The Work Place and ADHD (help and advice please)

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    • #200809

      Hi everyone,

      Unfortunately because my ADHD was only recently diagnosed in adulthood I never really understood why being in a work place was so hard for me. I was horrifically bullied in my last work place (like, literally hit twice for making mistakes and had my supervisor telling other members of staff how much better than me they are and how she wished she had them instead of me right in front of me) and I’ve been so afraid of ever going back to a job. I recently started taking dexamphetamine and it’s been utterly life changing. I thought things were going quite well but I’ve noticed a problem… If I neglect my pills even for a day things slip veeeeeery far back housework wise and my organisation and ability to push through hyperfixations goes straight out the window. Yesterday my mum was helping me with my two little kids and cleaning while hubby was working and she was giving me a hard time about not keeping up and then not asking for her help earlier (she doesn’t understand that I don’t want her help, I want to cope on my own and I hate that I couldn’t cope most days when I didn’t know/have meds). I’ve been wanting to go back to some work now I’ve got Dex on board but when mum was giving me a hard time yesterday I reverted back to pre medicated brain function despite having taken my Dex… Now I’m suddenly terrified that I can’t go back to work for fear of not being able to handle it and I feel like a failure for potentially being unable to financially support my family. NDIS doesn’t fund ADHD, Centrelink doesn’t recognize it… If I don’t work we’re permantly on one income and never going to get anywhere in life… Please… Is there a known way to overcome this fear and work again? ((I already see a psychologist))
      Thank you x

    • #200827
      Penny Williams

      Fear and trauma cut off access to the cognitive/ thinking part of the brain. So, when your mom was being critical it triggered fear, which sort of hijacked your brain and your cognitive brain was offline, which is why you felt you couldn’t think clearly despite having taken your medicine.

      On of the best was to get past specific anxieties is to put yourself in the situations you fear and have a good experience. When that situation was painful and traumatic, that sort of imprinted on your brain: workplace = pain and discomfort and abuse. Now you need your brain to equate positive experiences with being in a workplace.

      For example, I have anxiety, especially social anxiety. I wanted to major in communications in college but I felt I couldn’t because there was one public speaking class required and I had a paralyzing fear of public speaking. I did not major in communications.

      Fast forward 20 years and I’m an author and parenting coach for ADHD. I want to give talks and presentations but I’m still terrified of it. I’m over 40 and the fear has not gotten better. But I’m really determined that I want to take on speaking gigs. So I accept an invitation to speak to 80 people. I was beyond terrified, especially when the event expanded to an audience of nearly 200. I literally felt like I was going pass out in the hour leading up to my turn to present. I was walking the halls in the hotel and giving myself an impassioned pep talk, freaking out. I gave my presentation, shaking the entire 45 minutes, but the audience was very receptive and it was impactful.

      Since then, I don’t have the same severity of physical reaction and anxiety because doing it showed my brain that the outcome is more positive and my fear was irrational. My brain and nervous system just don’t react the same way to the idea anymore.

      In your case, I’m wondering if doing some volunteer work before going back into the workplace might help. People are usually much softer and kinder to a volunteer and that positive experience will let you, your brain, and your nervous system know that you can have positive experiences in a work environment.

      You have value to add to any workplace and they’d be lucky to have someone as thoughtful and caring as you. Remember that when the doubt creeps in.

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Coach, Podcaster & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #204480

      Hi SilverArrow:
      Penny is right, anxiety and fear based on past bad experiences can make us so worried that it overwhelms us and paralyzes us in the moment. Your psychologist ought to give you some tips or recommend techniques to manage those feelings. Right now, you don’t have any tools!

      With your Mum, I wonder if you could talk to her about how she can help you. If she’s good at keeping house, for example, maybe she could show you how to create your own housecleaning schedule.

    • #205092

      SilverArrow93 I would like to share a few additional insights over what have already been suggested.

      It seems clear from what you say your mum’s level of acceptance of you is dependent on the level/quality of your behaviours. The implications of this go back a long way to your childhood. Research shows that children that grow up in homes where they are raised on conditional love which is they will be accepted if they behave a certain way grow up with diminished self confidence and strong perfectionist traits. This is as opposed to children that grow up in homes where they are treated to unconditional love which is that they will be loved and accepted in-spite of their shortcomings. The implications of strong perfectionist traits is that you maybe too hard on both yourself and on other people. If you become self critical or critical of others this could have significant effect on (1) your own self esteem and self confidence (2) on your relationships.

      So what can you do? The first thing to do is to start to treat yourself to self compassion and stop being harsh with yourself. Accept yourself for the things you can do and don’t worry about trying to do things you can’t. also, practice compassion to others. Visualise yourself doing the things you can do well and over time your self confidence will rise.

      Also, take charge of your relationships and remove any critical or toxic relationships you can from your life. With relationships that are essential to keep like that with your mother take charge of them and have clear boundaries in place that will keep you from getting in each others ways and starting to enjoy more positive relationships.

      Lastly, be aware that you are being overextended in the sense that you may have too much to do and try and ensure you have time for yourself to recover. Time for going to the beach, watching YouTube videos and just resting. Without time for fun and recovery criticism even when it is just very mild can be hard to take.

      Also, if you feel you need professional help consider getting a coach who understands your issues to work through them with you

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