ADHD, Overwhelm and Understanding

Rory Stern, PsyD, ADDA Board of Director

Last week my good friend, and ADDA President, Evelyn Polk-Green wrote about ADHD and feelings of chronic overwhelm. It was a post that really stood out for me, because since returning from the ADDA conference immediately followed by a family wedding, I was feeling incredibly overwhelmed too.

I was a little stuck. I couldn't get back into a routine, I didn't know where to begin, and I was just plain old tired. All of my energy was gone.

For a little while, I was wondering why I was so overwhelmed. But I didn't dwell on it too long, because the more people I spoke with, the more I realized I wasn't alone. Many people were feeling overwhelmed and stuck...

"So what's the point?" you might be wondering.

I look around at all the talk about ADHD and being "overwhelmed," and then I look at what is happening in someone's life... Maybe it is a little bit of overwhelm due to having ADHD. But what if these feelings of overwhelm are actually truly warranted? What if feeling overwhelmed was exactly how anyone would respond to the current circumstances?

I suppose for me, this is a matter of philosophical differences. Working in the ADHD community as an advocate, I really try to separate out what we know, how we understand it, and what will make a difference moving forward. For me, overwhelm is a part of life. Maybe I understand that having ADHD means we might get a little bit more overwhelmed than other people. But at the same time, I can't help but wonder if this feeling of overwhelm is really warranted.

And maybe that's the difference I am looking for... Maybe that is the difference that I am interpreting between feelings of overwhelm and chronic overwhelm. Ask yourself this question: Is my response to feeling overwhelmed appropriate to the situation?