48 years 3 months 15 days
I had anger issues. I think. It’s hard to know, because I felt like I was in a really strange situation where I was so disliked. As I understand it, the only real negative emotion is fear, and fear stems out to all the other negative emotions (anger, sadness). My move to go to a therapist was for no one else but me. I realized at that point in my life that I had no idea what was real and what wasn’t, meaning what was the truth and what was being told to me — and some things that were told to me over the years were pretty brutal. We’ll get to that.
Finding a therapist is difficult, especially therapists who take insurance, but I finally found someone. We talked a lot, as you do with a therapist, and I broke down a lot, which felt surprisingly good. We dealt with the passing of my mother a few years prior, the relationship with my siblings, my father, and my wife. We talked a lot about where I was working and how I was being shafted on the regular by a megalomaniacal narcissist of a CEO. There was also a lot of breaking down of ideas that I had about myself and what I deserved out of life. This did NOTHING for my marriage at all.
I dismissed the way I felt about how I didn’t belong in my own house, which I blamed on myself and my feelings of depression. I mentioned how there were almost no pictures of me, but a lot of pictures of my wife with her brothers and her friends. I dismissed the constant clutter that gave me anxiety as being my problem. Without taking sides, my therapist assured me that was not my problem alone, and that people with depression are affected that way by their surroundings. It also touched on disrespect at how I was being gaslighted at home about how it was my issue. (I need to interject something: I have done my fair share of gaslighting. There are no heroes, and there are no villains. Except for the aforementioned CEO and my ex-father-in-law).
Among the things we talked about was my lack of focus, at times. My therapist asked me if I would consider getting a neuropsychological evaluation because I may have had a case of Attention Deficit Disorder (although, I’m not sure people realize this, but signs of ADD are comorbid with those who have depression – sometimes attending to the depression will help with the ADD). I really had no reservations at all about taking a neuropsych eval, but I guess some do. I feel that the more I know about myself, the more I know about myself. Then there’s less I don’t know. Does that make sense? A neuropsychological evaluation has to be administered by a PhD, as I understand it (more info here), therefore one was recommended, and an appointment was scheduled. I was “psyched”. Get it? I’ll see myself out…
A neuropsychological evaluation is a series of tests to see how well your brain works when remembering, learning, etc. There are some tests that revolve around motor skills, but that was not the sort of test I was taking. If I did have ADD, it was not the ADHD kind, as I wasn’t hyperactive and did have control over my movements, just my attention and thoughts. I don’t write that to be funny, to be honest. Being me, and if you know me, I feel like I need to make that clear. I won’t go into too much detail on the extent of the testing, but I will say that the person who administered it was super nice, and we just had some really great conversations around psychological things, as well as music. Which seems to follow me (I would be referred to a Psychologist and one point who was a huge music fan and we spent a lot of our time talking about the new Tool album). Some of the test was on paper, some on the computer, some out of a book. It wasn’t stressful, it was matter of fact and, dare I say, fun. I left feeling excited about what insight I might glean about my inner workings, but nothing would have prepared me for the results.
It took a couple of weeks to put together the results, at which time I headed back to the same office. We talked about the test, what it was for, what each part tested for. This guy was so cool that he showed me his answers and we figured some things out together. It was more a conversation than anything else, which put me at ease. One thing he said to me I had forgotten until just now, recounting the experience. He told me, “I have never met anyone with such a psychological mind, and someone who was so self-aware.” I was blown away. Having no formal education to speak of has always left me feeling like less of a person than anyone else, and my in-laws jumped on this like a pack of hyenas. So, for a professional to say this to me meant a lot. Later on, someone else would tell me that he thought I had a law degree, because I spoke better than most lawyers he spoke with, and this person was also a lawyer. Ain’t that a fuckin’ pisser?
The results: ADHD, inattentive type. No big surprise. Again, the “inattentive” indicated that I had focus issues and not the hyperactivity (I know I wrote ADD above, but apparently everything is classified as ADHD, and then a sub-category is specified). I was prepared for all of this, because at a young age I could not pay attention in school. I was bored. I couldn’t start projects easily, and then I couldn’t finish them. “Jason doesn’t apply himself.” Jason was applying himself the best he could. The real surprise came next.
The doc confessed to me that his test wasn’t the typical neuropsychological evaluation, but a hybrid test with some intelligent quotient (IQ) elements. “Your IQ is much higher than average.” Excuse me? MY IQ? That can’t be right. In fifth grade they told me I wasn’t good at math, my high-school counselor told me I would never get into a four year school. I didn’t APPLY MYSELF. Sitting there in this doctor’s office, the mirror I held up to myself for the better part of 25 or more years, shattered. I thanked the doctor and his receptionist, left the building, got into my car, and cried. It started out as a sad cry, a cry for Jason from school aged until the present who was given a raw deal and for all the adults who made him question his belief in himself, his worth. I grieved for that kid. But the tears turned into tears of joy, of excitement. Surely, someone with a higher than average IQ can do…well, anything he wanted to! The mind that I thought was limiting me, wasn’t. It was just caked over with negativity and false information that had been lavished on me. Things were different now.
And things were about to get even more different.