When we get overwhelmed our functioning becomes radically diminished. I would imagine that is the same for most people. Maybe it is just that as ADHD’rs we are more prone to overwhelm? When I was going through coaching school I developed a coaching model about the many different causes of overwhelm. I think there were 12 or 13. However, my experience working with clients since then has taught me that there are three main causes.
The first main cause is our lack of effective executive function as it relates to decision making. But that is a whole other post. More on that later.
The second is anxiety which is usually rooted in negative thought patterns, projecting negative outcomes. I think I’ll tackle that in another post too.
The third, which I want to write about today it the idea of missing information. This is also a way in which our negative thought patterns can effect us. Often we become overwhelmed when we are missing a key piece of information that then doesn’t allow us to proceed. Add in the fact that our tendency is to project the worst possible outcome when mentally filling in the blank, and we can become paralyzed and not even seek an answer to our question.
For example, I have a client who is working toward getting in to a very specific grad school program for a specific career. She became overwhelmed by the process of getting accommodation for taking the GRE’s. She expressed anxiety about getting a formal diagnosis, what would be accepted, how to find this out, does she even need to take the GRE’s to get in to this specific program, will she be qualified to get into this program anyway… I think you get the picture. She had lots of blanks to fill in and very little real information to grab on to.
I would suggest the best thing to do is to make a list, prioritize it, and start by answering one question at a time. In this case, if she doesn’t need to take the GRE’s to get in to this program, all the other questions are moot. If she does, that informs her on which of the next questions she needs to get answered next.