ADHD induced puberty

I believe it is time for me to open up about the worst period of my life. The part I’m ashamed of, the part I have been hiding from myself and everyone around me. The years I have never been honest about, or actually, never been able to talk about. It is the period in between my childhood struggles and my ADHD diagnosis.

This period started the summer before I turned 13, in a tent on a camping site, close to the Dutch sea. It was the summer after a year filled with rejections. The first year of high school, or secondary school, with a lot of new people, and a lot more people, that all made me feel like I was different, like I did not belong. Especially in combination with the ongoing abuse at home, my self-esteem had dropped to the absolute zero, I was lonely, angry, and most of all extremely sad. But on this camping site there was a boy, a much older boy, and he seemed interested in me. We talked, went swimming, went for a walk on the beach and then he asked me if he could visit me in my tent in the night. Naive as I was, I thought we would continue our conversations, but off course this was not his plan.

He entered my tent when my parents had fallen asleep in the caravan next to it. He entered and opened my sleeping bag, he was cold he said. Once he was laying next to me, he asked if I wanted to touch him. No, I said, I thought we would just talk. He started laughing, you naive girl, off course I am not here to talk to you. He took off his pants, and then his underwear, and made my hand touch him. I told him I didn’t want this, I told him he had to leave, I got upset, I started crying. He got angry with me, you agreed on me coming here, you allowed me in, now you have to finish what you have started. He tried to take off my pajamas and I was struggling. Quit he said, when you wake up your parents they will be super angry with you. He was right, they would be angry about him being here, they would get angry with me. I stopped fighting him, the thought of another one of my dad’s beatings seemed worse than what was happening here. I silently cried, and let him have his way with me, at least this wouldn’t cause me any bruises I thought.

I did not sleep that night after he left, I showered many times, I felt so dirty, I felt so angry with myself, I believed I had done this to myself. I did not see this guy had been wrong, I did not understand that I had been raped. After all these years of abuse, I believed I was the reason, I was wrong, I did deserve this and I was to blame, like how it was my own fault my dad beat my so often. It was all on me.

After this summer, after this night, I changed. I no longer tried to fit in, I no longer tried to make friends, I gave up. I stopped swimming, which I had done and loved since I was 4, but I just did not allow myself the fun anymore. I stopped hanging out with other kids, because I believed I would infect them with my unworthiness. I stopped visiting my grandparents, because I believed I was not worth their love. I started to challenge my dad, make him beat me more and harder, increase the pain. When he was not at home, I started cutting myself, all over my body. Not because I wanted to kill myself, just because I wanted to feel the pain I believed I deserved. I felt I was worthless, I felt I was not allowed any good things, I felt I had to feel miserable, because that’s what everyone else thought of me.

I started to have boyfriends, all just for a few weeks. I used them for sex, I used them to make me feel as miserable as I had felt this first time, in the tent. I never wanted them to like me, I wanted them to hurt me even more. I started behaving exactly how they did not want me to behave, crazy jealous, completely not interested or just crazy. I tried everything to make them think bad about me, to make them also believe I was not worth anything, and when I succeeded I moved on to the next boy, making his life miserable until he would have to agree with me, that I am a terrible person.

Pain. Everything was about feeling as much pain as possible, because I simply just did not deserve anything else. But then I turned fifteen, and my body had become terrifying, filled with scars, fresh cuts and bruises. I started to look for other things that could make me feel better, without hurting myself more, because it looked my body wouldn’t be able to take much more. I was out of fresh skin. Shortly after my fifteenth birthday, my older cousin took me to a party, a party of which I do not remember much. I remember my first 3 glasses of vodka Redbull, I remember how the pain disappeared, I remember how I started dancing and laughing, how I felt free for a little while. The next morning I woke up on my aunt’s couch, with an extreme headache. Straight away I knew, this was going to be my next thing.

Alcohol seemed to be the perfect drug for me. I wasn’t allowed to drink, so it would make my parents angry, especially my dad, which would result in a good amount of daily pain. If I would drink enough of it, it could make me forget everything, it could make me forget the pain I deserved and I could feel genuinely happy for a while, I could finally enjoy a part of my days. Besides all of this, the hangovers would punish me, for feeling happy, I would feel the deserved pain every morning, I would start with the pain every day. And so I lived my life for 2 years, drinking every day, going out every day, to feel both free and miserable.

For almost two years I continued using boyfriends. I choose the ones with a car and a job, so they could take me to the nice parties and help me to pay for the amount of drinks I needed. I would still have sex with them, without enjoying it, I would still have sex to feel pain, I did not have my first orgasm until I was 22. Guys were still in my life to increase the pain, I still used them, I still made them crazy. What did change was that I started to also use them to get away from my parents, to be home as less as possible, to avoid the extra pain they would give me, because I started to realize that they were not supposed to hurt me like they did all these years.

Unfortunately my boyfriends always broke up with me. Because I was drinking too much, I did not go to school, I was cheating on them or I was just making them completely crazy, mostly with the way I thought about myself. After the boyfriends, I took it a step further. I no longer used boyfriends, I started to use guys. Every night I would go out, either with a friend or just by myself. Every night I would drink too much, and every night I would leave with a guy, an older man, sometimes one that I knew, sometimes a complete stranger. I let him take me to his apartment, let him have his way with me, in exchange for a place to sleep and a shower in the morning, I was avoiding my parents and my own bed, because I did not want to feel that pain anymore. But I had no idea where to go. I did not have a place I felt safe. I had tried many times in the years before, to talk about the abuse, with doctors, teachers and parents of boyfriends or other friends, but nobody believed that the nice people that are my parents would be able to do this to me, nobody wanted to help me, everyone thought I was making things up. So I had to find a way on my own and guys seemed to be a solution. They could provide me some comfort, they could give me a place to stay for a little while, they could give me some food. They could help me, just by giving them sex, allowing them my body. At this point, I knew I should never let them come close, I should never open up, because they would know I was not ok. But as long as I kept my distance and acted normal, I was able to provide myself a place to stay.

Then I found my best friend. He had known me for a long time, he was a good friend from our neighbors and he had been a witness of some of the abuse. One night he saw me getting drunk, talking to a guy I knew lived close by. He interrupted me in my attempt to find the next place to stay. He offered me to come to his place, where he would sleep on the floor and I could sleep in his bed. That night I slept amazing, like I was making up for more than 17 years of bad sleep. In the morning when I woke up, he was there with a cup of coffee and prepared a bath for me. In this moment I knew he would save me, it was the first time I did not feel pain, I did not have to hurt myself in order to get something good, it was free, and I felt free, and I had found a person that believed I was worth good things.

My last year of school, my last year before my ADHD diagnosis, I mostly stayed at my friends house. His parents had welcomed me like a daughter, and in the weekends I would solve crosswords with his mom, cook dinner for the whole family, help his dad in the garden or I tried to play one of the many instruments they had in the house. They had a beautiful, calm dog, and often I went together with my friend on long walks, in the forest, on the beach, or just in a park nearby, and I would tell him about everything. His brother studied architecture, and since I wanted to start the same studies next year, I spend a lot of time with him, reading his books, helping with his projects. My friend had given me a family, people that, like my grandpa, respected me, and made me feel worthy. From the day they allowed me to stay with them, I stopped hurting myself, I stopped drinking, I stopped having sex for pain. I stopped thinking of myself as useless and I finally allowed some little good things.

I wish my parents would have been more like his, more open, more creative, more loving. This could have prevented me from so much pain, so much shame and so many regrets. I wish I would have been more “normal”, that I could have been more like my sister, or other kids in school, because also this would have made everything easier, and I wouldn’t have to live with all the scars, caused by years of self-hate and abuse. Unfortunately my parents and my ADHD made me the way I am, the combination pushed me to do what I did, to do what I felt like I needed to survive. I regret everything I did from my 13th to about 6 months after my 17th birthday, I even get angry with myself, and I get angry with all the people that did not help me, all the people that saw me drown but didn’t do anything to save me. Like the school where I almost never showed up, the teachers that saw my hangovers, my bruises and my tears, I am so angry that they never did anything, they never offered help, just because my grades where good enough, they ignored me, they choose the easy way. But anger and regret won’t take away my scars, they will only make things worse. I have to start loving this young version of me, accept her, let her be a part of the me I am today, no matter how broken she is. In the end, I survived, also because of her, she just did what was within her power to do, she just tried the best she could to not drown. I am extremely thankful to my friend and his family, for accepting this little broken girl. If it wasn’t for their love, I am not sure how I would have been able to get out of the mess I was in. They saved me, and helped me to get to the next phase of my life, they were the start of the love, the acceptance and the passion that started at university. They were the start of the real me.

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