Being overwhelmed by ADHDIt’s been dawning on me for about a week now that the library book I so dutifully renewed must be coming due. But how would I know? I lost the renewal slip.

I tried to log in to the library’s website, guessed my PIN number and: Pzhhhzzzzt… sorry, but thanks for playing! I called the library. Sure enough, my book was due a week ago.

Is it just me, or is this never-ending humidity wearing on everyone’s nerves?

Here I am complaining about a library fine, when all week there’s been news of dozens of innocent people being killed or injured by random gun violence all across North America.

In the grand scheme of things, I’m a very lucky woman. Still, the pummeling bad news combined with the oppressive weather have got me functioning at the level of a drunken slug; I’m not just slow-moving, I’m slowly getting nowhere.

I may not be able to solve the problem of random shootings by crazed gunmen, but I definitely need to solve the problem of being overwhelmed and unfocused.

No break in the weather, but a break for me

Just as the heat and humidity have been hanging in the air, so too has my feeling of being stuck and overwhelmed. It’s been several weeks. I’d started to feel desperate, both weather-wise and ‘whelm-wise.

Then came one of those Aha! moments. I realized that there’s overwhelmed, and then there’s overwhelmed.

Before learning about ADHD (first-hand, that is), all it took to overwhelm me was getting out of bed in the morning. It just got worse as the day wore on.

Not that my life was bad or anything. Not that I didn’t have fun. But even roller coasters are only good on an occasional basis. If you’re on one every day, you get exhausted, dizzy, and well, overwhelmed.

By the time I was diagnosed, I was so dizzy and spin-y I couldn’t focus long enough to scrub a tub, let alone work for a living.

Rudderless, I was headed out to sea. In a dirty bathtub.

Luckily, a swash-buckling ADHD lad saved me, steering me towards my doc’s office for a diagnosis.

A different kind of overwhelmed

When I think about being overwhelmed before and after my diagnosis, there’s a world of difference. Before, life itself was overwhelming. I felt hopeless, confused and frustrated.

Today, I have so much work I don’t know where to start! I feel lucky and grateful to have it.

And that kind of overwhelm feels a whole lot better than the other kind.

As for the ADHD part, I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve, and I can learn more ways to outsmart my ADHD; but first, I had to unleash the energy, hope, and motivation to do that.


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    Last reviewed: 24 Jul 2012

APA Reference
Kessler, Z. (2012). There’s Overwhelmed, and Then There’s Overwhelmed. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 20, 2014, from


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