I have anxiety (I think).
I have depression (I think).
I have hypersomnia* (I think).
I have ADHD.
I have cripplingly low self-esteem.
I’m sure of that last one (the self-esteem) and have been diagnosed with ADHD. I definitely have the physical and emotional symptoms of the others, though I’m never sure whether they’re caused by a lifetime of dealing with the last two, or whether the last two or caused by …
You get the idea. It’s a big mess, and I’m struggling with it.
I’m in my early 50s. I’m a professional, male, relatively successful. I was at least. I’m still leading an okay life, I have a professional practice, I still get clients and work despite not doing any marketing or networking for years. I have a family, and we are doing okay, although there is constant tension in the house and I don’t think we are doing quite a good job of teaching the kids some of the basics like self-discipline, delayed gratification, organization, cleaning up after yourself, eating well, making good decisions, etc. We try, but we are both tired, anxious and feel overwhelmed most of the time. So we settle for giving the kids good support, love and enforce what boundaries we can. And to be honest, I’m not very happy with the family lifestyle we have, but I keep it going because I feel a duty to the kids and, to some extent, my wife. But I don’t get any joy or release there.
I make just enough money to keep our lifestyle going. I’ve been burned out of my job for 10 years and I dread each day of going into work, each phone call, each email. I live in some combination of anger, frustration, boredom, anxiety and depression almost all day. I think I used to get by on false hope that at some point I would achieve some major success and life would become very easy and I would spend most of the day doing things I liked, and have more money and free time. But that hasn’t happened, and as the years have closed in on me, I am less and less able to imagine that life will ever be any better than this. In fact, most days I just feel that life is only going to get a little worse, constantly, and at some point I will fail and we will be bankrupted, homeless and struggling to eat. But maybe that’s the depression talking.
I’ve also become overweight, and can’t seem to lose the weight. This leads to feelings of failure, shame and it certainly can’t be helping my hypersomnia issue. I used to run quite a bit to help with weight, but can no longer seem to find the time, motivation, energy, etc. I get into routines of exercise that can continue for a month or two, but then something happens to shift my schedule around and I struggle for a while to find a way to fit it back in. And I’m not running that much – not enough to make a big dent in the calories and fitness level yet.
I’m struggling with which of my many weaknesses to focus on most, or which to try to treat – whether through medication, therapy or some combination of the two. I’m trapped in a life that doesn’t seem to options to get out of it, at least partially due to my own mental or emotional limitations.
Did I mention I drink too much? Not every day or anything like that. But at least once a week, usually two or three times, I will have too many drinks at night and it will leave me struggling the next day. It would be better if I didn’t, although I have had very long periods of abstinence (over a year at one point) and didn’t seem to make much headway then either, and a life without any escape at all (even the false, temporary escape of alcohol) was not sustainable for me. Plus I have a feeling the drinking is my way of self-medicating for the constant feeling of anxiety.
I’ve had therapy for years, have tried different medications for ADHD and anxiety/depresssion, often in combination. There were times when I felt like it might be working for a while but eventually, the unwanted side effects would outweigh the perceived benefits and I would quit.
Despite all that, if you met me in real life you would think I’m a generally nice, polite, funny guy and although you probably would be able to tell I wasn’t super happy or energetic, you wouldn’t know how badly I’m struggling. But I guess that’s true for most of us, isn’t it?
Anyway, that’s me. How about you?
* Excessive daytime sleepiness.