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ADHD and Overthinking

Overthinking or Thought Rumination is the unhelpful repetitive thought cycles often experienced and can form a large part of living with ADHD. Rumination is thinking about the same thing over and over. The brain gets stuck in a loop and plays out a situation or memory again and again. Where someone without the symptoms of ADHD might think about a topic, process it, and then easily move onto a new topic, someone living with ADHD may struggle to switch to a new topic and may continue to over think a situation.

Overthinking is generally a negative process; negative thoughts attract more negative or bad memories and will make us feel bad about ourselves and will hinder feeling positive or empowered for the future. These thought processes can drain energy and take the “wind out of our sails”.

The negative impact of thought rumination is exasperated by the already negative self-perception of someone with ADHD; we already feel disempowered by thoughts that we always “mess things up” or are “not good enough”. Thought rumination can make us feel lonely if we dissect a casual conversation excessively, we can think the conversation was hurtful towards us, even if that was never the intention. We may then unnecessarily cut ourselves off socially. Thought rumination may result in us losing confidence in our abilities because we remember all of our minor mistakes in a very exaggerated negative light.

Even though we know that this though process is not helpful and try hard to intercept the loop, we cannot seem to stop. Attempts to stop the thoughts often make them persist even more. We often learn to disguise or hide our negative thought process from the people in our lives; to the point that they may be shocked to learn how profound these thoughts are.

Support and skills assist us in deciding how we would like to talk to ourselves when we are alone with our thoughts, how we would prefer to remember situations, and will affect our sense of self as well as the way we are able feel and behave.

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