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Stress and the Individual with ADHD

… and how it doesn’t help

Two days ago my father passed away. It was not unexpected. And yet, it kind of was.

He’s had many ailments in his life and he smoked for 60 years. We’d gotten use to him beating the odds.

But for now, I want to talk about stress and ADHD symptoms, because right now I am aware of my stress, and aware of my symptoms.

And they are connected.

I …

I do not sail smoothly through life. I’m good at spinning things so I can often make it look like smooth sailing, but it’s not.

My disorder means that I make mistakes constantly. Not big ones necessarily, though every one makes mistakes big and little so I guess that’s not true.

But I don’t make big mistakes because of my ADHD … well, not often.

My mistakes are …

They’re usually little ones, simple ones, silly little things that accumulate into difficulties.

As an example, I needed to be at the funeral home in a little town down the road for a meeting regarding my father’s arrangements. And I needed to be there by ten.

Since I am a person with ADHD, I knew that I would have to keep an eye on the clock.


I’m also pretty bright. I figured I should check to see what Google said about drive time. I fired up the familiar map app and punched in my destination.

Result? It was 23 minutes away. Perfect. All I needed to do was be in the car 25 minutes before ten and I was golden.

Then I noticed that Google hadn’t yet heard about our main thoroughfare being closed here in town. I selected the best alternate route and discovered I needed 29 minutes of drive time.

Still golden! I would be, I decided with some imaginary authority, in my car and on the road by 9:30.

I had this!

Bam! At precisely 9:32 I was getting into my car. Google was always a bit conservative anyway, I was sure I could make up the time I’d lost by doing all the wonderful things I’d been doing in the house.

As I drove the alternate route across town, traffic that normally wasn’t there was holding me up in ways that seemed unlikely, and yet, there it was. When I got to a light the car in front of me was of course making a left hand turn and was waiting for the yellow to get a break in traffic, and leaving me stranded at the red.

No problem, the highway was coming up, I’d make it up on the highway. Let me at it.


On the highway Google was telling me I was four minutes late. I could probably make up two of those, maybe even three. I’d be close. This would be alright.

I knew where I was going but I left google running to keep me informed about how much time I’d made up as I drove.

And then I got thinking …

I was pondering all the things I did at home that made me late – ish. So many of them weren’t really even things. I had been wandering around the house, moving stuff around and contemplating memories of my father.

I’d been missing him. That’s really all I’d been doing, missing him. I had done some online work, but that had been going very slowly as well.

(Even as I write this I realize I’m still not moving very quickly at all.)

As I drove …

I thought about the stress and the effects it has on ADHD, and I thought about how it makes us miss things and take things for granted. And I thought again about my father and what life was going to be like with him now gone from our lives.

I glanced at the google to check my progress …

Estimated time of arrival?

I was ten minutes late. TEN MINUTES LATE! I had taken a turn that wasn’t part of the route and was heading down a road that was going to pass to the south of the town I was supposed to be in by a good four miles.

And to top it all off there was a string of cars in front of me insistent on going just below the speed limit. I made a quick right and headed north on a side road at a better speed … until the curves that google noted came up and that slowed me down.

Then there were some hills with driveways hidden behind them and I started thinking about the odds of dying on the way to a funeral home.

Long story short

Well, not really short, sorry about that. 802 words! I made it there just fourteen minutes late and everyone was … not surprised.

I have ADHD.

My family knows this.

They were happy I was there.

Stress and the Individual with ADHD

Kelly Babcock

I was born in the city of Toronto in 1959, but moved when I was in my fourth year of life. I was raised and educated in a rural setting, growing up in a manner I like to refer to as free range. I live in an area where my family history stretches back 6 or more generations. I was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 50 and have been both struggling with the new reality and using my discoveries to make my life better. I write two blogs here at Psych Central, one about having ADHD and one that is a daily positive affirmation that acts as an example of finding the good in as much of my life as I possibly can.

Find out more about me on my website: writeofway.

email me at ADHD Man

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APA Reference
Babcock, K. (2019). Stress and the Individual with ADHD. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 27, 2020, from


Last updated: 1 Aug 2019
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