ADHD Meltdowns: Don't be a Honey Badger!

"In writing about the living, aren't we trying to access something living in us, living incognito, interred, resisted, half-formed, sharp as a fang?"
-Bonnie Friedman, Writing Past Dark (pg. 29)
Honey badgers have grown pretty popular over the past year. (See this YouTube video if you have yet to jump on the “nasty” badger bandwagon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W05VFxtVetI) If Monkey Mind is a frolicking, uncentered playmate, then Badger Mind is his irksome and unpredictable brother.

ADHD’rs and those who love us are familiar with the “ADHD meltdown.” Throughout this blog, I will term this mindset the “Badger Mind.” The Badger Mind comes out when you’re tired or overwhelmed or haven’t snacked on badger treats in a few hours. It’s classified by impatience, inflexibility, and the inability to put your feelings into words. It’s during these Badger bouts that my sister, Nicole, jokingly calls me, “Little Napoleon.”

Knock before entering. Mysterious code name on an actor's trailer in NYC

Writing is one method I use to pacify the Badger Mind. It forces me to deliberate, to take a moment. For those of us with ADHD, writing can be gratifying because it both engages and forces you to mediate. You’re active but focused on quiet activity.

In high school, when I started to write longer works of fiction and nonfiction, I often took events that unsettled me, something that happened at school or with friends or out on a Saturday night in New York, and I wrote them down, either from my perspective or the perspective or someone involved. This reframing granted me insight into the altercation and through exploration, eased my troubled mind.

I still use this technique today as a form of solo therapy, especially when I’m confronted with difficult or uncomfortable experiences. By taking the time to reflect, you cultivate your capacity to process moments that might otherwise cause the Badger Mind to rear its ugly head. Thus, from frustration or unease emerges empathy for yourself and others.

At first, settling your Badger Mind so that you can reflect is tough. It may thrash and claw and resist. It might shred a pillow or two. (Kids, I didn’t mean that literally. Parents, sorry, I’ll be right over with my vacuum.)

Do like the tree kangaroo: slow down & take in the view.

Parents of children with ADHD often struggle with how to quell their kids’ bouts of Badger Mind that accompany their hyperactive temperaments. An ex-boyfriend of mine would often smile and say, “you’re being huffy,” which somehow, by calling attention to my mood, dispersed it. As a proud ADHD’r, I’ve learned two steps that settle me down so that I can process my busy mind: 

1. Acknowledge your overflow of emotion.
Step back and take a breath. Recognize the overflow.

2. Consider and reconsider the moment.
Often quiet activities such as writing, drawing, or listening to music aligned with my mood help me to process feelings of frustration or unease.

If all else fails, go to the Zoo, and watch the honey badger. She’ll show you what not to do.

What eases your Badger Mind?

For more tips on how to prevent “ADHD Meltdown” see this article from EverydayHealth: 8 Steps to Stop Your Child From Having an ADHD Meltdown

(Thanks Mom Wilson, Mary Jo Wilson Phd, for sharing it!)