ADHD / Adult ADHD / Anxiety / Coping Strategies / Medications

ADHD and Anxiety: Regretting the regrettable before it even happens

Lately, I am happy when I step aside for a moment to observe my life in action and realize that I’m far more organized and “in control” (whatever that means) than I was two years ago.

I suppose it’s not a huge surprise. Two-ish years ago I had just gotten married and acquired three step-children. And time…time really does fix a lot of things. I’ve had time, since then, to simply get used to my whole life changing. I’ve also had time, since then, to get through and around a mostly temporary disability that loves to pop up again every once in a while. We have systems for making sure our household life rolls along at a mostly steady pace. Laundry gets done, dishes are washed, three children are cared for (and transported), five pets are juggled and it just seems so much easier to get it all done, than it used to.

I blog about ADHD, and I blog about anxiety, and I have blogged about how, for me, they are definitely two different entities…and they are, that’s still true for me. BUT…they are also best buds and love to link arms and tralala through my day sometimes and lately I’ve been noticing that a lot. I don’t think the relationship between them is new, I think that the fact that I notice it to this degree is new.

I take nortriptyline so the white noise level of anxiety that seems native to my core is nicely managed for the most part. But there’s a different type of anxiety rumbling around in here too. General it’s a tiny, inert pile of dry kindling and ADHD is lightning. And if I don’t realize in time, what’s happened, when the lightning lights the pile the whole forest burns down.

Several times lately, when I’ve been feeling anxious, I have mechanically redirected my thoughts and asked myself to try to identify the source. And…there isn’t one. Then I’m anxious because there isn’t one. So I’ll get out a paper and pen and make a list of all the things I need to do that day, the places I need to be, trying to figure out what’s wrong. And…nothing is wrong. Relief and anxiety chill out together in the green room between my ears while I mull this over. What an awkward co-existence.

Where does ADHD fit in here? In the cracks. It’s the grout that makes this whole scenario make any sense. I’m so used to a history of forgetting things…that my brain is trained to anticipate, to worry, to regret before I’ve even done anything regrettable. The words the describe this feeling are “I’ve done something wrong and I haven’t even done it yet”. It’s a truly awful feeling. And this is AFTER simplifying my life quite a bit, and getting used to a new life, and quite a bit of therapy.

Another possible contributing factor: As my life has been made more manageable, I have re-calibrated myself. My standards have changed. I have a lower tolerance for mess, clutter, disorganization, and I will seek to solve those states before they progress very far. (Usually…I mean let’s not get crazy here, I’m still just a human, and I still have ADHD and sometimes I don’t feel like doing the fucking dishes and sometimes the contents of my purse still look like a nuclear dump site.)

Both of these possibilities are true for me. As an adult with ADHD I have a lifetime of screwing up behind me…but I also have an empowered life with better coping tools ahead of me. I think the only thing I can do with this feeling of insecurity is continue to reassure myself with logic…until in the deepest cracks of my heart, I willing to believe it. That I’m okay. That everything else is okay too. And that if it isn’t, once in a while, it’s not the end of the world. I’ve checked the calendar. I’ve checked the daily to-do list…there’s nothing else to be done (unless of course, there actually IS something else to be done).


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