Guest Blogs

“Roe’s Overturn Sabotaged My Executive Functioning”

“I was in the middle of researching why women die when I found out that the U.S. Supreme Court had overturned Roe v. Wade.”

Brain damage. Woman loses part head falling apart, pixels. Concept psychological health, decreased functions mind.
Credit: RamCreativ/Getty Images

I was in the middle of researching why women die when I found out that the U.S. Supreme Court had overturned Roe v. Wade.

I write press releases about the health-related studies conducted by university professors and students, and my latest assignment was on women’s cardiovascular health. That Friday, the day of the ruling, I was moored on the couch with my laptop, Googling reputable sources to confirm that heart disease was the leading killer of women. I was focused — maybe even hyperfocused. I was in the zone.

Then my husband descended the staircase.

“Well,” he announced, “they did it.”

I didn’t even look up from my laptop. “Who did what?”

“They overturned Roe.”

Goodbye, focus.

I have ADHD, and learning about Roe’s ruling sabotaged my executive functioning almost instantly.

[Special Report: Roe v. Wade Ruling May Disproportionately Impact Girls with ADHD]

Lagging executive functions — or the mental processes that allow us to plan, prioritize, manage, and motivate ourselves — is a central feature of ADHD. I can know that I have an important task to complete, but I’ll still struggle to conjure the motivation to do it. I don’t want to do things; I want to want to do things.

Usually my ADHD medication helps me overcome this problem, but for maximum effectiveness I have to combine it with other strategies — like dividing large tasks into tiny ones, setting reminders on my phone, and trying to “beat” Mrs. Cluck, my kitchen timer shaped like an adorable chicken.

But after I heard about Roe, my executive functioning tanked, and there was nothing my meds or Mrs. Cluck could do about it.

I stopped researching cardiovascular health. I didn’t schedule the interview the press release required. I didn’t make lunch. I didn’t make dinner. When my phone reminded me to clean my cat’s litter box, I ignored it and glared at Mrs. Cluck, who was silently judging me for it.

[Read: “My Period-Tracking App Helps Me Manage My ADHD. What Do I Do Post-Roe?”]

I just doomscrolled and despaired. What was the point of it all? The work in front of me seemed so small compared to the urgency of our eroding rights, though I knew it was all connected.

The weekend wore on. Monday arrived; Tuesday followed. I still made no progress on my work. Instead, I impulse-purchased Kate Bush songs. I posted manically on social media. I ate a lot of Starbursts. I doomscrolled some more.

And I might have spent the whole week doom scrolling if not for a realization I had Wednesday: Pregnancy can stress the heart and circulatory system.

Might the overturn of Roe result in more cases of pregnancy-induced high blood pressure, eclampsia, and other conditions — including fatal cases? I didn’t know. But I desperately wanted to find out. And I knew just who to interview about it.

Women’s Health and ADHD: Next Steps


SUPPORT ADDITUDE
Thank you for reading ADDitude. To support our mission of providing ADHD education and support, please consider subscribing. Your readership and support help make our content and outreach possible. Thank you.

1 Comments & Reviews

  1. Are we to conclude that trials in life sabotage our ability to think clearly and or perform daily tasks? If so, I would suggest not going outside or listening to the news.

Leave a Reply