ADHD and Chronic Overwhelm
Evelyn Polk Green, ADDA President
My very first blog post here was about being overwhelmed... Four months later and I seem to be in the exact same place! The last time I wrote for our blog here at ADHDCentral, I was gearing up to begin my term as ADDA president. As of today, I'm exactly one month into the term. We've been working on recruiting more volunteers, revamping and strengthening our committees, and of course, our annual conference which occurred a couple of weeks ago. All of that and more in 31 short days - and truthfully I don't know if I'm coming or going!
Now I have to be fair and admit that ADDA is not the only thing contributing to my sense of "chronic overwhelm" as one of our conference speakers refers to it. I've recently taken on the responsibilities of a former co-worker - our project director - who resigned a few weeks ago. We've discovered a few "surprises" (NOT the good kind) and I'm on a pretty fast track for learning what I need to know. And, oh yeah, I've still got my own job duties as well.
Like a lot of adults with AD/HD, my finances have been a mess and I'm trying to put on my "big girl pants" and get everything straightened out. My family and I are moving back into our house which has suffered major water damage, a break-in and vandalism and needs major repairs and clean-up. (It's amazing what doesn't go away just because you put on ADHD blinders and ignore it!)
And to top it all, a really good friend, mentor and confidante is moving away soon and I'm seriously afraid of how I'm going to survive without that support. I'm already feeling lost without it - and he hasn't even moved yet! I guess when I put it all in perspective, my role as ADDA's leader is probably the LEAST of my worries right now!
Yep - I am definitely experiencing chronic overwhelm! It's little wonder that I LOVE that term as it so describes my life these days... well to be honest, it describes the usual state of my life. But interestingly, as I'm working through all of these crises and obstacles and stumbling blocks, I've discovered a few things about myself that let me know I have grown and that I'm learning to cope with my AD/HD in positive ways. As frustrating as it is sometimes to live with AD/HD, I think I've finally gotten the hang of minimizing the challenges and maximizing the advantages associated with my ADHD symptoms.
Here are just a few examples:
- My ADHD tenacity - or stubbornness as some would call it - makes giving up an impossibility for me. So no matter what those obstacles are, I usually manage to turn them into an obstacle course - strategizing a way around them and making myself and my team stronger along the way.
- And speaking of team, I've finally learned that it's ok to ask for help... that I don't have to go it alone and having other folks on the ride with me is more fun anyway! I finally realized that asking for help doesn't make me a failure or dumb or stupid. It's just the opposite in fact. Asking for help is really difficult for a lot of us with AD/HD... for me, being able to do it now is a real indication that I've actually matured - and that wisdom does indeed come with age!
- That tenacity and willingness to ask for help when I need it, along with a newfound ability to sometimes just be still - just breathe - when confronted with problems, result in those stumbling blocks most often turning into stepping stones that lead to something even bigger and better.
I've got 699 days left in my term as ADDA president. Am I literally counting the days? No not really... I love being able to interact with adults with AD/HD on a daily basis and to hopefully make their lives better. But I wanted to make the point that 698 of the next 699 days will probably be filled with the same kind of challenges - or even bigger ones - that the last 31 have. But I'm really not worried. As long as I remember to use my perseverance, rely on friends and colleagues when I need to and sit back, be still and reflect every now and then when things are tough, I'll survive.
More importantly, I'm willing to bet that chronic overwhelm or not, I'll have a ball most of these next 699 days and beyond. And I'm sure I'll find a reason at least once each of those days to laugh out loud as we turn obstacles into obstacle courses and stumbling blocks into stepping stones. I invite all of you to join me on the ride!