ADHD and Fear

by | Aug 11, 2020

woman covering face in fear

There is a connection between ADHD and fear of…EVERYTHING.

“You have a real fear of cancer, don’t you?” My husband asks me as I follow him around the house reciting the survivability rates of various cancers.

We’d just returned from the gym where I’d been running on the treadmill listening to a medical podcast. My husband has listened to me talk about mental/physical health for years so his observation was spot on.

When this happened it made me think about all the other ADHDers I talk to who seem to have BIG fears. I’ve heard about fear of intimacy, fear of rejection, fear of success, fear of discomfort. 

We all know anxiety comes along with ADHD.

Anxiety makes sense. Emotional dysregulation makes sense. You’ve spent your entire life trying to mask your symptoms without losing your sh-t.

But I’m not talking about anxiety, I’m talking about irrational fears that affect your ability to become the person you want to be. The kind of fear that’s hyper-specific and personal.

I’m afraid of so many things I decided to write them down so I could see it with my own eyes.

ADHD and fear


I’m afraid people not liking me, or people liking me but then making demands on me. I’m afraid of people making fun of me, but me not knowing it and thinking they are my friend. I’m afraid that at the gym people are wondering why I bother working out because I’m such a slob.

I’m afraid when I run on the treadmill I might trip over my own feet and fall off the back. I’m also afraid I might injure myself working out and require a surgery. And during the surgery I could stroke out and die.

I’m afraid of cancer. I think about it at least once per day. Some cancers have a much better survival rate. Like many breast cancers are treated, but if I get pancreatic cancer I might as well drink and eat whatever I want before the end comes because it’s all over.

I worry my Grandfather will die before the end of 2020 and then I’ll never see my aunt Kathy again. what reason will I have to go to Pittsburgh after that?

In restaurants I’m always afraid that someone might do something to my food so I’m really nice to waiters.

I’m afraid Paul will get sick and die, or become disabled. I’d have to get some kind of job for myself to have medical insurance. Maybe I could be a bank teller, I could learn how to do that. Or maybe I could do legal research just for a paycheck. I’m afraid my son wouldn’t get the support he needs without Paul’s income though and I’d be working all the time.

I’m afraid I’ll have to shut down the website and the Enclave

I’m afraid our country is falling apart. We are going to end up in anarchy. Even if we get rid of our current dictator (because he is a dictator) we are going to have to rebuild so much of our country.

And I’m afraid that some of the more unbalanced citizens will militarize and we will have something like a mini civil war.

I’m afraid my son and his peers will become disinterest in our nation’s political process and how far we have come.

I’m really afraid white men will have unchecked power, no empathy for those that are different. And we will end up living as if it is 1950 and women will lose everything we have fought for.

I’m afraid I’ll lose my insurance and my concerta won’t be available to me anymore.

I’m afraid of childish things like fun houses and haunted houses. I don’t like to be afraid for fun, I don’t see the point. There is something weird about being approached from behind.

In restaurants I don’t like my back to the room. I like to sit against the wall.

I’m afraid someone might notice how much anxiety sweat I’ve developed the last couple years. I never had that problem before – pit sweat on my clothes. Now I strategically wear dark colors so people can’t see it. But I’m also afraid if I wear too much deodorant it will smear all over my clothes. I’m kinda afraid my sudden onset of sweaty armpits is a medical condition, but I’m not willing to get botox in my pits.

I’m afraid to get botox in my face. What if I look like Lisa Rinna? What if when I go to the dentist I can’t open my mouth for my cleaning, and then I get cavities and need crowns and fillings all over the place.

I’m afraid of stupid things

Like clowns. I’m petrified of clowns and all manner of circus performers.

And I’m kind of afraid of aging. I’m worried all my joints will go and my neck is getting a loose look to it. I’m afraid that I take good care of my facial skin but my neck is starting to look like an old person and people are gonna call me out on it.

What do you do about a loose neck?

And a plane crash. Every time I get on a plane I think about it crashing. But I’m afraid if I don’t fly I’ll never see all the places on Earth that I want to see. How can you be afraid of something that is technically safer than driving a car?

And YES I’m definitely afraid of dying in a car crash because that is much more likely than a plane crash. But I can’t even get to the grocery store without driving there. If I try to walk I’ll end up dying of heat exhaustion and all the frozen foods will melt as I drag my little wire cart home. I had one of those carts when I lived in Philly.

I’m afraid of ending up homeless. either because Paul is dead or he leaves me. I’m also afraid of being homeless and not having my kid with me because he decided to go live in an actual house with his father and new stepmother.

If I’m homeless I can’t take a shower and showers are one of the only times I can think, relax. I’m thinking there are a lot of things to bed afraid of about being homeless. Just the idea that I’d have to ask either of my parents for help is a scary thought.

I’m afraid of death and dying

I’m afraid I’ll get too fat and develop diabetes and heart disease and the medical bills will be through the roof. I’m afraid I’ll die young because I didn’t take care of myself and I don’t like the idea of being dead at all.

I”m afraid that being dead is literally darkness and nothing else. Not even the hell that all the evangelicals seem so afraid of. Nothing sounds worse than darkness.

I’m afraid of dying and not doing anything important in my life. My grandma worked with Jonas Salk when she was in her 20s. She did a lot more than I did in a lifetime.


Those inspirational posts on Facebook asking, “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”  irritate the crap out of me because it’s always someone trying to sell their high ticket coaching program.

I’m afraid to write more and have people tell me the writing sucks and I should stop.

What are you afraid of? 

What is your relationship to fear?

Join the ADHD Enclave!

I’ve gathered a brilliant group of women for live peer coaching, so we can create the changes that lead to calmer, more satisfying lives with ADHD.


Wanna support the cause without the commitment?

Buy me a coffeeBuy me a coffee