive. (I also have some traits that match up with ADHD. The long and the short of it is, put me in a room with folks with social/mood disorders of any type, and I’ll relate to everyone at least a little bit.)
And I wear out. You can set a clock by it–after four or five years, I hit a wall. Burnout, anxiety, and depression take over; my living space falls apart; I feel lost and frustrated; I can’t focus or plan. Everything’s overwhelming and tiring. I’m exhausted no matter how long or well I sleep.
Not good for work, obviously.
In the past, I’ve kept going until I crashed and burned, hitting the health-crisis wall. Weeks or months later, I get up and start over, hoping it won’t happen again.
It does, of course. And it’s been about five years since my last crash. I’ve felt the next one coming for at least eight months now, right after my stamina was depleted by helping run a massive conference. I’ve tried short breaks (a week), med tweaks (I’m taking Welbutrin XL now, which has helped! And also is part of why I’m now considering that, with my lack of ability to plan and fractured attention span, ADHD may be an issue…), letting people at work know about my depression and burnout…
Nothing’s helped. The crash keeps coming.
So I’ve done something new. This time, I’ve decided to be proactive. I asked work if I could use all of my vacation hours at once, plus, with my medical professionals’ support, several sick days. They granted permission, and I’ve just started a full three weeks off.
I’m going to use this time to start building back up from the bottom. First, I want to address my anxiety and the possibility of ADHD. If I’ve been misdiagnosed for most of my life, and depression and OCD symptoms were either comorbid or caused by struggling with undiagnosed ADHD–I don’t know. I’ll have to rework my identity again to think of myself as ADHD, not OCD. I’ll need to educate myself on a disorder I don’t know much about. I’ll have to work with my psychiatrist and therapist to see if they’ll help me explore alternative drugs and therapy techniques; I may need to find a new psychiatrist to focus on that with.
And I have to keep a job. That’s the big one. How do I do that around this? I’m going to have a *lot* of work to do, and it’s hard enough for me to focus on big jobs even when I only have one or two to focus on…
I’ll get it done. If it can help, and I can feel like I can plan and focus, and if that’s what’s been causing me pain for so long… I’ll get it done.
Woo, mental health. I wish I had a neurotypical brain. I love my ability to daydream intensely and to learn languages and pick up certain other skills quickly, but… If I could plan and focus and wasn’t anxious all the time… That would be so nice.