My Everest Pursuit of Normal

“This feels like I'm cheating at life!? This is too damn good to be true! You’ve given me a new life.”

“This feels like I'm cheating at life!? This is too damn good to be true! You’ve given me a new life.”

My psychiatrist then replies, “well now you know what normal feels like.”

I have spent the past 38 years believing that I knew myself. That I thought I was, “normal.” The current reality for me now is coming to the realization that all the self-introspection I had done, the building of good daily habits to break and counter my bad ones, were all trivial.

I always wondered how my peers had an easier time with their output, their ability to finish things they started, than I did. I was in a constant state of mesmerization by their abilities to produce. I would watch them, mimic them, yet nothing flowed. It felt like I was pushing a boulder uphill while they were just nudging stones downhill.

I felt dumb.

I felt...

Inferior.

I have a tiny teflon desk for a brain. Names, dates, tasks; nothing ever sticks.

I developed skills to combat my deficiencies.

Like mentally stabbing a knife through the information on to the surface of my tiny teflon desk to prevent it from slipping away. This required immense mental effort just to remember a name.

All this so I could just be seen as normal and not a forgetful idiot of a person.

As the years ticked on by, I often found myself engulfed in the fire of frustration which led to a volcano of anger bubbling up inside me. Why couldn’t I just get things done?

By this time, I knew I was smart.

The things I would think about and ideate on were consistently affirmed over time. That in itself had been the proof I needed to know that I’m not a complete waste of space.

Over time, lies crumble and the truth holds up.

Yet nothing could elude me from the fire of my frustrations.

No amount of believing in my own damn self ever made a difference.

The anger I felt was like a fire raging with a rapid intensity within me. So fast I could never get ahead of it, but I could close the door and prevent it from externalizing. All this did was keep the volcanic bubbling raging inside of me. Thus leaving me drained of energy searching for recovery. I hated that I couldn’t control it.

My brain and body were not working together.

I added a regular daily exercise to my routine in hopes of improving. The endorphins helped me feel about 1.8% better. That may not sound like a lot, but it’s a lot when you don’t have much. I could really feel that precious 1.8%.

The endorphins weren’t enough to escape the feeling of being constantly overwhelmed with everything undone. This feeling permeated my being, seeping deeper and deeper into my soul.

My room was always in some constant state of mess. Unfolded clothes. Projects occupying floorspace, and just clutter everywhere. This caused an uneasiness and anxiousness in my girlfriend whenever she would visit. Being the smart cookie she was, she incentivized me to clean up by dangling the threat of her absence from the weekend. Sometimes it would work, sometimes it didn’t. It irked me to great effect that I couldn’t be consistently clean and organized. The dread I carried, knowing that it brought unwanted emotions to the woman I loved, stayed long with me.

Every direction I could look were reminders of my mile long to-do list. It only ever grew in one direction. Comprised of failed starts and abandoned projects, each item on my list was like a corpse. An unburied corpse. Now they trigger my olfactory as the decaying, rotting projects piled up like walls around me with a ceiling of failed familial expectations from present and past.

Pushed to the brink, I desperately went in search for answers. Even on the fringes. Wherever I could. I would regularly visit a mystic. I gorged on self help books.

I thought they were helping.

They just didn't help enough.

Despite all my best efforts, eventually, my next stop would be the city of Rock Bottom, a population of 1. I knew I was there already. because I had reached a breaking point. I had drowned in my overwhelm and now my body was pinned down by my metaphorical walls and ceiling. Unable to resuscitate myself to fight another day.

I did all I could do at that moment.

I just lay.

The only place I could go... was deep inside the universe of my mind. Full of questions and hunting for the point of where I went wrong, I always came up empty.

For months and months I had ardently been on a search for a psychiatrist. and eEvery single one I had contacted either ghosted me or informed me that they were not accepting any new patients.

Dejection.

Every time.

I’m not sure why I did this, but I confided in a fellow gym member on my deadend searches, who just so happened to be a doctor. Amazingly, she got me an appointment with her psychiatrist! I got recommended and squeezed in even though she wasn't accepting new patients. I can’t believe through my sheer dumb luck, I had found a psychiatrist. Someone to tell me what was wrong with me and how I was so spectacularly broken. I finally had an iota of hope. This was my Everest.

I didn't have insurance.

I also didn't have anything left to lose.

At the end of 90 minutes of evaluation. I got the diagnosis.

An apt, succinct, single line to explain me, my whole life, my behaviors, my why of whys, my entire being.

38 human years lived, rife of struggle and strife.

I am ADHD inattentive.

This was it.

This was my diagnosis.

The ultimate explainer of how I was so broken.

She put me on medications.

That is also where I received my biggest breakthrough in learning and knowing who I was. That my main source of frustration was my body's inability to fulfill the brain's desires.

The medication unlocked the dopamine receptors in my brain, allowing me to feel actually good about myself. Imagine that. No more quick dopamine hits, no more dopamine seeking behavior, scrolling or swiping endlessly into my phone. No more losing myself in hours of video games and streaming networks. What used to be the hardest things for me to do, I could do without even thinking about them.

It was magic.

It was voodoo.

It was NZT straight from Bradley Cooper’s stash into my brain.

I could do things now.

Like, actually, DO THINGS.

This is nuts.

This is more magic to me than 1.21 jigawatts flowing through a flux capacitor.

Agony inducing tasks became trivial. The mental friction that plagued me was silenced. From making my bed to bigger, more complicated tasks like redesigning my room. I was on a mission. Tearing through 38 years of built up mess and indecisiveness. I was catching up. I felt I could feel the sun's rays filling my veins with an optimistic future.

I remember the feeling that my room no longer felt like *my* room.

It felt like a hotel room.

Organized.

Neat.

Tidy.

A sensible layout with a consideration of how an adult would move through the space.

My girlfriend was shocked. She remarked that it went from a place that filled her with anxiety, to a place where she now found deep sanctuary.

Peace.

Over the days and weeks I was a completely different person.

This was a revelation.

One month after diagnosis.

I’m sitting in my psychiatrist's office.

As I sit down, I can read her micro-expressions trying to hide the slight excitement on her face to hear my transformation. Something she knew that would happen, but that I had no idea about.

“This feels like I'm cheating at life!? This is too damn good to be true! You’ve given me a new life.”

My psychiatrist then replies, “well now you know what normal feels like.”

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