Overwhelmed, Overcome...and Over It!!
Evelyn Polk Green, ADDA President Elect
I think one of the best things about having ADHD is how quickly I can recover from bad moments, negative emotions and flagging spirits. Of course, on the flip side, I hate how quickly I can become overwhelmed when confronted with one of those bad moments, or too much work or my inability to say "no".
I've even wondered on a couple of occasions if perhaps I am bipolar when I have one of those quick mood swings. Fortunately I have it on good authority that it is not the case. In fact, the ability to climb out of an abyss of negativity as quickly as we fall into it is quite typical of those of us "blessed" with ADHD.
Today, I experienced my very first panic attack. My heart was pounding so hard, I could literally feel it. My hands and face got clammy, then sweaty and my stomach was in knots. You know that feeling of having butterflies in your tummy? Well I had a herd of wild elephants running through mine!!
And why did I have the panic attack? I was simply feeling overwhelmed with entirely too much to do and seemingly no way to get it all done in my allotted time frame. I couldn't concentrate, and was distracted by everything going on in my office, from the conversations my co-workers were having to the phone ringing to the sound of the fan from the heating unit.
Now don't get me wrong - this is DEFINITELY not the first time I've been in this position, and I'm sure it won't be the last. But I think for the first time ever, I actually cared about every single one of the things I needed to do. I was really interested in every project and wanted to get them finished on time. Unlike when I've been overwhelmed in the past, I wasn't confronted with boring reports or data I didn't want to deal with anyway. And I was angry and frustrated with myself for not being able to tune out all that other stuff and just get it done.
FYI, I recently started a new job that I love and have some pretty aggressive deadlines for projects that I'm responsible for. On top of that, I had this blog post to write, and two presentations to prepare by the end of the day. All things I'm interested in and anxious to do well.
So back to my panic attack... I got an email from my blogging "guru" that helped calm me down. Next, I called a friend who's helped in the past when I've been "stuck" or feeling overwhelmed. (Remember me talking about "support" in my last post? Well this is JUST what I was referring to!!) And then I went outside and took a walk (hard to resist a beautiful, almost sunny March day in Chicago).
By the time I returned to my cubicle (and by the way, I HATE cubicles!!), I was in a totally different frame of mind. I think my co-workers could probably even see the difference in my attitude and demeanor. Just that quickly, I'd overcome those panicked feelings of doom and failure and was ready to get to work. By the end of the day, I'd completed two of my projects... and hey, I'm about finished writing this blog post right now!
And more importantly, I'm "over it"! I won't spend the rest of my evening thinking about the bad morning I had. I won't worry about the time I wasted, or wonder much about why I had that panic attack, beyond what I've written here. I'll go home, talk to my kid for a while, and get those presentations finished before bedtime (whatever time that turns out to be!). I LOVE that! How many people do you know can go from "overwhelmed" to "over it" in less time than it takes to walk around the block?!?!
And people wonder that I look at having ADHD as a "gift" - at least most of the time! J
Peace and Love,