Defining ADHD Burnout with Trina Haynes
“the largest driving force for ADHD Burnout in my life is people pleasing”
This week I have a guest column from —founder of the My Lady ADHD community on Instagram, author of the newsletter and podcast, and a really good friend of mine. Trina is someone with ADHD who really “gets it” and today shares her experience dealing with ADHD burnout.
Defining ADHD Burnout
by Trina Haynes
The first time I heard the phrase “ADHD Burnout” was two years ago via an Instagram post that someone had shared with me. Not even knowing the definition of ADHD Burnout, I related to the term right away. I immediately researched it for hours on-end (Yay ADHD!) and this definition from an article on Inflow punched me directly in the gut: ADHD Burnout is “the cycle of overcommitting and overextending that leads to fatigue in people with ADHD. It involves taking on too many tasks and commitments, and then the subsequent exhaustion that happens when we’re unable to fulfill all of our obligations.“
This was my life.
This is my life.
I’ve tried to recall how early on this cycle started in my life and I can’t come up with a beginning, because it's ALWAYS been there for as long as I can remember. I have an insatiable need to do as much as possible - with no regard for my own health, safety, or time. Overcommitting is my middle name.
Through therapy, I’ve come to discover that the largest driving force for ADHD Burnout in my life is people pleasing - the need to keep the peace at all times, no matter to what detriment that causes me. I will agree to do just about anything to avoid having someone be upset with me. The second greatest factor that causes my ADHD Burnout is time blindness. My inability to estimate how long it takes to accomplish things will lead me to agree to things that I really don’t have time for. Because truthfully, most of the things on my calendar are things that I REALLY REALLY want to do. It seems I'm just not able to perceive how much capacity that task actually requires - until it's waaaayy too late.
I've spent the last 2+ years learning more about ADHD, talking about it openly anywhere and everywhere - but mostly via social media at My Lady ADHD and on the My Lady ADHD Podcast. I’ve worked diligently to prevent ADHD burnout - but truthfully, it's been a bumpy road. I'm consistently adding on way too many projects. “Too many irons in the fire” as my mom loving reminds me, often. The only real change that I've seen in myself in this department is my willingness to acknowledge when enough is enough. I can now take an overview look at my responsibilities and reach out for help when I can see future me drowning. I'm honest about burnout and I tell my loved ones that I've taken on too many things and I need help. I don't feel shame around this anymore. I'm proud of myself when I get to that point, because FINALLY I'm starting to look out for me.
There are lots of tips out there and resources/advice for dealing with and preventing ADHD Burnout. The most impactful thing that has helped me here has been to NAME IT and SEE IT - to recognize when you're in that pattern and to reach out for help when you've spotted it. That's the beginning stage of healing this thing.
If you would like more information on how to recognize ADHD Burnout and how it can be prevented, check out the full article on Inflow.
I was last week’s guest on the ADHD Rewired podcast. It was super fun to be on this show, as it was one of the first things I listened to when I was diagnosed with ADHD over 5 years ago! I had a great time chatting with host Eric Tivers about creating systems to help with managing ADHD, and whether or not Eric thinks I am coachable. 😅
Things that grabbed my attention this week.