Since I’ve become more vocal about my own ADHD I’ve discovered that people really don’t understand it.

It’s not this:

…thought a short attention span and distractability are symptoms.

or this:

…Poor impulse control
(Although occasionally I say, “Book. Book. Book.”, cry, “I’m an albatross!” and sing, “I’m flap flap flapping my albatross wings.”)

It’s more like this:


(Spinning around blindfolded and then trying to pin the tail on the donkey. Getting disoriented. I know that poor Ralph isn’t spinning in this scenario but I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to include him, and the concept is there.)

It feels like this:

Brain Out of order

It’s very much this…

For me, at least. It’s why I prefer guided meditations over silent ones. My mind wanders less if I have a voice to focus on. “Monkey monkey underpants”, indeed.

Let’s try this again…

It is not any of these things:

  • laziness
  • a lack of trying
  • a lack of wanting to do better
  • satisfaction with mediocrity
  • neediness
  • indifference
  • imagined
  • an excuse
  • ignoring on purpose
  • poor parenting
  • poor life choices
  • being inconsiderate. If we’re late or don’t call, it has nothing to do with you.

It’s also neither blessing nor curse. I like to think of mine as a gift, but often it’s a gift that I would prefer not to have. It’s what you make of it, not what anyone else tells you it is.

It’s not a lot of things.

It is…

…a neurological disorder. Neuroimaging studies have shown structural alterations in several brain regions in children and adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Here’s a study published in medical journal The Lancet earlier this year.

….lower levels of dopamine.

…a difference in the temporal lobe at the front of the brain.

One study concluded that the size of the brain of a child with ADD was 3% smaller than the size of the brain of a child without it.

33% of kids with ADD never finish high school, so they end up in jobs that don’t pay well. That is if they can keep a job. Adults with ADD are more likely to get fired more frequently and experience unemployment.

Ideally, when we concentrate, blood flow should increase in the brain, especially in the prefrontal cortex; this increased activity allows us to focus, stay on task and think ahead. In the brains of most people with ADD, blood flow goes down when they concentrate, making it harder to stay focused. In other words, the harder they try, the harder it gets!

Some personal anecdotes:

  • Sometimes I get headaches from focusing too hard.
  • It takes me longer to catch on to easy things.
  • I crave routine.
  • Change can be overwhelming and the idea of change can be even worse. Not to say that I’m inflexible or can’t be spontaneous, but I get used to things.
  • If I don’t have notes in front of me to use as a reference, I’m screwed. Except for tests, though I always did better on reports and essays.
  • I like playing games such as Whack-a-Mole or video games that require clicking on fast-moving objects/hand-eye coordination because I like the focus required.