View Full Version : Hyperfocus on the past


EuropeanADHD
05-20-17, 12:26 PM
I currently have a quite strong depression I'm struggling to get rid of.

During that time I've been especially fixated and obsessed with my family life in the past. This has been going on for half a year already.

Let me explain. My childhood was a bit complex. I was born in a quite poor family and my parents really had to struggle to sustain my siblings and me. At the same time especially my mother tended to be quite aggressive at times. She used to lose it from time to time and I was devalued, told I was "not normal", a "psycho" or a "s**t". At that time I excelled at school and mostly spent all my days just studying, I wasn't a difficult child. I also had to take care of my younger siblings. My mother also had some control issues, she used to go through my personal stuff and shout at me when she found something she didn't like (it wasn't objectively anything shocking, let's say an essay I wrote, which she found critical - she believes I should never criticise anything). She also always told me to mind my weight, since I was a heavily-built child. I remember I was on a diet even when I was 7 - already then I could lecture people on how many calories 100 g carrots has :)

Later she didn't want me to enrol at the university into what I wanted to study and shouted at me till I finely changed it into something she accepted.

When I think about my childhood and teenager years I remember I cried a lot. At the same time, I know my parents did everything to support us, they worked really a lot, had a lot of stress.

I got anorexic back there, and then bulimic.

When I ended my high-school I just wanted to move as far as possible. I got into a university far away from home - a program my mother wanted and I hated from the very beginning.

During the years at university I visited my family like 3-4 times a year. My mother was still very controlling to the extent of stealing from me a dress which she didn't like. I normally used to come back from these visits in tears and totally unbalanced.

It was important to me to get independent as soon as possible. I quickly started to get scholarships to cover all my study expenses so I didn't need financial help from them during most of the time. I studied really a lot during that time. I also started to think I may have ADD because of problems with concentration, although didn't go to a doctor for many more years.

After I moved out my parents almost never contacted me themselves. I sometimes didn't hear from them for months. When I wrote them an email, I received a one-line response from my mother. Since I moved out 14 years ago my father has never written me an email or called me (he's an engineer, he knows how to use communication technology). I remember several years ago I went abroad to a very dangerous country, where I was to spend several months. They never inquired whether I was still alive during that time. Being there and being aware that if something happens nobody will know or care was a really crazy feeling. I had never felt so lonely in my life.

I wrote that to give you some background.

In my adult life I've been having problems in my professional life. Living in countries, where your degree matters a lot, and having a degree in a field that's not very marketable, I find it difficult to find a job. So work is basically the main focus of my adult life. My siblings got good degrees, earn much more than I do and never had to go through the stress I've had all my adult life. They have also been additionally supported by my parents financially for most of their adult lives (my parents are much better off now). When I tried to ask for help, my parents reacted as if it wasn't ok for me to ask at all. They gave me some money, but because of their reaction I felt so guilty and ashamed for asking for help I can't describe it.

I guess my question is why I got so obsessed with this story now. My childhood was not perfect, but also not the worst one. I wasn't mishandled. My parents took care of me, they took care about my health. When I discovered I had a breast tumor last year (it wasn't clear whether it was malicious or not), they helped me to find a doctor. I'm angry because of my job, but then I should have struggled against my family's decision and get a different degree - I'm completely aware that I was my decision to adjust to their expectation. Basically on the rational level I'm aware that my family life wasn't all bad and that there are no perfect parents, that we all make mistakes. I'm an adult now and I'm the only person responsible for my life.

I spent years not thinking about my family too much. And now I'm just obsessed and it threw me into depression. I feel almost physical pain when thinking about seeing my parents. I spent the last Christmas and Easter alone since I just can't bear it anymore. I don't feel like seeing them ever again. I feel horribly guilty because of that, because they are my parents and they did so much for me. Any ideas why it came now, 14 years after I moved out from them?

Sorry for the long thread.

Little Missy
05-20-17, 12:44 PM
Because they are your family, and you love them.

sarahsweets
05-21-17, 06:35 AM
When I think about my childhood and teenager years I remember I cried a lot. At the same time, I know my parents did everything to support us, they worked really a lot, had a lot of stress.

Do not confuse having your basic needs met with support in the mental health sense. Plenty of kids have food to eat and clothes to wear but are emotionally neglected.

`In my adult life I've been having problems in my professional life. Living in countries, where your degree matters a lot, and having a degree in a field that's not very marketable, I find it difficult to find a job. So work is basically the main focus of my adult life. My siblings got good degrees, earn much more than I do and never had to go through the stress I've had all my adult life. They have also been additionally supported by my parents financially for most of their adult lives (my parents are much better off now). When I tried to ask for help, my parents reacted as if it wasn't ok for me to ask at all. They gave me some money, but because of their reaction I felt so guilty and ashamed for asking for help I can't describe it.

I bet that makes you feel bad. Knowing your sibilings have it differently than you must hurt. Are you the oldest?

I guess my question is why I got so obsessed with this story now. My childhood was not perfect, but also not the worst one. I wasn't mishandled. My parents took care of me, they took care about my health. When I discovered I had a breast tumor last year (it wasn't clear whether it was malicious or not), they helped me to find a doctor. I'm angry because of my job, but then I should have struggled against my family's decision and get a different degree - I'm completely aware that I was my decision to adjust to their expectation. Basically on the rational level I'm aware that my family life wasn't all bad and that there are no perfect parents, that we all make mistakes.
You do not have to justify their behaviors and invalidate your feelings about your childhood. Your experiences are real and vivid. Just because your parents occasionally stepped up to the plate doesnt mean all the years of hurt and neglect are ok. Its not ok. You have just as much of a right to their attention and concern as your siblings. For whatever reason, they did neglect you. Coming to terms with that and that its not your fault, and that you are doing the best you can will help you heal.

[quote] I'm an adult now and I'm the only person responsible for my life.

There is this theory in the recovering community that the points at which we needed emotional support in our youth and did not receive its sort of stalled our emotional development. Its like we lived up and until that point when something big happened and then plateued. It took therapy and clarity to move beyond that but it is possible.

I spent years not thinking about my family too much. And now I'm just obsessed and it threw me into depression. I feel almost physical pain when thinking about seeing my parents. I spent the last Christmas and Easter alone since I just can't bear it anymore. I don't feel like seeing them ever again. I feel horribly guilty because of that, because they are my parents and they did so much for me. Any ideas why it came now, 14 years after I moved out from them?

You seem to have reached a turning point in your life which is why I think its an issue you are dealing with now. These points happen to us more than once.
Its important that you deal with the past, but that you do not let it dictate what you do now. Are you in therapy? I really recommend you consider it in addition to treating your adhd.
You are allowed to feel the pain and learn self care. What you do not want to do is let old pain affect new experiences.