Don’t Surrender to your Anxiety and ADHD!
Hyper, thoughts in disarray and restlessly worrying at the same time? Do you feel beyond exhausted?
ADHD and anxiety are like peas in a pod for me. They are so alike in both symptom and traits, and one tends to fuel the other. Differentiating between the two is unlikely. ADHD makes life a challenge. Anxiety makes the mountain that is ADHD seem 100 x bigger. The two combined can make the simplest of tasks feel entirely crippling.
Anxiety is common for women with Adult ADHD.
(Trust me. Join a facebook community group for Adult ADHD…)
This fine sunny Thursday in April, I woke up feeling like something wasn’t quite right. I felt foggy, confused and tense. My initial thoughts were, “oh, I need to take my medication!” As taking it often helps with clarity for the day. I had plans to go to the gym. I’d been intending for a while to make my way back into fitness as a self-care method in managing both my ADHD and mood. I looked at the time and I was late. Did I have time to squeeze it in? My Grandmother who had come to visit was leaving today. Did I stay to see her off? I was ever conscious of the fact I needed to be at my day hospital session at 11 AM. I was drowning in my own thoughts. My chest was tight, and I felt it was hard to breathe.
It had been a while since I had felt anxiety like this.
ADHD often makes me time blind. As a result, managing time and making decisions often causes me to worry, and become stuck, unable to make a decision or move forward. Sinking deeper into my own anxiety, I become very aware of the physical feelings my mind has on my body: tension, irritation, worry and feeling uneasy. I began beating myself up for feeling this way.
ADHD, Anxiety, Self Esteem and Self-Doubt
A set back for a few days has me wondering will I ever be my best self ever again? I’m tearful, sad, and disappointed with myself. I’d avoided something a few days previously, and now it seemed even harder to accomplish anything. Let alone going out to receive help. It felt like any kind of recovery I’d made had been for nothing and I was back at square one. Bummer.
ADHD and Anxiety: The Combined Effect
ADHD has made my life more challenging. Relationships are tried from not listening, my extreme disarray and disorganisation mean I lose things easily and am easily frustrated while looking for my keys on a daily basis. My memory can be comparable to a goldfish. I become disinterested and I often feel demotivated to start or finish tasks. It can be difficult for me to regulate my emotions. I can become impatient with others, quick to retaliate and sensitive. I’m reactive and impulsive. Falling over one of these ADHD bumps in my path can put dents and cracks in my self-esteem. Low self-esteem then leads to avoidance in trying and taking part. I struggle to see the end result if it isn’t an instant reward. My working memory for success is short and impaired.
Tools for ADHD and Anxiety: Challenging Self Doubt and Beliefs
While I am sat writing this at my 5-year-old MacBook, and I’m looking over what I have written, I can physically detect and challenge my self-doubt. Looking back, I know I have been successful and I am being extremely self-critical today because I am feeling down. I have given advice to others that tomorrow is another day. Personal organisation is possible and a lot of my anxiety lies in replanning to prevent things that make me anxious. Avoidance can lead to more anxiety, and gradually exposing myself to situations which make me anxious, I can become more resilient.
ADHD and Anxiety: Recovery from Fight or Flight
Remembering that we can recover while we are on these setbacks can be challenging. It is easy to begin on a journey of self-sabotage, as I began these past two days. Those of us with anxiety tend to catastrophise our bad days because of painful experiences in our memory. Do you spend a lot of time ruminating? Thinking about the past and reasons you SHOULDN’T go out or do those things expected of you? The brain is an incredible organ. It wants to protect us from danger and harm, showing us what resilient and intelligent creatures having evolved and survived all these years. The downside to this, is we don’t actually need this fight or flight action for making our way to the gym or the supermarket. It can be unpleasant and new, but not impossible.
ADHD and Anxiety: Moving Forward
I won’t lie to you. Anxiety and depression are a setback. It is not your fault. These mental health illnesses stem from a pattern of behaviour and REAL chemically induced emotional and physical feelings. Accepting that, and understanding ourselves so we can educate our selves for embracing our own individual brain, and what works for us. So knowing this, I encourage you to make a plan so you can enjoy your life that you deserve, be with the people who make you smile and to pursue the goals that make you happy. So, let’s try again, shall we? Tomorrow is another day!
Love, Danni o x o x
A couple of Facebook Groups to Join:
Women with ADD ADHD
Women With ADHD/ADD in UK
Women (Around Thirties) With ADD/ADHD
Beautiful Mayhem: Women with ADHD Casual Chat
A Dose of Healthy Distraction – The Group
Adult ADHD/ADD Support Group
ADDitude – ADHD Support Group