On friendship.

I am shit about responding to anything from anyone at any time. My attention problems create a lot of scenarios in my life where person A has contacted me in some form (maybe a Facebook message, maybe a text message, maybe an instagram comment, maybe a blog comment) and I never responded. And it is almost ALWAYS because I’ve forgotten.

I know this makes me a shitty friend, but here’s how my brain works.

I have an inability to hold onto most thoughts in my head. At first my doctors/therapists blamed this entirely on my anxiety disorder because my brain pushes everything aside but the things currently causing me anxiety. So I lose my keys 100 times a day because I’m worrying about everything else (laundry, appointments, homework) and so my brain doesn’t remember where I put them.

But now my psychiatrist wants to evaluate me for an attention deficit disorder as soon as I have insurance/money again. And you know what? Just knowing that he thinks that may be the problem me causes me so much relief. He says it’s hard sometimes in that type of memory hole to blame anxiety or attention deficit…it’s usually just a bad combination of both as they are intertwined together.

The funny thing is that one of the big anxiety weights I carry is assuming no one likes me. So, you would think that the worry that everyone hates me would make me anxiously obsessing over making sure I didn’t do anything wrong, but you know what? IT DOES NOT. I am constantly worried about no one liking me while simultaneously sabotaging all friendships by forgetting to interact with friends.

I do have one friendship-fostering trait that helps, I think. I hold zero grudges. So, even if someone has done me wrong, I forget about that too! Or maybe I don’t forget, as much as I’m so aware of my many flaws that I can compartmentalize their flaws or their past sins and create a friendship with the rest of the person and love the other parts of the person just fine. So…I’m never holding out on friendship to wait on an apology or anything.

It’s much easier to push aside someone else’s faults than my own, so they’re not at the center of my brain. I can be aware that Person A used to hate me and talk bad about me and never really apologized for that, but I can keep that far away from the front of my brain to maintain a strong relationship with that person now. As a matter of fact, I can push that history aside so easily that I’ll still find myself more worried about whether or not they’re mad at me.

Is this good? I don’t know. But it does make one thing abundantly clear: I am always assuming I’m the bad guy in every friendship. No matter what, if there’s some sort of magical Friendship tally point board somewhere I always…ALWAYS assume I’ve got the fewest points in our friendship.

Someone recently reached out to me, worried I was mad because of the numerous ways I’ve not responded to them. And it reminded me that I am never mad at anyone. Like…EVER. It caught me off guard because I thought we interacted a lot! And so now I feel bad, but luckily this is someone very much like me so we chatted and everything is fine. I was actually glad she reached out, I’d never do that, I’m too much of a chicken.

I guess this is just a rambling post to say: I am never mad at anyone. This may be a bad thing (there are people in my life who know me intimately well who would say: THIS IS DEFINITELY A BAD THING IN SOME RELATIONSHIPS) in some ways, but it makes it easy to ease someone’s mind. I just am shit about responding to contact in any way. I am hoping that maybe with a psychiatrist who wants to maybe try to evaluate me for an attention deficit disorder we can change the approach to some things in the area of mental health and maybe this will help make me better about keeping up with communications from friends.

Or maybe at least I can start to be kinder to myself and quit telling myself I’m a shit friend and say, “My brain chemistry fucks with my ability to nurture friendships,” and be a little more kind to myself.

4 thoughts on “On friendship.”

  1. Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! for the ADD/ADHD eval.
    It is really under diagnosed in women!!! I have wondered about it many times as you talk so am excited that it is in your future.
    Julie A

  2. Holy shit, this sounds exactly like me! And it might be a coincidence but I was diagnosed with ADD/ADHD last year.

  3. Through observing how others interact with you online, I perceive you as being super competent at maintaining friendships, and if I’m really being honest, I’m jealous and would like to learn your ways with people. I think you are well-liked by your friends and if by chance there are any who don’t, they are probably jealous. 🙂

    I’m autism level 1 (formerly aspergers), ADHD type inattentive, and have “clinically significant” social anxiety, and the diagnoses provided me a bit of relief and self-forgiveness. You’re right about anxiety and ADHD intertwining. I hope the evaluation brings you relief, the answers you seek, and including hopefully some self-love and self-forgiveness. 🙂

  4. Hi! Another recently diagnosed ADHD reader here! I empathize so much with your insurance situation here and hope that you can give yourself so much kindness in the meantime!

    Something that was endlessly helpful for me was the How to ADHD YouTube channel. Really accessible, fun (short) videos, helpful tips, and they even have one about how bullet journaling is great for ADHD brains!

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