What’s is like to have ADHD?

ADHD is an attention disorder. Which means that there is an extremely low threshold for stimulation. The mind does not filter extraneous stimulation.

This has pros and cons.

Imagine, you have something important to do. That something generates a palpable feeling of stimulation. It pokes you. It guides your attention. Your thoughts are oriented toward it. It is a priority in your cognitive processing.

Imagine you are going about your day, and suddenly there is an extraneous, insignificant piece of stimulation that generates the same exact palpable feeling.

Imagine you are working to accomplish this important thing. Maybe a report. Maybe a project. You are sitting at your desk. You pause to think and gaze into space deep in thought.

Suddenly, you notice a piece of dust floating through the air. It stimulates you with equal intensity as the very important task at hand.

Now you are engaged with the floating dust. You notice more dust floating through a beam of light.

Now you notice the beam of light, and it stimulates your attention. You trace it’s origins to the sun outside the window.

You perceive dead flies on the widow sill. That’s odd. Now your mind is filled with flies. You walk over to brush them into the trash.

You notice the blue sky and lush trees swaying in the breeze. This hijacks your senses. You decide to open the window to get some fresh air. You unlock the window, slide it open, and fiddle and jiggle up and down to try and delicately balance it from sliding shut. The window won’t stay open however. You’ll need to find something to hold it open. You walk to the desk but find nothing. You’ll need to head to the garage.

You walk to the garage to look for a block to hold open the window. You sift through boxes. Finding anything in this mess is impossible. It’d be better if this was organized.

I’ll organize real quick.

So you sit down and organize.


Hours pass. Finally the flies are gone, the window is open, and you’re breathing fresh air.

You then turn and see your desk, your laptop, your project.


You get back to work.

Repeat this more or less all the time.

This distraction gets more or less complex depending on your focus.

You can get bogged down in minute details related to the task at hand, or completely irrelevant details that have nothing to do with anything

It can be extremely frustrating, but coping mechanisms help. (Reviewing coping mechanisms is another blog post, perhaps a whole book)

Drudgery isn’t problematic if the task at hand manages to consume every aspect of your being and imagination. (Coping mechanisms facilitate this total engagement of attention, which allays distractions)

I’d say the lack of “persistence” of thoughts, or “inertia” of thoughts is apart this whole ADHD thing. (This is measured as Executive Functioning and Working Memory within IQ scores.)

They come and go too fast, even if you want them to stay .

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