5 ways Quarantine impacts ADHD

Like everyone else across the world, I have been impacted by this global pandemic. We live in times none of us really imagined having to navigate as much as anything else life throws at us – but here we are, finding ways to navigate through a time not seen for 100 years.

Currently I am taking it day by day and reflecting on ways this disruption has had an affect on my life, but particularly has impacted my ADHD in a noticeable way. I thought I would share it in a post as I have also been struggling to write which has been something very much part of being quarantined and suddenly life in limbo and lock down.

Lack of structure and routine: The little structure and routine I managed to keep down every day changed day by day as things got closer to lock down. First was the gym, then the panic about work or benefits and what to prioritize spending money on. Then after those came food/diet/fitness/lifestyle breakdown. And motivation to commit to basic daily tasks suffered after that. Housework for example – feels pointless – when you have 4 weeks of government enforced lock down sitting in the back of your head waving flags and parading around in your ADHD mind.

Emotional dysregulation: For me it didn’t help that I had a monthly visitor in the first week of lock down. My moods were all over the place, coupled with the sudden loss of normalcy, my routine and lifestyle – trying to eat well. Even with only a week and a half off the wagon, it was a build up before this of Christmas, then valentines and my boyfriend and I both had our birthdays, we had visitors – I still managed a marathon in there. My nephew came to live with me! So much interruptions so now that I am actually finally processing and reflecting and trying to be more mindful, I see I have been a spin of emotions and even more so noticing this grief and unknowing. Every day is a bit of a roller-coaster just now. Bad diet, no sleep, big moods, unmotivated to exercise – it’s a spiralling circle.

Difficulty coping: I just feel so off right now, and it hasn’t been helped with making consistent impulsive and bored choices. Because everything has been up-in-the-air, so many things I was doing OK with before I am not coping with and it got all right on top of me because I have been working on self soothing instead of better positive coping mechanisms. Food is especially a bad go to versus focusing on staying hydrated for example.

Keeping up with self care: I am literally forcing myself through a wall of resistance just to shower and brush my teeth. Forget about my hair – I have completely given up on that now… shaving almost made me anxious – it was a big task! Bigger task than just having to wash my hair. The sustained effort for long term reward – what was that again? Cant I just live in Pajamas.. but what about all those cool apocalypse outfits you want to take selfies in.. oh yea, small spark of motivation but will I commit….

Mental health challenges: Regulation, mindfulness, gratitude, pause, focus. ADHD is basically just being a big monster, bigger than normal, because these are new situations we face right now. Every day is new news of the state of the world – positive and negative things to focus on, a lot of challenges lay ahead in the future – all these things put us in over thinking spin. Our support networks have been cut off in many ways. All the interruptions is going to play a big part anyway. There is so many factors and everyone is feeling it but we also have this extra obstacle of ADHD as a challenge too.

There are many ways that ADHD has an impact in our lives already, there isn’t many things that ADHD doesn’t impact – so naturally in these unprecedented times it’s going to have an impact on our ADHD and now is an important time to be patient and kind with ourselves. I am going to continue working on all these 5 points and create more structure and routine around them in order to maintain some kind of normalcy or at least a _new type_ of normal. But also gives me a chance to create these kind of “Plans switched on me” contingency life plans for dealing with mental health so next time anything like this happens I am mentally prepared for it.

Published by Jenn has ADHD

Jennifer Parker, New Zealand. ADHD Advocate and Peer. jennhasadhd.com

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