Seriously. Do you feel anxious about things?
And are they things that you’re embarrassed to try to explain?
I know the feeling. I suffer from anxiety and I’m really embarrassed by the different aspects of its manifestation.
And it has to do with ADHD
I thought it had to do almost exclusively with the medication I was on.
I had assumed that I was predisposed to it, but that the meds had triggered it. A reasonable assumption, if for no other reason than that it fit perfectly with my experience.
First I took the meds …
I started on the medication for ADHD and things were great. My ADHD symptoms were much better, far more manageable.
It began with a reduction in distraction. I was able to focus more on tasks in front of me. As a result I was less stressed and the direct result of that was that I did not seem to get as hyper, not as “wound up,” not as “active” shall we say.
But then …
I began to experience anxiety without distraction. Before, my feeling anxious was always associated with my distraction and procrastination and even my hyper activeness.
Now I was anxious about things that just popped into my mind and stayed there. Things of the “What if?” variety.
Yes. “What if I fail?” “What if I hurt someone?” “What if I’m being scammed, embezzled, misled, cheated on, duped?”
It was my psychologist who suggested I check the side effects of my medication, and lo and behold there it was, in fine print, “possible Anxiety!”
But was it new?
Or was it just renewed? I was anxious before, but I assumed it was a result of my ADHD symptoms and issues. Then I was anxious about things that were less substantial, but I was still anxious.
When I discontinued the medication, the anxiety abated, but only partially. Then the symptoms and issues resurfaced. Actually, they were always there, but they re-surged to full volume.
And the anxiety?
The anxiety reoriented itself to focus mostly to my ADHD problems, but not entirely. Some of the new issues persisted.
Like demons from Pandora’s box, once opened, the new anxieties, though much better, would not be dismissed entirely.
So I still need to ask …
Do I have ongoing anxiety because I actually suffer from anxiety? Or is it anxiousness from ADHD issues with added anxiety as a result of a drug side effect?
And the answer is that I still do not know.
According to the Anxiety And Depression Association of America, about 50 percent of adults with ADHD also suffer from an anxiety disorder.
That’s a hefty co-morbidity. And that fits perfectly with my experiences as well.
Consider this, first I have anxiety about the things that are real issues for me. Then those things are diminished and the anxiety needs a new outlet.
So it starts to focus on things that “might be” but are not likely to be. Then the ADHD symptoms are brought back for my anxiety to focus on. But it can’t just let go of the other things. It’s like a nervous tic that, once started cannot easily be stopped.
So what now?
Now, I’m still suffering to some extent from anxiety, and no matter which scenario is the right one, my path lies with me making efforts to reduce the anxiety in every way that I can.
Wish me luck.
Babcock, K. (2017). Anxious Much?. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 21, 2018, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/adhd-man/2017/05/anxious-much/