Pandemics are hard. They’re harder when you or someone you love suffers from a mental illness. They can be even more challenging, still, when they spur on a mental illness or diagnosis that might not have existed otherwise had routines not been interrupted.
The reality is that one price we’ve all paid for the nearly year-long pandemic is our mental wellness. From social isolation to a lack of connectedness, nearly everyone has been impacted by the pandemic in one way or another. But for people who suffer from certain mental health issues, it’s been even harder. The following article will look at how you can manage Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) during shutdowns.
The Shutdown Toll
Any good ADHD psychologist will tell you that managing ADHD can be hard. It’s particularly difficult when the normal tools a person would use are no longer available due to shutdowns, social isolation, and more. For this reason, it’s important to go easy on yourself or your loved one with an ADHD diagnosis. You’ll need a social support network and a plan to get through this situation if your symptoms are escalating and you aren’t on medication.
Start by writing down a list of people, hobbies, and interests. Return to that list to see how you can remain connected with those people, even if it isn’t in person. Then, see how you can match people to your normal hobbies and interests in safe ways. For example, if Tuesday nights used to be basketball with your friends, consider asking those same friends to join you on an NBA video game. While it won’t be quite the same, it will give you something to do that interests you and keep that boredom away.
If your ADHD symptoms have escalated, and you feel that now is the time to start medicine, you can work with your doctor for a prescription without going into the office. If you or your loved one already have that diagnosis, it won’t be difficult to start a medication that may help with your escalating symptoms. Getting a prescription through telemedicine appointments can actually be easier than going in for the appointment in person if you already have a relationship with your healthcare provider.
Changing Habits and Behaviors
If you’re having problems managing impulses, irritability, or fidgeting, and normal coping skills aren’t working, there are professionals in managed behavioral health who can often offer online workshops, worksheets, and more to help you with this. A simple web search might point you in the right direction for ideas on how to keep yourself occupied and your symptoms under control, whether you’re medicated or not. It’s important to remind yourself that the pandemic will be over eventually, and you will be able to resume your normal activities. You are not alone.
New Ways to Cope
While your doctor or therapist will have suggestions, the best way to find new ways to cope is to experiment. Worksheets and support groups alone won’t be your only answer. If your old way of managing ADHD was working out at the gym, consider making a space in your home where you can exercise instead. If your old habit was visiting a friend after a long day, consider zooming them instead. The point is to try to maintain the things that worked for you in the past and find new ways to incorporate them safely into this new life in a pandemic.
Managing any mental health issue can be difficult in the most ideal circumstances, but if you’re grappling with ADHD during a pandemic, you may find yourself feeling more irritable and restless than usual. For students and workers of all ages, a lot of time behind a computer screen can cause frustrations and issues with keeping up. Let’s face it; when you aren’t able to focus for extended periods, working while stuck to a chair or desk isn’t the best way for you to stay motivated. Think about letting teachers and employers know if you’re struggling with this. You might be surprised at how understanding they are, and they may even offer special accommodations that will help you manage workflow.
It’s important to remember that the current situation is putting a strain on everyone. Be kind to yourself while you look for better ways to cope.