Thursday, October 8, 2009


There's a syndrome commonly associated with ADHD - it's called Too Much on your Plate, or as I like to call it TOMP-itis, and it's caused by over-commitment. Most people say "yes" when they mean "no" at least once in their lives, but people with ADHD tend to make a habit of it - and it causes serious problems for them.
"Why do I do it?" someone once asked me.
Well, there are several reasons. First, the impulsivity associated with ADHD sometimes causes people to make commitments before thinking them through. For example, when your friend asks you to go shopping with her for a new outfit, your immediate response is "yes", based on how much fun it will be and what a good friend she is. However, when you stop to think about it, you remember that you've agreed to spend the morning doing something with your partner. "He'll understand, right?" Maybe - or maybe not, depending on how many times you've done the same thing.
Another cause of TOMP-itis is a constant need for stimulation and busy-ness. After all, doing too much is much better that doing nothing, right? And if you fill your day with commitments you have a valid excuse for not doing that boring housework / filing / painting / gardening. Think again. Chores will not go away if you ignore them, and spending too much time on the go will cause you to burn out.

The solution to TOMP-itis ?
  1. Practice saying: "That sounds great, can I confirm later today?" Create some space between the request and your answer so that you can consider other commitments.
  2. Keep a diary of your commitments and CHECK IT EVERY DAY.
  3. Keep a balance between commitments and time-out. You owe it to yourself, your family and your friends.