overwhelmed businessman with sticky notes on head in office

Overwhelmed Feeling? Here’s Why You Might Be Neurodivergent

Last Updated on

April 15th, 2024 04:00 pm

If you feel overwhelmed, there is a possibility that you are neurodivergent. Neurodivergent is an umbrella term for a broad range of neurological differences and disabilities, such as Autism, Tourette Syndrome, ADHD, Dyslexia, and Dyscalculia. Neurodivergent conditions can manifest in a variety of ways, but one of the most common symptoms is feeling overwhelmed.

It is important to recognize when feeling overwhelmed is a sign of something more. Everyone feels overwhelmed from time to time, but if it’s affecting your health, seek help from a mental health professional or psychiatrist if needed.

In this blog post, we will explore why you may be neurodivergent if you feel overwhelmed, and how to get support if you need it. We will also discuss the importance of understanding and accepting neurodiversity and how it can be an integral part of who you are. Through understanding and embracing neurodiversity, you can find ways to manage stress or sensory overwhelm and move forward with confidence.

And remember, it’s argued that mental health conditions and the physical symptoms that occur as a result also come under the neurodiversity bracket. This is due to changes in our brain structures that occur during difficult times or a traumatic experience. So even if you don’t think you have a neurodevelopmental disorder, intense emotions and feelings of overwhelm may show symptoms of anxiety disorders or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Difficulty With Multitasking

One of the major indicators of neurodivergence is difficulty with multitasking. Many Autistic people find that when they are asked to complete multiple tasks for even a short burst of time, it can be overwhelming. This is because neurodivergent brains process information differently, making it hard for them to switch between tasks quickly or efficiently in stressful situations.

Neurodivergent people may also become distracted or overwhelmed by common triggers when presented with too many tasks or too much information at once. Time management and memory are affected, and they start to lose a sense of control.

It’s important to remember that these types of sensory overload can be a sign of being neurodivergent. Thus, take the time to alleviate stress and prioritize tasks that are manageable.

young man with hands on head surrounded by books in library looking stressed

Neurodivergent students are prone to overwhelm as demands are placed upon them.

Feeling Overwhelmed in Crowded Spaces

Suppose you regularly feel overwhelmed by the noise and hustle and bustle of crowded places. It could be a sign that your nervous system is overly sensitive. This is prevalent among people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Sensory overwhelm could be a sign that you are neurodivergent and could benefit from a diagnosis. If you feel sensory overwhelm in social situations, take a few moments to prevent a panic attack. Engage in deep breathing exercises in the meantime. Focus on your breathing technique by taking slow, deep breaths, ground yourself, and assess your feelings.

It’s important to recognize when your nervous system is suffering from sensory overload. That way, you can take the necessary steps to take care of yourself and live a healthier life.

Sensitivity to Bright Lights or Loud Noises

One symptom of being neurodivergent is showing signs of Sensory Processing Disorder, an aversion to bright lights, loud noises, or other sensory stimuli. This can manifest as a feeling of sensory overload, even in situations where the lights and sounds don’t seem too intense to others.

You may find yourself avoiding noisy environments for fear of sensory triggers, or you may find yourself having to take extra steps to make these environments tolerable. If you find yourself needing to take these actions, it could indicate that you are neurodivergent.

You may also feel overwhelmed by smells, tastes, or tactile sensations like fabric textures. Even your own thoughts and emotions can become extremely overwhelming, making it difficult to process complex information or focus on tasks. It’s important to take breaks to give your brain some time to recharge, and avoid or limit your exposure to these sensations if possible. Consider purchasing some sensory earbuds such as the Calmer range by Flare Audio.

If you find your sensory overload is being triggered by visual stimuli like bright lights, or auditory stimuli like loud noises, first take a step back and assess the situation. If you’re in an overwhelming situation, it may be helpful to take a break and make use of dark, quiet spaces. Additionally, if you find that this is happening often, speak to those around you who can make adjustments to your environment, such as your work colleagues or loved ones.

young girl overwhelmed by loud noises of men playing games in background

Misophonia, a condition triggered by loud noises, is prevalent in neurodivergent people

Difficulty With Change

One of the main characteristics of being neurodivergent is an aversion to change. This can take many forms, from an inability to cope with even minor changes in routine to an inability to accept new ideas or learn new skills.

When faced with change, Autistic people may show feelings of overwhelm and anxiety in their everyday life and social situations. This is because the brains of Autistic adults and those with Sensory Processing Disorders are wired differently than those of neurotypical people, making it difficult for them to process new information quickly and efficiently. As a result, they may struggle to keep up with the pace of change or find it hard to adjust to new, stressful situations.

This difficulty with change can lead to a feeling of emotional overwhelm, as neurodivergent individuals may feel like they are constantly trying to catch up and never quite succeeding. This can be especially true when faced with rapid or unexpected changes, such as those caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In order to cope with this feeling of emotional overwhelm, it is important for neurodivergent individuals to take the time to process changes and adjust their routines accordingly. Additionally, it can be helpful to seek out a neurodivergent community for support and understanding.

Feeling Overwhelmed When Having to Make Decisions

If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed when having to make decisions, it may be a sign that you are neurodivergent. This is because some Autistic people are particularly sensitive to making decisions. That’s because they may lack the ability to effectively weigh the pros and cons of a given situation. This can lead to an overwhelming feeling of being unable to make the right decision.

Neurodivergent individuals may also struggle with decision-making due to their difficulty in understanding the consequences of their decisions. They may not be able to accurately predict how a decision will affect them or others, leading to an overwhelming feeling of uncertainty.

In addition, Autistic children and adults alike may have difficulty processing information quickly and accurately. This can lead to feeling overwhelmed when having to make decisions, as they may not be able to process all the information efficiently.

young woman with hands on head stressed surrounded by work tech stressed

Multitasking at work can be stressful at any age, but for many it can lead to mental health issues long-term.

Difficulty Focusing or Concentrating on One Task

If you often find yourself unable to focus or concentrate on one task, it can be a sign that you are neurodivergent. Difficulty concentrating can be a symptom of a wide range of neurological conditions, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, Dyslexia and Dyscalculia.

It can also be caused by anxiety, depression, or chronic stress. If you find it hard to focus on one task for a period of time, or if your mind tends to wander, it could be a sign that you are neurodivergent.

Emotional Sensitivity to Criticism or Failure

If you experience intense emotional overwhelm and sensitivity to criticism or failure, you may be neurodivergent. In the field, it’s known as Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria. This can manifest itself in feeling like you are being attacked, even when the criticism is constructive and meant to help you grow. This feeling of being attacked can be accompanied by intense emotional distress, such as fear, anger, sadness, or shame.

It’s normal to experience a sense of emotional overwhelm when you make mistakes. But if the feeling is disproportionate and overly intense, it may be an indication of being neurodivergent. Autistic children and adults alike can benefit from exploring how to process criticism in a healthy and constructive way.

Seek Help If You Feel Overwhelmed

In conclusion, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to understanding why someone might feel overwhelmed. Whether that’s emotional overwhelm, physical symptoms such as increased heart rate, or feelings of stress and burnout.

The human experience is unique to each individual and needs different levels of support for different types of overwhelm. However, if you feel chronic overwhelm, it could be an indication that you are neurodivergent and could benefit from exploring this further.

Understanding your own needs and seeking out appropriate support can be hugely beneficial in managing stress, feelings of anxiety, and even physical health. And remember, even the most successful people feel overwhelmed in the most stressful moments in daily life, so you aren’t alone.

Keep reading to learn more about being neurodivergent!

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Rob Butler
30-Something Millennial with ADHD and suspected Autistic and Dyspraxic. Thought leader behind this website. Big visions of a better future for everyone, but forgets where he is half the time.Loves Rugby, his kids, and anything silly. Hates U2 and Marmite.

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