Hello, my name is Ashley.

I look back on life and wonder how did this happen how did I get here. Why did it happen why can’t I just be normal and fit in? I used to be more outgoing and wanted/needed to be around people all the time. Maybe it was a slow crumble or a fast crumble I’m not sure… But all of a sudden my world came crashing down around me and hard. I stopped sleeping, being lucky if I had a few hours a night and when I was sleeping it was nightmares. I would disassociate at any slight sign of what I felt was aggression. I would have panic attacks lasting 4 hours of me just lying in bed crying and being mean to myself, telling myself the world would be a better place if I was not in it and I truly believed it. I was analyzing everything I did and said in the day and everything was always the wrong thing to do and say. I hated who I was, the person I saw in the mirror… If I could even bare look at her. I didn’t ever talk about the complete darkness with anyone. I would share little bits if I had a nightmare or a bad day at work. But never how dark my thoughts truly got. It finally got to the point where I needed help. It was to the point of getting help or succumbing to the dark thoughts. Well, the universe sent me an angel. A new friend who recommend a clinic for me to go to to get help.

When I meet with the therapist the first time she decided she needed to send me to the psychiatrist to get a diagnosis and get tested for ADHD. I was not sure how to feel about all of this and my feeling only got worse when I researched ADHD and typed in ‘is ADHD real’. All I could see was that people might not believe what I could have and that hurt.

I saw the therapist once every 2 weeks and went to Dialectical group therapy once a week with another therapist. I did not get in to see the Psychiatrist for 2 months. It was a long 2 months wanting to know what was going on and why I felt this way.

When I saw the psychiatrist I was diagnosed with combined ADHD, GAD (Generalized anxiety disorder), panic attacks, social anxiety, OCD ( Obsessive compulsive disorder) and borderline traits. I learned all of these disorders can be exacerbated by ADHD. I had to now come to terms with that fact I had ADHD. For some reason, the rest didn’t bug me but ADHD did. The psychiatrist put me on medication, it took a long time to find the right dose and we tried lots of things for sleep. What I’m on now is ok but not perfect. The medications help but the rest is hard work and therapy.

Now begins the journey to try and heal. It was and still can be a rough journey. I had moments when the dark thoughts almost won. Self-harm, suicidal ideation and the negative talk. Some of the things that kept me going were my family, my dog, my wonderful husband who has never given up on me and running. Running even though I stopped enjoying it as much, was something that got me out of bed and allowed me to be free at that time. Allowed thoughts to pass by quickly but not for me to focus on them. It was also something else to concentrate on and allow my mind a break from the negativity.

Working with the therapist I began asking how I got here. Sure some of it will be genetics, but the big part is the environment. Now a lot of my memories are fuzzy, it’s hard to remember things and often my brain likes to hold on to the bad. Being bullied and mentally abused did not help me at all. Growing up in a divorced family is never easy for any child, but still, I wondered why did this happen why couldn’t I just be strong enough… Why was I so weak?

I worked with the first therapist for s while but decided that we were not a good fit anymore as I was not improving. I then switched to a Psychologist who specializes in ADHD. I found out when I started seeing her the other therapist was a registered social worker. I look back now and it was on all the paperwork she sent me, but I never realized it. Either way, I learned some things from her. I also found my new amazing Psychologist. I have been working with her for a while now as well. I have seen a lot of progress but we still have a lot more to achieve. I still fight the dark thoughts every day. The ones that say you are not good enough, people don’t like you, you say the wrong things all the time. But I’m starting to fight back. I will continue to fight and yes, every day, for the rest of my life I will have to work on it. But I’m worth it. I deserve to be on this planet. No matter what my brain says. One day I will be able to face aggression head on and be ok. But until then I just keep working. I keep finding the light in the darkness. I will not give up and instead, I will strive for progress and not perfection. Because it’s about the journey, not the destination.

I could keep writing forever. Feel like I could write a book. But that’s all for now.

Know that you are worth it. Don’t the dark thoughts win. Get help.

With, love Ashley