how a person with adhd thinks

The Real Truth: Discover Exactly What Does ADHD Feel Like?

What does ADHD feel like?

"It feels like your brain is understeering."

I came upon this description while doing some research on Quora and thought it perfectly described what having ADHD feels like.

I wanted to find out exactly how a person with ADHD thinks and feels, and there were so many wonderful answers, from real people, describing their world in stunning detail.

I collected some of the best answers to help shed more light on what it feels like to have ADHD, and also to give everybody options for how to describe ADHD to someone who doesn't have it. Let’s dive in!

250+ Additional ADHD Descriptions in the Comment Section

Don't miss more examples from actual readers like you describing exactly what ADHD feels like in the comment section below. And while you're there share your own experience of what it feels like to have ADHD!

What Does ADHD Feel Like?

The Understeering Analogy

what is it like to have adhd brain understeering

This analogy comes from Colin and is absolutely fantastic. It explains what ADHD feels like in the morning.

adhd brain broken

Have you ever driven a car without power-steering? It's a practical example of what the understeering effect is really like.

You have to work extra hard on something that normally shouldn't take much effort, just to avoid going off the road.

A bad ADHD day can feel like this. It's frustrating when you have to work harder than usual to complete a simple task.

having adhd feels like your brain is understeering

The Low RAM Analogy

The next ADHD analogy was posted anonymously on Quora, but it's the one I probably identify with most.

what is it like to have adhd

Ever used an old Macbook with an outdated operating system and tried opening more than one application at a time? what happens?

The dreaded spinning beach ball.

For me, having ADHD feels like my brain is a spinning beach ball.

The Open Tabs Analogy

Our next insight into what ADHD feels like comes from Pat Noue with another ADHD analogy involving computers.

adhd feels like a browser with too many tabs open

The Constant Buzzing

what add feels like

Having ADHD can feel like an itch that needs scratching, only it's in your mind. Spencer Reed describes more in his Quora answer:

ADHD Staying focused for too long is painful

ADHD and Task Anxiety

Sometimes having ADHD can make you feel anxious about mundane tasks.

when a task isn't stimulating it becomes adhd anxiety

Anne K. Halsall elaborates on how ADHD and anxiety can play off one another in her Quora post:

What is it like to have ADD or ADHD

Paying Attention To The Wrong Things

ADD/ADHD isn't so much about a lack of attention as it is about attention regulation.

what its like having adhd

In his Quora answer, Peter Herring talks about the ability to regulate attention when you have ADHD, and also about losing things:

having add/adhd and losing things

The Steam Roller Effect

Sometimes, when you're caught in the symptoms of ADHD, and you feel stuck, life still doesn't stop for us to catch up.

Lisa Perry uses some humor to describe what can happen next.

having add feels like
The Roller Coaster
adhd feels like a roller coaster

ADHD can come with some ups-and-downs for sure. Curtis Dickinson talks about the roller coaster ride ADHD can feel like...and also what helps smooth it out.

coffee smooths out ADHD

Where Are My Keys!?

Valerie Fletcher gives our next account, and it teeters between frustration and hilarity. She uses the example of how misplacing your keys can turn into a downward spiral.

Valerie Fletcher on What It's Like Having ADHD :

"I have time gaps, thought gaps. You know when you lose something, and they tell you to retrace your steps? 98% of the time, I can't.
It goes something like this, "Okay, I grabbed my keys as I was heading out the door, now I'm at my car and I'm holding my dog's leash. Holding my keys, by the door... at the car. F***! I JUST HAD THEM!!! Why does this always happen to me? I'm such a mess, God I forgot to get that stain off my pants. AGH, my keys, WHERE ARE MY KEYS?!?!"
ADHD quote about what ADHD feels like
Valerie Fletcher (continued)

This is a big part of the ADD for me. I spend a few precious minutes just thinking about how horrible I am for being in my thirties and not having "fixed" this yet, and how I really need to go back to the psychiatrist to get started on medication again (but it makes my mouth dry at 4:30 every day,) when I could be actually looking for the keys.
Then I empty out my purse on the ground, go through all the pockets, lament the fact that I got a purse with so many pockets, when I realize I was supposed to be at work 10 minutes ago. Thank god my work has somewhat flexible hours. So, this particular dance, or a version of it, happens almost every day.
I have just recently (at like, twenty-eight) figured out that if I AM holding a completely different item, which is often the case, that the thing I need is probably in the spot that the item I am holding used to be. Just last week my husband found my glasses in the medicine cabinet. I am blind without them, so there is no logical reason whatsoever they should be anywhere other than by my bed. My husband often checks the refrigerator for things I 'was holding just a second ago.' "

She describes the ADHD brain with an analogy I thought was pretty great (seriously, those with ADHD can come up with the most amazing analogies for the ADHD experience).

Valerie also highlight the fact that although ADHD can be frustrating, it also feels tied to her personality, and perhaps if she was given the choice to, she wouldn’t give it up.

Valerie Fletcher - ADHD Metaphor :

Say you have a filing cabinet, and all the information is inside, but instead of alphabetical order, everything has been arranged every hour by a different person who did what made sense to them at the time. That's about how I feel my brain works.
Which, really, can be great. What some call random associations, others call creativity. And, yeah, "being in the zone" aka hyper-focusing, is amazing, when it happens. Unless you're hyper focused on how best to answer a quora query.
The weird thing is, some of the aspects that others would call my "personality" are tied to ADD. They are a part of me that I wouldn't want to give up.

Fascinated By Nearly Everything

This first excerpt comes from Kyle Pennell, who earned a Quora Top Writer 13' Award, and who's profile bio reads, "Fascinated by nearly everything".

His example reflects the curiosity that often consumes those with ADHD:

Kyle Pennell on What It's Like Having ADHD :

"First and foremost, I approach life with intense energy and curiosity. I’m always planning something, always coordinating something, always doing something. My life has always been filled with projects.
In high school, it was mountain bike trails and extreme sports videos, then it was trips abroad, college student clubs, and dance parties. Now I’m slowly learning code and becoming a better writer. I’m always scheming something and chewing on something (mentally).
I’m extremely curious. The world absolutely fascinates me and I can’t stop trying to learn more about it.Kyle Pennell
I’m extremely curious. The world absolutely fascinates me and I can’t stop trying to learn more about it. The internet enables this to get to extreme levels. Amazon one-click allows me to impulse buy on books that I don’t have time to read (my roommates are tired of all the packages).
I read too much online: I tear through comment sections and forums. Reddit, Hacker News, Quora, NYT reader comments—I gorge my mind on them. So much depth, so much character, it’s all so damn fascinating.
People tell me I have amazing insights and ideas but what do I have to show for them?Kyle Pennell
I’m still in the process of improving my brain. I want it to be strong and flexible, capable of creating great things. It’s taking practice, but I’m learning the art the working in bursts: going hyper focus on things for a short while and taking a break.
Reddit, Hacker News, Stumble, Quora—these are all great but I’ve started to seriously cut down my info intake. There’s always one more article, there’s always one more comment thread. There’s always something I can tear into and dwell on for hours--but what is it all that intense contemplation really worth?
What about actually making something great? What about getting shit done and creating something? People tell me I have amazing insights and ideas but what do I have to show for them? If I can learn to channel my energy and curiosity into real productivity, I will be a force."

Kyle goes on to describe how he has to balance out his curiosity, and finishes with an incredibly insightful metaphor for what having ADHD feels like:

Kyle Pennell - ADHD Metaphor :

Here’s a metaphor: having ADHD/ADD is like having an iPhone loaded with apps and enabling notifications for all of them.
If you did this on an iPhone, you’d get overwhelmed with “someone tagged you in X” “So and so checked in at X” “You’ve received a coupon for nearby y” notifications every couple minutes. Only through practice and discipline are you actually able to turn those notifications off and actually get some function out of your tool. In this case it’s my mind."

The Juggling Act

This third excerpt is from Rachel Binfield. She describes her experience with ADHD using an analogy that I thought was fantastic:

Rachel Binfold's Answer on Quora

Not only are you trying to juggle, but you also don't have a firm surface under your feet. It takes LOTS more concentration just to keep juggling because you've got the mental overhead of staying upright.Rachel Binfold
"Every few years, I go to the local Renaissance festival. There's a guy there who juggles all kinds of random things - balls, swords, hats, fire, you name it. Then, he gets on a unicycle. Someone throws him each of the objects in turn and he starts juggling again.
I'm sure he's practiced for years to do this, but when you watch him, he's shaking back and forth on the unicycle with an intense amount of concentration. In just a few minutes, you can see the sweat start to bead on his brow from the effort. Even as a professional, he does actually drop things occasionally. It's not too long after that when the show ends and he gets to stop. Unfortunately, life never lets you stop juggling - there's work projects, home projects, kids activities, household chores, personal life... Without ADHD (or any mental disorder, for that matter), you're standing on the stage juggling.
With adult ADHD, you're on the unicycle. Not only are you trying to juggle, but you also don't have a firm surface under your feet. It takes LOTS more concentration just to keep juggling because you've got the mental overhead of staying upright. PLUS you have way more balls, because your projects are broken up into smaller pieces. Plus the balls are painted with super shiny colors. Your attention flits between the many balls because they're all coming at you at the same time and you can't just focus on one of them. If you happen to have a passion for red and deeply focus on those, you're going to drop something else."

Rachel finishes by highlighting something those with ADHD know all too well: the fact that most people don’t know the balancing act is taking place. She also chimes in with an analogy about what medication is like for ADHD.

Rachel Binfold's Answer on Quora (continued)

Medication is like putting training wheels on the unicycle. It takes the edge off the juggling act so that you can slow down and focus on each ball a little betterRachel Binfold
"The most unfortunate thing is that the unicycle is invisible. No one gives you credit for the difficulty level of the juggling act. All they see are the number of dropped balls, not the effort it takes to keep them in the air. Because what matters in the adult world is the answer to the equation. You don't get partial credit for showing your work.
Medication is like putting training wheels on the unicycle. It takes the edge off the juggling act so that you can slow down and focus on each ball a little better."

Chasing Balloons

Randall Munroe's creates comics for the web on his website One Quora user simply posted one of Randall's cartoons as her response. It comes from his website, and it's labeled, "ADD".

It captures the ADD/ADHD experience well:

what is it like to have add
Doing Things Differently

Ben Mordecai is an Automation Controls Engineer, and has earned a Top Writers Award on Quora for three years running: 2013, 2014, and 2015.

In his response he talks about how, with his ADHD, he resolved to simply doing things a little different, and lists a few examples.

Ben Mordecai's Brief Snapshot on What It's Like Having ADHD :

- I must have plenty of coffee to function. Before I drank coffee in college, certain professors induced a Pavlovian response of yawning and exhaustion. Post coffee, my comprehension sky-rocketed, and now I am pretty productive at work
- Minor, non-distractions help a lot. A drink to sip and background music consume just enough of the spare mental overhead to prevent myself from trying to think about something else at the same time as I work on something.
- I have to be extremely organized. Calendars, spreadsheets, notes, reminders, and self-written tutorials all help me focus my attention at solving the problem.
- I have to accept that it's just going to take me longer to do something and be willing to persist through it.

Note: To help make this article more digestible, we've added an infographic containing descriptions from this post and contributors from the comment section.

You are welcome to save this infographic for future reference or even republish it on your own blog (if you do, please upload the image directly to your blog and add a credit link to this article).

What Does ADHD Feel Like Infographic

What Does Your ADHD Feel Like?

If you’re reading this and have ADHD yourself, maybe some of these stories hit home. I would love to hear more examples.

What is your experience with ADHD like? Tell us your story in the comments below. I look forward to hearing it, and saying hello.

Comments 407

  1. It’s like having a hundred tvs on all at the same time, on different channels, on medium to low volume. I love my work and my job, and yet I can go multiple days that I get almost nothing done. But the second something urgent comes through, I get the laser focus and bang it out. I’m kind of lucky that I have huge anxiety about letting people down, because that’s pretty much what got me through school and helps with work and social interactions. I grew up wondering what was wrong with me and was I lazy or weak-willed, but luckily I have a really supportive family, and I’ve been able to develop a lot of coping mechanisms.

    1. Post
      1. Adam, I find being accountable to someone who’s just checking on my progress doesn’t work. Being accountable to someone who’s going to be inconvenienced, embarrassed or otherwise put-out by my lack of delivery does work. The emotional stimulation of a real threat is energising. The pretend threat of “I’ll notice you haven’t done what you told me” isn’t.

        One of ADHD’s prime features is that we have an interest driven neuro system. Not threat- or reward-driven. I can know I’ll be in big trouble if I don’t do my tax paperwork, but it doesn’t feel as real or stimulating as the challenge or writing some really cool Excel spreadsheet automation to maximise my tax returns.

        1. Post

          David, you make a great point in regards to different types of accountability!

          Re: your comment:
          “Being accountable to someone who’s going to be inconvenienced, embarrassed or otherwise put-out by my lack of delivery does work”

          I’ve found this to be true a lot of the time, in myself, and with coaching clients. Having someone check-in with you on progress may be better than nothing at all. However, a better trick is getting honest with yourself and designing a situation with REAL and higher stakes. Sometimes it’s just gotta be REAL!

          1. I’m the same way, “fake” accountability doesn’t work for me. If it isn’t real, my mind usually just ignores it. Same goes for all other “fake” manipulations I’ve tried in-order to trick my mind, like changing my clock/alarm times. My ADHD brain cannot be tricked, it’s too smart!

          2. My name is Maggie, I’ve never posted anything online before, but I wanted to add a few things about my ADHD. I was just diagnosed with ADHD two years ago at the age of 38 years old. My boyfriend and I just had an argument because he says I hijack all our conversations. I don’t mean to do it, I talk way too much and I interrupt people a lot accidentally. I also get frustrated easily and get angry easily over stupid things and my anger can be intense sometimes. ADHD to me feels like I’m the energizer bunny, I keep going and going and my mind keeps going and going. I feel like I don’t have control over my own mouth and I just blurt out my thoughts, pretty much every thought I have comes out of my mouth and I don’t mean for all these things to get said. When I’m angry I get yelling and even after I say (yell) what I needed to get out I keep going and going. I can’t seem to stop yelling once I’m angry. I get “stuck” in what I call “anger mode” and I always want to stop, but I can’t seem to.

          1. Maggie, I have exactly the same problem of interrupting people and especially blurting things out without thinking. I am over emotional and can get upset very easily but I also get over it quickly. But the blurting things out and people looking at me as if I have said something terrible is a problem that really affects my life. I am also the most disorganized person ever. Clutter everywhere. I write better than I speak and people often tell me my gift is my sense of humour. I would rather be focused and think before I speak. I have felt so different and not in a good way all my life.

          2. You described me and my relationship issues. I yell and i cant stop and i vomit up almost every thought i have, and my man thinks im talking to him and gets so frustrated with saying what all the time just to here ‘i was talking to myself’ (or the cat/dog,) and i get embarrassed which makes me mad mad which makes me go on and on repeating myself a million different ways because people just look at me like im nuts. Then i yell some more. You guys are not alone. Though i feel alone as i type this…

        2. I 100% feel the same way. The only work I’ve been able to be successful at is that which has serious benefit to a group of people I deem deserving. For example – I’m an Architect (fast paced, complex, chaotic, never ending learning) and tried to work in the corporate commercial sector because the money is better but struggled to care enough to work for people who typically presented as narcissistic jerks. But was able to work for the Education, Municipal, or Healthcare markets even if the clients were jerks because I perceived the work worthy of the effort it takes for me to focus on the actual work. Sounds nuts when I write it but it’s my reality.

          1. hi Kelly. totally agree with you . motivated by the why why and who for . Maggie I have similar experience of the interrupting conversations and what I find is if it shut down and try to stay engaged but end up switching off and shutting down.
            I have been to hard on myself believing I didn’t have the ambition, stamina or drive to achieve and succeed . It always took me longer to get stuff done keep focused and sit down long enough and ignore the distractions of other people stuff and poor prioritising . I am trying to be kinder to myself and find ways that keep me on track and engaged. Thanks for the posts and info. really helpful x

          2. Holy moly I can relate to this. I’m an environmental scientist trying to make it in the corporate consulting world (also chaotic, complex, and ever-changing haha), stuck here for now because of financial limitations. I have the same “need” to be doing something that has some kind of immense benefit to the public (a.k.a. isn’t just a corporate job to fill the pockets of CEO’s). I have such a harder time focusing if I can’t somehow link the task at hand to somehow “helping” society, and my brain darn well knows when I’m trying to trick myself into thinking that it is. I’m trying to get myself into grad school one day, because I think I need to be in the research/non-profit realm. I feel like once I’m there, and every task is linked to some kind of actual societal benefit and not just generating money for consulting companies, and I know that on a subconscious level, I’ll be able to hyperfocus (correctly) like a beast on that job and do so well. Otherwise I’m constantly fighting this desire in my brain to be doing other “meaningful” things that unfortunately are not a part of my daytime job. Phew!

      2. I know I am two years late and this probably is not a thing any more. But my adhd makes me feel like my entire existence and personality is a semi automatic assault rifle in a war zone. That sounds negative but I also view it as a blessing to be quick and that I really really have no fear.

        1. My girlfriend always makes comments like I am fudging around in the car to much. Or the one that seems to bother me is that I am was to high energy for her. I believe she has just labeled me and tied my whole being to ADD. I can say nothing and she will tell my my energy is to high. It actually makes me feel bad and I tend to not be myself because “my energy is to high”
          When I am on my medication this shouldn’t be the case at all. So how do I make her understand that? Help please

          1. I know this is probably not what you want to hear, but the best thing I’ve ever done regarding people who think I am “too high energy” is to make them a less central part of my life. In certain cases, it can be understandable to feel that way. High energy isn’t for every situation, and if you’re overwhelmed or exhausted that high energy can be a lot — heck even I can get frustrated by fast-brain-must-move-fast-think-say-do-all-things at times. But people who are really good for you are generally able to communicate that frustration *in those moments* and appreciate your energy in others. If your girlfriend is seeing you as “too high energy” in moments when you aren’t, that may be a category she has placed you in all the time. If that’s the case she is not appreciating a pretty significant part of you.

            For sure talk to her about how it makes you feel. She may not realize this is happening and want to change this dynamic. But when you get down to it, if you persistently feel you have to be less of yourself around someone, you may not be with the right someone. I sincerely hope that’s not the case and she understands and responds to your feelings. But if she doesn’t, you still deserve to be loved and adored as your whole self and should not settle for less.

          2. I’ve had a similar experience- I call it the totem pole. My wife puts every little thing I do that supports her idea that my energy or excitement is ADHD based in a pile that she’s declared is bad behaviour. It totally diminishes my real, legitimate joy and excitement for any given thing. I stopped sharing my joys with her and that has become just one part of a complete degradation of our relationship. I just realized you can love someone but they might not be right for you.

          3. Let her read this. My ‘energy’ bothers my man the same way especially when im with my daught cause we pump each other up and on many occasion given our selves anxiety so we know how he feels.

          4. Bro do you get off the Meds, personally refuse to take them and like yourself my energy is outrageous some people talk behind my back although im the one who can take a gathering from zero to 60 as soon as the door opens and engage conversation with everyone. People think im f%#$kd up and tell me so, its funny because they all want me around “addictive personality” you own that as I do your Charismatic with lots of energy and a sixth sense

            The world would be boring without us

      3. My days are spent losing and finding things. For example I have my phone but can’t find the charger…then I finally do find the charger then I cant find my phone. I can watch a whole TV show and not be able to tell you what happened on it. Its like my brain is scrambled eggs.

        1. hey ann I didn’t quite realise how much of my day and how often I was losing/finding things and also panicking and getting anxious and frustrated with myself. I have good days where I’m not too bothered and s@#$ days when I think I am just useless. its tough but I am comforted that my brain just works on a different operating system and is not always compatible with some software. lol too much . probably but I like it. Also like the multi tabs open. totes relate .x

      4. I don’t ever normally post online, but I knew I had to this time. When I say I was literally in tears while reading this article I mean it. I’m 15 years old and all of my life I have felt like I am different and that I have to work extra hard just to accomplish what everyone around me easily completes. I always just thought I was stupid even though I have good grades and am generally smart. I get so distracted and could spend hours daydreaming, pacing in circles, or binging on my phone and it would feel like a single minute to me. It’s so difficult to break out of these times of incoherency. But when I am actually focused (which doesn’t happen that often) I work so well. I get distracted during conversation and have a difficult time listening to people and always jump from one thing to the next. I lose things ALL OF THE TIME and I can only be given a single task at a time or I can’t remember it. Finally, I feel like I have answers to what has been a struggle all of my life. I really don’t want to be one of those people that diagnoses themselves based on the internet, so I think I should see a doctor. I just don’t really know where to start. I want to talk to my parents about this but I feel like they will not take me seriously… I know that they have noticed how forgetful I am but I don’t know if they will understand the full extent of my issues. I do not even know if the comment section is still active on this article, but some help would be greatly appreciated 🙂

        1. Do not beat yourself up about any of that. The fact that you are already able to identify so much at such a young age is incredible. But a big part of dealing with ADHD in my experience (Being diagnosed since I was 4 years old, going through a handful of doctors as a child, been prescribes enough medication for doctors to declare that I medically OD’ed as a child, and been on and off medication for over 25 years) is you need a good support group.
          With your wisdom and natural ability to form intellectual and in depth explanations of how you fell, plus with todays research and knowledge in regards to ADHD/ADD; I believe if you approach your parents as you did with the amazing post you will get better results then you could ever imagine.

          But don’t think ADHD/ADD is all bad. There are so many times in my life having it makes the smallest things in life so much more enjoyable then the “normal” person could ever perceive it as. You’ve just got to find your knack.

          Don’t rush it though, enjoy being young

          God Bless

    2. I often wonder what career path is a good fit for me, as I have a real problem with focus. I have my BA and MBA however, I have trouble holding a job because of my zoning out and hyper focus. I also find that if something involves research or some challenging issue that is like a puzzle to solve I am your go to employee. One of my former bosses had asked me if I had ADHD. He liked having me in the office to do all the complex paper work no other former employee would delve into.
      For me, it was a mission. Now I’m thinking maybe I should look further into this. I am also one of those people that has at least 20 tabs open at once…because “I’m researching”.

        1. My other greatest concern with my career success if timeliness. I have such a hard time getting to work on time. I try to get creative about my excuses because I feel like the real excuse sound to silly to my bosses. The real reason is something like the example of trying to find keys. When I am caught up in something as I’m getting ready for work, that something consumes my attention to the point that I become unaware of time. Once I “come to” and realize that I need to check the time, the time passes is always way later than I felt it was. For example, what I thought was five minutes was really twenty minutes. This is all a lot to explain to a boss and to hope they can process and truly understand. Because I know my bosses have never really understood or known why I have really been late for work so often, I feel anxiety every time I am late for fear of getting fired. The flip side of being late most days is that I have stayed later than other employees and have been more invested and successful with the duties of my job than others. I wish bosses would understand this and put less focus on being late for those of us with ADHD and more focus on the core contributions made. This would decrease the anxiety and shame I feel every time I’m late (which is most days).

          1. I’m in the same boat, Amy. I’ve never met anyone who is better at researching and finding solutions to things, and most of my closest friends and colleagues would concur. I can spend 2 days and go through thousands of tabs researching something to figure something out without getting tired.

            I would love to be a full-time researcher and/or “problem-solver” of some type, but I haven’t been able to find a way to do it. I’ve applied to professional research jobs, but my background doesn’t usually fit what they are looking for, so I get weeded out and haven’t even had the chance to interview. I feel very frustrated because I know that my talents could be used to really make a difference wherever I am–though it would help if people actually understood my “ADHD issues” and worked with them.

            Similar to Cici22, I have severe issues with time-management / being on-time to work, and that has led to me being fired from several jobs despite usually doing a good-excellent job and only occasionally dropping the ball. I also tend to work many more hours than anyone else, after work, but that is never recognized and they make excuses about wanting me to have “work-life balance,” and that they aren’t asking me to stay till past midnight every night, just that they want me in on-time.

            I really don’t understand that logic. It’s not like I’m really affecting anyone else’s work. Not to mention, there is no recognition of the fact that different people have different energy cycles, and some of us don’t work best in the morning. My peak energy hours are at night, so most of my mornings are widdled away unproductively anyways. If they actually let me get enough rest and come in at a time that is suitable I would do even better, but I haven’t had the luck of getting a job that has flexible hours. And, the thing is, it’s not like the work I’m doing requires specific hours in the first place, which I would kinda understand. I’ve always done sales and marketing type jobs, and in general, I can get my job done on my own hours if I was allowed to.

            I’ve struggled with trying to become a morning person my whole life, but it has never stuck. My inability to get things done in the morning always leads me to working late at night.

            I’ve tried to start my own businesses and/or do freelance consulting, which I think I would like, but I have a hard time keeping myself motivated and able to do all of the small/routine tasks required to do that successfully. I’ve failed at that pretty bad a few times, as well. I feel like I need external accountability and a team structure around me to help do the shitty things I can’t do, and I work better when having someone to bounce ideas off of, as well. I just wish I could find a company/boss who understands my idiosyncracies and uses my strengths (and “very high IQ”) to their advantage.

          2. One last frustration I have is that I’m basically a medicine “non-responder.”

            I’ve tried all of the medications and supplements that have been researched for ADHD, in every dose, including combinations of them, and nothing has really helped me “fix” the core (executive function) issues I deal with. At first, some of them seemed kinda promising, but then my brain would adapt and higher doses wouldn’t do anything else except give me side effects.

            I still take stimulants to help me with my morning energy problems, but other than increased energy, I don’t feel like they have really helped me with anything else. Not to mention, they have made my lifelong sleep problems even worse.

            I also tried cannabis (both THC and CBD) and it only made things worse. Ashwagandha was helpful with anxiety, though, and I still occasionally take it (increases GABA and reduces cortisol).

            I’ve also been doing meditation on-and-off the past 15 years and it hasn’t helped much either. I still do it because it does help me relax myself, clear my mind, and deal with my emotions better, but I’m still as scatter-brained as ever. One huge benefit is that I used to have an explosive temper with people, but with my years of meditation, that is all gone.

            Finally, paradoxically, exercise in the morning makes me sleepy, so I couldn’t do that, and at night it makes it even harder for me to sleep, so I only occasionally exercise because it does help me get out of bad mood funks (but I don’t really see much improvement with my executive function). I like to walk in nature, though the area I live in isn’t super conducive to that.

            I still want to try CBT therapy, psychedelics (especially Ayahuasca/DMT), transcranial and/or vagal nerve stimulation, and neurofeedback… any other recommendations?

          3. Sounds like every single morning of mine. I’ve been trying to get into management, but being 5 to 15 minutes late every day far outweighs my excellent work performance, in their eyes anyway. It’s extremely frustrating.

          4. I found the best thing for me to get to work just on time was to work afternoon shift. That’s when I was awake and ready for the day. Getting up and to work was always my biggest fear.

          5. Cici I understood everything you had to say to a T. I have felt the embarrassment and anxiety of coming up with excuses due t ok the fear of being misunderstood as lazy or careless. That is exactly the way I am about work. Always late but the effort I put in while I’m there is unmatched. I may not always be the most productive or the fastest at getting results as other employees. But the energy and hard work it takes to stay on the same playing field as everyone else makes me always feel like I am working the hardest. And I always stay and do more than is asked of me. My analogy is working side by side next to someone while we both complete the same tasks, but I’m on a treadmill while the other employee is on flat ground. So in order for me to keep up I have to run or I will fall behind.

          6. Right, i would just not be able to go to work b/c the anxiety would have me pulled over on the side of the road in full anxiety attack in tears… then i call boss with the newest person to befall some drama in my life and spend the rest of the day in moderate anxiety for fear of losing my job. My old man thinks im lazy, good for nothing 40 year old that still hasnt gotten it together yet, now being on the guilt and shame and im in my bed for days

      1. YES. YES. YES. This is me as well. It’s exhausting feeling like you’re working so hard at something that takes you twice as long as others! My hyperfocus has really affected so much in my life in a negative way (always running late, losing track of time, spending way too long organizing, or finishing a project, esp something that your boss keeps harping on you saying “It shouldn’t take you this long”, and NO MATTER how hard I try to be quicker, multitask, get “the job done” in a timely manner, I constantly self sabotage and no matter how hard I try, my hyperfocus takes a front seat in every aspect of my life. Certain situations, it’s a great characteristic to have, but in most circumstances, it works against me. It’s incredibly frustrating when you’re working in overdrive to complete a task you think you will be rewarded for because it’s precise and exactly what was asked of you, but with most jobs time is money. If you can’t complete a task efficiently AS WELL AS quickly, you are no longer seen as essential, but more of a burden which is the worst feeling.

      2. I got a notification from my iphone asking if I wanted to close any of the 340 tabs I had open and I couldn’t I do it. ? It’s the only way I remember what I was researching. Then I save the most relevant as an article. Bookmarks have never worked for me because it require remembering what is at each URL or visiting each one, which will take me down a whole new rabbit hole. The visual of a tab reminder works the best.

    3. Watching TV that tunes in and out of different channels with the radio on in the background. What is existence? Being in the same box room as someone, for them it is a quite room, with ADHD the room is ‘loud’.

    4. I was diagnosed with ADHD at 60
      If it wasn’t for my dear brother who committed suicide at 56 I would still be thinking I was stupid, lazy and just a disappointment to my friends and family. I went to a Dr to get help with my grief after my brother passed.
      He spent adequate time with me to see that I have had ADHD most of my life. I was put on medication and suddenly all the voices in my head that were all talking over each other stopped. I heard one thought at a time not 100 thoughts all trying to get me to listen and react all at the same time!
      I struggled in school,I struggled at work, I had major struggles with the men in my life. Married 3 times. My present husband is the only one that took time to help me
      I know feel like I have a purpose in life. I can walk into a restaurant by myself , that was impossible before my diagnosis, I actually make plans with my friends and family and follow through!
      I felt so safe in my home I never wanted to leave home.
      I am getting better at coping daily.
      I just wish my family understood what I am going through and how hard it is for me to do everyday tasks I feel they think I am just scatter brained. There is still such a stigma attached to illness people can’t see
      I hope I can educate even just one person. I am not looking for sympathy, I am looking to fit in and be accepted ❤️

      1. Kathy, I hate so much that you’ve lived 60 years not knowing there is actually a real reason for your “scattered brain.” I have been so fortunate to have a husband and friends that have been a huge support for me. I used to tell my husband that I thought I was literally going crazy sometimes and couldn’t understand why my friends, who had so much more going on than I, could handle everything and I was overwhelmed by the few things I had to take care of. It was when my son was being diagnosed with ADD at 6 years old that I realized I had the exact same struggles. I was 36. I was doing some research at the library on ADHD and ran across a book with a bright red spine. The title was, You Mean I’m Not Lazy, Stupid, or Crazy? by Kate Kelly & Peggy Ramundo. Of course, that peaked my interest and when I read the introduction, I genuinely felt like someone had been reading my mind all of my life. I highly recommend it. It will take you back to all the times in your life where you wondered why you couldn’t remember things, or get things done, or felt stupid because you couldn’t repeat something interesting you heard. The “Aha!” factor is so relieving. Medication has made a huge difference for me but doesn’t cure everything. As part of my ADHD, I struggle with executive function disorder – the ability to organize information in your brain, manage time, remember things. I spend half my time looking for things I’ve misplaced or put in a “safe” place. I’ve learned a lot of strategies to help with some of those things, like writing on my calendar or putting a reminder on my phone of where I put things, but I still struggle. One thing I want to caution you about is the possibility that your medication may become less effective over time. Take heart. You may need to tweak the dosage or switch medications. And for me, it just helps tremendously to know I’m not just lazy, stupid, or crazy. There is a real REASON (not excuse – I take responsibility for my inadequacies, like being late all the time) for my struggles. And I have a family and friends who are willing to remind me of things I need to do. I impress upon my now grown kids that when people ask them if they got something done, say thank you! Even if they did remember, say “I did, but thanks for reminding me anyway. I appreciate your support.” Unfortunately, there are many nay-sayers and you just have to dismiss them for their ignorance. Blessings to you and I pray that you have the support you need, even from the people who don’t understand or believe in ADHD.

      2. I so relate. Im 50 an just dx. Now I know what was erong all those years in school. Inattentive type. Female. Im adopted to so no family history. Now I know why I had all these gradios ideas for careers, like astronaut, race care driver, chef, forensics pathologist, geezz..but I also had a little dyslexia. But that went away it seemed by 11th. Nothing made sense in school. Esp Math. Low C student. But research something! Boy I still do that. Health Care seemed to be by hyperfocus. An that was what I went into at 18. But with added responsibility the ANXIETY goes waaay up. Now I’ve quit work for 10 yrs first to stay home with my 2 sons, at time were 11 an 7, then in 2012 my Father got real sick an I started being my parent’s caregiver. That was 7 yrs ago. Now juggling 2 families an all issues but parent’s issues alot more detailed an more responsibility. Im about to go over a cliff. Ive got depression an anxiety an fibromyalgia. Started menopause at 46. Thats when depression an anxiety started. I had been taking Tramadol an was up to 8 or 10 a day. But taking it was like a fog lifted an I could function. Not high. Just like I was normal or something. No depression an anxiety. Ive had anxiety since a child. But took Tramadol originally for stress fracture in 2005. It was like a miracle drug for me. Our middle child passed in 2000 an I didnt realize I was depressed or new what was wrong. Then we had our third child a son in 2002. Enter Tramadol in 2005. Wow! Told it was non addictive. Yeah rt. 2 wasnt enough so took 3 an on up I went. Finally in 2014 I asked for helped detoxing off it, not knowing it was helping my ADD, depression an anxiety an fibromyalgia an not knowing PAWS would come an still here fr stopping it. Its been one antidepressant after another. 10 of them. An 2 mood pills. Then in Dec tested for ADD. Turns out I scored high prob 60 or 70% sure. My 21 yr old has it. I can see it now. He to has been going undx. He is very smart but has all the symptoms . Procrastination, impulsive behavior an decisions, smoking but trying to stop rt now. Doesnt know what career or how to get there an sick of Mom an Dad trying to help. It just adds to the ADD anxiety we have. Ive made dumb decisions that cost us financially I wish I had not done. We would have our house paid of already 10 yrs ago! Now Im on stimulant #2. Adderall XR was horrible. Now on Concerta 10mg, im sensitive to meds apparently. Slow metabolism. But I want to go back to Tramadol with a controlled prescription. Back when I took it it was scgeduled like now an I have no desire to take that many a day anyway just get me out of this hell in my brain an rid of the depression an anxiety an now pain fr fibromyalgia. ADD people need a stimulant of some sort. Be it nicotine. Drugs. Caffeine. Alcohol. Risky behaviour. Etc…my brain wont shut up. An now since I have to remember everything for both parents who both have alot wrong an on multi meds an multi Dr’s an appts, I load pill boxes, get refills, get groceries, argue with Dr office nurses who are 50% dumb an dont do job, argue with home health, oxygen place, pay their bills an I cant even balance a checkbook an I dont my parent’s. I sometimes forget till last min their bills an ours! My husband works an is sflf employed. But fr outside my sister an some others think…”she doesnt have a full time job like me!”. Are you serious!! Its a 24/7 job. Im on call 24/7 if a emergency happens. In ER for 8 hrs. Sittin in hospital for hrs. An then my own house issue’s. It has caused marital an finance big probs. So my brain is flipping switches now faster than my emotions can keep up an I blow sometimes an feel horrible after. A human can only take so much stress an responsibility. It would be nice to be daughter again an not drill sergeant caregiver an have a normal life an have a normal job with others like me or my age. Ive lost friends over all this an my sister doesnt help really or even understamd. Id like her to care totally for parents for a month an gave some Dr visits in that month to. So she will see wjat its like dealing with my Dad, narcissistic his way or highway an does nothing now but lay in bed due to untreated sleep apnea! Wow you can see I do have ADD. Jumping around topics. Sorry so long. But just saying I get it. It sucks to me. An I wish I had a ” do-over”.

        1. I’d probably just mess up the do over and … never ending spurol of this all .. I feel like I’ve been the example of how to mess up bigger then anyone ever before and just in the end any one who might care to try and help me find answers will most defiantly hate me and tell me to go to hell

          1. You wouldn’t believe it Im a mum who since primary school has been told she’s just naughty she’s now 19 an been sorta diagnosed. I knew there’s waz something have been fighting for years no one listens.
            But what you said is sometimes I see my daughter but I could never leave or hate her she’ll push me over the edge but I can’t so hopefully she’ll get some sort of help.
            Hope you can find someone who can help you no matter wat ?hugs

          2. Go to a Dr. Get on meds. You will feel so much better ! If your insurance covers it see a counselor. It really feels good to talk & let all the built up stuff come out. I know, l’ve been there. I get a lot of Encouragement from my Bible study and my church also. It helps to pray also. What ever it takes. You are important. If you were’nt, God would’t have let his only Son die for you & all of us. Hope things get better for you may God bless you.

      3. I have literally lo everything and everyone in my life. I had a family with three daughters and a successful living father to our girls but for me , the marriage was more like I felt like the fourth daughter who he had to contend with and I n the end was resentful of everything I had tried to bring to our lives and just so much now in we divorced after over 30 years of being together and all that we had achieved financially and in anything more meeningful in life for all to credet anyone for was to go to him while any of the losses and blame in life for any one to find normal and pRt of life were piled on me and … I know I’m not doing a good job explaining this but I’m now so far gone in what I have learned along the way from people I have trusted and loved and gave my entire life to in trying to be there and give for them to know they were loved and find there own purpose and be who they are here to be while knowing I loved them and I would always love them and except them for who they are faults , failures and all that I have learned now in my own have not been the case and I have had add my entire live but was diagnosed with it only after so many years had gone by to find at 40 somthing years old finding out I had ADD was a relief and a major horrable fact to then realize so much had been deemed wrong with me and always made to just hold inside andbeat myself up over every day playing thatself depreciating song and just is overwhelming in now even after it was madeknown and I have it my all .. it’s come to this. I went from having a family and friends and being somewhat able to keep up with it all to find we had a3 million dollar home, travels the world friends and entrrtaining always and so busy always with what our girls needs were that was my job to be always making first and there while my husband traveled the world with his career and all other things his world entailed and was given credet for and I was to be home and there with the kids and run the house but kept in a position of someone more like just hired hand and expe Ted to be greatful and keep it all going and look happy.. bla bla bla now I’m homeless left out from life’s major most important events weddings holidays and everything g ever to matter to find I hoped for my daughters to have there mom there to be so proud of and happy for there lives to have achieved or found there own purpose has been to find myself left on the sidelines of even there but to be almost non exsistant and hardly seen for anyone but the lady they knew gave birth to them and less . I am homeless and can’t stop spirolling down to find I gave up and now just servive day to day and wish I could stop caring at all to just not feel the pain in it all
        And just find I forgot everyone I live in order to try and find some way to live life that’s left and ever be able to contribute any good for anyone ever at all and be happy to find I’m still breathing. But I can’t and I just jinx any thing I try to do and exist now but had to comment becouse all these arrivals have felt like my own words and only worse in all that I relate to was to not find any outcome that is good and I have worked hard seen so many doctors Nd tried so many times to do all that was suggested only to find always worse and blamed and feel so lost with no hope and or reason to believe I have a purpose. Yet I care still enough to comment and still not enough to even spell check or consider trying to explain in more detail for this to not appear and be seen for having no credet or truly explain how this is to know and just .. I am not stupid or uneducated or have suicidal thoughts or some other major mental illness and I do have ADD and just sometimes life with all this ADD brings along with it is too much and I feel like the avalanche just rolled in little by little all the years of my life and somehow I kept avoiding the piles of snow and skiing down the hill working hard at avoiding the fall and even enjoying the thrill of that and flying along but finally in the end anyone who was next to me and living the ride has kept going and I’ve been buried covered in ice cold packed heap of snow to only be there able to breath and I can hear everyone out there living life and watch as they just have chose to keep going on while knowing I’m trapped in this place they only shout down to see and know I’m alive but tell me to dig myself out and it’s up to me to get free from so I’m left to know I don’t matter enough for anyone I held onto and just loved and lived life with to niw care about me and do a single thing to not leave me here cold and with nothing to find I am going to have if I can even dig myself out and back inon the hill to do anything then with people who have left me there knowing all this but just keep going on in life to only tell me owell , your fault so dig yourself out and by the way we love you so let us know if you find you were able to free yourself one of these days but in the mean time ya ya we will keep on asking with everyone you live and we’re there for to have helped learn how to ski and even go on to enjoy all that your ex husband has made to share with us now that your finally out of the picture and kept from having even a shovel to dig yourself out .. owell We will just do with your daughters now since your trapped and don’t seem to find yourself able to start digging out then just know we love you and good luck gotta keep along and will drop down pictures to show you how life goes on with us all while your down there in that freezing hole you choose to sit there and not dg yourself free . Ya ya off they have gone and I can’t see reason to find even able to dig if I had any shovel any way . I am not crazy just so beyond broken in all I ever once wasto have found passion and live in life has been made to learn nothing at all and I’ve been deemed unworthy and life has gone on now to find only my failures every step of the way now are seen for who I now am left here in this trap freezing and yet alive . Just , Loosing keys, finding brushes in the freezer, being late , not having things to find normal people assume to be able to do and walk out the door to live and enteract daily in life, being told to listen or “shhhhh” and constantly seen for childish it tilted or jmature or any of it being a choice and to finally find its just not given real credet for what it is and the social anxiety and depression that is very real and expected to find ways to get help but be seen for fault if that doesn’t cut it and just written off for then all that is so easy to find the world just doesn’t have time nor appreciate in life and assumes .. but goes on in to only ten blame me for .. has finally left me in this place to feel hopeless and yet I don’t want to just exsist servive until I finally die and am alone just haveing been trapped and honestly I try every day to ind life is still worth it but it’s just hardly somthing to find every day live with the pain and heart break that comes along with knowing has been made to be who I’ve been deemed for to anyone I think I should now try to help or find I love becouse of what has proven will always end up being seen for and people become tired of dealing with lost keys and rings they find worth it in the begging to put up with becouse the ride and the fun of skiing down the hill with my avalanche that follows always building that adrenaline rush and is found to have been a thrill for many to hop on and join the ride has now come to a haunt and left me trapped with no one now to remember for what they wanted or got or took from my life and I gave freely to anyone along the way becouse I truly live and want to be who I am and help others find there place along the way but I never did fit in and couldn’t stop to really find it was even mine to try Becouse when I do I onpuly end up bringing that pile of snow and leave a huge mess for all to find now have made clear is not wanted . I’m tired embarrassed of who I find I’m seen for and just too much in that being so beyond sad and has left for me now to find myself more and more frozen in this place now I’m stuck in just serving now every day left I can be here to find I wake up and am still alive and able to exsist here then for one more day . Just cold sad and here alone to find occasionally some creature falls into my trapped little place and only uses me to then leave me here again but even worse off and with less hope or blamed even more for not being able to dig out becouse apparently others were here and they went on then to escape , so why did I let them use me for that and why then am I still down in this cold trap? Blame it on my ADD? Who cares , it’s only an excuse , right? Written off for choosing a pity party or lazy or worse assigned some other mental illness to find everyone thinks they know or I’m just not worth it to have any credet for anything I ever was or had said , and just too far gone but more invisible every day I live and not wanted as it gets uglier every day…. no one wants it and or needs any thing i now have left to find of me and my life to have amounted to and now seen for just this and it’s nothing but ugly and worse … s I exsist and sink down more every day now I’m still alive . ADD is not given enough credet and written off so casually to find I feel hopeless and sad and this is all I have left to say .

        1. Your comment resonated with me. People don’t realize how debilitating living with ADD can be. I have lived with it all my life but wasn’t diagnosed until almost my 30s. I still can’t get my life right…I don’t know how. What’s my purpose, where should I focus and how. Wish I had help…a life coach to hold my hand until I ‘got it’. This life feels meaningless, which is unfortunate because I want it to be a great life. I feel like mine hasn’t began yet, not my real life…and I’m a 45 year old woman. Where should I go, who will I be? What do I need, what will make me feel whole? And people without it don’t understand. How can you juggle 40 things on a unicycle on a tightrope with 800 tabs open on your computer and not be able to find your keys or your wallet or remember where you were going and then be expected to be productive? A support group would be great, someone who understands, people who could help. Give us hope. I just don’t know where to start everything is too much…

          1. Yup… 35 and still waiting for my life to “begin.” And it is obviously terrifying, the thought that this will not change. That I will go on waiting and hoping until finally there is simply no life left to welcome. Just preparations to move out from an apartment you haven’t been “paying rent” for, for 60 odd years anyway.

            That is how it feels like to me anyway. Like having squatted on someone else’s turf wasting peoples resources because that obstinate glimmer of hope that perhaps you actually have something valuable to offer simply refuses to die out. This is why I am so ambivalent about stimulants…they keep that glow flickering just those few hours more. It amplifies the dream and the possibility that you could be that much more. But when I look back at the two years mark post diagnosis and on Ritalin, the gains are grim. Not entirely unsubstantial but it does sometimes feel like delaying the inevitable if you get what I mean.

            It is frightening that EACH and EVERY one of the metaphors on this page apply so well. In retrospect, I feel what is most unbearable about this condition is how much I truly love doing the things I just cannot do, no matter how hard I try. Everyday things that others with no interest in them can manage with so much ease: writing a post on a topic close to your heart, finishing that book parts of which you really liked but the boring bits of which you could not stick with long enough, being able to actually brush your teeth at the end of a six hour period of binge surfing where your mind decided to hijack you for a blind ride around the web.

            I was diagnosed as student in the US but am now back in my home country where stimulants are illegal (unobtainable even with legitimately prescriptions). Being forced off the medication that kept me borderline functional is bad enough, but confronting the sheer helplessness (now amplified after experiencing some of the beneficial effects of drug therapy) with mature insight into how truly unmanageable all this really is anyway– that is crippling in its own right.

            I wonder what an environment designed for ADHD folks to excel in naturally (or just survive in!) would actually look like? A world without deadlines, routine task obligations, emails, and other formal writing requirements is just not possible for obvious reasons… but is there another form of social organization and collective living possible so that the creative energies of the ADHD peeps actually contributes positively despite all their handicaps?

      4. Hi Kathy ?. I am 55 year old woman recently diagnosed. I thought everyone’s thoughts were like mine. Finally got some meds. Maybe I will be able to hold down a job soon. Thanks for sharing. Thoughts with no sequence!

      5. Kathy, I was diagnosed at 50. I would go from skipping a grade, I did so well to failing the next grade twice. Our doctor back then said girls don’t get ADD. As a result, because I managed to skip a grade then do poorly the next grade, I was of course sloppy, lazy and difficult. All my life I knew something was wrong but didn’t know what. I would have a best friend for 2 or 3 years and then do something to drive them away. I start projects but have a hard time finishing them. I was finally diagnosed and put on medication which works but it is hard to change 50 years of bad habits and at my age it affects my digestive system. For that reason I stopped for awhile but have since started again. I also have General Anxiety disorder and exttreme insomnia so I need something for sleep at night. I find sleep makes a big difference if I get it. My mind races non stop and I have yet to figure out how to calm it down. Any suggestions would be appreciated. I am extremely creative mentally, have a great imagination and. people say a great sense of humour. I will crack people up on facebook and they think my life is great. They don’t see that I haven’t got anything done, the house is a mess and as I result I feel absolutely terrible about myself.

      6. I feel the same I know I have ADHD I’m 62 I tell my doctor that the anxiety depression tables stop my mind running fast. The unfinished projects that’s just sitting around as brain was working on the next before it happened. My problems with my brain interrupting others about something unrelated just blurt out of my mouth and I don’t realise it until my partner tells me I’ve hijacked the conversations again.
        My focus at work on an issue that nobody had the patience to solve was a mission I had to solve it. But lead me to be labelled scatterbrained a lot of the time to fast always but organisation skills fail 🙁 stays late, runs around being busy with not achieving the bosses agenda for me. Always sidetracked helping other. Patience with computers they say but really I need to know how it works what’s in that button ohhhh nice but total off the ball game I’m suppose to be on. Then the anxiety sets in I’m in trouble I’ve fixed an issue they didn’t ask me to fix but failed to keep focus on the problem at hand.
        I don’t want to leave home I say yes I’ll be there to friends invites only to look for an excuse to get out of it. Spend more time looking for things ice put in the are place. I’ve done to the conclusion it’ll turn up eventually instead of stressing about it.
        How hard is it for me to tell my partner ii don’t want to go with him be it shopping or day trip . I just want to stay in my Bubble.
        I hate the background noise Tv and radio for the sake of it. I sit on my own slot for the quietness. He didn’t understand my brain is busy enough without this Tv on.
        I read books at an incredible rate to focus and quiet things but who wrote the book ? What was it called? No idea a week later I can reread that book series and it’s liked reading a new book again. It’s seems just a way to quite my brain into doing one thing. Mine you in the back ground something is brewing.
        My partner says it’s 4 pm time to stop work and relax but my brain says I have an idea let’s get to it now! Always in trouble for these ideas.
        As all of you ADHD people realise we wear out bodies out faster legs won’t go any more can’t do what we want as we are older but the brain wants to move go go go and there we go over on the ground again.
        I wonder if anyone has food issues with good especially like eating. Food is an after thought. So distracted ii don’t eat much. Snack here and there . My partner knows not to put a meal out for me. I only cook when my children come visit why? My children don’t pick on my fast messy kitchen as I cook. All cleaned when finished but gezze ! My daughter often laughter and says mum can distroy and kitchen cooking. As I work to fast but she can make a meal for us all out of nothing ! How do you do that! Imagination
        I know I come across as a scatter brain but I know why , my son is the same my heart goes out to him as I understand what’s happening my little grandson is going to be the same at 12 mths old I see it already.
        Stigma when I was younger always stopped me from getting help.
        If only we could educate people ! That we are worth while people. We just have a lot going on at once in our beautiful brains.
        I have a fast rebound also . Angry with people one min . Then I’m over it and forgive until the next time and the chicken continues. My son not so lucky holds on tight to the nastiest that person caused and will never forgive. Even if it’s trival.
        Fortunately I’m more or organized as I get older in the house due to my partner not liking things moved. But when he’s away on holiday it’s game on! I’m off moving and changing things lol
        I can so relate to everyone who has posted here !
        I begg for non ADHD people to understand what it feels like trapped in a brain that didn’t stop!

      7. Hi! I accept you! And ill do you one better, understand! Whats so sad to me is my mom is also just like this, and when i was young i didn’t understand and now just like her i am a bumbling mess. Glad your seeing brighter days.

    5. I am the parent of an ADHD child. He was diagnosed at age 8. He took Concerta until grade 6. Then he struggled with taking medication. Was not consistent in taking medication. Grades took a hit downward. Managed to get into a private high school. Boys only and focused onspomts and education. Lots of one-on-one throughout high school. Always ran late. Leaving for school, homework, projects. Lots of school-forgiveness. Makes friends easily and loses them as fast. Makes good impression when speaking to adults, who immediately see his potential, only to have him drop-the-ball. Tells me “its all about the show”. No, it’s not. Was awarded an academic college to major University. He attended and was party-central for first semester. Managed to attend 2nd semester. Never got his grades because he was too afraid to find out if he TOTALLY failed. Just decided to NOT GO BACK in the next fall. Attended 2 diff junior colleges. All with failures. After 5 years, does not have 1 year of college completed. Lazy about working. Gets fired from nearly every job or has problems with co-workers. Have taken him to many many different Psychologists and counselors. Feels nothing is his fault, its everyone else. Is a bully, depressed, anxious. etc. Was admitted to ED in January because I pressured him to give me his grades for on-line last semester. He confessed he just can’t look for fear he failed again. Diagnosed with depression and anxiety. He has a gifted IQ. Can play the piano by sound. He is well-read. Very knowlegable. FAILURE TO LAUNCH. Was participating in Coahing and ADHD skills classes, then just dropped it. Was seeing a Psychologist then just dropped the sessions. AT A LOSS AS TO HOW TO HELP HIM… Thoughts?

      1. its quite interesting looking at things from a parent’s perspective. I would love to talk about this in more detail with you. Please send me an email.


        1. Its like when there’s you, and you have to babysit 2 children. One is clingy, and likes trying to get your attention, telling you random things, and distracts you, the other runs around causing trouble. These two both keep your mind off What’s important, and only what’s important to them. You can only keep them calm with music or t.v before they are back at it.Sometimes you love the little twirps, and sometimes you want to bring their necks.

      2. Are you reading all the posts by the people with ADD on this thread? I am surprised no one else had chosen to respond to this. You make me angry, surprise someone with ADD getting angry ? ( and by the way I may become super focused on this response and spend way too much time out of my day making sure it’s perfect because I am passionate about trying to get you to understand, I also may ramble on and this be hard to read as all the thoughts pour out of my head at the same time so please TRY to bear with me, also I may leave this open on my phone along with the 20 other pages of shit I have open and have to come back to it later to perfect it as I am late to work because I tried to do too many things before leaving, lastly if I find my keys and speed to work I may get lost while I am thinking of 10 things I need to accomplish today and take a different way to work every time I go..) Now on to my point. What are YOU doing to help yourself become better and more understanding of what your loved one is going through other than trying to FIX him? Are YOU going to therapy by yourself to learn tricks about how to appropriately help/understand your ADD loved one? I can tell you that Looking at him as a FAILURE TO LAUNCH in all capitals and most of the other negative comments you said about him isn’t going to help and is probably going to make it worse as now you are reinforcing all the negativity he already has towards himself…when you go find some empathy and work on real ways you can help you get back to us then we can have a real discussion. By the way I am super proud of myself. I just finished this in one sitting and only had a couple of sentences that should really have been 4…

        1. I hope you made it to work! You did great on the post, that person literally told every one of us we were negative things. B/c we are just like your son on one or more(probably MORE!) levels. Do him a favor and stop making him feel defensive and then let him read all but your comment. Cause that would break his spirit man. And thats all any one of us has including you. Sorry for sounding harsh but did you read any of the comments? If so you should be understanding him a lot better. If you havent read any other posts but your ‘help’ reply’s PLEASE READ THEM TOGETHER WITH YOUR SON. And he may just realize it really isnt his fault (nobody else either tho) and get some help…with your help.

      3. I see my oldest going in a similar direction, as he prepares to graduate from high school this year. He has so much potential, but not the drive. I’m getting him to a doctor for depression, as I can see all of my own symptoms in him. We both have anxiety and ADHD, but the depression is only recently becoming an issue. Good luck, I’d also be interested in what other can suggest for you.

      4. AtWittsEndMom,
        We are in the same boat. My son too is very bright, very good grades through middle school and high school and is now 21 and we are done with college having attempted 3 times and he is still a freshman. By chance has something traumatic happened in his life? Divorce, death of a loved one? My son developed depression and anxiety as soon as he went to college that turned into panic attacks and blinding rage a few times a year. He is finally with a therapist who specifically deals with anger, trauma, and anxiety. It turns out my son has deep seeded anger toward his father and is now modeling behavior his father had. We were never married but the time he did spend with him was enough to scar him. He self sabotages everything good in his life b/c he feels he isn’t deserving. Failure to launch as well, the fear of looking at grades, ED visit, eviction from his apartment, etc. just as you described. He Is extremely personable and everyone loves him…until they don’t. His extreme reactions to seemingly nothing makes him a loose cannon.Emotional /verbal abuse is real and does a lot of damage especially to ADHD kids far more than I ever knew. I have ADHD too, but do not struggle with depression or anxiety. I have learned a lot from these past three years. Still learning and praying that my son finally has the right help/medicine/support, etc. If your son is willing to seek help, that is a good start. Find one who specializes in anger. Clearly he is angry and the repeated failures probably makes him even more angry. (Gifted people are way harder on themselves.-I’ve got one of those as well) Medication alone can’t solve the problem it has to be a two part approach.
        Also, NO YELLING. Yelling does not work for any one especially ADHD people. If they could change things they would. The frustration for you and your son is real and I completely empathize with you. You are not alone. One last thing. This is the hardest. At some point you have to let go and realize you have done all you can do. He is an adult and still needs support from you, but you can’t make him get help He has to want it.

      5. Take him out of the school box, maybe put him in a an art or music school. He has to be interested and passionate about what he wants to do. Tap into his hyper focus drive. Maybe a technical school that teaches audio production. First HE HAS to be interested in what he wants to learn. And maybe music is what he likes because it comes natural to him by nature . A school that does not focus on traditional semesters but one class every 6 to 8 weeks. I know that worked for me. I have been ADHD since I was 5. I have 2 degrees and two professional certificates. Once I figured out what I liked it only took 10 years for the first 2 degrees. I did it all working full time. Just help him find his passion and he will be ok.

        1. Right you cant try to teach a lizard to fly and call him stupid when he cant. (And failure to launch comes with the fact that its easier not to then get all your ducks in a row and t and i and stuff when you literally cant find the list you wrote everything down on so you get lost looking for it, which makes you feel angry at yourself and nobody wants to feel like a failure so if i just dont do it fixes all that momentarily)

      6. I recently found out that only a very small percentage of college students who have ADHD don’t flunk out. I’ve pasted a link to a Russell Barkley YouTube video below that I would highly recommend watching. Dr. Barkley breaks it all down and makes a complex subject easy to understand. It’s kind of long but worth it. (He speaks about going to college with ADHD also). So much info that other so-called experts aren’t even talking about. He doesn’t sugar coat anything and it’s all evidence based. Plus he’s had firsthand, family experiences with ADHD that make it very personal to him. I think he still travels doing speaking engagements and online forums, and on his own website you can email him. I can’t tell you how soon or even if he replies because I’m still working on my email to him. (I have ADHD myself so I may never finish). I’m so sorry for all you’ve been through. ADHD is a terrible thing to live with. I’m 49 and was only diagnosed 7 years ago after our daughter who is now 14 was diagnosed. I’ve had more years of serious depression than years without it. If it wasn’t for my faith in God and my family, I’m certain that I wouldn’t still be here. I hope things turn around for your son.

        1. Very true only my ADHD son went though the others so called Normal all got out of school in yr 19 not they they where not smart they where also going on to face and all 3 in highly job rolls but safely son like me who can turn his hand to learn anything last spoke 2 yrs before his mind drifts to another challenge.
          I myself found work in a supermarket and being able to change after a few years to another department a blessing lasting 20 yrs jumping from role to roll ending up a store mangers 2 be in charge. We need challenges in our life constantly.

      7. Dear AtWittsEndMom I don’t know if you will still read this as it has been so long, but it’s worth a shot. I understand the frustration you are going through. My oldest daughter was diagnosed with combined type ADHD at age 8. She has seen so many psychologists and a few psychiatrists and medication providers and was diagnosed with ADHD by 3 more doctors after that. I also took her to have 3 psychological evaluations done. I was also diagnosed with combined type ADHD, but when I was 38 years old. I know from both sides (being a mom of an ADHD child and having it myself) and I am telling you in the nicest possible way that you are doing damage to your son without knowing it. You can’t be negative with this sort of thing. ADHD is a mental disorder that affects the frontal lobe in the brain. You need to look at this from his perspective and think about how he feels. He probably feels very sad, he must hate himself and feel shame for having this disorder. It’s not your son’s fault he has this, people are born with ADHD. It’s caused from DNA and it’s not learned behavior. He also probably feels like everybody hates him and feels alone in this world and maybe he feels like there’s no place in for him in this world or that he doesn’t fit in anywhere. Peers might see him as weird or annoying. Us ADHD people don’t pick up on social cues very well because our eyes are wandering here and there from getting distracted easily and we can’t really pay attention to what someone is saying very well because our own minds are wandering and thinking because there are so many thoughts in there popping up one after another, after another. Depression and anxiety disorders sometimes go along with ADHD and it’s very hard to live like this and be able to go out into public and try to do “normal” things every day. What you should do instead is hug him as much as you can. Talk to him in a calm and nice voice about his problems. Maybe even ask him how you can help, he might know. Be very understanding to his disorder and if you don’t think you can understand then go out and do research on ADHD, every book you can find and every article online. I recommend “My Defiant Child” to read. Researching will help you to understand it better. You should get him outside and get him jogging with you because exercise helps ADHD and anxiety and stress and it helps to clear the mind, maybe learn to meditate together. Spend some time with him as much as you can and make him feel loved as often as possible. Try to find a way to get him to therapy to talk about his problems and work through all of his problems and any anxiety or depression he might have. I have heard that cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) can help ADHD and anxiety. Try medication again, Straterra is a good start to try or he could try an antidepressant. Stay away from stimulants like Ritalin or Concerta, bad stuff in my opinion. Antidepressants aren’t just for depression, they help with anxiety as well and a little with ADHD. ADHD people are seen as lazy, but we’re not lazy we just don’t know how to get started or motivated on something. Try to help him find a job that he would be interested in like mechanics, something with computers, fixing houses, maybe if he knows the piano well enough he can teach kids how to play the piano for a job, maybe he could check into being a mentor for teens who have ADHD or depression or anxiety, or if he likes animals maybe he can work at a pet store or do a job that keeps him active. A lot of ADHD people usually love to stay active because most are hyper people. He might not want to try anything at first because he might be afraid to fail at something…again. He might feel like he can’t do anything right so why try. Just be compassionate and empathetic to his problems and be sensitive to this subject and don’t let him quit therapy or meds. Therapy and meds take a while to work, but they will work. You might have to try a few different types of meds before you find the right one that works with his specific brain chemistry. Both of you just have to be patient and remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day and getting better isn’t a short process, it can be a long process.

      8. To AtWittsendmom: I’m 50 years old and am struggling with awful anxiety and depression. I didn’t have this until the last few years but I had to address your post because you are a very large part of the problem in our society for those of us with ADHD. Neurotypical people often don’t take the time or make the effort to consider that they don’t know everything and need to research and read to gain some understanding. Or better yet…listen, truly listen to what your son is telling you and believe him! He’s not lazy, nor a failure. That is the stigma that we all live with and if it’s severe enough and our parents don’t listen and support us, it only gets worse. The after affects of the abuse- yes, ma’am, it’s abuse- is more damaging than any symptom of inattention or impulsiveness could ever be. Think about it like this: do you think if you and the majority of others accepted your son and aided him in completing goals on his terms, not yours, that he might succeed and even excel? Because if your answer is no, then you are seeing him only through your own lens and not realistically or compassionately and are a BIG part of his dysfunction. That’s truly how I feel at 50. My family never took any time to understand, and I was blamed for a lot of the issues in the family. Meanwhile, most could not (and still don’t) think they make mistakes or are wrong about anything. They never apologize (and not just to me, but other “normies”) and can’t talk about their own problems and their own part in them. They can’t talk about themselves in that way. I’m honest and and have a good and close relationship with my son, who also has adhd. I’ve screwed up plenty but really am blessed to be his mom, and we’re a huge help to each other because we feel like we have someone on the planet who gets us. But I had to deal with denial on so many levels in my family as a child, and roles were established that are still in place due to denial on their part to this day. You may want to consider if that might be the issue here as well. There is a lot of denial in our society all the way around, and I see it most with neurotypical people. Look around. Do you really so many people taking real accountability for their own problems? Our whole world is a mess so it’s very convenient to have scapegoats and often they are ADHD folks and other neurodivergents. Open your mind and you’ll find more answers. Good luck.

    6. Someone once asked me this exact question: ‘What does it feel like to have ADHD?’

      I asked for a moment to think of a proper response, and the one I came up with was:

      ‘It’s like having Robin Williams running around in your brain.’

      I can’t really think of any better way to explain it.

    7. My brain feels like a roulette wheel and in each little slot of the roulette wheel, lives a completely random idea, distraction or inspiration. The roulette dealer spins the wheel, often, fast, and without warning and which ever idea, distraction or inspiration the ball lands on (no matter how absurd, poorly planned or unnecessary) that’s the one I’m going with no matter what I need to get done, or accomplish that day. Non linear as fuck.

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    8. I use to say to people it’s like
      My brain is a filing cabinet
      It’s full ! And out of order Atm
      But still it’s tring to file more and more
      Come back later it might be sorted out


    9. I have ADHD, and I find that it is not a disability to me. The hyper-focusing part helps me block out stressful stimuli, and it also allows me to finish anything I set out to do without the need to stop for rests or other things. It also helps me ignore some things like how little food I’ve eaten in the past month, or how many hours of sleep less than the norm I’ve had this week. I can’t stress about those things if I want to be productive. I also use the hyper-activity as an endearing personality trait that has won me many friends. All in all, perhaps ADHD is a sort of mutation or evolutionary trait that is actually meant to help humans survive, and it’s just a matter of natural selection.

    10. Of course I started to write something and moved on to something and submitted my comment, which of course I didn’t mean to, but here’s my feelings about my adhd I was entering the in 3rd grade and I was surprised to find myself in a unfamiliar class and I immediately recognize that the students were obviously slow and I was devastated and embarrassed and since my parents were deaf and truth be said I was taking care of all their needs, and probably somewhere near midway through 3rd grade I was placed back in the regular class room, and I really never knew why it happened, back in the 60’s being deaf was a hardship there were no technology or services for the deaf population and having a hearing child was like winning the lottery, but I ended up getting married and was a stay at home mother of 4 children and I was aware of how I felt a little off and always stayed behind the scenes and my ex- husband treated me badly not so much physically but emotionally and I had no self- esteem, but cut to the point I ended up divorced and in college I had no skills nor money, my ex made sure of that, but not until I was working, I ended up being a Licensed Practical Nurse and although I was studying to become a R.N my fiancé committed suicide by hanging and I didn’t know that he was in the house since his car wasn’t in the driveway and I had just returned from the library studying, I sure heard it and when I found him hanging I cut him down and it was too late, but I hate having this condition, I have a million thoughts racing through my mind of the things that I need to get done, even if it’s only 2 things and I have plenty of time to get done, I cannot let myself accept that I do, it’s like I don’t have time so I’m rushing throughout the house in one room to the next sometimes forgetting where I left off and when I’m communicating I jump off topic continuously and I’m telling myself don’t do it don’t do it, I still do it and feel so humiliated especially for a job interview, my boyfriend is always saying what are you talking about, because I start thinking about something and continue saying it out loud, and then of course when I’m out driving doing errands, my mind just keeps on saying I have to get to the places fast and if people are in my way, I get so angry because they are keeping me from getting where I need to go , I know that I desperately need to get back on medication because it calms my mind to the point that I feel like a normal person and I envy people who don’t have this terrible burden, because I feel totally exhausted, Sorry so lengthy but I need to get it out this struggle that I live with. Thank

    11. This is so familiar. I can focus for hours on end to hit a deadline, but struggle to focus at all (I’m here when I should be working!) when it’s not truly urgent. Doing mundane tasks is almost impossible unless I can also be listening to books or podcasts or the drop-heard trial ;-)!
      And yes, I was a high performing student largely bc I felt like I had to live up to expectations, like there was no choice in the matter. This being accountable to others (afraid of being seen as bad or dumb or lazy???—still trying to figure this out at 54!!) has served me very well. I am only now (with menopause to help) seeing my adhd and coping mechanisms.
      I love hyper focus and total immersion, I also like multitasking to the max when I can hyper focus on just getting lots of things done that involve movement (not sitting at computer!) , like cleaning and organizing.

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  2. It’s like I’m getting a million texts at one but only reply to one. It’s frustrating when people say that they understand what I’m going through when deep down I know they have know clue whats going on in my head.

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        1. ha ha yes, i was floored when a psychologist suggested i had adhd as I was one of those people who vaguely thought it was all a made up thing …. then i went to get out my diary to make another appointment, and a rain of post-it notes fluttered to the floor… I could tell he was valiantly trying not to look triumphant as he went “classic coping strategy!!”

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    2. I recently got in trouble from a family member about not responding to the text chain, the email chains, etc appropriately. I was called rude, but considering i have many siblings and there are many different emails and text chains, I literally can’t describe what happens. I got anxious when people are planning/talking about other things/sharing pictures/going back to planning, and usually dont read it until the last part that has a conclusion. I seem to drop the ball and everyone thinks its because I don’t care, but I care so much that I wait for everyone’s input, or get overwhelmed and plan on going back to it when I am less anxious.

      1. Omg, this too is so familiar. I’m in just a few text chains/circles. And I get do overwhelmed by them. I feel responsible, like I should be responding more and I’m amazed at how others are able to respond so well and do often. I feel like I have no excuses as I’m childless and many others are moms.

        Is adhd like having 100s of email and text drafts thst I’ve forgotten to send or to finish after going off to check my calendar or research something?? Along with 10k open tabs on my internet browser!?

  3. It’s like a door in your brain that opens to let information you need in and closes to stop information you don’t out, won’t stay shut and stays open for every piece of information that wants to get in.

    1. I have to agree to this. Mine is similar but for me it’s as if I have this tape of a billion thoughts running a loop around my head and these thoughts are relentless and overlapping. The cacophony of these loops finally sinks me down into an inexplicable fog of exhaustion. It’s hell for me on many days

  4. I have a Rolodex flipping constantly back and forth trying to grasp infotmation. Wanting always to flick back and forth until I hit the right card and then super focussed, until I need to flip again.

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  5. My medicine is absolutely crucial to my functioning as an adult.
    Think of attention as a sink drain. Most people are able to completely drain the water coming from the faucet just fine, and these are people with normal attention.
    Then there are people who’s drains aren’t the most effective, the water backs up a little bit in the basin, but if the stream is normal the risk of overflowing is very low.
    Then there people with drains that are completely clogged, like myself, where if you don’t plunge it in the morning (the plunger being medication), the water will overflow and you’ll have a mess on your hands. But when you do plunge it, the drain works like it was never broken, but you have to do it every day or risk a disaster.
    I’ll give an example to show what I mean.
    I’m the stocking manager for a grocery store. I’m in charge of stocking product, ordering product, and keeping the storerooms and coolers organized. Yesterday I forgot to take my medication, and the job didn’t get done like it should. It normally takes me 1 hour to get everything put up, but yesterday it took me 3 hours because I literally couldn’t start doing it without stopping, my brain wouldn’t let me. It took everything I had just to get the bare minimum done.
    Today I took my medicine, and it took me less than 30 minutes to get the ordering done.

  6. Years ago a friend asked me what adhd is like, I said it’s like trying to watch 30 TVs at once and trying to focus on all of them. So what’s adhd like with your meds? Less TVs, still trying to focus on all of them…better, but not perfect

  7. It’s like I’m in the cockpit inside a giant robot, like a Transformer, whose only camera I have to steer is hanging from the outside and swinging.
    Sometimes the camera engages in a good position, sometimes it points to something and does not go out, and every now and then it feels like someone is out there moving the camera

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  8. Hi there, I’m 24 years old and recently diagnosed by my therapist, although I still have to get a Primary Care Physician before I can start medication therapy.

    I can tell you that for me, having ADD feels like a game of whack-a-mole. I hit one mole (Example: Remembering to pay bills on time) but there is always another popping up that I can’t seem to hit (Deadlines, remembering instructions, where I place things). It’s so frustrating and when I look back on all the times I’ve been criticised for my so-called bad listening habits, I just feel even worse. My boyfriend often gets upset with me because he thinks that I don’t listen to him. I try to explain to him that however frustrating it is to him, it’s worse to me because I feel like there is a communication barrier between us that I cannot break.

    3 months ago was when I finally came to the conclusion that I may have ADD or a possible learning disorder. This only came after my boss had a sit-down with me where she showed me all the seemingly careless mistakes I had made in such a short amount of time. I desperately tried to understand why and how I made so many mistakes, racking my brain and remembering all the times in my life I had been chastised for doing the same thing. Luckily, she was kind enough to listen and has been on my side through the diagnosis and everything. Had it not been for her caring enough to discuss it with me, I might have made an even bigger mistake and gotten fired. Although I chose to do therapy on my own accord, I credit her for helping me see the problem more clearly.

    It’s been tough to discuss publicly, but I know that my loved ones support me. I am a very self-conscious person and worry too much about what people will think when I bring up ADD. I watch carefully for facial expressions and eye signals, thinking they will write me off as “lazy” or “careless”, but the truth is that if they don’t have ADD themselves, they will never truly understand how debilitating it can be to go through the motions of it every single day. Losing keys (something my friends jab me about, it’s a bit of a running gag with me) or anything important sends me into a tailspin.

    After my diagnosis, I’m choosing to look at the bright side of it. I’m 24, I know that I am a bright and ambitious person, and once I get on track with this I plan on going for my dreams. No longer will ADD restrain me!

    1. I’m 31, and I’m only about two steps ahead of you.

      Get your Primary Physician ASAP. Might be best to get a reference from someone you know who has children with ADHD or has a similar experience. I’ve found that some doctors seem to think it’s just an excuse to get drugs, or think you’re exaggerating the debilitating qualities of your condition. I’ve spilled my guts enough times to know.

      But it’s SO WORTH IT. You deserve to feel better about yourself, and you won’t believe how freeing it is to be in control of your own focus. Well, more in control, anyway.

      Best of luck!

      1. I’m 34 and I got diagnosed sometime last year.

        I’ve been trying medications for over six months and so far, nothing has worked.

        I’m still in the grief and anger stages about late Dx.

        I’m so, so very frustrated by my ADHD. I just want to be a better me.

        I know medication can really help that if I find the right one, but I don’t know when that’s going to happen, and the not knowing really scares me.

        1. I know exactly how you must be feeling. It took me a while until I found the right one. And the road leading up to it is extremely frustrating. It’s also quite interesting how the milligrams work. I want to share my story with you because theres a chance you might have the right one, but need a different dose.
          My brother and I both had ADHD, and were diagnosed as kids. Both our bodys seems to really work well with one called Vyvanse.
          my little brother’s ADHD is more severe than mine and so he took 75mg of Vyvanse and I took 40mg. This is so wrong, and you most definitely should never do this, but I was in high school and thought no big deal (wasn’t thinking about the possibly illegal or “technical drug abuse” side of it) and I ran out of my prescription one day and needed my medication, the pharmacy was close so i didnt get my refill, so I took one of my brothers 75mg. I thought, if anything it was gonna be way better than my 40mg and I would be great that day. But for some reason, It felt like i didn’t even take meds that day. The 40mg was just the right dose for me and my body chemistry that the stronger pill didn’t help me as much.
          He also started me at 20mg, and that was just “eh” and we gradually up-ed it.

      2. I am blown away about how many non juveniles are getting diagnosed. Im almost positive i have been mis diagnosed and need to speak to my doc about this. My man has adhd and he says once a day, i swear you have add. I lack the hyper focus of my youth when i would rearrange my room and listen to songs to add all the lyrics to my music journal….

  9. The worst thing about ADHD is that nobody takes the time to really understand it. I don’t think like someone without it. My brain never takes the same road twice. I’m always looking for different ways to solve the task at hand. When a normal person is focusing on a single task, I’m focusing on 6,7,8 things at once, and it never shuts off. Are there times I wish I could, of course! But it’s also what makes me who I am, it’s me like it or not. I cant stand when people say this is a made up disorder, they don’t take the time to really try and learn how it affects my daily life.

      1. Great description! I’m always trying to find a new “better” way to do things.

        In the long run, I think it’s great, but people don’t understand why and they get frustrated why it takes me longer to do things sometimes. My justification is that once I find a better way to do it, it will be faster next time, which it is, but then I wanna further “optimize” the process (or other processes) again, and again.

        I love finding better ways to do things, even if it isn’t always the most efficient use of time up-front.

        1. I did this bad stocking shelves which was so mundane i think i did it different because i was not into it so my mind never bothered to remember how i did it so fast yesterday, or maybe i just switched it up so it wouldnt creep my anxiety…

  10. I feel like normal people have some sort of filter in between their conscious and subconscious mind, stopping random or irrelevant ideas from interrupting their task at hand, and people with adhd still have a filter, but it’s full of holes, and when i’m trying to do something or think, random thoughts keep leaking through the holes in the filter.

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      Thanks for your comment, Aiden.

      You’re onto something here! Our brain automatically filters out data/stimuli that’s irrelevant or not important for the task at hand, etc.

      But with ADHD, sometimes it seems like it doesn’t do the job right, or the filters got big holes in it.

      1. My filter needs to be changed cause its solid with gunky stuff, to much goes through and the anxiety wins. I shut it all down which is not good either.

    2. My grandson has been diagnosed with ADD and I am looking for an answer about how he feels and how I can help him in school. His counselor told him in a meeting that he has a choice of what he focuses on and that doesn’t really sit well with me. Your post has opened my eyes on the difference in people with ADHD and people without. Thank you so much for sharing.

  11. Having ADHD is like having a friend always talking to you inside your head. Sometimes this friend takes you into his/her own head and you don’t realize you’ve even left your own.

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  12. I can’t concentrate. It’s like trying the hardest i can but never succeeding. I am also like the example with the balloons.

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      Thanks for your comment, Evelyn!

      Nothing is more frustrating than when you work extra hard, but it doesn’t make a difference… It can be downright heartbreaking.

      I’ve made a rule for myself and it’s helped me from repeated disappointment (that is when I stick to it!), and it’s this: I can’t try harder until I try it differently.

      And if I can’t think of a different way, then I find a friend who will brainstorm with me.

  13. Have you ever had that moment when you start to search for something only to realize you’ve had it in your hand the whole time. I was talking to a friend on my phone one time and in the middle of the conversation I said “wait a minute where’s my phone?” And my friend said “uhhh did you check your hand?” And I was like… “oh yeah.” But yeah I was reading the comments that people were saying on here and I was at the part where it says people with adhd come up with the best analogies and I was like “oh yeah! I can use my filing cabinet analogy!” And then I scroll down only to find out that somebody already thought of it.(what are the odds of that by the way?) So I’m trying to come up with something else right now but I can’t focus enough to come up with anything.(go figure) But whether it’s selective hearing (which can be a curse or a blessing depending on the situation) or you start to think about something and your mind decides to randomly change the channel on you and your like “hey! I was watching that!” Adhd is definitely a challenging mental affliction to have. I have little to no patience with anything I’m not interested in but I’m easily entertained by some of the most trivial and redundant activities. I have issues with pacing when I’m in deep thought but on the plus side I’m getting exercise. I think up multitudes of topics, ideas, and philosophies but forget them two seconds later. I constantly need to be doing something with my hands or I’ll go absolutely bonkers. And then there’s times when I go into hyper drive and I decide to do something like go for a walk but as I’m walking to the door to go outside I go into a hyperspace out and start to think about something else and all of the sudden I’m like “what was I doing again?…and wheres my damn phone!?” But at the end of the day (that is if your mind let’s your day end) your adhd isn’t going to go away. The best thing to do is embrace it and develop coping strategies that will benefit you in the long run. Medication might help too. By the way this comment took me hours to write because of various distractions (squirrel!) And at one point I completely forgot I was writing a comment in the first place. Lol

    1. Post

      Wes, thanks for laying out so many experiences in your comment.

      Your example about how hard it is to have patience for anything you’re not interested in– how terribly (and at times torturously) true!

      Also, there was a campaign on kickstarter (check it out here) not too long ago that featured a new kind of fidget toy.

      It had a modest goal $15,000, but then it exploded, and by the the end, it had amassed over $6,000,000 of support! Apparently you’re not the only one who has the constant need to be doing something with your hands. 🙂

    2. I always have to many things in my hands, keys, phone, vape, drink, bag tucked under my arm while i dig through it to get my sunglasses, but the bag never freaking ends! I made a joke and just started saying ‘ive got to many things in my hands’ in a special agh! My life voice!

  14. I feel like machine sometimes. I feel like once I start something I can’t stop until I’m complete. Some people have trouble sleeping because their mind is always running. My mind and my body is running so much all day that when my head hits the pillow, I’m out in less than 3 min. because I’m exhausted.
    I have trouble in conversations because my mind is going so fast that I interrupt people or change the subject because I have so many things going on in my head that I want to say.
    When I drive, I’m all over the place because I get bored so I look around just to pass the time.
    I have little or no patience because if something I’m doing is boring or someone I’m talking to is boring me, I’m ready to check out and move on to the next thing.
    I feel like a freak sometimes because I’m like a car out of control all over the place.

    1. Post
      1. Hi my names trent I’ve struggled with adhd throughout my life only just being recognized and diagnosed at 27 like most of you I have a thirst for knowledge and its allowed me to asses situations and people in great detail.dont get me wrong the impulsive nature and unintended emotional outbursts happen from time to time and sometime can last 10 minutes to days but because of my resilience to never give up I’ve always soldiered through.ive accomplished many skills each one.linked to another in one way or another lol I’m scaffolding atm and work with alot of rough tempermented and close minded individuals who are quick to assume me having no focus and lack of memory defines me as being their words stupid, but you see I understand how education works and how intelligence is measured mostly by general knowledge. But I have worked out how what we see intelligence is measured in reality which is experience you can read what you like and have a basic understanding on how a task or problem is solved then experiencing the said problem or task goes hand in hand then a third aspect is added which is wisdom knowing what works and what doesnt in different ways to assimulate the best action at hat given time . This is the guide line (wisdom) equation I have come up with and then still I would say I could be wrong as everything is a interesting hypothesis until proven otherwise.sorry about my rant that was my hyper focus kicking in back to where I left off I still struggle but having understanding of how everything works makes things much easier to deal with I’m having anxiety as I write this about tomorrow and how I will be tormented by my working peers even though I know I realise my inabilities at given times because my emotions are hyper sensitive without control and embarrassment also plays a part on top of being ridiculed on top.of the guilt I will let them down and myself at the same time the hatred and anger because they dont understand and I want to hurt them and then remorse because I would let them win and then anger again because I wasn’t stronger and then sadness because I mite not ever be able to have a full day of being consistent and keeping focus and the cycle back over again fun stuff lol

    2. Yes I feel that way and when I get bored at mundane work assignments I go on auto pilot for that task making mistakes because my brain is elsewhere thinking of more entertaining thoughts or even what’s for dinner then 50 other things pop in my head so I turn in my work and there’s mistakes. When I look at the mistakes they give back I think I’m not that stupid how did I miss that. I struggle every day it’s hard to focus its hard to stay on one task. I always thought that’s how everyone was but was better at fixing thier errors before turning in work. I didn’t know that you can have clear thoughts….I never had that even writing this I had to stop a few times.

  15. Diagnosed in the last 3 months (at 33). I described it to my mom as running a gauntlet: I have a thought that I need to follow to the end for it to be useful, so I start running. As soon as I do, the people on the sides (me) start throwing rocks (thoughts) at me trying to knock me off course. I have to run so fast it’s exhausting, and even then I get thrown off to the side at least half the time. So that but x100000000 because how many thoughts are in a day?

    Mundane or non-interactive tasks are SO agitating. Any time I feel bored (which is any time I’m not at least 95% fully mentally engaged) it feels like a vice is being tightened on my brain and I’m just this wound up spring waiting to pop up. It’s physically uncomfortable.

    I can never learn from mistakes. I can’t set goals. I am late every single day and every single day I promise myself that tomorrow will be different. I commit to a goal 300% and by mid afternoon I can’t remember why I even set it. It’s like I can’t hold on to anything mentally.

    When I’m engaged, it’s so wonderful. My brain is so curious and pattern-seeking, it jumps from one thing to another and sees everything all at once. I have this phenomenonal energy and drive and passion, and it’s like the buzzing has stopped and a veil has been lifted and I’m really MYSELF. Those moments are such a relief.

    1. Post

      Wow, what an engaging description. And wow, what a big thing to get diagnosis.

      Diagnosis can be a different experience for different people, but what was it like for you? Was it positive or negative? Are you trying medication for treatment?

    2. One of the most distressing and unfair things I’ve learned about ADD is “there is no learning curve”. That’s one of many things that seem improbable, even to us ADDers. Much less

      to those in our vicinity, affected by our most recent ( much less collective) episode that negatively affected them., too. Seems we have the one diagnosis that is a myth or a joke to those unaffected. At best, regulation people will never understand the devastation we feel . Furthermore, try to name another diagnosis that requires so many apologies, even tho it was our best effort. There are assumptions about our behavior that are wrong and hurtful. Maybe worse, plenty of them are our own, directed at ourselves. At 66, a therapist suggested self compassion. Who’d have thot of that?! I should have written this using me and I instead of acting like it’s all of our experience but to change it would take hours and writing this is, of course not what I’m supposed to be doing. See how you are?

  16. Diagnosis is complicated. In a way it’s such an enormous relief to be told that all these “failings” I’ve been struggling to overcome for 30 years aren’t my fault after all.

    Along with that there’s disbelief – the feeling that I don’t REALLY have ADHD and am just using it as an excuse (even though I completely identify with everything everyone has said here and sleep just fine on moderate doses of stimulants).

    I’m trying medication and some counseling too. The meds are amazing – I feel like they untie your hands from behind your back so that you can at least participate in the fight – but they aren’t a cure all and I think there are a lot of patterns and coping and defense mechanisms to work through. On that note, letting some of that defense is actually really hard, because it makes me realize what intense denial I was holding onto and how debilitating some of the symptoms actually are.

    I think with that there’s a bit of anger. I’m pissed off that no one noticed sooner, that certain things were so hard when maybe they didn’t have to be.

    So yes, complicated but positive 🙂

  17. It’s kinda like watching 100 televisions at once. I didn’t read all this post because my mind won’t allow it. Things will pop into your mind without a moments notice. I had to get off of Facebook because I would worry about everything that was happening to other ppl. Ppl with ADHD have pretty much a super brain.

  18. Half the time when I think, it’s like an avalanche. I can start on one idea, say for instance, “I need to meet up with people at 3 pm.” Then suddenly I have ideas of oh what else is there to do before, and then it turns into did i forgot anything, and then finally i forgot what i was thinking about in the first place.

  19. At age 66 I’m feeling more and more like the gears in my head are stripped and my brain keeps slipping into neutral. Unless hyperfocused on a task, I honestly don’t know what I am thinking or feeling; I’m simply functioning on auto pilot.
    It’s increasingly more frightening and most days I’m certain I’m loosing it and then there will be a day where I’m confident and in control. It’s a horrible way of life and I refuse to go back on medication as that creates a scenario whereby I never sleep; which is another different neutral state of mind.
    My wife is now seeing a therapist in an attempt to hone her skills in loving and living with a person with ADD. My persona has changed and my wife describes me best with the lyrics in the Pink Floyd song — I’ve become comfortably numb. Seems my emotions are subdued and the days of highs and lows have been replaced by the auto pilot zombie.
    I have an amazing life and loving family and this affliction is becoming more debilitating each day. I saw this in my mother and before her death, doctors were treating her for dementia. I now know what it was and fear I am heading to the same place.

    1. It’s strange with our age difference, but I’m 25 and this actually sounds like how things have been for me the past couple of years. I wasn’t diagnosed until 24, and it was mainly when thinking of when I was younger that I’d relate to a lot of the “sped up”/emotionally reactive type symptoms. It took me a bit to realize that they’ve now just been suppressed (by depression/unfitting meds/who knows) and my mind is just a fuzzy mess most of the time so I’m not as acutely aware of it all. I relate so much to some ADHD experiences I hear but then don’t relate to others and end up doubting I have ADHD, but it’s when I hear experiences like yours that I really relate as far as my current experience of (probably)ADHD.

      I know this was posted a while back and you may not see this, but I hope things are improving and wish you the best.

      1. This is exactly how I feel! I’m 27 and I was diagnosed with inattentive ADHD last month. Your comment is exactly how I feel at the moment. I feel like the depression I’ve been in for several years now has made my mind numb. Have you come across anything that has been helpful for you?

        1. I identify tremendously to this as well. I am 24 and have been searching for anything and everything that can be remotely helpful. The depression and anxiety I have seems to be effecting my mind increasing more over time and I haven’t found anything that’s helpful (even switching different meds, therapy, etc.) so I am interested to know if anyone has found anything that has been helpful to them also.

    2. I was diagnosed with ADHD longer ago than I can remember. Imagine that! The thing that helps me most is adrenaline. I was a firefighter/paramedic for many years. I lived for the natural adrenaline high of doing emergency work. The adrenaline gave me focus. I am retired now and seeing a psychiatrist once a month. I take 30 mg of Ritlan per day. It helps me focus though not as good as when I was with the FD. Every six months or so my psych ups the dosage because of the fade effect of Ritlan. Basically I deal with my ADHD like I would deal with having only one arm; I adapt. I find other ways to accomplish tasks. I try not to take things too seriously. I know that some people may see me as “different” and realize it’s not because of me as a person it’s because me with an annoying disability that I am doing my best to cope with. Can I get an Amen?

    3. I was diagnosed with ADHD longer ago than I can remember. Imagine that! The thing that helps me most is adrenaline. I was a firefighter/paramedic for many years. I lived for the natural adrenaline high of doing emergency work. The adrenaline gave me focus. I am retired now and seeing a psychiatrist once a month. I take 30 mg of Ritlan per day. It helps me focus though not as good as when I was with the FD. Every six months or so my psych ups the dosage because of the fade effect of Ritlan. Basically I deal with my ADHD like I would deal with having only one arm; I adapt. I find other ways to accomplish tasks. I try not to take things too seriously. I know that some people may see me as “different” and realize it’s not because of me as a person it’s because me with an annoying disability that I am doing my best to cope with. Can I get an Amen?

  20. I’m a high achieving student and athlete, between so many obligations and a recently failed relationship I am stressed to the point that trying to focus is physically painful and difficult. I have identified with almost every analogy and explanation on this page, it’s become a source of empathy when I feel like no one else understand the wonderful and terrible intricacies of ADHD.

    However, nobody has really discussed the issues of medication. Medication is the difference between me being a C student or top of my class, but it’s not a miracle pill. The drug comes at the steep cost of my personality. I am normally witty, energetic, social and always smiling. When medicated I focus almost as well as my peers (still below average as stated by other contributors) , but it becomes incredibly difficult to express emotions, engage socially, entertain, or even smile(you can imagine how this makes dating impossible until I take a medication holiday over the summer). Strangely, I am still just as intrinsically happy! I just can’t express it.

    The metaphor I use is this…. imagine standing in a dark room, a light shining down on you (my inner mind). Now you really want to interact with the world: talk, joke, flirt, smile but instead you’re just watching through a one way glass window, desperately wishing someone could see your smile. You can communicate dryly, like tapping out messages in code for those on the other side to hear. But the tapping doesn’t sound energetic like you meant, it’s angry. It’s not calm, it’s serious. It’s not relaxed, it’s sad. Most people misread my tone and emotions when I’m medicated except my closest friends who I cherish because they can decipher “the tapping” with a glance of the eye. As if they can see back through my one way window. They don’t pretend to understand what I’m going through but they earnestly care and try to….

    I kinda went off on a tangent 🙂 suppose that’s typical of me. Anyway, I continue to take the medication because my confidence and pride is tied to my ability to succeed, which in a mundane school environment requires focus. But every day I have to choose: which personality will lead to fulfilment: “chaotic social lovely adhd” or “zombified laser focus efficiency”?

    1. Hey there,

      You may not see this comment because you posted this so long ago but on the off-chance you do, you should try checking out this video on YouTube by Dr. Russell Barkley, who is a leading ADHD researcher. He discusses how different medications for ADHD work and why the effect you described is sometimes noticed with the stimulant medications. He advocates that it is better to be on a low dose of a stimulant and a low dose of a non-stimulant than it is to be on a high dose of a stimulant and no non-stimulant at all. This is because the stimulants are really great at helping you with the “cold cognitions” that are often the focus of medication treatment. However, to have the best impact on those cold cognitions, some people need a high dose of a stimulant to get there. This can sometimes have a dampening effect on your mood, emotions, spirit, etc. Now, it is doesn’t mean you should completely go off of a stimulant medication, it might just mean that the stimulant is too high for you. A compromise would be to lower your stimulant medication dosage so that there is less negative side effect on your mood and try adding a non-stimulant medication (e.g., Strattera/atomoxetine or Intuniv/guanfacine) which is in effect 24 hours per day (rather than just during the day like the stimulant medication) and affects different neurotransmitter systems. This can result in a similar level of improvement for the “cold cognitions” but not eliminate or dampen your “hot cognitions” like your mood and emotions. Check out the video – Dr. Barkley can explain it better than I can! I hope this helps anyone reading this thread.

      1. Very helpful, at 64 I have struggled with ADD since grade school in the 60’s. Not a great deal of knowledge base or support at that time. I was a little girl put in the back of class rooms by teachers who labeled me unintelligent, stupid etc. thus a roller coaster of complete self loathing,
        Confusion and over all depressed I could not catch up or communicate with my peers.
        The rest of the story is similar with those who have already shared their stories. Today I still weep with lost opportunities,
        No chance of college or achievements in any other scholastic venues. Which by the way trumps almost every area of life.
        A very very sad freefall existence that is horrific and shaming. I’ve never really talked to anyone about it or taken any medications. Early on my parents did not have a clue and primarily no financial options to research. More or
        less it is a quiet hidden place of desperation.
        I just go through the motions skirting around the difficulties day after day.

        1. I’ve watched my daughter got through that urs heart braakkng no one listens they kept saying she’s naughty but no one listen now 19 no schooling and baby on way. She’s finally getting help after me being sectioned and having a breakdown I feel for everyone in here. There’s still not enough help and is blamed on other things

  21. Yes, Medication! It’s a gold key when you can’t focus on an exercise plan, or find the time for it (as a 40 hr./wk. employee, all-the-time mom, & wife) -there’s just no time for me). I was diagnosed 10 yrs. into adulthood. A year after my son was diagnosed, I found myself putting the milk away -in the cupboard, & that’s when the lightbulb turned on. When I began my medication (no feelings of extra happiness or ‘zombie’ mode), it felt like: for 10 years, my wrist was chained to my waste/ankles. I could never stand up straight, I could never reach my hand up to grab my goal (which really hit hard because an adolescent I could do whatever I put my mind to). The medication BROKE MY CHAINS! I could stand tall, and excel at work. I get teary-eyed every time I revisit that amazing moment in my life. That’s my analogy about medication. And that’s why I eventually shared my diagnosis, and have been slowly bringing awareness and shutting stigmatism down, one comment at a time. 🙂 One post at a time.

  22. Hi my name is Michael. I’m a 14 year old in 8th grade and i had ADHD/ADD for my entire life.
    Having ADHD is a very difficult thing to explain on what it feels like. Imagine a billion nukes bouncing around in your body and you have to stay still.
    (which is nearly impossible) You have to focus on one thing and everything thing around is so interesting to look at accept that one thing. it’s like someone put a mint in a coke gallon and your the coke gallon about to explode. And don’t even get me started with the day dreaming.
    I zone out so easily it’s scary. And the worst part is while people are talking in my day dream. I talk out loud without even realizing it making people think i’m crazy. Simple 5 minute tasks can take about 30 minutes. Sometimes I’m carrying one specific thing in my hand and I forget it’s in my hand so I look around my house for 5 minutes until realize it was in my hand the whole time. Recently, I was prescribed medication to help me focus, and i have been noticing the effects!
    i can focus better and I’m not easily distracted. But when I’m on it I dont feel like my normal self.
    normally without it I feel super happy and like talking to people. But when i’m on it i feel really mellowed out and people think i’m high on pot on how mellowed out i am. Also, I’m extremely impulsive.
    Ask anyone, I’m not a bad kid, I dont curse off teachers, get in fights, do drugs,
    I just do really stupid things without thinking on what would happen. for ex in 3rd grade i got stuck in a laundry shoot, in 4th grade i got my head suck in a bench, this year I got my shoe stuck on the school roof, in 5th grade I brought a horse mask to school, and many many more.
    But all this all this relates to my ADHD according to the doctor.
    At this point I’m really scared about my condition.
    I fear that i will have it as a adult and not be able to hold a job and my impulsive thoughts and not be able to support myself.
    Hopefully a miracle happens.. -_-

    1. MIchael,
      There’s nothing for you to worry about. As you get older, you’ll how to control yourself better and realize that your mind is brilliant. Once you realize how brilliant your mind is and embrace it, you’ll come to realize that “inner voice”, was right all along; then wonder what took you so long to see something, that has been in front of your face all along<3

    2. Hi, I understand exactly who you are and exactly what you’re going through .Though through the life of my almost 15 year old son, he also became what I would describe as mute on Concerta, Vyvanse and Ritalin which also made him feel sick and would not eat. Billy is his name and he is exhausting, I think for him, have to do for him many things unlike my other children and know I will always be looking out for him. Billy has not been medicated for 1 year now because of growth issues and the family has to cope with the way the ADHD mind works, he is disciplined and exempted differently to his his brother and sister. Billy is now homeschooling because school was useless, too many distractions and constant detenentions, has learnt very little because of this different wired brain..teachers do not understand it and give no leniency for it, teachers should be more educated(We are from Australia) not sure what country you are posting from. After all is said Billy is a happy teenager who thrives on things that he’s passionate about, shows great insight and problem solving..if you catch him at the right time, struggles with anxiety with anything new, has anger issues (mostly with me because ITS EXHAUSTING being a mother of an adhd child) yet he is extremely likeable with a funny and very different outlook on things, which makes you sit back and think huh I never thought of it like that, which makes people smile and laugh…It’s a world in which you only understand the depth of complications but also wonderful differences unless you have it or you have a compassion for your child who has it , to help them better understand their world and be commited to helping them thrive in it….. It’s REALLY terrifying, but let us get all aboard for the ride.

  23. What I feel with ADHD is having one think that I can focus on for multiple day or week periods, but only focus on for 5 minute periods. I know it doesn’t make sense, but if you have ADHD, I think you’ll get it. For a solid week, I will be working on a project for a few minutes at a time, regardless of what I should be focusing on. That’s what other people have talked about with being hyperfocused on something. To steal the computer analogy, it’s like only one app working properly for like a week. The other part is only being able to focus on that project or whatever I’m managing to focus on instead for a few minutes without thinking of something unrelated. Back to the computer analogy, it’s like that single app that works for a week crashes every 5 minutes, and in its place, 10 other tabs or apps open, and the app shortcut gets deleted from your desktop.

  24. The way I best exemplify my symptoms are in the use of AM/FM radios. Between large cities that are near one another, multiple radio transmissions (with similar frequencies) are received by radios and publish the scattered information to the people that are tuned in. Sporadic unwanted messages constantly pour in at varying volumes and languages. The scrambled information makes it extremely difficult to focus on only one portion of the broadcast, much less anything else that the person may be doing at the time such as driving in traffic.

  25. The best way to describe what is happening within the thoughts of my mind is to view the brain as a type of machine. This machine (my brain) has multiple constantly revolving chains and working each chain is its own thought or task/reminder. When I’m thinking I often bounce from one of these constantly moving chains (think of them as bike chains while being rode) and when I get back into that thought it’s already moving. Almost like stepping onto a treadmill that is already turned on a brisk walking pace. Sometimes I can easily grab onto each chain or thoughts and go back and forth between different chain thoughts without missing a beat. I can keep track and know exactly where I was in so many different thoughts and go back into it and resume where I left off. Then there are days where I’m having a hard time and focusing isn’t easy. I almost can visualize myself trying to grasp those thought chains while they are rotating, but each time I reach out to grab on the chain slips out of reach. I try my hardest to get into that thought. Sometimes if it fails I will reach for another thought and come short again. Then it’s like each time I reach out they all keep slipping away. And my mind will finally give up and stay blank. Usually I will have a minute of relief that my mind can finally rest. But then a feeling of disappointment and wondering what is wrong with me follows.

  26. I’ve had it my whole life (I’m 29) and the best analogy I can give anyone who doesn’t have to deal with ADD is this:

    Imagine you’re looking one direction, you are 100% interested in what you’re looking at but your eyes start to go to the right because something different is over there. But then you realize what you’re doing and make them look back at the first thing in the middle. Then after a minute or less your eyes start looking to the left, so you remind yourself to look back at the middle. Then, without realizing it, you have done this a hundred times and never noticed that the thing you were looking at in the middle left 10 minutes ago.

    Imagine that happening every day no matter what you are doing and tell me again why you think I didn’t finish the test in class.

    1. That is bang-on lol totally identify with that analogy plus add in a super anxious and self conscious feeling because u know you’re gonna screw it up, AGAIN

  27. I only just got a diagnosis earlier this year (at 33) and I’m still coming to terms with what that entails. On the one hand, it’s good to have an explanation for the scatteredness of my head, but on the other hand, I’m terrified that I’ll never be able to change. I think I’m finding it particularly stressful because I’m preparing for grad school and I know I have a really hard road ahead of me. I feel like I’m forever letting people down because I just can’t work the way they do, and I have a lot of fear that this way of thinking is going to preclude me from the life I want to live.

    I also deal with depression so I have the competing brain activity of lack of motivation and fatigue, while at the same time what feels like five people having a conversation in my head all trying to get my attention. It’s incredibly frustrating because it doesn’t seem to matter how interesting I find something – if it requires extended focus (like reading an article) I just can’t get through it. I’m an incredibly slow reader because I have to focus so hard just to stop my mind from wandering off down another rabbit hole. And this is for things I’m interested in! Which is great when you are brainstorming, but really shitty when you need to knuckle down and actually read for comprehension. A number of times I’m in a lab meeting and I say the words: “I read about xyz… /some vague description of the paper/… but I can’t remember what paper it was, or who wrote it”. I swear, I spend more time trying to go back and find the thing that interested me and was relevant than actually producing anything useful.

    My hyper-focus moments go towards things that I shouldn’t be doing, like reading an entire comment thread on a facebook post when I only wanted to check an event for location details, or completely re-organising the garage because I thought it looked messy when I went to get extra toilet paper. I imagine for non-ADHD procrastinators they are aware they are avoiding something. They have a voice in their head telling them, “you should go work on your paper now, not repaint the guest room”. But my ADHD procrastination isn’t like that. My voice has completely forgotten I was going to write a paper today and is now emphatically encouraging me to do this new thing.

  28. it’ll be kinda hard explaining what it’s like for me because i suffer of adhd & often have a bad time explaining & staying on one topic. school is the hardest. my teacher constantly calls me out on my eyes focusing on something else besides what she’s saying. its very embarrassing for me & ill catch myself doing it over & over again. the only thing that makes focusing easier is if i have constant movement. also ill spend 10 minutes trying to decide what i want to drink at a restaurant haha. don’t think having adhd will get in the way of whatever you’re trying to achieve. everything is just as possible. adhd or not ((:

  29. Does anyone else have extreme lack of focus while driving? Sometimes I am so in my head I feel like I am looking at things through a foggy window and my brain is elsewhere. I am driving safely but on an auto pilot mode while having conversations about random things bouncing from one topic to the next and I almost have to smack myself back into focus at times. Chewing gum while I drive helps me to stay present and not Wonder off but I am wondering if it is something others have experienced.

    1. That’s why I choose not to drive: I know that I can’t pay attention to so much at once time, and if I screw up and hit the wrong peddle, or I get distracted singing to my favorite song on the radio, I could seriously injure or kill someone.

  30. I’m curious to hear if other people can relate to this: For me, my ADD is most apparent when communicating with other people. It gets to a point where I literally cannot hear people or make meaningful connections, and it is so incredibly frustrating. I am beginning to wonder if it is solely ADD, or if it is accompanied by some kind of separate anxiety disorder. Oftentimes, the symptoms of anxiety and ADD are the same, so it is difficult to know. But this is how it is for me: You know how when you have your ADD under control–whether it’s due to medication, meditation, exercise, or an occasional moment where your brain inexplicably ISN’T racing a thousand miles an hour–you can hear people much more effortlessly? You’re still thinking fast, but you’re able to comfortably speak with people. And then when it’s back… it’s like I’m picking out individual words from someone’s sentence with tweezers, trying to align them together and make sense of what they’re saying. And it doesn’t matter whether this is a total stranger or a close family member. In fact, it’s worse with people I’m close with, because I feel a heightened responsibility to receive everything they’re saying. And any frustration with this completely exacerbates the whole experience. The second I start to realize my thoughts are racing, a ping-pong effect ensues, sort of like this:
    “What did they just say?”
    – “It’s okay, you don’t have to hear every single thing.”
    “You should say something.”
    – “You don’t HAVE to say anything.”
    “So I have nothing to say?”
    – “Of course not, you can if you want, but don’t feel the pressure to entertain anyone. Just listen.”
    “But I can’t listen.”
    – “Just shut up. Think LESS. Stop trying to figure it out.”
    “Maybe I should start taking medication again.”
    – “You’re getting better though! The meditation and counseling has really been helping.”
    “Okay, what did they just say?”
    – “I missed it. Just relax.”
    “I feel so rude. They probably think I’m not listening to them.”
    – “Well, you’re not.”

    I feel like if I can be comfortable with the fact that I won’t hear much, I am able to operate socially much better, but as soon as my brain STARTS thinking about thinking, or I have another negative emotion like sadness or frustration from the get-go, the whole thing turns into a downward spiral. Does anyone else have this? Thanks!

    1. This is the bane of being social, i describe it as the moment i wan’t to say something in a convesation my mind fills up with:
      Well is this wording rigth? How will they take it? how many ways can it be misunderstood, oh hehe can they overstood it and what did they stood on in the first place?? Wait i was about to say something, but like now one sec has passed so it’s to late. No it’s not, but now i am just being awkward, no i am not but what was it i was gonna say???
      another person takes the word, but now i remember what i had to say, should i just say it now? or wait?? but will it fit in then? and now i am not even listening anymore.

      And that’s just the first second, (thred (123) stop it brain!(but it is a little fun)) and so it goes with most things…
      Aaaand there are the days where my hands and feet are bound up by thouts i know are shit but in bed i stay…

  31. My son was about 2 years old at the time. I piped up in a crowded room in a panic, “Has anyone seen where Noah went!” EVERYONE in the room started howling with laughter. I was holding him with my one arm the entire time and somehow completely forgot.

    Pretty much sums it up for me.

  32. I’m researching this because I’m in a relationship with a wonderful man, who told me recently that he doesn’t feel like I ever want to have a meaningful conversation. He said I just trail off or change the subject. At first I was defensive and mad, but have since realized that he’s right. No matter how hard I try, I don’t seem to really consume what I’m watching/reading/hearing. And so then I’ve spent that time, but can’t bring away anything meaningful to incorporate into a conversation. I don’t know how long it’s been this way, but I realize that I have the same issue with work. It takes me forever to finish projects because I’m not consuming/processing what I’m reading anymore. It wasn’t always like this…I don’t think.
    I took some of the tests online, and I have so many of the symptoms. I don’t even know what my next step should be?

    1. I’d say your next step is talking to your primary care physician. If their office isn’t equipped to test you, they should be able to point you to somewhere that can. I went directly to a psychiatrist who specializes in adult ADHD, you might look it up and see if there is someone like that in your area! I haven’t tried medication yet (I am bull-headed and want to battle it out on my own), but it might be something you can talk to your doctor about, if you are diagnosed and want to try. I’ve found behavioral therapy extremely helpful (or something like that, I forgot the official name…). A good therapist can help you find a lot more self-awareness and gives you “natural” coping mechanisms that can help you out with anxiety and stuff that the medicine won’t fix. I wish you all the best!!

  33. Your mind is the unbeatable beast, and you’re the tamer.

    No matter how aware of the situation you may be, you can’t control or tame the thoughts that cross your mind, sometimes your own brain is fighting your every will to actually do the stuff that you need to do, other times it feels as if you’ve formed a temporary truce, and become a powerhouse of productivity, but one wrong move could set you back into a full on war.

    I had several other ways to word it that were a lot better than that, but It doesn’t seem I’m capable of putting them to words, because I’m not sure if I can remember them at all.

    1. This is exactly right! And I have to keep moving because I feel like if I don’t then that monster will absolutely destroy me! It’s the same way with impulsivity. I know I shouldn’t do something(i.e text someone 6 times in a row) and I tell myself that I won’t. 10 minutes later, I’ve done exactly what I said I wasnt going to do and wondering why the hell I did it!
      It’s really exhausting, because my minds moving at a 100000000mph and I just can;t keep up. Trying to explain it to anyone is almost worse because it comes out sounding like an excuse or a cop out. At the end of the day I am exhausted! Just worn out.
      I’m 35 and was diagnosed at the beginning of this year and it has been a struggle between all the new knowledge, the medication trials and just life in general. I have a lot of friends that have ADHD and its great but it’s hard to explain and the shame that comes with it makes it hard as well to people that do not have it. I’ve lost relationships to this because when people say they understand at first, it’s great. But then it rears it’s ugly head and there it goes.
      I’m seeing a therapist and currently taking 36mg of Concerta and trying to make sense of it and these comments make me feel like I’m not alone!

  34. To describe ADHD for me, imagine that your mind is a house. Outside the house, there are people to chat with, places to go and things to do. Inside the house is your own personal sanctuary with things to personalize, organize, and chill with. “Normal” people can leave the house, talk to neighbors, and shop for groceries at normal intervals, then return home and enjoy a coffee in the evening. I, on the other hand, frequently find myself locked out of my house or locked in for uncomfortable periods of time.

    I’ll connect this to reality then. On the days I am “locked out,” I am a super extroverted, crazy chatterbox, and find it really hard to slow down. Then, if it starts “raining,” (i.e. I realize that I’ve gone too far and embarrassed myself), I can’t just stop and retreat. I desperately desire the safety of my sanctuary, but I am locked out. I’ve just started warning people and saying “hey, I really don’t know if I’m going too far sometimes. If I’m making a monkey of myself, I give you complete permission to stop me. No social shenanigans needed here, just let me know!” Giving people permission to acknowledge that I’m different helps to set everyone at ease and makes it a lot less awkward!

    Other days, it’s like the door is jammed in my mind-house. I can see the neighbors chatting outside, see them going about their day and being productive, but I can’t join them. In real life, on the days I am “locked in,” I am super spacey (or hyper-focused) and overwhelmed with the pressure of everyday activities to the point where I don’t even want to leave my room. I really need to get things done, but I am locked in. On days like these, I can’t ask for help. All I can do is hope that the people around me are merciful enough to give a girl a break.

    This complicates the way I have to approach things like daily chores, friendships, appointments, and personal time, but it has also made me more empathetic to the struggles of people around me, and more merciful when people have an “off day.” Like, I feel you bro, maybe more than you think.

  35. Imagine you’re in your apartment. There’s unopened mail on the table, you have no idea what to make for dinner, a light bulb went out, and you haven’t returned your friend’s text message. Also, the apartment is on fire. You change the light bulb.

    1. OH MY GOODNESS!! Yes, this is a great explanation and no I can not explain why I changed the light bulb instead of putting out the fire. No wonder people think I am crazy from the outside looking in.

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  36. i feel with my adhd that im stuck in sinking sand- i will have one , maybe two things that i want to get done such as painting or writing on what im going threw and i just cant seem to do it…im constantly getting thrown off by s stupid crump on the floor or ill see something that i want to get done cuz it bothers me wich distracts me from what i was going to do-Paint! and the i remember other things so i need to write them down just so i dont forget about them….and the fact that no one in my life can understand just why its so hard to say “hell with all that crap and just sit and paint” and yet i cant either….really sucks-they get to get away from me- i dont….if i walk to store-brain is right there, even if im trying to sleep-hours of my brain just goin on and on,,,,alot of time i wish i never would of tried medication for adhd-yes it brought me in the moment and helped me concentrate but just didnt work with my body…..lost effects in 6 weeks-vyvanse, then strattera-anxiety and depression and hives all over face, then adderall xr and ir- totally worst headahces, cant go out in heat longer than 20 min at a time and i got a toddler so good luck with that- and now im on ritalin-after asking for focalin….i have tbi pdst as well as adhd-who knows maybe throw sum depression in their too….just tired of the side effeects from meds and the chaos it caused with my family

  37. Yes Ray! This is so spot on! I feel like there is always a list of things to do and prioritizing things in a way that makes sense to me but to others it seems very backwards. I get physical urges (like little twitches) to go do different things that along with the thoughts, but usually I just think through them all until committing to the decision which isn’t always easy to make.

  38. This article is excellent. I found this when I Googled a search for ADHD metaphors, with which I plan to use to help explain my ADHD brain to my family. … One that I am considering originates from Jurassic Park, when Dennis Nedry goes on his rant about how debugging the tour program while their VIP guests are out in the park is a bad idea because “it will eat a lot of compute cycles,” causing the system to “compile for half an hour.” … Similar to Pat’s open tabs analogy, it feels like the ADHD brain is like a computer that is always busy running a lot of background tasks which eat up a lot of compute cycles. Each brain (whether ADHD or not) has only so much processing power. The problem for the ADHD brain is that it is always diverting a large portion of its processing power to millions of thoughts firing behind the scenes, in the unconscious mind.

  39. Hey! I’m not sure if you have already, but you should talk to your doctor about possibly trying a different medication. Because when I read this, it reminded me of when I took Ritalin-the first medication I tried. I was myself but without my personality basically. I ended up just stopping the medication because I missed laughing and being who I really was. It wasn’t until recently that I began taking Adderall because I was tired of constantly being judged at work by my coworkers. Since I was so sporadic and would literally stop mid sentence and forget what I was JUST talking about, the rumors just flew that I was on drugs (crack, coke, meth), and I have no backbone so I internalized everything and just had a breakdown. It took some adjusting at first with the dose and type but I take instant release 20mg twice a day and it’s amazing. Like all of the medication for ADHD, it doesn’t make all my ADHD tendencies go away, but it helps me focus better and best of all, I can carry a whole conversation with someone…and I used to be bad about just blurting out random things (like thinking out loud) and that’s rare now. Just a thought!

  40. Honey I’m 30 and my ADHD is so severe without medication and moderately controlled with. However, I’ve worked at my job both without and with medication. Don’t let that worry you, you’ll be just fine! Just find something you’re compassionate about and holding down that job won’t be hard. For me, managing my ADHD is hard sometimes, but I’ve been working as a CNA in a nursing home for almost 13 years. I hope this helps you even if it’s just a little!

  41. I got diagnosed when I was 25.

    I went to the psychologist because of depression, but she suddenly asked ‘why haven’t you been tested for ADHD’?
    And I told her that because I never had any issues when I was younger, the option ‘ADHD’ had always been swept off the table. Turns out, my parents raised me and my sisters with so much order and discipline, that I never experienced any real difficulties until I started university. I was just considered to be ‘a bit wild and forgetful’.

    Anyway, when I got the diagnosis, I was so happy.
    Finally, I could explain to my parents and sisters that my brain works in a different way.
    And me being ‘all over the place’ has nothing to do with being lazy, or irresponsible, or not trying hard enough.

    I explained it like this:
    You’re all labradors, and you keep telling me: “Just jump into the water, quickly swim across, and get the ball”.
    But… I’m a dachshund.

  42. ADHD is like a scene in The Andromeda Strain (1971). At a certain point in the film the computer becomes overloaded and displays the error code 601 (because there is too much information coming in too quickly). Getting a ‘601’ moment reduces my functional ability from its normal zombie like state to that of a snail.
    A simpler way of illustrating what ADHD is like is to watch the Monty Python sketch ‘Spam’.

    My hyperfocus is a slave-like devotion to a task or activity that could easily be left to another day such as tidying the garage or reorganizing the storage boxes under my bed. I don’t need to do these things, but once I’ve started virtually nothing will stop me from doing them.
    An example of being in hyperfocus mode was when I was painting a shed panel prior to assembly, and a nearby breeze-block fell onto my foot (I’d nudged it without looking). I knew instantly that I’d broken my big toe, but I was so engrossed in what I was painting that it was another half an hour before I stopped. And by then it was a struggle to get my shoe off due to the pain and swelling.

    BTW, it has taken me over an hour to write this. Just like Debbie (JUNE 6, 2017 AT 1:38 AM) says, I went “wandering off down another rabbit hole”.

  43. @Rachele Thank you. It feels good to know im not alone with experiencing that side-effect. I’ve read about a phenomenon called “rebounding” and also agree that I’m probably om the wrong medicine or dosage. My only issue is it can be so difficult to play with different medications and treatments during a time in my life where maintaining test scores and grades determines my future. The one thing I’ve learned that helps is keeping a log and writing down all my thoughts.

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  44. To me, having ADHD is like trying to kick a coked-out puppy, not knowing that it will explode and summon a bunch of clones of itself upon impact.

    Normal people just pet the puppy. But no, not people with ADHD. We get angry and frustrated because WHY IS THE PUPPY BARKING? So we deal with whatever is frustrating us (even if it makes ZERO sense that it would be annoying at all…admittedly) in a way that, while effective for us, may not be best for those around us (or even ourselves). We worry so much about mundane, normal stuff that we just lose it and freak out about everything at once, often by making bad decisions. Those decisions usually backfire on us, and it just always seems to get worse and worse.

    Medication helps us just ignore the puppy for a while. It’s still annoying, but at least we understand that it’s just being a normal puppy. Not a soul-devouring demon.

    I know this didn’t make any sense…but it does to me. And that’s another really annoying aspect of ADHD…

  45. Pingback: Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder – Mind Storming

  46. I don’t really read things like this all that much but hearing other peoples stories really got me thinking about what it feels like for me. It usually feels like an angel and a demon are constantly fighting over my thoughts of whats right and whats wrong to think about. The demon wins most of the time in my decision making.

  47. For me, having ADHD is like everything around you is fighting for your attention. Every movement every passing conversation every leaf on a tree, your mind is trying to pick something to focus on and it can’t decide for the life of you on what it should pick. Your mind has to take note of every single little thing before you can go onto the next task. When it does finally pick something wether it be staring at every fiber on a fuzzy carpet or your homework it does so in a intensity to where the fuzzy carpet looks like its vibrating. Your mind is so focused you practically jumped out of your skin when you feel your dog lick your face for attention. In school and you are taking your mid term its especially hard. You take notice of all the movement around you in the large auditorium each new whisper that echoes around, the slightest movement of the person across the room from you. The best way that helps me when I’m taking a test is to put my headphones in and play a song I have heard a 100 times before so my mind can stop audibly wandering for new stuff while my visual part can focus on the mid term itself. I just need to make sure I don’t look around or ill have the same issue again.

  48. I think of my mind like a fidget spinner at its full speed all the time – where you can’t see the blades when it’s spinning at high speed. You do know that you are not connected, you can easily get agitated with things.. etc etc.. I do not feel racing thoughts, (probably racing thoughts occur in a mania situation) even though the thoughts might be there, you do not see them racing… I can assume if my mind is not a fidget spinner, then probably I am somewhat centered on myself, my body, surroundings, situations, some goal, relaxed in the present moment.

  49. Here’s my experience with ADHD :

    I spent nearly 4 hours reading only 1/5 of your article. While reading, I searched about supermassive blackholes (because i’m fascinated about astronomy that and my brain wanted to..), then I searched about LIGO and gravitational waves (because wikipedia lead me to..), then I searched about Nolan latest movie “Dunkirk” (between Kip Thorne is on wiki page and he worked with Nolan), then I searched about Weinstein because I read a beef between Rose and Meryl because it attracted my eyes on side “ad” articles and finally after reading all of this. I am here to write this comment after finishing the reading of your article.

    This is my everyday life 🙁

  50. Here’s my experience with ADHD :

    I spent nearly 4 hours reading only 1/5 of your article. While reading, I searched about supermassive blackholes (because i’m fascinated about astronomy that and my brain wanted to..), then I searched about LIGO and gravitational waves (because wikipedia lead me to..), then I searched about Nolan latest movie “Dunkirk” (between Kip Thorne is on wiki page and he worked with Nolan), then I searched about Weinstein because I read a beef between Rose and Meryl because it attracted my eyes on side “ad” articles and finally after reading all of this. I am here to write this comment after finishing the reading of your article.

    This is my everyday life 🙁

  51. It’s like trying to get off A merry go round before it stops and wanting to get back on and whenever you get that one horse moving out of the way the next one’s already back and see you don’t know when to go when to stop but you never get on or off the ride. A always missing your chance being late for that chance or not paying attention when the chance was present

  52. Shame. I am nearly crippled from a lifetime of shame. Growing up undiagnosed, as a female, I “should’ve known better, why can’t you just sit still, I’m tired of telling you to be quiet, stop fidgeting, keep your hands to yourself- sit by me- away from everyone else, no recess for you (only girl-humiliating), that makes 3 checkmarks-calling your mom, if it was in on time it would’ve been am A, if you were an honor student you wouldn’t be in the principals office- detention (a school day in a designated whiteroom with only bathroom breaks separate from the regular breaks & door open for shaming from other students. And if you don’t sit still etc, you bought yourself more shame, if you change your clothes one more time I’m gonna beat your ass (sensory processing disorder), why do you have to be so difficult, all the other kids can get their homework in on time-why can’t you, to many tardies and on campus suspension -you’re suspended, (mind you this is hereditary, when our parents didn’t have the knowledge, so the blind is leading the blind), work starts at 8 not 8:07, not 8:15 & certainly 8:28 as your timecard clearly reads. You’re desk is a mess, paperwork is late, your co-workers complain, You’re fired (13 yr & 7 yr careers that you loved), (so called “loved ones”) you’d be late to your own wedding/funeral HA HA HA. Hey everybody I told her two hours early! HA HA HA HA . I swear- you’re never get your bills paid on time – scoff belittle giggle, I swear, I feel like you’re a 25 yr of child and I’m you’re mom. What would your do if I didn’t…, it’s so easy- just put them in the same place how hard is that, get your shit together. Think before you speak…before you act…(the whole idea of controlling impulse is an oxymoron). Now add the inadequacies of motherhood responsibilities, and a job, don’t forget that your very own hyper child that exhausts you is also cursed, all equaling constant failures and reminders when your friends are basically Martha Stewart, Betty Crocker, and queen of Pinterest, and you’re like (literally) thanksgiving is Thursday?!!!! (It’s Tuesday) you are hopeless. Then one day (age 32!) You are diagnosed! Yay an answer *bittersweet tears- simply because you finally broke down because couldn’t stand your own hyper child, just like you’re old friends that don’t come around because you’re a hot mess. You’re just like your mother (every bad scenerio). You can’t watch the movie with us in the family room cuz you don’t shut up (family shaming & outcasting) Your conversations all start with an apology. (crap- I’m rambling. I’m gonna need to start chapters here. Am I even gonna finish THIS project? Probably not. Because I’ve learned I’m hopeless.) But now what do you do with it? You have an overnight cure? No
    You have years of bad habits and behaviors to fix with tools you aren’t really given with time you don’t have (probably spent looking for the iPad to learn), all the while “It’s STILL not an excuse” “Now you know, so what’s the problem? fix it.” “*eyeroll let me guess, it’s the adhd? You get the idea. Now remember that with this often comes with/or a result of, sensory processing disorder, ocd, mood disorders ie; bipolar, anxiety, poor self esteem (I wonder why), abusive relationships, addictions, depression, suicide and more.
    All of these symptoms look like you’re just a disrespectful uncaring selfish irresponsible intolerable dick, when in fact 110% effort can still result in discipline and no one believes you due to your history. It’s shame. It’s ridicule. Humiliation.
    I suppose the silver lining is my deep empathy and compassion for others.
    “Why this Why that, why, .why why.?
    I know it looks like I’m just an ahole. I’m not. I’m far from it. I’m determined, I’m loyal and hard working, kind, creative, a team player, isolated- singled out, ‘m sensitive, I’m secretly critically depressed. I am 47. I am stuck, hopeless. Debilitated by a stupid (like me) invisible diagnosis. A sever case of “invisible intolerant hopelessness.” It’s not like diabetes or alcoholism. They can’t help it. Apparently if I tried I could. Now, in therapy, I’m questioned, “how do I define myself?” If not for these behaviors who am I ? Shame is all I know. I’m constantly reminded and shamed.
    I’m sorry, what was I talking about?
    I gots wrap this up. Ooh look, Squir….

    1. Yep…. But.. even better is that you’ve described my daughter, perhaps to a T. Love it.. do NOT be ashamed for this.. own it! I remind people all the time, how much they love me and their lives would be boring without me.. if you are down on yourself for your “shortcomings” they may be too.. your world could be quite humorous if you let it.. let it sister!! Just let it roll

    2. Im in tears. I got to this place(reading this whatever you want to call it, )because my man says to me multiple times a day that he swears i have add, and depression, anxiety, sometimes i get ocd which ive come to realize is hyper focus on how vacuumed the house is when there something there and there, and if its a day i just dont have the energy or time to care about the floorim being lazy, yet what im doing is psyching myself up to call for insurance quotes or hell even finding the numbers is giving me anxiety so bad i break down becoming exhausted for days on in and all i here is how lazy and selfish i am because i forgot my schedule for work or had trouble getting along with certain people and quit and now they have to carry the load which you know is hard for them but your just stuck and ashamed and LOST. Like somebody else said im trying to cope with problems i didnt know i had with tools that i dont have, wasnt ever taught by a mother suffering from the same issues. I make bad decisions that end up making things worse and all anybody sees is my flaky, unreliable, overly emotional loud, let down because im using add as an excuse when im just trying as hard as i can to take advantage of the good day a week i might have and to prove myself to everybody and myself who I disappoint and hurt the most

  53. Caleb, I have used that analogy all week!
    A constant battle. Every thought is argued, challenged, and second guessed. It’s draining. I can hardly grocery shop from decision making anxiety. My husband had to come help..ok, do it. 🙁

  54. I get sensory overload as a side dish. So I often feel like I’m on Willy Wonkas boat in the chocolate tunnel. The spinning and spiraling. His cries, his laugh. The anxiety. Also like a fun house, with all the mirrors, and clowns laughing, zooming in and out in your face things coming at you as you try to navigate to attempt to find peace (sleep). I just want to hide. #fetalposition

  55. This is a great article! I definitely commiserate with these testimonies, and have struggled with all of it a little – the understeering, the balloons, the low RAM for sure (especially with verbal lists), even the tab freezing.
    One that especially tugged my heartstrings was Spencer Reed’s explanation that he can think of several stories with only tiny relevance to the topic at hand. I’m still struggling with it. It’s giving me much guilt to feel so dumb in conversations, especially when everyone looks down on you.

    Personally, I don’t necessarily agree that I must only live with this. I’ve put much time and energy into something called Dialectical Behavioral Therapy which includes dual aspects of accepting what you can’t change and changing what is unacceptable. It makes for understanding that your brain may be this way and also developing techniques and tools tailored to you. Some examples: having a set “home” for everything cut down hours of searching for all my lost belongings. Learning my thoughts were like ants on a picnic blanket helped me not have to pick up each thought, examine it, and lose 10, 20, 30 minutes doing nothing productive. I even got more in touch with what kind of schedule allows me to have such preparation so I’m not always late to everything and can set alarms as needed.
    It’s less extensive than you think (reduce workload/distraction/overhead space) and more intensive than it seems at first (increased focus, but also -spective clarity.) I know it takes a lot of work, but it feels so relieving and satisfying to accomplish the tasks without ticking off ABSOLUTELY EVERYONE who relies on you.
    I’m still working on it and struggling with the last portion: Interpersonal Relations, often for the same reason Spencer Reed mentions earlier. I just can’t seem to get the hang of what “normal conversation” is supposed to be, how it should flow, and when I’m supposed to stop talking (or, moreover, when I shouldn’t say anything at all, even if it’s harmless or amusing.)
    Disclaimer: this is my personal experience with therapy and I’m not trying to imply that this issue is a hoax – I’m actually trying to say there can be hope.

    I have no better analogy for you than the ones you’ve picked. It would be nice to see what comes by way of support for adults struggling with this.

  56. It’s like watching 5 different hockey games simultaneously happening on the same rink and trying to only follow one game (that is keep track of one puck). Sure, I can do it, it’s just mentally exhausting beyond belief and usually doesn’t end up happening.

  57. I stumbled upon this and it’s been fascinating to read through everyone’s responses. I finally feel like I found people who know what it’s like. I was diagnosed in my late 20s (I’m now in my early 40s), and this is really the first time I feel like there are other people out there who get it. Thank you for this.

    For me, what ADHD feels like depends on the day and the zone I’m in.

    Some days, it’s like I’m standing in the middle of a traffic circle wondering which way to go because all roads look equal to me. Other days, I feel like I’m in a crowded marketplace, with people shouting all around for my attention and not knowing where to turn first. Other days, it’s like I’m caught in this fight that’s going on inside me.

    Sometimes I can’t sit still for 5 minutes.

    And then sometimes, when I’m in hyperfocus, it’s like I’m all alone and the world disappears, and time stops and I just lose track of everything. I can sit down to write or get immersed in a project and I look up and wonder “when did it get dark?” And I haven’t moved for HOURS.

    Over the years, I’ve done a lot of personal work on brain conditioning and habits, and learned to create a structure for myself through consistent daily practices, which I call rituals. Including morning fitness first thing, then meditation, rules about no email/computer/phone calls before noon. That really helps me create space to get focused work done. Sometimes I’m more focused and sometimes less, but having that space helps me feel less reactive to emails/calls/pings, and it’s helped me manage my emotions better.

    And yet sometimes I will fall into an intense rage where I want to throw things across the room (sometimes I do).

    In a way I feel like living with ADHD is like living inside a slot machine. You never know what numbers will come up when you pull the lever. It could be a day where everything aligns or a day where they all come up different. It’s like there’s a consistent feeling of anxiety deep in my subconscious that if it’s a good day, it won’t last, or duplicate. And if it’s a bad day, it could get worse. I never know when the positive mood will fall out.

    It’s typically the littlest things that set me off: mail, email, frustration getting a newsletter out, or figuring out how to do something that seems so easy for everyone else.

    Even with my systems and structures in place to keep consistency in my schedule and routine (I’m hyper-organized, so I tend not to lose keys or glasses anymore), it’s more the emotional side that can be unpredictable.

    And that wreaks havoc on relationships and leaves me feeling lonely.

  58. Before medication it was like someone was holding my shoulders as I stood in the edge of a cliff. I’d be trying to go about my day the whole time being in a state of shakey intensity. Feeling I could fall off the cliff at any moment but not able to think about that feeling and why I was feeling it. I couldn’t focus on this tense energy just rely on everything happening around me to be vines that would each take a turn keeping me from falling. When I couldn’t hold on because there were so many vines I lost focus, my brain would turn into a centrifuge. Spinning so fast all I felt was my brain matter being pulled like magnets to the outside of this spinning wheel with nothing able to connect in the centre.
    When it got like that, I would just fall backwards off the cliff and my brain would feel as it does before blacking out. It would just go numb.
    Since medication. I can step away from the cliff and walk to safety. I can choose to not let anything hold me there because I can choose! I can stand safely in the field. Looking at what is coming towards me with curiosity and interest knowing that it couldn’t pull me away from my own thoughts and decisions.. no vines necessary because I could feel the strength in my feet holding me steady. And trust it.
    I do once in a while feel the centrifugal force but when it comes, I am able to use my steady feet to walk to something that will make it stop.
    I can learn. I can remember. I can think; about actions to come and whether to proceed; of other people’s behaviour and determine whether it is acceptable or not.

  59. I’m 23 with adhd, and after reading through all the published comments about the people’s experiences with adhd, about 70% I could say I related to. I can’t say, however, that I related to them all at once, but in stages.
    In elementary I would say my relation was more familiar with the different levels of attentions. I could easily remember radio/tv jingles, song lyrics, even what my friends and I played on the playground; when it came to more important things like tests, or public events (like spelling bees or speech meets) my mind would slowly go blank, as if shaking and etch-a-sketch.
    In high school, and currently in my adult life, it’s much like the commentor who was constantly looking for something, keys, homework, glasses, wallet, headphones, etc. (the list goes on). And I feel like I can boil myself down to extremely simplify my experience to a simple childhood game, which I was never any good at, the card machine game memory.
    For me, it feels like my life is playing the game memory, flipping the cards trying to match them, only some of the card’s matches were misplaced.
    I would agree in saying that it is synonymous with my personality because I’ve learned to deal with it. I’ve never been prescribed medication (in fear of my mother’s experiences with her add medication), but I have taken medications in a few instances to see if I missed something growing up. To my surprise I wasn’t missing much. I had felt like I was sitting in my brain watching my life on auto pilot. I felt like a lifeless robot or a shell of myself. I don’t know if anyone else can relate to this, but this has been my experience so far.

  60. ADHD for me (and this proabably has to do with my depersonalizaion) but to me it feels like My body is this giant robot im driving that has an A.I assist. Unfortunatley i cant really operate the robot on my own. I mean i can but its much harder without the A.I assist. Like having the power steering cut off in a car. That wouldnt be so bad if that was the only problem. Unfortunatley the A.I is a bit of an ass to work with and sometimes its activley working against you.. those are the bad ADHD days lol.
    When the A.I is actually interested in what you’re doing its great the two of you work wonders together. It provides useful solutions and you work together so well its effortless you look up and hours have passed and youve done great things. But that rarely happens. Most days you’re trying to get thintgs done and the A.I is not really interested. It will be constantly giving you pop-ups and “helpful” Suggestions… about completely different task or things than whatever you’re trying to do.
    You wanna study? to bad the A.I wants to play a game and the whole time you’re studying its off in the background doing everything but helping you retain the information. All the while its continously mentioning the game and trying to talk you into taking “a little break” You try to power through it without the A.I but its SOOOOOO HARD!! without the A.I assist working in tandem with you. You have to re read things more.. But you keep trying to power through it. Unfortnatley without the A.I your sense of time is off it controls that so this study session which has become frustrating is also now taking fooooorrrrever an agonizing amount of time. It feels like minutes have passed but its only been seconds. And the whole time the A.I is trying to convince you to give up and go do somehting more stimulating… So you do.. Its just easier to do what the A.I wants. Like i said when you work together every thing is better and easier.

    Sorry if this analogy doesnt make sense. Its hard to flesh it out without making a WALL of text and I made one anyway. The A.I loves thinking about its self so i could write about this for a while lol!

  61. You know that scene from the first Harry Potter film where he’s trying to snatch one of the flying letters out of the air, but keeps missing? Pretty sure that’s what the inside of my brain looks like.

  62. Thanks for this comprehensive look into ADHD! I really like that analogy at the beginning, it really put things into perspective for me of what it is like for my friend. I’ll ask him if there is anything I can do to help.

  63. To me it’s like an adult (non-ADHD) taking a little kid (ADHD) on a hike.
    While the adult will walk on the path for 2 miles, the kid will veer off to the left to look at this, to the right to touch that, back to see something they just passed.
    At the end of the walk they both have traveled the same distance (from point A to point B), but the kid has spent considerably more energy and effort.
    That’s what my life feels like, I still get there but I’m exhausted.
    But like the kid, I have way more fun along the way, while the “adults” around me may get tired from calling me back on track.
    I guess that’s one of the advantages of having my own business and hiring adult supervision. I also delegate anything that is beneath me (… ok, requires too much sustained concentration, regularity, or is boring).
    I would highly advise that if you have ADHD to create your own business, but only if the business will support a few people to do the “work stuff” leaving you to do the creative things that our minds are built for.
    I find medication helps take me to a tolerable concentration level.
    I’m also amused at how much of my writing involves parentheses (I also speak that way).

  64. Hello. I hope someone replies to me because I’m feeling lost. I’m diagnosed with ADHD. I’m 23. Here’s how my life has been.

    I’m constantly overthinking. Overthinking in a way it’s not overthinking. To the point people tell me my ideas are out of the world. Or they give me weird looks.

    My life feels like so many things is happening at once. And things overwhelm me to the point I don’t understand.

    I’m an ambivert. I can get along with a group of people just fine. Put me in a party I feel like there’s way too many things going on.

    And I feel horrible that I don’t enjoy it the way people do.

    ADHD feels like everything is happening all at once and all of a sudden you forget everything because it happens way too fast.

    If I don’t write my idea down. It flies away.

    I forget birthdays and I’m labeled rude for it.

    I constantly forget things to the point id fight with my parents about the term being responsible. And I can’t act a certain way anymore.

    What certain way? What am I doing so wrong?

    Why can’t they believe I’m capable?

    ADHD feels like you’re screaming for someone to understand you but no matter how much you talk (word vomit) they don’t understand.

    Or they tell you to slow down.

    I’ve been called a flake. Narcissistic and more. But I don’t identify to those.

    ADHD is trying to figure out why the fuck did you just turn off the lights when you need them to stay on. Like you forgot you turned them on in the first place.

    Or how many times you go back to your house because you forgot something.

    I hate bags.

    Bags is a black hole of me losing things.

    I also hate the fact I don’t remember locking my car so I keep going back out of the store just to check if my car is closed.

    ADHD feels like I’m alone. And the world keeps turning and I’m trying hard to catch up. That I’m alone bc I’m in my own world since I was born.

    Idk if I made sense. Because I’m still trying to understand myself too 🙁 pls pls reply. I need someone to reply.

    1. Girl, I know exactly how you feel. You aren’t alone. I constantly wonder if there is anyone out there that could understand me and to be honest, I don’t think I even understand myself. Don’t be so hard on yourself though. Feel free to email me anytime 🙂

  65. For me, ADHD is like on a Saturday of all day cleaning. I went from starting load of laundry, to making bkfst, to sweeping but not picking up pile, to putting up dishes in washer to try to clean dishes in sink but not get to wash dishes, to put load in dryer to sorting but never putting away clothes, to being EXHAUSTED from cleaning but never finished tasks of cleaning….Does that make sense?

  66. I was diagnosed with ADHD in the 2nd grade and school has always been a struggle. It’s not like I don’t enjoy it, I just enjoy other things more or forget about my school stuff. Homework is really hard. I always am forgetting about some of it or thinking I finished it or saying I’ll do the rest tomorrow. It is like you can either do option A or option B, but B is more fun than A, but A is more important than B. You know you should do A but B is just so enticing. You try to start on A but give up because you cannot focus and just do B. That is probably super confusing to whoever is reading this, oh that is also how it is. I think something makes perfect sense but when I say it out loud no one understands. There are my 2 cents. Thanks, I guess.

  67. For me, ADHD is like watching the world through a cloudy window. I cannot pass through the window. I cannot open the window. All the sights, sounds and experiences exist beyond me, in another place, a world I can not enter. There a brief moments of clarity. Gifts from another dimension perhaps…but inside,
    my thoughts fizzle and pop. While a hurricane forms outside my cloudy window. Stranded in curiosity, unable to define a single concept.
    ADHD is a satellite in deep space. Static.
    ADHD is tasting sound and hearing color.
    It is an unwritten novel about my mother.
    It is rage and helplessness and shame.
    It is every incomplete task and the unrealized dreams that haunt my sleep.
    It is an algebra test taken while loud jazz music plays in a crowded restaurant.
    It is time that has passed and the realization of missing that time because I couldn’t clean my cloudy window.

  68. Reading the above made me feel so not alone! I am a combo of many listed, but mainly the tabs. God-forbid – the tabs….
    I start each day with opening a new tab for each thing I think I need to do and by the end of the day I have about 20+ tabs open. I quickly have to work my way backwards to finish the “starts” and if I don’t get to them, Lord help the person who resets the computer and closes my tabs…
    I have ADD, minus the H, so everything is impossible and unbearable without medication. I went through school never knowing and I was told I survived as an all A student because of my photographic memory. It’s actually been proven! Yet still, no one fully understands what we go through…

  69. So as if ADD wasnt enough, I am also a middle child. I have an older sister (the perfect child) and a younger brother (being a boy was enough). Most anyone with an older sibling has been the subject of the game 52 Pick Up. 52 Pick Up is when you really want to hang with your older sib, and they endulge you by allowing you in on their game of 52 Pick Up – a “game” where they toss a deck of cards into the air and then tell you to “pick up the cards.” Having ADD is not just a game of 52 Pick Up – it’s picking up the cards whilst walking on all the marbles your little brother just threw on top of them.

  70. To me its like when you read to yourself in your head but there is already someone reading and they starting reading louder as you read louder and another person starts reading even louder than you and the other one. It is just getting bombarded with information.

  71. I was just officially diagnosed today. I started by telling my primary care doctor that I thought I might be ADHD after my son (7) was diagnosed, and I noticed that my symptoms (irritability, impulsivity, procrastination, overwhelming emotions, sensory perception, leaving tasks, bored easily, fidgeting, hyperdocus, etc) were very similar to his symptoms as explained to me by the specialist that diagnosed him. I’d always carried around an anxiety diagnosis…. since adolescence. And been treated with SSRI medications on and off for years. I’d been incredibly good at adapting to new situations and I’m a real people person and pretty smart and catch on quickly, so I’ve always been able to compensate for what I now realize is and always has been ADHD. I’m 30. I’m a veteran’s wife, mom to two, and a busy professional in the Maternal Child Health field. And I can’t remember to buy bread, or pay bills. I can bring calm to a screaming infant and a crying mother, and help them problem solve…. it’s like a super power…. but making phone calls or sitting in meetings (especially dysfunctional ones) makes me so irritable. I just “can’t even”. I am 30 years old. I fall out of rolling office chairs at least 3x per week because I perch on the edge of the seat and the chair gets unbalanced. If I miss my morning workout off get off on my eating habits, watch out. I just might a) rip your face off or b)try to become your best friend if you see me in passing at the HEB. I’ve been trying to get a comprehensive diagnosis for 6 months now. I finally got one today, and I’m both so relieved and validated AND I’m pissed that it took so long and so many dead ends and I’m kind of just …… overwhelmed. Life is overwhelming. That’s what it’s like to have an ADHD brain. This is coming from a newbie to the group…. literally just officially diagnosed today…. but that’s what it feels like. Like, imagine if you were in one of those Chuck E. Cheese ticket blaster things, but all of those tickets are your thoughts, and the big super-awesome best ticket is the most important thought, and it changes several times a minute. Oh. And, you have to grab all the tickets (thoughts) and pin them down, but when the blaster stops blowing the tickets around, you’re out of luck. No more grabbing. The ones that you grabbed are all you get. And you have no push pins for the Bulliten Board you need to put the tickets on. And like you’re trying to do this task all day every day and Not let anyone in on your secret that that is what your mind feels like. You just have to keep pretending. Until you crack. That’s what ADHD feels like to me.

  72. I am 18 and was diagnosed at 14, but could not find a medication for my ADD that was right for me until sophomore year. All of my previous prescriptions made me not eat and not want to socialize with anyone. When I am not on Adderal, I’ll find myself reading a sentence over and over. It can be the most simple sentence you can think of and I still will not be able to process it. I will find myself having a conversation with someone and I will be nodding and agreeing, and by the end of the conversation I will realize I have no idea what I was just talking about. I have friends and family constantly telling me I said something when I know for a fact that I did not say it, but it happens often enough that I know it is because of my constant dissociation. I will be sitting in a classroom and if I lose my focus, I am losing that focus for the rest of class. The sound of the kids walking in the hallways will enhance so much and even if it is just two kids passing by, it will sound like hundreds. If someone is clicking their pen over and over sitting next to me, that has my complete attention until they are done.

  73. I’m 30 years old and was diagnosed last year. I tell people that ask it’s like living within a prism. Life hits your prism and every response (physical, emotional etc) you could conceive is a line of light that hits off of it and is refracted in a hundred different ways. You can’t help but try and follow all of them.

  74. Motion. Constant, unforgiving motion. My brain and body at any given time can only agree to keep going fast and hard. I feel like an animal in some kind of derby, a force on my back whipping violently demanding me to go as fast as possible without care of consequence or others. Driving dangerously, unable to relax with friends and unable to stay at my office desk for more than 30 min at a time. I lose friends because I cannot ‘chill’ and because my impulses win at the most inconvenient times. I want to be good and calm and normal. I want to be normal. I want so badly to be normal and to focus and to understand what it means to be still. I have had fleeting moments and a few days where my brain is on track but only about 3 or 4 of them over a period of years. I agree with those who say that anyone who says they understand and does not actually have ADHD cannot comprehend the true hell of it. The hours lost in trying to sleep, the friends that think you area thoroughly self-invested person. For all the world, I want to be normal. I want to know what I could have accomplished and that I could feel safe with the demands of my brain. I do not feel safe or understood.

    I appreciate the contributions here. I spent a few minutes crying after being able to see that there are people who do understand.

  75. I 100% relate to the computer analogy. For me its like when something is taking a minute to load and you start pressing more buttons, and all of a sudden they all register at once and everything freezes up and shuts down. I feel overwhelmed on a daily basis by the “simple” things going on around me. I can’t seem to separate them and do them one by one, it’s difficult to find a place to start when there are so many.

    What it’s been like:

    I was diagnosed when I was 20 or 21, but at the time I felt they were wrong and never went back to begin any kind of treatment. It wasn’t until I had 3 kids and the daily things that needed done, that most people can achieve easily, were nearly impossible for me and that I needed some help. At the time of diagnosis I didn’t really know what ADHD actually was. It wasn’t until I sat down and really read about it that I realized they were probably right.

    It’s frustrating knowing that there are things that need done not just for me, but for my family – and I wanted to do them – but I couldn’t figure out how to go about doing it without getting so frustrated that I avoided it. These things affect every aspect of my life. My work, my kids, my relationships with people. Its frustrating to work so hard at being ready to go and arriving somewhere on time. My time management skills are terrible, and me making a guess at how long something will take is either way off or it was close but I lingered on something or got distracted and then am late anyways. There are days where I have tried to plan everything to a T and am CERTAIN I couldn’t possibly be late. And then it happens. I forgot to do this, I misplaced my keys, I didn’t even turn my alarm on, I forgot my clothes in the washer; it’s endless the things I run into each morning. A lot of the time I fall behind while doing my make up because I don’t realize I’ve taken so long because it doesn’t “seem” like a 15 or 20 minute task. I pretty much started telling myself I needed to be somewhere 30 minutes before what I actually did. That extra 30 minutes is never remaining – so when whatever happens happens – I’m still on time instead of 30 minutes late.

    The hardest part not knowing before was at times I questioned if there was something else wrong with me, like “am I stupid”, which is a crazy question to have to ask yourself when you were put in gifted classes growing up. I wasn’t stupid, but I struggled with homework, especially anything that was of no interest to me. I often fell asleep in class daydreaming missing lessons, and social studies was probably one of the worst areas for me (very very boring, that was impossible for me to pay attention to). My math teacher had noticed that when we took tests or quizzes, the difference between me and the other kids was that they would get all the way done and got about 15% or more of it wrong, where I would not be able to finish, but what I finished was correct. It’s like I needed more time to work though it than they did. That was the only teacher that realized something was off. Probably because I was a pretty reserved kid to those who I didn’t know since I went to a new school nearly every year until the 6th grade. Any attempts to make friends or be social were quickly dismissed due to my perceived rudeness (blurting things out came across as rude). English was hard for me because the stories or essays I would write made sense to my brain, but to anyone else reading it it was “all over the place and things didn’t relate”.

    It takes a lot of conscious effort to not write novel responses to people in text messages (very god example right now), and sometimes I send a good 3 or 4 before I realize what I just did. I have to set time limits on myself at work every day to make sure I”m being conscious of how much time I’m spending on certain tasks so that I’m not lingering on anything that I actually do enjoy doing and am moving on to get all things done that I am responsible for. Sometimes I will be reading something I love and I could spend hours doing this (I call this getting lost in the tabs). I will start reading about something that intrigues me, and when I come across a different point or detail that is interesting I will open another tab – and this happens continuously until I’ve got about 40 or more tabs open. When someone is talking to me, I tell myself to listen, and am trying to zero in on just listening – but at some point my brain wanders off and I miss half of what they just said to me. It is so embarrassing to tell someone you were listening but then have to ask them what they just said to you (happens to me at work with my boss, and at times I have to call and ask her what she told me because I missed details of it or don’t remember hearing her say anything about at all). How can you tell somebody “I’m sorry, I was trying so hard to listen”? Not easy for non adhd folks to understand.

    My mom constantly is checking in to make sure that I’ve not forgotten something, which is both helpful and aggravating. I hate being treated like a 12 year old whos being asked if her homework is done, but I do forget important things that can really cause some problems for me. It is very out of sight out of mind. I am on medication now, which helps for me to be able to take on those tasks that were so “impossible” for me to imagine doing before, but I still struggle with organization and am finding more ways to handle that better. Everyone is different and what works for one person may not for another. Slowly but surely we are finding the things that work for me to help me be successful. It has been hard being mistaken my entire life, wishing we had known this a long time ago. A lot of things could have been different for me, but all we can do now is learn to work with it and move forward.

    I was 26 years old when I started medication & therapy for this. I tried to go to college and had to drop out due to an illness. Now that I have two more kids in the mix, I felt like that dream was out of reach for me before. At this point I have a little hope that it might actually be possible for me to handle it and be successful, and that is something I have wanted so badly.

  76. For me, when I’m having a really bad ADD day I end up in this weird place between exhausted and energized. My mind feels like it’s buzzing, and like on of the examples you originally posted, I feel kind of dissociated from the world around me, in that I can’t focus on things long enough to really be present…even when actively completing a task or having a conversation, something is always running in the background. Imagine sitting at your kitchen table at 11 o’clock at night, with your brain worn out from the day, trying to mark papers (or get work done or whatever), and someone in the living room is watching TV loud enough for you to hear, but not quite loud enough for you to catch every word. Subconsciously your brain is going to try and pick up those pieces of conversation, and no matter how hard you try to focus on reading the sentences in front of you, about 25% of your brain will be attending to that TV in the background. That’s how I feel on bad days. And (particularly if I didn’t sleep well the night before), when the background distraction builds up to a certain point, my brain feels too fuzzy to focus on anything and I feel stuck in that state of being half awake. It can also be really hard to explain to my friends and other people just how much of an effect ADD has on my ability to focus, sometimes even with medication. It feels like I simply don’t have the willpower or strength to force myself to focus, even if I want to, no matter how hard I try. It can be frustratingly futile to feel powerless against your own brain!

    However, there are upsides to ADD! Like another user mentioned, it makes me feel energized and excited and curious about life and learning new and different things. When I’m able to focus (and when I actually remember to take my medicine…), this energy can become really productive. Because of my enthusiasm, I’m really driven and passionate about my involvements, and in college took on a lot of leadership roles and took a lot of initiative on projects and research, etc., and it has really benefited my academic life (I’m going into biomedical research so my work life is my academic life). And I think it makes life more exciting! I love that I’m spontaneous and adventurous and goofy and I think a lot of that comes from me owning the ways that ADD has affected my personality. I was diagnosed as a kid, as was my twin sister, so I think that I am fortunate to have a positive outlook on managing my ADD since I’ve had help doing it since I was pretty young, and having a sibling diagnosed with it as well made me feel that it was more ‘normal’ and less stigmatizing than it would have otherwise felt.

  77. It’s like sitting in a room with a chore to do, a person, a tv, a computer, a tablet and a cell phone.
    You start off with watching tv then remember the chore that needs to be done.
    You head for the supplies to clean a stain, then wonder if this is the right or best way to do it.
    You sit at the computer to look it up, while asking the person if they have any ideas.
    They offer you 3 ideas which you promptly forget.
    Your get a message on your phone and go to check it and see the article you were reading earlier and continue to read.
    Then you open 3 new tabs with 3 corresponding articles that you will want to read later, and click on a 4th link to read now.
    Something happens on the tv and as you glance over, the stain catches your eye, and just before you get up you remember your research.
    You do a search on your phone on the current tab, forgetting all about your article. The video you find would be better on a bigger screen so you cast it to the tv by muscle memory, disconnect, apologize for interrupting the other person watching the tv, grab your tablet to use instead.
    There’s a game notification and you click on it and proceed to spend another 30 minutes playing your game until you look up and wonder what you were doing and where all the time got to.
    And now it’s time to start dinner.

  78. I was diagnosed in my early 40’s after missing some major deadlines on a million dollar project. Nearly lost my job. Now, a decade later, I’ve completed my bachelors and master’s degrees. Went through about 4 different Rxs with a variety of dosages before I found what worked for me.

    My analogy is bees in a hive. There are thousands of them doing their jobs. But I’m all those bees. Running around trying to touch on each little piece with nothing getting done. Also, I can’t seem to live in the moment. While having dinner with friends or my husband, I’m wolfing down my food because I’m ready to get ‘on with’ the next thing (course in the meal, on to the movie, etc). This even happens to me regarding showers…my brain is already on to the next task and I haven’t even stepped into the shower yet. This makes me not want to take the time to take a shower, brush my teeth, etc as it’s keeping me from the next thing in my brain.

  79. I have not been diagnosed by a medical professional with ADD/ADHD but have been told from school counselors and others that I have it. The Phyciatrist I did see told me I have BiPolar disorder “with only the highs.” I’m sure that this is incorrect, however, I think he’s reluctant to give me medications for ADD/ADHD because I’m a recovering Alcoholic/Addict. Today I’m having an especially difficult time with whatever I have. I’m used to my brain starting to shake at times, forgetting where I put things (or even why I come into room), I even forget words to say in conversations consistently. I’m used to doing several things at one time and not doing any of them very well. I do not like that I tap my toes or shake my leg or fiddle with my facial hair or the hair on my neck almost all of the time. When I was drinking I could at least not feel it but now that I’ve stopped, I feel it way too often. I drink entire pots of coffee, in fact, I cannot go to sleep at night unless I drink some caffiene. An energy drink, pot of coffee and giant 64 oz cola or something or I will be up all night. I remember back in undergrad I took Adderall (unprescibed) and in about 45 minutes (how long it took me to walk to school) everything would start to slow down. At least I thought it did. I don’t remember having any of these problems while I was taking it. I don’t agree with the Psycologist’s diagnosis because the medication he gave me barely works and the further I get from my sobriety date, the worse it gets. BiPolar infers TWO poles and he said “I only have highs.” Since I stopped drinking, I don’t have depression issues, nor anxiety issues. I’ve seen some similiar descriptions above and really wonder if I have ADHD, which in my non-medical opinion, would be bipolar with only highs.

    But for an analogy for the way I feel most of the time, especially without copious amounts of caffeine, I would describe it something like a luge. The track goes straight down at a 70 deg pitch, at night with lights. You are supposed to determine how many blue ones are along the way on an infinite track.

    1. You need a new psychiatrist because if he knew what he was doing, he’d also know it wouldn’t have the addictive properties for you. The ADHD brain doesn’t react to amphetamine’s like a neurotypical typical brain does. For the “normal” person, they get hyper and feel a rush of adrenaline. That experience can be addictive for many people. They want that high, hyper, super invincible feeling, so they begin chasing it. The ADHD brain doesn’t react that way at all.

      These drugs act on your dopamine levels which are transmitters from one cell to another. ADHD brains have a higher concentration of dopamine transporters that (despite the name) block the transmission. So for someone like us, it just helps bridge the gap between cells and we feel normal. You don’t get a rush, you don’t get anxious, you don’t get any of the feelings associated emotionally or chemically with the drug.

      The one reliable test for ADHD is to take a low dose and see if you feel anxious/hyper, or you feel nothing much at all. If you have ADHD it may help you focus, but it you won’t experience the high experienced by others.

      So find a new psychiatrist

  80. For me adhd is like a theory in the video game series Halo where the ai think themselves to death. Its like I have a thousands differemt thoughts that fly by while one stay prevalent in the background and they all just compete for my attention slowing everything down untill I go inzane like an ai burning its hardware out. Luckily though I have a very supportive family and friends who help me out.

  81. I am not sure if anyone else really resonates with this or has thoughts on it, but if anyone does I’d love the input:

    I’m a 21 year old, female college student, and I have been diagnosed with general anxiety since I was sixteen. I’ve tried a number of medications, and some have sort of helped but not super noticeably. To be honest, I started to accept that this is how I will feel most of the time. However, as I’ve been going through college I have started questioning whether that was the right diagnosis. I am starting to think I might have ADHD, but I’m not sure because some of these descriptions completely resonate with me… some not as much.

    For example, I am able to do well in school (though I do have the same testing accommodations for anxiety as those for ADHD students: private room + extended time), I can be organized when I need to, and I don’t lose things as often as some members on here have described. On the other hand, my brain is constantly buzzing, I get bored easily (to the point that I even detest sitting and watching full movies), I always switch between a multitude of hobbies, I need exercise to stay even relatively calm, I have trouble staying in the moment because I’m always thinking about what’s next, I don’t like longterm “commitments” because I don’t know how long I’ll be interested in that particular thing, if I am interested in something I will hyper-focus on it for hours and get irritated at anything that interrupts me, and there are many times when I’m so entertained by my own thoughts that I struggle to interact or listen to people.

    I think my “anxiety” is actually a coping mechanism for functioning in daily life, especially as a female who has always been expected to do well and be “perfect.” I realize that I use fear (anxiety) to artificially motivate myself to do things I consider dull; this gets extremely exhausting. For example, I will work myself up and completely convince myself that if I don’t do well on a test it is the end of the world or I’m a horrible person… which will motivate me to go actually concentrate and study a few nights before. This same warped logic applies to everything from mundane chores to arriving somewhere on time. As I’ve been in college I’ve come to realize more and more how unsustainable this is. As soon as I relax it is like my brain is in Lala land relative to the rest of the world, and I don’t get anything done properly. So I feel like my life has become a dichotomy where I can “live like I’m constantly in a life or death situation” and “keep up” with the world or have relief from anxiety but be less “successful.”

    Does that make any sense?

  82. Ok. Im not officially diagnosed, but every person i know, even my ADHD friends, say they think I have it. It feels as if, i don’t know. Oh! (Loses focus), umm. Yeah, it feels as if i am sitting here. And i have several “tabs” or “planes’ we’ll call em. So i will be working on something, and listening to someone talk, but suddenly my brain hops onro another plane. The other day, (it was silent) i was like, “Corn.” I connect the most random things. Like today, I went to try to work on my science notes, (we take notes directly from the book), and I had an hour. 45 minutes in, (they were due today), I look down, and I have almost nothing written. I don’t even know what i did with that time! I constantly look in math class, arg! I didn’t do that on purpose! My brain does that! I constantly LOSE focus. For Example; in math class, my teacher asked a question. I raised my hand to answer. She calls on me, and I respond with, “What? Oh, um… oh yeah!… *answers*”. I also have issues with procrastination, anxiety, and a stressful environment. So the point was….
    ADHD. Yeah. (Just stared into space for 3 minutes.) Im not exxagerating. Somedays i work so fast, it feels as if i drank a movie theater cup of dr. Pepper, and everything is slower than normal. Other days I am so distacted, I can’t remember what day of the week it is, what i ate, or what i am supposed to be doing. K bye. (Ive already ranted, and lost track of what this is supposed to be anymore)

  83. Imagine someone else has the remote to your tv and continuously scrolls through every channel. I want to see and comprehend the details of each program, but as soon as I start to understand, the channel changes again.

  84. I don’t know for sure if I have inattentive ADHD yet but I suppose I’ve always felt like I was lost in a foreign country. Have you ever felt lost in the middle of a crowd in a foreign country? That’s what it is like for me most of the time. The “crowd” could be an actual crowd but it’s also a metaphor for my racing thoughts. When you are in a foreign country, you’re usually wondering what’s going on. I have the same with my mind. I don’t know if that makes sense haha but for me it’s a perfect metaphor. And people have actually already said I seemed like I was lost somewhere else. I don’t know if it’s really ADHD but that’s basically what it feels like. Obviously it has had impacts on my daily life. The biggest issue I’m thinking about now is my indecisiveness. I can’t make decisions at all and it’s not just deciding about important life courses. It’s also deciding whether I’ll have mayo or garlic mayo in my sandwich like it was the most crucial choice to make in my life… People get annoyed about that but I’m the one to be the most annoyed about it. Other issues include: my lack of organization (hard time sticking to plans, messy room…), forgetfulness (contanstly losing things which actually cost a lot of money to be replaced…) and my social difficulties.

  85. ADHD is like going out in public with a huge pimple on your face. You’re aware of it, you can’t hide it, you wished you could get rid of it and everyone is an expert on it. The most frustrating side effect from ADHD is the perceptions, lack of understanding, lack of belief and insensitivity towards it. When people find out you have ADHD they usually respond in one of the following ways: “its not a real disorder just laziness, an excuse”, “I haven’t been tested but I am positive I have it because I can never focus”, “Oh you take medication, my (insert family member) has that but they don’t need the medication”, “everyone has that on some level”, etc. For those who grew up in the mid-to-late 1980s and early 1990s, ADD was hardly known and girls did NOT have it. Only little boys could have ADD. Most grew up without even knowing there was such a disorder and you were just a bad child with no ambition, no intelligence and a pain in the side of every teacher. I was told on several occasions that I would never make it in life, college was out of the question and I should be grateful I was attractive. My graduation from high school and college were filled with jokes about barely making it out with a degree. When I landed my first big job, I had so many fears surrounding performing successfully that I decided to get on medication. Which began a whole new level of questions and concerns about eating, sleeping, emotional outburst, impulsiveness, paranoid, etc. Most don’t realize that for someone that has ADHD, we are the most hard on ourselves, we have spent most of our lives praying to be normal, wondering what is so wrong with us, to not have to rely on medications, to not be an emotionless robot and control our impulses.

    Despite its downfalls and struggles, I have learned to be a peace with being ADHD. It’s my driving force that keeps the chip on my shoulder to never give up on my goals. I have found success in my job as my constantly moving mind is a benefit, I have a 3.8 GPA in my MHA grad school program, I got into grad school based on my GRE/GMAT scores, I excelled on a standardized test (GRE/GMAT). I still struggle with impulsiveness, restlessness, organizing tasks and I have to coach myself constantly while reminding myself how important this is to me. I sometimes find myself going to each floor of the parking garage at the end of the day because I can’t remember which floor I parked on in the morning. I have a nonexistent social life because it takes me more time to focus on doing homework than actually doing it. However, as graduation approaches in May, I remind myself that this was never supposed to be in my cards. Although more widely known, ADHD still is considered more an annoyance than a disorder. A few months ago, I overheard a woman tell her friend that they just found out her elementary aged son has ADHD then she said it’s okay college isn’t for everyone. It’s important that children with ADHD know that they can achieve academic and professional success.

  86. I wrote an essay about this before I knew I had ADHD and it actually won me 2nd place in a contest. It’s like I’m in a car headed towards brick walls, and every wall is a deadline. Sometimes I can swerve just before I hit the wall, and sometimes I break right through; I take damage every time, but I’m always continuing on. There’s no brakes and there’s always another wall. To relax I try to ignore the walls but some hurt more than others, and who knows which wall will be my last. I try to act cool but I’m always afraid I won’t be able to dodge it in time. It’s always so hard to dodge the walls, the car is convoluted and requires much more effort than it should. But I can’t make myself move until the wall is right in front of me, no matter how hard I try. I’m scared I won’t come out on the other side of the wall, maybe some deadline will break me and I’ll have destroyed something important. Sometimes it feels pointless, there will always be another wall. And the worst is when I try as hard as I can to make myself do anything, but no matter what I do I can’t even lift a finger to stop myself from crashing and getting hurt again. One day my car will break down and I’ll be stranded and left behind. Or maybe I won’t survive the impact at all. But until then I’ll never learn my lesson and I’ll just keep on living life as a crash test dummy.

  87. Thanks so much for putting this together. I was feeling down (thinking about some things that have gone on in my life and this helped to reassure me that I’m not the only one suffering from it.

  88. It feels like a constant fog in my mind. This fog isn’t produced from lack of sleep or lack of energy though. Its source is that I have so many goals, daily tasks, ideas, conversation points, frustrations, competing priorities, self doubt, shame, cell phone addiction, etc… that everything together makes life feel unbearable. It feels like this fog has almost become a defense mechanism to protect me from failure. If I can’t recall this information quickly or even remember it at all, was it really that important? Clearly not, otherwise I would have remembered it. Which seems like a weird way to protect me from failing. What its actually doing though is causing paralysis in my mind and only enforcing the cycle of learned helplessness. I just want to feel like I can accomplish something but if I struggle to remember it the next day or the oh so familiar feeling of worthlessness makes its way back in, then there is no point in my mind. So I just sit and stare at whatever screen is in front of me because if that can keep my attention then maybe that is something important right……? Wrong, I can only watch so many videos about how to reuse soda bottles for an ottoman so many times….

    1. I really recognize the foggy mind comparison of ADD. I have been confused about it for my whole life. Always thought that it had to do with sleep quality or that is was ‘derealization'(maybe because of anxiety or depression). But I never could get rid of it. Now I have named this feeling as being dreamy, this doesn’t sound weird. I mean I have the feeling of being a robot sometimes and doing things on the automatic pilot because of overstimulation or understimulation. It really frustrates me to have it because it lowers my productivity enormously, which makes me feel lazy and thick. Now I know that this feeling is a symptom of having ADD.
      Does anyone has tips to live with this fogginess and how to start up and being more productive?

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        Hi Aline!

        For brain fog, one of the things I’ve found helpful is to simply put myself in motion. Generally, if I can just get started my brain will catch up soon enough.

        I find myself thinking that I need to solve the brain fog before I can get to work. But I’ve learned it’s the opposite actually: that I gain clarity when I put myself in motion. And then I start almost everything with a braindump for 25 mins. (Pomodoro Technique) because it’s an action I can take that doesn’t require me to have to know what to do before I do it. I set a timer for 25 mins. and capture anything that comes into mind about the thing I am trying to work on. It’s super helpful.

        Here’s some more ADHD productivity tips that might be helpful.

  89. I am 43. All my life (and i mean from the age of 4) i drank coffee, as an adult 2-3 pots a day. I needed it to be basically functional. I had to have a cup before bed to settle my mind enough to sleep. It wasnt until the last year that i realized what was going on. My poor memory had become. A rnning joke at work.

    I am a very smart guy, but never accomplished much. Ive had so many different jobs from being a baker, butcher, network administrator, sheet metal worker, and software developer, along with several others.

    I have 5 years of college under my belt but no degree. I went from nursing to electronics to computer science to out of money for my education. I just see a shiny new squirell and chase it all while trying to figure out where i left my effing coffee cup.

    Sorry starting to ramble. Anyway knowing so many different skills and amassing all that knowlege hasnt made me rich or sucsessful. Ive cashed out 3 retirement funds to keep me affloat between jobs. That is where ADD got me.

    The roaming interests and curiosity stem from the disorganized thoughts and completely geeking out on one thing or another.

    Day to day it was extreemly difficult to keep track of things and tasks. My ex used to get mad and call me lazy because i forgot to mow the grass or fix that thing i forgot even needed fixing a week ago.

    I started medication a week ago… I never knew how… Quiet… My brain could be. I never knew the difference. I can finish a task, I KNOW where i left my coffee cup, and it isn’t in the fridge.. But the quiet and the peace in my brain, i never knew it was even a thing.
    I realize that previously ALL the noises sounds and sights got through unfiltered overstimulating me and ruining my focus, now i can choose what i focus on… At least until 6pm when the meds wear off

  90. I found it!! The comment section that is.. I don’t even know if I for sure have ADHD but I know for a fact I can totally relate to a lot of what I’ve read! Like information hoarding.. what is that? Why is it that I would want MORE info flying around in my skull.. but I love it and can’t get enough! And sometimes it feels like I’m in the eye of a storm but it’s in slow motion and I can see everything so clearly but I can’t get out of it to tell anyone about it! And when I have your attention- you had better clear your schedule for the rest of the day because all that info I just absorbed needs to be emptied out somewhere so I can fill it back up! Sometimes I feel like the rpm’s in my “engine” were revved way higher than I’m actually needing to travel and I should just stop and take a breath before I try to speak so I’m not slurring my words or typing something so rediculously wrong thwatni have to send 3 more more texts to correct all the mistakes, why can’t spell check think better, I can’t understand why it can’t come up with a logical word for my misprint?? And other times it’s as if I’m standing at a starting gate to a race and I’m ready and set and the go never comes..for me.. and if it does and I don’t have blinders on that “go” time wil often GO all over the place! And all the tabs open and notes EVERYWHERE and why am I so analytical and particular about how things are while standing in a mound of yuck, of my own making.. I could go on and on… I too have a never ending supply of great ideas and insight and can usually see so far into a conversation that I have a VERY hard time letting the other person say in their words what they mean.. I don’t want to be on any meds.. no thanks, but I’m also in a Perimenopausal state and my fluctuations are pretty bad right now… ugh. I often remind people how much they love me and would have nothing to do if they didn’t have me in their world.. lol they know I’m joking and that I love them for putting up w me!

  91. In a way I have trouble considering the fact that ADHD is a disorder. When you hear about a disorder, you can’t help it. With ADHD, yes its true that i dont prcess information the same way, but at the same time, I can always manage it or find a strategy to improve myself. Being able to experience life living with ADHD has made me appreciate life more. People want you to react a certain way because thats what they are used to. What’s ironic about this concept is that someone with ADHD can blend in and understand the social norms, while someone who is considered “normal” cannot understand our reasoning. I am blessed to experienced what it is like to be ADHD because it allows me to broaden my views

  92. We all sometimes forget our keys, forget to do our assignments, leave something at home by accident, zone out during conversations, and daydream. Now imagine doing this almost everyday, better yet every second, of your life.

    Its a constant struggle letting people down unintentionally; many people have told me “you aren’t even trying to listen”, “you lost my item, you don’t even care about other people’s belongings”, “just pay attention for 5 seconds.”

    However, I am trying. What I have thought my whole entire life was: Why is it so easy for other people to be normal? Why can’t I remember to turn in my assignments on time for once? Why can’t I hear someone’s story the first time they say it? Why are my grades lower than they should be, even after I studied twice as hard than everyone else? Why can’t I go to sleep for hours because my brain won’t stop thinking of random thoughts?

    Most people thought I was just a smart girl who was a little bit of an airhead, daydreamer, and in my own world. Up until 3 months ago, I thought this too until I asked for help. Being in college and being completely independent made my life even more of a struggle than it was before. Now I was forgetting to go to class, go to doctors appointments, being late to work, and procrastinating until the last minute to do something thats due in an hour (like right now >:( ).

    After getting help, I realized that I am a girl with ADHD-inattentive type. Now everything made sense, it wasn’t because that I was less of a person for being the way that I am. Medication has helped me so much these last few months, and although I still struggle everyday, I am glad I have ADHD. I am creative, spontaneous, funny, and have the superpower of hyper focusing. My ADHD benefits these valued characteristics of mine so much, and I would not want to trade it for anything.

  93. My thing, as well as most of the above, is being late always every day for every single thing. How can you be late for work every day? How can you excuse that? Its actually embarrassing. I get up way earlier than colleagues and friends, yet am late, permanently. My thing is I just zone out, my mind wanders, by the time I catch myself and reorient, lots of time has gone, then I go to do the next thing and zone out again. I have awful time management, can’t function in mornings but I am bouncing off the walls at bedtime, can’t sleep cause my crazy brain won’t switch off. 40 years old and nothings changed. I would love to experience a day in the life of a normal person, I bet it’s bliss.

  94. It feels like every thought I have is a gateway with two things inside of it. One is my thoughts, the deeper ones anyway. The other thing is the inescapable black hole that instantly pulls me into those thoughts. Once in them, the best way to describe it is this: due to my thoughts being tons of stories I make, imagine you being stripped of everything that’s you. This world dissolves from your thoughts, memories, and vision. You no longer exist and are replaced by a character, someone else but yet still you. And now you’re in a different world, with no memory of this one, until tapped on the shoulder or something loud happens.

  95. For me, it’s like driving a nice car, say a Mercedes or Lexus. Only problem is, the parking brake is almost always stuck on, and the power steering rarely works. Everything looks good from the outside, but you hardly ever get the performance out of the car that you know it should be capable of. Other motorists pass you and wonder what your problem is, but there’s really no way for them to understand why your seemingly good looking car performs more like a Pinto most of the time. Most people don’t have sympathy because they just assume you’re a crappy driver who doesn’t know how to use your car the way that was intended.

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  96. If you’ve watched enough SpongeBob SquarePants episodes, you’ll get this reference. Think back to the episode where SpongeBob is learning to be a waiter in squidward’s “fine dining” restaurant. SpongeBob’s brain is made up of a bunch of tiny SpongeBobs, in a very organized room with very organized filing cabinets. This is how I feel having a normal brain would be like. Then Squidward tells SpongeBob to forget everything but fine dining and breathing and the tiny guys in his brain start shredding and burning “files”. Later, someone asks SpongeBob what his name is and in his brain the tiny SpongeBobs are running around frantically, desperately searching for a name. Papers are flying everywhere, everyone is in a panic and even one SpongeBob is on fire. That’s my brain. In a long, highly descriptive analogy.

  97. Adhd is like trying to program a sound system. What others may interpret as subtle background noise can be just as prominent as the lead singer’s voice.
    I notice this when I am at a restaurant and can hear 3 seperate conversations at other tables, the hum of the ice machine, dishes being stacked etc. My husband often thinks I am eavesdropping when in reality, it takes all my focus to hone in on what he is saying.

  98. For me it’s like being paralyzed and confined to a bed or a chair. I have something that I want to do, something that I really really want, be that a project or whatever but like someone paralyzed there are just certain things you can’t do and so you fall into what you are able to do, settle with it and get lost in it.

    I have ADHD and ASD and the ADHD makes stimulating things more attractive (Youtube/Television/Social Media) anything with audio and visual stimulation and social stimulation but then there is the ASD where I have my special interest/hobby which is usually felt as an obsession but because of the ADHD I have trouble with that and it frustrates me to no end and leads to mental and emotional exhaustion which makes things like Youtube more appealing because I can just get lost in the videos and it doesn’t take any real effort. It’s a bad combination of disorders.

  99. My mind in constant motion without an off switch. The most difficult thing for me is shutting my brain off. Expecially at night when I have to quiet my brain, but instead, I spend hours navigating all the experiences of my day. Its like a motor in my head I cannot turn off. My greatest challenge is convincing people around me that I am not doing the things I do on purpose.

  100. Sometimes I am hyperfocused and can get a million thing done in a day, sometimes I’m hyperfocused and focus on one thing and nothing else all day which has its pros and cons. But most often I have to try really hard to stay on task the other day I was studying when I glanced at my coat jacket for 2 seconds. I saw the pin on my jacket and went from that pin to thinking about a different pin that I got at an event which made me jump to the drive to the event which made me think of my favorite thing in the world cars. From there I continued to spiral jumping from memory to memory piecing thoughts together that have no correlation. When I finally snapped out of my trance ten minutes had gone by. Having ADHD is like your mind is a television without a remote except the volume is too loud the channels always changing and the subtitles are backwards

  101. Just found out I have Inattentive ADHD. I’m 17, and currently applying to colleges. I’ve always been a great student but every time I do homework (honestly just getting it done is rare) that I’m not interested by I feel like my brain is on fire. The most restless part of me that hasn’t found peace with the way I function was quieted a little when I read this post. Thank you so, so much.

    To me ADHD at its worst feels like being in the impact zone of a choppy ocean. Every time I come up to catch my breath I see another wave coming and have to close my eyes and go under again so I’m not crushed. It’s very anxiety-producing.

    Thank you again.

  102. I can relate to all of this. I feel like I’m plate spinning with lots of plates spinning simultaneously and having to go back to the ones that are about to hit the ground and get them spinning again. I don’t have a diagnosis but i’m currently trying to get to the bottom of my 5 year old sons fidgeting and attention issues and I’m sure he gets it from me. The way I am is all starting to make sense now I have researched ADD and ADHD.

  103. I can totally relate to Dori from the Disney movie Nemo, most of the time not instantaneous forgetfulness. But I can be in the middle of a conversation or thought and completely forget what I was talking about. Sometimes it just never comes back to me for hours or days, then I blurt out what I was trying to say 2 days ago. Sometimes to myself just so I can hear it. ADHD is so frustrating in so many ways and causes me great anxiety, but at the same time, I often find it helps with multitasking as long as the tasks are not mundane. Medicine helps, but side affects are horrible with everything I have tried, but Straterra is by far the best I’ve taken.

    BTW, this is the BEST forum for an accurate description of how living with ADHD feels

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  104. I literally feel different than everybody else, I feel like I’m paying attention way too much… but then I’m missing everything at the same time. I have so much information in my brain all trying to come out at the same time, but I cant spit it out, because i feel like nobody else is going to understand what I’m trying to put together. Which is all fine, I work best with stress, right? But when I finally get home and try to wind down, and here comes my wife asking me the simplest of questions, and the t.v. is going, and my kids are running around and the dog just got into the trash… and boom… I’m not “best under stress”, I’m the asshole, the problem. And then other times I feed on that energy in the house and im “too much”. I’m running around to much, im too loud, I’m trying to show my kids the way I learned a back flip in the middle of the living room… Nobody’s told me that I’m being “too much” but I know I am… arent I? And that last sentence exactly explains anytime I go out. I have fun, then in my head “chill dude, wtf?!” Then have fun, afterwards “dude why the fuck did u say that, u fucked up , every one hates you” but then I’m moving and that’s situation is gone, cuz I found me a new one, and away we go. I dont know if that’s adhd, my dr says it is. But even with their medicine, I dont feel like what I think the others feel like… does that make sense ya’ll

  105. On good days i can focus my willpower into intense bursts to concentrate on something. Albeit for a short time. On my worst day it is like my brain took over the wheel of my body and left me so i could daydream. I ponder over nagging thoughts for ridiculously long amounts of time. It is like my thoughts are on turbocharge most of the time. And mundane and repetitve tasks bore me alot. I will either hide inside my brain and daydream while doing something boring or i just won’t do it. Exactly why i do badly at school. But if i like what i’m doing you can expect me to do it quickly and do it well. Fun and interesting things captivate me and hold my attention. But anything else and im gonna daydream about if i was the main character in a video game or tv show.

  106. I never understood why I couldn’t function like everyone else. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t get to work on time, couldn’t remember my purse, my keys, my dr appointments. The list goes on and on. Then at 46 I was diagnosed with ADHD. however I prefer ADD because there’s no hyper in how I feel. Instead I continually feel exhausted as if someone drained my battery and Im winding down while all of the other energizer bunnies are zipping by. It’s quite a paradox to be exhausted but your mind is on 500 different things at once.

    The only way I can describe it, is that it’s like being inside of an invisible bird cage, trapped while the rest of the world goes about it’s business functioning normally. They don’t see your cage so they don’t believe you’re trapped. They just think you don’t WANT to escape and do things their way. They think you simply refuse to step forward, because they don’t see the barrier between you. Meanwhile your rattling the cage screaming SOMEBODY LET ME OUT OF HERE! Only they don’t know you desperately want out.

    The biggest challenge inside this cage that I face, is time. I loose hours, switch days in my head, and collapse time. I inexplicably think it’s thursday all day when it’s tuesday and miss all of my appointments that day. …because it’s Thursday, But it’s not. Then when I snap out of it and realize what I’ve forgotten or missed, I hate myself for doing it again. For being a mess and unreliable.

    Today my husband had a medical appointment and I forgot it. He told me this morning and I still forgot. It was important. Something that could have been really bad for him and I never asked him how it went. He waited for me to ask and of course I never did, so when he asked if I wanted to know right before bed I said. Oh my god I forgot! He took it as another example of how I don’t care. I didn’t even say it was my ADHD brain because he doesn’t believe me. He can’t conceive that there’s any other way to perceive time than how he does. How normal people do. So, now I sit inside my bird cage tappping away at my computer while he sleeps. I’m resigned to the idea that I am a selfish horrible person because I can’t explain that it wasn’t intentional because he says it’s just an excuse I use.

    Just outside my cage is “normal” and I’ll never get there.

  107. I never understood why I couldn’t function like everyone else. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t get to work on time, couldn’t remember my purse, my keys, my doctor appointments. The list goes on and on. Then at 47 I was diagnosed with ADHD.

    I prefer ADD because there’s no hyper in how I feel. Instead I continually feel exhausted as if someone drained my battery and I’m winding down while all of the other energizer bunnies are zipping by. It’s quite a paradox to be exhausted but your mind is on jumping everywhere.

    The only way I can describe ADHD to someone is that it’s like being inside of an invisible bird cage, trapped, while the rest of the world goes about its business functioning normally. They don’t see your cage so they don’t believe you’re trapped. They just think you don’t WANT to escape and do things their way. They think you are simply refusing to step forward, because they don’t see the barrier between you and them. Meanwhile the ADHD person is rattling the cage screaming SOMEBODY LET ME OUT OF HERE! Only they don’t hear you so they don’t know you desperately want out.

    The biggest challenge I face inside this cage, is time. I loose hours, switch days in my head, and collapse time. I inexplicably think it’s Thursday all day when it’s Tuesday I went to bed knowing it was Tuesday but it somehow gets rerouted and I suddenly think it’s Thursday. I go about my business missing all of my appointments, all of my commitments … because it’s Thursday. But it’s not. Then when I snap out of it and realize what I’ve forgotten or missed. I hate myself for doing it again and being an unreliable mess.

    Today was a classic example. My husband had a medical appointment and I forgot it. He told me this morning and I still forgot. It was important. Something that could have been really bad news and I knew he was nervous.

    I never asked him how it went. He waited for me to ask and of course I never did, so when he finally asked if I wanted to know right before bed I said, “Oh my god I forgot!” He was mad and took it as another example of how I don’t care. I didn’t even bother to say it was my ADHD brain because he doesn’t believe me. He can’t conceive that there’s any other way to perceive time than how he does. Every normal person perceives time the same way. Except I’m not normal. So, now I sit inside my bird cage tapping away at my computer in the dark while he sleeps. I’m resigned to the idea that he thinks I’m a selfish, horrible person. He says it’s just an excuse I use and it’s futile to try and explain that there’s this bird cage you see … and I’m trapped inside.

    Just outside my cage is “normal” but I’ll never get out to experience it.

    1. I’m really glad I stumbled upon this article & comment thread.

      I’m damn near flabbergasted by the similarities I share with y’alls personal tidbits in respect to what/how ADHD impacts daily life.

      I apologize for rambling for a bit & then just cutting the story off. You don’t wanna know how long it took me to post these few paragraphs to this link. — I tried to incorporate my demeanor while having ADHD.

      Q. Who’s your favorite band/Singer?
      Easy enough, right ? For me it’s Led Zeppelin. Well it’s harder than one might think… especially if you’re like me & only know certain songs from hit albums by the tune, or maybe just the chords from a song…
      Does anyone else only know lyrics to some songs? While distinguishing other hit songs solely by hearing & feeling the drum beat? Not having the slightest clue to anything being sang? Like I can hear just fine… it’s just with some pieces of music I can’t separate vocals from instrumental — it has to be one or the other.— hyper focus.

      In a typical day having ADHD (haven’t used medication since undergraduate almost 4 years ago)

      Quite often after snoozing a fourth alarm clock (if I actually rested for more than 4 hours) OR quite often after turning an alarm off prematurely (nights when you toss/turn & feel suffocated from random thoughts/emotions) I’ll start my day.

      Luckily, I always prepare my clothes the night before…
      …I mean I started to…
      …but I guess I only managed to lay out a pair of slacks & socks… hmmm where’s that blue shirt I like so much???
      …So as I head to the laundry room to grab a fresh shirt I then notice the laundry I started two days ago that never made it to the dryer…
      No big deal though…I’ll just re wash them & dry them this evening…
      Using the last two tide pods on my ‘rewash’ I make a mental note for my grocery check list. I’ll just have to find where I put that damn physical list at when I get home from work this evening because I’ll never remember to get detergent… In the mean time…thinking about laundry I did just remember that one skinny button-up shirt I wore out over the weekend with my golfing buddies… “it’s a sharp shirt & its still clean!!!” Right on the floor right where I took it off Saturday night —so I’ll just throw that on for work today!

      Note* ^I’m still on time for work—
      …SO having been blessed with this great imagination & seeing myself as being a total health nut with a fake tan here soon, I make the statement out loud. Whether it be for the world or my two kitty cats to hear I decide I should grab a protein shake at the gas station on my way to work. Begin a healthy journey with my body, ya know? Ditch the carbs & pack the protein, right?
      — After finally locating my ‘spare’ car keys in the house I begin my short, scenic drive to the office. While on route I was tapping my feet to one of my favorite tunes that I never learned a lyric or even a chorus to…
      …(all the while using my gifted imagination that I’m cruising in a blacked out Corvette with its top off…) hmmm?
      (…yeah the macho, fake tan, protein junky was just a dumb daydream—I already lost interest with that)

      * What did you expect? Commitment?^

      …As I pull in sideways, raising hell in my little white Volvo (I mean that blacked out corvette I was imagining) I surpisinly managed to get to work 23 minutes early.

      After parking & briefly getting antagonized by all the damn canadien geese swarming & making a ruckus in the parking lot next to the lake, I made a dash for the door. Shoo-wee-ing honking creatures as I jogged past, avoiding any potential kamikaze goose raid, I protected my head while entering the building with my Victorinox briefcase. Immediately I’m overcome with a soft, sweet aroma. Hmmm ?
      That smell? It smells like… like… My second grade English teacher’s chocolate chip cookies I had 15 years ago. Just before I begin to stalk & search for a cookie recipe that I’ll probably print out but never actually use for baking, I realize I never did make it to the gas station…did I?
      However, due to my fast driving & vivid imagination I was “early” today, and have time to get some breakfast.

      …After three, $5 scratch off losers & a couple snickers bars I made my way back to work with the Volvo. Only just now am I noticing my gas light… which would mean I never pumped any gas the TWO separate trips I made to the gas station this morning…

      …Though now I’m walking in like a regular day, 5 minutes late.

  108. I’ve always said it’s like a ticker tape running 24/7 just above my head & to try to reach up & grab just 1 thought is so difficult because they just keep coming… or on the news when that bar constantly scrolls the bottom & never stops. That’s my brain. That is constantly happening in the background while I am trying to just hold onto 1 thought.

  109. Great article and great comments!! The only thing I wanted to add was the number of browser tabs people are reporting is making me realise just how bad I have it…. Just checked and I have 1,240 tabs open in Chrome and 23 in Edge… Good thing I have a powerful tower, I guess, haha

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  110. Think of a person’s head/mind like a pillow and the feathers that stuff it are thoughts. Then imagine walking outside with said pillow and cutting it open so the feathers begin to fly away in the wind. You desperately try catching them so you can stuff them back in the pillow, but the more you chase one thought that seems important, all the other thoughts fly further away. You realize this and begin to wonder if some of those feathers are maybe more important and go back and forth between feathers, maybe catching a few on occasion. You dance around between thought, maybe unsure of which is more important, the one worthy of being focused on. Even if you know for a fact which feather is the most important and that doesn’t change, the other feathers still seem too precious to be let go, especially if it seems like maybe you can grab one or two of those on your way to the most important one, which slips away. Personally, I try planning ways around this and before you know it, I have spent hours overplanning or overthinking when I could have easily done a good amount of that in far less time. This makes me even more anxious and they just build on each other. Sometimes I will have homework for a class in front of me, not understand it and get frustrated by that and really want to give up but something keeps me tied tight to it so I cannot let go of it. I am not sure if that last bit is ADHD or one of my other (seemingly) many things, but my ADHD says to include it so there,

  111. It’s like knowing an answer without knowing the question it fits to.
    Some questions fit better, but none are never THE question. It’s frustrating, debilitating, and nobody understands.

  112. Before medication, it was like being inside of a tornado while trying to do anything. When I was a kid, I remember being able to relate to the ant that lost the line and would freak out and speed around in circles trying to find it’s place in the world. The only times it felt that my brain, my body, and the rest of the world, existed on the same plane, were either when playing my guitar and writing songs, or when I would become very focused on something.

    What’s odd, however, is that when I reached my mid-20s, my brain added a new thing to the mix. In addition to feeling like boggle cube, I began spacing out for long periods of time. One morning I was driving to work, in Charleston, just ten minutes from my home, and the next thing I knew, I was in Columbia. I was an hour and a half away, with zero recollection of the drive. That was when I finally went to a doctor and began flying my plane with a co-pilot (medication). Things are still tornadic, but the F5 is more like an F2. At least now, I can see what I need among the many things hurling toward and past me, where before, every task seemed impossible from the start.

  113. Acloud of everything surrounding me. A fog of thoughts, connections, ideas, irrelevancies. I hate the question “”what are you thinking?” From Sig other. I used to lie and say nothing, or randomly grab something from the cloud…it also made me feel like I was mindless and bland. So hard to explain the opposite was true….l achieved 2 degrees, and heaps of interesting jobs (mainly Not in the degree fields) before diagnosis. We Can do the things if we get lucky, work super hard, use tricky adaptions, don’t study law or something BORING. I wonder what I would have achieved with a diagnosis before 46. Maybe family and kids? High placed job in degree fields? I joined a reenactment group, which gave me heaps of interesting friends and activities . (Odd hobby groups attract the neurodiverse…find your tribe and flourish.) I just figured I was lazy etc etc. (We know the blurb). It never occurred to me that other people didn’t have a cloud of unseen active everythings floating above them.

  114. Having ADHD is difficult. When people tell me how to do things all at once, I usually forget everything but the first or the last step. And in school, I ended up repeating ninth grade because my brain refused to pay attention to stuff that appealed to me as “boring” (such as maths or learning the English language in school).

  115. Un-diagnosed. 18 months of marriage counceling with a professional opened the door to the possibility of an ADD or ADHD condition. At the time (more than a few years ago) ADD/ADHD was not widely known and not considered as an explanation of my “problem”.
    And a “Problem” I had. I couldn’t work with others (my fault, of course), couldn’t concentrate on what others were saying, (why do mundanes talk so long about absolutely nothing?) and was told by every boss I ever had that I was useless. (while being fired)
    Cursed with a high IQ (142) I have struggled my whole life merely trying to be ‘normal’. Harsh discipline as a child and sent off to summer camps and boarding schools only pushed me further away from that cherished state of oblivion.
    Drugs and alcohol only provided a temporary distraction, with the predictable results.
    Without doubt my attitude sucks. I know fully well that its’ my worst trait. I usually wait for people to catch up to what I was thinking, only to be thinking about something else by the time they do. The result is I end up looking foolish, uncaring or just plain stupid.
    Plato is credited for saying “The unexamined life is not worth living”. I have dared to take the journey to the center of my being. It was a difficult and painful process. I examined all the BS I caused to others though my actions (or inactions) and accepted my role. I rose above myself. (it’s an ongoing process)
    I have so much I can offer, yet I sabotage my own efforts. My audience stares with vapid expressions and dismisses me as ‘weird’.
    From my perspective *I* am the normal one, and everyone else is slow. How would I have a comparison if I’ve never been ‘normal’? Conundrum.
    I’ve worked as a network admin, (no longer employed, surprised?) and have been instructed by executives to sabotage the network so the management would have a viable excuse for not getting work done! And THAT is supposed to be the ‘good’, ‘proper’ and ‘right’ way of doing business? To use MY intellect and MY reputation for those who lie, cheat and steal? How in the name of sanity does one do that?
    I have a theory; ADD/ADHD is not a condition, its’ a blessing. A wonderful gift. We have something the regular folks don’t have. It’s my secret superpower. (no tights and cape)
    Do we suffer for it? Oh yes, we do. We are criticized for something they do not know and are incapable of understanding. It embarrasses them. Therefor we are regulated to the fringes. Marginalized. Fired. We are put down so they can feel a little better about themselves.
    They have no idea that super men and women walk among them. We are literally the next wave of human evolution and they cry in vain at their inevitable passing.
    Do not let them stifle you. Are you reacting to ‘their’ perceptions of what normal is? Define your own. ‘They’ say you can’t have ‘too many tabs open’? It’s because they can’t handle it. You can. We cannot use their definition of progress.

    March to the sound of a distant plumber.

  116. Trying to hold a thought is like trying to balance a drop of water on the top of a soap bubble. Or a marble on top of a bowling ball. It will stay there for only an instant, then I have to put it back and try again…and again. Several of those brief moments, strung loosely together is the only way I ever get ANYTHING done. That includes writing this.

  117. I feel like I’m always trying to not forget things. I have my homework, I take it to school, then POOF!!!!! It’s GONE!!!! I like when I always have a lot of energy even if other have very little. I can never pay attention to class lectures, I start to tap my pencil loudly, then my teacher gives me a detention. I would not take it away, even if I had the chance to. I am good at remembering small details, like the parking number, but homework, I just lose it, I look for it, then realize that class started 15 minutes ago, so I go to class. I always forget like I am forgetting something. But when I am active, I feel like I am not forgetting anything. I always pay attention to the wrong things, like someones shirt color without noticing it. I realize that I was zoning out only after the teacher calls my name 3 times. Then people laugh at me.

  118. I hate “Boring Lecture” classes such as English or mathematics because I zone out and I don’t realize that until the teacher calls on me and I realize that I don’t even know which page that we were on. The teacher always says that I should be more focused during class and I try. I always forget my homework or textbook and my teacher scolds me for forgetting it. Then others laugh at me and I don’t like those classes for that. I am good at Art, PE, and Computer/Robotics. They keep me from having my ADHD episodes

  119. Honestly, it’s frustration. At 38 I’m just now realizing that I have ADD. “Unmotivated”, “lazy”, “worthless”, and “stupid” are words I’ve heard for decades to describe me from others. They don’t even have to outright say it, I can see it on their faces. “Why can’t I just do what needs to be done? Why can’t I finish this project or that project? I should really start that project.” “Why did I leave the mayonnaise out? Great, now I have to buy yet another jar.” “Glad I went to the store, wait…I forgot the mayonnaise!” “Oh, I’ve got plenty of time to get to work…Oh no, I spent too much time, I’m going to be late now!”

  120. I have never been diagnosed with adhd, but at a young age, I was always distracted easily! I was always in trouble in class for talking or just not paying attention. The worst part is when I got a little older I wanted to pay attention and I would sit in class and try… but before I new it I was spacing out with different stories or theories in my brain. I always noticed eventually that I had quit listening but by that time class would be over or onto a new subject.
    Now that I’m older it is the same I try to get ready for work, no matter what I am running late, yes I have 3 children to get ready but even I will get up earlier and still run late due to distractions going on in my own head.
    At work things seem to take me longer to finish or I’m distracted by things people talk about in my office so I’m doing my work but have 4 or 5 different things going on in my head. While this is going on I can listen to 2 or 3 conversations going on and be thinking about all of them, plus answering the phone and helping a customer.
    By the end of work I’m heading home replaying conversations. Watching everything, from license plate numbers and vehicles to street names. You name it I could probably tell you the license plates of vehicles I see daily. “Hey I know that license plate I saw this car last week on the way home.” And I live in a pretty large city.
    Then I’m home trying to cook, clean, help the kids with homework all at the same time. Dinner always takes me longer, than my my husband due to the fact I’m all over the place. Sometimes I want to talk or tell a story and I cannot get all my thoughts out. I get fusterated like don’t you understand what I am trying to say…..
    Everyone says slow down, but I can’t. Only think of one thing at a time. But I can’t I still have everything at work replaying in my brain, I am listening to what is playing on my son’s device, my baby talking, my husband talking and all of it running around in my head as I cook, clean, and more!
    Sometimes it is so emotional I don’t know where to begin.

  121. Well, this how my ADHD feels to me: ADHD (inattentive subtype)

    1. Unlike neurotypicals, and through absolutely no choice of my own, I absolutely hate everything that is not either interesting or soothing. Of course, most people dislike doing or spending time on things that are not interesting or soothing such as chores. But as an ADHD, I absolutely hate those things : both the thought of them and the doing of them makes me feel almost unbearably restless and trapped. Don’t get-me-wrong though: this can never be offered up as an excuse, so to carry my fair share of chores in any team (at home or work) I do my full fair share of these things. They even become a habit, which is quite an achievement for me, but the extreme discomfort still does not reduce much. I cannot complain because it would sound like a lightweight winger. Some of these tasks I don’t do: mainly the ones that cause inconvenience only to me, and I kick myself with guilt and self dislike, for causing myself such inconvenience. This can be incorrectly interpreted by me and the neurotypical world as an amoral lack of self discipline (which it is not, but it is difficult for neurotypicals to understand or appreciate) The flip side is that for things that DO interest me, I can do them for a much longer duration and to a significantly higher standard than the average neurotypical – this I’m told is the common ability for ADHD’s to hyper-focus – thought the super achievement and success will often be met by silence from others, who are confused that someone they criticized for being scatty and unreliable last week – can now massively outperform them an everyone else this week.

    2. I am usually extremely focused, but this is often an involuntary focus on the interesting thoughts going on in my own head, and not on the less interesting world around me. So while I came in the front-door 10 minutes ago, I cannot tell you where I put my keys: I can suddenly snap out of my thoughts, to find I am driving in completely the wrong direction: I can put the breakfast serial box in the fridge; forget a name that has been told to me 3 times; and completely forget an appointment because I am so engrossed. This is interpreted by the neurotypical world as an inappropriate choice to daydream and be unreliable. They do not realise, it is not a choice. And when I make the gargantuan sustained effort that is required to reduce the incidence of these oversights by say 95%, I am still dissed for the reaming 5%.

    3. Despite the above, I would not want to give up the advantages of being ADHD : If I had a magic wand that could waive away it way, I think I would also lose the ability to achieve to my own satisfaction in the things to Do interest me. Finding a profession which truly interested me, and a workplace with a good mentor to help me develop professionally did not happen until I was in my late 30’s, (and all the while I was gradually learning how to be more reliable, and follow behavioural norms within groups), and then I took off like a bird. I’m still different, it’s still hard, but it is exhilarating. Teaching others is a core part of what I do and ADHD is a really big advantage here. I design materials and lectures in the way I would like them to have been designed when I was learning: making them genuinely interesting – helping learners to derive principles by problem solving rather than simply telling them; and taking them on a step by step journey with no missing steps! Happily the results are very well received, and I would not be able to do this if I didn’t know what it was like to find classroom learning hard.

    4. My motivation and attention do Not seam to have settings from 1 to 10 like most neurotypicals. I just have two settings ie 1 OR 10 ! It takes things to be either very interesting, hazardous, or competitive, to snap the switch from 1 to 10 And when it does, there are few who can outperform.

    5. The choice to tell my employer and work colleges I am ADHD was easy : I didN’T’! For two reasons : First, the neurotypical world is not yet ready to understand ADHD : it still sounds to them like an excuse for “choosing” laziness, day-dreaming and unreliability. Secondly, because ADHD is incorrectly named! – it suggests an attention deficit – which is of course not true. We can pay much more attention than average folk to things that interest or stimulate us, we are on average of higher intelligence (sounds snobby but it’s scientifically confirmed), and when we are motivated we can achieve very highly indeed. So our condition should be called something along the lines of Attention Hyper-focus Variant AHV: I propose the world “variant” as we are variety of human – a natural and useful variant. NOT the dreadfully negative labels of Deficit! and Disorder!

  122. I was diagnosed with ADHD in 3rd grade. I had so much trouble focusing in school. I was full of so much energy and my mind and thoughts were strewn all over the place. They started me on Adderall. It helped at first. But the side effects were bad. When the Adderall was working it’s “magic”, I would lose my appetite during the day until it wore off and I would become hungry. This lead to rapid weight gain and troubles sleeping at night. Due to my diagnosis, I would speak quickly, and people wouldn’t be able to understand what I was saying. I usually spoke what came to mind without thinking about my words because my thoughts were going a thousand miles an hour. That lead to some problems because people thought I was rude and blunt. Insomnia became a problem and I was put on sleep medications until middle school. Eventually I was taken of the Adderall due to a few health problems such as increased heart rate and some mental health issues such as depression. Overtime, although I still have some minor problems with ADHD, I’ve somewhat outgrown my ADHD. It took time to learn how to “handle” it. I’ve learned to redirect myself and have found ways to deal with my constantly energized state. Those ways include fidget toys that are quiet, as not to bother those around me, and exercise before I get ready for the day and before I go to bed. I don’t recommend caffeine products in the morning. They only make me tired. I do drink tea with caffeine in it before bed because I know I’ll be tired after consuming caffeine. If you’re like me in that way, I recommend caffeine at night. Also a better alternative to the sleep medicine that ends up affecting you in the morning with trouble getting up would be melatonin. Two 10mg tablets of melatonin work for me. Thanks for reading!

  123. I’m 19 and ADHD.. These are typical scenarios in my life:
    An email pops into my inbox. I check it out. If it’s more than two sentences, my mind drifts off. If I manage to read through, I open my files. Look at all folders and have no idea which one I need. So I go back to my email and have no idea why I just opened my email. I click through my inbox randomly and find another email I’m supposed to take care of. So I run to get the phone and when I want to dial the numbers I don’t know whom to dial.
    Run to my room to grab a book. Get to my room and I don’t know why I just got here. Find my dirty socks scattered on the floor and pick them up to take them to the hamper. I find myself in the kitchen with a pair of socks. ‘What the hell am I doing here, duh.” And I have to concentrate hard to remember why it is I’m holding my socks and what I ought to do with them, but for the life of me I can’t recall.
    I search Alibaba for good stuff to sell on Amazon. I want to get rich and get rich FAST. NOW. I think I found a good product so I run to check if it’s already being sold on Amazon. I get to Amazon and get distracted by soooo many colorful and exciting products, I completely forget why I came here in the first place. I decide on a product spontaneously, and have an instant, powerful URGE, NEED, to place the order NOW, as we speak, or else, I caaaaaaaaaaant!!!!!!
    If work requires me to open a boring google drive file, I will find myself browsing helplessly through Youtube videos.
    One of the things I can’t do: Walk ice. I am unable to focus on each step so I’m doomed to slip and crash.

  124. For me, ADHD feels like being a very large ship on a raging sea filled to the brim with thoughts, feelings, and emotions packed into boxes… the problem is that the ship is equipped with steering on both ends and the 2 ends are always pulling away from the other.

  125. I like to think of my mind like a giant whiteboard. For the average mind, their whiteboard is easy to read. Tasks and reminders are listed in bullet points, color coded, with the important things written in bright red, underlined and circled and separate from the rest of the words on the board. Some people might have messier handwriting and some people might not have everything color coded, but it’s at least legible.

    But my whiteboard is very different. The handwriting is horribly illegible, the words are all written at random angles and sizes, and somebody’s sleeve dragged across half the words. The tasks are written over each other, the reminders overlapping and clashing, and I can never tell what’s important and what isn’t. I’ve written “MAKE YOUR CAR PAYMENT” at least six times this week, but somehow they’ve all gotten lost between “Binge watch Doctor Who” and “Just one more chapter” and “Spaghettio’s sound really good right now…”.

    It’s maddening trying to find my way around it all…and often, right when I think I’ve made progress, something distracts me. It’s like somebody has taken that bright red marker and written…say… “YOUTUBE” in massive bold all-capital letters, underlined it, circled it three times, and set it to the tune of a loud and obnoxious song. Suddenly that’s the ONLY thing on the whiteboard that matters, and until I manage to drag myself back to some semblance of focus, nothing else written beneath it with look like anything more than squiggly lines.

    Absolute maddening insanity.

    Occasionally, that Big Bold Word™ is something useful, like “WRITE THREE CHAPTERS IN ONE SITTING” or “ORGANIZE YOUR ENTIRE DRESSER” but more often than not, it’s just a useless and distracting – albeit entertaining – side task.

    Procrastination at its finest. 🙂

  126. Crippling. It feels like your brain is made of brick and you’re just a zombie walking around in the moment. There is no contemplation of the past, it’s as though the last few hours of your memory are completely blank the entire time. Medication helps bring you back to reality. You can look forward and back and see a bigger picture even for the most mundane and routine things. But on your bad ADHD days, you’ll feel like you’re helpless and bound. You have a body but you are unable to make the most of it because that’s the hardest part about ADHD. Every single day is a battle in a never ending war and you just have to make the most of it. I hope my thoughts resonate with someone who’s going through the same and helps them.

  127. Hi Adam,
    I’m having neuro-psych testing in April for “memory problems”. I just read the experiences above and I think I have ADHD.
    I have a cranial nerve disorder and have had several brain surgeries and have chalking most of my problems up to that but after reading this I’m really taken back. This is really helpful. Thank you.

  128. It’s mentally exhausting. I wasn’t diagnosed until last year at 29, because school interested me and I was always hyperfocused, plus I have a need to please everyone around me. I am known as the ditzy, scatterbrained, creative genius of the family. Daily tasks are so overwhelming. I constantly feel like I’m lazy, and wonder why most simple tasks that people do on a daily basis are so overwhelming for me. But I can tackle a giant, complex project like organizing people’s homes or decorating for 10 hours straight without even pausing to eat. My brain desperately wants to focus on one thing it finds interesting, but with kids and life, I’m constantly getting my attention ripped away and it’s physically painful. The amount of mental games I go through to complete tasks like doing the dishes is laughable. When I try to explain how my brain works to my husband, he only shakes his head and says it sounds exhausting. It is.

  129. I’m a commercial pilot with stereotypical ADD symptoms. I definitely don’t have ADHD – it’s ADD for sure.

    The hardest part of getting my flight bag packed, driving to the airport, planning the flight, pre-flighting the jet, taxi, takeoff, navigation through thunderstorms to a complicated instrument approach to a short runway with multiple system failures and constant context switching is…. getting my flight bag packed and driving to the airport. Those two things are not sufficiently complex, so I just don’t properly engage in them.

    But blow out the fan blades on an engine, at night, in a thunderstorm, and fail half the systems on the plane, and I will get you on the ground safely, every time. I have ADD, sure, but I’m the guy you want in the nose of that bird on a dark and stormy night.

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  130. To me ADHD feels like Im in a formula 1 race with a drag car because formula 1 typically has outrageous turns and Drag cars have enormous turning radiuses. or like Im on a road trip in my own head and Im somehow lost.

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  131. When I become slightly stressed, no matter the situation, my brain stops. Black screen. Panic ensues and i cry. I just took some tests on lumosity and most questions, i black screened on. i can not think ahead unless i have a LOT of time to do so. it feels like my brain runs on the ‘low’ setting. i know that i AM capable of training my brain to run on higher settings but in order to do this, im gonna have to get stressed, brain shuts off, then i restart back on low. kind of like a phone that ran out of space because there are too many applications open. i have to factory reset in order to start clearly.

  132. ADHD:
    It’s like a high you can’t escape, or too much caffeine without the actual caffeine and your brain goes in a million places at the same time, all except the one place your supposed to be in, and you realize that you just spent ten minutes staring at a page of a si-fi book thinking about why grass is green and if a rhino really is a unicorn and a gazillion other random topics. Or is this just me.

  133. The way I described my ADD to my therapist, I told her it was like an old TV where the picture wouldnt come in quite right or it was just all snow with each dot & each little line being a separate thought. After I’ve been on a medicinal/herbal regimine, I feel like the TV has come more into focus & a tangible image can be seen in the background, but there are still multiple lines that skitter accross the screen as different lines of thought. Mindfulness therapies have made the most difference & I doscovered my “super power” with ADD is seeing or hearing or just picking up on certain details one might not normally pay attention to, similar to a mentalist 🙂

  134. It’s like watching all your mistakes through a screen. You can see it all happen, but aren’t always able to do anything about it. When I’m being annoying, ranting on about something or doing the wrong thing, the chances are, I’m aware of it too. I do not want to be seen as the annoying one or that I don’t care about how I come across to people, especially around the people I love. I hate it! I hate it so so much but I can’t seem to help making mistakes and failing to complete basic tasks that are and should be easy. It is literally the most stressful thing ever. It just makes a person feel really stupid and embarrassed.

    All my life I have been told “you aren’t living up to your full potential” and I’ve literally watched myself try and fail constantly and it sucks. The sheer amount of energy it takes an add/ adhd brain to start and complete a task is unfair. we often try harder than the people around us to achieve ordinary goals but still fall behind. It really takes a toll on one’s self esteem but with perseverance we’ll get through it.

  135. I feel like I am constantly putting on a show. But behind the curtain everyone is running into each other trying to figure out the next scene and find all the props. It’s chaotic and tiring, and no matter how hard I rehearse or prepare, I always seem late, unprepared, or forget something. I reread things and sometimes I try so hard to focus that i start focusing on being focused and have to reread the whole thing because I wasn’t focused on the sentence. Used to happen on all of my tests right towards the end. I was always the last one done. Ugh and the dreaded timed tests. Once it gets down to 10 minutes left I could never focus because I was so focused on the ticking time. I hope that all makes sense. I find seasonal jobs work well for me because I get so bored with doing repetitive mundane tasks and the average day to day activities, I want something more challenging. Just wish I could pull those curtains back and show everyone all the tiring work that actually goes on, instead of the shit show they see everyday.

  136. I really found this article relatable even though i pretty much miss the last few sentences in almost every paragraph due to those annoying little “share bubbles that cover the corners(facebook,twitter etc..) i would love to remove them and read the entire thing but i know that if i try it will lead to my branching off into five other things…(ADHD in full glory can steal an entire day with a few poorly placed bubbles…)

  137. It feels like my brain is frozen. I feel paralyzed in all aspects of life. I want to do things but my brain won’t let me. I’m constantly on the go and so is my mind. Unfortunately I was only diagnosed this year and I am so angry that this was not caught earlier. I have struggled so much and have been suicidal for so long. It breaks my own heart to know how much I was tossed around my entire life by doctors, my parents and teachers. No one tried to helped me.’I really hope there will be a day that no one has to suffer this way.

  138. It feels like I am trying to watch hundreds of TVs all on different channels while trying to listen to every song you can imagine and trying to sing along with all of them. I am 14 and was diagnosed with ADHD, depression, and anxiety when I was 11-13. When I was 8 my dog and my great grandfather died, I had a heck of a time recovering from that, and when I was 11 my best friend died by suicide, – He hung himself. – I went to a mental hospital because of suicidal thoughts and anger outbursts, I really am a good kid, but I struggle with everyday tasks like socializing and walking in a crowded hall or focusing. I want to get better, how do I get the help I need?

  139. One thing I didn’t notice anyone mention is that, for me, I have a hard time seeing “the trees for the forest,” rather than “the forest for the trees.”

    It’s like I see everything from above, looking down, but I can’t bring myself down to the ground to see the things in front of me.

    I usually see and understand the big picture much more quickly and clearly than others, but I have a hard time conceptualizing and acting upon the small details (“the trees”). It’s like when I even try to think about them, often, my head goes blank, and I can’t figure out how/where to start. So, I start researching, but then even if I create a list, I feel “disconnected” from it, and can’t gather up the motivation to act upon it–even when I am very excited about the big picture project itself.

    I love exploring ideas and finding solutions to problems (fixing things), but I have a hard time creating things from scratch and managing all of the details. I’m usually either focusing on everything or nothing (“zen mind” lol), or I’m hyperfocusing on the wrong thing (usually something big picture)!

    Finally, when “emergency mode” hits and I am able to hyperfocus on the thing that has to be finished, everything else I need to do “flies away” just like the balloons in the picture shared above (and I drop the ball on them).

    My task list often feels like a “nice to do someday” list that gives me no real motivation until tasks reach “emergency mode/” Rationally, I understand what I’m supposed to do, I just can’t do it most of the time. Instead, I just think about doing it, while giving myself “one more minute” to do other things (mainly researching stuff) that end up taking all day/night long.

    I often feel “stuck.”

  140. For me my ADHD feels like understeering, not only that my mind is always repeating stuff constantly, it could be a song, or something i said, or something i heard or thought about saying, ill repeat it, and repeat it, until something else distracts me to repeat something different, and it tortures me everyday, i feel like a broken record, or even at that a record with no off button, it wears me out and gives me constant headaches, when i was 11 years old i was diagnosed with it and been taking medication up until my mom passed away, im 28 years old now and i cant handle day to day task and cannot hold a job for the life of me, i have no idea how to control my mind racing a thousands miles a second, im suffering bad from this and im so drained mentally from it, if i can just stop my brain from repeating every little thing i feel i could finally sleep peacefully for once, if anyone can please explain to me if there is some way to ease this i would deeply appreciate it, ive giving up at this point and im really wanting some sort of answer…

    1. I can relate to that Austin. Maybe u should get back on medication. The meds I take help a lil bit n in some cases I can actually fall ? asleep in less than an hour when it usually takes longer. Do some research online too, there are some diets u can try that they say ? helps ppl with ADHD. I was just reading a bunch of articles about it. The site was called, check ✔ it out, it was a very interesting read. Wishing u the best!

  141. Mine sometimes reminds me of a handful of bouncy rubber balls know , like the kind you get out if those quarter bubblegum machines ? Each ball is a task .you start off with each one , individually until you realize the task you’re on has something that goes to one of the other tasks ( rubber balls ) this continues fir awhile until your mind is completely off course …let’s say while you’re holding all of these rubber balls in a big empty room , this represents my mind .( Its .supposed to be clear, empty of any distracting items ) ..suddenly you wonder what would it look like if you just threw all of the rubber balls All at once ..and then trying to catch them 2-3 or more at a time ..yeah .that me sometimes ..and NOTHING really gets finished in a timely or complete manner ..ugh!! I’m always moving , fidgeting , my mind wanders I call it going down the rabbitthole labrynth of whatever site I’m looking at ..then getting lost ..or have you ever had that moment where you’re doing something , but you’re so focused in something else while your doing something mundane that you’re like you’re in autopilot and completely forget where you just placed something or forgetting whether or not you actually did something like locking a door ..even though you JUST walked away from the door ?!?! ..I don’t take anything right now fir mine , and I was diagnosed later in life in my 30s but I always wondered wtf was going on w me ..why was my mind racing ? Why , even though I can add subtract ..count just fine I have to be in a quiet area to count down a drawer ? Need s ratch paper ? Or even though I am fairly intelligent , why is it easier for me to write down what I’m trying so hard and failing to express with my mouth ? I just can’t get the words out right ..if at all ..
    I’m easily distracted , I do like the guy above , hum ALL THE TIME, Even talk out loud to myself when I do something stupid ..or lose things even when I’ve only JUST set them down somewhere ..I’ve gotten a little better at these things but some days’s bad ..omg ..

  142. I see I too am late to the game here but I felt the need to chime in anyway. I was diagnosed about 10 years ago, I’m 55 now so having ADHD all my life has definitely been a challenge to say ? the least. I would always describe my ADHD as someone constantly changing the radio ? station ?, or tv ? channels. School ? was a nightmare for me! I struggled so much I ended up quitting my 2nd year of 9th grade.
    I was never able to do office ? type work, I had to be moving all the time. I always had physical labor jobs so that I was always doing something, anything! But my last job left me w/a life long disability so I haven’t been able to work for quite some time n not being able to do a whole lot now is driving me insane! My mind NEVER stops! Trying to fall ? asleep has always been difficult. I would always shake my foot ? to go to sleep ? n still do. The medication I take helps a lil bit so I keep taking it. Idk about the rest of u but I find it frustrating when dealing w/ppl who just don’t understand, like when I deal w/ppl over the phone ?, ie cable company, electric co ect. I always feel completely misunderstood, like, am I speaking in swalheely or something? I feel as if I need to wear a t-shirt ? that says, WARNING ⚠ I have ADHD n I know how to use it! Lol ? . So that’s part of my story. Thank you all for sharing yours.

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  143. That’s an interesting analogy that ADHD is like a computer with low ram. I would think that would make it hard to focus on more than one thing at once. I would think that would be like trying to run too many programs at once and would overload the brain. That’s interesting to learn a bit more about how ADHD affects you.

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  144. After a lifetime of ADD, I have turned it around to be my superpower and learned to channel it.

    I don’t sleep. I nap. I now accept that.

    I keep a list of things to do for when I am unable to sleep. I have calendars and reminders everywhere. Routine is highly important. Keys, credit cards, driver’s license, must ALWAYS be put in the same place. Mack’s moldable earplugs are a must. It’s the only way to drown out the noises. Never fly without earplugs or noise-canceling headphones.

    In restaurants, I must be seated facing a wall. When you find the little tricks that work, use them.

    I always leave early for everywhere and do dry runs for new destinations because I know I get lost easily.

    When I am overwhelmed by noises, stimuli or people, I lay down and clear my brain. I erase the slate by creating a mental image of a blackboard and erasing it. Sometimes it can be done in as little as five minutes of quiet. Take a break at work by going to your vehicle or even the restroom stall. Close your eyes and just erase the incoming data.

    Rejoice in the superhuman things you can do and channel them into more and more positive outcomes. The more you succeed, the more you want to succeed, and the more you feel better about yourself. I recommend two books that really help, Brian Tracy-Eat That Frog and Driven to Distraction by Edward Hallowell.

    Be kind to yourself. You have many superhuman talents. Find a way to exploit them.

  145. I can relate to so many of those descriptions! I am a scientist with ADHD, working a government job, also live in southern California. To me my ADHD is like swimming in the ocean. Every morning when I get up, I have to dive in and keep moving, planning, treading water, diving under or swimming over the endless parade of events and consequences crashing over me. But it isn’t just what’s above the water I have to try and deal with, as I’m constantly moving and reacting, I have to try not to set my feet down on a stingray below, cuz eventually that will happen if I forget, and I’ll get nailed. My friends, family (non-ADHD), and coworkers are like timid sunbathers who won’t swim out, because they are afraid of what they can’t see, like sharks and jellyfish. Ha

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  146. I have referred to my ADHD as a Merry Go Round that had 4 or more rows of horses, Speed that thing up to about 100 MPH and think about that each one of those horses is a thought or idea hitting you dead on as is passed, it’s no wonder I can’t sleep when my work schedule changes. I have to have 3 to 4 hours after work to wind down, but I could have to be up at 3 AM or work till 10 PM , not one day, but back to back days. I REALLY THINK THAT IF YOU ARE NOT ABLE TO BE ON A REGULAR SLEEP SCHEDULE IT IS HARMFULL TO YOUR BODY.
    PS. Didnt sleep at all last night, was there till 1030pm, had to be at work at 6AM, went in at 2AM, there you have it and I’m still not asleep, CST. Currently 840 PM.

  147. Every day having to live with ADHD feels like im dumb and cant do anything right i forget everything i cant think normaly i always having some kind of problem with myself but there are people who can help you through things…thngs that can be hard like for me its my spelling and as you could tell i most likely got some things wrong typing this but people can help you if you just reach out.

  148. I really appreciate all the many insightful comments. I feel for me, the notes about being overwhelmed by the smallest tasks of daily life, really hit home. Just opening mail and remembering where I put bills. Literally waiting until my dishes pile up and I run out of utensils before “doing the dishes.” Being chased at night with thoughts of all I didn’t do and must do the next day, but having no desire or plan to just start. Honestly, what has helped me the most is daily prayer. Asking God to free my mind of the clutter and confusion to allow me to complete ONE TASK at A TIME.

  149. I have been on a high dose of the ADHD medication (concerta) for over 20 years. I started taking the medication in 4th grade. I have a love/ hate relationship with my ADHD as an adult.

    Growing up I was embarrassed about it. I hid my ADHD from everyone other than close friends because I didn’t want people to judge me.

    In college ADHD became cool, people even offered to buy my medication. But for me personally the medication is what I took to feel like myself – not to get high.

    As an adult, I have managed to build a really success career but only because I was lucky enough to have really awesome mentors and managers. I too excel at solving urgent problems, putting out fires, and research projects. My biggest issue is no matter what medication I take it never solves the big issues.

    Big ADHD issues as an adult:

    Time management – I have a horrible sense of time, and I’m late for everything.

    Sleep – I cannot seen to get to bed on time or get up on time. I set 16 alarms in the morning and even have a natural light alarm clock. Nothing works.

    Focusing on and finishing the unfun things – I will drag my feet on finishing or starting things I’m not interested in. I feel like sometimes if I drag enough on a project I don’t like it’ll just go away.

    Balancing personal and professional tasks – I tend to dominate in the professional world and then forget to do all the things I need to do in my personal life (taxes, bills, appointments, refilling medications).

    Heart issues – I have a irregular heart beat, on and off my medication and cardiologists say it’s probably because how long I’ve been medicated.

    Overall I do not like the person I am Unmedicated. But if I could go back in time, I would tell my parents to send me to therapy instead. I don’t know if I can function normally day-to-day without medication and being so tied to something (which is getting more difficult to get) is debilitating.

    P.s. here’s a tip for parents of ADHD kids – please do not ask your adhd child “did you take your pills today?” It’s rude

    1. I feel like we might be each other’s shadows. Our Son has ADHD. We manage his medication but I’m grateful that I can relate to him and normalize a lot of his struggles and empathize. But I feel horribly guilty that he has to deal with it. And that I hadn’t been diagnosed until after him. It’s made me a much better parent being diagnosed, but the heartache of undiagnosed adhd in childhood and the barriers it created for me. it’s a mixed bag.
      The time management issue is so real for me. The fact that i’m great at project management – but can’t manage my own personal time in my own life is maddening. All the systems and tricks I try to use to set myself up for success and only to find more roadblocks. It’s disheartening and I wish my spouse could see how hard I try.

  150. ADHD is either complete hell, or completely amazing hyper focus bliss. The tragedy for me is that it doesn’t allow me to choose what I hyper focus on. My brain cannot tune out background noise. So having a conversation with someone with other things going on around me can give me anxiety and make me irritable.
    Fun fact. Here was my day:
    I’m in school, over 40, and have two children. Ever tried to learn something – particularly something really hard for you?

    So today, I go to a coffee shop with noise cancelling headphones – I can still hear everything going on around me right now and I am about to cry.
    I could have gone to the library, but I needed to get food. I couldn’t make food at home because I already spent my morning doing what i had to get done so I could have a clear head for (medicated) focus. I cannot make food at home because that means I will have to make food for everyone else. Already prepared food for afternoon snack for husband to take with him to the kid gym, made breakfast, transferred two loads of laundry, put away all the linens, and that meant I needed to organize the linen closet – because I’ve been putting off putting away linens because my ADHD co-housing sister just throws everything where it will work “right now” so I get that done, make the bed all so i’m not thinking about all of it while studying.. SO I’m like hey, I’m clever. No. No I am not clever… I’m here, losing my mind because I cant focus on my work. There is too much noise.

    Great! I will study tonight after the kids go to bed. Except I will be exhausted and my meds will wear off before they fall asleep and I will be exhausted.

    It is absolutely torture. It was better until my second and third concussions – when I lost the compensatory strategies I had developed for my undiagnosed ADHD. Then when my son was diagnosed and my comeback from third concussion that was a bruise to my hyppocampus and frontal lobe, where all Emotional Regulation, Impulse Control, Short term memory and pretty much all ADHD wiring is circuited – pretty much made me wired like a 7 year old with the fund of knowledge of a college grad. WTF. So yeah, This is hard. If I could fix myself, I would. There are some pieces that make me feel like this is my superpower. I can write papers and grants with the force of a freight train. Edit and format like a boss. Create structure and organize all day. Hyper-focus is my superpower. As long as the conditions around me are super dialed in and my meds are fresh. Otherwise, it’s brutal.

  151. You will never know how grateful I am to have come across this article. It nearly brought me to tears to see all the people who experience the same setbacks and obstacles I do. I have always described my ADHD (inattentive type) as the inability to choose what I pay attention to. Like watching a tv when someone else has the remote and is flipping thru all the channels. I am almost 40 and it has taken me a lifetime just to sometimes be able to recognize that if I carry something with me, I’m going to lose it. So often I try so hard to keep track of the things in my hands but its exhausting. As a child my mom would always say “you’re leaving a trail” for example, doing my homework, and I get thirsty. I get up to get a drink, not realizing my pencil and eraser are still in my hand. On the way out of my room, I pick up the small stuffed animal my friend gave me off my dresser. In order to do this though, I have to empty one hand, so I set down the pencil. Except I don’t even realize that’s what I’ve done. Then I go into the kitchen and get a glass. I leave the eraser on the counter (again without knowing I was even carrying it to begin with) I open the fridge to get a drink, then I stand there with the fridge door open staring into the fridge thinking about the last conversation I had with the friend who gave me the stuffed animal. 10 minutes go by till my mom sees me and yells at me to close the fridge door. I go to grab the juice jug and abandon the stuffed animal on the top shelf of the fridge. I poor the juice, a little too emphatically, and it spills on the counter a little, so i go to find a cloth to wipe it up. I get to the linnen closet, which is near the living room, where the tv is on. I stand in the hallway watching tv. until my mom sees me and asks if I’ve finished my homework. She has to repeat the question 5 times because she’s competing with the sound of the tv and when more than one person talks at a time, i don’t catch any of it. By this time I finished my drink so I prop the empty glass in between the couch cushions on the back of the couch. I walk back to my room to do my homework but can’t find my pencil or eraser anywhere. Then I spend the next two hours looking for them, tearing apart the house as i go. And this happens with everything, over and over. Now I am a mom of two boys, one of which is just like me. At least he has the benefit of my understanding and insight.

  152. I have ADHD and ADD..which is ADD Combined…I am still medicated today cant function if I am not..If I miss a day of medication I will literally be glued to the couch because my brain just wont stop… I talk alot and I talk loudly..My brain is running so fast with all these thought and emotions and great ideas and random “hey did ya hear” thoughts..that it is not even fast enough for my mouth.. So my brain works faster then my mouth, and that is bad….. I feel like a tick or itch that cant be handle or scratched… Its a urge to do something that is not physically there….moving my legs…curling my hair with finger…tapping my pencil….just examples of that… sometimes I feel like my brain is just melting because I just dont understand the words coming out of a teachers mouth…I couldnt do lectures I could do multiple chose questions because I was a out of the box thinker…and failed it every time…. some days I am great…some days I am a mess….I get so overly frustrated that I have to walk away and listen to music…. Adhd is actually the last one on the autism spectrum barely on it….geez now I understand why …your brain doesnt shutup….its always like you can hear everyone in the room talking but no one is talking….People now always ask why am I on my phone because it is the only way I can keep myself focused on something and be alert so my brain doesnt drive me CRAZY

  153. It’s like my brain is a toddler who screams “I don’t want this, I don’t want this, I don’t want this” when something is boring, and I try to drag him to where I want him but he fights and squirms and tries with all his strength to bring me back to just staring at nothing with a distant gaze. I could stay like that for quite a while. All this fighting is so frustrating, it just happened during college application exam, even though I was begging, yelling at the kid to let me do the essay, but he was like “I said NO”. I hope the medication serves as a tablet I can give the kid so that he will be entertained and happy and will let me do what I want.

  154. Recently diagnosed at age 55.
    As I get older I feel way more overwhelmed than ever.
    I will ask a question & ask the same question 2 minutes later.
    I have so much I want to do but after work (where I’ve managed to keep it somewhat together but mistakes are made) at the end of the day my brain is exhausted.
    Before I knew I had ADD I use to wonder why I was different from my girlfriends-they could keep their houses clean & fold laundry & I was/am dysfunctional.
    I did figure out the time thing & working backwards from the time I need to leave for somewhere & figuring out how much time I need for each activity.
    I want so badly to start finishing things.
    I have lists upon lists.
    Even going through all these comments I copied & pasted all the ones that resonated with me-do you realize how much time that took? Aaaahhhhhhh
    The one feeling I want more than anything s to feel accomplished.

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      Thank you for sharing a bit about your ADHD experience, Deb.

      Your sum up:
      “The one feeling I want more than anything is to feel accomplished…”

      Oh Man! I know exactly that feeling.

      You’re just recently diagnosed! Did you find it a positive or negative experience? Was medication options a part of it?

  155. It’s like having a mouse on a wheel then realising that you have forgotten to drink much water so erratically does weird stuff like start talking weird or unusual jerks/twitches to body that seems to feel retarded. But you are just constantly weighing up pros and cons of any situation of the day then to what ever outcomes. To how someone looks like they kinda annoyed at you for doing weird stuff because you got nervous or something for forgetting to have a drink that resulted in having cotton mouth..

    Now this was way harder to write exactly what i mean and now I’ve forgotten why i did write this.. yet i have an excellent memory that someone could ask me a question like* * I used to have such and such a few weeks/months back but i cant find it** that is when i say it was last seen by me in a certain area which hey Presto thats where they genuinely find it..

  156. To be honest, ADHD feels like I’m drunk. I was diagnosed with ADHD in 3rd grade and began medication the same year. The meds I have been taking Concerta for 8 years honestly feels like a lifesaver, I feel super focused and can handle everything at once. I don’t get super stressed either. Also, my pills are non addictive so if I ever skip a day, it’s completely fine.

  157. So… how does it feel to have ADD? It’s like I’ve faked a lifetime of smiles to win this Mr. Congeniality crown. I do get along well with others and am friendly… just not to the man in the mirror. It’s gonna suck when folks find out and they revoke my title and take back the crown.

    There have been a lot of responses that I identify with or had already thought up before… I found it an especially nice surprise to see the words “process” and “patterns” in a few responses. I’m a process engineer designer guy among other “things” along my way. Those “things” always seem to be complex… and I am tired. That and “never take the same road twice”. I’ll one up that last one a tad… “Why does every road seem new to me every time I am on it?” I HAVE to force myself to keep this short… I could go full-adder-tangential on this topic. I’m 50. Diagnosed as an adult. Probably almost 20yrs ago now… I’ve been very successful. And I’ve augured in hard too… its much harder to recover the later in life you tater. Keep it short keep it focused keep it short focused… What? Seriously… I have that internal voice in my head too… as many of these responses have also attested to.

    It helps (me) to write… so I did.

    ADD feels like ABSTRACTION
    If I can see it in my mind, I can fix it. At the very least, I can improve it. And any improvement is a good thing right?

    #IMPOSSIBLE.. Attempting to solve a person… where no solution of my design will ever fit, no matter how well crafted it is, or how convincingly I’ve captured every corner case, or won the debate on paper… is pointless… because people, are not problems to be solved… some things cannot be understood or seen.

    There are layers upon layers of abstraction within us. Each layer, an abstraction, designed to hide the complexities of the core ‘whatever’ that lies beneath. Each layer added that is closer to the surface, is more complex than the one below it. The complexity is in the hiding of how it does its job, which is to simplify what we see, and reduce the depth of what we need to know to make what lies beneath, fulfill its purpose. It exists, therefore it must serve a purpose and always be put to use.

    People = blood + bone + DNA + divine provided capacity for emotion & creativity.. or destruction. And for each, a completely unique history of life that defines the purpose for, and determines the number & depth of those layers of abstraction.

    #DISCOVERY.. is that it is impossible to… “fix”… a thing with no bounds, no logic, no predictable paths or patterns that I could sketch into something I could ‘see’ to rearrange, reduce, resize, regroup and reinvent. Each of my sketches a map of that layer, created in hopes of unlocking the one beneath.

    #FAILURE.. I could not re-create & make this work, or even force improvement upon it. #FAIL (again).

    The brilliance lies in the attempt…
    It is the effort that leads to the failure and the realization and acceptance of “IMPOSSIBLE”. Because that try, fail, realize, survive and revive….removes, or helps me to understand one or more of my own layers of abstraction. To better understand myself and accept without grudge that I cannot reverse engineer and redesign the other side of the conversation. And to be truly at peace and thankful for that understanding.

    #ACCEPT… #IMPOSSIBLE = OK. And I’m good with that. Finally.

  158. ADHD is like making the same mistakes over and over and never learning from them or finally learning after the 14th time of screwing up. It’s like failing all the time even when you try your hardest. It’s exhausting and frustrating. I feel unreliable and like a burden. I feel immature for 36. I’m always missing bit and pieces of conversations and television shows without realizing that I’m not following or hearing correctly. It saying the wrong thing when you meant good intentions. It’s being confused all the time. It’s realizing you are annoying to your kids and spouse many times. It’s sad because people thing you don’t care when you don’t remember. It’s being unable to recall or remember. It’s constant anxiety and paranoia of when is my next screw up or failure going to occur. It’s wanting to be helpful but afraid so therefore just choosing to freeze and be paralyzed. It’s be indecisive because constant history of bad decisions or choices. It’s not trusting yourself. It’s realizing when people look at you weird that either you said something awkwardly or strange. It’s trying to fit in in a world that wasn’t made for me apparently. It’s being overly sensitive and taking things the wrong way or getting offended easily. It’s trying everything to change, succeed, manage through drs, meds, books, counselors, apps, everything in hopes that maybe you will find that one thing that can help you become useful, purposeful, needed, productive on a continuous, consistent, and effective way. It’s having so low self esteem that you try hard not to hate yourself for your family or play victim or pity so you cry or hide or stuff it all. It’s hearing half the world pretend they had adhd or listen to drs who actually don’t have a clue and really aren’t even educated on adhd that you yourself could teach them. It’s being forgetful so in the end people think you don’t care. It’s making promises you truly meant to keep but only to forget and break someone’s heart. It’s trying to retell a story especially and not being all to. It’s trying to relate with the world and faking it and making it at times but others completely being unable to with only a blank stare or random stupid comment to try to feel adaquate. It’s looking normal to others unable to tell them you have a disability therefore they just think you are ditzy, careless, stupid, selfish, and a moron and then if you tell them they want your meds, think u r just using an excuse or might be lying, start talking to you in a baby voice or behind your back, or they begin to only see you as the adhd person. It’s being in a world that is so called full of adhd people yet feeling completely alone and misunderstood. It’s trying to be like everyone else in how they enjoy life and see things. It’s trying not to feel sorry for yourself or lose empathy for others when their problems seem like nothing compared to yours if they only knew. It’s trying to decider is this problem I’m having at the moment because my adhd, growing up with an alcoholic father and then having two kids with an alcoholic man who left, or is it really just a normal problem at the moment. It’s deciding what to do first but can’t, not finishing anything or starting. It’s procrastination until you have no choice, it’s being a constant disappointment to the world. It’s trying to learn and understand a new skill. It’s realizing maybe I don’t just have adhd, anxiety, ptsd, but now Dyslexia or Irlen Syndrome this whole time. It’s thinking everything is the end of the world and everything is an emergency. It’s not being able to time things correctly or even realize how much time has passed. It’s constantly losing your place reading, pretending to attempt to listen to a group of people and their conversation that you are supposed to involved in. It’s thinking you did something right getting excited only to discover nope it was all wrong. It’s being so busy dealing with your brain ruining your life that you can’t remember to appreciate others, notice someone’s haircut, be thankful. It’s be unsure all the time. It’s being impulsive and doing things that hurt you and others when you never meant to. It’s trying to find ways to be more positive. It’s being tired and overwhelmed all the time by what the world would say is everyday things that shouldn’t cause you to be exhausted. It’s screwing up directions, being overwhelmed looking at a menu, forgetting if you took a shower yesterday or when only to be able to know by checking to see if your legs are shaved. It’s not getting to the point when talking to someone and going off on Random tangents only to finally see them rolling their eyes, huffing, or yawning this is after years of seeing the patterns of things you do and the cause and effect. It’s never feeling settled, under control, or stable. It’s having constant 30 second mood swings you can’t control or predict well. Therefore embarrassing yourself It’s realizing you aren’t being introduced to someone bc the other person is in fear of what you might say or do bc of your insecurities and dying need to feel loved and accepted. It’s fearing rejection abandonment lack of self control therefore eating the whole bag of oreos or chips or whole fridge when your family wants to put a lock on it. It’s wanting to be a great parent and partner and knowing that they put up with you and you feel so much guilt and shame. It’s trying to get over yourself and Suck it up buttercup. And think of others and world but it seems impossible when you are the cause of almost all your daily life problems and struggles. It’s trying exercise, yoga, meditation. It’s sucking at commitment and follow through. It’s not seeing the big picture or context clues. It’s seeing all the recent diseases and disorders in research that are having promising possible cures or help only to see that adhd still isn’t something research seems to have better success and knowledge. It’s knowing and realizing the world wants to help children with adhd but as far as adults go it seems to something of way less important. It’s trying to be able to be proud of yourself for whatever accomplishments made but is short lived but the next complete mess up. It’s being a drama queen or not caring enough or caring too much. It’s worrying all the time but not meaning to. It’s trying to find self work in work or people and either becoming a perfectionist that by the end of the day physically causes back problems or a people pleaser that yoU get used abused lied to and taken advantage of. It’s actually being intelligent and smart dropping out of high school with a 3.8 gpa, later becoming a nurse getting raises only for your health to deplete, getting your notary license and real estate license. All this after many failures but not giving up only to find that no matter what you Will still always struggle It’s that constant hope to make your family proud to make yourself proud To want to encourage and help others and just love people but bc feel to deeply it affects you which affects those around you
    you can’t focus on one thing At a time and you don’t even realize it. A true adhd doesn’t even realize they are being distracted, lost, too loud, laughing just a lil too long, or that they are appearing a certain way bc no self awareness. Dropping things, losing things, breaking things, too abrasive, realizing half the day is gone and you accomplished nothing. Being maladaptive, unable to transition well from one thing to the next but getting bored easily. It’s not knowing what’s going on but looking around for clues to figure it out. It’s learning overtime how to mirror people so you know when to laugh and what face to make or how to respond back emotionally. It’s wondering if I will ever learn to observe, listen, smell, hear, see better. It’s getting a bad cut an hour earlier not knowing it and it doesn’t even hurt Till later only for another time something like a feather to cause you pain So much pain it’s overkill. It’s trying every medication every dosage It’s dealing with pharmacy and monthly visits for controlled substances and the drama that comes along. It’s forgetting birthdays anniversaries but finally technology calendars apps to help. It’s constantly using alarmed and timers And post it notes everywhere. It’s writing on your hand or Laying things in places hoping it will remind you to do it Using coping mechanism negative and positive
    It’s like instead of living life you are barely surviving or just trying to make I through the day. It’s rushing too much and missing out on life bc you missed the lil things the details It’s being tired yet it feels like your blood is flowing quickly through your legs and arms at times or that deep in your chest something is revving up inside for no reason and won’t turn down. It’s daydreaming and wondering off constantly and it’s thinking a million thoughts at once but you don’t realize it until your partner finally starts asking you and you either have no clue what u were thinking or eventually it comes to you and you realize you were just thinking 5 or 6 different things in a matter seconds/minutes it’s wishing you were normal and knowing that everyone is different and that everyone has problems but knowing deep down that there is an average of people that are at least somewhat way more normal in how think and do and wishing you were them sometimes bc at least they have a working memory forget all the other problems with our executive function issues bc as far as I feel having a bad working memory is the worst bc without a memory than what is the point of life. I could say so much more but so could many others guess I’m just venting and having a bad night. Never written online before don’t even know what the point of me doing this or what will come of this. Ido have a great life now and so much opportunity and the world is not all about me but I’m tired….my hope is that if I keep trying to do right and change for the better that the universe Will show me the way but at least show me maybe by a baseball bat hitting me over the head bc otherwise I might miss it like so many other opportunities I lost out on bc I didn’t pay attention or notice or see

  159. For me it feels like you have 2 radios on and 3 TV’s all at once while one tv is constant static behind you all the time. The room around you is foggy and fuzzy, and there is bright white lights above you. Imagine trying to use the remotes to change the channels or turn the TV off but it is extremely glitchy remotes and they don’t listen to the commands. Or your messing with the raidos to try and find a station with music instead of talking all the time. Both are slightly staticy. That is exactly how I depict it.

  160. For me I just feel like they told everybody else what the rules were, but not theme. When I was younger I would pay a lot of attention to how everyone else would do things, and then try to get myself to fit in with, normal people, but it would work for a while, if I was interested in what I was doing, I would excel and I would Hyperfocus and truly impressed people, but, when I was not interested in it, it was truly very painful to say the least. I’ve had a very large number of people that were my superiors, claim the credit for most all of the things that I would accomplish, and they would get promoted. But me, I couldn’t get any kind of promotions. I did things that they told me couldn’t get done, but I did them and in many cases I had to go out and get all of the things that were needed to do the project for nothing, from other agencies that we worked with. But, as my superiors were getting all of the credit for the different jobs, the things that I would get donated to help make it happen, to many, I was just the idiot that THEY got to get it done. I was asked many times for the schematicsfor this project or that one , I’d just tell them there wasn’t any, I would kinda look at the area and start to see what it could be. Then make it happen. Still my superiors would tell others that they had told me to do the project, when in truth they had no idea that it was being done, until it was almost done, or somebody else made a comment on the things that I was having done. Sad, but I spent more time getting my supervisors job done and then he got the bonus money for the stuff, and smiled as he was getting paid for it. Then he’d get mad at me because I didn’t tell him anything about it, and he couldn’t tell people what he, had going on, because, he didn’t know anything about it. Well such is life, I’m just the doer never did get any credit for any of the accomplishments, but I did keep my crews busy by making up jobs for them to do. So, in that light, I guess that I was really a great success in what I did in my life. To bad that nobody else ever wanted to see that. Well, at least I have to say I did love my job for many years, until they thought that they had to destroy my credibility. Life is really funny though, it works in circles and I truly believe that, everything that we do in life comes back to us, if we do good things, we get back good, but if we do bad things we get back bad. And when it comes back around, it’s like ten times what we put out, so all of those people that took the credit all of the time, they, I truly believe have some excruciating pain and horrible things coming down the line for them. As they say, ya get what ya worked for, I’m just glad that I didn’t do anything bad , but just did everything by the rules. That’s another thing, we that are adders, we really relit on the rules and we try to get everybody else to play by the rules to, it make since then. Don’t ya think? Danny

  161. These little vignettes are great – they don’t all fit my experience, but some of them really resonate!

    I found out I had ADHD pretty late in life and when I was diagnosed a lot of things I hadn’t understood about myself fell into place. I realised a lot of my behaviour over the years had been ways of adapting to, and coping with, the issues and emotions that ADHD can present. So for example in some respects I’m actually quite organised – I keep my wallet in the same pocket, my keys in the same place, and these days I make extensive use of software like my calendar, notes applications and task managers. If I didn’t my life would revert to chaos. But some of my earlier adaptations were less useful, even harmful, like the use of alcohol and other drugs, basically to still my mind.

    I haven’t always adapted well. I still find social gatherings stressful – it’s hard to converse because I can’t screen out all the other chatter that’s going on around me, and often I need to take time out and sit in a quiet space for a while. And I still find it really hard to set goals for myself and achieve them. There’s a quiet anxiety in the background about failure to achieve goals that can become overwhelming. But there are positives too – like Kyle’s intense curiosity which I share.

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      Thanks for reading, Bob!

      And I know what you’re talking about background anxiety and setting goals. There’s a part of me that hesitates when setting a goal. I don’t want to NOT follow through. For me, it’s about not breaking trust with myself, I don’t want to say I’m gonna do something and not do it, over and over.

      Currently, when I feel immediate anxiety about setting a goal, I use it as a clue that it’s too big, or too much, and try to break it down into something smaller that I feel less resistance about. The other thing is switching focus from results based goals to process based goals. i.e. writing once a week, instead of writing a book.

  162. When I let my brain loose, I find that time absolutely flies. Within the span of a couple of hours, I have watched videos (often having set the video speed to 1.5 or even twice the normal speed) on topics including science, philosophy, music, psychology, how to vinyl wrap a car, how to change my iPhone screen, prison stories, how to manage my mood swings and much more, all the while browsing eight different tabs of mostly unrelated topics. One subject inadvertently leads to a thought which excites and drives me to jump to a completely different topic, and it is awesome!
    Not so great when it comes to getting important things done.

  163. It’s like revving the engine/motor on a Race car/bike… you get all worked up and go.. but good luck trying to stop..
    Meds… they’re like “glasses”.. you put them on.. you can see… but now… how do I know which way to go?

  164. Realizing you’re not focusing and then focusing so hard on focusing you forget to focus on the initial thing you were trying to focus on.

    1. Exactly! I have been doing that for the last hour trying to read through these postings I’ve started the same paragraph over and over again. Started reading about 25 posts, only completed two before I skipped on to the next. Glad yours was short!

  165. It’s like one 21 year long run-on sentence that stopped making sense 10 years ago. Like I have no control of my own memory or off hand knowledge. Like I’m a hostage inside of my own brain and the captor is hell-bent on destroying my life.

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  166. It feels like a party when you are the center of attention. 100 people are talking to you at once and you can’t focus on just one person. You hear them all and know what they are saying. Your phone is blowing up and you hear the “Ping, Ping, Ping.”. Then there is a song playing in the background. The same obnoxious song. Over and over and over.

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      Thanks for chiming in, Lauren.

      This stuck out:
      “100 people are talking to you at once and you can’t focus on just one person.”

      Yep, I know this one. It’s overwhelming.

  167. ADHD is just like that cartoon of the horse following the carrot attached in front of him: your attention is there, in front of you but whenever you reach for it, it slips away a little further away.

  168. So, imagine all of your thoughts and memories are almost pristinely preserved in files. Unfortunately for you, not only are these files strewn haphazardly across the floor by a tornado, but the files that interest you at the moment have something you dearly desire on the front.

  169. It’s like having a little bit of depression, a little bit of anxiety and a little bit of a learning disability. I never ever knew what was wrong with me. I always thought that I had an issue and doctors never knew what it was or how to help. I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety and generalized depression at a young age, but the medications never really made me complete, it was more like a bandaid than a solution. I always had issues in school or jobs where organization was required. I really just thought that I was hopeless, useless, and that I’d be better of just working a service job. My girlfriend showed me this website and said “does any of this sound like you?” and I almost cried. I found the answer. I’m starting on stimulants as of yesterday and have never been happier in my life. Treatment, here I come!

  170. It feels like that old screensaver with the imagine that bounces around the screen. Just bouncing back and forth seemingly with no real pattern and every now and then hits perfectly in the corner. I bounce from idea to idea to interest and then back to the original idea constantly. Every now and then hitting that sweet spot and being laser focused on whatever I’m doing. On the outside it seems like I’m just bouncing around aimlessly but in my mind I’m always moving and that’s what matters. If I get off course I feel like eventually I’ll be back on track.

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  171. I am interested in everything. I want to know about everything. I can’t manage email because I get so much useful career related content and newsletters and feel compelled to read them all but struggle to get my eyes to follow the words, loose my thoughts, and take forever to read anything. So, I have a million tabs open on my screen – all the time.
    Accomplishments- I’m accomplished and chose a complex, fast paced profession because I am most successful when there are “fire drills,” chaos and extreme deadlines. This state of being forces me to focus or fail and since I hate failing more than I want to know things – it works out most of the time.

  172. I identify with all of the analogies to some extent, depending on the day and the things I’m trying to focus on. Just last night I was explaining to a friend what it feels like to have ADHD. I told him it’s like being plopped in the middle of a track race except for you the lines are removed, the track clay’s replaced with an ice rink, and you’re expected to know what to do. Everybody’s asking you why the heck you’re way over there sitting down playing in the grass, can’t you see everybody else is running a race within these lines??

    Did you forget where the lines are *again?!?* What do you mean there’s an ice rink instead of a track? That’s crazy talk, you’re in track shoes not ice skates and we’re outside for god’s sake. Maybe the lines are faint so you’re trying to go slow and follow them, but then everybody’s asking why you can’t keep up. Maybe you actually got there before the start of the race but you can’t see or hear the person who says “GO!” and you still can’t see the dang lines or you keep slipping anyways.

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  173. My thoughts feel like bullets being repeatedly shot in my head. Sometimes they are overwhelming that i shut down and cry hysterically and sometimes they are a nuisance.

  174. For me it’s like being on a merry go round. I go round and round. Never focusing on one thing as I soon pass it. And come back to another thing I was thinking or needed to do. Nothing ever gets done in one go. Sometimes the things are the same, sometimes they vanish completely and I never do them. Only to reappear hours, days or weeks later. And the ride goes so fast, that I have a thousand thoughts and only minutes have past. And the world hurts. A cat jumping on the bed. The sudden unexpected jolt, brings the ride to a sudden holt. I didn’t see the cat coming as I was elsewhere. Absent. Noise and lights flash and can drown out all everything. Sometimes it can be beautiful and also discordant and harsh. And often I am left wondering if things happened at all. As eating a few hours ago, so much has happened in that space of time. Was that today or yesterday. I don’t know and that requires thought. It makes me tired and at these times I know not all is right. It doesn’t matter how hard I work or how hard I try. I’m wading through water on routine chores. Sometimes I just disappear to a place where nothing happens. I embrace the quirkinesses of it. But it’s a lonely existence most of the time.

  175. HELP I need advice: So I want to go to the doctors to get tested for ADHD/ADD, but I don’t want to go in case they say that I don’t have it, as before when I went (16/17 yrs old, now I am 21 yrs old) and the doctor said I didn’t have it when I started the session, he said instantly “You don’t have it because your not interrupting me”, I was shut down there and then. I didn’t interrupt him though because I grew up with manners ? But I just want a reason as to why I find things difficult when it comes to daily life and uni work! Like I have looked online at symptoms but I feel as if I relate to most things but then some I don’t. Also with some days, I feel I am hyper, as far as I can remember, I am mainly chill though like I can talk and be happy to have convos, and then some days I can’t keep up a convo and can be bothered/ have the energy for it! I would like to be diagnosed, though that sounds bad, I don’t want to be told I don’t, because then I just feel like I am just dumb and lazy or get distracted too much! Like when it comes to reading or something, people can usually do it, I just don’t have the mental capacity to do it. Plus sometimes I feel as if my head is going everywhere and I can’t focus on one thing, as I get panicky, so if someone were to talk to me I would not be able to answer them sanely as I wasn’t focusing, but then again I feel I can only remember these things at the time, but if someone were to ask me to recall I wouldn’t know like I feel this happens sometimes maybe rarely but maybe I also just can’t remember? Bruh idk hahaha, sorry if I am confusing, I am rambling. My family does not seem to have it, though it could be because they have never been tested ??‍♀️ I have so much more I could say but I know for sure I have been jumping around the place in this paragraph and have not made much sense! Hope someone can give me an answer or some advice! Thank you!!

  176. My analogy is that it feels like you are in an office. There is a desk fan blowing at maximum power. All the papers (invasive thoughts, to-do lists, reminders, important information, etc. are all being blown all over the office, and as soon as you grab one paper, there are ten more in its place flying around. Sometimes you can grab a bunch at once (my hyperfocus days), but it never lasts long. You can never get all the papers picked up and orderly. So, your office stays in disarray, and the fan doesn’t have a way to turn it off or unplug it.

  177. I have always been hyperactive since I can remember. I learned 2 years ago that I have ADHD. My landlady is a psych nurse she said to me you have ADHD would you mind taking a test to prove it? Without hesitation I agreed. She handed me the paper and a pen I looked at the test immediately I felt overwhelmed and my mind started racing. I blurted out there’s no way I can do this it’s too many questions I don’t have the mentality for this. My mind wanders I can’t sit still for 30 to 45 minutes answering these questions I’ll go crazy. She said that’s the point. I sat there for 30 excruciating minutes taking this test feeling like I was going to jump out of my skin with so much pent up energy. I have ADHD. The Metaphor that I have. I’m in a drag car sitting at the light waiting for it to turn green, My brain are the wheels. The tires are spinning faster than what should actually be possible. The racetrack has deformities which means I’m getting unneeded information about the track. As the tires still continue to go faster and faster their building up smoke it’s going everywhere. Now I’m the driver inside the car I can’t see from all of the smoke. I’m ready for the light to turn green I’m a hairs width from engaging the gas pedal, clutch and the gear shifter to take off like a rocket. I can’t with all the smoke clouding my vision, and thought process I know what I need to do, but I can’t now new information just entered into my fogged up brain. With all the smoke has my car shifted to the right or to the left caused by the excessively fast spinning tires. With unneeded information overload I’m getting from four different tires I end up going at a turtles pace. Instead of focusing on looking straight ahead I’m focusing on everything. Now I’m angry I can’t I can’t think, frustrated, and ready to explode. I think about and over think about information I should not be concerned with.

  178. My mind feels like a you tube worm hole in a nut shell.
    Some how, I get sucked into video, after video, after video (thought after thought after thought) until I’m on something that had nothing to pertain to the original thought/video. Its just exhausting and I wish I could just turn my brain off sometimes. ADD or ADHD can be very lonely. Sometimes, I feel like a wet puzzle piece in society; Like I’m apart of this bigger picture but i just don’t fit quite right. Even with those feelings, I am grateful for how my brain works. It just can be so inconvenient at times and less often down right debilitating.

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  179. I am awaiting my assessment. I am 42 I feel like I may finally have found the answer as to why I live my life on fast forward, why my head drags my exhausted body around without a care for how worn out it is, why I share too much information, why I can not remember the simplist of things (lists don’t help I forget the flipin lists) why I have a temper that is volcanic, why I can’t follow a god da’n conversation, why I can’t line my own thoughts up, why I walk to the fridge and can’t remember what I went for, forget to pick my kids up from school because time rolls into one, why I can’t watch a film, sleep, relax, switch off, recall things that happen in my day (the blank spots are really frustrating) . The list of can’t dos feels hugely overwhelming and exhausting and God help anybody that dares to mention that I may not have tried hard enough, how can they not know how much it takes, how exhausting and frustrating it all is. But I have a wicked sense of humour mainly aimed at my downfalls. I learnt along time ago making a joke was the easiest way out, I have an energy that other 42 year old women would love apparently! If only they knew the other stuff that came with it and I am bold I tell it how it is no glitter sprinkled to soften the blow here just pure honesty from this mouth which again I wish I could stop on occasion. I am seen as cold and uncaring because I talk over people, I miss lots of information and when I can’t recall important bits I look like I don’t care enough to pay attention. I hope I get some help soon it has been a long and frustrating 42 years

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  180. For me, it feels like all the thoughts, tasks and ideas I want to act on are behind a pane of safety glass with a tiny window in it. I can’t break it, I can’t go round it, I just have to wait until something comes close enough to the window that I can reach in and grab it. I come up with really good ideas, and I’m constantly curious about things, but I can neither concentrate enough to get involved, nor act on what I know. It’s the most frustrating thing ever, it makes me want to burst out of my skin and scream.

    I’m an intelligent person. I have three college degrees, two of them masters’. And I can’t bring myself to enter things on a spreadsheet until five minutes before I really need them.

    I’m in the process of seeking diagnosis, but I’m 99.99% sure I have ADD.

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  181. I found all ADHD symptoms particularly interesting, especially to know that it technically feels like your mind is overwhelmed with everything at all times. I know people that have told me about ADHD and how I might possibly have it, but I’ve never looked for help. I will definitely start looking for an expert that can determine if I have that issue, and if I do so, then get the right treatment and guidance.

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  182. I had no idea that if you feel anxious about mundane tasks it could mean you have anxiety. My son has this issue and it really has become a problem for him. I’ll talk to him about going to get tested and treated for ADHD to see if he has it.

  183. Although some people have ADHD I find that there is a tenancy to pathologize every problem instead of considering the broader context. Some people don’t have ADHD but may have symptoms similar or which overlap with ADHD. But that’s because those people who don’t have ADHD are in distress! (Not saying that people with ADHD are never in distress–but the causes are not entirely the same). What about the “social model” of disability or abelism?–no one ever talks about that outside of human rights circles. It’s so important and relevant though. Psychologists and health professionals are not there to diagnose the system but not mentioning it creates a bias in thought and understanding of an individual’s problem. It contributes to stigmatization and the marginalization of people who are seeking help because others only see the problem one-dimensionally. Back to the matter at hand though: How are you supposed to maintain motivation or know what to do with your life when you’ve never been able to have any reasonable work-life balance and feel hopeless because no matter how hard you try and work you’re always alone, lacking or struggling to maintain friends, isolated, working, and not getting ahead? Try doing that for over a decade–see how that feels. But somehow, so many people are quick to lump you into the ‘oh, it must be ADHD’ bandwagon. People complain (and not unreasonably so) about the Covid pandemic and isolation and mental health problems from that isolation–but that’s peanuts compared to what I’ve been dealing with for many many years. At least the pandemic will be over in a year or so. I’m almost 40 and completely dependant financially on my parents. I have no other income. I still haven’t finished post-secondary. I’ve been mostly unemployed since HS because of various complicated and personal problems. I feel trapped and am desperately trying to get ahead but I don’t know what to do. The system feels rigged. (Apparently, unless you’re suicidal, which I’m not, no one cares, even if it is a crisis. So much for our health system–it’s dysfunctional.) Anyways, if you don’t have work life balance, if every single hour of every day revolves around homework or work, –you get burnt out and overwhelmed. It’s not a question of scheduling skills–if you can’t stick to a reasonable schedule because things take you too long to do, then you’re life falls apart and you don’t get ahead. You can’t finish anything. You have trouble socializing and have few friends (and your personal relationships are essentially non-existant) because you’re always in crisis and depressed and stressed trying to claw your way out of this hell year after year. You’re the perfect worker because you’re dedicated and diligent and studious, and you’re well spoken, articulate, and presentable as well–so clearly people think you’re fine or lying or exaggerating but all of that non-stop work is extremely isolating and damaging. You become extremely lonely and you have no time for friends. You’re stressed out of your mind. You’re life is rushing by and you’re living in a room, alone. The routine that never changes year after year after year. Who cares if you’re getting good marks–it doesn’t matter if you can only handle one or two courses at post-secondary per semester because the educational institutions don’t know how to teach well and don’t care about actually accommodating students–only about PR and pretending to. It’s not realistic to take 10+ years to graduate. It’s not a necessarily problem with concentrating (not in my case)–it’s a problem of a toxic workload, inflexible policies, non-inclusive teaching, and the want for a meaningful life where don’t feel trapped and pushed to the brink of exhaustion ever single day. Ok, so, the program you were in wasn’t working—but what do you do when you’re problem isn’t specific to any type of program? How do make a choice for what to do with school when nothing matters because your goals are derailed and you don’t know how to achieve them and have little interest in other things that you would still need to work hard and struggle though anyway? How do you justify time, money, and effort. Money for school isn’t infinite—I can’t afford to experiment recklessly, and also being almost 40 year old and still not independant. In addition to the workload and work-life balance concerns, if changing programs, do you prioritize employable work at the expense of your soul or an interesting job and risk destitution? And how do you get a work-life balance. Education and jobs are important but so to are friends, family, a lover, pursing your interests, not being stuck in dead-end sole-less inflexible jobs that drain much of your time and energy. The social contract isn’t working. The wealthy are getting richer on the backs of the disposable poor. In some cases, sure, ADHD might be the problem. But there’s so much more going on here (e.g. ). I feel like a slave in a capitalist economy that doesn’t care squat about me. I’ve been unemployed for 11 years because of a combination of work injury at a minimum wage job and struggle of trying to finish school when the workload is crazy. The so-called social support system is broken—they didn’t help. I’ve been battling with lawyers, the health care system, the university administration—so many things. The school staff are not aware of our province’s human rights policies. Even when I inform them they say they’re under no obligation to help or that I’m being unreasonable for insisting they to their job properly and follow the human rights policy. No one wants to help. No one cares. Apparently therapy dogs, wishful thinking, and committees for change controlled by the administration that are little more than a pretence for appearing to do something helpful is supposed to help me?! I went for a psychoeducational assessment at the suggestion of the university early on. What a waste of time and money. No individualized suggestions, not actionable help. Suggestions that are too generic or not applicable to my situation. No mention of systemic problems I’ve encountered either. Eg. Extra time on tests as an accommodation?! That doesn’t help me when the problem is the time I’m spending on assignments and studying outside of classes! I don’t want to spend extra time tests! Plus, I can get good marks on tests within the regular time if I have time to learn the material! How about the suggestion—go to quite place to study?! Wow, could someone be more lame?! I already do this! Apparently, many professioanls just blame students and give useless suggestions so they can appear to be helpful—but really those people think it’s the student’s fault for being lazy or dumb (or so your’re told directly or indirectly). And if there are things that you as the student know would help and that are easy to provide–the blasted school administration doesn’t care and wont help. They’re happy to talk things to death but not provide meaningful help. I don’t need the smiling faces of professionals who are happy to listen but contribute nothing helpful. I can’t even file a human rights complaint for several reasons even though I definitely have cause to. The simple fact is our human rights system is broken–just like our legal system, and health care system (which doesn’t consider mental health important enough to fund), and our education system. Would you feel comfortable filing a human rights complaint if your name and personal information was made public and Google searchable? I don’t think so. I’m not anyway. Never mind that I don’t have money for a lawyer or the time to deal with a process that would take over a year. I’m almost 40, in crisis for years–I need help now–not later. Psychologists aren’t covered by the public health system (in Canada) and I don’t have money to hire a private one. I don’t expect them to help with everything but they might be able to help with learning strategies and with how to resolve my decision paralysis. I fall more or less in to the NEET category: Not in Education, Employment, or Training. I graduated in the early 2000s from HS with honours. I tried going to one university and dropped out after the 1st year because I couldn’t keep up. I tried to go back about 4 years ago to a different university for a different program but also dropped out because I can’t keep up and couldn’t get support. (Most of my university marks were As though.) It’s not realistic to expect me to spend 10-15 years taking 1-2 courses per semester to graduate and work as hard or harder than as person talking a full-time course load. It doesn’t matter how much I like a subject—I’m not a bloody machine. I’ve thought about college but I’m not sure that those programs interest me. I want to purse and education in something that interests me (which I’ve always tried to do) instead of ending up in a job I hate because it’s a job. I’ve worked hard at trying to get a head all my life and I refuse to accept advice from others who don’t comprehend what’s going on and say that I should just get a minimum wage job and stick with that for the rest of my life or give up on ever being happy because I have to be “realistic”. Being reasonable yes, giving up all the time and being miserable all the time—not that’s not a realistic solution. Do you want me to have more mental health problems later because I hate my life in a job I don’t want that I’m stuck in? Most work being full time and cost of living being high, who has the time to get a different degree or diploma when you’re working? Flex time, 4 day work weeks, etc? Nope for the most part! We’re all modern day slaves—make no mistake. But yeah–apparently, everyone’s favourite go-to remark is oh, it must be perfectionism or ADHD, etc. The point I’m trying to get across is: It’s easy for professionals in health care or in administration to think they know what’s going on. After all, they’ve had lots of education. But you know, it’s not always that simple.

  184. I am 70 and have 2 degrees. I am also a Vietnam Veteran. I was diagnosed about 30 years ago. I feel like I have a combination of all of the symptoms. I made bad impulsive choices throughout my life which led to problems later. Choice of college, jobs, and other things I am always losing and forgetting things. I get impulsive and talk when I should not. I try to make jokes and be funny at the wrong times. I had car accidents and got tickets when I was not careful and paying attention. I had problems with money and could not handle my finances causing problems. I lost a house in foreclosure. In and out of jobs. I suffered from severe depression and allowed problems to occur because of it. I was in and out of jobs because I never had a plan. At least I have a wife and son who have put up with me.

  185. I am not diagnosed but very forgetful.
    I feel as if someone else is controlling my mind, like I don’t have the capability to analyse the pros and cons of a decision before I have made it and regret it.
    I think I can be exploited because of my impulsivity.
    I have impulsive negative thoughts, my brain did not give my mind time to challenge these thoughts.

  186. Having ADD is feeling like there is a blade swinging over your head all the time, you know you or forgetting something and dread the blade dropping lower and lower until something bad happens.

    ADD is,

    Your mom “bless her heart” getting so frustrated trying to get your homework done she slaps your hand.

    Waking up and thinking about the 125 things you need to do that day, yet can’t stay focused enough to swing your legs over the edge of the bed and stand up.

    At the age of forty five, reading an ADD pamphlet while waiting for son’s doctor’s session to be over, I think I checked off 23 of the 25 symptoms checklist that described me.

    The feeling of calm that you have the first day back at work after you start the medication without the anexity people can’t push your buttons like before, workers Dad says this job site looks like crap instead of the usual blow up,

    “Dang the sun is shining it’s nice and warm, the Saints won yesterday, LSU won Saturday and even Tulane won their game, “how can anybody be uhappy this morning”.

    Setting your alarm clock thirty minutes before you need to get up, reach over and take the 20 milligrams of Ritalin and 54 milligrams of Concerta and go back to sleep, even then I will be having breakfast with the wife and all of a sudden look up at her and she says “Hello Eddie”, or my Kids saying Earth to Dad, Earth to Dad, until I looked at them.

  187. I’m currently 18. I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was 7 or 8, have been medicated since the third grade, and still feel lost a lot of the time. I have big ambitions and a dream job that will take over a decade to achieve. My ADHD seems to have other plans for me most days.

    As I look around my room, I see the lab report I made for twelfth grade biology. We were to draw a cross-sectioned spinal cord on a microscope slide and label it. We were told that shading wasn’t allowed. cross-hatching and pointillism were both fine. I spent 7 hours painstakingly ‘shading’ the darker parts of the drawing with individual dots. I was the only one to use pointillism in my class, and I chose the hard way for seemingly no reason.

    I often tend to overcomplicate things and am driven by detail to a fault. I tried to summarize an article in 400 words for my university bio class, and couldn’t get below 800 words. I’m really bad at generalizing things, and I hate word limits on assignments.

    I also have anxiety and depression, which certainly doesn’t help in my case. I’m a massive procrastinator, and I will often put off assignments until the last possible second. My procrastination refuses to be controlled, and that often fuels my anxiety.

    My brain feels like a circuit that has had so many things plugged into it that a fuse has blown. My neuro-typical parents don’t understand why I can’t seem to get things done in a timely fashion, and they constantly are on my case about it. I am easily frustrated, and I struggle to keep my emotions in check.

    I am a terrible prioritizer, can’t find a job (because of COVID), and feel more and more lost every day. My university is all online because of the pandemic, and the lack of in-person /anything/ is enabling all my bad habits. I enjoy creative writing, but I often put it before school work. I had to drop a math course because I was failing (a result of procrastination coupled with online self-lessons.

    If you’ve managed to get this far, congrats – you probably can tell how bad my ADHD is because of the lack of any logical organization to this post.

    I’m going to leave it at that, and try to finish an essay that is due tonight that I’ve put off writing for weeks.

    1. I feel very close to you just from reading your post. After years of suspecting myself of ADHD I finally got a diagnosis and sure enough. The problem is I have such a terrible memory and have so much trouble keeping to obligations that after the first prescription I never went and got a refill or spoke about it how it didnt feel like it did anything with my doctor. I convinced myself that I can make it through the day without it. It’s been getting progressively worse as the years move forward. I’ve lost relationships due to the inability to follow through on my promises. I developed a terrible habit of lying to cover my procrastination and I’m getting bored of my day job even though I promised myself that it was an opportunity I would make good on. I do this every time and its a vicious cycle that I’m completely aware of but I feel helpless in stopping it. It just sort of… happens. And I fall off the cliff with the consequences only to do it all over again. Theres this void inside of me that I have a hard time filling with anything. Work isnt satisfying. Even my hobbies become dull and feel like they’ve lost the ‘soul’ they once had. I’m incredibly susceptible to glorifying the ‘shiny new thing’ and am the embodiment of “the grass is always greener on the other side.” kind of guy. Sometimes its all too much. Sometimes I just want to lay on the floor and stare at the ceiling fan til the sun goes down because there’s enough garbage going on in my head to fill its own cinematic universe. I’m honestly tired of this and am going to make a standard effort in trying to find a medication that works for me.

    2. Post

      I especially loved your description:
      “My brain feels like a circuit that has had so many things plugged into it that a fuse has blown.”

      When I catch myself in constant input-mode, I’ll reach full capacity and if I don’t switch over to output-mode, then I short circuit.

    3. Believe it or not, consistently doing aimless pointillism can help reduce your depression and anxiety. My former life coach had me do a collective 6 hours a week and it was hugely beneficial. Give it a try.

  188. I was diagnosed with ADHD in the 3rd grade I am now 28. It’s hard to live with it sometimes but other times it isn’t so bad. It’s like sight seeing and anything you see you’re like oh hey look at that, oh wait let’s stop and try that, then you hear a commotion and you’re like lets see what that was in the middle of trying something. Well some things like cooking, taking pictures, going to a festival, shopping for stuff, packing, drawing, timed contests, playing with kids/animals, or researching something. Are all really easy for me. They allow me to do many different things at once and don’t really have a time limit and if they do then there is always a timer involved like a festival game, cooking, timed contests, and even some kids activities. So I don’t have to worry about either rushing or losing time. But things like cleaning, typing up files, reading emails, getting ready for something, having a conversation, organising, or school work. Are hard for me, if I’m already doing something and have to put it off till later 9 times out of 10 I forget about it. And if I start it right away and I start out really good but then I get bored in the middle or towards the end of it then when someone asks me to do something else, or I remember I forgot to do something, I end up doing what was asked or remembered and forgetting what I was doing previously. Sonetimes I will get distracted looking something or thinking about something and end up losing a bunch of time. For example when I am getting ready to go somewhere and I spill something on my shirt. I’ll take it off then put in the hamper but then i see my hamper is full so instead of putting on a new shirt I’m separating dirty clothes and putting them in the washer. then I remember I forgot to sweep since I’m thinking about cleaning now so I go on my back porch to get my broom and I realize it’s little cold then i remember that I am shirtless. So I run in to go put on a shirt but the one I grab is a little snug so I think that it’s been awhile since I went through my clothes and got rid of some. so I go through my shirts, until I remember I was supposed to be getting ready to leave somewhere. so I finish getting ready and leave with only minutes to spare. And by the time I get home I have already forgotten about my clothes in the washer about sweeping the kitchen, and about the two separate piles of shirts I went through and left on my bedroom floor. So ADHD has it’s ups and downs.

  189. That sounds like me; I only was diagnosed at the beginning of October. I’ve since seen the shrink and got the official diagnoses of something I evidently had as a child.

    I’m sort of glad they didn’t diagnose me as a child, as I wouldn’t have made so much money or had so much fun; however, as I turned 48 a couple of days ago, probably time to put on the brakes a bit on the roller coaster and have some real fun on the Concerta; now I know I have this, including ‘hyper-focus’.

    I assumed it was natural to find boring stuff, boring, therefore by default, find any excuse not to do it; it never occurred to me it was a neurological condition 😀

  190. Hello, my name is Pixie. Im 12 years old. ADHD feels like your trying to catch a butterfly without hands. The butterfly is constantly there and never leaves you alone, so It distracts you. It makes me constantly overwhelmed for no reason and it just leaves me emotionless and confused. It is really hard to control myself and its even harder when your dad also has ADHD so you constantly fight with him over dumb crap. I just wish it would go away! I want to be able to focus and learn but there is always so much going on that I can’t.

  191. Having adhd feels like the scene from doctor strange where the ancient one tells him to let go and then you see him warp through various parts of the universe. Every time you think you grasp what’s happening, you get pulled in a new direction, all while you see a barrage of all the things you’d like to do, you need to do, you want to do and have to do. You’d think some of those are the same, but they’re not. And then you end up doing none of them because you’re so overwhelmed, furthering the shame and failure echos as you try to ground yourself.

    I was diagnosed a year ago, at 33. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to understand what it means to have adhd as an adult. My son has it and I’d spent a lot of time trying to figure out how I could support him, which is how I realized I did to.

    Understanding I have it has helped me understand a lot about myself, but has left a lot of questions…and I can’t seem to find answers.

  192. Living with ADHD is a blessing and a curse. I love the me that gets excited and curious, wants to start a (*cough….”another”) book, can spend hours online researching a new topic of interest and be super productive. Hyper-focusing has its perks, as I seem to actually get things done for a change. Problem is, I forget to put the laundry in the dryer, set the timer on the oven, take the trash/recycling out for pickup (the one thing my spouse asked of me and its my day off so I have literally NO excuse not too, UGH). Yeah…its exhausting. And its every day. I mean EVERY day I go through these waves of feeling great to feeling like a worthless lazy blob. My mood can plummet in two seconds, like a light switch. Yet it can take hours to get back to baseline. Its like Im existing, inside my head, seeing the world through my eyes, telling myself to go do A, B, and C, and then my body wont move. My mind goes “Nope, not interested. Not excited about that. Find a way to make it sparkly and then get back to me later and maybe Ill change my mind.” This is super frustrating when its something I need to do for work. The worst being something that doesn’t have a deadline. I remember being the worst procrastinator in college, but I sincerely believed that I not only needed the pressure of the deadline but that I also did my best work at the last minute, so I always just went with it. I know it was the stimulation from the adrenaline rush of “Oh shit that paper’s due in the morning” that got me moving, but geeze…the cortisol levels I experienced. Why was I ok with doing that?! I try not to procrastinate these days…I have the best intentions… but finding ways to make certain chores/tasks stimulating is very challenging. Even with the last few jobs I’ve had, I came into them feeling energized and excited, but then like clock work, I’d hit the 1 year mark and get bored of them and look for something else. After spending almost a decade in the fitness industry, spending money, energy and time going to grad school, and now having student loan debt up to my eyeballs, I changed paths to a completely different industry and career. I told myself it was the right choice for me and its what I wanted and what made me happy. Its true, however, its been 17 months into my new job and there is this voice inside me saying “Oh God, please don’t get bored of this. Please don’t tell me this was a ‘Oh look something new and shiny’ sort of move”. I would be devastated. I wanted it to be this fresh new beginning for me so badly, and Im terrified of falling into the same rut as before…of getting overly excited about something, obsessing over it, and then get bored of it. If I can stay at this job for even 2 years, it’ll feel like a miracle. Seeing people with 20, 30, 40 year careers seems so out of this world to me. It feels like Im constantly struggling to stay afloat at doing things that so many people seem to figure out in their early 20s. Im 30 and I feel like it takes all of my energy and time to just get me through each day in one piece. It takes all of me to keep my job, my relationship, and my plants thriving. To be honest the plants aint doing so good lol. Low maintenance they said…you can’t kill them they said….uh huh. So I can’t imagine trying to have children, when it takes this much work to take care of ME. No thanks. Although on paper I may seem accomplished to others, like I have my shit together…in reality I feel like Im in a hundred pieces stuck together with cheap glue. About to fall apart with a mild gust of wind. Or really, any sort of criticism from anything that breathes. If this was a radio show in a 1990s rom-com, I wouldn’t be Sleepless in Seattle, I’d be 30 and Exhausted. I’d like to wake up one day feeling like Im not walking on egg shells with myself. I hope its possible.

  193. “Why does this always happen to me? I’m such a mess, God I forgot to get that stain off my pants. AGH, my keys, WHERE ARE MY KEYS?!?!” ???

    This is the soundtrack of my mind almost every time I leave the house.

    I’m lucky to have moved to a place where people are unusually relaxed about time, at least by North American social standards, so have let go of some of the stress around meeting up with friends. (I may be a bit nervous showing up a half-hour late to a dinner party… until I get there and see I’m the first to arrive. Wow, what a relief!)

    I think in most cultures through most of human history, and many still today, our difficulty with time would not cause us such troubles. Rigid timelines are an obsession of the global industrial capitalist system, which needs efficient workers and shoppers and entertainment-gobblers to ever more efficiently convert the world’s forests and mountains and biodiverse riots of life into superhighways, cattle feed, mining waste dumps, and server farms humming away on coal-fired power to keep 2 billion hilarious cat videos and records of iphone owners’ every single step floating in “the cloud.”

    I wish I could remember this every time I’m late and working myself up into a storm of frustration and shame for being “broken” or “incompetent” or “totally fucking inept.” Why should we despise ourselves for not functioning in the ways this spectacularly destructive system demands? We suffer real personal consequences for it, so understandably we’re frustrated, but maybe the anger is better directed at the situation than ourselves.

  194. Can I say that I have found the perfect career for my ADD? Imagine a place with constant visual and auditory stimulation where your success depends on your mind constantly jumping from thought to thought. Imagine having to juggle 500 balls at once and if you drop one someone dies, but your mind moves fast enough to cycle through all 500 without problem. This is called ICU nursing! Everything beeps and flashes NONSTOP! If your attention isn’t constantly focused in at least 20 directions at once while moving to 20 new directions in the next couple of seconds, you’re going to miss something critical. It’s the best! Don’t get me wrong, I’ve put tremendous amounts of work into learning to anticipate and compensate for my shortcomings, but in this field I’ve really leaned to use my weakness as a strength.

  195. ADHD feels like you always need to do something my description from my self because I have ADHD is that no matter how tired you are your body wants to keep moving, like you can’t get out of autopilot like you can’t shut off your brain even when all you want is to rest; all you want is for someone to notice you for who you are and accept it, ADHD makes me want to move my hand, my feet, play with my hair, fiddle with anything I have in my hands or just talk to someone, even when they might not want to hear it, but yet I don’t notice that at the time all I notice is the need to be around people to interact, to get someone to notice that hey I might be a little wired but I’m much more than that too. I hope that this helps someone make another kid with ADHA happy to really try to get to know them for who they truly are not the shell they are sometimes forced to live in.

  196. incredibly late posting in 2021, but gonna do it anyway.
    I just wanted to say that reading this thread made my day a little better.

    I work in a fast paced office environment and today was so foggy. I stared at my computer pretty much all day
    with just zero willpower to actually get anything done. On a good day I’m capable of doing 3 days worth of work to make up for the days I barely crossed off an item from my agenda so I never really get crap for it, but it baffles me that I can sit at my desk for hours on end and have relatively nothing to show for it by quitting time. Ill look at the clock and just be like “oh.”

    Last week I bought a new game to play and I spent hours a day playing it after work. But then 3 days in it completely stops being fun. Ill turn on my console and just stare blankly at the home screen until I eventually just turn it off and lay on the floor to do nothing instead. Its so hard for me to find something I can continually come back to day after day.

    Some days I feel like an unstoppable genius. Other days I feel like someone unplugged the power supply to my brain.
    It’s just nice to know im not alone….

    1. Post
  197. I’ll explain how my ADD feels like this. There are two roads a person can take to get to the same destination. The one I’m on has lots of twists, turns, hills, a bit of mist depending on where you are, some interesting shiny and colorful things that I have to stop and take a look at before moving on, and lots of sounds and things that are a lot more interesting than just walking. The other path has some bends, a few hills, and some nice things along the way. The catch is, these roads are the same path, but I see it differently. What might seem like a normal bend in the path to someone else, can feel like a hairpin turn on the edge of a cliff to me, and all the interesting things that I absolutely have to take a look at, might not be worth stopping and delaying their journey for somebody else. It can be really frustrating, but I also don’t regret actually getting to see all the shiny and interesting things. Now the fact that it delayed my journey I might regret, but actually doing those things is always fun.

    1. Post

      “What might seem like a normal bend in the path to someone else, can feel like a hairpin turn on the edge of a cliff to me…”

      Wow, what a great description, Giovanna. I especially loved this line.

  198. Without any medicine, I’m just someone who can find the energy to do vital human necessities, bathroom, eat, and drink. Maybe small talk. Anything greater that involves just basic or grater thinking/focus and I pass out, no exceptions.

    It doesn’t even feel like a fog because I don’t get the chance to feel the fog, I get sleepy and pass out quick.

    The worst is on those days where you just feel amazing when you wake up and I felt I took my medicine. This was back in highschool in the winter, freezing outside, only had a sweatshirt on… I was able to make it to school, but then when I started thinking about all I was going to do in my class. I straight up past out and faceplant into the snow. Someone had to wake me up.

    People all have different levels of ADHD. Usually a mix of symptoms and then there is having excessive symptoms for one. Mine has always been the inability to focus or think.

    I got diagnosed in elementary school when I couldn’t make it through a single math class awake. Every time, out cold.

    Being off meds means complete lack of filter, constantly exhausted, guarantee falling asleep a lot. I can easily, easily sleep 24 hours and still be exhausted like I can barely do anything.

    Very few people have that specific ADHD issue as if it’s bad its usually the hyperness or just medium levels of focus issues.

    When a medication isnt enough I know it quite quickly. I’ll only feel like I’m 50% there. I’ll even be productive, doing chores, but my head will feel fuzzy.

    I feel helpless, but at least you aren’t sad or anything because any amount of thinking just makes you fall asleep. Also my mind is usually blank.

  199. I feel like I’m in a field of millions of holes looking for freedom but not knowing there is no freedom and you just looking for something that you’ll never find

  200. My mind will just go so fast that it will just go blank and ill just sit there with no thoughts and then it hits me and my mind is rushing again going faster and faster then when some one try’s to talk to me i hear them but its like mumble and then my mind stops again.

  201. The feeling of having to wait during a conversation or sit and read a book is similar to how one would probably feel if they sat in a chair on one side of a large room with fifty lit sticks of dynamite strapped to their body and across the room was a large pool of water to extinguish the fuses. The ONLY thing this person needs to do BEFORE they are allowed to run to the pool of water is to complete a 10,000 piece jigsaw puzzle….oh, and the fuse was lit five minutes ago. Don’t panic. Just focus. Am I bothering you?

  202. The best way I can describe my ADD brain is it feels like it can hold only two thoughts at a time. It becomes a huge challenge to hold three. Over time, Ive learned to juggle, holding two thoughts in my hand while keeping one or even two thoughts up in the air either rising or falling. It takes all of my concentration and its exhausting but I can juggle for a while. The kiss of death is if I get distracted or I meet a person and have to recall their name. All of my mid-air thoughts crash to the ground like a bad circus act. The anxiety of not being able to recall the name of someone added to the list I have dropped and forgotten. The anxiety stays, the frustration stays, the mind continues to wander and I will juggle new list again….Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

  203. For me focus is like tensing a muscle. the longer I try to tense it the more painful and weaker my muscle gets however, unlike a real muscle it never seems to get stronger.

  204. It feels like im always one step behind and when i finally catch up i stop moving and i have to try and catch up again.

  205. I’ve used the ram analogy before, but I wouldn’t say we have less ram. In fact, we probably have more. Either way, regardless of how much ram you have, if you have too many tasks running at the same time, your computer will be slow. Normal people can open and close applications at will, thus allowing their “computer” to run at peek function most of the time. We, on the other hand, cannot do that. It takes a huge amount of effort to manually close an application. However, we seem to be able to do so accidentally quite easily, regardless of how important it was to keep it open. Eventually, we have so many applications open, our “computer” starts to slow down, and we can’t function at peek form anymore.

    I have also likened ADHD to a sound board. You know, with all the dials and switches. Normal people adjust each dial to where it needs to be: “This’ll be at 6, this one will be at 2, and this one will be at 4.” We, on the other hand, are either at max or zero, no in between. The second something needs to be dialed up we turn it to max volume and stays that way until we are done. If something else comes along we then dial that up to max volume. All of a sudden, we have 6 things going on at once that all are fighting for top priority, and eventually, nothing gets done. Maybe we made progress in all 6 of those areas but it is not enough and it will probably be sloppy.

  206. Ironic thing is it’s hard to explain what all goes on inside our heads. To other people it can come across as chaotic or like they are not put together but to people with ADHD it’s like the windows screen saver that bounces from side to side in a ton of different directions, maybe not as slow as the screen saver but nevertheless you get the point. Your mind literally never stops.

  207. its like a million tvs are on all at the same time and I want to watch them all. All this activitry on the inside but on the outside I look like a calm lake.
    Literally feels like tripping over my thoughts repeatedly and the constant need to get up and walk around, which is hard for a 38 year old office worker.

  208. For me Adhd is sorta like this but all the time. Have you ever felt the need or want to draw or color or paint. To have The satisfying motions of staying in the lines, constantly changing colors or watching your creation form in front of you as you do it. So you get your brushes and your paint all ready your cup of water. Squirt out all your paints, and set up your canvas or paper and you sit down but you have no idea what your gonna draw. You sit and try and think and think of something you know we’ll enough from memory that you can actually draw. Sometimes you might try but you keep trying and it keeps looking like crap to you. So you finally say screw it and you start searching online for an idea and something that you can actually do well enough for it to turn out good. Then after a while you finally start and get going. Well that’s how I feel but with everything all the time. All day every day no matter what it is. I can’t ever make a decision on anything because I overthink it and I feel like if I draw this than I may waste my time doing that and may not come out well but there may be something I missed or forgot about and had I just remembered it sooner I could’ve made a great picture. But now my mind is already pulling me to do the next thing so I may have started painting but wasted so much time trying to figure out what to paint I got bored and I remembered oh there was that part on my car I had to fix. I may go get the part, and get all my tools out and get half of it taken apart but now it’s getting dark a normal person would have known or planned enough time to schedule this job before it got dark but not me and my adhd. I started on a whim and didn’t think about it. But now that I started it I have to finish, and its getting late and I have work early. I probably should have scheduled this sooner but I procrastinate everything until the last possible second which makes me late for literally everything. But now I’m getting tired and trying to remember where every part went back and every nut and bolt and I’m rushing it just to get done because my mind is already 14 steps down the road, so I finally get it finished and theres like 8 bolts left over that I don’t know where they go and the car won’t start so kick the crap out of it and go shower. But then now my mind is consumed with where those bolts went and what I did wrong I lay in bed searching forum after forum reading about what other people did to correct the problem and omg I found something that may work but I can’t just go to sleep because I’m tossing and turning wondering if Ill fix it so I get up it’s 2am and I have work at 5am. I go outside in my boxers and my sneakers and start tinkering with the car I actually fixed it I’m so proud but now it’s 4am and I have an hour to get sleep. Thats how every single day of my life goes, give or take the tasks. The key words: Procrastinate, Time, Late, missed, forgot, didn’t, can’t. I even feel bad for myself sometimes.

  209. Hi, I have been diagnosed for about 5-ish years now. I describe ADHD as being something like this:

    Everyone has a string.

    The people that don’t have ADHD has a straight string, a very clear path of what’s going on, how to do it, etc. Yes, there are a couple bumps here and there, but other then that it’s a nice straight string.

    Now the people with ADHD have a crooked string. They might know what there doing but those shoes look pretty, or that art is super cool. Their path has this fog that surrounds them so they can only see a little bit into the future and a little bit into the past. This leads to forgetting where the heck they put their dang pencil that they just had in their hand or to deadlines that are drawing nearer, and nearer. Their string is a crooked one, with a few straight points but that’s all.

    Glad to see so many other people feel the same way I do when dealing with ADHD. 🙂

  210. For me ADHD kind of mixes with my bipolar depression. One second I’m sitting at my computer ready to write this essay and then I’m thinking I should exercise more and then I’m upside down off the side of my bed and giggling like a small child. It’s a lot of haziness too where I’m doing a simple task like walking into the kitchen and then I have my wallet and I’m in the bathroom and I’m very confused on what I’m doing. Another thing that I’ve noticed with my adhd that without fail even on my meds happens is little noises, such as a pencil tapping or someone talking in the background or even just someone tapping their fingers can result in a complete inability to focus. It’s like I can’t hear anything else it’s just that noise and it’s so annoying and frustrating and now my brain is only focused on screaming at whoever it is in my head. It’s even worse because it doesn’t happen all the time. It’s just sometimes when your ready to go your brain kind of takes all that readiness and focuses it on the tiny noise in the background. It also causes a lot of small things to appear big in your brain like that pencil tapping will replay on loop later when your doing something else. Another thing I’ve noticed is that I tend to multitask without intending to, I’ll be drawing or writing a paper and without realizing it I put on music. Something that relates to this article really well is how something that I can’t focus on becomes an extreme course of anxiety. I could be sitting there doing nothing but being terrified because although I kno