Avoidance can be a major problem for a person with ADHD. When things are difficult, uncomfortable, or anxiety-producing; we pretend they don’t exist and hope they’ll go away so we don’t have to deal with them. We avoid filing taxes, paying bills, projects or assignments that we’re not excited about (aka- procrastination), difficult conversations and doctor’s appointments.
I don’t think anyone enjoys going to the doctor. But for an ADHDer, it’s harder because it triggers so many areas of discomfort. First, you have to make the appointment. That’s five phone calls until they answer or put you on hold for twenty minutes, which requires lots of patience (that we don’t have). Then you have to deal with hassle of finding a parking space. And then (the worst part) you have to wait in the doctor’s office, which gives you way too much quiet time to sit, ruminate, go into a negative spiral and think about what’s wrong with you. Of course, we don’t want to go!
One of my coaching clients had a throbbing, painful toothache. When I asked him if he had made a dentist appointment, he said; No, I’m too busy. I can’t right now. I have too many other things to do first.
Another client is having stomach issues. She has food sensitivities. It’s hard to find something to eat that doesn’t upset her stomach. Twice she’s hit rock bottom and made gastro appointments to find out nothing is wrong. She just needs to stop eating certain foods. She temporarily gives up soda, frappaccinnos, and cuts down on junk food; but she can’t stick to a healthy food plan that won’t send her to the bathroom after every meal.
Pain is your body talking to you, asking you to please fix it. It’s a sign that something is not right and needs repair. The warning lights on your car flash when something isn’t working and needs to be fixed. Pain is your body’s warning lights, begging you to please take care of yourself and fix what’s not working perfectly.
Your body talks to you all day. Tune in and start listening.
- Focus on what your body is saying- We are survivors, troopers who carry on, no matter what. Sometimes that’s awesome, but sometimes that works against us. We push through warning signs that tell us to stop and pay attention. We’re tough, we’re strong, we can handle this. It will go away soon. Just ride through it.
- Know it’s going to be hard and do it anyway– No one enjoys the hassle and anxiety of a doctor’s appointment. Know that it’s a huge pain and fight through the discomfort and fears. It’s ok to ask a friend or loved one to go with you for support and positive distraction.
- Love your body– It’s the only one you get. If someone gave you a Ferrari, would you fill it with empty soda cans or ignore the warning lights that came on? Or would you take it in for regular checkups to make sure it lasts long and stays looking great for as long as possible?
What doctor’s appointment are you avoiding right now? Pick up the phone, wait until the receptionist answers, make an appointment, bring a headset and sit in the office listening to your favorite music.