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On the last track, we discussed four problems that ADHD adults may have with switching gears and multi-tasking. These four problems were the One Channel Operational System, the Locking In and Blocking Out Phenomena, the Defective Filter, and the "I Hate Details" Dynamic.
On this track, we will discuss the challenges ADHD adults face with intense feelings and distorted senses. I have found that there are three aspects to the ADHD adults’ difficulties with intense feelings and distorted senses. These three aspects are the Intense Emotional Roller Coaster, the Bottomless Pit of Needs and Desires, and the Time Tyrant. Sound interesting?
Emily, age 22 diagnosed with ADHD, was having problems functioning in the classroom at her college. Emily’s mood swings were often obvious to those around her. Emily stated, "Some days I’ll come in pretty happy because I finished my homework or did well on a test. It might even be as simple as just seeing that the sun is shining. On those days I just feel like celebrating. Other days, I’ll sulk in a corner desk and get angry if anyone even tries to talk to me. Sometimes my mood will make a drastic change during class. I’ll come in excited, but by the time I leave, I’ll just want to crawl in bed and sleep so I don’t have to deal with people."
3 Aspects of Intense Feelings & Distorted Senses
Aspect # 2 - Bottomless Pit of Needs & Desires
I explained to Carl that his intense need was typical of adults with ADHD. I stated, "Not all adults with ADHD turn to alcohol, but most do have an intense feeling of need that doesn’t go away. Some start overeating, or run up credit card bills by going on shopping sprees." As you know, feeding the needs of the bottomless pit often make the craving more intense and larger. Do you have a client like Carl that seems to be feeding a bottomless pit of needs and desires?
Aspect # 3 - Time Tyrant
Jerry, 30 diagnosed with ADHD, frequently underestimated the time it would take him to do things. Jerry stated, "I learned as a kid that making myself a to-do list would help me out a lot, but lately even that doesn’t help me. I’ll add things to the list based on how much time I think things will take me." Jerry mentioned a night from the previous week when he had invited a couple of friends over for dinner.
Jerry stated, "I thought it would take me a couple of hours to prepare dinner. Since my mom’s birthday was coming up, I figured I’d have plenty of time to pick out a birthday card for her before starting dinner for my friends. I started trying to find the perfect card and just had to read all of them. I didn’t even notice anything going on around me. I ended up in the Hallmark aisle until 5:30, and my friends were supposed to arrive at 6 to eat. I was so upset I called them and cancelled. I told them I had gotten sick."
I explained to Jerry, "Like most adults with ADHD, you have an elastic sense of time. You figured you’d have plenty of time to shop for a card, even though you knew you would need two hours to make dinner." As you know, problems with the Time Tyrant are usually caused by the ADHD adult’s failure to factor the impacts of his ADHD on his life.
Did you realize that in his search for a birthday card, Jerry began playing into the Locking In and Blocking Out Phenomena mentioned on the previous track? Jerry didn’t consider the effect of his ADHD tendencies, such as the Locking In and Blocking Out Phenomena, on the amount of time he needed for different tasks on his list. As a result, Jerry felt intensely upset when he realized the time and made a drastic decision to cancel the dinner entirely.
"Around the Anger" Technique - 5 Steps
Do you have a client with ADHD who, like Emily, Carl, and Jerry, has problems with intense emotions and distorted senses? Does he or she struggle with the Intense Emotional Roller Coaster, the Bottomless Pit of Needs and Desires, or the Time Tyrant? Would he or she benefit from the "Around the Anger" technique, like Emily?
On this track, we have discussed the three aspects of the challenges with intense feelings and distorted senses that ADHD adults face. These three aspects are an Intense Emotional Roller Coaster, the Bottomless Pit of Needs and Desires, and the Time Tyrant.
On the next track, we will discuss the Five Steps of Memory. I have found that the Five Steps of Memory are Acquisition, Registration, Storage, Access, and Transfer.
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