I read this article about having intense feelings when you have ADHD, and it hit home with me so much that I brought it up to my therapist. I wanted to pick it apart and spends hours upon hours discussing it with her, but let’s be real; she’s expensive. I get an hour with her each week, and 30 minutes with my shrink every month, or every two weeks depending on how I’m doing. That’s not enough time to dissect this article and figure out how to fix all these problems I have that I can relate to, so the next best thing is to write about it.
The article states: ” the person with ADHD seems insensitive or unaware of the emotions of others” – I read that and thought; omg that’s so me. I am always told I seem so cold when it comes to the emotions of others, but honestly I just don’t think about the emotions of other people. I’m unaware that other people have emotions and that they should be heard and respected. I just don’t even think about it. I get so caught up in the moment of something, that thinking about the emotions of someone else is the very last thing on my mind when I’m trying to sort my own emotions out.
It goes on to say: “When an adolescent with ADHD becomes enraged when a parent refuses him use of the car, for example, his extreme response may be due to “flooding” — a momentary emotion that can gobble up all of the space in an ADHDer’s head just like a computer virus can gobble up all of the space on a hard drive.” – just last night I kicked my boyfriend out of my apartment because I was so mad about something so small. This “flooding” they speak of is just pure rage. I can’t see straight. I can’t see anything else other then the way I feel slighted. I’m not an adolescent, but I’m an adult who experiences all the time. This emotion takes over. Or fear takes over. Or doubt or worry take over and that’s all I can focus on. It doesn’t feel like there is room for anything more inside my head. I think if I could pick anything out of this article to work on in therapy, this would be the main spot I would focus on. This “flooding” drives me nuts. I want to stop it, I even think to myself hey this seems weird that I’m this upset over something, but I just can’t stop it. I work with computers so I like when something is compared to a computer, so this part of the article really hit home with me. It made me feel like I wasn’t so abnormal, like this happens to other people enough so that they wrote an article about it! I was elated and I couldn’t wait to share it with my therapist. Now, how do I fix it? That’s the burning question. I am on medication for my ADHD and I still have this happen, so I don’t think this is something the medication can encompass. Although this medication is new, and it had worn off by night time when this happened, so maybe if it had happened during the day while the medication was still on board I wouldn’t have gotten so upset. I don’t know, but something tells me this is a behavior I have to learn to change on my own without the aide of medication. This is the frustrating part of having all these things go wrong in my brain. I don’t know what I’m in charge of fixing through talk therapy, and what the medication is in charge of fixing. I guess I’ll need to poke a bit more about this one to my shrink when I see him next.
Then the article went on to talk about Extreme Sensitivity to Disapproval and I thought they were writing this article about me. I swear this is so me: ” Hearing a slight uncertainty in a coworker’s reaction to a suggestion may lead to interpreting this as criticism and an outburst of inappropriate self-defense without having listened carefully to the coworker’s response. ” – I do this with everything. The second I think someone disapproves of something I’m doing I run in through my head and instantly feel like a failure. Instantly feel like I’ve let the other person down and instantly think I’m losing my boyfriend, I’m losing my job, I’m losing my home. I just go to the worst case scenario. I do it with EVERYTHING.
Avoidance and Denial were next on the agenda in the article: “They become caught up in behavior patterns to avoid painful emotions that seem too overwhelming — looming deadlines or meeting an unfamiliar group of people.” – and again this article nailed it on the head when it comes to me. I avoid anything that takes me out of my comfort zone. One of the reasons I love my boyfriend the way that I do is that he’s gentle about it and can get me out of my comfort zone in a round about way to the point that after we’re done trying something new or different for me, I’m thankful that he gave me the little nudge to do it. He’s really supportive that way. However, left to my own devices and I will avoid anything that is unfamiliar because I worry too much how things are going to go. I’d rather be in my safe zone of my bedroom, all the time. I could live there if I didn’t have to work. I’d make it my home. I can control everything there and know the outcome of most everything that’s going to happen when I’m in my bedroom and I like it like that.
Panic is a huge thing for me, and that was covered in the article too. “These individuals are often thrown into panic mode by thoughts or perceptions that do not warrant such a reaction. As a result, the ADHD brain can’t deal more rationally and realistically with events that are stressful” – stress is hard on me. I go to worst case scenario with every little detail of my life. Make a mistake at work and I immediately think I’m going to wind up homeless living on the street because I lost my job. Say the wrong thing to my boyfriend’s mom and I immediately think she’s going to hate me and want my boyfriend to leave me. Again, the article sounds like it was written about me specifically.
Yes! This! “People with untreated ADHD can suffer from dysthymia — a mild but long-term form of depression or sadness. It is often brought on by living with the frustrations, failures, negative feedback, and stresses of life due to untreated or inadequately treated ADHD. People who are dysthymic suffer almost every day from low energy and self-esteem. ” – all of this. Precisely. Me. Does the medication fix this? That’s to be determined. I just don’t know if this is again on the side of the medication will fix it, or talk therapy needs to change my behavior.
Bingo! “Many people with untreated ADHD can readily mobilize interest only for activities offering very immediate gratification.” – this is so true with my work. I need immediate gratification. I need to know that I did a good job the moment that I’m done. It’s such a struggle for me. Does the medication fix this, or do I eventually learn how to get better at this through therapy? I don’t know. “People with ADHD are less able to anticipate pleasure or register satisfaction with tasks for which the payoff is delayed. ” – so ridiculously me when it comes to my work. The struggle is real.
To whoever wrote this article……thank you. I read it and felt like I wasn’t so alone in this world. I couldn’t believe there was enough information gathered from other people to create a whole article on things that I thought were just my problem. I didn’t feel like such an outcast for a little while after reading this article. This article made me feel a little human.