Pretending to be normal.
posted by Rosengeist to human relations (28 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
I'll try to be brief, clear and concise, even if those particular traits are not my forte.
I'm in school to become an artist, but I am slowly, slowly becoming afraid that I lack some very essential components to thriving in that career, or heck, even functioning at life. There is just something wrong with me. I used to think it was just a quirkiness, a little something off that could be endearing. More and more, I am finding it is actually a huge problem. Most of the time, I don't feel human. It's like I'm an alien who crash landed on earth and can only survive by pretending to be human, Studying human beings and trying to emulate them, but never really getting it right.
Simply put, I have medically verifiable cognitive problems, amongst them depression, an increasingly worsening case of ADHD, and some problems with memory and information retention. As I'm getting older I'm finding it harder and harder to communicate with people. I'm doing all I can to address this, but I don't know what else I can do. I'm concise about taking my medication daily, in as much as I can I'm trying to take physical care of myself. School makes it hard to do that all the time, but I do my utmost.
I've tried very, very hard to hide the fact that something was wrong with me, it's only recently that I started talking about depression, adhd, etc. or even admitting to having it to anyone by my very closest friends and family. It used to be mild, it's getting worse. Increasingly I find I just can't articulate anything. Whats in my head doesn't get to my mouth. I've always been akward, but this is making it worse. Recently I had someone point blank tell me "sometimes you say things that are really smart, but most of the time, you just don't make any god-damned sense." It hurt, it really did, because I know that right there in that moment, that was how people had been seeing me for years. The person who said it wasn't the first to insinuate or even pointedly say something about this.
I can't tell you how often I've been talking recently and someone has to stop me and have me start over, or just stares awkwardly, or laughs, or blushes, or what have you when I say something stupid or nonsensical. I don't mean to do it. The absolute worst response, which I find is occurring more and more, is that people just flat out ignore me. I'm not someone who does well alone, I really, really need to have people around me at this point in my life, and I find I'm making them not even notice I am there. It's not like my friends are bad people...or mean...it's just that I...don't make it easy to like me when I can't even talk coherently to people. I feel like I'm just yapping at people, and no one likes that. I grew up in an environment that didn't give me the ability to make a lot of friends, so I don't always even know how to deal with people. There are some pretty key socialization skills I missed early on and have never been able to catch onto.
It makes me not want to talk at all. It makes me question how I can succeed not only in human interaction, but in the career I want as well. I'm trying to be in a field of visual communication, and yet...I can't talk, I can't be clear, I can't make sense at all. It's lonely as hell, it makes me feel like I'm a complete moron, but I don't know what else I can do to correct it, and I'm not sure who to turn to for help. This hurts. Bad.
My future career depends on me being able to communicate clearly, already, I've made gaffes in networking, and I know my artwork (I'm in Sequential Art) doesn't always make sense to people. For a while now I've been trying to learn storyboarding, where being clear is the absolute most important thing...and I can't make sense to anyone. I just want to work, but I find that despite my best efforts, my stuff is getting increasingly worse...it doesn't make sense, it's not very clear, and it's really bad as a result...I'm just kind of failing at everything I want to do, and that I need to do in order to have a career in art/storytelling. I'm scared, truly genuinely scared. I'd link examples of my work, but if anyone I knew from real life found this and knew it was me, I'd be so, so embarrassed.
I know that these symptoms I have have affected my jobs in the past. I've tried to compensate for them with other skills, such as trying to be dependable, covering for other people when they needed me to, being patient, gentle, and trying to work well with a variety of people, but I have a bad memory, a short attention span, and the ability to confuse information easily. Before I came to school I worked several 9 to 5 jobs, and while they all started out fine, most of them eventually became problematic because of my depression, adhd and socialization deficiencies. I have a hard time hiding these, and some situations really make them flare up. I can't necessarily blame people for getting frustrated with me on job sites for having these issues, and sadly I've found that it's hard to have enough positive traits to counter balance a lack of some essential communication, attention and memory skills.
What can I do? Who can I go to? I'm already treating the problems I know I have, like ADHD and depression with medication, but this is a big problem, it feels like a cancer that has always been growing in me, and now it's been there so long it's a part of me. I don't feel normal, I know I never will. All I want is to be able to figure out how to pretend I'm not messed up and have people believe me. How do I keep this from continuing to cause problems in my life? Can anyone offer any advice? I don't know who to go to, and I don't know what I can do to help stop these problems. It's too intimate a problem to bring up with a lot of my friends...or anyone I know really.