ADHD and Responding during Heated Political Times

This past week has been emotionally tense for many in North America. The murder of a female protester, the injury of peaceful protesters, and the heated debates surrounding the reasons for these protests have revealed the true feelings and ideology people hold regarding race, immigration, human rights, and other crucial topics.

I’ve had to bite my tongue too many times this week. I’m not a quiet bystander whose greatest contribution is creating Twitter hashtags, or clicking “like” on a Facebook post. I’m certainly not a quiet person who doesn’t speak my mind, I speak my mind, a lot. I’m also not a person in denial about what is happening in our country and that of our neighbours in the United States. I’ve had to bite my tongue because I know that if I give in to the ignorant, hateful, ridiculous views and actions of those who support hate groups I will turn into an ugly person.

My ADHD symptoms make it all too easy for me to become angry with people who are ignorant and hateful.

Having ADHD leaves those of us with this disorder extra vulnerable for some of the following reasons:

We sometimes lack focus, trying to address too many different causes at one time and therefore not being well informed as to what is happening at a deeper level beyond media headlines.

Difficulty with emotional regulation. This makes it easier to experience and express intense emotions. Once these emotions begin, it can be difficult to refocus and be open to what is happening in the moment.

Holding on to grudges. Whether having peaceful discussions or heated disagreements, these encounters can lead to holding onto grudges. Grudges create barriers to understanding where others are coming from with their own views, forgiving others, and makes it difficult to work with others we disagree with.

Inappropriate spontaneity can happen due to a mixture of strong emotions and impulsivity. Emotional outbreaks can lead to unnecessary disagreements, making situations worse, and moves people’s attention away from the actual situation.

Having ADHD doesn’t mean that one can’t become involved in meaningful conversations, advocacy groups, and peaceful protests; what is means is that one has to be cautious and careful, taking into account what they need to be most aware of due to their own ADHD challenges.

When you find yourself in the midst of uncomfortable discussions, debates, and disagreements make efforts to be mindful of how you are feeling, your body language, your tone of voice, and what you are saying. It’s perfectly alright to pause, speak slowly, or respectfully end the conversation.

Over the past two weeks I’ve had to remember this popular verse:

If you’ve done wrong by loosing your temper, saying hurtful words to your opponents, or held unhealthy thoughts and feelings in your heart bring them to God. He is our healer. He knows our frustrations and what we go through with having ADHD. In order to fight “the bad guys” we need to remember not to mirror their hateful actions, and words; if we don’t, we will all be losers in this fight for justice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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