Not long ago, a friend of mine published an important post on Facebook.
The subject isn’t new, but it’s important. And after reading it, I understand what it’s like to live with ADHD or ADD a little better.
I’m just like you but also quite different.
I feel the same feelings, experience the same things. Only a little more. When I’m happy, I’m overjoyed. When I’m angry, I’m furious. When I’m sad, I’m heartbroken.
When someone hurts me, it feels like the whole world is sinking. When I get a hug, I immediately become right again no matter how bad it was just was.
I take everything personally. Everything that happens seems directed at me. And because my brain lacks a filter, everything has to come out, usually through my mouth. I might sound angry. You might think I’m exaggerating.
But since I lack the filter that you have, things that happen to me are very big. I don’t get the chance to sort through my thoughts and clear away the bad ones. That’s not realistic.
I’m not a bad listener, but sometimes I find it hard to concentrate. Water dripping from the tap, a car driving by, a couple on a bench—everything that you filter out, goes into this head of mine. I see your lips moving, but sometimes—I’m sorry—I can’t manage to hear what you’re saying, even though I really try.
I don’t do it to ignore you, but because there’s so much else to listen to. And when we’re in a completely quiet room, I listen to the silence mixed with the thoughts in my head. Because there, it’s never quiet.
Sometimes, you get tired of me because I ask you about one thing and then almost immediately ask the same question again.
No, I’m not stupid, slow, or stupid. It’s just that the answer you gave me got lost among all the other thoughts in my head. So I just need to ask again.
And maybe it just takes one more time for it to stick. For me to remember.
Lying on the couch for a whole evening and watching movies rarely works for me. After a while, it starts creeping into my body. I lose my concentration and look at everything else except what’s happening on the TV screen.
Then it’s my body telling you that I need a little variety. My patience has run out, as good as I thought that movie was. Give my tired brain a 10-minute break so we can continue the process. My head doesn’t have the ability to process impressions and tires quickly.
Do you get mad at my everlasting fidgeting with phones, sheets, clothing, and everything else that I get between my fingers? It’s just my way of spending some energy to keep the focus on you.
Occasionally, you might feel like I don’t understand you and your feelings. But I understand so much more than I can put into words.
Because when strong feelings are circulating, my brain becomes controlled by them and no words can pass through my lips. I’ve been busy trying to keep track of my body so it doesn’t perform unwanted actions against myself or others.
Do I throw things everywhere? Chaos is my way of keeping order. Because there’s chaos in my head, it’s the place I feel safe. It’s when I feel I have control.
Did I surprise you by how I can be pissed in one moment and happy in the next? Don’t try to get it. My mood is controlled entirely by feelings, which get the upper hand. And they can change quickly. My brain is in constant motion. Sometimes I don’t have time to think.
Do I often end up in conflict with others? It’s just that I hate injustice and refuse to watch while other people get into trouble.
Meddling is my specialty. I don’t do it to be annoying, but because I lack the fear mechanism that most people have. I miss the consequences of thinking it through and it often puts me in dangerous situations trying to save the people I like or feel compassion for.
You might think I’m an expert at embarrassing myself. You see, I don’t see being loud, jumping in puddles, or laughing out loud as embarrassing. I do whatever comes to mind. Whatever I feel in the moment. I don’t have time to think about what other people think about me. There are so many other distractions.
I don’t understand instructions as quickly as you do. Someone might have explained the same thing to me 10 times, but I’ve got a block. Then, someone else explains it and suddenly, I understand it. Because for me, it’s not what you say but how you say it.
Tired of me losing my keys every time we’re going somewhere and always finding them in my jacket pocket when we get home?
It’s just something you should get used to. My brain is so busy processing my surroundings that it doesn’t have time to remember where things end up. I put them away without thinking about it.
ADHD/ADD is intense. We know more. We hate more. We mourn more.
But we also love more. Because when we love someone, we do it not only with our heart but with our whole body.
When you feel like you can’t be bothered to be understanding any longer, go out. Take a break. Take a break from us; we can be quite stressful to be around. There’s always something happening when we’re around. We’re in constant motion. And we’re not only intense but hyperactive.
We’re also intelligent and creative. We just have a different way to think about, because we lack the filter. We have to survive, so we’ve created our own little way of being and acting.
There you have to let us. And give us the opportunity, the chance to be exactly who we are. Let us take advantage of everything positive that our disability entails. You’ll see how much we have to give you. You’ll understand. And be proud that you’re tagging along on our trip and you’ll discover the world from our perspective.
This post was written by Nadia Salwin. You can find her blog here. Well done, Nadia!
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