I'm struggling to process but happy to be here! (UK)

[Trigger warning: mentions sexual abuse].

Hello lovely people! It's so great to meet you all.

I found out I had MD last night, despite having it all my life. I had a very intense reaction as so many things made sense suddenly, but it is also validating because now I know for sure that I'm not making up any of my problems, going "crazy" etc. And I am so grateful to know that I am not alone anymore. 

But I am finding it very difficult dealing with the knowledge that MD is commonly linked to sexual abuse in childhood. It's only been about 2 years since I first recognized my experiences for what they were, and knowing my disorder is a result of it hurts a lot. Does anyone else feel/felt similar? How did you deal with it? Is it possible to get a proper diagnosis from a doctor/GP?

Anyway, I cannot thank the existence of this network enough. Signing up has already relieved a lot of anxiety and I'm so happy to meet people who already know me better than most! I'm looking forward to my recovery, and if anyone else is looking for support like me, I'm here for you and your recovery too. 

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Comment by Jessica Ballantyne on May 17, 2021 at 5:37pm

Everybody simply didn't find me an interactive and talkative person. Which in their mind wasn't normal. I didn't have a clue what was the matter. I just didn't want to talk much. People always thought I was either stupid, tired or thinking a lot, or in a bad mood. It tore me up. I wish that I could explain to them what was going on with me. But I found this hard to do. Many thought I was being hostile on purpose, so they ultimately got mean. When I say mean, some of them were pretty nasty to me. It took me years to get over the traumas evolving around my quiet demeanour. Most of the events happened in my home town in all the schools I attended and places I worked at. Interestingly enough, I never left my hometown. Any other person would've flown away for good riddance. But I couldn't afford to move out after making precarious career decisions. So I used my MD to keep me uplifted, as my life seemed to head nowhere. My adulthood wasn't close to what I imagined it would be. I never moved out, thrived in a career, nor married and didn't have children. I didn't even achieve my goals to travel. My mom believed that I couldn't succeed in anything all except for art. I took her word for it, as I've had so many jobs since I was a teenager, but none so long enough to keep me independent. I had problems with communicating and performing well at work. The staff and customers found me rather shy and unlikable. Rest of my career life, I mainly worked on a computer at desk, doing freelance projects for clients. Though I felt like I was in solitary confinement, I used my MD to escape feeling bored and lonely—I still do this today. 

Comment by Kiruba Shankar Victor on May 16, 2021 at 10:25pm

Well, yeah, it keeps us trapped and not wanting to get out of it. I think at the center of it all, MD happens because of some unfulfilled need or the need for closure from a bad experience. Like for me, it was the need to be "cool" and popular amongst others in school that started this cycle for me. What do you all think? Does this make sense?

Comment by Jessica Ballantyne on May 16, 2021 at 1:40pm

MD at first made me feel happy, but really, it turned my life upside down. I was mentally incapable of making good decisions, traveling places and maintaining positive relationships. MD actually swept me away from having it better, which is ironic. When I was in my youth, MD seemed to naturally be a part of who I was, so I didn't mind it. It took me on wild adventures and mystery rides, while I walked through my everyday life. So basically, I had a real life that never was, because I was mentally preoccupied in my fictional life. When I came of age, I had plans to travel and showcase my artwork, but my plans got foiled. My family found out about my daydreaming and my mom felt she had to restrain me. So I didn't travel anywhere and take much school after I graduated from college. I was working hard in a string of jobs to make myself financially secure, so I didn't make time to do much art and hardly displayed anything I did. I got lazy and was addicted to online videos. So I only draw and paint on weekends. Still, I haven't managed a plan of attack to be independent, because my jobs typically don't last a year. It's so frustrating that it's hard to get a job and prove yourself these days. Why can't companies just keep you on board? 


Comment by Kiruba Shankar Victor on May 14, 2021 at 7:13pm

I've only recently found out that my name means grace in Tamil. So that has given me something to be happy about. So thanks for the graceful words, Ruthie. The only time I'm not MDing is when I'm actively involved in something, like gaming or university work. Else, it feels like my brain is a theatre playing movies of imaginary scenarios in my head. 

Comment by Jessica Ballantyne on May 14, 2021 at 4:39pm

I don't know how we get Autism by nature. Why are some of us born with brains that are wired differently from the normal population? How come autism prevents some of us from interacting and talking properly? Do we daydream excessively, because we feel left out, socially, or we feel neglected or misunderstood by others? I did MD, because I didn't fit in and couldn't connect with people on any level, so relationships and friends weren't always there, or almost never. This is why so many people used to make fun of me.  Significantly enough, is that I could've been more successful at being in relationships and had more friends if I hadn't been daydreaming at all. I just didn't know any better. 

Comment by Ruthie on May 14, 2021 at 11:42am

Hi Jessica and Kiruba,

Thank you so much for sharing your stories with me and it's great to meet you both.

Jessica, I can't imagine how difficult it must've been for you to have such colossal realisations in your late 20s/early 30s. My mum has autism and she too struggled with MD - she even said if it were possible to count up the hours of MDing, it would amount to at least five years of her life - and she only found out about MD through me a couple days ago. Plus, we only discovered she had autism about 5 years ago and she's 57. I can't imagine what it must've been like for her, or for you, but she is a living testimony to managing MD and autism in a happy, healthy way despite her very difficult life, and especially difficult start to life. Not that her life is suddenly perfect all of a sudden but I hope her life brings some hope to you in some way.

Having a functional social and work life is hard enough for neurotypicals, let alone people like us, let alone for people like us trying to live independantly, let alone IN A PANDEMINC OMG!!!! My brother also has autism. Although he doesn't have MD, he had spent three years at home, depressed, unmotivated, unemployed, escpaing his life online, and struggling also - albeit for different reasons - with creating and maintaining relationships and friendships. So the last thing I would describe your career and home living as shameful. My brother must have also felt ashamed at the time but we'd always remind him, as I'm reminding you, we're only at where we're at, and there shouldn't be any judgement of good or bad when someone is in need of support, especially when that someone is you.

The pandemic exacerbated my MD severely, which is probably a shared experience amongst us all. I'm sorry to hear the unfortunate timing of the pandemic on your attempted breakthrough though. I love your moving-forward attitude! Don't give up hope even if your breakthrough is delayed! If you still need MD to get you through your day, I'm the last person to tell you to stop - I am no hypocrite. MD is a survival mechanism at the end of the day, just an overused one. Despite not having the means to open up a wider social circle, I would gently suggest you could fall back on other distractions, real distractions like hobbies, than your mind, to help you through this time. Easier said than done though! 

Kiruba - which is a GORGEOUS name by the way - hearing how your family's views have isolated you is heartbreaking but I am rejoicing in how you have made a new, independant life for yourself in Chennai. I can totally relate to you and your relationship with academia at the moment. I'm attending university and I failed everything last semester due to MD and a few other issues, which made me suicidal for a while. So my deepest sympathies to you and your backlogs. It becomes a vicious cycle - the stress of work aggravates MD, so I daydream instead of work and then become more stress as I've procrastinated for HOURS and on and on and on - and it's so hard to break! I'm sorry I don't have many helpful thoughts, as I'm still struggling with the same thing, but I stand in solidarity with you. It's gutting to know MD is not recognised in DSM 5 when it really should be. I guess it's up to us to campaign/spread the word until it does! :)

To both of you, take only what you think is helpful from what I've said. I'm sorry if I've offered any unsolicited advice which has not been helpful. Please ignore or correct me if so. Anyway, be kind to yourselves - you guys deserve it!

Comment by Kiruba Shankar Victor on May 14, 2021 at 1:45am

My MD is related to bullying and cornering, similar to Jessica's experience here. Except for me, it was because of a conservative upbringing. I was unable to make friends, or jam with the popular group, you can say. Because of that, my teens were troubling. MD had set it's roots way back at that time, when I dreamt of myself but with a different, more "cooler" name. Eventually, I moved to Chennai, India, where it was easier to make friends, but I still was MDing often, and I procrastinated a lot because of that. It pretty much ruined my studies to the point where I had 26 backlogs in my college. Since MD isn't exactly listed in the DSM 5 as a disorder in and of itself, it's tough to get diagnosed. By the way, nice to meet you and looking forward to all of our recoveries.

Comment by Jessica Ballantyne on May 13, 2021 at 5:40pm

My MD was linked to bullying and verbal abuse, because I was a nonverbal child, due to my Asperger syndrome. I spent my whole life preferring to think my own thoughts and fantasize, over expressing myself and interacting among others. Many found me very weird that way. Apparently, it made me look dumb and unfriendly, so I seldom had any friends. It took me until 29 to learn I had MD and 30 is when I got diagnosed with Asperger's. The two tied together made my adulthood trouble. As people could easily tell I wasn't with it, because I wasn't listening to them. I bothered many others with my strong silence, and they often asked me why I simply didn't want to talk. I guess it's that I lived in my head so much, so I forgot to talk out loud over time, which ruined my social life and relationships didn't exist. I also wasn't very successful in a career and depended on my parents for food and housing. It was very shameful actually. 

Currently I work remotely during COVID, so it's not like I suffer with anxiety. I was going to make a breakthrough with being more social, but the pandemic made it so hard. Guess I have to wait another year to do that. I often use my MD as escapism dealing with this locked indoors kind of life. It's really all I have right now, since I'm not seeing anyone. 


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