Many adults with ADHD report feeling lonely. Loneliness is a state of mind that makes us feel disconnected from others. Loneliness can make you feel depressed, isolated and more prone to addiction.
7 Reasons Why ADHDers Feel Lonely:
1) Feeling Different From Everyone Else
Having ADHD can be isolating because you are experiencing challenges and frustrations that other people don’t have. You probably have been experiencing these feelings since childhood (even if you didn’t know you had ADHD then). Teachers, fellow pupils, even parents can say and do things that single you out. Feeling ‘different’ continues into adulthood and can make you feel like you are ‘outside looking in’.
2) Social Skills
Some people with ADHD excel socially, but many people really struggle. Feeling shy and anxious, not knowing the ‘right’ thing to say or do in social settings is common among adults with ADHD. Small talk feels awkward. It’s hard to pick up on social cues (i.e. someone backing away, indicating they want to end the conversation though you follow them to the door); or impulsively saying the ‘wrong’ thing or over-thinking social interactions afterwards.
3) People Think You Don’t Care
Friends and family mistake your ADHD behaviour to mean you don’t care about them. Even though that isn’t true, classic ADHD behaviour such as arriving late, forgetting to call, missing birthdays and forgetting what people told you, result in hurt feelings. So, people think it’s because you don’t care.
In order to have people in your life, you have to feel worthy and deserving of friendship and loving relationships. People with ADHD often have low self-esteem and confidence and so, don’t feel they deserve good quality relationships.
5) Making New Friends is Challenging
Making new friends can be challenging when you have ADHD. If you have met someone you get on with, it can be hard to transition that to friendship. It is usually due to one or a combination of: following through, social skills and feeling worthy that someone would want to spend time with you.
6) People Are Critical
If you find that you are disappointing people, or that people are always mad with you, it can feel easier to not bother and just do your own thing.
7) Depression and Other Comorbid Conditions
Depression and other comorbid conditions that are common with ADHD, such as anxiety and addiction, all increase the chances of feeling lonely.
Now that we know why ADHDers feel lonely, it’s important to develop strategies to overcome that feeling. Feeling lonely has serious health repercussions. For example, blood pressure increases, less inclined to look after our health, making unhealthy eating choices, as well as less likely to exercise. Cognitive functions deteriorate, immune system weaken, addictions increase, which increases depression further.
1) Join a support group or hang out where other ADHDers hang out. They understand you in a way that no one else can. One client reported feeling like she ‘had come home’ when she joined an ADHD group, and met fellow ADDers for the first time.
2) See a therapist to work on issues from the past and unsolved hurts in childhood.
3) Work with your ADHD coach or therapist, to develop strategies for social skills and increase self-esteem.
4) If you have depression, visit your medical doctor. It is harder to implement these suggestions when you have untreated depression.
5) Let people who you are close with know how ADHD shows up for you. So for example, if / when you do forget what they said, they know it’s not because you don’t care. This isn’t using ADHD as an excuse, its helping people to understand you.
6) Spend time with people that have big hearts and aren’t critical.
7) Watch Brené Brown’s video on ‘feeling worthy of love’.
8) If you like to read, check out loneliness expert, John Cacioppo’s book, Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection.
Do you ever feel lonely? Leave a note in the comments section.
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This is a beautiful article! Thanks
I can’t seem to find people. I recently got divorced, just 12 months after moving across country from Michigan to Texas. I would move back home, but I need to stay near my kids. I’ve tried everything: I am on the PTA, lead in the Cub Scouts, volunteer at a local nature center, play cards with a group of old folks, go to endless MeetUps and clubs and meetings… but people don’t seem to want new friends. They’re busy. They have no room. Most of the people I meet are married women, which isn’t helpful.
Maybe my ADHD plays a role. That information makes it worse, because there is no fix. No article to read or counselor to talk to that will help. It’s just “you’re broken, no one wants you.”
I honestly don’t think I am going to survive. Depression, maybe? Nervous breakdown? Loneliness feels like drowning in a dark ocean.
It’s awful. I got a divorce as well and I struggle with this overwhelming feeling of sadness. It really hard bc people are not understanding. On top of people my parents and sisters look at me as an outcast as well. Life is definitely a struggle
It is amazing coming home, I am 72 years old and came on this information while researching why I would fall asleep in the middle of a lecture or coursework.
Oddly I have used many on the methods here but never in a plan which I need now that my wife of 43 passed away and I am really alone.
I did let some people in and now that I see the bigger picture I think that life will smooth out.
Thank you all for being there and commenting as I am finding the curtain rising and I am looking forward to getting back on line.
Take care all, Stephen
Was diagnosed with ADD today. I knew I was different since childhood and often misunderstood. I’m 54 years old and am feeling such profound sadness over the emotional punishing and abuse from myself and others since childhood for things none of knew were out of my control at the time. I’m not sad at the confirmation that I have it, I’m relieved. I’m so sad for me in my past for not knowing and for thinking I was not good enough.
Anyone else experience this sadness when finding out as an adult?
Thanks for sharing. I was happy to find this.
Yes i can totally relate. I got called a “clot” by a teacher and when I got home and looked it up in the dictionary it said stupid person, think i was 11. I could give so many examples, from everywhere, makes me really sad.
I think people with ADHD are lonely because of the constant rejection, exclusion, ostracism, isolation, being left out, etc from others. Many of us have no friends, despite decades of trying. People don’t like some us at all, and they make it clear: we are not wanted.
Hell you are right, pills doesn’t help with loneliness and social skills, thereby can just fix the depression and anxiety that come from rejection but won’t stop people from rejecting us
I’m a very introverted person, so normally I prefer to be by myself. Loneliness has always been a weird topic for me because I have a (non-ADHD) twin who’s very extroverted. She’s always made and maintained friends for me. My social skills can be excellent with new people if I put in effort, but it just goes downhill from there. Sometimes I’ll get pangs of loneliness even when I’m surrounded by a group of people (often especially when I’m surrounded by a group of people) because I don’t know what to say or how to interact. I can feel myself fading to the background and I know that I could probably just leave without anyone realizing it. My sister and other friends have such an easy time interacting and making small talk, but I just give up after a bit and zone out. It’s sort of become my trademark in my friend group. I’m the friend who randomly pops into conversations or is always forgetting dates and names. I just sign my name on whatever card my sister buys in way of gifts. It terrifies me to realize that in college I won’t be able to do that anymore.
Wow. Reading some of these comments. I could have written so many of them.
Recently diagnosed at 50. No wonder I have spent my life buried in a book. Now i am having problems settling and doing that. Thanks my people.
This is definitely something that I struggle with a lot. I am 41 years old and just figuring out that I might have ADHD. I am very friendly and outgoing for a time and then completely shift and become social introverted. I have hurt lots of people over the years by cancelling out last minute , forgetting, or just becoming very withdrawn. I feel get in those periods that despite how good life is, I feel somewhat depressed and overwhelmed. I am a homeschool mom, and there are days or weeks that I dont feel like i have the ability to even follow through on our normal routine.
I am a 31 year old man, this sounds like everything I have struggled my whole life, I feel like I am different, or weird and I don’t know why I do certáin things, I am really friendly and have the capacity of making friends but I end up backing away like giving them the run around once I made them friends and they think I am mad at them but I am not I just don’t know what to say at that time and I have to think to start a conversation and I rather not break my head so I ignore them, socially I feel like an outcast, but I can come up and befriend anyone but I have a hard time keeping that friendship, also I sumhow purposely complicate my own life, like sabotage my relationship un intentionally by inpulse and my girlfriend is tired of it, I feel like I disconnect myself from the world and I just want to b alone at times, my own thoughts are my enemies and my life becomes really complicated, I forget things, I forgot my mothers b day I mean I knew it was coming and I did nothing to remember her b day, I have tried to get help and when I try to talk to sumone about it they think I am nuts and I feel misunderstood and stupid and it’s really frustrating not being able to understand what’s wrong with me, I feel like I struggle more than others, I tried going to church and maybe asking god to help me but I stay the same, I am scared to talk to a psychiatrist because I had a messed up childhood and I don’t like to speak about it, I have thoughts of suicide but my mind sumhow convinces itself it’s not worth it and I get over it, but it’s torture going through it, i keep moving on because i believe my life is my struggle and i am very optimistic but i suffer and I don’t know if it’s even worth living it…
Your not alone this is so accurate. It describes everything I feel and go through since childhood I’m blown away and want to keep looking into this.
You are not alone, Nick. I just admitted to my self that I have a problem because I am in grad school and I am having severe problems with one of my classes. I guess I finally crashed. I decided to seek the help, again, of a therapist and to come clean. I am hoping to get answers and help. My life is a huge mess, but like my therapist says, it is not my fault. It is my brain.
Ivan it’s scary just trying to figure it all out. I figured it out after reading a book called Scattered Minds by Dr. Gabor Mate. I hope you will read it and find some comfort in it. Be kind to yourself
Every person in this blog are living my exact life, in every way. When I was in college, everyone thought I was an ass or thought that I thought I was better then everyone else. Because I was quite, I would speak to someone if they spoke to me but outside of that I was dead quiet. Because I had no friends I would go to the gym and workout everyday and everyone at the gym thought I was an ass because I wouldn’t join the conversations or make small talk I would put in my head phones and keep to myself. In college I looked for drugs that would make me outgoing. I only found 2, the first was GHB in very low dosages, but it didn’t last long and when it did wear off I kinda felt hungover. The second was opioids but that ended up as addiction, I had detox, all other crap so that didn’t work. So I keep looking into newer reach only compounds. Still nothing. We should all hangout. At least we would all know what the others were thinking.
every hidden message should make you pause and think 😉 if not my bad grammar haha
All my life I have struggled getting on with people. I find them hard work. I always resort to being jokey and daft or sometimes aggressive if I think they are going to be like that to me. I don’t have many friends because it wears me out being friends, I never know what to do that they will like. I am irritating and annoying and I think nobody likes me. I don’t know what to do anymore. Im fed up not having a friend I can just chat with who understands me
I understand you know your not alone
I just came across your article and I have to tell you a lot of it rang true for me! I can get along with people easily at work, but sometimes I feel as though I’m just rambling when I talk to them and they secretly want me to shut up. My conversations might be just too long and it’s the anxiety afterwards that gets me that the people I’ve talked too may think I’m an idiot because I held them back from leaving the conversation.
I also struggle with loneliness not because I am depressed, but more from lack of people understanding me. I am overall a very nice person personality wise and I feel sometimes because of my ADHD that I get manipulated from others believing I will do just about anything to be their friend. Happened when I was a child in school too.
I swear I could’ve written this. It’s so strange to see your inner thoughts and deep struggles just written on a blog like this. I wish you the best, and if you ever need to reach out to someone who’ll listen , you can email me.
We are on the same boat.. It feels like I hear myself speaking out loud.. I really hope u were here next by my side to give you a hug. I gotta confess that I need one big one..
I have a thousand friends I have ADHD and social interaction is not a problem for me but I still feel so lonesome because I want a relationship with someone and get remarried again but I feel like I’m not worthy finding a decent guy or it’s cuz I’m getting older and I hate the way I look and can’t understand why any guy would want me. I do tend to shop too much because of my ADHD and loneliness so now I’m digging myself out of debt. I got a counseling which helped some I do exercise I belong to the gym lately though I can’t motivate myself to go do anything go to the gym do all the things that I enjoy I’m just feel stuck
I really hope that u manage to take urself out of this situation. Every experience on this site is mine alike but ur is like something stronger strikes my heart. I am divorced, social enough but at the same time extremely lonely. I don’t want to send over to you my problems.. I wish I could have something good to say to you.. but I am really sorry, I have nothing. Everyday is like a hard fight. Like a situation I can’t get out from.. Try to engage urself I to things that you do not regret later on the road..
I’m so lonely. I’m married and have 2 cats. They are my only real companions. I feel like everyone else I always say something wrong or screw it up somehow. I feel like I’m never liked at work, no matter where I go and I feel like nothing but a screw up. When I was younger my only friends were the outcast, bad kids but in my adulthood I’ve strayed away and stay out of trouble. I go to college but I don’t talk to people because I don’t know what to say and I just know I’ll say something stupid. It hurts so much… I was abused as a child too so that doesn’t help with my interactions and feelings. I drink in social interactions to help but I always take it too far. I hate myself for how I am. I feel like I’m stuck in a black hole alone… I want to make friends so badly but I don’t know how. I want someone to talk with, go shopping with, have fun nights, etc. My husband is great but I feel like he doesn’t really understand and is uninterested, he works a lot and I work the opposite shift. I talk to my cats and of course they don’t talk back. I hate it all so much…
I feel we may be related.
God loves you and you are not alone.
I’m married and feel the same way. No friends. Sometimes I feel sorry for my husband and wonder why or how long he’ll put up with me.
I just came across your site and pretty much everything you say I could relate to it to some degree. I feel lonely and I am lonely I am working on it to be able to be more social but it is hard so hard. I am always embarrassed about myself why!? I am still trying to figure out but it is exhausting I don’t kmow for you but my brain is on 24/7
Never shut down Unless I do exercise that helped me tremendously. I am not a happy showy person for that reason the “Queen Mother” dixit my mother never stops reminding me ” you don’t happy, you never smile” Even at 6000 miles SHE has this thing she never leaves but I was able to take a big step I can breath now she is the one Calling as it used to me but I said stopped! Every little steps that I take help me to realize I can do it I can function on my own and this is called freedom and success for me! I couldn’t be prouder! Ty for what you wrote I really felt less lonely and this is Gold for me. Really ty
FYI: I am going to read and reread my comment until I think it is not bad so probably 100 types:)
I’m always upset. My mom gets mad at me multiple times every single freaking day and I don’t know what to do. She’s forcing me to swim even though I hate it because she thinks it helps with the ADHD. Even if I quit I would still exercise, except I don’t get the feeling she would let me if I don’t swim. I’m miserable right now. I’m not doing what I really want to and I’m stuck feeling angry all the time.
I’ve always felt lonely. But I’m always manage to keep one best friend. Just onereally good friend at a time. And I hold onto them for dear life. I need someone who is strong. Who is especially kind and caring. And to always stick by my side. I was feeling uncomfortable around people. And I want to say that I feel people don’t like me. At most times I feel it’s because I am awkward, Anxious, and Self-conscious. Just a little weird. I know I’m a nice person. But I get very angry easily. And I’m very impatient. And I can’t focus always on what people are saying especially if it does not interest me. I can’t fake it. I want to connect. I just don’t know how. And my son is the same as I am. But maybe more severe than I am. He has a combination of ADHD and having a high IQ. And they say that maybe he has high functioning autism. I don’t have that at all. My IQ is just average. And sometimes I even feel less than average. Even though I have a memory for things I really am interested in. I have no memory for things I’m not interested in. But my son remembers everything he ever reads. I’m glad to know that I’m not alone. I think I have ADHD. But I’m not sure. I just know I’ve always felt awkward and I’m comfortable and anxious. And I could never focus on many things.
I having feeling lonely throughout my life. any word that comes out of my mouth anonys people so I find it difficult to understand my self . O I hate it.
Every time I open up and start being myself, bits of my ADHD come out and i make the situation awkward and weird the other person out. No one takes me seriously, no one except a few close friends and family care. I’m annoying, disruptive, reckless, inappropriate, selfless, caring, loving and compassionate. I know I’m not a very likable person but it hurts my heart that I’ve got all this love to give and no one to share it with. I care way more about other people than myself, and other people care way more about themselves than me.
“I know I’m not a very likable person but it hurts my heart that I’ve got all this love to give and no one to share it with”
I have tears reading your post. I can relate. All I want in this world is to be loved unconditionally and feel understood (I feel like I’m constantly misunderstood, even after explaining myself) by a single person. It’s the loneliest feeling in the world.
I’m sorry you feel that pain too. You’re definitely not alone.
I am 16 and ever since I was little i was very shy. I couldn’t talk talk to people unless I cover my face in my parents clothes. But I have that habit again but I still but not to all that again. But the children my age would normally trouble me about how different I am an because of that I grow up with a low self esteem but the people around wouldn’t notice it.My mother and my friends would say I have a don’t care attitude and that I don’t care about anyone but myself because of this I am losing my friends one by one. And sometimes I am wondering if something is wrong with me.
I am relating
For me I feel like i’m always lonely and that whenever I try to start a conversation i’m going to mess up or just completely fail. Even when I know that my friends are there for me i’m just afraid to talk to anyone. And because of that i’m always coming down on myself but when I think i’m able to talk to someone I just feel the exact same thoughts again. But this usually happens to people I care about a lot. Like my two best friends are the ones i’m the most scared to talk to sometimes.
Thank you for this article. It sounds like I’m relatively lucky in how I’ve developed as I have many normal skills. I see myself as intelligent, loving, and caring. I’m naturally an introvert, so I spend lots of time alone. Unfortunately I have a tendency to be reserved and not talk to people, though I never really have a problem if I need to do so. Unfortunately I’m not doing well at making many friends at college. Currently, I assume this is because of my low opinion of the people going here (it’s a community college so the barrier of entry is pretty low), though I never assume someone’s capabilities. I feel so alone, I only have two friends from high school and I feel like even they are slipping away. I also feel like my parents don’t understand me, and typically don’t want to hear what I have to say about things, like they don’t want to get to know me. After a whole semester at one college, and now almost done with this semester at community college, I only made one new friend. I feel like I’m too needy or clingy, and have even been told that explicitly (though I did ask a friend what was up with ghosting me, that was fair game). It’s not that I’m listening to this friend, but I have started to pick out how often I want to text somebody, or feel the need to make a connection deeper, often feeling like it was a bit too early afterwards. My passion for what I believe in can often be off putting to people too, and I seem to take matters more seriously than others. I’m not sure what to do, and I’m feeling like I have no deep bonds with anyone at all except my family’s dog now. Any ideas on what I should do, or if these things are normal?
I’m not sure what to do because I’m in a really similar situation. Especially with what you mentioned about being passionate about stuff you care about and sometimes coming on stronger than you intend. So I can’t tell you what to do cause I haven’t fixed it yet but I can tell you I’m trying really hard to respect that maybe most people, just aren’t thinking about so many things at once as me and maybe, it’s hard for them to want to keep in touch so much. so to respect them I should text less etc.
I have more people approach me or ask me to hang out when I seem really happy and content with my life. Right now I’m a little upset from these realizations but maybe when it gets better it’ll work out
And just to tell you that no you’re not alone. And apparently yes for ADHD people this is pretty normal
I think I have ADHD. My memory power is extremly bad. I could never remember my phone number for over a year.
Emotionally I think i am a hardened soul.People around in my company keep feeling bad when a bad news breaks out. I don’t feel anything when I hear it.
I have lots of ideas in my mind how to present something but when it comes to writing or speaking it all ends in few words.
I am extremly shy to the point I avoid social gatherings.
I always feel like I am a rebel to the world.
I always think my memory and my maturity is about 5 to 10 years behind
Well hearing this makes me feel a little better. I used to cry when u was around 12 when my mom left for work. I feel I can’t go on. I HATE my life. I just want to sleep. I’m on add anti depressants and anti anxiety meds. I still feel lonely because I isolate myself. I have a fear of being anyone but have anxiety being socially
I have recently been dignozed with Adult Add and for the past 3 years have been trying to make friends in a church environment. Left due to the fact that even in a church environment people wouldn’t even talk to me in the coffee cue. How do i make friends as and adult with add have one good friend but dont want to wear them out.
Sorry to hear you are having problems making friends. There are nice people everywhere, not just in the places you think nice people should be, like church. Sign up for clubs and groups that you are interested in. Toastmasters is always a great place because you can learn a skill at the same time. Also a sports activity, like running, or martial arts. Try lots of new things. It is nice to have 1 special friend, however I would recommend having a few special people. As we get older, people have busier lives, so less time to spend with friends. If you have a handful of close friends and one is busy, another will be available.
I feel exactly like you do. I’m trying to figure out how to feel ok about myself and I found this.
I, too feel like people just don’t pay attention to me at all. Just ignore me for no reason.
i personally do not have adhd however both my best friends do. one friend of 15 yrs and her son who also has adhd. my other best m8, were now into our 7 th year and he has to be the most loyal trusting friend ive ever had. i myself am a easy going 41 year old male who has the patience of a saint and never gets bored of listening to what my friends have to say. even if it means i dont get to say anything. im not going to say its been easy all the time, but then neither is life.
Thanks Jacqueline for your response. I suppose I simply wanted to express that frustration. Thanks for the advice! Sometimes it helps to have someone pull you out of your own head.
I am 24 years old and have felt in a constant battle with my emotions for many years. Most of all though I’ve always felt ignored or uninteresting. Like my voice isn’t heard or people don’t want to hear it. Until around a couple of years ago I had always had a group of friends. When talking to them though I feel I say either strange or uninteresting things that make them want to end the conversation with me. I felt it was always me asking them to hang out and rarely getting asked in return.
Now I spend most of my days alone in my room. I have a girlfriend, though she is in another country. We talk everyday (either on the phone/Skype and play online games together) and we now have plans for me to move there with her soon. During this relationship I have always found myself being so careful about saying things on my mind. Is it interesting? Am I just talking crap? Is she even listening?
If I let my mouth run I’ll talk about 100 different subjects in one breath. I don’t allow myself to do that anymore because every time I have I find people quickly wanting to move the conversation onto something else. My girlfriend does listen to me even when I feel she isn’t. She is the only person in my whole life I have felt I can really talk to. I am worried about moving to her country though as I have such low confidence I’ll be able to find friends who will want to be with me.
Right now I feel like I’m rambling a lot and many times I’ve glanced over this text thinking “why would I post this rubbish?” I could go on for hours and hours, but what I’m looking for here is advice on a direction I should seek to hopefully get me on a path to helping me stop feeling this way, and becoming more confident in myself to feel like a normal human being and not an emotional mess.
I feel the exact same way. It hurts so much. You’re not alone.
Thanks for the post, but I’d like to express a frustration- not necessarily with you, but with advice given about mental health in general:
The advice I always seem to find about my ADHD and other mental health problems usually say “go to a therapist”.
But where does that leave a person who can’t afford one? I can’t afford a personal therapist and have been bounced around in short- term therapies in public and university programs. And the strings of sessions always end before I feel any progress has been made. I am left feeling more like a failure that I could not get things sorted out within my allotted sessions. What if a person only was allowed a certain number of visits from a medical doctor, regardless of they were healed or not?
And what I have been told is I need to decide how important my mental health “really” is to me, as though somehow, my inability to pay for private sessions is simply poor financial management and not the bad economy, or unfair minimum wages. I had to get a personal loan to even seek a diagnosis from a psychologist. I was so worried he’d say I didn’t have ADHD, meaning I would have just spent money unnecessarily.
I’m trying to get it together, but the system right now is so frustrating.
Any advice on that?
Sorry to hear that you are feeling frustrated about advice that includes therapy. Whenever I write a list of tips to help a situation or problem I don’t think every reader will try every suggestion. Instead people pick the ones that resonate or are possible for them.
Not everyone will see a therapist, perhaps because of budget reasons, or because they hate the thought of therapy. In which case the other suggestions will be more appealing them.
I totally understand how annoying it must be to want to have therapy yet not be able to find a way to get it. Many therapists offer a sliding scale so that they can help motivated people like you. So even though you are frustrated keep looking!
In the meantime why not find a ADHD support group in your area? They are usually free and very helpful. Also, the people there might be able to help your with your therapy problem. If you are struggling, then other people will have faced the same problem too.
Hi. I’m only recently seriously researching this diagnosis for myself as I can relate to all of it. Two of my sons, several cousins, and an uncle are diagnosed. Anywho, my point for replying to ur comment is this…I was hospitalized last year for depression. I’ve been in therapy ever since. While it has helped me to not be so paranoid that everyone is against me, I’m still isolated and lonely…for most all of the reasons mentioned above so far. I’m just glad I’m not alone in this. I’m not just crazy, lazy, or a bad friend. There is an explanation. I agree with Jacqueline re: finding an ADHD support group. I might try that myself. Also, don’t give up! You’re not alone in this either. I’m not sure about specifics but our Behavioral Health is the only one around that takes patients without insurance. We also have clinics with set fees for these patients. Maybe there is someone where you are that does the same. If you get a response of No, ask if they know somebody who does (offer low or set fees). Good luck to you. God Bless!
Wow, this is spot on, my life and daily struggles. I have alienated myself from the world for years. I have always had issues making friends. I am 28 now and still have no friends. I do chat with people at work. But that’s about it. I think my dogs are my best friends. They don’t judge me and love me for who I am. I am also a mother of a 10 year old. I have cause her to miss out on things because of my ADHD! Sad, but out if my control. It seems like people thing I can control who I am and my actions. I can’t. I’m late because I can’t judge my time correctly. I’m disorganized because I let things pile up. Then, when I try to organize, I become overwhelmed and walk away. I avoid going to that area because it overwhelms me. I am OCD and feel as though I suffer from depression at times. I hate loud noises, big crowds, small spaces, anything moving or making noises when I’m TRYING to focus. I can’t remember anything anymore. I have issues waking up in the morning without help. This has caused me to miss promotions at work. I’ve seen my doctor about this too. Nothing has been done yet. I was diagnosed with ADHD at age 11. I have two older brothers who are extremely smart. Both went to college. One of my brothers graduated high school with honors, went to UT in Austin, then joined the Navy and has been there for 7 years. He is about to have his masters degree in the medical field. My other brother went to college and is running the family business. Then you have me. I struggled in school. Even with meds. It wasn’t just my brain struggling. Teachers didn’t give the extra help my brain needed. So, I didn’t get to far after high school. Neither of my brothers have ADHD. Just me. I feel jealous at times because I wasn’t born the same as them. The great side of ADHD is my creative brain. I love crafts and am always working on a project. Thought I would share my story. I could go on for hours. ☺️
Same here sister. I even avoid family functions at times. My house is embarrassingly messy. Two of my three boys are diagnosed and I also feel I hold them back at times. We’ve only ever had A birthday party for one of them once with friends. The rest have been done with family only. I could also go on and on. Being creative is the Best! Stay strong!
I am a textbook example of ADHD and was diagnosed as a child. I know that I never fit it as a child, and being left out at recess and social settings has severely messed up my self esteem in adulthood. I am 33 and I feel like the older I get the worse I have gotten at making conversations. I usually say something slightly inappropriate or awkward, or so random that I can sense right away that people around me don’t want to keep up a conversation with me. Often times, I notice some signs that the person I am speaking to is getting tired of me, but sometimes I am so impulsive that everything I am thinking has to come out of my mouth right now. Sometimes if an attractive guy is being friendly, I become so awkward because I am afraid I start speaking to them too much as they are giving me a slight bit of attention. I get so stressed about being awkward in social situations that I often dread them, and I seem to prefer to be alone nowadays. To make things worse, both of my children have ADHD, and one of my children are extremely impulsive and seems to have the energy of a hyper squirrel 24/7. I fear that they will face being alone as I have most of my entire life. I did learn coping strategies, but I still get nervous on the inside when someone notices me in a crowd as I wonder if I must have a giant booger hanging from my nose or something. However, in reality they probably think I am totally spacing out during staff meetings or won’t stop fidgeting..haha..Oh the joys of being ADHD!!
Hi Jacqui. I can most definitely relate to this post. I enjoy spending time alone, but I can also feel alone in a crowded room. Not many “get” me. I remember in my last job, I would often come up with new ideas that were exciting to me and feeling so lonely when I realized that I would be lucky if one other person would listen, and even luckier if they understood and appreciated it. I feel this way with my wife too, though her patient ear and encouragement are helpful, even though she doesn’t always follow me. Thank you for writing this.
hit the nail on the head – went to neurologist today and confirmed ADHD – I am 54 years old – all symptoms are classic. I type into Google “ADHD” – then symptoms I have experienced all my life & every single one hits me like a train head-on. Had been misdiagnosed with bi-polar, depression, etc. in the past. Went to countless counseling associated with my job for years on end – everyone, including myself, missed it…thank you for writing this article
My pleasure Dean, and I am glad you have discovered you have ADHD. Once you have a diagnosis you can start treating and managing it.
Check out this mini book (its free) it will help you to know everything you need to know when you are new to ADHD
How is it that I can’t read a magazine article let alone a book but read your posts? They have me crying and saying OMG, holy ____ etc.. You are all amazing! I haven’t felt connected to anyone in so long…if ever. I am a 50yr old female and if I could only focus to sit and write, I would have a few best sellers! Growing up I wasn’t obnoxious, hyper, troublemaker etc..but I do remember blurting things out and being disruptive but in a way I didn’t get in trouble too often. .molested/sexually abused by my friend’s dad at 9 and raped by someone I knew at 20. But anyway ADD, ADHD wasn’t a thing back then but I always had problems paying attention in school. Studying for tests, I would try but would end up sitting on my bedroom floor singing to the lyrics on the insert to my fav Blondie album (or whoever). Night before or on bus when panic kicked in, there I was, trying to study. I don’t know how I made it but got A’s & B’s in creative writing, music, Childcare..u know, classes that interested me. Graduated 1986 and got married as well. Big mistake but just 1 of many. Lol.. always made bad decisions, trusted too much and went through jobs like crazy. I would feel angry/defensive when someone would make a comment on not holding a job longer than a month to a year AND my career choices. I did alot if temp work until I found being a Store Detective/Loss Prevention worked for me. No boss breathing down my neck, and working on my own alot was great. Dangerous at times (of course more ridicule) but OMG Sorry, I’m rambling as usual…SMH…anyway in short u all touched on how I feel and wish we could all get together in a group. I would love to hug each and every one of u. The last week I have been the worst and feeling like I’m at the end if my rope. Isolating & staying in Apt for a week. Meds aren’t working (Vyvance, Adderall and now Mydayis). I guess if I had a good psychiatrist or nuerologist…anyway…Nuffsaid4now
I can totally relate to this, I am turning 49 next week and have been seeing a great psychologist who has supported me to find out what is wrong with me I have now been to a psychiatrist who has diagnosed me with Adhd traits not a full diagnosis of adhd because I can not present evidence of my ADHD as a child, I am now on Strattera which has made some major breakthroughs in my life. I always remember feeling different and very lonely as a child and even now I still struggle with friendships and my marriage even though I am outgoing my inner monolog is my main critic and companion.
This article describes me to the letter! I am on the path to discovering my problems and I’m so glad i found this information. I have been dealing with these symptoms since childhood and just thought this is the way i am. Addiction has been a huge part of my life and have been on the brink of giving up many times even after completing successfully a suboxone treatment program. I am off of the medication now and my symptoms have really become more noticeable especially at work. I’m distant from my family which kills me. I have the opportunity to take the T.O.V.A. test but worry it will be used to say i don’t have an issue when i know i do. Its nice to k ow its not the end all for diagnosis. Thank you!
While I struggle with all of these to some degree, my biggest issue is with making new friends, or transitioning acquaintances to friends. Having moved to a new city as an adult, I have no established circle of friends. There are co-workers and other people who I’ve met who I’d like to become friends with, but the onus seems to be on me to come up with something casual that I can invite them out to do, that would be mutually enjoyable and hopefully non-awkward (since I don’t have a group of friends to invite them out with), and to figure out a time that we both are available to do this. It all seems so hard and overwhelming that I am more likely to just sit at home and hide in a computer game, or something… My city is kind of large and sprawling, which just makes it more difficult. I think it would be weird to ask someone out just for a coffee or something if they would have to drive any distance. I’d feel like they’d think a friendship would just be an inconvenience.
It does take effort to make new friends, and also you have to put yourself ‘out there’ and risk rejection. If you are concerned about asking people to drive a long way, why not suggest to do something directly after work? that way you are both already in the same place. There a lot of lonely people out there. So rather than feeling like your friendship is an inconvenience why not flip it around in your mind and think of your friendship as blessing in someone’s life. Just as their friendship to you would be. If someone is busy etc they will say. So don’t feel you are putting anyone out.
i can totally associate with the lonliness, i recently went to a convention where they had a reception afterwards .i noticed feeling totally alone in a room of over 300 people. either feeling too ackward to talk to anyone or too afraid.
Hi Marc! those types of events ARE very hard!! Its not just a you thing. Most people find them a challenge. However there are some things you can do to improve your skills and comfort level in this type of situation in the future.
There is a book called ‘How To Win Friends and Influence people’ it has tons are great suggestions. Highly recommend it! if you don’t like to read you could listen to it instead.
You could also join Toastmasters. There are chapters all over the world. They help you to speak in public, and think on your feet, and much more. It will boast your confidence in all areas of life, not including being in a room of 300 people.
Let me know how you get on!!
Letting people down, if only through misunderstandings, is hard to overcome. Maybe it’s easier than it seems, but doing or own thing our own way is even easier. I can justify it in my own mind, but it leads to further isolation. Im ok with that, but I’m supposed to be a leader. Not good.
Yes you are right, sometimes it is easier to do to things your own way than navigate social minefields.
I think the trick is to balance the 2. For example at work and with the people you really love its worth going the extra mile to avoid misunderstands. Then at other times do your own thing.
Avoiding misunderstandings can be a lot easier than it seems. You might ask say something like ‘Just so I understand your correctly…..’ and then summarize what your take away from the conversation was. I find myself saying ‘so just to recap’ a lot! but its helpful for me and the other person.
Let me know if you have any more questions! its a really big topic!
Great post, Jacqui! I totally relate to #3, “people think you don’t care.” That’s a zinger.
Glad you liked the post. That really hurts when you think people don’t care…when actually you care very much.
I can totally relate to the ‘outside looking in’ thing and the over thinking social interactions. These days, though, I have stopped beating myself up about it and realise that other people probably had a different view of the events anyway 🙂
x x x
That is such a great attitude!!!!! So happy to hear you don’t beat yourself up any more. That is huge!! great job!!
I’ve always felt lonely since childhood. I remember being really shy (and still am) and being the kid who stood alone by the fence at recess. I have trouble socializing with people (other than facebook) and picking up on social cues. If I’m around a group of people talking, I don’t know what to say and just zone out into my own little world. I have always been a loner and relationships have never work out. People usually don’t last long with me and complain that I don’t pay attention or don’t care.
Sorry to hear you have been feeling lonely since childhood. A lot of adults with ADHD have problems interacting with people and as you have experienced it can result in feeling very lonely. Learning social skills is one of those things that we are sort of expected to naturally know how to do. We aren’t taught how to do in formally in school.
Shyness is also connected to low self esteem and fear.
A great way to connect with other people is to find an activities you really and join a group around that activity. For example if you like to run, rather than going running on your own, join a running club. Its much easier to connect with people this way because then there isn’t the pressure to talk because you have a shared activity to ‘do’. Also you have know that you have at least one thing in common with all those people.
I’ve felt lonly through out my life . Every second of it and I’m really tierd of it . I’m posting this comment cuz I don’t really know what to do anymore
Been so lonly that I talk to myself cuz I need someone to hear me out but there’s no one but me
Sorry to hear you feel lonely Ghazal. One suggestion to feel less lonely is to find some people like you, you will totally get you without you even having to say anything.
Is there an ADHD support group in your area? in addition to that, why not come over the the Untapped brilliance facebook page? there are lots of lovely people there. Those would be a good start.
Im here, Im with all of you, Im crying, Ive spent 3 hours now, re-thinking, re-writing this, and i still havnt got it lol. I tried to leave it for now…but couldnt lol. so for now, all i can give is this. I did copy some of the sentences from you all, that put into words, what ive tried to put into words for YEARS!! But couldnt manage that either. So im going to go back to facebook for now (you all know im not going to be able to get all this out of my head now lol), and i will come back…hopefully soon, and be able to say what i wish i could word lol. Phew that was hard work xx