Living in a State of Overwhelm

I have ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder).  There I’ve said it and I’m not a secret anymore.  Many of my friends have known this for some time and many more have probably suspected it.  I guess you could say I’ve been in denial about it for many years because I never did anything to specifically treat it and I never got educated on it.

What is ironic about this is that I did start to do research on this a few times in the past.  I have the half-read books by the side of my bed to prove it.  And that’s another symptom that I had it.

Why am I finally coming out of denial about it?  The biggest reason is because my son was diagnosed with ADD/ADHD this summer.  Having his diagnosis gave me the wake-up call that I needed to address my own.  So I am educating myself all about ADD and seeing myself in a totally new light.

My son’s diagnosis was confirmed one week after my father died.  It was a bitter pill to swallow.  My father had always been on the lookout for signs of mental illness in me (like my mother had) and told me a few years ago that he didn’t worry about me any longer.  I’m glad this didn’t surface before he died.  I think it would’ve justified his concerns.

Now that I know, I’m going down a painful road of trying to understand how ADD affects my decision making process and my everyday life.  Sometimes I find myself second guessing what I’ve done in the past—why I chose a certain path.  I wonder how much of my behaviors or actions are based on my God-given gifts or talents and how much are driven by my ADD.  I’ll probably never know.

The one thing I know for sure as I live my life with this new perspective, is that I’d be lost without my years of recovery skills and background.  The tools of Celebrate Recovery, a Christian 12-step program, have helped me to cope with undiagnosed and unmedicated ADD. 

Living with ADD often feels like this.

I’m certain that there are many people with undiagnosed ADD who are addicts of some type of obsessive behavior.  It is the way we medicate because we don’t know how to slow down the chaos in our brains.  It makes our character defects loom larger.  It keeps us in a state of overwhelm most of the time.

That’s the place I’ve been for the last week or so.  When I should be joyful about my story being published, I’ve been isolating and in a state of massive overwhelm from the weight of launching into the publicity phase of my book.  I’m trying to understand myself and trying to be a mother to a son who is entering high school with new challenges ahead of him.  I think it would overwhelm anyone, so I need to give myself grace for this next season of the journey.

I know the Lord accomplished some pretty amazing things in me without my even knowing I had ADD.  So now it’s another opportunity for Him to shine in me post-ADD.  I need to learn to let Him—one day at a time, one moment at a time.  And more importantly, I don’t need to let my ADD define me.

Do you feel overwhelmed (with ADD or life in general)?  How are you coping with it?

Leave a comment


  1. Gospel Restoration

     /  September 9, 2012

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. First off, the photo is hilarious though sad because I can understand that feeling. I am glad that God is using recovery to bring you deeper into truth about yourself, and I hope that you’ll see His faithfulness in being your strength and healer. I will say a prayer for you and your son.


  2. Gospel Restoration

     /  September 10, 2012

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on my blog. I am grateful for the supportive and encouraging people I’ve met who are out there reading blogs and inspiring others. I like what you wrote in your description about using your blog as part of your 12th step. I believe God is using you to encourage many. I pray that He will bless your writing.


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    I'm an author, writer, speaker, mentor & mom. I've struggled to find my voice all my life as I lived in the shadows of a mother with mental illness. Thankfully that was not the legacy that she handed down to me. It took a lot of recovery and deep healing work to rise above it.

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