Hi! I’m Samantha. Thanks for stopping by.
I’m a former librarian transitioning to a career in freelance writing. I live with my husband and our cat in North Carolina. After several incorrect diagnoses, I recently learned I have provisional tic disorder, ADHD, and obsessive compulsive anxiety.
How I Got Here
It didn’t take me long to realize that I was different from other people; I never really felt like I fit in. In elementary school, when I learned the basics of the term “autistic,” I secretly suspected that it may describe me. At that age, however, I also secretly suspected I was turning into a seal, so maybe I wasn’t fully qualified to self-diagnose. Did I mention I was a weird kid?
By my teen years, I still felt off and experienced many episodes and quirks to support the feeling, but most were easily rationalized. I was too sensitive, too messy, too serious, too careless, too worried, too shy. The things that couldn’t be explained through character flaws had just been part of my life for so long it didn’t occur to me they should cause alarm. I mean, what tween doesn’t routinely imagine an obituary reporting her untimely death?
In college, my now-husband convinced me all those thoughts and behaviors fell well outside the parameters of “normal,” and I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder. I later developed panic disorder and earned a chronic depression diagnosis, too. Because I was actively seeking help from qualified professionals, I was prescribed medication and therapy, and now I am a fully-functioning adult…
is how I wish I could end this introduction.
Instead, I went through nearly ten years of awful side effects, expensive tests, multiple job resignations, and feelings that I was a complete and utter failure before ultimately being informed I never had the disorders I had been fighting. I had been misdiagnosed. No GAD. No chronic depression.
Turns out, what I actually have is a form of Tourette syndrome called provisional tic disorder, which I only discovered after I developed involuntary movements for the third time in a four-year period. The movements became so disruptive that I stopped working (again) and found a specialist in another city. From that specialist, I learned my tic disorder comes in a convenient three-for-one deal known as the Tourette syndrome clinical triad. In my case, this means I also have obsessive compulsive anxiety and ADHD. Yay!
No, really. Yay! After over a quarter century of blaming myself for feeling wrong, I finally have a diagnosis that makes sense. Now I’m learning everything I can about neurodevelopmental and mental health disorders in an attempt to catch up on 28 years’ worth of coping devices and education. I’m also examining the institutional factors that impeded my diagnosis. Along the way, I’m discovering how to work with my neurodivergence instead of against it.
I figure I might as well write about what I learn while I’m at it. Maybe my efforts will help a fellow weirdo find their answers with a little less struggle.