As an ADHD life and productivity coach, I am constantly having authentic conversations with clients. It’s in the job description. During our coaching calls, I ask, “Are you okay?” and we talk about how the client REALLY is, and what they want. What they need to change, what gets in their way, and what they have done to reach their goals.
They go much deeper than “I’m fine” conversations. (If you’ve been answering the standard, “How are you doing?” with “I’m good” or “Hanging in there” over the last year, then you know what I mean.)
Because I am privileged to have these real conversations with ADHD adults, I want to share with you an observation.
In January I started noticing clients having more than their normal ADHD challenges. Clients who were not normally depressed were down and unmotivated. Struggling with daily tasks. Foregoing any pursuit of goals. Feeling bad about it, but not enough to do anything. And just not caring about any of it.
And the truth? I was feeling that way, too.
At my best, over the past few months, I’ve gotten up and made it through the day. Clicking off to-dos. Pasting on a smile and showing up with just enough energy so no one knows that inside I’m dead.
But at my worst, I have felt like my Give a &*^% Button was broken. Not a good look for a person who makes a living with compassion and empathy. I’ve even considered shutting down the business and getting a job at Trader Joe’s! (The workers always seem so happy there.)
And what makes it all harder is that coupled with these feelings are the thoughts that I don’t deserve to be unmotivated and sad.
I keep telling myself I should be grateful that my family and I are healthy and safe. We have a nice home and enjoy being together. Business is slower than normal, but it’s okay. We can pay our bills. Friends and distant relatives have lost loved ones to COVID-19, yet our nearest and dearest haven’t gotten sick.
But still these feelings persist.
Why am I telling you this?
Because if you’re feeling this way, I don’t want you to suffer alone thinking you’re the only one feeling down, unmotivated, and exhausted.
You see, each of my clients thought that they were the only one feeling that way. That something was wrong with them. And I only made the connection because I was talking to so many people who were experiencing the same thing.
Situational depression makes sense during a pandemic. We miss the family and friends we can’t see. We’re seeing too much of our housemates. Helping our kids with virtual school. Being afraid to engage in outside activities. Zoom. Food shopping. Cooking dinner every night. It all drains us. It’s all just so much.
And adding to the strain of the ongoing pandemic is the fact that we are about to hit the anniversary of when it all started. Yup, next week will be an official year since we got that phone call, heard the news report, or were first asked to work from home.
So your anxiety and depression may be a bit more intense this month and if so, it’s most likely an Anniversary Effect or Reaction. And completely normal in this completely abnormal year.
Basically what I’m saying is:
You get to be sad. It’s okay. In fact, it’s okay to not be okay.
Let yourself feel. Give yourself grace and turn off the thoughts in your head that you shouldn’t be feeling this way. (Remember…No Shoulding On Yourself is ADHD Success Rule #1).
As for me?
I’m doing better lately. Realizing I wasn’t alone in this helped me alot.
I have also doubled down on the things that I know boost my spirits. Exercise and happy music. Taking probiotics. Meditation. I’m aiming for happiness everyday.
Plus I’ve stepped away from things that bring me down. News. Social media. Unnecessary Zoom calls. Negativity.
On days when my brain is firing and I have the energy, I rock my to do list. When the fog and overwhelm sets in, I give myself grace to do only what I can and then I stop and focus on those things that boost my spirit.
And I remember that I’m okay even when I’m not.
And I’d love to hear from you – please post below…are you okay?
NOTE: If you are feeling depressed and struggling, please reach out to your doctor or a mental health professional for help. While it’s okay to not be okay, it’s even more okay to get help.
For more reading to help you and your ADHD: