Lucy, The Shining One

Embrace The Glorious Mess

ADHD is about having broken filters on your perception.

Neurotypical people have a sort of mental secretary that takes the 99% of irrelevant crap that crosses their mind, and simply deletes it before they become consciously aware of it. As such, their mental workspace is like a huge clean whiteboard, ready to hold and organize useful information.

I… don’t. Every single thing that comes in the front door gets written directly on the whiteboard in bold, underlined red letters, no matter what it is, and no matter what has to be erased in order for it to fit.
I also have the problem of never being sure what sensory input I’m receiving is actually real vs what’s a hallucination, I have no control over something imaginary wiping out something that’s real.

This happens every single waking moment, and I have to manually examine each thought, check for relevance, and try desperately to remember what the thing was I was doing before it came along. Usually I forget, and if I’m not completely distracted by the shiny new thing, I’m stuck in the middle of a desert trying to guess what the hell I was doing from the clues available – hopefully without getting distracted by a completely different set of stimuli

I’m pretty good at working out the context of random remarks, as I’m effectively doing that all the time anyway.

I rely heavily on routine – which I’ve talked about before – and 90% of the time get by on autopilot. I can’t get distracted from a sufficiently ingrained habit, from muscle memory, no matter what useless crap is going on inside my head… unless someone goes and actually disrupts my routine. I’ve actually been distracted out of taking my medication, on several occasions, by Sarah reminding me to take my medication.

That’s why the internet is like crack – it’s this non-stop influx of constantly-new things, so I can flick from one to the next after only seconds, and a single click of a button. It’s why I stayed away from it for so long. I didn’t trust myself not to get sucked in.

The exception to this is a thing called hyper focus. Occasionally, when something just clicks with me, I can get ridiculously deeply drawn into it, and NOTHING can distract me. I can lose hours in the blink of an eye.
Somedays, this can actually be a good thing. Mostly, it’s a negative.

Medication takes the edge off. It reduces the input, it tones down the fluster, it makes it easier to ignore trivial stuff (and, sometimes the important stuff too), and it increases the lengt of my concentration. Caffeine helps me calm down too, helps me focus but the come down is brutal. Energy drinks have been known to put me to sleep.

There was a sentence here that started with “I don’t…” but my phone beeped and the I don’t has become I don’t know what I was actually going to say next. Or how I was going to finish this post. But apparently S is cold.

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6 Comments

  1. I ❤ this. Your description of the internet is just like me and is exactly the reason I stay away from video games. I would like to play video games. They look like fun. But I know myself too well, and I know that once I started down that path, I would never, ever emerge from video games. I have too many things like that in my life already. Like the internet.

    And your description of having to manually examine every thought–yes! I try to explain this to people and they don't get it. I get flustered sooo easily. For example–if I have multiple windows open on my computer. I will click over to one thing and instantly forget what I went there for. Then I sit for like two minutes and try to remember what I was doing. I click somewhere else and I've forgotten again. Meanwhile, a million things are happening outside of my computer–that sound in the other room. That movie on the TV. Someone walking around in the kitchen. And I just want to scream sometimes because I'm so frustrated with myself.

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  2. “Occasionally, when something just clicks with me, I can get ridiculously deeply drawn into it, and NOTHING can distract me. I can lose hours in the blink of an eye.” -> That’s me with books. Once I start reading, I’m lost to the world – people can talk to me and I won’t even hear them! I am neurotypical though, so in my case I just get called ignorant.

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  3. I am just starting to understand what living with ADHD is like. Thanks to candid posts like this I can understand and appreciate my friend more.

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  4. I was diagnosed with ADHD, and I can believe you when you say it’s crazy to live with, though along with it, I have Bipolar Disorder and PTSD or anxiety disorder, whichever psychiatrist I’m talking to. I understand it a bit better with learning how others struggle and deal with it.

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    • I also have schizoaffective disorder so yeah, the mood swings combined are definitely… fun. And because of my hallucinations, I never know if the things that catch my attention are real or not. It really sucks being distracted from something actually real and important by something that gets me manic and excitable that isn’t real 😦

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  5. I can relate to this so much. Trying to process a number of things, to validate if they are real or imagined is very difficult. I can at the moment I am mostly able to handle it, but sometimes it gets complicated.

    If you ever want to reach out and have something to email about it, I am happy to chat.

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