I told the boyfriend that I’d like to take him up on his offer of accompanying me to see a therapist. But I still fear telling him about my ADHD.
by Jane D.
The snowstorm hit like an child’s tantrum, sudden and explosive, and dumped close to two feet of snow over the weekend. The boyfriend and I accomplished our long-planned trip up north to a small town where he had once worked, a “chapter” in the ongoing book of his life. Funny how I, too, connect places, addresses and homes to chapters in my life. I can’t even count how many times I’ve moved since turning 21. The trip showed me that the boyfriend can plan and execute the things that he wants and is focused on.
Before heading to “north country,” I had had what is increasingly a series of meltdowns. In desperation, I invited the ex-boyfriend out for drinks. Despite being bitter and hurt about what he clearly viewed as rejection from us, he wanted to help. He said that there were three problems that he could see.
“Most people suffer from either fear of commitment or abandonment, and you suffer from both,” he said. “Jane, I think you try to do the right thing. You don’t mean to be mean or nasty or send mixed messages, but that’s how it comes out, at times. It comes out like you are playing games. People, especially those dating you, are equally as frustrated and at a loss. On the positive side, you acknowledge that you have a problem.”
As recently as two years ago, I would have looked him in the eye and told him he’s wrong, that I was misunderstood. I still feel misunderstood, but have come to the conclusion that a person with an illness can’t get well if she doesn’t acknowledge it. I told the father the other day that I know that I want: I want to be reassured that I am loved, appreciated, understood, that I don’t mean to seem flaky or mean. If others could enter Jane’s universe, they would see that I have a passion for helping others, a sharp intuition, that I work hard and only want to produce the best for the things and people I am passionate about, that I am extremely loyal and committed to those passions.
My thoughts and ideas tend to pendulum back and forth, sometimes wildly. In the course of a month, I’ve considered a myriad of travels and professions, and it is rare that I will look an opportunity or event in the eye and say, “Sorry I can’t attend.”
I am like a child in some ways, drawn to color, laughter, simplicity, and yet in the darkest of moments when I am overcome by fear of rejection, of self, filled with self-doubt and don’t trust a soul, I either collapse within myself and apologize for being me, or I lash out at those around me and find some reason to reject them.
I have already told the boyfriend that I need help, need his help, that I’d like to take him up on his offer of accompanying me to see a therapist. He nods yes, texts back that he will help, but at the end of the day, there is little to no follow up, and I am unsure as to why. In the heat of the argument, he said that I should either come out and tell him what the problem is, or drop it. There is no way he can help if I don’t tell him. The reason I fear telling him about my ADHD is that based on so many things that I’ve seen about him -- he will forget. He may say, “I’m sorry Jane, that is terrible, I want to help you as much as I can.”
And then the entire issue is dropped until there is another meltdown or breakdown. I have communicated my fears and desire to make this relationship work in e-mails and in person, and often the e-mails go unanswered. Does this mean he doesn’t care, hasn’t heard me, that because of these problems he’s lost interest? I am tired of assuming, tired of sending emails and texts about the same issue -- the issue that when I express what I would like and what means a lot to me, there is a silence and often not even an acknowledgement. In the beginning, the boyfriend sent many hand-written letters, texted sweet sayings, asked me what time he could call me, and now I fear that I’ve showed and shared too much, and that he’s either taking advantage of the fact that I’m really into him or he’s not really into me. Somehow love loses its flair when one needs to state and remind the other to do something.
I carry these questions and concerns and fears with me like the many piles that I still carry with me. In the dead of winter a security person at a building asks me, “Are you moving house?” with a laugh. This is a question that I haven’t been asked in a while. Sounds funny, but at the end of the day, it is a question that reminds me that there may be a relapse.