I don't know about you but for me, I just carried on, thinking my thoughts were the same as everyone else's.
Those intrusive negative thoughts, thinking everyone thought the worst of every scenario.
Psychology Today describes it this way:
"Catastrophizing is a cognitive distortion that prompts people to jump to the worst possible conclusion, usually with very limited information or objective reason to despair. When a situation is upsetting, but not necessarily catastrophic, they still feel like they are in the midst of a crisis."
Catastrophizing. Okay. So that's what you are.
This is just ONE of MANY symptoms related to ADHD/ADD and other disorders. Today, we're talking about this disorder, but our viewpoint below can still be relevant.
"Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a condition that affects people's behaviour. People with ADHD can seem restless, may have trouble concentrating and may act on impulse." - NHS UK
I used to wonder if it was just for little hyperactive boys who acted up in class. It surely couldn't be something adult men and women could struggle with too. We might read those symptoms above and think "This is just a fad, it's all over social media. Those aren't symptoms, that's just life".
It may be to you, but to many of us, it's a crippling way of life that we would gladly swap for a calmer one. It affects us at home and at work, in bed and in the car, during a business meeting and during medical appointments, at the beach and in the garden.
Jess and I wanted to have another discussion about this, as her previous blog "I am making my ADHD my Superpower" clearly touched a nerve and was our most popular blog to date! Last week, I asked Jess a few straight questions and as always, I got VERY honest and straight answers. Click here for the full chat, where we touch on the negatives and positives of ADHD and why we feel this is an important topic to discuss in the business world. Employers out there can learn how to deal with ND (neurodiverse) employees and explore how they can be a HUGE asset when given the chance.
Going back to what we discussed above, catastrophizing is sometimes called “magnifying". Did you know that it can even make a flare up of pain so much worse?
You might wonder how negative thoughts like "This is always going to feel this terrible/scary", "I will always feel this awful about..") can be crippling. It's because it can bizarrely enhance our pain, cause our thoughts to spiral out of control and push us into moments of mental and physical fatigue.
How can we "snap out of it"?
It's not that simple, sorry.
Over time, we learn to understand ourselves a bit better - our own personal behaviours, needs, symptoms, triggers. Everyone is different.
Our superpower comes from being able to notice, act and confront our own symptoms. We have to learn to be patient with ourselves and help ourselves out of situations. This really isn't easy, when we often feel like we should keep going, we have to motor on, we don't want to disappoint or burden anyone, putting ourselves under extraordinary pressure.
I spoke to someone recently who didn't really understand this, and they said they could compartmentalize negative thoughts like this. After acknowledging their negative moment, they could move on and not allow it to cloud over their day. Oh, if we could be inside their brain for a day. This could consume us for hours, days, who knows... maybe even longer! We appreciate your patience in these moments, when you might not understand fully how we work or think but you care enough to allow us the time to bounce back and get things done our way.
A few minutes of rest and low brain stimulation can recharge us and allow us to return to a productive state. If we're really low on energy, this may take longer than we hope or plan for. Noone knows better than us about perfectionism and wanting to get things done. Our lists are endless. We prioritize where possible but if you need to know where you are on our list, feel free to touch base. We'll make sure you're looked after.
The kinder you are, the quicker we are. Just sayin'...
This is part of why we have our automated out-of-office (OOO) messages, so we can focus and prioritize our work on the days we're working.
One thing that really struck me from our chat - when is it okay for an individual to tell another individual that they are rubbish? Jess explains what's happened to her in the past and how it has impacted her and her ADHD.
No one likes to be told we're wrong. It may be required on the odd occasion but how it delivered is entirely up to the critic. Put yourself in someone else's shoes. When you get to know people well enough, you know if your words have power for good or not so good. Always choose good. Always try to build up, rather than push down.
No one deserves to be spoken to in a negative way - even if they've done something wrong, there is always a better way to deal with individuals on a personal level. There could be a genuine reason.
Get to know your team. You'll benefit by taking a few minutes and seeing how things can trigger or affect them negatively and positively.
Would you expect a person with a broken leg to run a marathon tomorrow? I hope not!
Then why would you (as a person with a neurotypical condition, with no cure) expect a person with a neurodevelopmental condition (with no cure) to run their life the same beautifully simple and organized way as you? It's not something we have control over. There are medications, tools and some support out there but there are also many loops, twists and turns and not everyone can get the support they need.
“ADHD isn’t a bad thing, and you shouldn’t feel different from those without ADHD.”
— Adam Levine (Adam speaks out about his ADHD, click here to read his interview on Child Mind Institute website. I find it fascinating to hear from others.)
We'd love to hear from those of you who live with ADHD (either in your own brain or in your own home/office). What's the best advise you've ever been given or could give to others who may be newly diagnosed or seeking diagnosis?