On Mental Health

Not The Increased Focus I Want

I’ve experience some real benefits when I started medicating my ADHD. I have much better focus for books and art and writing, even if I’m not doing it as much. I also find when I lose thoughts/ideas, they are not as far from my grasp as they used to be. I can not even begin to tell you how many times I knew I had an important thought and could not retrieve it to save my life. Now those thoughts return pretty quickly, like they just cycle back through if I didn’t address them the first time. It’s a reassuring feeling now that I’m used to it and I don’t panic as much anymore when I can’t remember something because I lost it before I could write it down/text it/tell Alexa.

UNFORTUNATELY, it seems I’ve also increased my ability to focus on my anxiety triggers.

I never realized it before, but if I fell into an anxiety spiral worrying about something…that spiral could only last so long before I’d be worrying about something else. I just wrote this off, “I have an anxiety disorder! I worry about everything!” but now I’m realizing that was a group project between my ADHD and my anxiety disorder.

And when I didn’t notice was that sometimes other, non-anxiety producing things would distract me. So I would be anxiously worrying about the situation in Ukraine and then my brain would think, Oh crap…I forgot to start the laundry, and then my brain would take a break from Ukrain as my brain bounced around the ADHD path that often gets created.

But now? I just can’t stop thinking about Ukraine.

Or whatever is the big thing my brain chooses to be worrying about.

I had a program I was in charge of at the library this week and for two nights before the program I barely slept because I could not get my brain to stop thinking about it. And then the night of the program my brain could not stop thinking about things I could have done better. And I’m realizing now, that I was not ever able to hold focus on any one think I was worrying about before. And this anxiety runs deeper because it has time because it stays on the same topic.

Is this…worse? I’m not sure. I feel less manic, like my brain is bouncing around less from one worrying topic to another, but my previously useful techniques for “resetting” (or maybe “distracting” is a better word now that I understand the connection to ADHD) are not as effective because the worry has a longer time to grab hold of my brain and so breathing exercises or sensory exercises or talking to myself…none of those things seem to pull me from the worry as easily as they used to.

So I don’t think it’s worse if you look at the big picture of my mental health, it’s just different and I think I need to find new tools to stash in my arsenal.

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