I write this post from bed in my parent’s house in Cape Town. My father has included me on his morning rounds, and brought me a tray of delicious coffee and toast. I will be here for the next six weeks, far away from my love and the fledgling life I had built for myself because I wasn’t coping on my own. For a long time I thought that I was. There were these good days and minor victories, times when the writing went well and I was less frustrated. But there were more bad days. It is hard to describe the hardness of ADD (and specifically, writing a thesis with ADD) because it is all so mundane. It sounds so mundane. Another day without being able to concentrate. Another month with a deadline slipping by. Another letter to a supervisor trying to explain that no, I am not lazy. It didn’t happen, but not for lack of trying. These things sound petty and minor but they end up taking over your life. Frustration and hopelessness winding its tentacles into everything until one day you wake up and feel like you can’t breathe for anger and disappointment.
My mother suggested that I could come home and I realised that I should jump on that like a life-line, which it is. That all this time proving that I am competent and independent has made me blind to some of the real support waiting for me that I’m privileged to have. So I gave up on the daily hustle on my own, and told bosses, co-workers, house-mates, friends: “I’m not coping. I need more support.” It felt almost sacreligious to say those words. I am so trained in covering up, hustling on, because truthfully I need support all the time. So saying it out loud, and then receiving love, sympathy, kindness, accommodations was strange. But good strange. Throwing up my arms and saying, “I don’t know how to do this” feels good. It is a defeat, but a sweet one.