Emotional Challenges with ADHD
I want to start by saying, this has been sitting in draft for a couple months. People have asked me to continue writing about my ADHD struggles to boost awareness and help break the stigma. I’m not sure if I ever would have written these thoughts down here if it wasn’t for the fact that I am certain this blog post will help someone. I’m hoping it will help someone better understand themselves or understand a loved one or friend.
And before I get super vulnerable and share my biggest demon, I’m going to tell you 10 things I love about myself. I’m hardworking, ambitious, smart, thoughtful, loving, loyal, creative, caring, bold and expressive.
I am human, I feel emotions and one thing I’ve learned about ADHD is all of our feelings are magnetized. This includes guilt and shame. I definitely feel embarrassment, guilt and shame from my ADHD symptoms . There are still times I’m too embarrassed to openly talk about this with people. I still sometimes feel embarrassed at times to say I have ADHD, mostly because most people don’t know what that really means. With ADHD comes emotional dysregulation. Emotional dysregulation has been one of my biggest battles with ADHD, my entire life! I just never knew what caused me to struggle with calming down or why I was reacting to situations in a way that later seemed way out of sync with the actual cause.
What you need to know about me is although I am a loud and high energy person, with lots to say, I am a person who does not like confrontation or drama. It gets me all anxious & shaky. Just because I blurt out things, doesn’t mean I want to or I’m always proud of my actions. These past impulsive reactions are what most of the time help me control my impulsive thoughts and emotions. The memories of past reactions often keep me from saying things I wish I keep deep down inside, like most people do. Remembering the drama or unnecessary argument that was caused by the last outburst, wishing I handled it differently or just said nothing at all. Sometimes I wish I could go in my brain and erase these memories. They do cause me a lot of distress & embarrassment.
I do my best to battle these negative symptoms that come with having ADHD. I’ve learned over the years, I like to stand up for myself. I don’t want to be walked on or mistreated by anyone.. friend, relative, stranger.. doesn’t matter. Now add the emotional and spontaneous symptoms of ADHD to this. I’m known for “keeping it real.” A friend told me she loved that she never had to wonder what I was thinking.
This makes some situations difficult for me. I’ve had to teach myself, if emotions are high, to step away. I need to allow my brain chemicals to adjust back to normal & then think about how I want to react. When I do this, I can think clearly without my brain chemicals interfering with my reactions/behavior.
I have observed that some types of people are just toxic for me. I try to be open and explain my emotional dysregulation with neighbors and friends. Button pushers and/or people that have little empathy are very toxic for me. They put my self control to the test. I’ve most definitely had to cut people out of my life that fit those molds. Like most people, I just want to feel happy. I don’t want to be hurt, sad, or angry.
I have been practicing, and working on strategies for controlling the flooding, but it’s obviously always going to be a struggle for me, forever. I’ve had to teach myself to let my self talk or inner voice be stronger than the “flooding”. I’ve only known I have ADHD for under a year now. This has been a productive year in learning about myself and making positive changes. Knowledge truly is power and I’ve felt empowered my my diagnosis or ADHD.
My ADHD has caused me to behave in ways, I wish I could take back, but I can’t. The only thing I can do is learn from these mistakes and use that shame or guilt to keep my mouth shut the next time I’m feeling attacked or mistreated. Once my brain chemicals have gone back to “normal” I am shocked at how differently I want to handle the current situation vs 2 minutes ago when all these chemicals were rushing in full blast.
If you know someone with ADHD, be empathic. If someone with ADHD owns their impulsive response and apologizes to you, accept it. Our emotions and lack of control can be embarrassing so to acknowledge and own them during an apology is hard.
If you have ADHD, you are not alone. I know the emotional struggles you battle and I’m sorry you have had to deal with them your whole life. I’m sorry you have been judged many times for actions brought on by your disability, ADHD. Here are some quotes that may help you on your journey to a happier and healthier life.