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If you are ADHD, you may find that for some or all your emotions there seem to be only 2 settings – off and overpowering. You do not get a little bit upset or a little bit excited, you are completely indifferent or overwhelmed.
Once again, know that there is nothing wrong with you, this is just how your brain is wired, and, because that is different from most other brains, you may have been made to feel that it is wrong to be as you are.
Sometimes these powerful emotions can be great. When we enjoy something, we really love it and have a fantastic time. When we are passionate abut something, we fight for it with all that we have. But when we are down or depressed, we are really down.
Things that seem relatively unimportant to others can be hugely upsetting for us.
How can we have the benefits without the drawbacks? Unfortunately, to a certain extent they are two sides of the same coin and come as a package, but there are ways to try and manage the extremes when we want or need to.
The principle among these is to practice mindfulness. Do not be put off by the name and any negative associations it might have for you. What mindfulness involves is trying to observe your feelings as an impartial observer. Think of someone else in your position feeling what you feel. How would you advise and support them? Then apply that to yourself.
It is generally much easier to see how to fix other people’s problems than our own, (and this is the basis of group therapy), so by disassociating ourselves from our emotions for a time we can gain these benefits in respect of our own feelings.
A second technique is to try and specifically name your feelings. Rather than just thinking that you are sad or upset, try to analyse how you feel in more detail. Why are you sad – what are you going to miss because of what has happened, or would it be more accurate to say that you are disappointed, or feel let down?
By getting into more detail about our feelings we can start to manage our emotional response better. But be aware that emotions are not logical or rational, and it is also fine to feel upset without really knowing why sometimes!
ADHD brains are amazing, including yours. They have just as many strengths and weaknesses as other brains, but they tend to be in different areas. There is absolutely nothing wrong with who you are, but a few tricks and techniques can make living in a world designed for a different type of brain a bit easier. ADHD brains deserve to shine just as much as any others.