James Ochoa says someone with ADHD (Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder) has problems focusing, concentrating, and being easily distracted. In addition, folks with ADHD have long-term problems with evaluating, planning, and prioritizing in a way that’s consistent and organized.
You may have been diagnosed with ADHD before or have some suspicions that you fall within this category. Contrary to some folk’s misconceptions, ADHD does not go away when you become an adult, but sometimes it affects your life differently than when you were a kid.
There are 3 types of ADHD:
- Hyperactive Impulsive
- Primarily Inattentive
- Combined type
Despite what type you may have, there are some similar experiences…
Even when the stress goes away, it’s hard to focus.
Many people discuss the stress and stimulation of modern life. Sometimes they don’t get that ADHD is different than being overly-stimulated. Even when life’s stressors seem small from the outside they can easily overwhelm you. This is mostly because your brain may be going a million miles an hour, but it never seems to be heading toward the direction of the present moment. It’s always either 4 steps ahead or 4 steps behind.
Motivation slips through your fingers.
Sometimes this looks like walking from one room to the other and suddenly losing all motivation to do the task you’ve just set off to do. If you’ve got hyperactivity, the impulse to do something more engaging may inspire another late assignment. Other times, procrastination occurs because of other distractions. You hop online with the intention of being productive and 3 hours later realize you’re watching a weird but entertaining YouTube channel.
You’ve tried to keep up with calendar apps or maybe you have sticky notes everywhere on your desk. However, the constant reminders and notes everywhere don’t keep your mind focused. Instead they just cause an inner sense of chaos.
You don’t want to feel like a failure anymore.
On good days you have plenty of creative ideas that can drive you forward. You may even experience a hyper-focus on something that brings you joy. Eventually you can’t keep up the interest or just completely forget about a cool idea you had.
Then it starts… there is an inner voice that likes to remind you of all the failed projects, lost relationships, and times when you let others down. You start to feel like a fraud. The good news is that in therapy you can change this inner voice to say more helpful words.
People just keep getting frustrated with you.
Despite your understanding of adult ADHD people keep calling you lazy, and that hurts. It’s hard to know how other people feel, and you’ve had your fair share of misreading people and situations. People take your difficulty with committing to something or your tardiness as a sign that you are not interested in maintaining that relationship. But that’s usually not true. You find it hard to explain yourself though, and start to side with the people who think you’re a villain.
And the storm never seems to end.
All of life’s hurts, moments of failure, and misunderstandings are filed away somewhere in your brain. But it is hard to focus on any one of these memories without drowning in feelings both good and bad. At times it doesn’t even seem like you can access lessons learned to inform your next choices in life. Therapy is one way you can partner with someone who can look at the files with you and keep them safe without becoming overwhelmed.
You are not to blame.
Adult ADHD is not something someone decides to have. Researchers have found changes in the brain for folks who have ADHD. These include differences in the prefrontal cortex (where planning is essentially housed), changes in the reward circuitry of the brain, and overactive limbic systems (the threat responder parts) (Russell Barkley). Although the building blocks may be different there are ways to accommodate to adult life.
Imagine finding centeredness from within.
Envision an anchor cast onto the sandy seabed in the midst of a storm. You can begin to build a comprehensive story of you including your qualities, lessons learned, and unique needs. Then imagine lifting the anchor with confidence of where you want to go next in life, knowing you can drop the anchor again at any time.
How counseling can help.
- Identify your emotional distress syndrome pattern to be able to handle overwhelming feelings and situations without leaving damage in your life.
- Develop a deeper understanding of your unique challenges and strengths, and advocate for yourself by educating others about ADHD and your own needs.
- Discover the inner tools you already possess through the power of the imagination and mindfulness to help you stay centered.
- Learn more about executive functioning including working memory, the importance of structure, externalizing information, and self-reflection.
- Reflect on your relationships with loved ones and develop compassion with yourself.
Adult ADHD Counseling in Austin, Texas
My approach to counseling is relational, empathetic, and trauma-informed (meaning we collaborate and take it at your own pace). I focus on both the thoughts and feelings involved (not too touchy feely nor too cold) in your process. A big part of my work is focusing on the here-and-now and taking a non-judgmental stance.
I can provide gentle guidance to stay on topic, have lots of fun sensory toys in the office, and can accommodate for breaks during session when needed. Know of other needs that will help you stay focused and motivated in counseling? Just let me know. I’m open to ideas!
Ready to navigate the sea? I’m here to help you find your anchor.
Email me or call at 512-766-4786 to set up your free 30-minute in-person consultation.