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Topic: ADHD and Emotions. Beyond Suppression Or Puking Them Out On Others.

November 7th 2016 Meeting Notes for the Vancouver Adult ADD Support Group

Return to Vancouver Adult ADD Support Group Previous Notes Page

Facilitator: Pete Quily

Thanks to Barbara for taking notes.

Warm Up. What are a few lessons you've learned in how to recognize, feel and manage your emotions in a healthy way? Share them with the person next to you.

Why do ADDer’s often have more problems with emotions than Non-ADDers?


• Higher frustration levels 
• More impulsivity
• Problems regulating emotion due to brain chemistry
• Problem filtering
• Years of guilting and shaming contribute to low self esteem
• More sensitive
• High reactivity
• Social skills problems 
• Misunderstood 
• Misdiagnosed/ undiagnosed
• Catastrophization
• Cognitive distortion 
• Poor life regulation/self care (eg sleep/diet/exercise )
• Comorbid disorders, depression, anxiety, learning disabilities)
• Higher rates of (flash) anger
• Passiveaggressive 
• Cycle: flash anger/ guilt/shame
• Blunt/rude
• Not able to control thoughts

 
How can you get better at recognizing your emotions at their early stages?

It's easier to deal with anger at the irritation level than the rage level.

 
• Own feelings vs denying  or minimizing them
• Notice your body (mindfulness) without judging
• Notice your breathing
• Do a body scan
• Meditate (mindfulness for ADHD)
• ADHD medication can be helpful
• Selfcalming
• Use Journaling
• Learn about Nonviolent communication
• Enlist friends to give you feedback about your behaviour 
• Make Time for breaks (nonelectronic breaks) to calm your nervous system down ( get off the hamster wheel)
• Own your anger ( you are responsible for your emotions)
• Notice boredom early (get curious: what do I need to do?)


 
How can you get better at feeling your emotions fully?

 
• Label emotion without judging
• Allow yourself to feel it ( it's OK to feel the emotion)
• Know it will pass
• Relate to the feeling as OK
• Acknowledge emotions (not just 'fine')
• Develop your emotional vocabulary (eg through NVC)
• Use movie therapy 
• Learn more about specific emotions e.g sadness, anger, guilt ( what do other people say about it)
• Move ( Yoga, Tai Chi, Feldenkrais, Alexander technique, etc)

 
How can you get better at managing emotions more skillfully:

 
• Own your emotions. "You made me angry!" Nope. YOU are responsible for your emotions, don't blame others, short of them physically attacking you
• Exercise
• Recognize 'triggers' and learn techniques to respond skillfully
• Find balance between alonetime and socializing
• Find friends that you can talk to ( and listen to)
• Put things in perspective 
• Feel, wait, respond
• Remove yourself from the situation ( take a time out)
• Deflect (ask questions)
• Know when you are hyperemotional
• Think some loving kindness thoughts
• Schedule breaks so you built in calmness buffers vs work till you're exausted and more easily triggered with less reserves of awareness and self control to deal with emotions.

 

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