Uni Results Day: The Most Underwhelming Day of my Life…

Thursday 23rd July 2020. What significance does this date have? Not much to be quite honest. This was the day I received my final university results and degree classification. The culmination of 4 years of hard work and struggles. Surely  a pretty significant moment in my life right?? WRONG! Despite being just a few days ago (4 days at the time of writing), I have little memory of this day. In fact it felt so insignificant that I had to look up the day/date whist writing this because I could not remember. To me it was just any other day of the week. A pretty boring morning. I remember opening an email with my results around 8.45am, seeing my result, sending a screenshot to my parents and then swiftly laying my head back down on the pillow to go back to sleep. The only miniscule sign of emotion was a split second of relief that I had got the 2:1 I needed to meet the conditions of my job offer. But this was very short-lived, lasting less than the time it took me to take the screenshot. Beyond that I felt emotionless – just a deep pit of nothing. Not even a hint of happiness or excitement or anything of the sort. Neither did I feel any disappointment or sadness. I simply felt indifferent. There was a complete disconnect between me and my results. I knew the grades were a result of work that I had submitted and spent hours and hours doing, but yet there seemed to be no emotional attachment there. I was there, the results were there too, but we didn’t know each other, we were strangers.

I thought perhaps the reality just hadn’t quite sunk in yet and that soon I would experience some sort of delayed response. After all, I had worked towards this day for 4 years – surely I should feel something!? Or perhaps the effects of COVID-19 and the disappointment of not being able to finish university in person or have a graduation ceremony, as well as the ridiculous amount of time between finishing exams and receiving results, had been so mentally draining and had exhausted all my emotions so much that there was nothing left to give when the event finally came around.

My parents soon came into my room, smiles on their faces, expressing their happiness and pride, but still I felt nothing. And here I am 4.5 days later still yet to feel any real emotion regarding my results. All I wanted was to go back to sleep (yes, sleeping is still my primary coping mechanism lol). When other people asked if I was pleased, I almost felt obliged to say yes, but in reality this was a lie. I wasn’t unhappy either. I just felt, and still do feel, so indifferent. Everyone else seems so happy for me but I still felt nothing. Nothing could have prepared me for how incredibly underwhelming the experience was.

Why I started this blog…and how it relates to baths!?

Well…the first, and main, reason I decided to start writing this stuff was as a form of ‘therapy’ for myself. My mind was constantly racing with millions of thoughts quickly passing through, jumping from one thing to another, with no structure or coherence. This gave me minimal time to process and understand each thought and left little to no mental capacity for important tasks that I needed to do, such as writing coursework and revising for exams.

Over the last few months I have found writing to be a great outlet and release and has allowed me to organise my thoughts in a much more structured and coherent way than what I am able to do in my brain. Getting things out of my head and down on paper (or screen) has provided me with a sense of relief, somewhat relieving the pressure building up in my brain. My brain was like a bathtub with the tap stuck on, constantly overflowing (see image below), and pulling the plug out didn’t help as the water was still flowing in quicker than it was emptying. The water flowing out the bath represented all the important things I had to remember slipping from my memory, or my ideas escaping from my brain mid-sentence, making me lose my train of thought. I could not focus on tasks and kept forgetting things as everything was overflowing out of my mind, never to be seen again.

How to Handle a Bathroom Flood

By getting some of the thoughts down on paper/screen it almost felt like the tap had been turned down slightly, not completely off, but enough to stop the overflowing and allow the bath to gradually empty to a more acceptable level (see below image; a slightly more relaxing, less hectic experience than before…). Writing things down allowed my brain to finally start emptying slightly, freeing up space in my mind, allowing me to focus on things for a bit longer, without getting so distracted, without losing or forgetting key information part way through.

An oval bathtub filled with bubbles in a … – Buy image – 11396864 ...

Now I hadn’t originally planned on sharing any of this stuff I was writing, it was simply just a strategy I was using to vent and free up some space in my mind for more important things. (DISCLAIMER: This is definitely NOT a ‘feel sorry for me’ thing at all and I don’t want people thinking that!). I was hesitant to make this public for that exact reason. However, whilst talking about it with a mentor I’d been seeing, I thought maybe sharing what I’d written could be beneficial, both for myself and others. I thought perhaps if people read it, they would not only understand me more, but it could help raise awareness and understanding of neurodiversity and mental health conditions and encourage people to seek help. I hoped that maybe such increased awareness could also allow people to be more understanding and accommodating of friends, colleagues and acquaintances, in workplaces, social situations etc. If this could help even one person, it would make it worth it.

Finally, I hope that increasing awareness will aid in busting myths and misconceptions surrounding ADHD and associated mental health problems. For example, people being labelled lazy, rude, stupid, useless etc. I hope this will make people stop and think before labelling someone as such and consider whether there may be underlying issues or that the environment might just not be right for them (yes, I’m looking at you school classrooms and 2 hour long lectures!!) and adjustments may need to be made to accommodate for this.

Introduction

Hi I’m Alice, a 23 year old, recently diagnosed with (ADHD). I enjoy exercising, napping, complaining, making people laugh and impulsively doing reckless things…

Welcome to my blog “I need a nap”. Why is it called this you ask? Well, firstly, anyone who has lived with me or knows me well probably knows that this is one of my most commonly used phrases haha so I thought why not make it the title of this blog. But also because this blog is going to be centred a lot around my mental health struggles which, as anyone who has experienced MH struggles themselves will know, can be extremely mentally and physically draining and can leave you feeling constantly exhausted and in need of a nap.

Naps have always been an escape for me, no matter how I am feeling. Sometimes it’s physical exhaustion, others it’s mental, and sometimes I’m just bored, whilst at other times I just feel overwhelmed by everything and simply need to ‘switch off’ for a bit. Therefore “I need a nap” seemed a fitting title. The main focus of this blog will be ADHD and associated mental health comorbidities, such as anxiety and depression, which often go hand in hand with ADHD.