So I was saying to Elsie last night that I had my annual review at work a few weeks back and my manager asked if I think I’m just misunderstood.  I laughed – isn’t that the typical ‘woe is me’ thing to say?  ‘I’m just misunderstood.’  I said, ‘Well, yeah, I guess, but doesn’t everyone feel that way?’  She gave me a curious little smile, and it suddenly dawned on me that no, not everyone feels that way – it’s just everyone I have ever been friends with feels that way, but I realise that isn’t representative of the world.  We actually are different. [br][br]It’s funny how you can spend your whole life feeling different, feeling outside of things, feeling like you’re grasping for something that’s always just out of your reach, and yet simultaneously not actually internalise just HOW different you are and what the implications of that are. [br][br]I think it’s all down to how much reading I’ve finally been doing about all my conditions.  I’ve got five: OCD, Tourette’s, AD/HD, Borderline Personality and High-Functioning Autism.  It’s not really that strange or extreme sounding; they all share the same brain pattern/chemical level abnormalities, and they all overlap in many of their symptoms.  And in an intellectual way, I’ve known these things for so long, it all makes sense to me, I can theorise and study and discuss all I want, I’m quite knowledgeable about the subjects, etc. but that’s really not the same as FEELING it, really knowing it in your heart and your blood that you are all these things, in addition to everything else you happen to be – it’s not the same as incorporating it into your self-image, as assimilating it all and redefining yourself confidently. [br][br]Lately I’ve been reading a book called ‘Women with AD/HD’ and it’s been quite inspiring, and enlightening – there are all these things I struggle with and I never before knew where they came from; I just thought I was dumb or slow or weak or a failure at certain things in life that everyone around me seemed to balance with no problem.  Now I know differently and I’m learning all these helpful tips for how to get control of your life.  For instance, learn to be assertive and calmly but firmly tell people, ‘No,’ when you reach your limit, even if it’s saying no to something as ‘small’ as going for a walk, because you know you get exhausted and overwhelmed by very simple little things that other people take for granted.  This answers so much for me – never again am I going to feel ashamed over needing a time out when we have guests to the house, even if I’m enjoying myself, because I just feel so overwhelmed.  I need to think about me, take care of me, put myself first occasionally, and I’m sure this will help my moods a bit because all the overwhelm-ment can’t be good for my moods, I’m sure.  [br][br]Or things like: write up a list of all your friends and keep it in eyesight so you can remember they even exist, and thereby remember to stay in touch with them – because I’ve always struggled with this and made excuses for it because it’s an awful thing to admit, ‘Honestly, sometimes I just forget you exist – out of sight, out of mind,’ and then it’s impossible to explain to someone, ‘Honestly, it doesn’t mean I don’t care,’ because that makes no sense, right?  Unless you know how my brain works, which I’m starting to, now.  Every day, I learn a little more.  [br][br]I filled out this enormous application form for disability benefit last week, and wrote up a 17-page letter of all my symptoms to my doctor so he could have evidence to refer back to when he wrote his supporting report on me, for the benefit form…and getting it all out and seeing it in black and white…it’s like WOW…that’s me…and yet it’s only half the story, there’s so much else there that’s not neurological, so many other things to say, it’s just incredible…it’s so tempting just to e-mail a copy of that letter to all my friends and say, ‘Here, this is who I am, this is why I do the things I do, say the things I say.’  I’m not actually going to do that, but it’s tempting. [br][br]I could say so much more here, but work is almost over so I need to shut down the computer.  It's a shame, because I feel like I'm in mid-flow with something good.

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