Brain fog and face ticks

My ADHD has been really bad lately.

I am wrapping up work and looking back on the week I can see that I have reached Friday without achieving much. This week has been a complete write-off, at work and at home.

I am medicated so normally I have handful of bad days each month but the last couple of weeks, this week specifically, has been absolutely brutal.

One way I describe this state is like a kind of “brain fog”. I am forgetful, impulsive (e.g. uncontrollably snapping at colleagues) and struggle with basic tasks and life skills.

It goes a little bit like this:

  • I missed all of my early morning gym sessions
  • I forgot to take the bins out (luckily there was a delay because of the bank holiday)
  • I still haven’t returned the clothes I bought
  • I nearly forgot to get to my therapy session
  • I forgot to pick up my medication so I can’t now till Monday
  • I burnt my dinner last night
  • I missed my chance to surf some good swell on Thursday morning
  • I haven’t filed / painted my nails and they are disgusting and chipped
  • I forgot to eat today
  • I haven’t been unable to write blog posts (writing this far has taken me an hour!)

Just a few examples of how I’ve been unable to function this week.

It is safe to say my brain fog has been quite severe and when I am like this there is no amount of Methylphenidate that can help me.

I was diagnosed at 30 so I have had 7 years to figure out what sorts of things that affect my ADHD symptoms, such as hormones, sleep, diet, exercise and stress.

I recently discovered that due to my Autism, I experience social exhaustion and sensory overload. Activities such as work, shopping or just interacting with other humans is so energetically draining that I need a lot of down time and sleep to recover. And I cant get enough sleep without self-medicating. Self-medicating for sleep can be counterproductive because anything that makes me sleepy will trigger the brain fog.

I can be doing everything right and have lots of support but my ADHD can worsen without any kind of outside influence, like when I am pre-menstrual (now). Whenever my ADHD worsens, the brain fog makes it harder for me to look after myself, remember to do things like set my alarm, get to places on time, I let people down, upset people, have panic attacks and everything turns to shit.

It is not rocket science, you can see how easily I can get caught in a vicious circle. You can see how easy it is for me to drown.

To top it all off, I had a panic attack during a meeting at work yesterday and my face is ticking a lot lately – which is so shameful.

I barely have a handle on the ADHD/Autism shit, or my anxiety and now PTSD – thanks to the abusive shit-head with whom I had the misfortune of being in a relationship with.

Fuck my life.

(In other news I still haven’t built the IKEA furniture and Leo is settling in nicely.)

Self-medicating so I can sleep

It is no wonder that I am exhausted. Due to my PTSD I am averaging at about 4 hours sleep a night, and that’s if I sleep at all.

My sleep issues are a mixed bag. Of course I am struggling to fall asleep at night but also the quality of my sleep is really poor at the moment.

I have tried a few things like adjusting the room temperature, avoiding gaming. Even after a 10 mile hike in the country, I am waking up a few times through the night.

Last night I decided I was going to force my body to sleep for a minimum of eight hours solid, which I achieved by self-medicating on a cocktail of:

  • Propanolol (for high blood pressure)
  • Promethazine Hydroxide (anti-histamine)
  • Syncol (a pre-menstrual relief pill that I picked up in Mexico)

It totally worked. I woke up feeling so rested and although I was a bit drousy from the pills, I felt a million times better. I felt lighter and like there was more ease in my body. My brain was switched on, I didn’t dither about and was able get ready for work and out the door in 30 mins.

I really needed that.

There is a part of me that feels a bit wary about this concoction I’ve made up but the pros definitely outweigh the cons (or risks) because of how great it feels to finally get a proper nights sleep. Also, I waited 2 months for my life to settle and my sleep to recover naturally but it wasn’t happening so I had to do something about it.

I looked online to buy more of this Promethazine Hydroxide. My plan is now to literally drug myself to sleep for 1-2 nights in the week.

This recovery and self-care malarky is quite complex, even more so when you have a weird ADHD/Autistic brain that doesn’t want to shut up at the best of times.

I miss having someone to hold when I drift asleep.

I could really do with a hug and some reassurance right now.

I feel like I’m on this journey on my own.

Yes I have various professionals and service providers looking after me (and I am extremely lucky to have these services available to me), but it’s not the same as a hugs and kisses and support from someone who really loves you, is it?

I don’t know who to trust

I recently got involved with an adventure activity company. I have been on a few trips so far and I can sincerely say that they are a lovely bunch. I was asked by the owner to help out as a volunteer and in return I can come along to all of his events for free.

I am really looking forward to this new chapter in my life.

This is such good news for me because I don’t have many friends who enjoy outdoorsy activities. Normally I do things on my own which is risky and I am prone to taking unnecessary risks and getting lost. I have’t had anything awful happen (a couple of near misses) but this way, I will get to do what I love and meet new people, in a much safer environment.

As I spend more time with the group, I’ll be getting to know them better and at some point someone will want to know more about me. At some point some of the icky things about my life will come up in conversation. If they ask about my relationship status I’ll be struggling to find an answer that is authentic and appropriate.

I don’t want to talk about surviving domestic abuse, or how I’ve been spending my time with the various health professionals, victim support providers and the criminal justice system (which is taking up a lot of time and head space at the moment).

People are trying really hard to get to know me and I’m struggling to gloss over all the shit that I’m going through. It’s getting harder to avoid the icky topics, in a way that is kind and friendly.

Also I’m worried about “oversharing”. Ever since I can remember, people have pointed out that when I get talking about myself I tend to over-share, which is a bad thing. I am told that it can be inappropriate or awkward for other people.

Getting this feedback from people is really embarrassing for me.

Oversharing also leaves me vulnerable, I’ve been told.

Apparently I have weak boundaries.

It is common knowledge that over-sharing of personal information is a classic ADHD thing (AKA impulse control issues). And we know that for people on the Autism spectrum, it’s down to having under-developed social skills.

So as an Autistic ADHDer, it is extra difficult for me to say the right things at the right time. I’m high functioning and reasonably self-aware, so I’ve found ways to rein it in, but it takes ALOT of effort and only works to a point.

It is much easier if I just avoid talking about myself. The best way I can describe how I do this is, I build this invisible wall around me and I don’t open up to anyone outside the wall. This feels safe but it doesn’t really work because once the seal is broken then all the icky stuff pours out and I don’t know where to draw the line.

I’m not sure what is “too much information”.

In my current place of work, it took me about a year to have an honest conversation about my personal life with my colleagues. It was a really big deal to them that I opened up finally. Now I wish I hadn’t shared some things because people use your icky stuff to make fun of you.

“We know all about your track record with men, ha ha ha!”

It really hurts when they do that – but they tell you it’s harmless fun. But it still hurts.

I have to say that as I get older, I’m feeling increasingly uncomfortable talking about myself to strangers. It’s even worse when someone shows a genuine interest in me. If someone I don’t know starts asking personal questions I actually find myself freaking out a bit.

I know, in theory, that there is a balance to be had – especially with people that you work with.

I say too much. I don’t say enough.

I just can’t get the balance right. I don’t know how to be social and share little bits about myself in a way that’s friendly and appropriate (i.e. how humans should behave).

On the other extreme, if I really like the person (which equates to, we have similar traits and vulnerabilities) then I will open them straight away – usually because I want to make them feel understood, accepted and supported.

Usually it’s because I want to help.

I know, in theory about bad people masked as victims or tortured souls.

I know in theory, that I shouldn’t open up and trust people, purely on the basis that they are nice to me.

The reality is, I don’t have any reliable measures to keep myself safe. I don’t know who to trust.

I let the wrong ones in.

I don’t know how to fix this.

Who even reads blogs anymore?

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I am still at work, its been a long day. I have had too much caffeine which is a terrible idea for my ADHD. I’ve been loud, anxious and extremely hyper all day but I’ve decided to forgive myself and use the wired-ness to finally start my blog.

Before I get stuck in, I should credit my ex-boyfriend. A self-professed tortured soul (among other things) and a blogger who, considering I only knew him for 3 months, made a significant impact on my life.

I once angrily said to him, “who even reads blogs anymore”. I was upset about something he wrote. I honestly can’t remember what he wrote that upset me but when I confronted him about it he accused me of being jealous of his blog (and his followers) so that was my response.

There’s a saying that “you don’t meet people by accident. There’s always a reason. A lesson or a blessing.”

I am not ready to talk about that relationship yet. I will say that it was abusive but I am safe-ish and getting the help and support I need. I will open up in time.

It was suggested that I have Stockholm syndrome which I have considered. But I think I am starting this blog as a form of therapy and maybe there’s a sprinkling of poetic justice in there somewhere.

I don’t know but its an adventure and I’d like to see where it goes.