Sunday, April 21, 2024

Adhd Overwhelmed Shut Down

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Everyone gets overwhelmed. Every. Single. Person. ADHDers dont have the market cornered on that. But ADHD brains not only get overwhelmed more often but they also get MORE overwhelmed than other brains. And, actually, it doesnt end there- because when ADHD brains get overwhelmed theyre more likely to spiral- tumbling down, head-over-heels, smack into a wall of awful.

Whats a wall of awful? You know it- its that wall that separates you from what you need to do. Its been built up over the years each brick crafted by every experience of criticism, self-doubt, unreached potential, failed intentions, and missed opportunities throughout your life. Its your history of struggle that comes surging back the second, even a whiff of uncertainty heads your way.

And because your ADHD system feels feelings full force, this wall of awful slams into you with the intensity of a bulldozer at full speed leaving you huddled in a corner feeling like nothing could or even should be done.

Here Is How I Manually Prioritize:

I generally start by listing out all of the things that are vying for my attention on a piece of paper . I get everything out of my brain and onto that paper.

Then I look for anything that can be delegated or crossed off my list.

Then I look for anything that has a deadline and write the day it needs to be done beside it.

And anything that has a consequence if its not done soon, I note that beside them on my list.

With whats left on the list, I start planning when Im actually going to work on each of those things, starting with the things that have the biggest consequence and the closest deadlines, making sure I plan those before they are due.

I actually put them on a calendar, noting what day I will work on each task. Then, when I am working on a project and another item on my to do list distracts me or worries me about the need to get it done, I can remind myself that I already have it on my calendar. Ive found that having a realistic plan for getting things done has helped me with analysis paralysis and getting distracted by other to do list items.

Once you have the stuff with deadlines and consequences planned, you can start filling in the gaps with other things that are still really important to you.

If you need a structure to help you do this, make sure you check out the ADHD Productivity Planner.

What Works For Me

I have tried many things to help my daughter and myself manage our ADHD. Some things didnt work, and some things work quite well, but I honestly forget to do them. Other things have become part of our routine.

  • Timers we use them for everything. I use timers to help me keep on task when Im cleaning or working. I use them to remind me of when I need to leave the house or take medicine. My daughter uses a timer in the shower because apparently that is where she meditates about life.
  • Pill containers I do not currently take ADHD medications, but I cannot for the life of me remember if I took my other medicines, or if I gave my daughter hers. Weekly pill containers took away that stress.
  • Control journals this is our version of daily lists. We each have a binder and there is a page for each day of the week. The pages contain everything we need to do in the morning, when we get home from school and work, and everything we do before we go to bed. The pages also contain any chores or projects that need to be completed that day, all broken down into the steps we will have to take to get it done. There is a calendar in the back and I write on the calendar tasks that are to be taken care of weekly or monthly.

I will admit that I am not as organized as I should be and that I do not take as good of care of myself as I should. There are times when my symptoms are running rampant all over the place and I cant find the motivation to stop the cycle.

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Do I Have Adhd Or Am I Lazy

When you have problems concentrating or finding the energy to get things done, you might wonder if it might be ADHD or something else. You might even wonder if maybe you’re just feeling lazy.

If you are wondering if you might have ADHD, you should talk to a doctor to learn more. While the condition is most often diagnosed in childhood, it is sometimes underdiagnosed and can continue into adulthood.

Symptoms in boys tend to include more hyperactivity and impulsivity and because such symptoms are more disruptive, they are diagnosed more frequently.ADHD in girls and women, however, tends to be marked by more symptoms of inattention. Since these symptoms are less obvious, the condition is often missed.

Why Does Adhd Paralysis Happen

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ADHD is a brain disorder than impairs executive functionthe self-regulating management system of the brain. When a person has problems with executive functioning, they have difficulty sustaining attention, manipulating and comprehending information, and making decisions based on that information. Essentially, ADHD paralysis is the result of executive dysfunction.

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What Is Adhd Paralysis

ADHD paralysis isnt a diagnosis.

Its a phrase used to describe a common experience for people living with ADHD the experience of overwhelm freeze.

Procrastination about completing tedious tasks is common for so many people, but for those with ADHD, the challenge can be even harder, explains Ari Fox, a licensed clinical social worker specializing in childrens mental health, in New York.

According to Fox, the thought of taking on a mundane task like housework isnt appealing to the brain of someone who has ADHD.

He explains these small tasks can be so daunting that you may avoid them completely, favoring activities that bring stimulation and immediate gratification, instead.

What Is Executive Dysfunction

Executive dysfunction is a term used to describe problems with a persons executive function. A persons ability to make plans, change plans, monitor and regulate their own behaviors, manage their time effectively, and organize their thoughts are all considered executive functions. Therefore, any issues in performing these executive functions are considered an executive dysfunction.

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Overwhelm In A Nutshell

Everyone gets overwhelmed sometimes. But its different for us. Adults with ADHD get overwhelmed more often and by more things than those with neurotypical brains. The overwhelm happens because our brains do not have enough of the critical neurotransmitters we need for effective executive functioning skills.

Basically, adults with ADHD feel overwhelmed because our brains dont have enough of the chemicals we need to help us live our lives as easily as others do.

What Overwhelms The Adhd Brain Because The Adhd Brain Doesnt Filter Information Or Stimulation And Because It Struggles To Order Prioritize And Organize It Can Be Overwhelmed By Almost Anything In Life But These Are The Top 6 Forms Of Overwhelm I Most Often See:

Help! How to Deal With ADHD Meltdowns

Too much stimulation: ADHD Overstimulation

The filterless ADHD brain doesnt tune out information coming in as other brains do. So it all comes in, it all has to be processed and it all floods the system. Constantly. This means the dog barking hello, the kids fighting in the next room, and the flashing lights in the corner hit your brain full force. Causing things like irritation, headaches, anger, an overwhelming desire to flee or lash out. To learn more about overstimulation check out Why am I so Sensitive?

Too many thoughts: Cognitive Overwhelm

Your brain thinks. It thinks all the time and it thinks all the thoughts. It pinballs around, having thought after thought after thought. Now, lets not forget that theres some benefit here- some of those thoughts are incredible. Some of those thoughts can change the world. But lets also be real- if your brain cant finish the thought, its pretty hard to enact it.

This is where the overwhelm comes in because its exhausting trying to follow each and every pinball thought. So after trying for a bit you then try to choose which one needs to be followed to its full and beautiful conclusion. But all of that effort? Thats executive functioning effort and your executive functioning system– its going to wear out its supply quickly, leaving you just with a bunch of frantic pinballs.

Too many feelings: Emotional Overwhelm

Too many tasks: To-Do List Overwhelm

Too much stuff: Clutter Overwhelm

Too many logistics: Logistical Overwhelm

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Why Are Adhd Brains More Prone To More Frequent And Bigger Overwhelm

It all comes back to the filter. ADHD brains dont filter information, stimulation, and other incoming data. It doesnt sort out the unimportant things, leaving you to only have to deal with the key details. Instead, your brain is smacked with every single piece of data that comes your way. Thats a lot. And, because your brain also doesnt regulate the intensity of your feelings very well, it feels and experiences that wave of data full force- all day, every day.

Types Of Adhd Paralysis

Freezing is one of several biological responses to a perceived threat. There are other responses you may be familiar with, including fright, flight, and fawn.

When you live with ADHD, altered executive functioning related to planning and carrying out tasks may mean its easier for you to feel overwhelmed.

Overwhelm can be stressful, and you may respond to that threat with ADHD freeze mechanisms, such as:

This sense of dread surrounding too much on your plate can also cause ADHD paralysis across multiple areas of functioning and is known as the overwhelm-shutdown process.

Common ways overwhelm-shutdown appears in daily life include:

  • ADHD mental paralysis. A state of overwhelm from too many converging thoughts and emotions. It may make it challenging to speak, move, or convey whats going on in your mind at the moment.
  • ADHD task paralysis. A freeze in motivation may result in procrastination and task avoidance, brought on by a looming to-do list.
  • ADHD choice paralysis. Also known as analysis paralysis, this is a sense of overwhelm related to too many choices or the need to make a decision.

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What Can You Do When You Feel Overwhelmed

If you have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder , chances are you know what it is to feel overwhelmed. All too often I cannot process all the information clamoring for attention inside my head and I shut down completely.

When I have so much to do that I dont know where to begin, its all too easy to just not start at all. Procrastination because of feeling overwhelmed is one of the biggest hurdles I climb as part of my ADHD. I know Im not alone on this.

What Is Adhd Paralysis And Do I Have It

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ADHD paralysis goes by many namesanalysis paralysis, couch lock, or task freezebut the symptoms are always the same. ADHD paralysis causes feelings of being overwhelmed by too much information or too many tasks. Often, a person experiencing ADHD paralysis finds it challenging to begin a task, assignment, or project because doing so feels apprehensive and overwhelming.

Though anyone can experience analysis paralysis at times, for people with an ADHD diagnosis ADHD paralysis is an everyday occurrence. A person experiencing ADHD paralysis will find starting a large, complex project extremely daunting. If they manage to start their project, they might have trouble maintaining their focus and attention, getting bogged down by minor details, or becoming distracted altogether.

If youre experiencing ADHD paralysis or other symptoms of the disorder, Klarity can help you find the care you need. Contact us to schedule an online evaluation with a licensed medical professional and begin your journey toward alleviating ADHD symptoms today!

What are some signs that you are experiencing ADHD paralysis?

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Overwhelm In A Nutshell For Adults With Adhd

Everyone gets overwhelmed sometimes. But its different for us. Adults with ADHD get overwhelmed more often and by more things than those with neurotypical brains. The overwhelm happens because our brains do not have enough of the critical neurotransmitters we need for effective executive functioning skills.

Basically, adults with ADHD feel overwhelmed because our brains dont have enough of the chemicals we need to help us live our lives as easily as others do. This means people with ADHD can struggle to complete a task or make, organize or start a plan. Often they find themselves shifting their attention to something else before completing the task at hand.

Ultimately, we are nearly always overstimulated and cant sort through the chaos in our brains. It all seems either very important or not important at all, so we cant determine what to do first. Then we panic, and we cant compartmentalize our feelings, so whatever we feel spills out over every part of our lives.

In overwhelm, as the online magazine ADDitude explains, Individuals with ADHD experience life more intensely than neurotypicals. The ADHD nervous system wants to be engaged in something interesting and challenging. Attention is never deficit. Its always excessive, constantly occupied with internal engagements. When people with ADHD arent in the zone, hyperfocus, they have many things rattling around in their minds all at once. Nothing gets sustained undivided attention. Nothing gets done well.

Could It Be Adhd

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder affects behavior. People who have it often have trouble making decisions or getting tasks done before a deadline. Some get too distracted with other activities around them. Others find it hard to plan ahead, or they get frustrated easily and give up.

  • Making careless mistakes or taking unsafe risks
  • Squirming or fidgeting

Medications can often help control many symptoms of the disorder. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, which helps identify and change negative thought patterns, also can help many people with the condition better manage their time.

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For Toddlers And Children

Most of us would associate toddlerhood with tantrums or periods of time where the child is unable to clearly express their feelings and in turn, they become dysregulated. This is a behavior we see in almost all children. Toddlers can experience sensory overload and their behaviors may look slightly different than a typical tantrum or moment of dysregulation.

A toddler whose sensory system is overloaded may cry for extended periods of time, may pound fists or engage in other aggressive-like behaviors , may become very emotional in certain situations, and often there is profound difficulty in calming the child down. The same can be said for older children as well.

Generally, we expect all children to have moments of being dysregulated, however sensory overload is often more intense, lasts for a longer time period, and the childs ability to calm down on their own is often impeded.

Ease Stress And Anxiety

How to Stop Overwhelm with ADHD: Video 2 – What’s Your Trigger?

This brings me to reason at #3 why I think creating and maintaining a shutdown routine is so powerful. And this is because it helps to ease those feelings of anxiety and stress, which are often caused by all our racing thoughts. It helps settle the mind when thoughts about unanswered messages and the never ending To Do List arise.

When we dont have a set approach to answering urgent messages or at least scheduling time to do so, our brain loves to spin and problem solve. It worries about when you will respond. And that task or message constantly pops back into your mind convinced that you might forget to get back to this person or that person. But when you know that youve responded to the urgent messages and scheduled time for the next day to respond to the rest, you can quiet those chattering thoughts.

And then finally, as a throwback to our declutter and organization episodes a couple of weeks ago, by clearing both your computer desktop and your actual desktop, you reduce the visual clutter for the day ahead. Youve created a schedule for yourself, so when you sit down to work, youve reduced visual distraction, youve identified what youre working on first, and youve reduced any friction between you and getting started on that task.

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Sensory Overload And Autism Spectrum Disorder

Generally speaking, sensory overload is commonly associated with autism spectrum disorder . Individuals with ASD often have over-reactive or sensitive sensory systems. This means that they may take in too much information from their environment or they may be more sensitive than others when it comes to certain stimuli in their environment. These factors can cause sensory overload. Some of the most common sensory triggers for people with ASD include loud noises, bright lights, crowded places, etc. Again, what may not seem bright, loud, or overwhelming to a person without ASD may be very overwhelming for a person with ASD.

Other conditions and their relation to Sensory Overload

There are also other diagnosed conditions which may involve sensory overload as a symptom. Individuals dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder often experience anxiety, and sometimes flashbacks or reexperiencing of the traumatic event. Certain sensory stimuli can trigger anxiety and flashbacks. In addition, people with bipolar disorder are often sensitive to certain sensory triggers in their environment.

Sensory Overload And Anxiety

If youre a person with anxiety issues or an anxiety disorder, you may experience sensory overload in unfamiliar environments, when you are surrounded by new people, or when expectations are unknown to you. Your senses become heightened and perhaps you are over-responsive to sensory information that would not affect a person without anxiety.

Likewise, if youre a child or adult with sensory processing dysfunction, its probable that being in those same situations will cause you anxiety. The fear of not knowing what sensory experiences may arise is enough to cause you to have a heightened arousal level and be anxious about the what-ifs or maybes with new experiences.

So, whether your anxiety causes sensory processing difficulties or your sensory issues cause your anxiety, it is important to address both manifestations. Youll want to consult an occupational therapist and/or counselor to pinpoint the cause of your individual responses, of course. In the meantime though, some of the same recommendations hold true for both issues.

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