I found out that I’m most likely at least moderately depressed, have a thorny social phobia (or what my counsellor calls “Fear of Negative Evaluation”), and possibly a touch of inattentive-type ADHD to boot. Depression and anxiety, I definitely believe is a Thing that needs support and whatnot.
ADHD on the other hand, I never quite bought into. I thought it was an excuse to pump meds into misbehaving children, or opiate adults who can’t or won’t fit into the stultifying cubicle mold. While I can see certain traits in myself, I figured it was just a character flaw of mine. I mean, who hasn’t misplaced their airline ticket? Who hasn’t left their class ring in a truck stop washroom, or zoned out in long-ass meetings and started drawing doodles of rabbits chewing their limbs off after being caught in traps? Everyone else manages not to, but I just can’t for some reason because of who I am as a person.
The idea that it isn’t a character flaw that everyone else has conquered but I haven’t, but rather something that can be medicated away is a new concept for me. It’s something I haven’t quite bought into yet, but it is an enticing proposition in some ways. Maybe I’m actually a genius or something, but the ADHD kept me from scoring higher on standardised tests and studying properly.
But maybe the crippling social anxiety makes me able to pretend to be functional, like the following conversation that’s forever playing out in my head…
ADHD: OK, coffee date with Yukiko in less than an hour, putting on sweater… hey, this sweater has lots of little fuzzballs on it, maybe we should spend the next 20 minutes picking them off.
Fear of Negative Evaluation (FoNA): You can’t do that right now. There’s no time.
ADHD: Whatever, time is a meaningless social construct. And these fuzzballs are ugly, and it’s so much fun to watch them clear off!
FoNA: Because you have to meet Yukiko in 45 minutes, and if you pick off the fuzzballs, you’ll be like 20 minutes late, and that’s rude and Yukiko will be mad. And we don’t want that.
ADHD: *sigh* OK fine.
(5 minutes later, on the way to the coffee date)
FoNA: …You might have a point about those sweater fuzzballs though.
FoNA: Well they are pretty ugly and make us look like a crazy old lady. But you just can’t find some more convenient time to raze the fuzzballs off, can you.
Vicious Self-Critic: Apparently not. I’m sure everyone else who’s a successful functioning adult has a strict fuzzball-picking schedule that they adhere to, unlike us. But we kind of are a crazy old lady anyway, so it fits.
FoNA: Oh hey, Vicious Self-Critic, welcome back!
ADHD: You know what? Fuck you guys. At some point I’m gonna flake out on something really important and I’m not gonna tell you what it is, so there!!
Depression: And I’ll be waiting. I always am.