10 things only people living with ADHD will understand

Living with ADHD is hard enough, but trying to explain the condition to people who do not have it is even worse… Here are some things that only other people with ADHD will understand:

adhd definition

100% commitment to the cause – any cause!

People living with ADHD are prone to deep (and sometimes sudden) commitments to any number of causes. But there is not enough time in the day to fulfill all your desires and you can become frustrated that you cannot do everything that you want to, no matter what the passion is for: charitable works, animal welfare, or a hobby like knitting or drawing.

So many fascinating side tracks…

Do you have 30 tabs open on your internet browser, 15 (or so) projects on the go, and plans for another five or six jotted down somewhere? ADHD brains are fascinated by everything, and want to do everything – now!

Starting new projects is exciting and easy – and leads to side tracks down which new projects and ideas can be found! Finishing these projects is another story!

Can’t get organized

All the tips on how to deal with ADHD say that getting organized is best. Write a list, the self-help guides say, to get everything in shape. Great, you write a list – or… rather, you write half a list, get distracted, and forget what you are doing.

And lose the list… if this sounds familiar, you are not alone! Many people living with ADHD find it hard to get and remain organized.

Superb technicolor daydreams

Most people can enjoy a daydream while keeping half an ear on whatever the teacher (or boss) is saying – but ADHD minds devote their entire brainpower to the reverie, meaning that daydreams are fully immersive and detailed.

They are hard to escape from when your attention is called for!

Catching Zs

ADHD minds do not want to switch off – all that passion and commitment is a 24/7 feature. This means that insomnia is a feature well-known to many ADHD sufferers.

When well-meaning people say, ‘Just clear your mind and relax,’ people with ADHD roll their eyes in exasperation – if it was that easy, a good night’s sleep would be the top of everyone’s list!

The tunnel of focus

Sometimes a new passion will seize your attention, and everything else fades into the background – family, friends, even the need to eat or pee are ignored while you’re in the grip of your new fascination.

Teachers and parents can become frustrated, not understanding that while you struggle to attend to class or other conversations, these passions are all-consuming and not just ‘an interest’.

You may even lose track of the time because you are focusing so hard on learning everything you can about your new fixation.

‘Just calm down’

Living with ADHD means that meltdowns are a part of life. The judgment of others – even those who do not say anything – is hard to deal with.

It is impossible to explain the overwhelming emotions that have caused the meltdown, particularly while it is still happening. And people saying, ‘Just calm down,’ do not realize that this is so much easier said than done.

Emotional highs and lows

All emotions with ADHD are magnified and enhanced, so that good days are wonderful, superb, the best ever, and bad days can be suicidally miserable. Only other people with ADHD can understand the extremes of emotion you feel – and how quickly a good day can turn into a bad one.

You have no chill

Do people call you impatient? Probably. One feature of ADHD is that you always want to be up and doing something, and you can’t stand sitting and waiting. Having no chill is one of the more misunderstood features of living with ADHD.

You need a routine

When you talk about needing a routine, people without ADHD nod and agree – but they do not realize that you can go off the rails without being tied to a known schedule – forgetting to bath, eat regularly and go to bed in time to get enough sleep to be able to cope with work or school the next day.


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