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Living with Cerebral Palsy, AD(H)D, Sleeping disorder, Dysthymia and High-sensitivity

The eyes are the window to the soul, do you see it?

Part 1

There I was. At the general practitioner's waiting room, feeling confused, self-conscious and mostly, depressed. I finally took that step. That very big step of seeking help for the negative feelings I felt hovering around me most of my life but were not taken seriously.

I was called to the examination room for my appointment. When my name was called, I started to feel very anxious. I almost forgot to greet my doctor because I was contemplating in my head what to say to him. So I sat down, and he asked: “What brings you in today?” I wanted to start with what I had rehearsed in my head a million times, but I had trouble finding the perfect words. I was planning to tell him how my mind keeps overthinking, that I couldn’t sleep because of it, that it was hard for me to keep my focus, and to motivate myself and that I couldn’t finish any task because I get distracted quite easily. It’s the classic AD(H)D descriptions. But, instead, I said: “ I have been feeling really depressed, and I have trouble focussing..” While trying not to cry. I felt I wasn’t taken seriously and so the next thing I knew I was saying:

“I am an Applied Psychology student and I recognize myself in the disorder AD(H)D. “

I was hoping he’d take me seriously if I told him that I knew what I was talking about. I was very self-conscious at that time and I felt I had to prove myself. But this only backfired. He didn’t have to say it with words, his energy gave it away. He gave off a negative vibe. That sense of feeling when someone dumbs it down for you, but it wasn’t in the words he said, it was his attitude. That attitude washed over me, and I took it as another confirmation that I wasn’t good enough.

But he did refer me to a clinic because he believed I was “just depressed”. While getting tested and waiting for the results, life keeps going. Then I finally had my appointment. The one where I’d finally know what was wrong with me. After discussing my results, time stood still, or actually, it felt like it was moving backwards. All those years that I thought that wasn't good enough because everything I did came with great effort without result, had a reason. At that moment I was relieved. Relieved that it wasn’t all in my head.

There is definite proof!

They diagnosed me with AD(H)D, Insomnia, Dysthymia, and Generalized social phobia. To the social phobia, I couldn’t relate. Because this is clearly a cultural difference. The culture I grew up with, is a collective one. The fear of other’s opinions is quite “normal”, because you attach more value to it, compared to the Dutch culture. But still, I was happy! Yes, happy, you are reading that right. The hovering feelings now had a name and could exist next to me, they no longer took over my life and I was in control of them, for the first time ever. I finally knew what I had and now I could do something about it. Now I could find a solution or learn how to deal with my issues. The psychiatrist gave me a few options and left me to my destiny. At the time, I didn’t realize that the brain defect, cerebral palsy, I suffered at birth was the cause of my mental health problems, and not just my physical issues. But this started a whole new chapter in my life. A chapter of finding suited help for my issues and the reason of my personal growth.

When I started this chapter, I did not know how much the stigmas and taboos about mental health issues within my culture, affected my problems and loneliness by making it worse: this was an enormous factor in my development and recovery.

To be continued.


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