Roberto OlivardiaHave you ever been told that you’re too sensitive?

After the Boston marathon bombing, I coached quite a few clients who felt angry, sad, and anxious. They felt like they couldn’t escape tragic news in the media. It seemed like there was a new tragedy every week, and they couldn’t get a break from the bad news. They were finding themselves overwhelmed with negative emotions, ruminating with worry, and generally unhappy.

I admit, there were a few times in the past month when I felt the exact same way.

So I emailed Dr. Roberto Olivardia, Clinical Instructor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School, and I asked him to be a guest on the podcast to talk about ADHD and emotional hypersensitivity. As always, he was more than happy to spend some time with us to help adults with ADHD sort through these challenges.

Take a listen to this podcast to:

  • Learn why people with ADHD tend to be neurologically sensitive, and how that sensitivity can transfer over into our emotions
  • Listen to Roberto and I discuss our own experiences as emotionally hypersensitive adults with ADHD
  • Find out what you can do to help protect yourself from being overwhelmed by your emotions Podcast



Download MP3 | Subscribe with iTunes


Feel free to comment and share your thoughts on the subject after you listen. We welcome your feedback and experiences!


Jennifer Koretsky About Jennifer Koretsky

Jennifer Koretsky, SCAC is the Managing Partner of the ADD Management Group, LLC and Chief Executive Officer of She is a Senior Certified ADHD Coach, and the author of Odd One Out: The Maverick's Guide to Adult ADD.


  1. Beverly says:

    THIS WAS AWESOME!!!!! It gave me so much insight and such pride in how far I have come! I also was completely consumed when 9/11 occurred. I was pregnant and on bed rest so all there was to do was watch TV. Some of the terrorists had taken flight lessons in the next town over. My husband was doing electrical work at the time and had been working in the Boca Raton post office where several of the anthrax letters were mailed right afterwards. I was CONSUMED. I feared going to the door, not going to the door, or even sleeping when my husband wasn’t there. I also had a 3 year old who started building lego towers and pretend flying planes into them from seeing the same footage OVER AND OVER AND OVER again because I had to hear the latest news with everything.

    Once I saw how the constant coverage was affecting my three year old- we discovered Sponge Bob–still not my favorite cartoon- but WAY better than watching the horror that was unfolding. When later tragedies occured- like Sandy Hook, the Boston bombings, the devastating weather events of late– I was able to pull from the experience.

    When I got the news of Sandy Hook- I didn’t turn the television on for several days. I didn’t want my children to spend all weekend hurting over it. (I did check the online news sites for updates every so often- but I would not allow myself to watch video footage– I knew it would be too difficult as a teacher, parent, and ADHDer. So, Sunday evening before they returned to school the next day- my husband and I told all three of them that a bad man went into a school in a state far from us and shot at children. We didn’t give a lot of details and they didn’t ask for many but I think this was the best way for our family. I have a 10 year old daughter who has ADHD and internalizes each of these tragedies as well and I know she would have been seeking information all weekend long during down time and sliding into a depression.

    Thank you for this- podcast– because before this, I have found myself giving her the same advice I always got while growing up- “You’ve got to stop being so sensitive!” I gave this because I didn’t know what else to do- but this podcast helped me realize that its just who we are! I can help her learn to cope in the same way by JUST TURNING the TV OFF!!!

    A year ago this month, we disconnected our cable and it was the VERY BEST THING we have done for our family– not only for being able to filter the information to prevent being consumed by these tragedies- but also because we watch Netflix and have completely eliminated commercials. This past Christmas- my children had a difficult time deciding what to put on their Christmas lists– I realized it was because they had not been subject to waves of commercials TELLING them what they “wanted” So– my addition to your advice is to get rid of cable or satellite. It has done wonders for our ADHD family! :-)

    • Jennifer Koretsky Jennifer Koretsky says:

      That’s great to hear, Beverly! Thanks for the tip and for sharing your experience with your family!

  2. Such a gift – timely, illuminating, inspiring, validating – thank you both for sharing so honestly and openly about your own experiences and thought processes. It all has really resonated with me – from early and intense childhood reactions to struggling to detach from 24/7 coverage of horrific events – and even feeling guilty about avoiding discussions with my Dad and stepmother about her graduate Holocaust research! I need to go back and memorize some of your phrases which articulate so well that sense of already feeling profoundly affected by and connected to these kinds of current and historical events – that further viewing/reading/discussing serves no helpful purpose. I will share these tools and ideas with my 11-year old son, to help him navigate this crazy world better than I ever did. Thanks again for an exceptional podcast – think I’ll have another listen…right now!