ADHD Feels Like…

ADHD Feels LikeThis week, I asked people with ADHD to describe what ADHD feels like for them. I thought it would be helpful for non-ADDers to understand it more. The varied replies give an excellent insight into life with ADHD. If you would like to add your own description of what ADHD feels like to you, that would be awesome! Pop it in the comments section below.

“To me, ADHD feels like my attention span is being controlled by every single garage door opener within 100 miles.”
– Mark Kawate    ADHD


ADHD feels like…I have to constantly “dumb myself down” as a way of accommodating “normies” who don’t share my set of neurobiological advantages. Three-fourths of my day, my time and energy are spent doing this. It’s tedious. Honestly, the amount of time I spend waiting for others—who I might add, supposedly have a “normal” brain—to catch up/get up to speed with my insights or, to “get it,” to simply see solutions to problems as quickly and clearly as I do, is tedious, immensely time consuming and, frankly, frustrating.

Nancy Ratey.    Author of The Disorganized Mind



“ADHD feels like your brain is an unruly child, flitting about when the grown-ups would prefer a child who could sit still, be quiet, and concentrate. ADHD feels like ten thousand things are yammering for attention and all of them are equally important.
ADHD feels exciting and creative when I put things together from wildly different domains, and see the common pattern. I just wish I could go from there to some kind of organized action to benefit from all that creative genius.”
– Bonnie Hutchinson



“Sometimes I don’t like it because I get too excited and do things I’m not supposed to, like hurt myself when I get carried away.”
“Sometimes it’s fun because it keeps me going for activities, and staying active; even though I’m tired.”

With meds, “everything feels boring. I feel sick (nausea, headaches and tired more easily), but I do pay more attention in class.”
Without meds, “it’s harder to pay attention, but I am more responsive in class, like I put up my hand to ask & answer questions.”

“If I had a choice to keep it or not, I would keep it, because it doesn’t really do much bad things. It just makes me excited more sometimes.”
– Luca 11 years old


Before diagnosis:
It’s a heavy veil you can’t shake off; a heavy secret you feel you need to hide. You have to work harder for everything, but you don’t know why, and you certainly don’t want people to know you’re “slow” or “stupid.” So you have to put on an act all the time, even though you know you’re really smart and capable — it’s frustrating and it gets really exhausting. You can’t talk to anyone about it either, and you get really tired of hearing, “Why don’t you listen?” and “You’re not trying hard enough,” when you’ve been trying really hard to begin with.”

After diagnosis, learning more about ADHD, and finding others who share the same struggles:
It’s a quirky, fascinating thing that’s just part of who you are; and is manageable. It’s lighter, and a lot of the heaviness goes away. Yes, you still have to work harder, but now you know why, and you know you’re not slow or stupid. And you can drop the act, because now, you have people who understand you to talk to. It’s something you can share a laugh and a cry over; a secret club with some of the most interesting and creative people as members” 🙂
– Marcia Hoeck      A purposeful


“Having ADHD is like having an on / off mental switch with limited control. Sometimes things click, sometimes they don’t and it’s always hard to see the pattern, so after a while, it can be hard to be confident at anything, because one second you are amazing at something and super focused, and the next time, it just doesn’t click. I think until you get education or training about it, it’s like trying to drive a stick shift mentally with a bad clutch while having absolutely no idea how to change gears, because you’ve only ever driven an automatic.”
– Grant Weherley    Control My


“ADHD feels like Hanoi traffic! We’re here in Vietnam now and rented a motorbike. The traffic looks crazy from the outside (and even sometimes inside it). It looks overwhelming and it’s so different to what everyone is used to who didn’t grow up with it. But if you try to fight against the way the traffic works here, it’s worse than recognizing that it’s different and just going with the flow to make it work for you.

We have loved riding around; even in the process of riding throughout the city.I’ve said to myself: I see how this works, but I don’t understand HOW it works. It definitely goes against what I’ve always been taught “should” be when it comes to traffic. Seeing the traffic and recognizing that for me, it’s a lot like ADHD and how embracing it has made my life better; which was a fun experience.- Nathan Sudds


“I am often conflicted with what it feels like to have ADHD. When my symptoms are well managed, I love having ADHD and see it as my super power. I feel in control of myself and my anxiety significantly decreases. It feels like the mental fog has completely dissipated. As a result, I often feel very proud to have ADHD and at times will feel somewhat offended knowing that it is a disability, mainly because I don’t feel like I have a disability when the right meds are prescribed. My self-esteem is definitely increased. Also, I am able to sustain attention and focus for appropriate amounts of time, make appropriate decisions, prioritize tasks and problem-solve accordingly. When my symptoms are well managed, I can assert myself with confidence and express my thoughts and feelings quite clearly. I sincerely feel like I am the real me, the genuine person that people see.

Without meds, or without the right combination of meds, I feel incredibly anxious, often self-conscious and it’s like I have no control over myself and my symptoms. My brain feels very cluttered; like I have heavy mental fog and chaos. It is incredibly difficult to sustain focus for very long. It’s so annoying to watch a movie with me because I will have to often rewind as my mind often drifts off to other thoughts. I also feel heavily frustrated with myself because no matter how hard I try at achieving a goal, my symptoms interfere, which then makes me feel like a failure. As a result, I retreat and only see myself as having many problems with no solutions. It’s very discouraging.

Additionally, I have quite a bit of difficulty with recognizing when to step on the breaks. For example, when articulating myself, my goal is to communicate assertively. But instead, it comes out sounding more aggressive. This is frustrating because I am not an aggressive person, I am a patient, understanding and empathetic person, but these qualities are hiding behind the ADHD symptoms which people can’t see. In a professional setting, this comes across as me being a very tense person and possibly someone who lacks professional integrity or stability.

To be honest, this is my current situation. Since my doctor has changed my meds, I 100% feel like I’m back to where I started. I don’t feel heard or understood by my doctor as she gives the impression that she knows my reality better than I know it myself. Therefore, everyday feels like a struggle or a battle, and I feel very, very, very TIRED. More than tired; exhausted. I feel incredibly anguished from this combination of emotions and thoughts. Despite all of these difficulties, I acknowledge that there is still hope, because I was once at a state where my symptoms helped me succeed. So hope isn’t gone, it just feels far away.”
– Linda 32 years old

PS Thanks to Nathan for the photo of the Hanoi traffic


  1. Aj says:

    ADD feels like….shame, guilt and regrets, to name a few.

    • tara l heffner says:

      adhd to me feels like a speed way and the cars do not know were to go and they just crash and everything is chaotic, cant enjoy “the moments” or the experiance without being blindsides by 50 other thoughts….

  2. Noah hickling says:

    I feel like i have so many of these random and awesome skills and nobody appreciates them until I can somehow relate it to something well… relevant. I’m a genius at math but I fail in grammar, I am gifted in sports/arts but suck at all the things that don’t feel important to my mind. The “normal” world (and I don’t blame them) forces their way of thinking on you which does not let you show your potential and ends up making people think you are stupid when really you (not being rude) have a higher potential compared to everyone else. To sum it up, the normal world kind of puts you in a box and you need to learn how to destroy the box and do things your way, because a normal thinking mind is different from an ADHD mind and their thought processes will not work for you. Let it be a blessing not a curse and don’t let anyone make you fell bad for it.

    • Sisiri says:

      Hi Noah

      As I work in ICT, I so much relate that talent isn’t recognised. So many people in ICT are just that; looking at their small patch but no innovation whatsoever. Especially in ICT we need people to think different, bizarly enough ICT has been the one scientific area where the least progress has been made. So…go!

    • Krehetin says:

      I totally understand what your saying, thanks. Im smart, funny, very kind, i know what people are feeling and why before they do. But I spend so much of my day helping other people feel smart, dumbing myself down, it’s exhausting. I’m to loud and seem to annoy everyone. To happy? To silly? I have to apologise for it and think, isn’t this something good I have that other people don’t? I constantly see things ten steps ahead, but I’ve learned to sit and wait for everyone else to catch up, cuz people wouldn’t like me if I was pointing out the obvious (obvious to me) so the time. It’s very sad. I feel like I’m the whole package. Would it be better to be quite, mad, ho-hum, boring? Seems like the rest of the world like that. it’s crazy. And sucks

  3. Kelly says:

    This is a brief summary of what I experience.
    I am undiagnosed and untreated.
    Sounds and light really bother me
    They actually cause pain
    I have to medicate to sleep
    I get bored easily
    I like to be needed but I can’t follow through with commitment for very long
    I can’t stay focused when it’s up to me
    I’m not self motivated
    I have an extremely aggressive personality
    I procrastinate
    I think I can accomplish more when I wait till the last minute.
    I seem to thrive on having loads to do in a short period of time
    I love repetition but not for long
    I get depressed easily
    I wake up thinking about my next bedtime
    I can’t stop the constant thoughts but I can’t organize them so I don’t even know what I’m thinking
    I seem to have short term memory probs
    I can’t make lists because I can’t organize the thoughts or identity and prioritize the needs
    I have a problem with control but I really am getting better at that
    I sometimes withhold affection
    I love confrontation
    I know I have a heart, but I mostly act out of my head
    I start things that I don’t finish
    I say yes too often
    I’m impulsive
    Whether I drink coffee in the morning or not, I can’t sleep at night without help
    I don’t know why sleeping is so important to me, but it is
    I don’t like movies but I like tv series
    I can’t read anymore
    I used to read a lot
    I’m not always like any of the above

    • XlordB says:

      All of the above is 100% true in my case.. Except that I find the aggressive stuff and shouting begins when I am trying to concentrate but people somehow feel the need to distract you.. when I get distracted the anxiety starts then then my temper flares because I have missed the opportunity of finishing what i had started.

      I cant stand people who cant understand when i try to help them with things as in simple PC technology instructions. And once that temper flares for the least little distraction everything else gets on top of you. It then leads to you in a depressed state, pissed off and generally not having any motivation to finish anything.. I have to be honest here I dont think adhd is an illness I think the brain learns it due to the ridiculous distractions you go through in your life with having to have 3 heads 6 arms and 12 phones. Its no wonder depression exists with the stupid amount of expectation from everyone. Whatever happened to being allowed to have a peaceful life.. Its easy to tell us with adhd to learn to say no but when we do say no we get lambasted for it.

      Im sick of trying to begin things and never finish them, im sick of being distracted when I just want a few hours to myself for enjoyment in my hobbies.. BUT NO LIFE DOESNT ALLOW IT. We must work ourselves to death, helpe everyone else constantly which takes away our time and if you dont help it causes arguments.. what a rollercoaster

      • sisiri says:

        I recognize a couple of things you describe; as I work in ICT myself. I have learned to keep myself in check when I understand some technology better or differently, but just like you depending on the day I can fly off the handle. Immediately I feel guilty; surely I cannot feel good about an area I have studied for years? Even communicating; me thinks I am very clear. But think about it, how does somebody else think; what do they see in minds eye?

    • Suzanne says:

      I think we could write a play called the ADHD Monologues. Except we would leave the theatre at intermission.

  4. Sherri says:

    For the past couple of weeks, I have been trying to determine, what is wrong with me. For years I have felt that I was living in a bubble, alone. I often remember entire conversations or moments from childhood, high school. Almost like ah ha moments, that I analyze. To say I have racing thoughts, brain fog, or forgetfulness is an understatement. I often feel as though my brain is a television, and am constantly channel suffering, day and night. There are moments when I find something truly interesting, and will zone in for hours, frantically obsessing over it! I find it very difficult to express myself verbally, almost like am talking backwards. However, I love to write. I am constantly beating myself for not getting the main idea or picture as everyone else views it. I often feel stupid or slow. I would be nothing without my alarm clock, and agenda app on my phone. Daily chores are depressing, however they must be done specifically or I am not a happy camper! I also feel the need to over compensate, while watching others breeze through with ease. Even now, so many thoughts to write, and bam, a thought supercedes another, pushing it out, until I am forced to stop and think what it was I was thinking. I experience anxiety when thinking and writing, and a overwhelming need to rush and complete my thoughts, which I must organize and reorganize. Usually, no, I am always drained and irritable at the end of the day. Naps are a must! I think it’s time to see a professional! Thank you all for your thoughts, opinions, wonderful analogies, and metaphors!

    • Laura says:

      Your comment about chores made me grin! I am exactly the same, hahaha! My house either looks like a tornado has gone through it (we have 4 dogs and they drag blankets and cushions around the house during the day) orrrr, I make everyone drop what they are doing to clean the way I tell them to (if they don’t, I have to redo it).

      Also, I am a very affectionate person with my family, but if my partner tries to cuddle me first thing in the morning, or before bed, I am an angry crab that grumbles and snaps its pincers in warning: “Do not touch me when I am tired, or I will harm you. You have been warned.”

      I can also fall asleep any where, any time if no one stops me. (I nap in my car at lunch time and fall right asleep.) xox

      • Suzanne says:

        Check and
        Double check!

  5. D.H.Thompson says:

    ADHD… I can’t go to the cinema, I can’t relate with a lot of personalities, I know exactly when I “click” with someone who is also ADHD, we just click. I’ve had more jobs and been fired for bad time keeping but my performance with what I work as – computer programming which I happen to love – has always been top.

    When I hit the gym I train like I’m competing – I fight competitive Thaiboxing, another “thing” I love.

    I am 40 and have ZERO qualifications to my name as I’ve NEVER completed any education and my attempt of University was one of pure torture.

    I now work as my own boss with my EX boss on a product that I “dreamed” up and he is helping me guide things.

    It’s a blessing andva curse. Days I wish it never existed. I switch everything off and I’m on full alert. Over-thinking, one thought leading to another and in no time I’m sitting, in silence with a world war going on inside my head. Literally feels like that. I know what it is and deal with it.

    Insomnia, sleeping 5 hrs is a luxury. Often I wake up to work on something I was thinking about while sleeping. I forget everything that I should remember and remember everything that isolates me from those I care for. It makes me look like I don’t care but I do.

    I can’t get it. Blessing and a curse. It’s always there. I see my entire childhood, teens, 20’s and 30’s riddled with nothing but chaos and risk taking, often dangerous risks.

    Not having ADHD? Would I have done what I have done in my life that MANY only dream or envy doing?

    Absolutely not. But it has cost me jobs, marriage, and relationships. But it has taking me on a journey that I will nit regret and one I will never forget.

    It’s a nightmare when placed in a situation where things are supposed to be done a, b, c. Put yourself into a random, “in the moment” situation and you are completely comfortable while others panic.

    I just don’t get it and those who don’t understand think I’m crazy doing what I do or crazy for doing what I’ve done. Going to danger zones on the globe, competing in dangerous – lack of medical professionals – sports in not so developed countries.

    Yes, ADHD is who I am. It’s a blessing and a curse. Would I change it? Now knowing more and understanding myself. Sometimes I think yes more often I say not a chance. I’d rather change that what is around me.

    That’s my life with ADHD.

  6. Reading this is exactly what ADHD does to me. Right this moment, I have to write something that’s due in 1 hour. So why am I reading these comments instead of working on that? Your newsletter caught my attention. I don’t think we have attention “deficit” – I think we have attention “excess” – we pay attention to every single thing that’s within our awareness and can’t screen anything out. “No filters” brings in huge amounts of data but no way to process them.

  7. Cory (different one from above) says:

    It is so helpful to read this. Even when you know this is what’s happening, to hear it from others lets me know that it’s the AD/HD and not “me.”

    I am a psychologist and had been for quite some time before knowing I had AD/HD. I only realized it myself after my two kids were diagnosed. Having seen it already in my nieces and nephews I knew it was way too many people in one family to be coincidence. All of my own life-long struggles came into sharp focus for the first time. I hated school and am constantly amazed that I earned a Ph.D. It was the interest and hyperfocus that made it possible, when so many other subjects bored me to tears.

    All of these accounts resonate with my own experience. A while ago I made the realization that too many little tasks or interruptions throughout the day “nickle and dimed” my ability or willingness to pay attention to death. Days with too much of that caused a build-up of mental static that was so difficult to deal with.

    I am sure that we were not created/did not evolve to live lives the way we do, currently. About 100 years ago or so so many of us entered this massively sedentary life-style. We are also becoming more busy or at least have the sense that we are. Coupled with the “nickle and dime” dynamic I mentioned this makes life really difficult. It is hard to manage being busy. It is harder to manage the effects on ourselves of being too busy.

    AD/HD makes this even worse as things like time management, planning/scheduling, shifting gears can be so difficult. Moreover, emotions are sticky and those with attention regulation issues, boredom/avoidance, hyperfocus issues have less ability to manage their emotional reactions.

    I wish that I could say as a psychologist that I do better with this than others, but the truth is that it’s a day to day thing. Awareness of the issue is certainly helpful. Developing skills is helpful and medications can also help. The realization that some days the AD/HD will “win” is perhaps most helpful of all, though. It is just the way it is. There doesn’t have to be any “good” or “bad” about it and in that regard the notion of “winning out” over the AD/HD is pointless and perhaps harmful.

    I have had several bad days and today am feeling positive. Reading all of these stories helps to solidify the hope I have for continuing to live life successfully with AD/HD. I’ve made it the first 50 years and I’m sure I can for another 50.

    (No one gets to burst my bubble about expecting another 50 years. I see you in the back. Put your hand down.)

  8. Nicole says:

    Having add feels like you were born into a world that wasn’t made for you. It feels like living a life where every moment is a battle between your desire to just “be” and your desire for your life to not be total chaos. Its exhausting. Lots of times its unbearable. The worst parts are: its invisible, so you can’t easily find your people, most people think its not a thing, and they judge you or commit micro-aggressions against you cloaked in thoughtful tips and suggestions, but mostly, they shame you for not doing a better job of “controlling” the parts of yourself that they are skilled at controlling within themselves. So really, add feels like living alone in a world you weren’t meant for with millions of people telling you, your entire life, that you difference is the result of a moral failure on your part and you only get to belong if you change. But you cannot. So that’s where you live. So you live stuck; trying to figure out how to love yourself in a world that tells you over and over that your not lovable.

  9. Cory says:

    ADHD (without medicine intervention)
    Act on the thoughts flooding your mind keeping you from focusing to feel relief. However, if you give in and try and act on every thought you’ll get burnt out. There’s not enough time or energy.


    Slow down, try and focus on one thing. However, your thoughts build up which makes you anxious and eventually becomes overwhelming where you’re paralyzed and can lead to depression.

    I’m 24, and have been battling this for roughly 10 years. First diagnosis 3 years ago. ADHD diagnosis was given under a year ago and since then ADHD meds were the only relief to the above symptoms. Still working through different meds to slow down thoughts but not too strong where I’m up for 36 hours.

    In my opinion, if one is given a diagnosis of a mental illness there are three things to consider and work on; prescription, past, and perception.

    Having the correct diagnosis with a medicine that works to allow you to get your footing and balance out chemicals is the first key. You won’t get it right the first time. It takes time, patience and a fighting spirit. Remember, your psychiatrist or Doctor is there to evaluate your symptoms and get you a medicine for the reasons previously mentioned. He/She is not your counselor so don’t look for one who will sympathize with you and write you off a higher dose of different medicine because you’re diagnosis for yourself. Did this for two years. It doesn’t work.

    Evaluating how you’re relationship and significant events impact who you are today. Sounds cheezy but the fact is we all are who we are by these influences before us. Dissecting, healing and growing from these things falls into the last point; perception.

    What do you believe about yourself, friends, parents, and spiritual impactors. Better yet, what are your perceptions of how those listed think of you. Are they true, I’m either situation. If it’s negative, chances are it’s not true. Adopting and practicing the mindset of true and real perceptions allows us to heal and enjoy each day.

    Those three variables aren’t approached individually. To heal and overcome a mental illness, each one is worked on together. I’ve found that eventually as each one is handled and taken care of you jump to the next one and grow in that area.

    Right now I’ve found that I’ve akmowledged, confronted and forgave those in my ‘Past’ who had some negative influence on me. I’ve changed my skew perception to a healthy mindset to where each day I’m joyful and happy. However, I’m still anxious and flooded with thoughts. Therefore, I know I need to tweek the medicine side of things.

    Hope this helps someone out there. The struggle is real. There is hope. Keep fighting. One day, and for me this day is near I assure you, you’ll look back and laugh about how messed up or controlled you and I were of these mental disorders.

  10. Katie says:

    I’m so grateful to be given the chance to live with ADHD

    ADHD feels like trying to fit in but realizing you were meant to stand out. You try to fit into this big puzzle and try to become “normal” like everyone else. You don’t try to be different, but you are.

    ADHD feels like constantly being told to stop being creative, just memorize the information like everyone else, but you can’t help but want to do something more.

    ADHD feels like experiencing everything at once but not being able to explain what you felt. Every sound, every touch, every smell stimulates the energy inside of you. You feel things that others can’t even imagine. They’re missing out on this amazing gift in life.

    ADHD feels like being told to grow up but you are too happy to want to change into a boring adult. You have this fire inside of you that can’t burn out. Why would you want to be boring when happiness is better?

    ADHD feels like all of the adults around you are just jealous and bitter because you won’t let the world knock you down. They wish they still had your inner child.

    ADHD feels like waking up to a brands nerd day with every little thing. Life is always exciting you.

  11. Katie says:

    ADHD feels like trying to fit in but realizing you were meant to stand out. You try to fit into this big puzzle and try to become “normal” like everyone else. You don’t try to be different, but you are.

    ADHD feels like constantly being told to stop being creative, just memorize the information like everyone else, but you can’t help but want to do something more.

    ADHD feels like experiencing everything at once but not being able to explain what you felt. Every sound, every touch, every smell stimulates the energy inside of you. You feel things that others can’t even imagine. They’re missing out on this amazing gift in life.

    ADHD feels like being told to grow up but you are too happy to want to change into a boring adult. You have this fire inside of you that can’t burn out. Why would you want to be boring when happiness is better?

    ADHD feels like all of the adults around you are just jealous and bitter because you won’t let the world knock you down. They wish they still had your inner child.

    ADHD feels like waking up to a brands nerd day with every little thing. Life is always exciting you.

  12. Sue says:

    Wow! I am 50 years old and just diagnosed myself with ADHD inattentive after seeing a pop-up ad while surfing the internet. It took about a month to get an appointment with a psychologist, so in the meantime i spent all my free time in researching this disorder. It was almost a relief to get the diagnosis as it explained so much about my life and how i relate to other people. I have always been a bit defiant, because i had little respect for many people and their views, but still felt intense pressure to fit into society. I often felt overwhelmed with the world at large, and felt a need to escape. I tried to kill myself when i was young, but I realized that was no answer. Unlike many people with ADHD, i excelled in academics. I was really the only part of my life where i got positive attention. Middle and high school itself were filled with torment for me. I never fit into the social circles and never understood why. I irritated most adults because inwas rude and forthright, and a few teachers sent me to the office because inwas such a smart-ass. Animals and nature were my saving grace. I became a veterinarian because caring for animals seemed to be a good match for me. Over the years, it seemed i had to “fake” my persona to be whatever the clients needed me to be , which has taken its toll on me over the years. Sometimes i am a bit resentful that people respect me now that i can offer them a service that they need, but not for my true self. I am seen as somewhat of a scatterbrain by people who know me, and i fit the perfect image of an absent-minded professor at work. The other doctors often look to me when a difficult surgery needs to be performed, and i have an almost intuitive sense of what might be wrong with a sick animal. Even so, i have become overwhelmed with the more mundane things of life – cooking dinner, cleaning house, paying bills, dinner parties. These things fill me with anxiety and i want to crawl into a deep, dark hole to escape. As i hit menopause, i began to unravel. Even more forgetful, i couldnt remember things at work that i had just done. I couldnt remember what i client had just told me. How embarrasing to have to ask the technician if i had listened to an animals heart, or ears, or which exam room i had just walked out of. I thought i was losing my mind. I felt such relief after speaking to a psychologist, who told me i certainly had ADHD, with comorbid depression and anxiety. I had also developed overwhelming guilt about my almost daily marijuana use, which had become almost unbearable. After 2 months on welbutrin, my whole outlook has changed. I am still scatterbrained and forgetful, but i dont beat myself up about it anymore. I can accept others better as well, because i dont take their behavior so personally. I can see other peoples behavior as their own and not react to it as emotionally. I feel that my conscious awareness of all around me has changed. I finally can accept being in the world, but not of the world. A huge light has gone off in my head, and i feel content for the first time in my life. I go back for my first recheck next week, and perhaps will begin meds to actually treat the ADHD, as the wellbutrin alone hasnt helped many of the the things i think are the ADHD in me. I now see all the positive things this “disorder” has enabled for me in my life, and am totally ok with not fitting in! I’m not sure how my life would have been different with an earlier diagnosis, perhaps its just unfolding in its own perfect way!

  13. Charlie H. says:

    Off meds I feel open. My thoughts, emotions and energy are constantly pouring out of me. I’m very energetic and I love it. I love random dancing and laughing and saying what’s on my mind and not being able to sit in one position for longer than a minute. I used to think that being this way was just being outgoing and bubbly but lately my girlfriend has been calling me crazy and to stop acting like that and that she likes me better on my meds which scares me and I’m starting to feel like I don’t fit in. Like I’m a child trapped in a man’s body. I’m 24 and I typically only take my meds at work. They make me antisocial and I feel trapped inside of myself. Yeah I’m focused and have the motivation to complete tasks and stick to a schedule but it just seems so boring..

  14. Dawn Shrader says:

    My son was diagnosed with ADD, not ADHD. He was on medication for a couple of years, but this last change in his dosage, which was almost double the amount, caused us both to weigh the effectiveness of the medication against the side effects noticed especially at the end of every day. Since I was a child, I have been trying to control my own random thoughts and inability to focus and did so without the help of medication. Together my son and I have made some lifestyle and dietary changes, and those seem to be working. I agree with the people on here that say that they don’t have any kind of hyperactivity at all, and, it is my understanding that the two (ADD & ADHD) are indeed different diagnosis. I’m not sure why ADHD medication is used to treat ADD. I have been trying to become a full-time teacher since I graduated from college 7.5 years ago, but have only been able to work one of those years as a teacher, and have been in a myriad of other education-related positions, just hoping that something comes my way one day. I mention this because I work in the schools and see children diagnosed with both and know that some children truly do need medication to help them, but also think that making many of the changes that are suggested on this website can also work to bring about calmness and focus without medication.
    I really enjoy reading the site. I find so much of the advice helpful. Moreover, I feel like the comments that everyone leaves are equally helpful. Thanks for your insight, honesty, and for sharing your thoughts everyone!

  15. DSBurton says:

    One day my husband laughed and said, “It’s like a bullet in a bank vault up there, isn’t it?” I had to laugh because he had summed up my brains activity in one sentence! This observation came about 25 years before I was actually diagnosed with ADHD (the how and why of that assessment is unimportant now) however, for me, the outcome has been a mixed blessing. On the positive side, I actually sat through a 2 hour test – had a diagnosis from a highly qualified examiner specializing in Adult Learning Disabilities- I had a 4 page detailed description of our 2 hour session with test results in terms I could digest at my own pace. On the downside, my family – particularly my parents ages 86 & 90 (who are, as an aside, well educated) believe that ADHD is a social behavioral issue which is primarily used as an excuse for people not stepping up, bucking up and assuming the task or responsibilities in front of them *thud* – this will continue to be my own shameful little secret.

  16. Amy production says:

    I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was a child. As a child, it was unmanageable and I was different and over hyper and dismissed from many, many of the activities that I wanted to do. My parents struggled to find outlets for me; spending thousands on behavioral therapy, and medicines, and doctors and trying to figure out how they can make this work for me. I hated the medicines and as I got old enough to make my own choices and decided to go off them. I saw it as a gift especially since I work in radio. As a production director I often am overloaded with work and each commercial is 30/60: so short, small, fast amounts of focusing on required which work perfect for me. As I changed careers. Or at least jobs, and stayed in the radio business I found that my other bosses wanted to know why I couldn’t turn it down. Last week when I emceed an event, although I was completely sober, I was accused of being intoxicated or inebriated. It almost cost me my job. Knowing that I have this, and have no control, (I have more control than I did when I was younger), I was sent into depression because I felt misunderstood. That I wasn’t in full control of my own life and that it started to show. I am now in my forties, and that I really had a good handle on it but now I’ve made an appointment to see if maybe I should go back on medicine. It’s been very difficult on my self-esteem, an exceptionally difficult with relationships. I am extremely over sensitive; emotionally and physically. Sometimes I just wish I could be normal.

  17. Andre says:

    *my brain thinks in action, like someone put a mini itunes player in my brain. I never thinking in words and everything is real.* when you say “Sad” I imagine a boy with a brunette short cut hair with bangs covering his eyes looking down as he sits down with tears dropping to the floor.

    So everything u say, story fiction, and music comes alive in me.

    Im female,25 yr old Nurse. I sing and love music… and sports… Photography… Hiking… Looking at and taking pictures of clouds… I LOVE JESUS THE MOST. And nursing.

    ADHD to me is a blessing after getting diagnosed at age 24. Before hand I had no idea so I used alcohol to self medicate my overactive brain which doesnt stop until today. I was on adderall 60mg for my dx of combined ADHD hyperactive and…what’s that word? … Inattentive. Today I choose to learn more about ADHD and Im not on meds because it felt like sandbags were placed on my arms, legs, and i became a zombie… No thanks

    Symptoms: as a child I played all the sports because I hyperfocused on athletics and at age of 12 i taught myself guitar and played for 3-5 hrs straight. Yes i forgot to eat and drink. and it was either that or jumping of walls and breaking thing in the house. My parents till this day don’t believe in mental health but its okay because I’m and adult and I went myself to get help.

    *reading an article about the US secretary and Obama ends up with Captain America fight scenes from the movie playing in my head… Then i snap back to reality and I “finished” reading the article but I realized I only really read the first 2 sentences.*

    Adulthood: I had trouble obviously sitting in class, some people didn’t want to sit beside me because of the noise. I had testing accomodations, but I didn’t like the quietness of the room plus it didnt matter because distractibity came from inside my brain anyway. I almost got probation from school because of behavioral outburts. My senior year I put all some of my energy into a support group I founded for Nursing students. Here they can debreif and destress so they don’t end up like i almost did. I created the curriculum, constitution for school clubs, made a video, got the dean to sign, recruited people all in 2 weeks.

    Andre is not my real name not because i want to be anonymous but because of future job prospects, i dont share my ADHD because of paper work.

  18. Peter Canfield says:

    Well every thing that people describes here sound quite about how I feel, this is my story eve since I was young I would I found it very hard to concentrate in school even though I passed it wasn’t doing well it was because I was in a push through system, as I got older I flunked out of the navy, went from job to job in fact I had more jobs than I had years of my life. I was told that I was unemployable. But when I would find some thing that I liked then look out my mind and body goes into overload and I work non-stop until the job is finished…and other times my mind is like a see of colors so much to see so many emotions swimming around that it sometimes makes me want to cry. yes I am not ashamed to say that I cry. When I read I can not concentrate nor focus. I even thought I would try blogging but I seem to loose interest because the challenge is not there for me. When I talk to people I tend to speak over them or when they talk with me I tend to zone out…I also read on a comment that some one has Hypersensitivity with noises, yes I also have these problems like the one post when I am in the woods by myself I hear every living creatures so to speak but in the real world I get bogged down. I have to take sleep aids at night and have drinks on top of it to shut my brain down even then it still races through the night and when I heal a little noise I wake up and can’t go back to sleep. However no matter how much time I have I get very sleepy at work and fight the zzzzz monsters because my job is boring. but this is the longest I held a job. I feel like a failure when I don’t complete projects. However when i play video games I can’t stop until I finish the games… I think it time to get tested for this I am 48 years old.

  19. James says:

    I don’t know what to think of my ADHD lol my minds blank right now. But something will come… But now I’m expecting it to come and just ranting on. Okay I’m just being an idiot now lol. with my ADHD I feel disconnected from everyone else.. Like I don’t belong with “normal” people. I find it hard to asorb information through speech and reading but find it easier to read and write rather then through speech. my friends say I’m the smartest dumbest person they’ve ever met and some friends have said that I’m smart but in my own way. I feel like I come across as stupid and don’t really see the times when they see the “smart” part of me. Anyway I think normal people are werid because they can’t be any different. And I’m unsure if this is my ADHD but I want to everything when I grow up and I give up easily because that target is pretty much impossible this might be because of low dopamine levels. I feel like I have a kinder heart and I think a million times before I say anything

  20. Sydney Cruz says:

    Excuse me for the swearing, ^^^^ Haha I have a lot of pent up aggression right now and it just feels so good to just vent about it with people who understand.

  21. Sydney Cruz says:

    It’s the struggle of knowing the source and solution to all the worlds problems but you can’t tell anyone because they will NEVER have the mind capacity ( or patience) to understand it.

    Knowing that when you will die, so do your thoughts, and every genius idea you ever had. You stored every one of these thoughts in a big, unorganized filing cabinet that is your brain. You knew it was easier to keep to yourself, because they were far too advanced for anyone else to understand.

    Being an internal Genius, making mental notes about human kind and the reason for everything , but being diagnosed with a “learning disorder” because people expect you to process twice as much information in the same amount of time.
    like “Sorry I forgot to mail that stupid check for you, I was too busy thinking about my purpose in the world and whether to not God exists.”

    The struggle of people asking you for Adderall (In College and High School)

    And they ALWAYS get mad at you when you say no. They don’t even realize that this is kind of illegal shit that makes it harder for people like me to get my meds. because lazy ass “normal people” need it to type a report in 5 hours. lawmakers research this shit like crazy in order to enforce new drug laws every year. Making me feel like a drug addict every time I have to get a damn refill.

    Asking someone with ADHD for their Adderal is like asking a handicapped person if you can borrow their wheel chair because your legs are kinda sore. And then adding that you can relate to them because you “Sometimes get cramps in my knees, so I know the struggle, man 🙂 ”

    Like fuck you, you WISH you could think like I do. Endure what I can, and be apart of an amazing community that understands each other like no one else. You weren’t born with our Super Power so get out of here boring ass “Normal person”. Hahaha

  22. Gabriela says:

    It’s hard for me to get ppl without add/add. Do their minds are blank sometimes? How can not an idea give birth to another one and not to follow it? Why do they speak so weirdly and just state what they want? It will save time and energy. Why do they spend time on useless tasks when they could be doing another thousand more interesting things?
    I really get frustrated when ppl do not get what I am talking about? I have to explain the same thing a million of times….I have ADD, to me I am a train a fast one, with a lot of rails to choose from, but my goal is to get to New York, and sometimes I end up in Canada or Mexico.
    Ppl tell me a lot, just go to bed and close your eyes….yeah but at that moment, I remember. I wanted to know how to say computer in French and th n I remember I haven’t read the chapter I was supposed to….and little things like that.

  23. Molly says:

    ADHD to me is always knowing I’m different, looking at the people around me since elementary school and realizing that my brain just doesn’t work the same way as most people I have known. I was actually relatively convinced/toying with the idea that I am on the autism spectrum because of my lifelong difficulty making friends, but reading my childhood psychiatric records recently made it pretty clear that with what I know through all my research comparing ADHD and Aspergers that it’s way more likely that that’s all it is, is ADHD.
    THATS ALL? really? see, ADD to me is coming up with the most outlandish ideas and explanations as to why something isn’t right, and therefore causing myself anxiety. Anxiety is my dominant state. It’s anxiety attacks from feeling overwhelmed with too many responsibilities. Racing thoughts that flit from one idea to the other. It’s not being able to “smoke (you know) and chill” like a “normal” early 20’s person because my brain starts going so fast that I feel insane, but on the contrary it’s being able to impress people I know by nonchalantly mentioning that I’ve taken psychedelics because my brain is so weird that I can function on them. ADHD is making five to-do lists every day and obsessing over how “organizational” they look, and by the end of the day having only accomplished one or two things listed. It sonetimes means being broke because I’ve never had too much luck with jobs (so far) and have gotten fired for not being able to learn quickly enough, careless mistakes etc. but mainly I think it was because supervisors tend to misunderstand me. It’s always feeling misunderstood.
    ADHD can be fun, but not really. It was way more fun when I was younger and more socially oblivious and didn’t care too much about what people thought. I have my fun, hyperactive moments still, but not without the dread of reminding myself to have fun now, get a point across, but don’t use up too much energy or I’ll be too tired later to do anything. For me it’s really just being tired all the time. Meds help but not much and actually can make me more tired…I am really unhealthy lately and have been getting sick a lot from the stress of college and finding a new job and assuming the worst. Summarized, ADHD for me has lead to extreme depression and anxiety my whole life, feeling uncertain about my position in society, feeling smart but not able to do anything with it, and feeling drained of energy.

  24. Monica says:

    Reading everyone’s input has been so nice, and I identify with so many of them. I am in a new phase of life where I am struggling again with my symptoms… so reading these helps me feel not alone. ADHD is like the dry light-weight snow that doesn’t stick to anything (so it’s hard to even make a snowman)… my thoughts are the snowflakes, and they might come together in some neat pattern or shape… and then someone breathes and sends all the snowflakes flying in all directions and I can’t remember what I was just thinking or trying to say. Before diagnosis, it was a cloud of depression… all my thoughts were so loud in my head and I felt so very different. I was silently screaming for help. Diagnosis and meds and psychotherapy brought relief. Freedom. Made me realize what a joy it is to be me. One quality I especially love is hyperfocus, which is like a magnifying glass… making the one important thing stand out, and everything else hide in the background. I can enjoy a movie, or time with a friend like no one else. ADHD became like a free-flowing river of thoughts and ideas and emotions that could now follow structure more easily. I learned to love my emotions too… crying and laughing became a normal way to express myself and I didn’t care what anyone thought. With psychotherapy, I was able to wean off the meds after 3 years… and successfully stay off for about 7. Now however, 9 months into being a mom of 2, wife, house duties, work, and other commitments… ADHd has become more like my daughter’s beaded necklaces… thoughts always getting tangled up… and taking the time to sit and untangle them and decide what is important… that task… is just exhausting, time-consuming, and it makes me want to anxiety-munch (something crunchy and sweet)… plus, I don’t have time for it!!! And there is certainly no time for hyperfocus either. I have held off because I know this is normal new-mom-of-2 stuff… but I also know my adhd is being exasperated, and I am feeling it… the anxiety munching is so irritating because I know it’s not really doing me one bit of good. I am slowly working to take things off my plate… even still… I am also thinking maybe it’s time to find a doc and revisit the idea of medicine…

  25. Nancy says:

    I was diagnosed with ADHD about 20 years ago. My first reaction was relief, I wasn’t bad or lazy or stupid. I have a lot of trouble with organization, which irritates many people. I’ve been told, just DO it, with the implication, stop making excuses. Now I am saying, if I could just do it, don’t you think I would have done it by now? I don’t like being treated like a bad person, so obviously just doing it isn’t an option for me because I don’t have the slightest notion of where to start. Also, I always struggled in school when I was young, dropped out of college, felt like a failure. I went back and finished my bachelor’s degree and went on and got a Masters degree and graduated with a 3.8 GPA. We ADHD people are NOT stupid, we are unfortunately surrounded by people who like to tell us we are. I get frustrated because I can’t do everything right (perfectly), so, who can? All those “normal” people?

  26. Matthew says:

    I was first diagnosed for/with ADHD at the age of 58. Was/have been working on childhood trauma issues for about a decade…

    You have NO IDEA! Well…yes you do…and I’m three days into not smoking…so mightily am I grasping how powerful a hold this has had on me for so many decades. The many jobs I’ve lost, the number of court martials/NJP’s I had in the Navy, the number of apartments I’ve been kicked out of, WOAH! Somehow, because of my childhood sexual trauma issues – there weren’t too many relationships either.

    NOW? Well…the symptoms are still around and will be for life. Now I understand…I am edgy…I cannot sit still for long unless I make a determined effort – or the topic is interesting enough to pay attention to…for a while…and my mind will wonder…

    And now – at 58 – looking back over my life…OMG! Should I even be alive?

  27. Tamar says:

    ADD can feel like everything is blurry and I am im some kind of dream state, with my mind weaving a thousands of thoughts and observations together associatively, and I feel like this is a Moment of Being, I should write it down, this is Truth, but it slips through my fingers. I like this state of mind.

    But often ADD feels like not being able to focus on my thoughts because my girlfriends’ hands are moving too much, or feeling pain in my ears when she puts down a cup of tea on the table too loudly. It feels like I am being pulled at from all sides out of my body, it feels like I don’t weigh anymore, as if I cannot weigh down into my body unless somebody puts ten thick blankets over me.

    It feels like I have to talk myself thoroughly through before being able to get up from the couch.

    It mainly feels like Tired All The Time. Exhausted, really.

    With meds it feels like the world suddenly is material again and I am in my body, and my thoughts don’t fly away from me, and it costs no effort to get up from the couch to do something. I like it.

  28. Nate says:

    I have always felt different from most people I have come in contact with, but every so often I meet someone I feel so effortlessly and unexplainably connected to. You know that slightly awkward yet extremely intimate scene in James Cameron’s “Avatar” when the “blue people” attach their “alien pony tails” together and immediately develope a deep mental and emotional connection? That’s how it feels for me when I connect with another ADHD super human. I was recently sharing a few beers with one of my super human friends and I noticed him repeatedly referring to non ADHD people, with a smug smile as always, as “normal people.” I have always held a rebellious attitude towards the concept of normality and the perception of being successful as being strictly related to each other. Sometimes when I talk to one of my more “normal” friends, I will get so bored of his one-dimensional and repeated phrases he considers a conversation, and almost completely tune his words out with my own thoughts, (without meaning to of coarse) thinking “How does he not realize I have no idea what he is saying right now? Is he insane? I guess I’ll just keep smiling and nodding and he will eventually finish up.”

  29. Maddoc says:

    Wow thank you all for sharing! So many stories I can relate to. Adhd to me is really hard to describe because it seems to present itself in so many forms. Like I seem to be thinking without actually thinking. I just keep on processing whilst my mind jumps from one thing to another, connecting patterns only I seem to get. Like my mind is on fire, and I get every solution to a problem instantaneously. Don’t get me wrong, I do get distracted… a lot! But even when I’m distracted or not listening, very often I will get something quicker than the others that were actually paying attention (once my focus returns). So I do often feel like I need to dumb myself down. On the other hand I lose interest in many things very quickly. I can jump head first into yet another new idea, but after a few days or weeks I will lose interest and my mind will look for something other to entertain itself with. This is making it very hard for me to build a career, because up to now, I haven’t once found a job I like or care about long enough to keep at it, and the jobs I do care about are for the same chaotic reasons impossible for me to obtain. So that is one downside.. But I don’t think about it too much, because my mind is already moving forward again :p . One other thing is that adhd is also difficult in relationships, because more than often my partner doesn’t understand my reasonings or intentions, which can lead to unsolvable discussions. But for the rest I don’t worry about adhd. I don’t take medication for it anymore, as they turned me into an emotionless zombie. But over the years I did create some sort of system to stay organized that works for me -using notes, a white board, self messages and calendar apps (by hyperfocussing on focussing you could say)- and it seems to work, as I have the impression that by now I’m actually the most reliable when it comes to timing or getting something done compared to my friends and family. To all of you with this “disorder” don’t let down, there is nothing wrong with you! You might be a little chaotic at times, but there are many many benefits to adhd. Therefor I think it shouldn’t be classified as a disorder. What is normal anyway?

  30. Nikki says:

    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. ☺️

  31. Rob nos says:

    Imagine being able to percieve the workings of the universe, but not having the words to express it!
    Imagine having the power to read peopes minds, but being unable to focus on what they are saying!
    Imagine seeing 10 answers to every question, but not knowing which one the questioner intended.
    Imagine having 100 ideas per day, but no motivation to carry them out.
    Imagine feeling superhuman, superior, great, but in the real world a waster, a bum, emotionally retarded!
    Imagine being an exceptionally caring, empathetic, altruistic, unconditional humanist – constantly terrified that a rending, wretched, debased beast will come out at any unguarded moment.
    I was once chatting to an old man I encountered in the street, he told me my name meant “he who weeps for the universe” Years later after learning about ADHD, and getting my diagnosis, I remembered his words, and I now understand there significance.
    Having ADHD is having the capacity to “weep for the universe” to be in tune with it, to hear its voice, to feel it – the pain comes from trying to express it in words, to share it with the non adhd, attentionally limited world!

  32. Mike says:

    I was diagnosed ADHD when i was about 16 or 17 but my parents knew from the day i could walk. I find it is a blessing and a curse. I think it’s really cool to see people that have the same thought on how sometimes our minds just work in a different way, faster not necessarily smarter, than others without ADHD. I think it is a big reason why i enjoy writing and music so much (when it’s music i like or writing on my own not forced to). I think it really helps to boost my creativity from the research i have done on it. In a way i am grateful for it (unless i can’t find my keys i put down somewhere five minutes earlier).

  33. Adam says:

    All of your comments wow thank you. I was just diagnosed with adhd 3 days ago. I’m 31 I wish I would have known sooner. To me it feels like my brain is a 5th dimension entity living in one dimension I have a really hard time relating to most people. Little things build up and I massively freak out and I have to spend the next day or so apologizing. Its so taxing on my energy levels. But other times I can look at multiple piles of parts, junk, and antique bits and make really cool stuff/art in my mind before even touching a thing. Hyper focus is like a laser beam of concentration when I’m interested but mostly like I’m in a cave and my flashlight batteries are dying

  34. Erin says:

    I have ADHD, and I find it difficult to be dishonest or to deal with other people’s dishonesty.

    I wish that people would stop trying to “be nice”, and would just tell me how they really feel. If they just told me, I could work on my behavior, but since they don’t I’m left struggling to figure out why they’re upset or what I did wrong.

    I don’t have the best social skills. I need explicit information. If you wait for me to figure things out myself, you’ll be waiting forever. Please, help me to help you.

    I refuse to play a guessing game to figure out why you’re upset. Just gently tell me what you’re upset about, or pull me aside and let me know what is bothering you.

    Also, I won’t embarrass you, if you don’t embarrass me. If you make me feel stupid, then I will go out of my way to make you feel stupid (and I am not the overly sensitive type, so this is for real). If you treat me with respect. I’ll treat you with respect.

    Finally, I am not broken, and I do not need to be fixed. There are tons of benefits to ADHD. I see the world in an entirely different way, and it is beautiful. You don’t need to pity me, I am doing just fine.

  35. Liam P says:

    2:20 am
    ADHD for me is feeling like you just watched the directors cut of a film with your friends when they only saw the theatrical version.
    it feels like being apart of a group conversation is like me sitting in a library with 20 books open at once while the rest read from the one book together,
    And I’m just rattling off quotes from each book, receiving puzzled faces in return until I find the one that fits the discussion correctly.

    Really enjoyed reading all of these. 😀

  36. Gina H says:

    OMG … ALL of your descriptions just gave me so much validation – Michelle N. – I like your filing cabinet analogy!! That’s spot on. For me – I feel like my brain is the wheel in Wheel of Fortune. I spin it and then it stops on a “thought” and I CONSCIOUSLY say to myself “Ok, this is what I got, this is what I’m going to focus on RIGHT NOW, until it’s done I figure it out”, and literally no more than 3 seconds later, I’m on to some other random thought, that has absolutely nothing to do with my 1st thought. And I feel like at that point, someone else is spinning the wheel – I have no control over it – whatsoever . I was just diagnosed a few months ago. And I just assumed everyone thought like I did. Where your brain just won’t – shut- down… EVER. It was always a running joke in my house like “You’re so ADD, get it together- hahaha” but until I really started to hear how other people with ADD thought/felt, I never really knew how debilitating it truly is! And I keep thinking back to these instances in my childhood, high school, college, et. al, where I felt like something was always off, but just could not put my finger on it. Like I couldn’t understand why, if I looked over my work 10 times, there were still at least 5 blatant errors, that I should’ve seen. WHY do I have read a page in a book 5 times before I actually “hear” what I’m reading (if that makes sense). I’m just so relieved to know I’m not crazy, stupid, lazy, and all of the other stigmas that go along with ADD. (Although, it is still a challenge getting some people to accept that it’s a REAL disorder, but that’ll be the next hurdle. Right now I just have to figure out the “new” me, before I can discuss/address it with anyone else).

  37. john says:

    ADHD, for me feels like being separate, at a distance, out of sync with others and the events around me while inside my head the endless shifting chaos continues to itch the inside of my skull.

    At 44, Dex. quietened the chaos initially (I sat still, maintained eye contact & listening to my wife talk for 2 hours). Now Ritalin helps me stay more focused, but still I feel disconnected. Only when I’m sailing do I feel connected. To the wind, boat and water. Lonely but not completely adrift.

    Perhaps its the fact that very little day to day detail converts to long term memory, even that which makes it as far as short term memory. This dis-continuity of personal narrative may be why I don’t feel capable of doing things (things that in fact I have done before, even recently).

  38. Michele N says:

    Mark and Linda’s descriptions resonate with me. Sometimes I explain thoughts are like trying to catch a bag of money thrown from a building on a windy day and tumbling over themselves in a hurry to get to the ground. I spend all my time running to catch them and put in a pile neatly, that I get nothing done at all.

    The other way I explain is like my brain is full of dozens and dozens of filing cabinets, with drawers all opened and files pulled out and scattered everywhere. I always see myself as sitting in the middle looking overwhelmed completely.

    To me, the ‘hyperactivity’ fits, as I definitely feel like I have a hyperactive brain that won’t shut up and when it does, then I go completely blank.

  39. Angela says:

    I feel much of the same way as Wendy and Alec–“hyperactive” is very misleading. There’s very little that is hyper about me. I’m “slow but steady wins the race” sort considering that I do my best when I take my time and that my best is often extraordinary. I don’t find that that “Ooh, something shiny!” stereotype fits my sort of distractedness, either. I, too, find myself noticing tons of stuff in my environment at once that others seem to filter out (like I seem to notice the music playing in restaurants throughout entire meals whereas others I’m eating with only notice the music after I point it out) and that stuff from my surroundings often causes me to start thinking about tangentially-related topics which seems to be how my distraction manifests. This seems to be huge contributor to that fogged-over feeling I experience when my treatment ddoesn’t seem to be working.

  40. Jennifer says:

    ADHD is a fine story line all mixed up. Do you ever remember putting a story in order? Ex: 1. Once upon a time. 2. There was a girl named Jen…….3,4,5…. all the way to 10. And she lived happily ever after. Well I find that a good analogy of living with ADHD. I am constantly trying to “re-order” my thoughts. Instead of my thoughts ordered correctly 1-10 they are jumbled. Before medication, I couldn’t communicate well. I would try to tell a story about my neighbor’s dog and end up on the kids biking or something. I felt anti-social. I felt stupid in front of people. Another analogy I have heard with ADHD impulse it is like “Ready. Fire. Aim.” Think about that a moment. Yet another issue to just blurt things out or do things no one else will do or say. I’m lucky i’ve never gotten punched out. And lastly the feeling that everyone else is slow or boring. Boredom in life, to me, causes depression. I feel even with meds, like I just NEED more stimulation than others.

  41. Lorraine Heunes says:

    All of your comments are very helpful. Thanks everyone. I was diagnosed with add last year and is still struggling to understand and know myself. One thing I want to share is the fact that I get frustrated with people when things are obvious to me but not for other people. I can not understand that others can not figure something out like me. I hope it sounds familiar. The other thing is I have the ability to do something very fast. I do struggle a lot to start doing something, but when I do start I finish it very quickly. My psychiatrist put me on methylfenidate but it seems that it is not working for me. It is as if it races my mind. I do want to go back to my psyc. For re evaluation. My concentration is bad and I can’t seem to remember much. I would love some feedback on my comment please

    • Hi Lorraine!! the frustration you describe sounds similar to what Nancy Ratey mentioned. Have you tried any of the Untapped Brilliance methods to help your ADHD Lorraine? Take Omega 3, exercise, eat an ADHD friendly diet? they are all very helpful and can be done alone or along side Meds.

  42. Scott McWilliams says:

    Alec Webster i like your assesment and i know how you feel

  43. Scott McWilliams says:

    It’s a wonderful gift in my book, especially since i was finally diagnosed officially and the doctor telling me i had probaly had it since childhood. And as a child i always new there was something different in me than the other kids. Most times it feels like my mind is a super computer that is running hundreds of task at once. I would not give up my ADHD it has made me feel more alive. If you learn to deal wiith the non ADHD people that say it’s all in your mind just get rid of it and learn to harness it’s power you can do wonderful thinggs. we are special not broken like some people say..

  44. Shelly M says:

    You’re constantly busy with ten tasks at a time. Yet no matter how busy you are. You accomplish nothing and your boss will moan anyway.

    This goes for home life too – trying to do housework you create more mess – come accoss something you was looking for and get stuck into that then ohhhhh I was supposed to be ready to go out at ten minutes ago ! Where did the time go.

    Get ready to go out then discover you can’t go as you can’t find your keys – your house looks a mess from getting ready – and Repeat. Everyday you fail to do domething even though you had good intentions. It’s a struggle. Constant fight.

  45. Thank KC, Wendy, Stephanie, Alec and Emily!! I love what you guys wrote!!!

  46. Emily says:

    It feels like waking up to the whole day ahead, and seeing a big wide arms-open field full of beautiful flowers, and walking through the field enjoying each one. And then…

  47. Alec Webster says:

    The H in ADHD, should be for Hypersensitivity and not Hyperactivity. It’s like seeing and hearing without the filters everyone else seems to have. I will notice every little sound every little motion in the world around me. It’s almost like having super human senses, but not being in control of them. Being completely alone in the woods is a joy, I see and hear all the things that “normal” people seem to miss. It makes the world very exiting when I have time to stop and simply soak it in, but in day today life, it can feel almost painfully overwhelming. We. You are forced to focus on one task, every noise, every visual stimulus, is like being poked by a needle. I would love to see what it feels like to live without it for a day….it must be so “quiet” and peaceful.

  48. Stephanie says:

    ADHD for me is a constant [over]flow of ideas without the follow-through to make them happen.
    It’s like a Thanksgiving turkey dinner: so much food, great stuff, but so exhausting that a nap is required to recover from it all.
    ADHD is a symphony without a director…but with meds, it’s as if the director returns.
    ADHD is thinking/feeling/seeing everything…at once…right now, but not being able to explain a single thing.

  49. wendy says:

    i wish that add was not called adhd as our brains are not hyperactive. we don’t fit in with adhd groups. our brains go on overload when it comes to multi-tasking, so we have attention deficit. we are better if we do one thing at a time we do things more slowly, but we have a higher accuracy rate. we can hyper focus. when, music stimulates our brains we dance really fast. unfortunately this is still considered to be a grey area. it doesn’t have to be so grey!

  50. kc says:

    Linda, I feel very similar to you. Both on & off meds. I experience a lot of guilt & anxieties which has led to additional diagnosis. This aspect makes it more difficult to cope as medications can alter this for good & bad and can be effective one day but not the next. also what coping strategy I use depends on if I think its adhd/anxiety/depression symptom. I find it challenging also communicating w/ others w/ adhd as our symptoms & experiences present differently.

    I often describe it as my brain is like CNN. Hundreds of images per minute and there is still that bottom line repetitive news feed.

    I also describe it as a beautiful orchestra who all have different music #forgotmeds

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