Ever since I have memory and went to school, I knew this about myself: I couldn’t take notes because it distracted me from the class, and I didn’t like to do any homework. The first problem was easily solved when I adopted a keyword system to take notes and the second never really was a problem in the early stages of my education, because I used to get good results at exams. I remember that my mother always tells this story where she gets called by one of my teachers to talk with her and when she arrives, she was angry because I never did anything in class and never delivered one single homework, but at the exam I got the best possible grade. She urged my mother to make me do the things I had to do, because that kind of things could give me troubles later in life. She was right.
You see, not doing homework or not taking notes properly were not problems by themselves, they were sings of something else. Something bigger. Also, they were not the only sings. For years I was called lazy, stupid, careless, and more. For a long time, I believed those words. But what made it worse was when I stopped believing them. If I didn’t do the things I had to do, It was simply because I did not want to do them. The moment I would want to, I told myself, I would do them with ease.
The moment came, however. When I was 19, I met an amazing woman who wanted to go to the same University I wanted to go and who wanted to study the same thing I wanted to. We fell in love. She is one of the reasons I’m doing this, because I failed her. She is the strongest, most intelligent, most empathetic person I have ever met, and I failed her, because the moment I told myself “Now I do have motives to do things, I will do them” I couldn’t. And to make things worse, she needed me, because I am not the only person who struggles in this world. She has bipolar disorder, she needed her couple to be a stable, responsible and understanding man. But I couldn’t be that man, no matter how much I loved her.
(Here I leave a few videos to help you understand, in the case you don’t know, what bipolar disorder is).
I hope what follows is just and fair to her and to other people who have bipolar disorder. Living with it and living with someone who has it, is not easy at all. People with this condition can go into a very heavy depression or into states full of energy, impulsiveness and irritability without warning, without reason. It’s a constant struggle, an endless fight. I was supposed to be the one who would understand her and protect her, I was to build a safe space for her, a home. I was not ready for such thing and I ruined it in so many ways that It would take a book to describe them. And yes, I know that nobody really is ready for such a thing, specially at such young age. Yet, if there was a way to measure how well or bad you did into doing something, ranging from 1 to 10, I would have gotten minus 5.
For reasons that came clear too late, about five years I kept quitting my jobs, getting fired, I kept being irresponsible with my obligations in the hose, I kept neglecting myself and my loved one. Some people think that because I don’t drink or smoke or use drugs, I am a very healthy guy. I am not, I turned my apartment into a cave. Dark, dirty, almost empty, with boxes all around with things inside that never found a place to be because I never had the money to buy furniture. And myself? Couldn’t study, couldn’t read, couldn’t stay in a job, couldn’t clean or even shower, couldn’t give my family the life they deserved.
You may think that sounds like depression and yes, I had depression, but not just depression. However, before getting into that, I would like to tell you about the consequences of living like this:
First of all, debt. I have had debt for years and years. I finish paying one and within months, I have to ask for money again. It’s incredibly consuming because you ask to the bank, say, 10 dollars and you have to pay 20 back. I have been stalked by banks by phone, mail, e-mail and at my door. At one time, they used to send two to four guys in motorcycles to ask for the money every week, the knocked at the door, rang the bell and once they even shouted my name all loud for me to come outside and when I didn’t open, they would print this very long tickets with my information, my name and how much I owed them, and paste them in the door of our building, not just one but two, three, four, five or more, it was humiliating. Nowadays I still owe money to one bank and one telephone company, but I believe it to be under control, as they don’t pressure me as much as other institutions do. The money I’m asking you for right now is not for that, because I have more urgent things and because it would be a lot more money.
Second consequence of not doing the things you are supposed to do: you don’t do well in the University. It was my dream for years to study what I study where I study it. Or should I say “study”? Again, for years I could never read anything I was supposed to read or deliver anything I was supposed to deliver. I failed over and over again. I had people that I liked and wanted to be friend with to hate me because I failed them at team assignments, constantly, leaving them with the total amount of work all by themselves. I got to a point where I stopped giving excuses and simply hid myself, stopped answering calls and messages. Although I kept studding by myself, I had to do it in terms that would accommodate me, so basically, I stopped attending school.
Third and probably worst thing that happens when you don’t do the things you are supposed to do: you slowly kill the person that has been with you all this time, that trusted you, that had faith in you, that loves or loved you, that needed you. I don’t have many words to describe this. The fact that we never had money, that I neglected her over and over again, that I never did what I promised her I would do, that I did nothing to be good to her has destroyed her entirely, and I fear, has made her suffer so much that she will forever by scared. I will forever be on her debt, more than anything else, because she took care of everything, moth monetary and emotionally. She dealt with the needs of the house, she dealt with her own mental disorder and she dealt with me…
At this point I hope I have said enough to be clear about how much my life is currently destroyed, because now it’s time to talk about why it is destroyed. You see, in six years many things happen, even if you are a “not doer”. My girlfriend tried to help me several times and even I tried to help myself. I studied everything I could about the strength of will, about how to overcome problems, about how to push oneself out of the bed. And while this helped a bit, for instance, I studied stoicism and I learnt how to stop suffering about many things that are not in my hands, it was not enough to change the parasite I had become.
That didn’t change until last year when, while going through some papers I had recovered from my parent’s home, I found a document with a diagnose that was made to me when I was 13 years old. I remembered I had gone to the psychologist because that’s when my depression started, due to my inability to handle some heavy bulling I had to go through back then. Alongside the depression diagnose, there was another one: “ADHD”.
At first, I went into denial. I didn’t even know what that was. But my girlfriend, who as you know, is no stranger to mental disorders, did her research and then explained what ADHD was to me. This, my dear reader, changed my life. It all started to make sense, it all started to connect. I went over my whole life, reconstructing everything down the light of my newfound knowledge about myself and I understood hundreds of things about my past. Let me try to put us in the same page about ADHD with the help of a pair of videos.
Turns out I wasn’t lazy or stupid or a slacker, or a jerk or a parasite, I was a person with a mental condition that needed treatment and who wasn’t treated. First thing I did was to go with my parents for some explaining. Turns out they knew all along, ever since I was 6, but decided to do nothing because they thought psychiatrists and psychologists were wrong. Why? You may ask. Turns out there are three main types of ADHD: hyperactive type, inattentive type and combined. Hyperactive type ADHD is the stereotypical form of ADHD, the kid who can’t focus in class and runs all over the room, who can’t stay still, who is loud, who gets bad grades and so on. This is an unfair representation of any person with ADHD but it’s way more complex than that, although we do show that kind of attitudes and behaviors sometimes, depending on the person. And yes, we can get good grades. I haven’t been able to confirm this, but there are rumors that Einstein and Stephen Hawking had ADHD!
I, on the other hand, have the inattentive type of ADHD. Meaning I can stay still, for instance, but my mind still wonders a lot around and, as Jessica, the girl from the video puts it, ADHD has to do with more than just the attention. We have troubles with the executive function, which is the part or function of the brain who literally takes care of executing things. That’s the reason I was never able to do the things I was supposed to do! That’s why I never did my homework… or my room… or the dishes… or anything. That’s why no matter how much I loved my girlfriend of how important it was for me to attend school, no matter how much we suffered because our pockets have been empty for years and we sometimes don’t have anything to eat, I could never stand up and do the thing I had to do.
Second and most important thing I did after learning about my ADHD: I went to a physiatrist. I confirmed my diagnose, I do have ADHD and also depression. I was prescribed medication and after thinking it very hard… I took my first pill. The change, the feeling, the difference was strong, powerful. The very first week I took my medication, I started reading, writing, finishing projects, cleaning the house. I felt energy, I felt strength and I noticed how the tools I had accumulated along the years to cope with my life started giving even deeper and more meaningful results. I even found a job. I, once again and for the last time, leave her some videos that may shed some light into the matter:
The thing is, and here’s the reason I’m writing this, I took my first pill less than a month ago and I feel like Neo waking up from the Matrix. I feel strong, yes, alive, yes, capable. I can do things I never could before, I’m pretty sure I can give a fight to life now! But at the same time everything around my is a war zone. My academic career is almost inexistent, my relationship is a mess, a total mess and the lack of money has gone so bad that I had to start selling things of personal use to stay afloat.
Didn’t I say I found a job? Yes, I did, but because of paperwork I won’t be able to start working until next month and there is something worse than that. Back in December, on the very 25th, my landlord sent me a message. He wants us, my girlfriend, my cat and myself to move out of what has been our home for about 6 years. Why? He is changing the building into offices. He gave me two months, January and February. I spent half January gathering money to buy my pills and have been using the rest of the time to try to find a way to make enough money to face what is to come. Until now, it hasn’t been much.
My life is at a turning point and it can either go very well or very, very bad. I assure you, I live differently now. I don’t know how to put it, but I feel like I have been born again, like if I wasn’t living before. Depression is almost gone, ADHD still affects my every day but now I can focus on changing things, on doing things to fight back. But my girlfriend, the woman I love, the woman who supported me all these years paid a heavy price for it. She is broken, desperate, damaged. I want to go back to school, I want to work hard at my newfound job, I want to take back control over my life… and give her, my love, everything she needs. But if I don’t have enough money by the end of February, I will have no other option but to say bye to her and watch as she goes back to live with her parents while I will probably have to do the same. I will probably hate myself forever if I let that happen and I am trying to find a way to stop it. That is the deadline, she has had enough, and I understand her. That is why I come to you all, in desperate times.
How will I use the money, then? (The following is an updated list of the things I need to cover, taking into account what has happened in the last few days and that I explain in the “Updates” section).
- I will pay everything related to my change of place. I do not know exactly how much it is going to be, but I know it will be about $40 for the truck and boxes and that stuff, $200 for maintenance I need to pay in the apparent I am leaving and the hard part, the new rent. Here in my country people ask you for one of two things to rent. You either give them the rent of the first month, a second rent in guarantee and a second guarantee in form of a singed document of someone who owns a property who puts that property on behalf of you, so that in the case you don’t pay, they can ask the bank to mortgage that property to get the money, or, you give them a third rent in advanced as second guarantee. I do not know anyone who is willing to give me that signature or who even owns a property, so I will have to give out the third rent. Right now the cheapest apparent I have been able to find not too far from my new job and the university is in around $350 a month, so that is about $900 to be able to rent in the first place. That makes a total of about $1200, just for the change of place.
- Medical treatment. Just as I mentioned in the updates, I ran out of pills for my ADHD and I am already feeling how my ability to focus is going downhill. I need them to face this situation, I need to be alert in order to fight this part of my life, but I have no money to buy another flask. I need $30 for this.
- My cat needs an ultrasound, as she may have cancer. I don't know how much would the treatment cost if she does have cancer, but the ultrasound will be around $25.
- I need food and other basic items. As I mentioned, my girl lost her job this week and the little I can while paperwork in my new job gets filled is not enough. We need enough money to get is through at least one month. I believe we we make it with $250.
Dear reader, I thank you for being here, for reading all this and, if you have decided to help me and you can help me, I thank too, I thank you a lot. I need a fresh start. I need a second chance in life. I need it and I want it with all my soul. And, of course, I want to give the wonderful woman who has stayed with me through all this what she deserves: to be happy and to be at peace, to heal all the wounds I let her receive or caused her. Help me pay a new place to live, a new place to start over, a new place to heal. Help me buy me some time to recover the control over my life.
Thanks for your time.