A lot of people make a lot of assumptions about ADHD, and most people assume that they know what it is (and how it operates) by observing people who have it. But seen through the eyes of someone without it, the behavior of someone with ADHD doesn’t tell you much. That’s because all the important stuff is happening in their brain.
Though it’s on a site that seems to be mostly filled with stupid click-magnet garbage, I liked this article, intended to explain what it’s like to have ADHD to someone who doesn’t understand it. An excerpt:
We rely heavily on routine, and 90% of the time get by on autopilot. You can’t get distracted from a sufficiently ingrained habit, no matter what useless crap is going on inside your head… unless someone goes and actually disrupts your routine. I’ve actually been distracted out of taking my lunch to work, on several occasions, by my wife reminding me to take my lunch to work. What the? Who? Oh, yeah, will do. Where was I? um… briefcase! Got it. Now keys.. okay, see you honey!
Twenty years’ worth of sustained Internet use has left me with a head full of random trivia and a profound inability to concentrate. Every time I sit down in front of my computer to write a post, I end up browsing the IMDb page for the movie Cool Runnings or the career stats for underrated outfielder Ryan Spilborghs. I’m just as distractible when my computer isn’t connected to the Internet: I’ve wasted weeks of my life playing this stupid baseball simulation game that I downloaded years ago and can’t bring myself to delete.
- Justin Peters, “I Write All My Blog Posts Out Longhand, and You Should Too”
Ok, maybe Justin’s problem is “[t]wenty years’ worth of sustained Internet use,” but that kind of internet distraction sounds awful symptomatic of adult ADHD.
I’m not a doctor. I’m just saying…
According to Zentall, an activity that uses a sense other than that required for the primary task — listening to music while reading a social studies textbook — can enhance performance in children with ADHD. Doing two things at once, she found, focuses the brain on the primary task.
Know that it is OK to do two things at once: carry on a conversation and knit, or take a shower and do your best thinking, or jog and plan a business meeting. Often people with ADD need to be doing several things at once in order to get anything done at all.