ADHD Vs Burnout

#adhd #burnout #selflove #well-being Oct 20, 2022

Burnout vs ADHD 

part 1 of 2

Did you know that burnout symptoms can look like just another day with ADHD?

So, we end up not recognizing burnout until it's way too late.

There’s this belief that people with ADHD are lazy.

Or really a label we picked up in childhood that stuck.

But ADHDers are anything but lazy. 

We work twice as hard to complete the same exact task. 

And sometimes the simplest things because of our executive functioning challenges are huge.

A Sisyphean task pushing that boulder uphill over and over again.

In fact, I sometimes wonder how I was an English major and American history minor in college. 

How did I read 1,000 plus pages each week, analyze it, and retain it?

I have no idea.

Even my therapist said “You’re too smart to have ADHD.”

Said therapist HAS ADHD.


I’ll try to give a pass by saying that ADHD in women manifests very differently than in men.

So we slip under the radar.

Only my ADHD friends thought I had ADHD. 

Frankly, they wonder what took me so dang long to get a diagnosis.

With ADHD we can have high highs and low lows.

Today everything feels like a snap. It comes naturally. 

Tomorrow, we're sucking wind and wondering how we’re ever going to get out of our own way. 

No matter what we soldier on.

Especially the ladies.

The Mental Load

And women, well, we're expected to do all the things.

Welcome to our society and our culture.

This is what is expected.

We're expected to be the brains of the family to carry that mental load.

It's exhausting.

And if you add ADHD it's even more exhausting.

So we work, we run the household and we make sure that kids have what they need for school. We're in charge of remembering to make doctor appointments, where the favorite socks are, and which night hubby's playing golf.

Making sure that there are no conflicts with all those things, right?

So that all requires scheduling.

And I have to tell you, if it's not on my calendar, it's not happening.

Covid Brain Fog

Seven years ago, I had chemo brain, put that on top of ADHD brain and forget about it.

It's just not going to happen.

This summer, I had chemo brain flashbacks as I recovered from COVID and had that brain fog again.

And the COVID brain fog thing. Yikes.

I was probably sick for an entire month with COVID. 

And the COVID Brain fog. 

A few months later and it still hasn't gone away. 

It's a lot better than it was.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

I just want to put in a side note about COVID and the pandemic and social media and all the things that are happening in the world right now.

It's all a lot.

And I contend that we are in global PTSD.

And I think that's the reason why everyone is talking about trauma and its effects, because we're all trying to process it.

So now what do we do?

Take a Break

If you're struggling, take a break.

Put those boundaries in place.

Don't just look at your TV computer or your phone all day long. 

You're going to drive yourself crazy.

Put the phone down.

If you have to put it in another room.

I will frequently put my phone in the kitchen or the bedroom away from my home office so that I don't have access to it because I can get all swirly and down that social media trap.

It’s not good for any of us.

Especially for those of us with ADHD.

We can kill a lot of time doing something that's not going to help.

Following every minute of the political drama or the news isn’t going to change it.

It's just not.

Instead of the phone, TV, computer -

Take a walk out in nature or just go around your block.

I walk every day with my neighbor and her dog.

It is a blast. 

Nature is my lifeline.

You may say oh you walk in your neighborhood, how much nature is there?

Well, there's trees and grass and flowers and squirrels and what’s better than visiting with the neighborhood pups?

There's enough green that your body recognizes and absorbs it plus you’ve got that dose of Vitamin D sunshine.

And I know sometimes it's raining, but we still walk so long as it’s not pouring.

What’s the Origin of ADHD?

There are several schools of thought on how ADHD comes to be.

One is that ADHD is environmental.

It comes out of those little T traumas that we've experienced in childhood.

You can check out Dr Gabor Mate for this perspective. 

And the other is that ADHD is a brain-based condition that our brains are literally wired differently.

The expert on this is Dr. Daniel Amen.

He does SPECT imaging.

Here's where I stand.

I think it's both.

I know I have an ADHD brain, even though I've never had the imaging done. 

As someone who has 50 tabs open at any given time in my brain and talks super fast, I'm 99% sure I have that super powered super fast ADHD brain. 

I showed signs of it from a very young age, even though it went completely undiagnosed.

I have also had childhood trauma.

Frankly, some of the trauma is directly related to having a differently wired brain.

Why We’re More Likely to get Burnout

Those ADHD symptoms like struggling to pay attention (say hello lost keys), finding the organization process challenging (hello lost file), having time blindness (wait is that meeting really now?) increase our chances of getting burnout. 

You read that right.

We're more likely to get burnout.

Because we have these other executive function challenges.

And when we're in hyperfocus, time, meals, health is not in the equation. 

We may not sleep as well.

We may not eat right.

We may not take as good care of ourselves.

Flying high (thanks occasional dopamine and serotonin!) and getting allthethings done!

Until the crash.

And there's always a crash.

We just don’t always recognize it.

We are human beings, not human doings. 

We cannot go go go go.

And as ADHDers we already work way harder than our neurotypical counterparts.

Because we have to manage all of these executive functions.

It’s exhausting managing 50 tabs open brain!

The most important thing you can do if you’re struggling is ask for help. 

You can contact a therapist, you can contact your spiritual guide person, you can contact a coach, you can contact me since I'm a coach.

I am a certified trauma informed coach, which means I do know how to deal with trauma in the context of coaching, which is very different from the context of therapy. 

Our training ensures that we don’t cross that therapy lin.

Any of those kinds of folks can help get you started on the path to healing.

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