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How ADHD Impacts My Life

by Ryan T

I’m going to tell you how ADHD has impacted my life. I could talk for hours about this topic, yet when I ask my brain to write on it… I draw a blank.

Sound familiar? 

I suspect ADHD has greatly impacted my life prior to my diagnosis, but we won’t go down that rabbit hole here. Rather, we’ll focus on the here and now. I could ramble 10,000 words on this topic, easily. Instead I’ve fought the good fight to keep it around 2,000. Generally, when writing, I’m somewhere in between maintaining hyper focus and having twelve other ideas by the end of the first paragraph. However, there’s always the possibility that the words will flow like water, easily written. Let’s pretend this was one of those times so I don’t go into a meandering story which will surely illustrate my ADHD and put you, my dear reader, to sleep.

What my ADHD looks like to me.

One of the most infuriating manifestations of my own ADHD is that I’ll have an idea, or the rough framework of an idea, I’ll just be starting to really flesh it out and then it will just slip away. Poof. I have completely forgotten the idea. 

Now, this doesn’t always happen. But more often than not, it does. Certainly more often than a neurotypical brain. In one hour I could circle in and out of a room six times – each time forgetting the thing I went into the room for. 

If you feel like this is you too, and happen to live in a multi-story dwelling, here’s what works for me. I leave stuff ALL over the place. Say goodbye to being scatter-brained, and say hello to getting your steps in! But don’t actually say goodbye to being scatter-brained, because I promise that’s not going anywhere. 

I’ve been told there are people who can focus their thoughts seemingly at will. What does that even mean? Being that I’ve never experienced this, I won’t lie, I’m deeply envious. A focused mind is largely a quiet mind, and if anything describes ADHD most accurately, it is N O I S E.

For me, ADHD is like a mental tinnitus. It’s white noise that fills in every last corner of my mind most of the time. But it’s also got the same quality to it as when you vacuum and you hit a pocket of sand. So, so good, right?

But then it’s like a complete and total lack of sound. It’s a perfect and all-consuming silence that drives out anything that could pass for a coherent thought. From the outside, it looks like I’m just drifting off, blissfully unaware of the world around me. If a dissociative state strikes, which I call “quantum leaps”, I’ll completely zone out and have an out of body experience, totally unaware of what’s happened for the last minute or several minutes. The snap back to awareness is generally the only way I know it happened in the first place. I’m not sure if that’s irony, but it is a little funny to me. This is a documented symptom of some types of ADHD. (Need reference) Out of necessity, I’ve learned to roll with these ADHD moments. 

Thankfully, for me, ADHD tends to favor a fast brain. Or maybe it builds a brain fast? I’m not a medical professional, so these are just my speculations. 

Coming to terms with my diagnosis

Over the last ten years I’ve grown increasingly open about my own mental health. At times, perhaps I’ve been too candid. We ADHD people are known to overshare, after all. But it’s more than that for me– the more I talk about my mental health, the better I come to understand it, and the better I can manage my entire life.

In the past, I don’t remember people openly discussing their anxiety or depression. At least, not in a forum more public than late night conversations with friends. That’s not to say I wish people would gush unceasingly about every detail of their headspace. Howeve,r if we were all a little more open about our mental health, I don’t think nearly as many people would be feeling so isolated during this pandemic. 

Isolation only serves the darkest parts of mental health. It snakes into those hairline fractures left in the wake of a panic attack, and it eats away at our health. Wash, rinse, repeat, dear reader, over and over and over again. 

Isolation only creates more isolation, after all. The only way I’ve found to push back against it is to find people who understand.

How to push back against isolation

So how do you push back against isolation? What works for me is talking.

First, find your people. Seek out groups of other people with ADHD. You could join our community. Then you just need to start talking about your experiences. One thing I’ve learned is people aren’t simply willing to talk about their headspace, they’re oftentimes starved for the subject. A lot of the time, it’s tough to find the words to start. It’s even harder to stop once you do. 

So how about it? Let’s get talking. 

Tell me if my thoughts struck a chord with you and let’s start the conversation!

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