Work is So Draining

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    • #80390

      Hi, I’m in my 50’s. I still need to work but I really struggle all day long (and often nights). I have so much trouble getting things done, prioritizing and finishing anything. I have so many starts of good ideas. This is how I’ve been working for years and it’s so draining.

      I have trouble with time – two weeks ago seems like yesterday. I think I have time to finish something then suddenly time slaps me in the face and I’m running on fear and adrenaline. I know I’m smart (often smarter than most of the people I work with) and great with problem solving but my head is so scattered and it seems to take me longer to understand what’s going on (I’m a consultant so its common to deal with newness). It causes me to be too honest about my deficiencies, like I’m trying to make excuses for being late and indecisive. And when I am able to focus, I go into hyper mode and have done things like not start meetings I’m hosting and spending hours upon hours (often my personal time) preparing an analysis that is so overboard, to asked for and not needed. I’m aware I’m doing it but it feels like I can’t stop until it’s perfect.

      When I come home, I just want to shutdown – watch tv, surf the internet- anything to distract myself from how awful I feel. I live alone so it’s fairly easy to hide.

      I really don’t know what to do. I’m on meds and progressing with my therapist and she has been great helping me chip away at how stuck I am but she’s not an ADHD expert and sometimes I feel like I have to convince her I have ADD. I was thinking a career coach but not sure how to start with this either to find someone who understands ADD.

      I really could use some guidance on how to find the best fit for work – something I’ll be excited about and can be successful.

      Thanks in advance.

    • #80392

      Wauw, sounds much like me. Congrats on having managed to get into consultancy work and the self insight. Sorry, cannot help, but your recent difficulties sounds to me like stress/beginning burnout. With consultncy, can you work less? I would like to hear later how you manage. Well, I think forcing yourself to exercise instead of tv/ internet would be a good advise…. I know that from reading about it and occassional experiences of myself how a walk by the beach, cycling trip etc made me feel better. I truly know the need for TV or games like solitaire, minesweeper to unstress. Stress can become very bad. Just heard of a busy, high achieving mom, who was sent out to cut wood in a forest on a daily basis ( slept at home ) for 6 months by an Occupational Medicine Clinic. I was surprised that they really seem to know how severe it is. I just stopped working because I knew 14 days sick leave would do nothing for me. If you get better, I think your self insight will help you deal better with work. Do you work in open plan office with noise? I really think that has been a problem for me, without realising it, another reason to stay late at work, when it finally gets quiet, one can actually begin to focus! Well, I really think the exercise thing may be worth trying, something to drain the body, maybe complicated at the same time, so your brain is forced to think on that, and causing sore muscles and better sleep. Focus on getting yourself healthy, rather than making this extremely perfect analysis… which they don’t understand or appreciate anyway. Get a more egoistic feeling, do you understand? Think “ I am only in it for me”

    • #80393

      Sorry, my all time advise: keep expenses down! Your time and health are so important! Car, house, minimise!
      Pension companies ( well, i dont know you country) try to convince us that we need yearly luxury cruises when we get 90 I dont, I will need memories of a good life, I will rather die old, poor and happy, than old, rich and bitter, I already lost my joy in life, no travel dreams nothing. I had those! I am only 51 and hope to regain it, but….

    • #80394

      Sorry, read wrong, maybe my medicine started working now. It takes you longer to understand what is going on, I thought, “longer now than before”, but it is “longer than others”. Therefore, I wrote sbout your recent difficulties. Well, you may become stressed out, so read it anyway. Now my advise is to really “keep it simple, stupid” at work. People not only lack understanding and appreciation if your overboard analyses, they most probably hate you for it, shake their heads and smile a bit. Hate your excuses, the time you take telling the excuses etc. Never tell them which interesting thought caused you to be scattered! There is a funny youtube video with a horrible woman at work, a short sketch about ADHD. Oh, I am so embarrassed with myself and angry over having destroyed a good career. Yes, you may have few bosses or colleagues who see and appreciate your brilliance, but if you work with many people, some generel negative sentiment may prevail, especislly if they have to think back after some years in a rehiring situation. Deadlines! F… your good ideas.

    • #80395

      Horrible ADHD woman at work. Gave me insight.

    • #80552
      Penny Williams

      Here are some insights to finding a job that works for you, given your ADHD:

      Free Resource: What to Ask Yourself to Find the Perfect Job

      How to Align Your Career with Your Passions

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

      • #80657

        Thanks. I take Vyvanse too. I think it’s helping. At least I don’t have side effects from it.

        I do believe things come when you need it.
        This morning I listen to my first podcast and it was excellent. I highly recommend because it described me in a way I cannot describe myself.

        How ADD Shapes Your Perceptions, Emotions and Motivation

    • #80569

      Hi KeepingUp, I am so sorry you are experiencing the tolls of ADHD. I too am in my 50’s and can relate to much of what you are saying with the exception of climbing the professional ladder which seems to be a challenge for me.

      I understand about wanting people to know what’s going on with you so they don’t think you are lazy, crazy or stupid; but unfortunately for me when I did, it was used against me. So I guess one has to be very confident with the people they work with to disclose such personal information. We want to yell to the world that we are competent and intelligent but all too often the world is exceptionally cruel and uncaring.

      Finding a therapist who specializes in ADHD or understands that it’s not an excuse (I find it disheartening having to convince someone who has a psychology degree of a person having ADHD), can be challenging leaving one wondering if help can be obtained; but keep searching. It took me over a year to find one that I was comfortable with.

      Maybe changing your meds may help too. I personally take Vyvanse and it’s done wonders.

    • #81830


      I work from home, so I have a little more flexibility than most, which is a blessing and a curse for someone with ADHD. I tell everyone I know that I have a dysfunctional relationship with time so I completely know where you are coming from. However, there are several things I have done that have been very helpful, and I finally feel like I am getting my ‘poop in a pile’, as I so eloquently heard recently.

      First, you need to find a counselor that works with people who have ADD/ADHD, and in particular, working adults. My counselor works with lawyers, doctors and people in sales; people who are very successful. She has done wonders for me. I tried just counseling to begin with, but my executive functioning (EF) was so poor, I couldn’t (and I mean COULD NOT) follow through with her amazing suggestions (if you haven’t done much reading on EF, I would highly recommend it; addressing some of those challenges will help a lot!). Once I found the *right* medication, I can actually implement the work that we have done over the last 9 months. In fact, I am going for one last maintenance appointment, and then I am done with counseling unless I need something.

      Second, it sounds like when you come home, instead of calming the ‘revolving door of thoughts’, as I like to call them (many, in my case, negative), you are filling it with more stimulation, which can make it hard to actually relieve the stress. You may feel like screentime is helping you decompress because you are spacing out, but it is continuing the stimulation, which is not relaxing to your brain. I would suggest something without a screen; reading with soft instrumental music or nature sounds playing, doing something with your hands like cooking, gardening, sewing, knitting, etc., or what I have found that helps the most, meditating. In fact, learning how to meditate will help at work as well because you learn how to stop the negative talk and cognitive distortions (something my counselor helped with), and you will most certainly approach work commitments in a different way. I have been reading and taking a class on the Inner Matrix (the book is on Amazon), but I am sure there are other programs available to help. It is possible for someone with ADD/ADHD to learn how to slow their thoughts and make conscious decisions about how we deal with ourselves.

      A year ago, I was a mom with three young girls who was barely managing from day-to-day. I was having level 10 anxiety attacks every day, staying up until 1 or 2 a.m. just to get my work done when I had plenty of time during the day (10 hours could feel like 2 minutes), and I was constantly on-edge and unhappy. I went to the doctor because of how bad I felt, and to my complete surprise, was diagnosed with severe ADHD.

      There is hope. You can improve. You don’t need to stop working, or even slow down. Making some adjustments in how you approach your day (managing your executive function), and how you approach situations (in a meditative state, or state of compassion and love) you will have a more fulfilling and joyful life. You are in control of you, and you can make yourself into the best version of you! It does take hard work and some time, but if you are patient and do the hard work, you will be pleased with the results.

    • #81851

      Try to get an executive functioning coach. They know how to work with ADHD and help modify your work habits in a way that will work for you. Its a gradual process, because you will be changing your habits, but was worth every penny I paid this person.


      • #82096

        @nicrbe1 and @Rani, thank you for the tips… it’s great to hear there’s hope!

        • This reply was modified 3 years, 9 months ago by melhavoc.
    • #82098

      @KeepingUp: I wish I had advice for you… Replace 50’s with 40’s in your post and it could have been written by me (I’m not a consultant myself but do work for a consulting company…). So I can totally relate! Just wanted to let you know you’re not alone. 🙂

    • #83153
      Cindy Jobs OTS

      No only do I feel your pain, as an ADHD coach I work with clients nearly every day that have this same struggle.

      What Rani said is true, it takes time, but is worth the effort to work with an experienced executive function coach. Whether you meet with them in person or via video/phone, they will help you with skills, motivation and accountability to turn your intentions into actions.

      Take care and good luck1


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