Content warning: This post explores how I deal with death of loved ones and grief
Hi Rach, this is insanely eye opening. I have yet to be truly diagnosed with ADHD myself, but I find myself in every facet of what you so beautifully shared. Not only on the disassociating and the lack of emotional processing, but also the guilt. I lost my grandfather last March. 1 week before the world shut down. He was diagnosed with terminal cancer in February 1 week before I was set to go on a long planned holiday to Thailand. Because of this, I did not have a chance to call him or message him before he passed. I am holding onto the guilt of that, but also have taken to fully ignore my emotions. I have always dealt with grief by bucking up and moving on. Maybe 1 day of crying and then acting like nothing horrible just happened to my heart. I get back to action. As a hyper-sensitive emotional person, it is crazy to think that I can cry over dogs in a commercial, yet I can't fully process my emotions when I am hurting.
Just a theory, but it may draw from the over-exertion of having to deal and process our emotions. Just like I get overwhelmed in a large task, having to overcome my emotional distress is not something that can be done easily. It may be our brains trying to distract us from having to actually accomplish something so monumental by pushing it away.
I’m really glad you shared this. I never thought to dive into a connection between my ADHD and grief. I also lost a very close friend of mine unexpectedly a little over 5 years ago. A lot of what you laid out sounds very familiar to me and it makes a lot of sense. I am so, so sorry for your loss. I still think about him every single day, but I can concur with the others that it does get a little bit easier.
You are not an anomaly! I've had similar experiences, though not with disassociation. When I get really bad news, especially in person, I just roll with it. Very matter of fact. Deal with what's here. Emotions come later (hopefully, though not always).
So thankful you have shared your experience here - first off I’m so incredibly sorry for your loss.
I loss my mother to suicide 1 month ago and I’m struggling with dissociation. My impulses are at an all time high and I’m having a really hard regulating . Im a social worker and currently working on program improvements and find that work is a savour right now - work and physical activity- I’m working out like crazy to keep myself calm and focused - even on Vyavase - which I feel isn’t helping as much as it usually does 💔 waiting for this phase to break before I do..
My grandmother fell ill suddenly, I'm a medical student so I'm not allowed to feel my emotions. I had to suppress the grief and also have the strength to go through my geriatric lessons and it was incredibly hard to the point I'm feeling broken inside. It has 2 years since her death and I'm the only one who could not recover. I don't know where to fiend strength anymore but your text really showed me some light. I'm thankful to you. I'm thankful to know I'm not alone and I'm thankful all this pain will go away some day. Thank you for sharing!
I went through a lot of the same thing when a friend of mine died suddenly of cancer a few years ago. We corresponded pretty regularly via email, but we hadn't met up in quite a while, and I felt guilty about that. And even though I wrote an essay and attended her funeral, I also experienced some disassociation. In fact, I've noticed myself disassociating from other traumatic events in my life and it baffles me. Why so emotional over small things, but totally numb over the big stuff? Too big and scary? Maybe. Thanks for expressing this.
i had been talking about this for a while, a school friend died at age of 9, and I was 1 of 4 who did bidding prayers at front of church, it was open casket, and the grief was immense. I only got diagnosed with ADHD 12 mths ago at 57. I notice I am so different to norm peeps at funerals, prob dissassociation, like they are sort of not dead, even with my dad 8 years ago, till i touched his face in the chapel of rest. I think I have put a block up on death and grief, but it has also blocked me from loving unconditionally, which as i develop spiritually is a big problem. I had a heavy drink problem also all that time, 12 months sober on 1/1/23.
I lost my partner to cancer in February, from the first symptoms to her passing..16weeks. We didn’t get a diagnosis until 2 weeks before she passed. She was the love of my life, my rock, a funny, loving, selfless person.
Two days before she passed, I had a meltdown, triggered by an argument with her family. I got in the car and drove away and I wasn’t with her when she passed. I spent the previous weeks hyper focusing on a community charity we both managed, holding zoom meetings, speaking to funders. I went for a autism assessment and the assessment didn’t find Autism but ADHD. I want to thank you for sharing your experiences especially when they are painful.
I just lost my mom. Literally hours ago. I really do compartmentalize and "put a pin" in my thoughts and feelings until (maybe) later. I avoid. I avoid every thing. Its like watching my life, not living it. So very weird and disconnected. I am not sad. Only because I am thinking of the words "she's gone" and not the actual FACT that she's gone.
Hello Rach.I'm new here so I aporogize commenting 1 year old article.As well as I coped everything with dissociation,I could not mourn my late parents enough as here in Japan they considered my ADHD as a thing to hide from my sisters' husbands.I could not visit my hometown for their funeral to hide all trouble in my life.(Even for me it was clear I inherited my ADHD from my father)
I wish all younger people can live free from ADHD as stigma,but live with ADHD some inconvinience and colorful brain.(I am trying to live like that)
Thank you for sharing this Rach. It’s 5 in the morning and I’ve been trying to understand what’s going on with me, my mum died in august and it’s difficult to look at and reading your post has helped me. I think I too have done a lot of disassociating in my life and in this phase it feels as though I’m feeling pain for different stuff and numb to others. In any case blogs like yours are really helpful so thanks again.
My grandma just died recently, I have been Diagnosed with ADHD for over 10 years now. I always wondered why I would not cry right away hearing that a pet passed away, and now My Grandma just days ago- I felt so numb and so in shock I felt horrible for not being able to cry, I wondered if it was part of my ADHD or if I was just emotionless to greef and loss...
She could not be dead I had just talked to her two days before she was happy and healthy and alive... Then my sister said "I can't belive she is really dead." with tears streaking her face and it hit me. I went upstairs and cried for hours. Then I was numb again, I try not to think about it, I keep busy. But as soon as I stop to collect something I had given her years ago it hits me again and I'm bumped back into the present. She's really gone and I'm not getting her back, I can't wrap my head around it.
I hate that I can cry for hours on end about a dog in a movie dying but I can't seem to process my own emotions when something perosnal happens to me... My brain can't handle that level of hurt-
So knowing I'm not the only one who feels this was, lost and empty unable to process it helps. So I know I DO feel that greef and its just my brains process to the whole thing.