Coping With ADHD and the Anxiety of Change

"Change is certain. Peace is followed by disturbances; departure of evil men by their return. Such recurrences should not constitute occasions for sadness but realities for awareness, so that one may be happy in the interim."

Quote from the I Ching, the Chinese Book of Changes

Chinese philosophers saw change as a dynamic balance of opposites, the evolution of events as a process, and advocated the acceptance of the inevitability of change. As I enter a new year, I invariably reflect on change and I try wholeheartedly to see change as inevitable and welcomed.

Change makes everyone a little nervous but it makes those of us with ADHD even more nervous. My eight year old son avoids all changes with a passion. We cannot get a new piece of furniture in our house without a major separation anxiety crisis. He is not alone. I find that I usually need extra help talking myself out of my 'new change anxiety'. One of the things that help me to cope is to always try to view change as an opportunity.

My kids love this one story about a Native American father dealing with change and I think about this story when I find myself confronted with a change that makes me uncomfortable.

This is the story:

There was once a Native American father whose sons were not chosen to be warriors. His neighbors came to him and said, "What shame has come to your house. You must be cursed to have come to such shame". The man replied; "Maybe I am cursed and maybe I am blessed, time will tell." Several months later all the warriors died in a great battle and the man's neighbors came and say, "How lucky you are that your sons were not killed." The man replied; "Maybe I am cursed and maybe I am blessed, time will tell." The story goes on and on and on and actually never ends but it is a story about seeing both the opportunities and challenges of change.

When I find my ADHD anxiety flaring up in the face of change, I try to remember this Native American father and say to myself; Maybe I am cursed and maybe I am blessed, time will tell."

Happy New Year!!!


  1. I am a 20 recently diagnosed with Inattentive type ADHD. I found this post particularly interesting since I seem to have the exact opposite reaction. I largely enjoy change and at times seem to crave it. I've always thought that this might actually a symptom to be more likely expressed by those with ADHD since it seems to go hand-in-hand with the need for constant stimulation.

    To me this seems to fall more under the category of a mild form of a specific phobia. While not truly an expression of Separation Anxiety Disorder since the tension is not directly related to a child's fear that something will happen to a parent or an important life figure due to their separation from them, it does seem to meet the criteria of a phobia in that it is in some ways irrational, is treated with avoidance and anxious anticipation, and causes above average levels of stress and tension.

    The fact that ADHD has a very high comorbidity rate with both depression and axiety disorders (both of which have hereditary factors) also suggests that this particular form of stress may not in fact be the effect of ADHD.

    I love your outlook on this dificulty and wish the best for you and your family!


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