Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Emotional Hijack

This entry is for all of you ADHD folks out there. So if you're looking for the artsy stuff perhaps you should just move along. HOWEVER, if you are looking for some possible insight into the inner workings of someone you know with ADHD (and you do know some, whether you realize it or not) feel free to read on...

There are (or fortunately for the most part, were) times when I would get REALLY upset about the smallest things. Little stuff would send me through the roof for no particular reason and I would find myself uncontrollably upset or outrageously angry over something that just wasn't worth it. Growing up, I attributed it to my "alien" nature. I'll talk about this more in time, but basically it was the belief that I was some unfortunate freak who just didn't get the hang of "normal" people's thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and so on. I honestly thought I was broken, or was some sort of genetically or spiritually different being... and it sucked.

As I became an adult, and discovered that my brain actually was chemically different than other people's, I began to found out what was really going on. What was happening was a sort of "emotional hijack". My emotional well-being and impulse control was being taken away from me in ways that left me angry, or sad, or desperate, and always confused. It worked like this...

Say for example I got up in the morning and burned my toast. No big, right? Frustrating, but we can set that little thing aside, right? Then a shoelace breaks (no big, set it aside) and we're running late and have to rush to make it to school on time (little stressful there, but it's ok, right?). Little things happen, they always do, and we tell ourselves that they are no big deal and we've let them go. Then all of a sudden that last little thing... we don't let it go... it blows up big-time.

Turns out that I really hadn't let go of all those other things. I was unable to set them aside, and they kept adding to the undercurrent of my day until the tide got high enough to burst open the dam and all the frustrations came pouring through. All logic and reason and self-regulation got swept up in the flood and I was left spiraling out of control.

If any of this sounds familiar, about you or someone you care for, you have my sympathies. It was a damn tough thing to overcome. I'm not sure if "overcome" is really even accurate, I've just taught myself to ride that flood of emotion without being pulled under long enough to wrest control back from the 'jackers...

Like so many coping skills I've had to develop, awareness was the key. Self-awareness and a realization that this flood of emotion isn't really connected to what is actually happening at the moment. Awareness of how to keep things in perspective even when that little voice inside you is callig you an idiot for being so calm.

Deep breath...

So for now, its all good. At least most of the time it is. I try and deal with the droplets before they become the flood and realize, as I so often do, that the voice inside your head doesn't always know what the hell it is talking about.

2 Comments:

Blogger Chris said...

Very eloquent and well thought out analogy for a characteristic I've never really been able to find good coping strategies for... It's so hard when I'm THAT upset to let go or find a constructive way to do anything... Not only do the emotions get hijacked... The entire thought process overrides reason most of the time...

September 16, 2009 at 1:08 PM  
Blogger Terry Chausse, Practice Manager said...

Your ability to articulate what it's *really* like is a gift. I look forward to more insights like this one.

October 6, 2009 at 2:48 PM  

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