May 24, 2020 at 12:26 pm #172591
My name is Debra and this is my first post. I’m trying to reach out ot other ADDers for support and understanding. When I first got diagnosed at 23, I was shy about it and they didn’t have as many resources as now. I’m now 39 and during the past month of COVID lockdown, have fallen into depression. This will be the third time in the past 8 years! It’s so frustrating and it always carries with it wedding woes. This distresses me even more and makes me even sadder because I am happily married and overall had a GREAT day.
I will try to minimize the backstory and summarize my problem as shortly as I can:
I was able to push myself through college and emotionally abuse myself as a motivator to “fix” my ADD symptoms reasonably enough to graduate with honors without knowing I had it or without accommodations. I don’t recommend it. It doesn’t teach you work/life balance or people skills. I had a lot of suffering of being the outcast & rejected socially as well as getting fired. I never thought I’d marry or find someone to love ALL of me. After years of just trying to survive, I suddenly got married! By that time, I knew I had ADD and thought, “If I’m so smart like people said, I should be able to study, work, or will my way out of this like I did with school.” I obsessively focused on trying to be the perfect bride! I know now that was silly, but I honestly think I would have sold my soul to the devil to have the day go right in my head because it meant that much to me! It was a lot of pressure to look and act right. Thankfully we had a wedding coordinator in charge of time- that took a great deal of burden off of me!
I think overall it went very well… i love all my pictures. The day is significant because of how it means joining my husband, but for me also it meant a day of being treated so lovingly! I felt normal for the first time. I remember thinking”this is my party so I can have fun and no one will reject me”.
So I have two anxiety driven, insecure moments- it doesn’t really matter what they are- just that I see them as my fault, that they couldn’t really get fixed at the time, and that they triggered anxiety. Now whenever I get stressed, they come back to me in nightmares and triggered thoughts during the day. Sometimes they even randomly come back as nightmares. It’s awful!! That’s was 8 years ago ladies!!!! eight!!! I think I look to it for comfort, but the anxiety gets dragged along with it and I don’t know how to untangle the two.
Thank you thank you thank you in advance for ANY encouragement, suggestions, and ideas in the comments or replies.
May 27, 2020 at 3:48 pm #172831
I’m not a woman and I’m not married (apologies if I’m not supposed to post here). However, I’ve had wedding traumas of sorts. Not as severe as yours perhaps, but nonetheless, perhaps you’ll hear me out. Today for example I was trying to do my work, and I managed, but my mind was continually playing back a scene from a wedding I attended almost three years ago. This was a wedding that I helped out a lot with, plus I get anxious about social events anyway. So I was dreading this wedding for months, then there was a load of stress beforehand (and afterwards) with all the helping out I did. But during the wedding, this narcissistic relative of mine publicly humiliated me, basically, but she also did it in a really sneaky way so I didn’t really understand exactly what she was doing until afterwards. When I complained to a couple of people about her behaviour (I didn’t tell them all the details), they thought I was too sensitive and they think this horrible person is wonderful, despite the fact that she’s constantly verbally abusing people etc.
And another wedding story. I was in a group of friends for years, and I was a groomsman at a couple of their weddings. One of these guys was another toxic narcissist (again, loved by many people for some bizarre reason). So I guess the stress of the upcoming wedding made him ten times worse than usual. A total groomzilla, you could say. Shortly after the wedding I totally cut contact with him, and I’m not in the group of friends any more.
So anyway, I’m not sure if that helps. Weddings can be extremely stressful for many people involved – bride, groom, bridesmaids, family, other guests etc.
“So I have two anxiety driven, insecure moments- it doesn’t really matter what they are- just that I see them as my fault, that they couldn’t really get fixed at the time, and that they triggered anxiety. Now whenever I get stressed, they come back to me in nightmares and triggered thoughts during the day. Sometimes they even randomly come back as nightmares. It’s awful!! That’s was 8 years ago ladies!!!! eight!!! I think I look to it for comfort, but the anxiety gets dragged along with it and I don’t know how to untangle the two.”
Kind of sounds like PTSD.
June 1, 2020 at 9:47 pm #173115
Thanks for responding and sharing. I was a bit surprised because this section is for women and girls. Nonetheless, it seems you could relate a bit.
You definitely picked up a quote and I think accurately labeled it as PTSD.
What makes that so difficult is that, unlike a war or a rape, this is a WEDDING to a man I am still happily married to! So it is very disturbing to me and I have a need to remember the event happily.
June 3, 2020 at 10:57 am #173220
I think when I read your original post I didn’t realise it was in the section for women and girls until I decided to reply. I tend to view the forum this way: https://www.additudemag.com/forums/
So that just shows the most recent posts from all sections.
I’ve read that it can be a little complicated when PTSD comes from something with both positive and negative aspects. You mention war. War can actually have both positive and negative aspects for soldiers. A soldier may have many positive memories of army life, his friends there and so on. Also a large part of identity may be based on the fact that he was/is a soldier.
No idea if this is any help, but I’ll quote a couple of things I wrote previously on this forum:
“I believe that a lot of the negative symptoms of ADHD basically come from trauma. It doesn’t have to be “extreme” trauma, it could be a pattern of micro-traumas, if you like. Maybe some people are born with a personality which doesn’t fit well with what society expects or values. Or maybe they’re just wired a little differently. But either way they’re more prone to traumas as a result.
Recently if I get a traumatic memory (often a micro-trauma), I try and see the memory from a bystander’s point of view, instead of re-living the memory in a first-person perspective. I imagine a friendly person beside me as we watch and comment on the memory. That might sound mad, but whatever.”
June 3, 2020 at 5:56 pm #173314
You actually give really good, perceptive advice!
I’m really glad you stumbled upon my post.
Especially because it seems that no women could relate to it or chose to respond (at least thus far).
I can see the positive identity side for a soldier. You make a good point.
I like your advice on seeing something from a bystander point of view. I like that. It seems healthy, not mad.
When I most feel unhealthy is with the stubborn persistence of wanting my first hand perspective to be perfectly happy.
It sounds crazy, but as I told my husband, if your average girl fantasizes about a dream wedding… multiply it for me!
I needed that to comfort myself for all the times I’ve been excluded and called weird or not good enough. I am just fixated that if the two incidents had gone differently, I could use the glow of that day for a lifetime of happiness to soothe myself whenever I feel left out or less than everyone else.
My husband says that is a crazy idea and there is no way that could have happened anyways. I don’t know if it is crazy, but since it didn’t go that way and I can’t change it, it certainly drives me crazy!
June 6, 2020 at 3:58 pm #173496
Thanks, I’m glad my replies were of help to you.
Maybe no woman has replied because the topic is a little “too close to home”?
I probably picked up the advice about seeing things from a bystander’s perspective from a self-help book or something like that. I’ve read quite a lot of things like that over the years. It’s easy to criticise self-help stuff, but it can be useful sometimes!
Maybe you could think, well suppose everything DID go right on the day of the wedding.. what would happen next? Imagine life going back to normal, and keep “playing the tape all the way through”, if you know what I mean.
Hopefully I explained that well enough. I find that method helpful sometimes when I’m obsessing over something in my past. It often gives me insights into how, in reality, there can be hidden downsides to seemingly “perfect” things.
June 12, 2020 at 11:31 am #174216
You did explain yourself well. And fresh questions too.
Yes, I know this hits home for women. Just internet search for “wedding depression” and you will find tons of similar stories out there. My favorite one for perspective was a girl complaining about the color of the sand at her beach wedding. The detail itself doesn’t matter, it’s the element in plays in the bride’s fantasy or expectations. Most women want the fairy tale feeling of “happily ever after”. That’s why at first, it was easy to normalize myself and then to move on. However, with the particular ADD brain that is prone to obsess and all the extra pressure I put on with behavior and appearance, I think there is a whole other level to it for me, which is why it comes back.
I like your advice about “playing the tape all the way through” and then thinking what would happen next. I actually have done that and it helps, but thought that maybe it was a little pathetic. Thanks for validating that! =)
I get afraid that I will get lost again and retriggered. There is definitely something deeper there and the more I fight wishing it wasn’t this event that made me analyze my attitude, it is. That’s what keeps me wishing for perfection at this point… so that I didn’t have flashbacks to how I felt when my anxiety gets triggered. But perfection IS the problem and the trigger so it’s a circular problem. sigh!
I am getting some self help books on perfection. I have actually read some self help books before with various degrees of success in applying them. They ARE helpful, I don’t know why they get a bad wrap.
I kind of wish I knew you personally after all this exchange. I thank you for reaching out from among the billions of people out there to give a little encouragement and help me on my way. That’s all we can do for each other as human beings, right? Help each other along in our journeys?
I hope you will continue to give yourself a break too. You sound like a nice guy!
June 21, 2020 at 2:18 pm #175745boze25Participant
Yep, sounds like a bit of PTSD. I have PTSD from childhood medical trauma. It’s hard to get people to understand or acknowledge my issues because it’s not rape or war. They say things like “stop being unreasonable, there’s nothing to fear…doctors are there to help you.” I don’t understand how people can have such blind faith in doctors and the healthcare system! All they’ve every done is harm me, make me sicker and financially stressed out! I just started working with a therapist and was being pushed towards SSRI meds which are crazy scary to me, so that was causing more anxieties. Along the way, my therapist noticed many ADHD symptoms and evaluated me. Luckily the psychiatrist we are working with for ADHD meds respected my fears about medical treatment and long-term drugs like SSRIs. She agreed I should try other things first and will probably have better success than with SSRIs. She says the ADHD meds should give me the ability to dismiss my obsessive, recurring thoughts from the PTSD. She says I should be able to get more control over my life and finally be able to pursue yoga, meditation and relaxation techniques I’ve felt helpful, but I couldn’t manage to stick with. She has also recommended I consider EMDR – an eye movement desensitization technique to address the traumatic memories. It may sound a little hoaky, but it’s scientific and supposed to be very effective. They claim it can make a huge change in as little as 3 sessions. I’m just frustrated with how long it’s taking to make progress. I’m so ready to get the ADHD meds figured out, start functioning and working towards relief!
June 21, 2020 at 9:11 pm #176117GetittogethergirlParticipant
I have social anxiety as well as ADHD, so I can relate to constantly reliving awkward, stupid, or even just plain bad moments I caused in the past and still feeling anxiety rise just thinking about them. And while I know I can’t change the past, my brain still wants to. I’ve started saying, “oh, well. Nothing I can do about it,” out loud to myself, whenever those thoughts plague me, which helps sometimes.
But be kind to yourself and allow yourself to grow.
Life is room to grow and time to practice. Put each day’s practice to bed at night and try again the next day, but don’t judge your self-perception off of yesterday’s practice. You are you today. Forgive yourself and others because we are all blundering along doing the best we can with what we know and believe.
Sometimes talking to friends and family helps me remember to lighten up too. I also read an article once that suggested embracing thoughts like this and focusing in on the uncomfortable feelings they bring while making yourself aware of your physical sensations and feeling the anxiety rise and then fall repeatedly until your brain gets bored of it (Cognitive behavioral therapy). The idea was that sometimes we reinforce the anxiety by panicking when we feel the uncomfortable feelings instead of allowing them to play out.
I hope you can find some peace. I am sorry you are having a hard time.
June 30, 2020 at 10:50 am #177892
I’ve been meaning to post another reply to this thread, but I had some writer’s block I guess! Thanks Debra, it’s been a very pleasant exchange. All the best to you.
Sorry to hear about your PTSD from medical trauma, boze25. It can be very maddening when people don’t take your issues seriously like that.
And Getittogethergirl, nice thoughts. When I hear the word “forgive”, I often feel like defining the word further. Sometimes it’s a case of, “I forgive you as long as you stay well away from me!” lol. So forgive, but keep boundaries!
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