Recently I’ve been feeling overwhelmed and ashamed. And no matter how hard I tried, I wasn’t able to break the cycle of emotion, self-judgment, and paralysis brought on an by an unintentional mistake.
Often, I am so “hard on myself” when something goes wrong that I just fall apart and neglect to use most of my strategies for coping. My routines fall apart, my memory slips, everyday tasks, and household errands go undone. And everything I try to do fails. Sometimes, no matter how hard I try, ADHD strikes again!
ADDitude Magazine explains this extreme reaction in a two-minute video. With ADHD, they say, “Even a momentary emotion can gobble up all the space in the brain just like a virus can devour a whole hard drive.”
All too frequently, those of us with ADHD make mistakes that may well irritate or offend others. We forget, speak out of turn, fail to do something as well as we would like or lack the skills or interest in getting things started or finished. Whether the problem is small or large, an apology is often the first step in making things right again.
As Ari Tuckman, Ph.D. writes in Love Means Saying you’re Sorry, “The first step is to calm our own reaction so we can see beyond our own needs. You may not have tons of control over your ability to do all the right things at the right times, but you do have the ability to fix things afterward.” The first part of the article has good information for couples, but the second section, The Value of a Good Apology, has some great ideas for when you blow it. He suggests that you:
- Recognize the impact on the other person.
- Say what you will (try to) do differently in the future.
- Make amends, if necessary.
I also found some good advice on New Life Outlook for when you offend someone. There’s much more to the article but the basics are:
- Take care of yourself.
- Don’t blame yourself.
- Talk about it.
- Learn from past experiences.
I try to struggle through on my own, but I finally have to let go of that silly idea that asking for help is a sign of weakness. I reach out to my personal ADHD support team – my friends, family, coaching groups, and others for help.
The Wall of Awful, an interview with Brendan Mahan M.Ed., MS., is about the emotional toll that negative thoughts and repeated failure have on your ability to take risks and initiate tasks. He says, “Staring at the Wall sets us up for being overwhelmed by the emotions it represents; causing us to freeze and accomplish nothing. Going around leads to avoidance.” He offers a number of tips on overcoming this “Wall” in the podcast as well on his site, ADHD Essentials. TWO 6-MINUTE VIDEOS from See in ADHD: Why is it so hard to do something that should be easy? How to do something that should be easy?
Why Is It So Hard to Do Something That Should Be Easy?
I also found Surefire Strategies That Don’t Work for ADHD – And Some That Do by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S. that helped me get through to the other side of “Awful.” One suggestion from David Giwerc is to “Be self-compassionate. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Try being more understanding and kind. Remember that you’re not less intelligent or capable than others. You have unique brain wiring. Focus on your strengths and on finding strategies that work for you.”
Our guest author this month is Brandon Butler. He shares with us a healthy, natural way to cope with life’s daily challenges that you may not have thought of in Five Ways Dogs can help those with Mental Disorders. Ned Hallowell agrees with Brandon, saying, “I often urge people to start with a dog. Dogs are the world’s best givers of love.” ~ Psychology Today
We do not have a dog but have really enjoyed dog-sitting for many of the reasons Brandon mentions. Zoey is a great visitor and gets me outside to walk and collect a few smiles” – my favorite reason for walking. This connection helps me exercise daily, one of my most effective coping strategies.
Please leave me a comment if you TOO struggle with emotional overwhelm. What are some of your tricks?
Photo by Erik Eastman on Unsplash – Modified on Canva.com
- See my Pinterest pages, Stress and Finding your “Flow,” Habits, Routines, and Systems and Basic Self-Care for strategies to keep you on track without having the rest of your life fall apart.