Monday, May 1, 2023

Mental Health Month: The Mouth of the Lion

As a person who lives with ADHD, I find it’s interesting how differently all of our minds work. One of the struggles I experience with ADHD is anxiety.

Both good and bad, ADHD impacts anxiety and thus every facet of life. Specifically, I become anxious because sometimes I worry about every possible outcome of an action. When I was younger I would worry about every situation to the point that I would shut down. I would go through school and be so worried about doing homework that I just wouldn't do it, because thinking about doing it would make me sick to my stomach. Friends ask you to go out and do something—and I would overthink everything to the point of deciding to stop going out and being around people.

Why do I bring this up? Because if you are in this position, it can get better. Over the last 6 years my life has been completely changed. With the help of my faith, family, friends, and some incredible physical and mental health physicians, I feel like a new person.

Speak up. Get help. Like many people, I didn't even know how to ask for help. How does one get help when the system doesn’t seem to care, when people don’t think it’s a real disorder? (Note: I don’t like the term “disorder,” because these are differences in response, not something that’s “wrong” with me.) I have a very vivid memory of a teacher screaming in my face that ADHD was just an excuse for being lazy. Lord, if only I had a dollar for every adult who told me I was wasting my potential! As with every other trauma, when you hear that long enough, you believe it.

I thank God that mental health has become such an important part of education. I also thank God for the teachers and administration who did care. The choir program saved my life more than you will ever know. Thank you for everything you did for kids like me, and never giving up on us.  

My anxiety tried to tell me not to write this. In the past it has led me to argue with people, most of which I regret. So I want to put a little positivity out there.

When I wrote this, it was Autism acceptance and awareness month, and even now, I want to let my friends in the neurodivergent community know they are not alone and it's okay to talk about this too!

Tyler, dressed casually, sticks his head into a dinosaur replica

Tyler Fiscus is pastor of Jasonville (IN) UMC. This post is edited with permission from a Facebook post.

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