I promised that this post would be different from my previous ones- that it would be an opportunity for you, my readers, to submit your ADHD related questions to me and I would answer them. So let’s get this thing started now! And if you find it helpful, we’ll do it again next time!

Skip below for info on how YOU can submit your question to me (after today’s Q/A).


Nicole from Cleveland, Ohio writes:

My pattern is working on a project (s)and taking on a lot and then seem to get overwhelmed, withdrawn and paralyzed for months. Shame, regret and sadness go along with it. Is this a part of ADHD?

My response:

Yes, yes, yes, and……yes.

There’s two parts to your question. First, it’s very common for those of us with ADHD to bite off more than we can chew. There’s a lot of reasons for that:

  1. Impulsivity can cause us to jump in without thinking of the consequences.
  2. We crave stimulation,and that moving object (project) seems sooo enticing. So we say to ourselves that we can do it- no problem. But then it does become a problem because we either don’t have enough time, skills or we lose interest.

Secondly, the consequences can be just as you describe: a feeling of overwhelm, withdrawing or giving up and feeling paralyzed.

…..and that can lead to feelings of shame, regret, and sadness. We often feel like failures because of unfinished projects. We may feel like we’ve let other people down, including ourselves. And we may even tell ourselves: “I did it again- I failed. I’m such a loser.”

There are ways to avoid getting into this whirlwind of action and then defeat. One way is to write down what that project is. If it’s something someone is asking you to do, do NOT, do NOT automatically say yes. Say you’ll think about it and get back to them. Either way, sit down with a pad of paper and write out the project. Step by step.

But first, ask yourself: is this something you really want to do? Do you have time to take it on? Then break it down like this, or a way that works best for you:

  1. When I would start this
  2. When I need to finish this
  3. Do I have the materials needed? (list them). If not, where do I need to get them? (Answer this).
  4. Can I take this on myself or do I need help? Who do I ask?
  5. Write down each step needed to complete the project and add how much time you’ll need per step. People with ADHD often underestimate the time needed, so really think about this carefully.
  6. Then use your planner and write down specifically what you need to do, what day, what time (have a start *and* an end date/time).

Now…if you find that you are still not finishing the project,jot down what is getting in your way.

Make this a learning experience instead of a failure. And when you succeed, celebrate!

Hope this helps!


Megan from Dallas, TX writes:

I’m in my 30s and I was diagnosed with ADD long ago but only recently began seeking treatment. Here’s my question:

I’d like to develop better habits to help me manage my ADD. My therapist and I have been discussing the benefit of taking some time out (a retreat) just for me: what I’ve been calling a “metreat”. Ideally, I’d spend a few days away to reflect on everything that overwhelms me, cross out the stuff that I can’t do anything about, prioritize the things I can work on, and then come up with an action plan.

Is there a workbook available that can help guide me through this process?


My response:

I love this idea, Megan!

I’m not aware of a workbook that’s specific to your needs (makes me want to develop one, though!), but a few thoughts:

You could easily make one yourself.You’ve already written it, actually- you just need to buy a notebook and write in it! It could look something like this:

  1. Things That Overwhelm Me

     (Cross out the things I cannot change) 

  1. Things I Want to Work On


A. Personal

B. Family

C. Work

D. Etc.

  1. What I Need to Do to Make It Work


  1. Join a gym, have lunch each week with a friend, cut back on sweets.
  2. Call mom every Sunday, take kids on more educational outings, take daily walk with hubby/partner to re-connect.
  3. Get to work on time, tidy up desk daily before leaving, offer more input at weekly meetings.

Now, I did find a workbook on Amazon and though it’s not exactly what you’re looking for, it looks pretty close!

 Project Planner

Hope this helps!


And that wraps up this issue! If you’d like to submit a brief question relating to ADHD (and please make it one that will be helpful to my readers):

  1. Email it to me at terrymatlen@ADDconsults.com.
  2. If you can, please use this in your subject line:Question for Terry
  3. Tell me what first name you’d like to use (you can use a pseudonym)
  4. Tell me what city/state/country you live in.
  5. Feel free to send a photo of yourself (OPTIONAL).

** NOTE:Only those who send me your name/location will be considered for publication.

–>By emailing your question, you give me permission to print it in an upcoming newsletter and blog (my blog is on my website at www.ADDconsults.com).

and if you do not yet receive my newsletters, please sign up now HERE.