ADHD is a VERY common neurotypical disorder, which is commonly diagnosed in childhood. HOWEVER, it can be undiagnosed until adulthood. In adulthood, it is more than just an inability to focus, it often presents as overstimulation. There are several signs of overstimulation, some of which include noise sensitivity (children’s toys that make repetitive sounds driving you insane) and even touch sensitivity.
ADHD Overstimulation and Me!
I know that the latter is a huge part of my day-to-day life. Pregnancy means that I have zero personal space; add in a clingy 2-year-old, a 4-year-old who loves to be under my feet, a 6-year-old who thinks she needs to fill every quiet moment with her voice, and both my 9-year-old and 13-year-old who want to give hugs or kiss random places on my arms at any given moment, and I am sure you understand some of the overstimulation issues I face on a daily.
We homeschool. So sending them off to school and just having the two youngest at home isn’t an option. I am lucky to have a partner who understands, and who is supportive. When I need a break, he will take over the schooling or whatever I am doing at that moment. I will hide in the office or in our room. When he is not home, we do what we call “quiet time” where the littles go to their rooms and play or watch TV and mommy takes a few minutes to herself to recenter. Sometimes that is a TV show, music, just a few minutes surfing Facebook, or even sneaking a quick hot bath.
My Best Coping Method for ADHD Overtimulation
Ultimately the best way I have found to cope with adult ADHD overstimulation is being honest and upfront with my children and my partner. When I am struggling, I simply let them know that I am overstimulated and I need a few minutes. My 13-year-old is great about helping to corral the kids upstairs in those moments if my other half isn’t home. She also learned to ask if I want a hug before cornering me for one which she used to do, often.
Panic attacks can be brutal…
Related: How I Deal with Panic Attacks
I Used to Feel Like a Bad Mom Because I Deal with ADHD Overstimulation
At first, being honest with them was difficult, mainly because I thought it made me a bad mom. I didn’t understand how as a mom that my children wanting to touch me constantly made my skin crawl. I felt trapped.
I started taking moments for myself, though, stepping outside when it got to be too much, working on a quick project to distract my mind and just a general reset. Then I was able to open up.
I still have days where I snap and tell them that my personal space is NOT being respected and that they need to back off for a bit, and I do yell. I am actively working on not doing that. I am not perfect. And that’s okay.
My kids don’t need a perfect mom. They need a mom that understands that they also get overstimulated. A mom who knows that we aren’t perfect and we have bad days. I’m thankful that they are patient with me.
Also, don’t feel bad for removing the batteries from the toys that drive you bonkers the most!
Danielle is a freelance writer specializing in parenting, homeschooling, domestic abuse, and relationships. You can contact her here.