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Too many appointments, emails, or deadlines? Here’s how you can manage life when your ADHD is making you feel overwhelmed.
People with ADHD tend to experience life more intensely than others. This means that even if you’re hyper-focusing on a certain task or assignment in front of you, you can still have many other thoughts and ideas coursing through your brain.
It can feel like there’s always a lot going on, which may become overwhelming. If you have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and feel like almost everything overwhelms you, you’re not alone!
“Individuals with ADHD have weaknesses in sustaining their attention span,” explains Emily W. King, PhD, a Raleigh, North Carolina-based psychologist.
“This means it can be hard to complete a task or manage other executive function skills like making a plan, organizing the plan, starting the plan, sustaining attention to the plan, and shifting to something else when finished with the plan.”
“And, if something interrupts or distracts them, it can be hard to come back to the plan. So, they leave many things unfinished.” That emotional overwhelm can make you want to shut down, but there are ways to manage those overwhelming feelings so you can still get things done!
In general, King says the best way to combat that overwhelming feeling is to use things like:
- visuals reminders
“Many of the mistakes a person with ADHD makes are not intentional,” she explains. “Because their emotions can come on fast, or impulsively, those of us without ADHD need to be understanding when they’re feeling overwhelmed.”
Too many things to do and don’t know where to begin? Take a few minutes to do some deep breathing and calm yourself. Then, make a list of everything you have to do, step by step.
“Do each thing for a set period of time and then take a 5-minute break,” King recommends. “Then, move on to the next task.”