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ADHD Overwhelm

Everything Overwhelms Me

One of the few constants in my life has been OVERWHELM! It’s a fine line between having lots on the go and having far more too much to ever possibly finish. Or even start.

There’s a tipping point, and with ADHD, it’s so easy to go from being “Happy and Busy,” to feeling “Despondent, Frustrated, and Exhausted.”

I’ve come to see that what allows me to slip into despair has to do with prioritizing, being unrealistic about time, and saying yes to everything. It’s about managing my time. Or rather, where I am spending my time. AND noticing and managing my energy.

Here’s the biggest surprise: Having far less on my To-Do list means I get far more finished. It’s counter-intuitive, and it works.



For a full transcript of this video scroll down.




Lets Talk About Overwhelm

Hi I’m Rick Green. Let’s talk about overwhelm. Ugh. You’ve felt it everyone has, whether you have ADHD or not, but talk with some ADHD specialists and it’s clear we are more prone to feeling swamped, drained, even drowning in our thoughts and stuff, in commitments. There’s a reason those of us with ADHD can become overwhelmed it’s called ADHD.

What Are Executive Functions?

You may have heard the term executive function disorders, may not. Basically executive functions are like what executives and managers would do at a large company. If you think of your brain as a large company, so the executives do the planning and the organizing, prioritizing, supply management, setting goals, monitoring progress, costs, finance. Just making sure everything runs smoothly. They don’t actually do the work but they make sure it’s all organized.
Executive function is probably a better description than an attention deficit hyperactivity disorder at least for me because sometimes I have lots of focus and attention. Even way too much and I’m focused on the wrong things and sometimes I can be a bit hyperactive and other days feeling flat and half-asleep and listless, and when I’m listless I can’t even make a list. So this isn’t just a problem with attention distractions daydreaming or fidgeting but it can be. It can also be a problem managing thoughts actions where your body is in space your propio setec system it’s called.
Then there’s the internal distractions… like that year when I was a ballerina… and external distractions. Managing the thousands of messages that are pouring into your brain every second through your eyes and your ears what you see and hear and also what you taste what you smell what you touch. That’s why those tags on clothing can feel like a porcupine stabbing your neck, or noisy places, loud restaurants bright lights.
Executive function is about sorting through all of the signals separating what’s crucial from the background chatter. Right now you should be focused on what your child is saying but instead you’re thinking about cheese. Prioritizing deciding what’s more important. That script that’s due today or playing around on my model railroad. and if executive functions are not a big strength of yours it can lead to chaos and chaos becomes overwhelming, but with ADHD we get busy we like busy our brains like busy they love busy our brains are wired to go looking for trouble for drama danger excitement or opportunities.

Always On The Alert and Then ZZZZZ

Always on the alert or on the alert until we run out of gas and we hit the wall and we sink into a torpor which we do more often than other people and suddenly burnout overwhelm nap time! The rabbit not the tortoise, slow and steady wins the race? Yeah that’s okay I’ll try another race, and once you’ve hit that wall and you’ve collapsed in a heap snoring away or playing Sudoku instead of finishing the big assignment. What do you do? well at some point you just keep playing Sudoku.  OR take a short nap 10 to 30 minutes or get some food another thing I learned about overwhelm was from taking courses with coach Linda Walker noticing my energy levels throughout the day. A lot of us are up in the morning but flat by mid afternoon and then we get a kind of a second wind in the evening which is why when I was doing a lot of live theater I noticed that by 5:00 p.m. most days I thought I was coming down with the flu, I didn’t think I could go on and then by 8:00 curtain time I was alive alert ready to walk out on stage. I think my body knew what was coming and just took the time to knock me flat and store up some energy.

Ways to Avoid Becoming Overwhelmed

There are other ways to avoid overwhelm which is probably better than getting into overwhelm and trying to dig your way out. Drink water, have snacks, take breaks, in fact my Fitbit. I love this, it has me every hour get up and walk at least 250 steps and then it gives me a little cheer and I know I’m a grown adult it shouldn’t matter. It does for some reason and here’s the big one and you’re not going to like it because you have ADHD but it’s under schedule. Plan to do less than you think you can. I know I know you have so much to do you need a long list of tasks.  That’s exactly what I did for decades creating long lists that I never got done and I kept doing that till my coach asked does that work? oh? and don’t feel bad because big projects like I don’t know home renovations or say making a blockbuster movie, usually goes over budget in cost and in time. Think about that. Here are the best planners, accountants production managers schedulers. The best in their field and they can still dramatically overestimate how much they can get done in a day or underestimate how much things are gonna cost, how long they’re gonna take how many people will be required, the energy the reserves. I know under scheduling sounds restrictive and it can sometimes feel restrictive.
I’d rather do this but it works for me. Enough about me, what about you? how do you manage overwhelm? or even prevent life from reaching that state of mind boggling nerve rattling soul sucking paralysis. Share in the comments below, or drop by the house and tell me…
No actually the place is a mess, comments are better. Please it’s always a mess it’s on my list I should get to it. I better add it to the list. So if that wasn’t the best thing you’ve ever seen in your life that’s okay. Hi I’m Rick green thanks for watching don’t forget to like and share this video so more people get the facts and of course subscribe to the TotallyADD Channel and ideally become a supporter through patreon and then we can keep doing what we’re doing and even do more of it
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