The song this is me trying by Taylor Swift came to me at an interesting time in my life… it felt oddly specific to my current trials in life.
Things have been hard since quarantine started. This is the first time that life has eased up the gas. For the first time in my life I had no goals or targets. Instead I had to do what I’d been running from my whole life, facing up to the trauma I’d experienced.
This song aptly describes someone on the edge of suicide and who has lived with a lifetime of trauma and lack of self worth from undiagnosed ADHD. I’ll explain…
"I've had the hardest time adjusting
I had the shinest wheels now they're rusting"
These sentences hit hard for me. Not producing or feeling the need to produce had finally ceased, for the first time at the age of 36 (with my age catching up to me and my rusted wheels) I had to reflect heavily on my life. It hasn’t gone well the next two sentences capture me speaking to both myself and wife.
“I didn’t know if you’d care if I came back
I have a lot of regrets about that”
At my lowest point recently I’ve been testing my anchors to living. Quite often these days I’m unsure of their strength. It’s an odd feeling waking up each day wondering if is will be your last. It is a feeling I wish I could shake.
The next part of the song:
"Pulled the car off the road to the lookout
could have followed my fears all the way down"
Gives me flashbacks of a similar suicidal moment I had in my 20’s. Suicidal thoughts have been part of my life since I was barely a teenager. Following my fears is taking the plunge off the cliff
"And baby I do it know quite what to say
but I’m here in your doorway"
This is me talking to my wife, trying to let her know that I’m struggling in ways I haven’t experienced before, but I’ll always keep trying even if it seems like I’ve given up.
“I just wanted you to know this is me tryin"
The next verse is hard not to believe its about ADHD. So much of our lives we are told that we’d be excellent if we could focus more, apply ourselves more, reach our potential…
"They told me all my cages were mental
So I got wasted like all my potential"
A lot of us with ADHD have turned towards substance abuse, a lot of that is driven by our failure to live up to our own expectations, our unrealised potential.
"And my words shoot to kill whenI’m
I have a lot of regrets about that"
This next set of lines deals with the emotional dysregulation of ADHD and the ability we have to hone in on insecurities we see in others. It happens generally infrequently but when it does it’s vicious and followed by instant regret.
"I was so ahead of the curve, the curve became a sphere
Fell behind my classmates and I ended up here"
This personally to me feels like school did. I was a smart kid, too smart for my own good. I’d always get miles ahead at the start of each new subject, only to have ADHD memory recall issues make me feel like I knew nothing, and I’d fall behind in class to finally end up here at 36 with a lifetime of failures…
"Pouring out my heart to a stranger
But I didn't pour a whiskey"
This isn’t subtle, it seems that Taylor has found a way (like me) to pour out her addiction into a more creative outlet.
The chorus continues to show that we’re trying.
At least were trying.
The final verse is to me about having to face the public When you know your damaged for all to see.
“And it is hard to be at a party when you feel like an open wound”
When I’m in what I like to refer to these days on the sea of suicidal thoughts, drifting it feels hard for me to be anywhere while an open wound… but most of all I want to be with my wife.
“It's hard to be anywhere these days
When all I want is you”
As one of the last ruminating thoughts and strongest anchors – she sometimes feels a lifetime ago in a place I barely remember but she is always so important as she the only feature in my town.
“You’re a flashback in a film reel
On the one screen in my town”
Add the last chorus repeats my need to stay afloat, to return to her.. . to let her know Im’ trying.. at least I’m trying.
“And I just wanted you to know
That this is me trying. (Maybe I don’t quite know what to say)
I just wanted you to know
That this is me trying
At least I’m trying”