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  • Writer's pictureCoach Elizabeth Brink

ADHD and Anxiety

Updated: Sep 26, 2021

In middle school, my parents split and my mom was diagnosed with leukemia. A psychiatrist recently told me a child who is naturally more sensitive and has ADHD in those life circumstances is nearly guaranteed to end up with anxiety.

Did you know 1 in 4 adults have an anxiety disorder?

We talk a lot about how ADHD makes being a mama challenging, which it does, but for some of you, anxiety and/or PTSD is the ring leader most days.

I hear you when you say you have mini-panic rise up when you’re on your own with your littles. What if someone gets hurt? What if you can’t get everything done? What if their meltdown sends you into one... again?

I was diagnosed with ADHD as a child, but the anxiety was missed.

I was an outgoing, lovey-dovey, snuggly child. I loved to be held and to perform for any willing audience (and some unwilling, to be honest). I also cried easily, manipulated people to make sure they loved me the most and experienced a lot of family hardships.

I developed coping mechanisms that pushed people away, the opposite of what I wanted.

Leaving my anxiety and PTSD unaddressed led to adulthood and career feeling like each day would be the one I was found out as a fraud.

I didn’t complete anything that wasn’t urgent. It took me six years to finish college (starting 3 years after my peers). I spent a lot of time talking to coworkers and “dilly-dallying,” and I was constantly afraid of being caught. The work I produced wasn’t perfect, but many times it was excellent.

I hear all the time from people who wish they’d been diagnosed earlier in life.

Here’s the thing: we didn’t know back then what we know now. An earlier diagnosis may or may not have steered your life in a different direction. For me, it didn’t make much difference until I explored it more in adulthood.

Becoming an ADHD coach and launching a business with two small, needy humans to care for was a huge undertaking.

I surprisingly wasn’t scared, though. The dream of supporting others was planted over a decade ago, but initially living up to my potential took me into corporate America.

Recently when my client had a breakthrough, she looked at me with such kindness and said, “Elizabeth, you are stunningly smart. You hear me very well. Thank you.”

I felt the familiar jump inside me to make sure she knew I’m not what she thinks, but I stopped myself. I said thank you, and I BELIEVED HER.

I no longer care about what society says about my potential. I care about seeing myself and celebrating my strengths. I want that for you, too.

An ADHD diagnosis is not a destination, sisters. It’s a pit stop on the journey of understanding your struggles to manage life.

Most people with ADHD have one, or more, other things going on, too. Stay open. Don’t stop exploring and learning about yourself. Try not to soak up every single thing a beautifully curated IG account tells you is “so ADHD.”

We are complex and so are the challenges we face.

If you’re starting the week yearning for the weekend because your responsibilities are too heavy, you are not alone. What you’re doing is hard work, and I’m super impressed with your eagerness to learn and grow.

What has helped you understand yourself in your ADHD journey?

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