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How Depression Impacts my ADHD Symptoms

regretful black woman crying on floor

Depression and I have been together for a long time, and it is possible that it has ben for you as well. The symptoms of depression are so similar to my ADHD symptoms that it can be difficult to see the symptoms creeping up on me until it is far too late. Depression creeps in on me like a fog, swallowing everything that I care about. It makes it difficult for me to do my work, or even to enjoy play. Those feelings of worthlessness and fatigue make me want to just lie down and take a nap. Here are some symptoms of ADHD and depression that can be very similar and make depresssion harder to spot. 

Lack of motivation

Waking up in the morning when you’re depressed can make it difficult to get up out of bed and start my day. Nevermind my to-do list, I can’t locate it and don’t much care what is on it. A lack of motivation isn’t just an ADHD symptom, it can also be a sign of depression. When I feel a lack of motivation like this, I can go through many of my days feeling like I have accomplished nothing at all. To help combat that feeling, I like to create a list that tells me what I have done for the day so I can sit back and admire my accomplishments instead of struggling with the things I think I should have done. 


No matter how much I sleep when I am depressed, I feel tired. That fatigue only exacerbates my symptoms, making me feel like I am useless and incapable. My ADHD usually makes me move quickly, whipping through the pieces of my day as fast as possible. The fatigue makes me move more slowly and become frustrated with myself, which makes me want to hit the “nope” button for the rest of my day. Over the years I have learned that I need to be more gentle with myself during those times of fatigue. Instead of quitting in frustration when I can’t move at my normal pace I need to be willing to slow down. This hasn’t been easy for me. I’m a girl who doesn’t like to move slow at all, I keep a speedy work pace. Wow is it frustrating when brain fog and fatigue make me feel like everything is passing me by.


One of my favorite teachers used to tease me that I love the whooshing sounds the deadlines make as they pass me by. People ordinarily think of procrastination as relating to their ADHD, but depression can be just as responsible. For this one, I have found over the years that having an accountability buddy can be a major help for me. We get together and cowork, and I have a friend along for the ride, encouraging me to keep going. There are services like Focusmate and others that will help a person to cowork, in other words they will be working on their end while you work on yours. For me, I like to get together with someone I know who is struggling in the same way. Isn’t it funny that the things we can’t do for ourselves we can do for others? It isn’t easy working my way through a depressive episode but knowing the ways that depression and ADHD work together can make it easier. I always feel better knowing what is happening so I can get myself the support I need to work through it. Depression won’t get the best of me and it won’t get the best of you either.

Here are some quick tips to help you pull yourself out of the dark. 

  • Reach out for support – contact your therapist, your friends circle, and let them know that you’re in need. Depression tells us that nobody cares but it simply isn’t true. Reach out and give people a chance to support you as you support them.

  • Rest – I know you have a ton to do, we are all so busy. However, as your mind heals you may need a bit more rest. Make time in your schedule for self-care and focus on getting rest. 

  • Get your feelings out – everyone does this a little differently. You may need the ear of a trusted friend, or your handy dandy journal. Get some exercise. Write a poem. Whatever it is that helps you to release some of what you’re feeling and move forward.

Keep your head up! I’m rooting for you.

Until next time,