Happiness. Anger. Sadness. Content. Emotions. We all have them. It’s all part of being human. No matter who we are, we will have feelings. From the moment we are born until the day we die. This is a given to many, if not all, of us. Absolutely normal. It’s something that a lot of us learn early on. How many of us have heard from others that it’s normal to feel the way we’re feeling? Many of us have probably heard this as toddlers from parents, grandparents, or whomever we were with at the time. I know I have. And I know tell my kids the same thing.
Yes, having feelings is normal and all part of being human. However, how ADHDers and ADDers feel is different from individuals without it. After all, our brain is different. So, it would make sense that our emotions and how we feel them may be different. Research has shown that individuals with ADHD/ADD feel their emotions a lot more intensely. It is a stronger emotion for us. This is something else that sets us apart from others.
Managing our emotions is another struggle that we have to deal with, and yet it is not something that is commonly discussed. When it comes to ADHD/ADD, we will talk about the inattentive, impulsive and hyperactive aspects, but not the intense emotions that ADHD/ADD must deal with, manage, and sometimes even struggle with. The strong and intense emotions is just mentioned as a potential symptom and brushed aside. However, it really should be mentioned, discussed, and shouldn’t be ignored. Understanding that ADHD/ADD also affects our emotions may also help us manage our ADHD/ADD and symptoms a little better and hopefully a little more easily.
I’ll admit that handling my emotions has been a struggle. My emotions can be so varied and change so quickly. One second, I might really happy, while the next, I’m really sad. And I’ll wonder what the change came from. It comes out of the blue, and before I have a chance to really think about it.
I struggle with all of them. Yes, all of them. The good and the bad. Sometimes, when I’m happy, I do try hard to show it without necessarily running around like a giddy little girl. I have to stop myself from jumping up and down in a store or restaurant. I do struggle with controlling my anger. My family will attest to that. I don’t handle stress too well. I do sometimes get overwhelmed very easily. A little too easily sometimes. Weekday mornings aren’t always easy and can get overwhelming quite quickly. Especially with three young kids (aged 6, 4 1/2, and 3 at the moment) that I have to get ready for school and daycare plus myself. A lot of those mornings I have to do it by myself, as my husband often works nights and gets home after drop off time. This is just a small picture of my emotional struggle.
And to be honest, the emotions I felt and the intensity of them, I thought was all normal. I know that we have emotions and I thought that how I felt them was how everyone felt them. I thought it was the same and normal for everyone. I am finding out that I was wrong and that not everyone feels emotions as intently as I do. Not unless that person also has ADHD/ADD. It’s all pretty new for me, as it wasn’t something that was ever discussed. Not to me, at any rate.
I’ll admit that having ADD hasn’t been easy in different ways. Emotionally being one of them. And it’s nice to find out that this is all part of having ADHD/ADD and that I’m not alone. That there are ways to deal with it.
The ADHD/ADD brain is different. Not only does it affect our ability to focus, or taking time to make decisions, or our inability to sit still. It affects our emotions and how we handle them. We know right from wrong. We know we shouldn’t be yelling at our boss, who gave us more work at the last minute. We know we shouldn’t. But sometimes we can’t always control how we handle our emotions and deal with this situation. The part of our brain that helps us control our emotions in this kind of situation, and most situations, is not really there. The part that would stop us from yelling at our boss doesn’t function in the same way as someone without ADHD/ADD. Our brain works differently. Our brains just have a difficult time stopping and thinking, before reacting, in some situations.
For ADHDers/ADDers, dealing with our emotions is like a roller coaster, not knowing where the next curve is going to take us. It’s not easy. I am sure it’s not always easy for those who are close to us either. It’s a difficult situation in many ways.