ADHD with words behind it Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

ADHD blog: ADHD burnout

The Severe ramblings of an incoherent ADHDer, or better known as an introduction to Kennyland.

(Note: this was written by guest blogger Kenny Hill. The post has not been changed from the original and any typos, spelling or other errors have been left exactly as it was written.)

“Kenny, why did you randomly select this topic?”

“Cause the other ones were taken at the moment.”

Actually I’m in complete burnout mode right now. I’m on a business trip, and after an easy day I returned to my hotel room. That’s when it hit me, the overwhelming feeling to never carve, write, or do anything, ever again. An extra long shower, not because it feels good, but because I’m lost in thoughts and feelings that I don’t even remember. Numbness sets in, my phone feels heavy; turning it on is a chore. Besides, what would I write, and who is going to care?  Even breathing seems so difficult. I lay there, not sleeping. My mind is reeling. My emotions are a roller coaster between pain, anger, and numbness. Hoping for a dreamless state of almost non-existence sleep. 

This is not depression…   yet. 

This is not a manic episode…   yet. 

This is ADHD burnout. My brain is not only starved of dopamine, but also exhausted from emotional failure. This is cyclical. It’s debilitating. It can lead to many unhealthy things when not stopped. There are positive ways to end this cycle though, if I can motivate myself, even a little, to get started. I’ve been working hard on those elements over the past few years. I have many tools to help, but I have never recognized this for what it is, nor explored and tried to manage it at the moment, before now. If you’ll come with me on this journey, I promise it will not end so dark as it started. However, before we get started there is one more person we NEED to invite. 

Dear Heavenly Father,

I’m caught in a terrible burnout right now. I see and hear satan’s lies surrounding me, but I am going to need extra help and strength in battling him right now. Specifically guidance through the symptoms and recovery actions. Also strength to keep moving forward on it and not abandon the process. Cause that will only add to the cycle right now. 

Starting off, let’s call this thing out into the light. 

ADHD burnout is a state of stress and exhaustion that can develop when people are struggling with the stress of unmanaged ADHD symptoms for a long period of time. ADHD burnout often follows a cyclical pattern of stress, overwhelm, and avoidance that can be very difficult to break out of.

When ADHD symptoms interfere with one’s ability to follow through, one begins to feel stressed out, overwhelmed, and exhausted, which signals the next stage in the burnout cycle. The cycle continues when people turn to avoidance coping, procrastination, or self-medication to lower their stress. (But we’re not going to do those things now are we)

What it feels like: 

  • Nothing makes you happy as it used to 
  • social settings are even harder to cope in, bringing a stronger desire to withdraw.
  • Desire to withdraw from everyone, including those you love the most. Mostly because you don’t want to disappoint them further. 
  • Lethargy. So, working out feels stupid
  • Loss of appetite 
  • You hate puppies, kittens and chinchillas.  Just kidding, they’re still delicious.  Kidding for real this time. But even their cuteness can’t dissipate the shroud of darkness. 
  • *Your symptom here*

You might say. “This sounds an awful lot like depression.”

To that I say. “Yep.”

People with ADHD suffer from a lot of emotional problems. 

  • Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria 
  • Emotional dysregulation (a hallmark of ADHD)
  • Imposter syndrome
  • Rage
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Burnout

Most of these come from neurotransmitter chemical depletion, as well as the perceptions we accept from Satan about how terrible we are. 

Clinical depression can be a comorbidity but is classified as an emotional disorder and is NOT a symptom of ADHD. The difference? Everyone gets sad. Usually due to loss or a perceived loss. This kind of sadness and depression is situational. Fix the situation or the perception and you cure the depression. Clinical depression requires the depression to persist beyond 2 weeks without letting up. Most situations and perceptions will change in that time. Whatever the case, satan is at the root of the cause. Here is a list of tools we are going to pull out today, in order to fight effectively. (When it comes to clinical depression, these tools will help, but please seek professional assistance for the treatment that will best help you)

Since the ADHD burnout cycle resembles the satanic spin so well, we will start with these: 

  1. Flag poles/drills 
  2. PWR of warrior chemistry
  3. Q5
  4. T.R.U.Th. tool
  5. Ni Ni Fi Fi

It’s going to take a whole bag of tools to build this house back up.

Image of the 4 parts of the satanic spin

satanic Spin

Before we get into the tools let’s discuss what the satanic spin is. The satanic spin is when the adversary whispers a lie in our ears. (I’m not good enough, I can’t do it, that sort of thing) his timing is impeccable mind you. he says the exact wrong thing for us at the precise wrong moment to make an attack with the precision of a surgeon. We internalize it as “our truth” which we then drip a little chemical in our brain that makes us feel bad. It is not a flood at first, it is slow inoculation, and it is effective. he works lie upon lie, deceit upon deceit. This drip builds up in our minds and these chemicals override our core values. We are miserable. We think, feel, and say things that simply aren’t true. And over the course of time we believe it, so that we say it as much as he does. Shame on him.

Flagpoles and drills

What are flagpoles? It’s a metaphorical term for safety drills. Think about when you were a kid at school. A bell would ring and the teachers would take everyone, in an organized manner, to the big flagpole in front of the school as a safe place. Drills are flagpoles in practice when it is calm and controlled. This is so when “it” hits the fan (another metaphor, cause if “it” really hits the fan, then I will hit the shower) you autonomously know where to go to get to safety. Most of my effective flagpoles involve moving my body. i.e. 10 pushups,  a quick walk somewhere, shadow boxing, running up the stairs are some things to get the heart racing a little. When the blood moves through the body and brain we begin to clear out the chemicals we dripped from the satanic lies. 

Warrior Chemistry 

Warrior Chemistry is adrenaline on call. There is a hard side (MAN – action and invoking a warrior spirit. Like the Haka)  and the soft  side (PWR). I played rugby for years and did martial arts even longer. The warrior spirit I understand. I feel it by just imagining fighting scenarios. I feel like I was born with the hard side in full swing, so, at first, I paid little mind to the soft side. Yet, I have come to realize it’s more powerful in a situation like this.  

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PWR or PWarrgh if you’re a pirate:

  • Prayer – to our Heavenly Father in the name of His only begotten. Sincerely
  • Writing – a letter to Heavenly Father. It’s why we are writing this letter to our Heavenly Father. He answers through the Spirit as we write. And it is working as usual. I am so grateful for this tool. It is so strong. It helps me to learn the will of the Lord, and when I am past feeling it brings me back.
  • Reading the words of the prophets – so,  scriptures, conference talks,  books, etc.

The primary answers, done with whole hearted sincerity, are like invoking the ancient magic to which the assailant has no equal. 

Q5

Using a Q5 for a burnout cycle is a new concept that came to me as I was writing this down. Q5s are typically used after a loss battle but I don’t intend to wait for one before I bust this jewel out. How one does it is to start at the point of the lost battle, and work backwards. In this case my current condition.

Lvl 5When, Where, and How we choose to give in…feeling hopeless and miserable. Feeling very undesirable and that I bring in very little value to my family 

Lvl 4This is when satan’s dialogue makes sense (yeah, I do deserve to do the very destructive thing and brings incredible pain and deeep shame)… I flew home for the weekend to help out with emotional support against a mother-in-law who is toxic, but I was already feeling depleted myself

Lvl 3The Moment of introduced Deviant Thinking…my backpack was stolen shortly before I had to get to the airport. Aside from feeling violated from the theft, the things I lost were the things that bring me emotional comfort. I recognized the calculated kick to the crotch by the adversary. Yet, I didn’t feel that I had the time to process. 

Lvl 2Emotional Discomfort and unsettled/unsatisfied emotions.

Before the backpack incident I flew to San Fran for a new job. Being the new guy to the company, in a foreign city, having to figure out where and when to be places without details or control of getting around. Also, I bought too many baked sweet treats to eat in my hotel. I walked instead of heavier exercise after long days. So I gained some weight back

Lvl 1Feeling off-kilter or “on edge” can be very common for ADHDers with emotional disregulation… having to travel for work again. knowing it’s such a huge hit of dopamine for my brain yet the extreme amounts of traveling for work over the past few years has caused a rift in my marriage. But we need the money. 

From Lvl1 —> Lvl5 the emotions don’t go away because you progress a level, they build on top of each other. It’s actually how you get to the next level, by not addressing the current emotions.

Lovely bit of knowledge, but what does it all mean and what do I do with it? What were some of the satanic lies involved? “I am not good enough” that’s the main one, So how do I get past the lies?  Well, my go to is the T.R.U.Th. tool.

T.R.U.Th tool

 This is a must have in my tool bag. It is both an arsenal and tool with the ability to fight AND repair. It is a multi faceted swiss army war hammer that delivers the force of a Mack truck with the range and scope of a sniper rifle. When the shroud of the adversary’s darkness envelops me, I use this to open a gaping hole to allow God’s light back in. (Think Stormbreaker with the power of the Bifrost)

T – tear down the lie. What is he saying to you? “You’re no good, not enough, they’re all going to laugh at you?” Whatever it is has to be recognized for what it is. A lie so you can say “that’s not true because…”

R –  restore the truth. Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” This scripture fits so well here, helping us to connect back to Christ. 

If the lie is “I’m not good at ___fill in the blank___. Add “yet” to the end. This makes the statement true (unless you’ve just lept from a plane and are trying to fly like a bird. You don’t need to add the word “yet”.) 

U –  unite with God.  Prayer, writing a letter to Him, reading scriptures, gen Conf talks, hymns (I find “How firm a foundation” to be particularly efficacious) you know what to do 

Th – this is my body as my weapon! Please remember, the adversary has no body, he has been waging war in your mind only. Those are YOUR chemicals he has been convincing YOU to drip. he has power to bruise your heel, but you have PoWeR to CRUSH his pathetic head. Remember the flagpoles and move your body. Service is such a great way to Unite with God as you move your body. 

Tool – because this is an action thing. Doesn’t matter how many tools you have, or how shiny they are. You will never build a thing if you don’t use them. Now you don’t have to always do them in that order.  You may need to use your body or Unite with God first so you can think clear enough to recognize the lie. The point is to be effective and complete the acronym. Simply picking up the hammer isn’t enough. You have to swing so it can hit its intended target.To echo LeVar Burton “You don’t have to take my word for it.” so use it and experience relief from the burden of satanic lies today.

Ni Ni Fi Fi

Notice it, Name it, Flip it, Find it. 

  • 1st – Notice you are feeling off, or “not good”. Not food poisoning, but emotionally.
  • Next – Name it. Bad is not an emotion. It’s the range of emotions you don’t want to be in. Sad? Mad? Glad? Rad? There is a whole world of emotions out there that don’t rhyme. Because some of us have the emotional range of a teaspoon, you may need to use an emotional wheel chart to discover what you’re feeling. There is so much more to unpack here, the thing is you have to keep going deeper to get to the core emotion. Is it powerless, inferior, frustrated? Whatever the negative emotion, it is being driven by a satanic lie. 
  • C – Flip it. Using the emotions wheel look to the opposite side of the chart. That’s where you want to be.
  • Finally – Find it. How do you find your way to the happy side of the emotional wheel? Insert the T.R.U.Th.Tool here. Do something to feel accomplished. Service. Focus on the many tiny triumphs right now (a.k.a. gratitude) actions steps can be the hardest,  but “they that be with us are more than they that be with them.” We never do this alone.

Most days the T.R.U.Th. Tool is enough. Setting alarms to do emotional inventory several times a day is very helpful. When I keep on top of my emotions and the satanic lies I get back to feeling joy pretty quick. But ADHD burnout is a different creature. It’s like locking yourself in a room with a dementor but you’re on a first date, so no kissing. 

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Emotional Inventory

Since you brang it up, I will briefly touch upon this easter egg in our tool bag. Be Careful, like a real egg if left alone at the bottom of a bag it’s going to spoil. Emotional inventory is as it sounds. Stop and take a moment, think: “What am I feeling?” The first time you ask yourself this without a heavy or pressing emotion, you will notice… nothing. It’s hard at first. We FEEL an emotion, wording an emotion is not the norm. Knowing I felt something but couldn’t express it wasn’t helpful. So I expressed what I could. “I feel my socks against my feet, the way my shirt is bunching around my belt, these are annoying. What else? I feel an ache in my shoulders, no wait, neck. Either way it’s fatigue, or maybe it’s tiredness from the stress of dealing with people ” eliminating what the obvious feelings are, I can then go deeper. “I feel frustrated, because…” Emotions are like onions, or is it ogres, no it’s onions. Emotions are like ogrions…? Nevermind you get it. Emotions are like orgions and they’re stacked in layers. At the core of the emotion will be a statement driving the emotion. Typically, when we are feeling off (aka bad, sad, mad, had) that statement will be a satanic lie. Like this: 

Satanic lie – “I am not good enough.” then the drip. When I am alone the emotion is sadness, leading to hopelessness. If there is any chance I feel that lie will be visible to others, and they will think the same thing about me, the sadness turns to frustration, then to anger. It’s a defensive mechanism. Now that the layers are visible I can see that they are unnecessary because… wait for it… I am AWESOME! The adversary lies to all of us. 

You’re awesome too. Take a second and say 5 nice things about yourself.  It feels good to tell the truth. 

Now we have gone full cycle, I mean circle. 

One of the great risks is that when you feel so crummy that you are willing to do just about anything to feel better. Even on a subconscious level. Thinking “I’m in a rut” or some other such nonsense, people make rash decisions and do drastic things like:

  • End relationships 
  • Quit their job
  • Some extreme dangerous thing to feel “alive”
  • Drugs
  • Break the bank looking for the next hobby or dazzling thing
  • Travel somewhere exotic. (Come to think of it, that is a great idea. Just make sure it doesn’t interfere negatively with life and finances

Before one upends everything, and even before personal introspection,  it would be a great idea to pause for a moment and allow your “bad” self some grace.  

A list of high dopamine hits

Healthy:

  • A good well rounded meal
  • Meditation. That can mean: the typical type of meditation you think of, Yoga, A session of alone time with the right music
  • Breathing.  Not just the in/out kind,  which is highly important to never stop doing. I’m talking about breathing to invigorate the body and mind. 
  • my drink i make with my supplements in it
  • Exercise (½ hour will do it. Need to move the blood, not win an Olympic event. Exercises that stimulate the cerebellum, like yoga and balancing exercises, are best for an ADHD brain [and dementia – there are some links between the two] ) 
  • Intimately connecting (as in closeness not romance) with my wife and kids
  • Intimacy (as in romance after closeness) with my wife. A little discretion here, please! Intimacy starts with conversation and moves through these stages. Verbal → cognitive → emotional → psychological→ spiritual → physical when I intimately connect with my wife on any of these levels… dopamine. When I see her giving service, and having compassion for others I am not only inspired to do better and be better but also… dopamine and serotonin
  • Music. You can try your favorite emo music and cry or whatever or something heavy and feel a surge of anger. These can be like an emotional defibrillator jolting you out of the cycle one way or the other. They have helped in times past but it is akin to getting off the merry go round by letting centrifugal force teach you the laws of inertia by encouraging you to exit the ride at mach ten only to be abruptly caught by mother earth. I don’t know about you but dirt nap endings are not my ideal way out of this. Instead I have a very engaging list of songs that get my Warrior Chemistry going. It ranges from Pop music to Hymns. Everybody’s got their list, and the right mix is powerful.
  • For others I hear good sleep helps, I just don’t know what that is.  
  • Working on a passion project
  • Working on a hobby that holds my interest at the moment 

Unhealthy:

  • Drugs
  • Alcohol 
  • Pornography And sexually acting out
  • Fights
  • Horror movies
  • Reckless endangerment to get adrenaline. 
  • Finishing projects through Procrastination payoff
  • Sugar (too much sugar is unhealthy. But this is still a preferred dopamine source for me)
  • Eating junk, too many sweets and baked goods, or just too much. Holidays can be a risk, but soooo much fun.

There are healthy and unhealthy ways to get out. 

At first, the aim is to get out as healthily and quickly as possible

But the real trick is to recognize the path you’re on before you wander all the way to camp burnout. Dealing with the emotions early will reduce the length and number of burnouts. 

This rambling episode turned out to be mostly a list of highly effective tools. Maybe you are part of the crowd that read one and said, “That makes sense, I’ll do that. Maybe you are able to see the whole picture and put 2 and 2 together. Maybe you are me, and confused your way out of the burnout by painstakingly typing this thing out. I mean, to be honest, I applied all these tools and got 99 percent out of the burnout 3 months ago. Ya, this has taken me 3 months to wrap it up. Why? I was “busy” that is ADHD code for “it was too hard.” I didn’t cancel out the last lie till right now. “No one cares!” The truth… I do. I care, not about writing so much as I do about not letting the adversary win. I care about mine and yours’ mental health. So here are some great tools. The best, of course, is reaching out to others for connection. Talk to someone, go to the playground and see if you can hold one to the merry go round as someone spins it like a top. Maybe even make a new friend at the ER. No matter what they say, it was still fun and games.

If you would like to contact me about any of this please feel free to email me at 

kennethshill09@gmail.com 

Or you can text me at 801-706-6848 I may not have all the answers but I am happy to help wherever I can. 

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