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5 Warning Signs That Could Be Your Tipping Point

by Laurie Dupar, PMHNP, RN, PCC, Certified ADHD Coach and Nurse Practitioner

ADHD, Woman, Tipping Point, Blow dry

Recently, I’ve noticed a pattern in my clients that I call the “tipping point”. The “tipping point” is basically a time in people’s lives when, for various reasons, the strategies they have been using to compensate for their ADHD challenges no longer seem to be working.

This “tipping point” is often experienced along with feelings of overwhelm and chaos.

Up until a “tipping point,” people have been able to balance known or unknown challenges with ADHD with strategies they may not have even realized they were using.

Up until the “tipping point”, they had been able to adapt and cope well with their symptoms, even going as far as being under the radar for an official diagnosis of ADHD (in other words their symptoms were not interfering with their functioning).

But for some reason a life change – it could be a job promotion, relationship change, a school change, or any myriad of different things – renders the current strategies ineffective and over time there is a sense that things are no longer “going well” and in fact, life seems to be falling apart in a big way.

Here are some life situations that could be possible “tipping points”:

Warning Sign #1: New Problems at School. Often, when higher elementary or middle school hits, students begin unraveling as they experience more responsibility in juggling multiple classrooms, more homework and larger classrooms. Suddenly it seems like nothing is working anymore. They can’t get things done that they want to get done, everything sort of goes into chaos, things start to come undone. Their schoolwork starts to suffer; they may have trouble concentrating in class, forget to hand in homework or start to experience difficulties with old friendships. Often, no one recognizes these warning signs as being ADHD-related because the students previously had managed or were able to compensate for their challenges. Parents and educators start to feel helpless when a previously successful student seems to become unmotivated. Students are told they just need to try harder. Everyone is unsure how to get the child back on track and the students begin to feel stupid, lazy and incapable.

Warning Sign #2: Inability to Cope After Significant Life Changes. Some people with ADHD experience their first “tipping point” after a significant life change…even a positive life change such as getting married or moving into a new home. These major life celebrations are anticipated with great joy, but may often be a change that “tips” the balance.   Perhaps you’ve been able to balance your own life and your own schedule and where you put things up until now, but then you get married and now your spouse has a different way of doing things or expectations of the way things should be organized that differ from your views, not to mention having to deal with the extra stuff in your space. Slowly you notice that things are not working as well as they had before, and because this is supposed to be the happiest time of your life, you think there must be something wrong with you…right? Wrong! Significant life changes such as getting married, having another child or moving homes can often upset an unknown balance.

Minion Quotes: I hate when people ask me what I am doing tomorrow... I don't even know what I'm doing right now!

Facebook: Minion Quotes

Warning Sign #3: Unable to Transition Successfully Into A New Role at Work. Up until your “tipping point” you have been performing really well in your job. So well, in fact, that you are promoted. Slowly you may start to notice that you are not doing this new job as well as everyone expected, and you begin to isolate yourself, dread going to work and may eventually get fired. What happened? You reached your “tipping point”. Not because you didn’t deserve the job, but because changes in work often come with changes of staff, support, work space, etc. that throw you off.

Warning Sign #4: Change in Family Dynamics. If you find yourself with new responsibilities and changes in your family, such as taking in an elderly parent, adding members to your family, or getting a new roommate, the additional responsibilities, change in routine and stress can gradually sink in and leave you overwhelmed and unable to cope as you have previously. It is so easy to begin to think you are a terrible mom, unfit for the responsibilities of a family or may be destined to living alone. It’s not YOU, you were thrown off-balance, and your ability to compensate for your ADHD with your old routine, structures or systems is no longer working. But instead of seeing the truth, that it isn’t anything you’ve done wrong, or know that you can fix this, you’re filled with undeserved guilt and shame.

Warning Sign #5: Physical Injury. People often experience their “tipping point” when an ADHD-management strategy such as exercise decreases or activity level changes. Unbeknownst to many people with ADHD, participation in sports and/or daily exercise provides some additional Dopamine to our brain and helps to create structure and routine in our lives that help to better manage ADHD symptoms. “Tipping points” are common for high school athletes who have earned success not only in their sports but academically, only to go off to college and experience failure for the first time. Without the rigorous physical training and structure of high school, they begin to slowly fall apart. Another common “tipping point” for people with ADHD is when they have experienced an injury and have to decrease their activity or exercise level. This change in routine and absence of daily Dopamine boosts can challenge previous steadiness, energy levels and ability to focus and life begins to wobble.

As you can see, there are many reasons, often beyond your control, that might lead you to your “tipping point.” Watch for the next issue of my e-zine, which will share ways you can keep yourself from tipping over the edge. But, in the meantime if you recognize yourself in these “tipping point” warning signs and are ready to get help, schedule a “Succeed With ADHD” Strategy Session. Because remember, a “tipping point” means that you are at a crossroads and you have a choice which way you will react- you can continue down that path to chaos and overwhelm, or you can get restructured and relearn ways to to cope and get back on track! More information can be found at http://www.coachingforadhd.com.

 

Laurie Dupar is a trained Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner and 12 year veteran ADHD coach. Her company, Coaching for ADHD, focuses on mentoring and training emerging ADHD coaches who want to work with clients to help them minimize their ADHD challenges and get things done!  She is a trainer, professionally certified coach and sought after speaker on coaching and ADHD at conferences worldwide. Laurie is the co-author and editor of the #1 best-selling Amazon series, The ADHD Awareness Book Project, including Inspirational ways to Succeed with ADHD, and author of the popular book Brain Surfing and 31 Other Awesome Qualities of ADHD. In addition to her private coaching, Laurie is a fierce advocate for persons with ADHD, sitting on several ADHD organization boards. Find out more at www.coachingforadhd.com.

 

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7 Responses to “5 Warning Signs That Could Be Your Tipping Point”

  1. Geoduck says:

    For me it was a physical change. My thyroid quit and my brain decided it could quit, too. Nothing I was doing was working. My brain hates me. After I got the ADHD under control, it decided to throw migraines in the mix.

    Stupid brain!

    That brought on another change, and now exercising has become very difficult, making the ADHD even more bothersome.

    Aging sucks!

  2. donsense says:

    Thanks sdwa . I didnt men to make it seem so much of a downer, As you say this is our life and it is pretty normal.in our eyes. Actually now that i look at it I am amazed there were not more tipping points in there. And for thanks ihave to nominate my pysch who treated me for Major Depression and prescribed Ven Lafaxine XR five years ago. Although this initially made me sleepy and foggy it has worked overwhelmingly for me for the last 5 years. I will have to thank him ( he does not know I am ADhD . The meds slowed me down enough to put two ….my son and my daughters son ( grandson) and two together and go for testing.
    Now where did I leave that mid six figure income and how did i turn it into a minimum wage retirement that is a blast.. oh yes its with my three exxes..

  3. sdwa says:

    Donsense: So sorry to hear about what happened to you. It takes time to recover from such a shocking experience. I feel traumatized just hearing about it!

    After 20 years at the same job, the business closed and I was forced to look for work after having been out of the job market for all of that time. It felt like a death. It took me 7 months to find a lower-paying position in an awful place. Then I decided I needed retraining, and went back to school (for the third time)…and now I’m employed again, three years later, in a new field. The upheaval was unbelievably hard to take. Meanwhile, there were significant family problems concerning the potentially life-threatening health issues of one of my children. My spouse wasn’t working full-time, and money was a real problem. It still is, but I’m better equipped to handle it because I have a regular paycheck. I also have a truly superb therapist, someone with a Ph.D. No one with a master’s in psych has ever helped me; I’m too complicated! Now I’m trying to build job skills so I will remain and become more competitive. I’m trying to launch two kids. I haven’t seen a dentist in three years and have visible decay on almost every tooth in my mouth!

    We’re a wild bunch, aren’t we? I can’t think of anyone I know with ADHD who isn’t experiencing the overwhelm that comes from have a home that looks like the inside of a dumpster, financial papers strewn all over who knows where, minimal savings…and that’s just when things are normal. Throw in some major life challenges…it isn’t pretty.

    On the bright side, at least for me, I can rebound with some support, and I guess I’ve developed the tenacity to stubbornly persist in the face of obstacles, because really, what’s the alternative? As long as I feel like I’m moving forward, I’ll be okay. I can tune out, or I can tune in; I can’t do anything half-way. Sometimes the ability to be relentlessly driven is an asset.

  4. donsense says:

    I didnt mention that my wallet with all my credit cards bus cards Birth certificate sosial S Card, Bank Debit Cards Costco and Gym membership Cards disappeared at the hospital. Just before christmas .
    You cant imagine the names i called myself and the hospital and laurie thats what i thought you meant by tipping point.
    My kids could sense with remarkable accuracy the days i was going to explode and they would always be away somewhere else when it occurred.. if only i had such radar.

  5. latebloomer54 says:

    I find the term “tipping point” interesting, you didn’t name it “breaking point”, that would be a bad choice. How about the “cycle”? I mean, you are pointing out the probable reasons but that is insightful for us but how about the tangible actions in our relationships. Let me explain, I am ADD since 2000 and tested twice, on medication and it helps me. Other meds not so much, anyway, relationships are my weak area, I am divorced and heading to number 2 simply, I grew up with young parents and the oldest of eight, actually teenagers and therefore you couple that with ADD and you have a relationship puree.
    It has been a journey, in fact, it has covered the last thirteen years in counseling and recently, I found a great way to communicate with a special someone called IMAGO. This form of communication helped me understand that I have a need to be happy and I was able to communicate that to my spouse. I feel better and not resigned to do the “right thing”. I always felt a nice guy and sometimes I did not confront others as I believed I should. It created much doubt in my abilities and therefore removed from things unless I was having a good day. I am looking forward to the many things I feel I have missed over time and improving on my relationships. My work environment is always a good working environment and no conflicts.
    Understanding yourself is critical, therapy, reading, group sessions all can help but you will finally know when you find out what helps you. Make sure to talk to someone you trust, it can be a son or daughter, spouse, friend or professional. Just find someone to talk and learn the IMAGO method. Thank you.

  6. donsense says:

    Apparently Jimi my fingers are too big on this ipad to edit my writing, they pressed the submit button as well.
    I had never had handcuffs on before and i could feel the blood trickling down my hands and back which for some reason bothered me more than the sheer pain of the awkward way i was sitting and the gravel scrapes on my face. When my voice returned and my panting slowed, the driver asked me questions which i could not here well (Deaf left ear) and an officer at the open door on my right continued to lead me into saying that i was a terrible person and deserved to be beat up by 7 cops. And why shouldnt they arrest me. I suggested that i might have that heart atteck and that i must have been obnoxious . Anything to get this over. They sceamed at me to answer the questions on my left which i couldnt make out. Then ordered an ambulance. Finally taking the cuffs off to be examined by the ERs I was offerred a drive to my destination. By the officers who had become very gracious. I insisted on driving myself home to clean up and they returned my broken glasses. I did not tell, them my lawyer and senior partner were meeting me later. At the choir party..
    Costs. 210$ for the ambulance, 400 for new glasses and 40$ for repairs to my coat. 4 days later I was in the emergency at the hospital because i had fallen at home and could not get up. Either the beating had seriously injured my back or my Flu shot three weeks earlier had turned toxic and I had guillaume baree diseasewhich they treated me for. .
    The next month crawled by while i waited for the call by the surgeon and then at the end of January my turn finally came and it was going to be in a few days. I prepped and waited and the call came…..i had been bumped for an emergency, and back on the waiting list I went Finally the last week of Feb came and i was destined to have my ribs (sternum) broken and the surgery proceeded on the same day I was moving. Feb 28th. My things went to the new appt. and i went to the Hospital.
    Although the surgery was a success and i was as usual golfing within 10 weeks ( only took 3 weeks for a knee replacement) I have not been able to keep the piles of paper and junk in an orderly way much less the pristine order (sort of) that i had while showing the condo to buyers, . You are right despite coming home to boxes and furniture to fit a 1300sq ft condo in a 650 sq ft apartment. With instructions not to lift anything more than 5 pounds for 6 weeks and no driving I still managed to get rid of most of the boxes. And friends and my daughter kept my larder full.
    Now I am just lying on the couch between trips to the gym, meal preparation and laundry are up to date. But cleaning and tydying this place is not being done..

  7. donsense says:

    Laurie excellent article which does hilte those events in our life that are just a little higher than our hurdling skills. Recntly at the age of 72 and single for the 4th time counting infant , toddler, child, puberty, and teen as 1 time, i needed to sell my Condo and move. Income and Expense were no longer balancing and my savings had dwindled to alarmingly low levels. At the same time I was on the waiting list for open heart surgery, just before christmas my Condo sold and I set a date 2.5 months in the future thinking i would recovered enough to move. A few days later on my way to the choir xmas party i moved into the right lane to allow the car beside me room to move over. There appeared to be major accident ahead. It turned out to be a spot check and i was directed into a parking lot adjacent the old district police station.. utterly confused when i turned into it i didnt see any where to be tested so i drove towards the depot. Screaming on my left caused me to stop and someone approached me from that side. I opened my door to walk over there and they jumped on my door as i was getting out. 6 more hiway signal crew joined her and proceed to punch me in the shoulders until i slipped on the ice and they pushed me face down in the gravel and salt and ice on the pavement. One kneeled on my back the other my neck and shouted at me for getting out of the car. They cuffed me and then pulled me upright and placed me inside the backseat of their police car. By then my wrists were bleeding profusely, my glasses were broken and had been crushed on the road by these hooligans ,my coat had been badly ripped on both armpits and they were threatening to arrest me. There is no comfortable way to sit in the back seat of a cruiser.and I had never been in one before. Nor arrested, nor pulled over. All i could think e
    Was dont have a heart atteack now and stay calm.

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