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Article: The Hidden Side of ADHD: Navigating Emotional Fixations

The Hidden Side of ADHD: Navigating Emotional Fixations

The Hidden Side of ADHD: Navigating Emotional Fixations

When it comes to ADHD people often talk about fixations. Although often, they mean physical fixations like being obsessed with an activity or hobby. One of the lesser talked about sides of ADHD, however, is emotional fixations. By the end of this article hopefully you'll have a better understanding of this hidden side of ADHD.

The Hidden Side of ADHD: Navigating Emotional Fixations

Whilst I've never officially been diagnosed with ADHD, if you read a list of symptoms I would basically tick them all off one by one. Inattention, hyperactivity, impulsivity, disorganisation, frequent mood swings, impatience, starting tasks and not finishing them, excessive fidgeting, interrupting others, taking risks, every single one describes both myself and someone with ADHD.

Now, ADHD often means getting hung up on things, right? It could be a video game, a craft project, or something tangible. But what if the fixation is a feeling? This is a side of ADHD that I've rarely seen discussed, which is exactly what I'm here to do today.

Fixating on the Feeling of being a Failure

The Hidden Side of ADHD: Navigating Emotional Fixations

Here’s the crux: when you’re fixated on a feeling, it’s like being in a mental whirlpool. A while back, death was my fixation. It was so intense, it led to physical symptoms like nerve issues and carpal tunnel due to the anxiety it caused. I was genuinely worried I had some sort of heart issue, but instead it was literally just anxiety from fixation that caused it.

But lately, the fixation has been on feeling like a failure.

It’s been a numbing feeling, stripping away any joy that I once had. I felt like I was failing at everything – as a husband, father, and business owner. It’s a tough spot, and I tried to keep it off social media. You know, no one wants to spread the gloom - even if sharing does usually help.

Showing Up Despite the Fixation

Here’s something I’ve learned: no matter how you feel, show up. It’s about pushing through, whether you’re on cloud nine or stuck in a rut. Parenting, business, hobbies - just be there. It’s crucial, or else your mind learns to avoid these feelings, digging you deeper into that hole.

I guess I've had YEARS of practice now that I kinda now these feelings, however powerful and disruptive they are, will end. So I've learned to be a pretty functional depressive when those feelings hit.

Fixing the Fixation

So, can you change a fixation? Maybe. But perhaps not really, especially when it’s an emotion. The usual tricks don’t work here. You can’t step away from your mind, unless you’re into wild drugs, which I'm not endorsing.

You can set routines in place, change your location, or even get someone to help you take a break, but that's not going to separate you from your mind.

To be fair, I wish my brain would fixate on something positive. Imagine being obsessed with Pinterest, or video editing, or being the best dad ever - at least that would be productive!

ADHD does come with its pros and cons after all. At one point in time I was OBSESSED with starting a wax melt business - 4 years later here we are.

Personally though, I think you need to either wait it out and accept that the feeling are nothing more than feelings. They don't define you, they're simply just feelings. They come and go, even if they do overstay their welcome.

Or you can try and do things that MAKE your brain shift focus. Something difficult or consuming to your brain. Super hard maths. Ice cold showers. Something that makes it very difficult to even contemplate being a failure.

The ADHD Realisation

Eventually, I cycle out of these fixations. But I've really stopped to think about the fact that all of these years of mental cycles was just some form of ADHD.

Just by recognising this might help me in managing these cycles better in the future. And I guess that's the real answer here.

Sometimes part of dealing with a problem is understanding exactly what's going on. And often, one of the best solutions to a problem is to actually decide that it's not a problem in the first place.

Having fixations on feelings due to ADHD isn't necessarily a problem unless you allow it be. For me, next time this happens I'll simply accept it for what it is and try my best to show up and do what I do.

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