In this weeks blog, I wanted to write about ADHD and sensitivities.  There’s a lot of talk right now about ADHD – especially new diagnoses in adults.

I’ve been thinking about ADHD for many years.  I’ve been working with people with ADHD my whole adult life.  And with people with anxiety.  And depression.

I have experienced all three myself!  There’s just always been something about how we talk about these things that has bugged me.

ADHD, Anxiety & Depression

ADHD is a cluster of symptoms aka behaviours, patterns, ways of thinking and being in the world.  It is part of the spectrum of neurodiversity.  Anxiety arises because the nervous system is overstimulated or simply not taken care of.

Anxiety also occurs because of the fallout of ADHD.  How the world reacts and the consequences.  Depression ensues because of the hopelessness and shame that sets in about the impacts of ADHD and the anxiety that arises.


ADHD is really about Sensitivity

But at the core, ADHD is really about sensitivity.  Sensitivity is a trait and a biological phenomenon that is genetic.

Sensitive beings are more vulnerable to impacts of all kinds: events in utero, neonatal, childhood and trauma at all ages.

Since we cannot change a person’s innate wiring, it makes sense to understand, accommodate and protect this sensitivity.

ADHD-like behaviours can also develop as a result of our culture and the lack of awareness about how our society affects all nervous systems.  It is both the reason for and the impact from the setup of people’s lives.

What does this mean?

At a very basic level it is accepting and embracing needs.  Those needs are expressed differently at various ages, but it means tuning in and responding to meet those needs. Those needs are expressed differently at various ages, but it means tuning in and responding to meet those needs.  For example, the need for more movement, less noise, more/less structure, more/less touch, more/less eye contact, no zippers or tags, more/less stimulation, different logic models, more help with navigating emotional intelligence.  The examples are endless and often unique for each person and life stage.

This is why attunement and connection is critical.


Anxiety and Depression Would Fade

Can you imagine a world where people’s needs were met?  Consistently across the life span?  If people’s nervous systems were respected and protected at the level that was required for each individual?

If sensitive people across the spectrum of neurodiversity got their attachment needs met, attended to and attuned to, essentially loved… ADHD would become a non-issue and anxiety and depression would fade significantly.

People with sensitive nervous systems would become vibrant, irreplaceable members of society with keen talent to experience, process, and create the world around them.








Kathlyn McHugh RCC, RSW Counselling Practice takes place at the Vitality Clinic in the West Shore Area, close to Victoria BC.

Visit the website at: Home – The Vitality Clinic