I never thought of myself as having anxiety. I don’t get panic attacks, I’m not afraid of snakes or getting on stage, and isn’t that what signifies having anxiety? Actually that would be called an anxiety disorder. Having anxiety is actually very normal from time to time. Be it stress at work, medical emergencies, money or car problems, etc. All these are big issues anyone might have to deal with, and since they are out of the normal, it is completely normal for us to have anxiety while we are working through them. BUT, did you know that anxiety can be a big part of ADHD?
Up until recently I would not have thought so. I re-visited my primary care doctor to talk about my ADHD symptoms and see about some solutions recently. I had been seeing this doctor for several visits, trying several different meds for ADHD that didn’t seem to be working. After a long conversation she brought up this word anxiety. See I was talking to her about my symptoms that didn’t seem to be touched by the ADHD medications. She was able to key into my use of words describing my symptoms. What words was I using?
All these words were describing my inability to overcome taking on daily tasks like a pile of dishes. Sure we were getting dishes done, but it always seemed like a HUGE obstacle I had to force myself to tackle. Once I got started on the task, I usually was fine. It was just the struggle of starting a task that seemed so large. Having to force myself to take on normal daily tasks was and is exhausting. I always blamed these issues or struggles, with getting things done, on ADHD. I figured this was normal and I just had to deal with it, the best I could.
Turns out it can be normal for anyone with ADHD to struggle like this, but most of the time dealing with it is beyond ADHD medications alone. What do I mean by this? According to my doctor, ADHD is a tricky tangled ball of yarn. The symptoms I described above are true to ADHD, but also to anxiety disorders. Each person with ADHD has different symptoms that bother them more than others. For me, these anxiety symptoms were a huge one. So does that mean I have an anxiety disorder?
I do not fit into a true anxiety disorder category but these symptoms are not always as strong for others with ADHD. The best way to answer that question is to say that I most likely have a very mild case of an anxiety disorder along with ADHD. Just the thought of taking on another diagnosis was scary. That can’t be me. I am fine, right? She was the doctor so I went with what she said and started on a new medication journey to find something to help with anxiety. It didn’t take long to find one that worked! Wow, what a difference to wake up and not feel dread for the tasks I had to accomplish. Seeing the difference was enough for me to change the way I looked at this word anxiety.
Especially during this Christmas Season, with having so many things going on, it is easy to get overwhelmed. I am so glad that I have a doctor who was able to decipher my symptoms and help me find a solution. Are you struggling with ADHD and can’t seem to get your symptoms under control? You do NOT have to push through them on your own. Talk to your doctor and start working on a solution together. You are worth it!