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7 times down, 8 times up

7 times down, 8 times up2012-02-05T11:49:12+00:00

The Forums Forums Emotional Journey I'm Sad 7 times down, 8 times up

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    I’ll be alright, I just feel like posting my story here, to vent, to share, maybe even cheer someone else up.

    I was diagnosed with ADD about 3 years ago, at 24. I’ve always been struggling with life and I wouldn’t say I grew up under the best circumstances for someone with ADD. Lots of traveling, moving house, lots of having to start new relationships with people, etc. etc. Eventually my family ‘settled’ in the Netherlands. Before puberty I’d been a mostly shy kid, always something of an outcast. Then puberty hit, and at the same time there was a lot of strain on my parents from their work situation not going well. Shyness turned into a deep-rooted sense of insecurity, and sometimes even paranoia. At some point I picked up the guitar, got into heavy metal and through it I tried to deny my insecurities and issues by getting some kind of sense of elitism. After my first guitar teacher turned out to be rubbish, I refused to get lessons altogether and over the following 7 years I ruined my wrists, straining and stressing, not understanding and not enjoying being in a band and playing music. High school took me 2 years longer than it should do here. Then I went to ‘college’, and after 5 years of studying 2 different courses at 4 different facilities, the only result (on paper at least) was a big fat debt.

    Fortunately at some point I fell in love with a girl who wasn’t much into metal at all, and I guess that opened my mind to other things in life. Of course, it didn’t work out and in the same week that she rejected me, our family cat died and one of my best friend’s mother fell into a coma and died. Nothing was going my way, I felt terrible almost all of the time, and I couldn’t understand how there could be so many people on the street actually smiling and laughing. I thought I was crazy and utterly worthless. But then I asked myself the question: Why is my reality such that I am suffering so much? What is this existence? Why is it this way and not such a way that I don’t feel like shit all the time? (Yeah, I’m a pretty philosophical guy, but I guess most ADD-ers are, most that I’ve met are anyway, interesting difference between ADDers and ADHDers I guess… but I digress…) So I started to get books from the school library on religions and philosophy and particularly got into Buddhism. (which took on another level when a friend sent me a youtube video of Alan Watts)

    At the same time that happened, one of my teachers noticed that I did have the potential to do well at school, but suggested that I might want to see the school psychologist. So I did 1-on-1 talks and that was a first big help in getting over my social anxiety (I really felt that everyone in public looked at me with disgust, I rarely dared to ask questions in class and had major problems talking to people working public jobs).

    But it wasn’t until I moved to another town (where I live now), decided to dedicate myself to getting into this music school and found that I still had the same problems with focus even doing something that I loved to do, that I went to a doctor and ADD was suggested and later diagnosed. In this time I also found a new guitarteacher and started a music production course, with a very very strong personality and really confronted me with myself. It was hard because he didn’t believe in ADD. So eventually I left him.

    I actually succeeded in getting my certificate from the music production course, but I actually still haven’t even picked it up (I’ve been postponing this for about 2 years!).

    As for the music school, I got into the basic course after the first tryouts, then I failed to get into the main course the 2 following years. In the meantime I did manage to get a decent office job, although I sucked at it. It wasn’t at all difficult, I simply couldn’t concentrate or feel motivated doing boring administrative work and spent a lot of time spinning into negative emotional cycles. But I did have the most amazing luck landing this job because my team manager turned out to have ADHD and knew how to cope with it. And he understood me. And I probably wouldn’t have been able to keep that job for over a year without him. Through the job I also learnt about Stephen Covey and his book The 7 habits of effective people. This was last summer, when I also met an American girl, who threw me into an emotional rollercoaster but eventually also made me realize that a lot of the problems I have had are not so much ADD-caused, but they exist more because I deny myself and tell myself that I can’t do things. After she left I went and finally did a course in Zen-meditation and these things combined eventually got me to try to shape my life the way I want it to be.

    As I’ve come to see it, most of our human life is nonsense and a whole lot of suffering is caused because we have a hard time letting go of nonsensical things. So to get rid of suffering all the time, it’s necessary to let go. But I don’t have any intention of locking myself up in a box and telling myself nothing affects me because it’s all transient and whatever. The face of the matter is, we’re all a part of this existence (otherwise we wouldn’t exist!) and the thought of feeling like you have or don’t have the right to exist is only a thought. You’re here, that’s all that matters. You’re here and you’re a part of everything around you and everyone around you. So I’ve had to ask myself, what do I truly, honestly find to be important and how do I intend to act upon it? Well, for me it’s compassion. I’ve been through a lot of pain and I know lots of other people go through a lot of pain. I don’t like it, so I want to change it. I don’t like feeling it myself either so I mustn’t deny myself or indulge myself either.

    Anyway, one of the ways of shaping my life has been to go vegan, after having been raised a vegetarian. And I decided to finally step out of my comfort zone and take 3 weeks of holiday in the US, to visit my brother in San Jose, check out San Francisco, and visit my friend in Portland, and to do most of that myself, alone, away from everything back home. And it was great and I got to meet a lot of great people (thanks to couchsurfing). And when I came back I almost immediately met a beautiful girl, with whom I turned out to have a whole lot in common.

    This would be a nice place to stop the story, but unfortunately I’m not posting this in the “I’m Sad” section for nothing. Because although everything was great for the first month or so, I lost my job and therefor had way too much time one my hands to think and feel bad things again. Also this girl was basically far too busy and was still recovering from her last relationship, so she told me after a while that it was too much for her at the moment and she needed time for herself. I didn’t know how to handle that, and after a month of thinking about her and wishing things were different and feeling like she’d actually rejected me and it was somehow all my fault, I decided that I maybe had to end it for sure to get over her. Everyone advised me against it, told me to just let it go, and to stay casual and not to talk to her.

    But I did.

    2 nights ago, I went to a drum and bass party that I knew she’d also go to, got absolutely drunk and when I eventually saw her asked her if we were over, to which she of course replied yes. So I left after saying goodbye. That wouldn’t have been too bad a way to end it, except that the lights went on about 2 minutes afterward and the next thing I remember was standing outside against the wall, crying and screaming and smashing my fists against the wall, in front of just about everyone there.

    Once everyone had left, I tried to get on my bike, but it was broken (it actually broke on the way there). So I got angry. And I yelled and I cussed and I screamed and kicked (my toe is all purple and swollen now, so are my knuckles) and eventually threw my bike into the canal. Luckily I had a friend with me who got me home. That guy’s a hero for sure.

    Anyway… I guess I needed to release a whole lot of emotional tension. But I don’t really feel better now, and I still don’t want to believe it’s really over. Seemed like everything was finally going my way and maybe things would’ve picked up again if I hadn’t gotten impatient and tried to force things to be different.

    But I’ve been here before. So many times, so many failures. Just a few weeks ago I failed my driving test and felt all those previous failures piling up on me again. And that brings me to my topic title. There’s a Japanese saying which is translated as “7 times down, 8 times up”. And for me now, the important thing to do is to not let this get me down. I can choose to go down the same old path I’ve been down so many times, telling myself I deserve no better than misery. But that’s nonsense. And failure is really not the falling down, it’s the not getting up. So after falling down flat on my face yet again, I’m picking myself up. I hope anyone who’s managed to read this (kudos to you, really!) and has any inkling of what I’m talking about, will understand and feel that they can pick yourself up again. :)

    As the Dalai Lama apparently once said: “All human life is part failure and part achievement.”

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