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To Sam

Supporting a friend with ADHD

Dear Sam, A friend of mine has ADHD, and because of this, frequently forgets to text me back, sometimes for months. I never want to bring it up, because I don't want to seem annoying or clingy, but when I write her about something really important, or just want to talk, I could go months without hearing from her. I know that because she has ADHD, she could just be simply forgetting to text me back, or getting distracted while texting me back, but because I'm really sensitive and have anxiety, I cannot help but catastrophize things and start to think that she is ignoring me and doesn't want to talk to me or be friends. I don't want to feel like I'm bothering her with texts, but it feels like she never has time for me. What should I do?

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Sometimes how we think about an issue, can affect how we feel and this can influence our behaviour and our relationships. Understanding when our thoughts are unhelpful can help you to challenge them and make you feel better.

When someone has ADHD (also known as Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) ) it may mean they can forget to do certain tasks, such as following instructions, completing a task to replying to messages. Some people with ADHD can find they have lots of different ideas, which can also mean they can find it hard to focus on one thing. Other people can find they can be easily distracted. This could be the reason that your friend takes a length of time to reply to you. Whilst you are aware of the possible reason they haven’t replied to you, being anxious and having catastrophising thoughts is making you question if it’s other things and having catastrophising thoughts can often have a negative affect on someone, but there are things you can do to help manage these thoughts.

It’s normal to feel worried from time to time but sometimes if someone is feeling worried or anxious often it can be a sign, they may need help with this. How we think, feel and behave are all linked together, this means they are continuously affecting each other.

Over time we can develop unhealthy thoughts. unhealthy thoughts are thoughts that someone can automatically have, without giving it much effort to think of them. Black and white thinking, labelling, dismissing the positives and catastrophising are some of the unhelpful thought patterns we can develop. People often catastrophise when they’re anxious. Catastrophising is when someone feels something which has happened is a lot worse than it really is.

Although having unhealthy thoughts can be difficult there are things you can do which can help them to stop or reduce. Once you become aware of any unhealthy thoughts, you can then start to challenge them and distance yourself from your thoughts and see the situation in a different and more helpful way. It can then help you to see that just because we think something, does not mean it’s always factually true.

Keeping a journal of your thoughts can be a good first step to help you become more aware of any unhelpful thoughts you’re having and what may be triggering them in to happening. The Childline mood journal is a safe place where you can write down how you’re thinking and feeling and other things about your day.

The NHS has useful information and advice on some things you can do to help challenge any unhelpful thoughts so that your thoughts are more balanced and helpful. Just like any new skill it can take time and practice to learn. The more often you practice, the easier it can be for this new skill to become a habit and help you to achieve the changes you want. You can also use the Childline mood journal to write how you’re finding challenging any unhelpful thoughts.

Alongside learning to challenge and change your unhelpful thoughts, it can be good to learn some relaxation techniques, so that if you’re feeling worried about anything, such as friendship issues, these techniques can help you to feel calmer.

Many young people talk to us about how having anxiety or their thoughts affects them and also their friendships and relationships. It can be good to speak to others who have gone through similar experiences and the Childline message boards are a great place where you can do this and speak to other young people and also share advice and support.

Hope this helps and take care,


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