Feelings of grief and loss are something we all have to deal with even in the best of times. During the pandemic they may occur more frequently and be particularly acute. There is the direct threat to life and health. You may know someone who has the virus or someone who has died from it. There is the loss that come from disruption to plans for college, or the sudden loss of a job. Dealing with these can especially hard if you have ADHD.
How ADHD Can Amplify Emotions
Here are some of the ways that ADHD can amplify the pain of the grieving process:
- Unpredictable emotions – People with ADHD often feel emotions intensely. They can have issues with emotional dysregulation and also have depression and anxiety as comorbid conditions. This may lead to reactions that seem inappropriate..
- Misdirected hyperfocus – Hyperfocus can be good when it is directed to coward completing a project. But when sad emotions are activated, it can quickly lead to a growing sense of depression and desperation.
- Being isolated by loss- Those with ADHD often experience a pronounced feeling of desolation with the loss of someone or something they love. When a key figure in their life leaves, dies or falls ill, an important source of support is lost, which can add a sense of fear, loneliness, and hopelessness to the grief.
Misconceptions About the Grieving Process
There are a few misconceptions to avoid when you or someone you know is going through the grieving process:
- If you ignore the pain, it will go away sooner – Trying to suppress the pain will only worsen it in the long run. True healing requires you to face your grief and actively deal with it.
- You have to “be strong” in the face of loss – Your feelings of sadness, fear, or loneliness are natural reactions to loss. You don’t need to protect your family or friends from emotion. Showing your true feelings can help both them and you.
- Not crying means you aren’t sorry about the loss – Crying is one response to sadness. But it isn’t the only one. Everyone has different ways ways of showing their grief.
- Grieving should last about a year – There is no standard timeline for grieving. The length of time it takes varies from person to person.
- Getting on with your life means forgetting about your loss – Accepting your loss is not the same as forgetting. The memory of someone or something you lost is an important part of you. In fact, over time, these memories can become more important to defining who we are.
Tips for Handling Grief and Loss
Below are some tips for handling loss for those with ADHD from :
- Acknowledge your feelings of grief – Start by recognizing when you are grieving and allow yourself to grieve.
- Be willing to ask for help – You have to be responsible for your reactions to loss, but you don’t have to shoulder the burden by yourself. Dealing with grief begins with getting support, from individuals or groups.
- End the isolation – Reach out and talk to your family and friends, and those you trust to listen and help you take a proactive approach to overcoming your grief.
For more recommendations for dealing effectively with grief and loss, visit https://www.helpguide.org/articles/grief/coping-with-grief-and-loss.htm.