Times have changed. I’m certain there are many out there that remember when they discovered they had ADHD. Some of us only remember that we’ve always known. We grew up with the label. And in the past when you discover you have it, you basically suck it up. Sure, we had some medications that would help, but that was about it. We were given the list of issues we would be facing like a to-do list. ‘You’ll be inattentive, distracted, impulsive and forgetful. So, figure it out and go about your way little person’. (Does that sound condescending? Yeah, it did back then too.) So, we learned to cope as well as we could. But nowadays, it’s a different story. We know so much more about the condition that some of us are shocked to find out many of our issues were ADHD related. When I discovered that many of my traits stemmed from my ADHD, I went through a gambit of emotions. And, in an effort to obtain some level of control over this malfunction of by Frontal lobes and Cerebellum, I tackled every trait I discovered. Inattentiveness – Learn coping mechanisms. Distractions – modify my world. Impulsiveness – train myself. Forgetfulness – change my habits. Memory issues – um…screw it. Meds. But I accepted it. I have ADHD. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just the hand I was dealt.
So why didn’t I feel any better?
You see, I accepted it all, yet ignored the one major component that pretty much drove most of my symptoms like a Ferrari on the Autobahn. My emotions. If there was anything within this condition that was more frustrating, more haranguing and virtually impossible to control, it was my damned emotions. Even in my researching of the components regarding them I still wasn’t finding an answer as how to get them under control. And, of all the traits needing to be controlled, it was emotions. Because no decision driven by emotion was ever considered a good one. (Go ahead, try and refute that. You think Hitler made his choices out of logic?)
I know, I know, I’ve covered the emotional aspect of ADHD previously. But this is different. This particular post is about finding a way to perhaps keep these wild horses we call ‘feelings’ from stampeding all over our loved ones, or friends, or co-workers. Or strangers in line that don’t know how to use the card machine at the checkout. (Hey! Some things are just too frustrating to watch!) So, what do we do? How do we stem the ever raging tsunami that is our emotions when they get triggered or fanned into a blaze? Is there some sort of secret that many of us haven’t heard about that might actually give us a chance so save our marriages, friendships and jobs? And maybe keep us from getting thrown out of Target? (It was a frustrating day!) As a matter of fact, I believe I have found an answer. At least for me, and many I’ve given this insight. I have found a method that will actually help keep me from going into a hulk like rage when getting inconvenienced when I simply want to go along my merry way. (I really gotta get over that person. Just swipe the card!!!) I know what I would tell anyone with ADHD what their best course of action should be when they find their feelings are getting away from them and they’re desperate to stop them.
Now I don’t mean let yourself go and fly off the handle at your kids, or lose your temper at your boss, or act rude because you’re frustrated. (Ok, I think I might need therapy.) No one needs the aftermath that comes after such moments. However, I am talking about other times that you notice your emotions getting away from you. How many times have you had some random memory of a loved one, like your kids, and suddenly felt like crying. Or heard a song that seemed to touch just the right nerve and you felt deeply from it. Or you’re watching a commercial with a father/daughter moment and find yourself wanting to weep. (Yeah, I have a specific commercial that always gets me. My daughters tend to leave the room when it pops up.) I always fight back these emotions because, I mean seriously, what the hell? It’s a gum commercial for crying out loud. But recently I’ve been trying a new approach. I let it out. And oh, let me tell you how that’s changed things for me.
I actually stumbled across this process while researching for another post. It intrigued me so much, I wanted to give it a try before saying anything about it. Yes, I realize that giving in to my desire to weep will put my man card on the bubble, but it’s for a worthy cause. I need to find a way to soothe these emotions so that I might find some peace when things get rocky. I need to be able to control myself. I want to be healthy. I don’t know anybody that doesn’t want that.
What I found is that letting it out literally has a positive effect on the body. It actually takes the negative emotions stored in the mind and releases them. When you’re done,. a state of relaxation takes over the system. Now, for an average person, that sounds pretty good. To us with ADHD, it’s a miracle. Because it actually works. I know because I tried it. Let me tell you how it works.
It wasn’t long ago and I was trying to get some time with my kids. They’re adults now and have very busy lives. My oldest was the busiest and I rarely heard from her. Well, we had connected recently and decided to make some definitive plans to see each other weekly. Then, one day, out of the clear blue, a random text comes in. My oldest simply wanted to let me know, “I love you, Dadre.” (It’s her nickname for me. And no, you can’t have it.) I was at work and had to find a private place because I could feel it coming on so fast and strong. But this time I wasn’t holding it back. This was a perfect example of when to let the emotions flow. And I did. I cannot tell you what a simple ten minutes can do for a person when they simply allow themselves to feel. I’m not ashamed and I’m not weakened by it. My children are very important to me. That was precious. I’ve since done so with all of my children. And what I found is that I am much more relaxed when it comes to them. I used to fret and stress and get overly emotional whenever I couldn’t get a hold of them, or we had to cancel plans, or I just didn’t hear from them for two days. Now, it’s easier. So, when I have the opportunity, let the feeling happen. Feeling suddenly happy, then sing. Feeling the anger build, then vent. Even to yourself.if needs be. Feeling sad, cry.
Now, let me say that it’s still very important to choose your timing very carefully. I have had many times while watching my children interact with each other that I felt such a love for those amazing creatures I literally almost burst into tears right in my sons arms. Wouldn’t that be awkward? My kids laughing at a joke and all of a sudden dad just bursts into tears. Normally I’d agree. But my kids, especially my son, are very attuned to my emotional state. They can be extremely sensitive while I regain my composure. (No, I’ve not burst into tears in front of my kids. Much. Dear Lord, how often have I done this?)
This little discovery led me to realize that those close to me have found ways of managing me. I have select friends that I can call on in a moments notice and start to rant about whatever is affecting me. They get that I need to let that emotion flow in order to get back to rational thought and solve the problem in front of me, or, in some cases, not unload on the frustration in front of me. They know that the results could be catastrophic if I simply went with that emotion and let it fly. Anyway, they get a good laugh out of it simply because they get a text message when I’m stuck in a line. Okay. I’m not going there again.
I cannot stress the importance of this topic enough. This issue just seems to keep popping back up over and over. No matter where you go in your research and education of ADHD, emotional stability ( Also known as emotional Hyperactivity)keeps knocking on discoveries door. Ok, more like slamming it’s head into the door like a Pachycephalosaurus on an overdose of Ritalin. There’s a visual that’ll keep you occupied for hours. (Dino reference for my boy!) And whenever it finds it’s way to me, I am more than compelled to speak on it. Because I know the devastating effects of repressed emotions. And if we can find a way to stem that tide and save what we have, it’s worth it to speak on it as many times as necessary.
And that’s what I’ll do. Every time a new aspect of the emotional trait of ADHD arises and is noticed, I’m going to speak on it. I feel that it is very necessary to share in order to make somebody, anybody, more comfortable with who they are and how they feel. Nobody should ever be condemned simply because they feel more deeply and more reactively than others. to avoid, ignore or simply deny your emotions can leave you….empty. And if there’s one thing anyone with ADHD isn’t, is empty. THere’s just too much life inside them to deny it.
Research on this topic:
And, for the fun of it: