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Hi everyone, first time poster here! Iíve been reading posts for a little while now but decided to post my own story to receive feedback and stories from others that may be battling similar issues. I apologize in advance if itís lengthy or disjointed (but itís a good example of how my brain works). Think of it as a "stream of consciousness" account of factors that I believe play into my struggles with anxiety, ADHD and depression (also some OCD). Also I do want to add that I'm sure that some of what I say may be normal or "not that bad" but I wanted to include all relevant details to "paint a good picture".

My struggle:

Iíve had issues with moderate depression, mood swings and racing thoughts since I was a preteen/teen (no real depression until I was 15). I was a bad stutterer as a child and slowly improved as I aged. Now at 33, though I donít have as prominent of a stutter, I do have difficulty saying certain words, especially when Iím excited. Iíve always talked too fast and people sometimes have difficulty understanding me. I also feel that it makes me sound childish and immature as an adult, especially since I tend to speak loudly and (when comfortable) I tend to just blab without thinking about what Iím saying. My parents took me to a bunch of different psychiatrists growing up (when I wanted to stop going to school and got a tutor for a brief time). There was only one psychiatrist I liked, and I just enjoyed talking with her because she was young and approachable. My mother says I was prescribed Wellbutrin but I had told her I didnít like it, though honestly I think I probably never really even took it daily. The doctors did say one thing specifically that she recollects which was that my brain is very scattered.

My personality is not one to say terribly damaging things in public or with people Iím not close to (I'll get into my fear of confrontation with/involving strangers and people later), but I definitely tend to say spur of the moment, hurtful things I regret when arguing with my husband. I have a short fuse and Iím horrible at taking criticism (even if itís just an innocent suggestion about doing something differently). Iím definitely a much better communicator in writing than in person because I have a chance to go back and make a lot of corrections and make an attempt to organize my thinking.

Iíve always had an inability to sit still; I tend to bite my nails, pick at my skin, and scratch my scalp, etc. when Iím idle. And I shake my leg 24/7 while sitting. Iím a horrible listener (so is my mother). For instance, if I go into a store to buy a few things if my husband asks me to buy one thing for him right as I walk in, I will still forget to buy it. Iím so concerned about forgetting my own agenda and thoughts that I zone out anything else. I also have difficulty telling a story or joke that Iím excited about without verbally jumping all over the place, getting sidetracked and adding irrelevant details, which is kind of embarrassing and makes the story or joke not received as well.

Iíve been making lists since I was a teenager, of things I want or need to do. Iím obsessive about these lists and if I ever lose them I have a meltdown (I now back them up through several email accounts). Nowadays, I have spreadsheets to go along with the lists, and sometimes they include such minute details such as ďBrush your teethĒ just so I can cross it off the list and feel a small sense of achievement. In high school I used to keep a folder with me wherever I went with the list of things I wanted/needed to do, with extra blank paper. Iíd even bring this when hanging out with my friends. That just sort of transformed into now texting myself when I want to remember things, then making lists on my computer when I get home, and emailing it to my phone so itís always accessible.

I always need to have background noise; Iíll always have something on the TV (usually Food Network because itís something to glance up at every once in a while) Iím a hard core multi-tasker Ė which could be good for work, if it wasn't for the fact that Iím so Ďgo, go, goí that I make dumb mistakes. Iím notorious for shooting off a number of emails in a row because I sent the first before thinking it through. I have a hard time watching TV or a movie with my husband because he hates that Iíll be on my laptop at the same time, because I find it very difficult to do one thing at a time. Iím always talking to myself in my mind, and when Iím not there is a song on repeat in my head.

Iíve always felt that Iím under-achieving and I think thatís what depresses me most of all. Iím the supervisor of 11 or so project manager but I hate and am not good at supervising. I am so easy on everyone to the point of doing their work for them (talk more about my social issues below). I believe that I am intelligent, but Iíve always been puzzled why at work Iím unable to retain some things even after 10 years. I feel that if I could just focus on being accurate, and produce thorough and un-rushed work, and feel more collected in my many meetings, I would be more successful. I feel that sometimes I come off as flighty or less intelligent because Iíll say something that makes no sense because my mind was working too fast. Iím horrible when Iím flustered and I have a deep fear of confrontation. I canít even watch reality shows where people are aggressive, rude or yell because the tension makes me uncomfortable. The only exception is my poor husband because he's close to me. We're good friends but I tend to criticize and snap at him a lot. We don't really have blow out fights that often these days (usually we only have those when he wants to have people over, see my social anxiety paragraph below) but we do bicker regularly. I honestly think we would less if I was happier with myself.

I always have these big plans and goals in my head but never seem to be able to put the effort in long enough to achieve them. The only exception to this is that usually at any point in time there is one activity or goal that Iím obsessive about and can focus on intently, and will prefer to do that one thing 24/7 over everything else. Right now itís computer games. I play them every night after I put my children to sleep. Iíve gone through about 10 games total in the last 4 weeks and made a list of 52 more that I want to play. This can be bad though when I have that hyperfocus/obsession because I can neglect things that are important. I have to really fight the urge not to play during the day. I play games with immersive stories, and I enjoy the escapism and the sense of accomplishment when I complete it. If it happens to be Iím interested in a movie, I will binge watch that movie and fantasize about living in that universe during the day. The same goes for take out food Ė when I find one I like I want to eat that same dish every day for a week. Then Iíll forget about it for a while. Itís a hardcore obsession that dies quickly, I guess I get bored.

I also have crippling social anxiety. When asked by my psychiatrist the one thing that he thinks is my biggest obstacle, my husband had said it is the fact that every time he mentions ANYONE (family, friends) coming over our house, we get into a blow-out fight. Talking to anyone aside from my husband is draining to me. Unfortunately, Iíve always been like that Ė I usually have 1 person who is my only close friend that I can talk to and hang out with 24/7, and I avoid everyone else. I currently have no real friends right now because of this, and the #1 and probably only reason is because I make zero effort. I am known to make any excuse I can to avoid being around people. I fake it pretty well I think when I have to, but inside Iím a nervous wreck and my ďflightĒ instinct is through the roof. I occasionally have faked being sick or lied that I received an emergency call to leave social situations.

Interestingly enough, I have no issues going out in public because I don't have to talk to those people. I despise talking on the phone as well. I think it's because when talking to the people I know I feel that they'll judge me and see all the things I hate about myself. I usually agree with people and act polite to make the conversation stress free. I have a slightly easier time talking to someone who has a lot in common with me. I'm really a very passionate person, and I love fantasy movies, musicals (I was involved in theater for years and even had fellow theater friends in college - no longer friends due to the fact that I avoid everyone), video games, sci-fi, I'm actually pretty good at putting on makeup (when I'm not especially depressed), I always did well in logic and school (majored in philosophy, great at crash memorization for tests and expressing myself through writing if I can edit it a lot). I never studied, it was too challenging to sit there for that along, and also uninteresting. I chalk graduating high school and college to having some brains, being good at faking it and luck.

Additionally, I tend to obsessively worry about unrealistic things, such as my children getting hurt in absurd, unrealistic circumstances. I have a huge fear of not being the best mother I can be and sheltering my children to an extreme level because of this. I was an impulsive teenager and caused my parents some grief (nothing severe, more just not going to school classes, lying about where Iím going, etc.), and Iím worried that in my current mental state I wonít be able to deal when my children are older (I have a baby and 3 year old). Another example was one night in bed when thinking of how my mother was visiting the next day (one of the few people I can tolerate visits from, though not preferred even though she does absolutely everything to help me) I was thinking of how she once mentioned a particular presidential candidate she was going to vote for, which annoyed me even though Iím not very political. Well, let me just say I spent maybe 3 hours panicking about this huge fight we were going to have about it, and what I was going to say, and how her thinking is so wrong. And I was sick to my stomach and so sweaty, it was awful. (Ironically, when she did come over I found out she was actually supporting the candidate I liked best! Ha ha). Usually itís just a small thought that spirals out of control in my brain and most times, these fears never even come to fruition!

I do also want to just add that I have gone through obsessive periods where I would eat very healthy and exercise regularly (I can never do anything moderately, itís always Ďall or nothingí) but despite having an outlet for the energy I continued to feel that my mind and body were in overdrive (though I believe it did help minimally, at least with depression). I honestly think the depression is just a bi-product of the anxiety and ADHD. If I didnít feel like such a screw up, I donít think I would be depressed. ďOn paperĒ I am happy with my life but not happy at all with ďmeĒ.

Now, what Iíve done so far to treat it! I decided it was finally time to see a psychiatrist this year, as with the added stress of my youngest born in January, it acted as a catalyst to make me a miserable, terrified recluse. My biggest motivation to cope and fix these issues are being the best mother I can be for my two little ones. I want to be able to sit on the floor and play with them, and not fidget and feel like I need to be doing something else. I see my 2.5 year old talking way too fast and clipping her words, and though sheís still little I see so much of me in her and I want to learn how to help ME cope with what I have going on so that I can help her if she develops any of these troubles as she grows. Lead by example :)

So the psychiatrist wanted to first put me on Wellbutrin, but because my mother takes Zoloft I suggested maybe trying that first because she likes it. The doctor also mentioned maybe Lamictal because she felt like I was showing symptoms of being bipolar (in addition to anxious, depressed and ADHD) but we ultimately decided on the Zoloft. (I havenít mentioned the bipolar thing because from what Iíve read about it, I donít entirely agree). Well, I went from 25mg for 2 weeks to 50mg for 1 weeks and I was miserable Ė angry and agitated. I had also read about SSRIís turning people into emotionless zombies which is a huge fear of mine. I want to be able to be silly, fun and tender with my children and Iíd rather deal with my issues than lose that. So the doctor switched me to a combo of 150mg Wellbutrin and 25mg Lamictal. I started taking the Wellbutrin in the mornings and (because I heard Lamictal makes people sleepy) I took that before bed.

Well, after taking the Wellbutrin I was awarded with more energy! I just feel lifted, boosted, and I needed that for a bit of self-confidence. I laugh more now, I can get up and do at least what I need to be doing, and I can better manage not losing my cool with my 2 year old. I experienced maybe a tiny bit of jitteriness for 2 days, but 1 week in and Iím cooking again, and trying to do unique activities with my older child. Iíve even been taking them outside to play in our backyard which is a huge accomplishment. My body may feel a little bit more fidgety, but sadly I mentally feel the same level of anxiousness and racing thoughts that I always had Ė no worse and no better. The only side effect may be loose stools after eating, insomnia and dry mouth which doesnít affect me because Iíve always drank tons of water. Iím going to move my dose up to 225mg tomorrow morning. Iím praying that it does something for the anxiety and ADHD as Iíve read it has for others.

The Lamictal was another story. It kept me wide awake and I felt odd. I couldnít picture things in my head, as weird as that sounds, and I could feel my heart beating when I laid down. The last straw for me was that I read that many people have dealt with cognitive impairment and that was the dealbreaker, so I asked my doctor if I could stop taking it. I stopped about 4 days ago. I still have the insomnia (I was hoping it was the Lamictal) so I took a 1mg Klonopin that my doctor prescribed at night. It knocked me out right away, which was great. The next morning I had a little calmness to me which balanced out kind of nicely to the energizing Wellbutrin but once the Klonopin started to wear off I became absolutely miserable. I do notice in general that the Wellbutrin doesnít seem to work as well on my depression after 5 or so hours and I get crankier, but nothing like the Klonopin wearing off did. I decided to just deal with the insomnia. Iím sure if I kept taking regular doses of Klonopin I wouldnít have to deal with that lousy come down, but I donít want to go down that path with benzos.

And thatís where I am now! Iím hoping that if the increase in Wellbutrin doesnít do anything for my anxiety or ADHD I can maybe add medications to help with those (though Iím not sure that I want to try another SSRI). But I'm not sure what? Maybe a small dose of something like Adderall XL or Vyvnase (I'd rather something smoother than something fast and quick) but not sure about the anxiety.

I also plan on going to therapy and have made calls to several therapists. To be honest, many people might not even recognize that Iím going through all of this, although I have definitely have heard that I can come off as ďsmart but flightyĒ or even stuck-up (because I don't talk to people or make eye contact) and mine and my husbandís family have had issues with my not showing up to family functions or making efforts to call them.

I manage to function pretty well ďon the outsideĒ but I feel like inside Iím struggling constantly. I wanted to bare my soul here in the hopes that someone else feels similarly and to share what they did to cope and what medications they may have taken. It also felt pretty darn good to just vent and purge my mind of all of these things that have been troubling me :) I welcome any and all feedback and suggestions. Thanks for putting up with such a long read!

Note: I am looking for others to share their stories and suggestions of how they coped (changing mentality, medications, etc), which will help me not feel so alone in this struggle and will provide hope BUT I will of course continue to see my psychiatrist for the actual treatment and prescriptions.

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