thought bubble answering the question: "what does it feel like to have adhd"

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 www.xkcd.com. 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 420

  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.

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      Author
      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.

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          Author

          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!

          3. Hi, everyone! I was diagnosed in kindergarten, with spanish being my first language as well with a stuttering problem. Countered with to much energy, and a sever case of ADHD.
            I was put in SPEECH/ELA, thank god I had intellect and hated being looked (lesser than I thought myself). I actually won an award for being the most creative kid for my projects.I stopped in 1st grade and became the fastest reader. I as well grew up in the Long Beach hood and and a very toxic household. Making my impulsive behavior 10x worse, but I was raised with morals and values. I have always had triggers with that being said. Also a sweetheart in relationships, but I’ve had very toxic ones as well(common with ADHD). Which I learned a lot, because thanks to my mind self analyzing. I as well like you guys could not let things go. As well as my whole day would be ruined with constant thoughts of the argument. Very emotional to myself, and didn’t even feel like I was on earth just lost in thought. Going back to the impulse I’m 29 and I never sought help sense 2000 when my mother said I’m good and don’t need anything. Also with focus and everything it comes with. I’m gonna seek help. So much more I have and you guys have as well! Let’s get better. Love and blessings to all of us in this journey of life.

      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. Read the book, “Driven to Distraction,”
          and if you feel it fits, ask your parents to read it.

          I’ve also heard that the book, “You mean I am not lazy, stupid or crazy?” is helpful.

          I read Driven to Distraction in order to understand my husband, and it made a world of difference. It solved a lot of mysteries for me about why he thinks, and does things the way that he does. I was much better prepared to handle or two boys with ADHD after that, also.

    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.

      8. I recommend…

      9. I am 53 years old and have always felt like my whole family thinks I am scatter brained!!! Now that my son and grandson have been diagnosed with ADHD, I am convinced this could be what is wrong with me. I am always losing something that I just had in my hand a second ago. I can not seem to get out of the house every morning, on time, even if I set my clocks ahead 15 minutes to make myself think I am already late. I feel like I am being buried by all the “projects” that I am wanting to complete and have no way out. My husband does not understand why I have so many piles in my office. He is dumbfounded by the fact that I constantly lose my keys but can tell him exactly where to find something in the refrigerator , from the other room in the house, when he opens the fridge and says “we are out of butter?”. My students often laugh at the obvious distractions in my day and how easily I lose track of time. I find it really difficult to have a conversation without interrupting with a sudden thought… squirrel… and returning to the original topic without skipping a beat. UGGHHH I can go on and on and on with this. HELP !!!! I feel like I am going crazy and all by self over here.

    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.

        Thanks.

        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.

        https://youtu.be/SCAGc-rkIfo

        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.

      1. I love this comparison. It is EXACTLY what I feel like any given minute of every day. But I dont get as many laughs as he did. :0)

    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

      Ppp

    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.

    12. Wow. You have described my brain. I also compare it to appearing like a duck on the surface, calm and collected, but then underneath are those little flippers paddling like no tomorrow. Also my brain. Add PTSD and you then have a near insurmountable uphill battle on the daily that is also very exhausting to manage and appear like a normal, functioning human. Key words here- appear and normal haha.

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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

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      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.

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      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.

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      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.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LnS0PfNyj4U

      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.”
    etc…

    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….
    P.S. I DON’T HAVE TIME OR PATIENCE TO CORRECT MY WORK! 😉

    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.