“It’s dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step off onto the road and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no telling where you’ll be swept off to.”Bilbo Baggins
Dangerous growth is not for everyone. It’s an adventure that takes strength, fortitude, and a mentor that can walk through the process with you.
I spent years trying to fix the wrong thing before committing myself to this path of dangerous growth. Here’s how it happened.
Beginning of Growth
I was nineteen. The gray carpet matched the fabric of the chair I sat on. Fluorescent bulbs gave off a cold, uninviting light in the office. I’d gone to Marquette for a psychiatric evaluation. All sorts of tests occupied my mind. Puzzles and questions followed me everywhere.
In time, it was over. The professionals had a consensus. ADHD. With signs of possible cyclothymia. For those unfamiliar, cyclothymia is a mild form of bipolar disorder.
Ecstasy swelled in my chest. I knew what was wrong with me. Finally. I had ADHD. Of course. No wonder I wasn’t living up to my potential at school. I had no medication and no coping mechanisms. This would be easy to fix!
How wrong I was.
Over the next ten years, I went to school, got a two-year degree, moved across the country, got married, and moved again. I’d been married for almost three years when a realization hit me like a train.
No matter what I tried, no matter how many coping mechanisms I used, my ADHD was not improving. I still spent days in a daze of inability to get things done. I still struggled with crippling bouts of depression. On the days my “ADHD” flared too badly, I’d go on mad cleaning sprees and mop the floor four or five times.
Certainly, the floor didn’t need it.
Something else had to be affecting me.
Time for a re-evaluation. I found a local psychiatrist where we were living at the time and made up my mind to answer every question as honestly as I possibly could.
Her assessment sent electric jolts of shock through me.
I didn’t have ADHD. I never had. Instead, she diagnosed me with bipolar 1 and borderline personality disorder. I thought I couldn’t feel more defeated. Then my husband at the time filed for divorce after finding out about my new diagnosis.
I didn’t keep my feet. Or my head. I spiraled out of control until I found both again. When I did, I was a year out from a divorce, sitting in a new therapist’s office.
My meeting with her would change my life. I chose this path, where growth has a price, and one well worth paying. The first thing I said to her was, “I don’t want to be making the same mistakes ten years from now that I’m making now.”
She didn’t think I was serious and warned me I probably didn’t know what I was saying.
I didn’t. However, I stuck with it. I re-learned how to feel. How to move in the world. How to express my thoughts while not losing myself. It’s been a wild ride, and I’m here to share with you the ups and downs I’ve had and still experience to this day in hopes that it might help someone in a similar position.
If you’re having a difficult time, or even just need some encouragement, feel free to drop a comment below.