Today I stumbled upon this video on facebook:
I know the hedgehog’s point of view. I was him through a lot of high school, and I didn’t really feel like I received that love and acceptance until college. It wasn’t that people were purposefully mean or exclusive, but it was definitely my perception.
Lately, I also feel like the hedgehog, probably now more than ever.
On Thursday night, one of my best friends sends me a text after not responding to my messages for days. He apologizes for his lack of communication, states that he’s been really thinking about things a lot, and asks if we can talk the next morning.
Of course, this conversation is important to him, so I say yes.
I also text him to say that my mental health has been poor this past week and ask if I should be worried. He responds by saying that I shouldn’t, that I might get angry, but all he’s doing is setting boundaries and that he doesn’t want to cut off our friendship.
Okay. Seems like an accurate foretelling of how I’ll probably handle this situation. It won’t be that bad.
You must know that this friend and I have gone through so many hard times the past year, year and a half. We have deeply hurt each other and have fought through it. He’s a wonderful, patient listener, a super valuable friend. In this season, he’s one of the few people that has remained in my life and that has been helping me regularly with all the hard things I’ve been going through. I would trust him with my life. For most of that time I had a serious crush on him, but I finally started to get over it once he started dating someone else.
My anxiety pushes the release of adrenalin when tomorrow comes and he and I search for a spot. I continuously rub a calming, touch stimulating pad I carry with me.
After settling on some lounge chairs in a secluded area, he shares, in addition to some odd/unhealthy things he and others have noticed about me and how I handle social situations, that he and I can no longer have one-on-one conversations nor can we have engaging texting conversations.
As he predicted, I do get mad, and I start crying.
Essentially, without saying it, he has told me that he can’t be there for me anymore. This, to me, sounds like we are no longer friends.
I tell him that thought, and he’s surprised, but he understands my train of thought.
In the week since, it’s been weird, trying to figure out what sorts of interactions we are to have with each other, what is okay and what isn’t. Further conversations have happened (one of them actually being one-on-one!), which include moments of me acting irrationally and saying rude things. A new normal is starting to settle in.
Mostly, I just think about telling him things, then get angry, and then avoid him and try to push the good memories away. Normally, I’d say that making a choice based on anger and bitterness isn’t the way to go, but once you’ve been hurt and pushed away by someone, it just kinda happens to be the right one…
ADHD + trauma = feeling like you have lost any sense of control over yourself
I blurt things (frequently rude and/or socially unacceptable) without ever having a version of them consciously pass my mind. Frequently, I’m oblivious to people being hurt by things that I’ve said. My moodiness shifts have become incredibly polarized. My bodily focused repetitive behaviors are becoming obsessive. Because my mind is so creative, the most subtle things can remind me of my traumatic experiences and can even trigger a panic attack. My ability to focus on something longterm (especially something that requires lots of effort and something I don’t feel like doing) is almost non-existent. Processing things fully without engaging in a conversation about what is going on internally is basically impossible.
All of these things kinda add up to social destruction, regardless of my intentions to avoid doing so as much as I can.
Destroy [dih-stroi]: verb (used with object)
- to reduce (an object) to useless fragments, a useless form, or remains, as by rending, burning, ordissolving; injure beyond repair or renewal; demolish; ruin; annihilate.
- to put an end to; extinguish.
- to kill; slay.
- to render ineffective or useless; nullify; neutralize; invalidate.
- to defeat completely.
I am the hedgehog.
The story of the video has a happy ending. His classmates come together to form a solution. It’s not that they’ve been mean on purpose (for the most part), it’s just that they haven’t known how to be his friend without hurting themselves in the process. His unintentional acts of destruction were a temporary occurrence with a potentially permanent solution (providing they use peanuts that won’t dissolve with rain and he always caries extras in case they come off).
The problem with ADHD and recovering from trauma is that there aren’t physical quills. You can’t avoid emotional outbursts or neediness like you can avoid touching a prickly thing.
In order to stay safe, one needs to avoid it all-together.
You might be thinking, “Hey, I get what you’re thinking, but those that are close to you don’t that about you. You’re not destructive. They won’t avoid you because you’re going through a hard time.”
That’s what I used to say to myself, until one of my best friends actually did….
If you think I’m overreacting or being impulsive or creating a catastrophe, let me know. Write a comment. Send me a message (I need to figure out how to do that soon…). I wanna hear it.
Until then, I feel so stuck.
How on earth am I going to heal while walking through/with so much pain on my own?
I guess that’s something only God can do.