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Overreact much? If you have ADHD, there’s a good chance you do.
In fact, emotional dysregulation is a core symptom of ADHD. It might get a little better as we transition from childhood into adulthood, but the fact is that once in a while you’re likely to have one of those moments when everything piles up on you and BOOM! You explode.
Some people with ADHD get angry and fly off the handle. Others get overwhelmed. Some of us cry. Some of us shut down.
It happens when emotions get the better of us. Sometimes it comes out of nowhere. The worst part is that it can leave us and those around us—people we work with or people we care deeply about—wondering what in the world just happened. It can be incredibly embarrassing—especially when we feel back to normal and realize what happened.
The good news is that you can learn to spot the onset of the meltdowns before they happen. And you can take practical steps to prevent them. This week, we talk about how to do both of those PLUS how to cope with them when they do happen, and how to recover from them.
Huge thanks to our listener, Lexi, for requesting this episode!
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I listened to your podcast and I definitely understood both perspectives. It seemed that each had a different way of exhibiting an outburst, which was directed toward self, or possibly another. I just wanted to share my story. I don’t know if this is the proper channel or option to do so. I have recently had several mini outbursts, which I call tantrums to be honest. I can’t always identify a central theme, but I would assume stress was a catalyst. To be blunt.. I’m extremely clumsy. I’m clumsy to the point it triggers many of my outbursts. It’s never directed toward a person. Luckily my partner is very chill when I am in the midst of it. I love to cook. I actually enjoy chaos to a point because then my hyper focus comes out. I multi-task many different dishes, and mostly from scratch. I have times where I spill something, something is burnt, it’s not what I expected. I definitely feel failed. I’m disappointed. I will kinda slam pans around, throw the oven mit, abruptly throw it in the trash, cuss, and I’m just overall so annoyed ! I’m beyond annoyed whatever that word is. I anticipated, followed directions, and by my clumsiness or whatever it is.. it didn’t “pan” out (lol). Today I was vacuuming. I don’t know if you have tried to vacuum dog hair up from wooden floors but…. Forget about it. The hair floating around, unwillingly to succumb to its demise. It drove me nuts ! I vacuumed and kept seeing more hair flowing. I swept… the hair like tumbleweeds. I thought and said out loud… “wtf!.” Many other words were forrrrr sure used lol. Picture it…. Florida … 2022. (Rip Sophia golden girls). I’m fighting with this damn vacuum and just so annoyed. What’s so funny is that I know I was hyper focused, but I was using it to my advantage. I am in no way exaggerating when I say… I could have spent all day on my hands and knees… just plucking every single damn hair from the floor. I take a lot of pride in cooking. I have gotten so clumsy I just spill almost the whole lot of it, and then I think… I just made sooo much more work for myself, because now I have this huge mess. It’s hard when I fail at the things I’m good at, and I expect something amazing. The dark side of the force… or something?
I definitely slam things down harder, I might slam doors, I toss or throw things, I get a bit loud and curse but only directed at the particular task.
No-polar thrown in the mix and Add in the unrealistic standards I set for myself, it’s a shit storm. There are so many characteristics of each that feed into each other, and the lines are blurred. Which is it? I know I have various triggers, but sometimes it’s out of the blue. Maybe it’s a strive for perfection? I’m not sure. Makes sense. I just want to do good. I want to make good things happen. When I hit a barrier like being clumsy or something… it’s devastating.
I recently cooked some dinner. I wanted to make sweet potato nachos. I tended to these potatoes, and they were delicious. I baked them first before the toppings. I added the toppings and then I topped it with some cheese. The cheeeeeseeee of it all. The damn cheese was baaad. So what do ya do? I just like lose it lol. I’m so annoyed. I throw the cheese away and throw away my precious potatoes, only to realize I live in a tiny ass town with no food options.e I specifically said NO FROZEN PIZZA TONIGHT ! Lol. Welllllll afterwards… yeah.. frozen pizza. It was already 9:30pm… ain’t nobody got time for that. This is fun. This is a super hyper focused rant for me. Who knows tomorrow ??! I sometimes wake up feeling completely depleted, and almost wishing for those moments of being so fixated. It means that I’m alive, I’m feeling something. I understand this reward system. I am a picker, a biter of nails. Yep. It’s this insatiable feeling. It’s mostly the skin around my nails. It’s this throbbing, aching feeling, and it has to be “dealt with.” I like if my nails have a certain rough texture, and I can rub them across my lips. I examine them. I see they just don’t look a certain way, and I have to chip away. It’s a weird masochistic process. It hurts, but it feeds a certain pleasure.
Lastly, I just wanted to touch on sensory issues. Bi-polar and ADHD consist of sensory overload. Many times I can be emersed in a giant crowd, and I genuinely enjoy the chaos. Other times… you crinkle a plastic bag an absurd amount of time… I will lose it. Chew that food with mouth wide open… nope lmao. I often plug my ears, and just have to leave. Sound on sound on sound. Although some sounds are pleasant.. it’s funny how I can hone in on one sound. It sounds like an earthquake in my ears. I can’t.
I could say much more but it’s all escaping me. A beautiful tangent. I hope some of my ramblings has made sense. I appreciate what y’all are doing, and I feel at home. I have something to identify with. I believe humans have an instinctual drive to belong. What y’all do fosters that. Anyways…. Lol. Thank you.