#ADHD, #Anxiety, and Emotional Paralysis

I had a realization that at least for the past year or so, it’s probably not ADHD that’s been getting in my way. I mean…realistically, ADHD is ALWAYS getting in the way somehow, but anxiety has been posing bigger, thicker, goopier problems for me. More specifically, anxiety-fueled fear.

Anxiety is powerful and has the ability to nearly completely flatline my thinking. It puts me into lizard-brain mode, where the focus is on survival and that’s about it. But I’m not a lizard. I’m a human. I have higher level thought processes to attend to, and even though I have ADHD (which can re-route or short circuit some of those higher level thought processes at times), that doesn’t mean I can’t execute them.

But it’s a curious thing, this anxiety I’ve been battling. When I run up against it…it fills me with grief. That’s the only way I can think of to describe it. Hopelessness is another word that almost works. But…grief feels more accurate. I’m not sure what it is that I might be grieving. And it stops me in my tracks. It prevents forward motion. I curl in around what’s left of my weary heart, and I recoil.

The normal state of my mind is to focus on too many details at once. Just add ADHD and it’s hard for me to edit them all out. The trick them becomes organizing my thoughts in a way that allows me to digest pieces of the details at a time. Medication helps with this – because it lets me shut some of them out, temporarily, and I can just work on what’s in front of me. When this anxiety kicks in…everything around me looks like a lump. I cannot see the details. I just see mountains, surrounding me. I am unable to think at all…nevermind hyperactively. Silent grief takes over. I distract myself somehow, to try to pull away from what feels like a failure.

I’ve had a hard time accepting this state…because it’s just not “me”. It’s not how my brain usually works. It’s a newer phenomenon. It’s made me feel defective, over an over.

Well…I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s nothing to be done but to push through it, if at all possible. The thing is, pushing myself to face it might help me to decipher that foreign feeling of nameless grief.

Little by little I need to chip away at the mountain…to see what I find within it.


12 thoughts on “#ADHD, #Anxiety, and Emotional Paralysis

  1. After many years and getting an MSW
    my ADD turned out to be old fashioned trauma anxiety. I had to get away from ADD specialists and do psycho- analysis/ psycho-dynamic deep stuff to solve this. A lot of your stuff sounds similar- not to diagnose but just consider.

  2. I swear every time I read about your experiences I relate. I feel confidant that I have ADHD & have focused so much of my healing and treatment on that. BUT, I’m realizing that I’ve been plagued with debilitating anxiety for my entire life & it has been creeping into my world more and more lately. The ADHD feels manageable but the anxiety tends to emerge out of nowhere. I made some medication adjustments that have been helpful. Hope you get some much-needed relief soon.

    • Yes…I perceive them as separate entities too…I think that just writing about it and acknowledging it is a good place to start, for me…we’ll see where the journey leads 😉

  3. Thank you Katy! It was like reading about myself and being reminded once again that I am not the only one trying to cope with feeling like this.

  4. I can so relate. I call them my funk times. Anti-depressants do not seem to help, i use xanax to sleep so that at least i can start fresh the next day.
    Im not sure whether its an event from my childhood that keeps getting activated.
    It just consumes my soul especially seasonally for sure.

  5. This: The normal state of my mind is to focus on too many details at once. Soooo much this. My couples therapist asked me this week if I’ve ever been evaluated for ADHD… I have been on Paxil 3 years after kiddos for thyroiditis and anxiety, and then no meds for 18 months, but in couples counseling for 12 of those… just asked my NP for her thoughts or a referral to do an ADHD evaluation or pyschoanalysis (since therapist suggested), and your blog makes me want to be your best friend to ask you a MILLION questions. For now, I’m just going to thank you, THANK YOU, thank you, for sharing your thoughts in a blog publicly, for normalizing the chaos feelings a little bit to this newbie. I had no idea other people so deeply identified with the feels that I feel, and I am comforted. Thank you!

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