One of the things that surprised me about ADHD was that along with all the usual traits like impulsivity, being easily distracted, and so on, a lot of us are hypersensitive.
Our physical sensitivities include more childhood colds, allergies, ear aches and asthma, which can also carry on into adulthood. As a child, I often woke up screaming in pain with yet another ear infection.
Even though my sister and I both spent our summer days in the pool, I was the one who got the ear infections. This makes sense to me now; I’m also the one who’s adopted and blessed with ADHD.
Don’t touch me there
I bet the fabled Princess herself was none too happy with her whalebone corset.
People with ADHD can have heightened sensitivities in every one of our five senses. Heck, we’re the original Princesses and the Peas. Princes and the Peas? Something about royalty and veggies, anyway, which apparently is a bad combo. At the extreme end, we can suffer from both ADHD and OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), as does our poster child for the two-in-one special, Howie Mandel (actor and author of Here’s The Deal: Don’t Touch Me).
I bet the fabled Princess herself was none too happy with her whalebone corset. I know a lot of ADHD women like me who feel the same way about underwire. And underwear, come to think of it.
We’re also more emotionally sensitive.
And that makes me really sad.
But seriously, many women have been mistakenly diagnosed with biopolar disorder because of extreme mood swings, when it was really the moodiness of ADHD (although others have the double-whammy of both ADHD and bipolar disorder or a co-occurring mood or anxiety disorder).
Turning a negative into a positive
Believe it or not, there’s a good side to being emotionally hypersensitive: we can pick up the vibe in a room the second we walk in. If only we would learn to walk out again.
Just like other ADHD traits, the trick is to learn about your hypersensitivities, and how to manage or even make the most of them.
As for physical hypersensitivities, many of us find we’re more prone to auto-immune conditions and sensitivity-related medical problems such as excema. I’ve noticed my asthma only kicks up if I’m super-stressed.
On the positive side (yes, there actually is one), you can think of these conditions as an early warning system that lets you know it’s time to re-balance. Life is a constant balancing act; tuning into your body’s subtle and not-so-subtle messages can help you get back to emotional and physical health sooner.
By listening to your body’s signals, you can lessen the severity and length of your symptoms, or even prevent recurrences by taking early action.
Anyway, good luck! And remember, there’s nothing wrong with being a natural-born drama queen: as long as you’re on the stage.
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Last reviewed: 31 Aug 2012