How has ADHD/ADD effected your lives, both positively and negatively??

I am very severely ADD. As a child I was seemingly experiencing a different reality to everyone else, missed great chunks of conversations, could never concentrate in school and my listening and reading retention of information was seriously impaired. On the other hand when the learning experience was visual and experientially hands-on, I seemed to display exceptional creativity of thought and analytical capacity. I was considered retarded by my family but certain amazing teachers salvaged a certain sense of self-worth by acknowledging my "exceptional creativity" in self-expression and art. I have learned that in order to bypass the limitations of my ADD I am in need of exceptionally high motivation in order to learn something new and this actually assists me in my ability to identify how to help my learning challenged students to succeed, I seek out their passions and integrate them into the learning process

Lacking retention from reading means that I have a very limited vocabulary, convoluted thinking and often switch focus in a conversation and interrupt. My son has ADHD of the most debilitating form, but he is a musical genius, built his own brilliant wooden house in the wilds and is an exceptionally talented and sensitive Osteopath and practitioner of Chinese Medicine. We both get on exceptionally well in social interaction which helps. My son's impulsivity and compulsive/obsessive behaviour means that this constant running around in virtual circles, and acting before thinking has resulted in much serious trouble throughout his lifetime, as with myself also.

Please share with us how living with ADD/ADHD is for you.



  • I can relate to a lot of what you have said.
    I have bad ADD also.

  • IsabellaIsabella Citizen
    edited October 2020

    Thanks for sharing that info, Teach.

    I was just diagnosed with Combined-Type ADHD this year. I'm more predominantly ADD (off the charts), but I also have the Hyperactive type.

    Growing up I had no idea that I had either one. I just thought I was a daydreamer and I lived in my head all the time. People called me spacy and stunned. I was a loner living in a dream world most of the time in my play fort, first married to Elton John and then Eddie Van Halen and Ozzy Osbourne. My grades in Primary were excellent because of Hyperlexia but all my school reports say that I was off-task and I had poor listening skills. I did go to speech therapy but didn't get any help re: paying attention. As I got older with rotary teachers and more autonomy, I didn't have the executive function to keep up with the juggling act. My grades went from super low (12%) to super high (98%) in the same subjects depending on the year, the teacher, and method of instruction. I skipped a lot of classes and failed some subjects in high school because I would hide in the library due to my Autism and not wanting to be around others, or having sensory issues (other students with perfume, noise, etc). University was OK because I was allowed to focus on Literature, Philosophy, and Art History. I lived in the library and was a reclusive hermit, allowing my special interests and hyper-focus to take over.

    My hyper qualities don't manifest in physical activity. I was never one to run around in circles or appear overly busy, but my mind is always hyper-alert and on overdrive. That counts as hyperactivity, especially when combined with all my BFRB and my stims. My mind literally doesn't stop. Even in my dreams I read books and write papers, poetry, or posts. I can't hold a thought to its conclusion. I think in spirals and everything triggers a connection or association to something else. Synaesthesia also comes into play here because I see words and numbers in colour. It sounds fun, but it can easily lead me off track or cause an emotional reaction that isn't necessary otherwise. Then I get even more off task. Synaesthesia adds one more layer of arousal to my already-busy mind.

    It's very hard for me to stay on topic in a written paragraph or even in my thoughts. I don't even try to make decisions because I don't have a linear thought process in order to evaluate a topic from start to end. I end up being impulsive and just reacting to options or situations as they occur. Now that I also have CPTSD this can be problematic because I can be triggered, and react viscerally rather than thinking through the issue or implementing my therapeutic strategies. My executive function is shameful. Seeing anything through from start to end is very difficult. I have surges of interest to start certain things, but they seldom get finished. I'm scattered and disorganised despite having so much stress and a need to juggle many responsibilities in my former career, being a homeowner, and being a single mum.

    Anywayyyyyy --- lol ---- I was just diagnosed combined-type this year. They looked at all my school reports from age 5 to the end of University, which I had actually kept, and my evaluations from work as well. I did 20 hours of psychometric testing with a Neuropsychiatrist and Neuropsychologist. I'm on amphetamine stimulants, in conjunction with my antidepressant. I feel like the ADHD meds haven't done much, but if I miss a dose I certainly see the difference. Yesterday for example I forgot to take it. It took me 2.5 hours to scan a piece of paper to Magna even though the scanner was right in front of me. I just couldn't put my thoughts into action to get the task done.

    So there's my longwinded answer. TLDR is fine -- I'm just venting. :)

    How has it been positive? I suppose because of my hyper-focus and my introversion. It allowed me to become a deep thinker and very compassionate person. It got me through University into a lucrative professional career which eventually enabled me to own houses, be self-sufficient, get long-term disability payments, and a pension. I couldn't have managed as a single parent without that income or financial security.

  • Save_FerrisSave_Ferris Citizen, Member

    Apart from being ignorant what is it called when you are doing something ( like posting on a forum ) and someone tries to talk to you and all you want to do is them to shut up as you are in your own world and don't want to leave it.

  • Autism.

  • IsabellaIsabella Citizen
    edited October 2020

    I seldom want anyone around me, talking or being in my space. I can't stand television or radio or human interaction most of the time. Just let me be in my silent, sensory-controlled bubble and leave me the heck alone. I wasn't being facetious about Autism, but I think that's what it is most of the time. It's easy to forget that "Aut" means "alone" or solo. We are designed to be solo and chances are you get triggered when sensory input (someone talking) or emotional demands (interruption), get in the way. I'm the same.

  • Save_FerrisSave_Ferris Citizen, Member

    Maybe I don't have ADHD then and it's just not recognising autistic traits

  • You almost certainly have ADHD in my opinion, but I'd label the specific example above as being from Autism. You don't get time alone, especially during lockdown, and you're likely on the brink of losing it. I know I would. I'm no expert so don't dismiss the idea of ADHD. Your reaction could easily be from hyperfocus or inattention -- both common in ADHD.

  • I don't have AD(H)D and still hate to be interrupted when I'm focusing on something.

    I would die without alone time, it was really rough when the kids were small. We took turns so each of us gets a break once in a while.

  • Save_FerrisSave_Ferris Citizen, Member

    It's a battle between my GF needing to be social and me being anti-social

  • Sorry you're having a rough time Ferr. Lockdown must be exceptionally hard.

    Social people seem to get endorphins from other people.
    I make my own endorphins when I'm alone.

  • Save_FerrisSave_Ferris Citizen, Member

    rough time is the status quo for us isn't it ?

  • IsabellaIsabella Citizen
    edited October 2020

    :( Sometimes yes, sometimes it just makes us great people with a resilient spirit and a will to overcome adversity. Or something like that. So they say. I think. Perhaps.

  • AmityAmity Administrator, Citizen

    Before I recognised that I had autism I related strongly to ADHD type 2, but with impulsivity. It didn't describe the whole picture, like the social blindness or the communication challenges. ADHD is in my wider family.

  • I can relate to that too. Nothing ever seems to fit the full picture, does it? Autism has sensory issues, stims, nonverbal challenges, repetitive behaviours, and social concerns. It's so hard to compartmentalise any of it, which I think I try to do too often. I am who I am and I don't think any amount of counselling or meds will change that.

  • AmityAmity Administrator, Citizen

    Lol, nor should it eh! If you existed without being true to the real you for years, you know, conforming and what not, then existing as you really are is essential now.

    I want the space to just be, to exist as I am, living with someone else on the spectrum makes my home life so much easier, he gets it, no words needed.
    Without that space I wouldnt be well, I do more than enough masking in work, but ya gotta pay dem bills.
    Sorry gone off topic

  • I didn't know that Verity was on the spectrum! Very cool.

    Yes, space should just be. This space too. Thank you both so much for creating it.

  • Save_FerrisSave_Ferris Citizen, Member

    A bit presumptuous of me but I presumed Verity was on the spectrum from the few pm's we shared.

  • I have difficulty, great difficulty, watching the news, etc, because of my ADD.
    I Sheldon watch anything without being distracted.
    It helps me concentrate if I close my eyes, though.

    A comment grabs my attention, and off I go.
    It doesn't help that I am very slow at assimilating new information.
    It is usually the case I find it difficult to keep up with what is being said.

    How about that.
    I stayed on topic, for a change. B)

    Need more emojis. :|

  • If you type a colon : you will see another little list of emojis.
    They seem to be the same ones.

    We need a rolling eyes one and yes, many more. :)

  • I read about 40% of what's posted in this thread while thinking about other things.

  • Who are you. Give me a clue ^. lol

  • The candlestick is in the library with professor Plum.


    Here's a good video about adult ADHD, explaining that it's a genetic and neurobiological disorder.

  • IsabellaIsabella Citizen
    edited November 2020

    @Sheldon said:
    I can relate to a lot of what you have said.
    I have bad ADD also.

    Just a reminder Sheldon, that ADD and ADHD aren't separate disorders.

    If you have ADD, you also have ADHD -- which can be characterised by Inattentiveness, Impulsivity, and / or Hyperactivity, possibly including a combined-type presentation. Mine is combined-type because I'm primarily inattentive but I did score clinically significant numbers in impulsivity and hyperactivity during my ADHD assessment.

    Hyperactivity doesn't have to mean you are physically hyper. It can mean that your brain is constantly going and hard to shut down, which is also my situation.

    Here's a video I sent to my daughter whose life story matches this woman's to a tee so far, up to age 23. It's uncanny really. I think she will be going for assessment or doing one online asap because she is also struggling with signs and symptoms of ADHD, executive dysfunction, and difficulty with school despite being gifted.

  • Thank you, Isabella, for the info and detail: I'm familiar with the condition but don't understand it quite as well as autism.

    My best friend these days has it and we get along great, Despite being significantly younger than I, we have a lot in common and we both appreciate the leeway we get from the other.

  • :> @Isabella said:

    Hyperactivity doesn't have to mean you are physically hyper. It can mean that your brain is constantly going and hard to shut down, which is also my situation.

    I did assume it was a physical thing, which I don't have. I need to research.

    I have basically cut all caffeine out of my diet, and that helps with racing thoughts, and helps my sleep pattern.
    It is odd to me that some people have the direct opposite experience. Very strange.

    I am also in the process of cutting down my sugar intake.
    It can cause major mood issues also.

    What I am doing is having positive effects.

  • IsabellaIsabella Citizen
    edited November 2020

    @Sheldon said:

    I did assume it was a physical thing, which I don't have. I need to research.

    I have basically cut all caffeine out of my diet, and that helps with racing thoughts, and helps my sleep pattern.

    I thought that hyperactivity had to be a physical thing as well. I realised it isn't. It can encompass having a busy brain, difficulty prioritising ideas or actions, difficulty with decisions, difficulty sleeping, difficulty with emotional regulation -- all features that I thought were "just" my autism. Stimming counts as hyperactivity too because it's a repetitive motion. I stim so much and so vigorously with BFRB that I needed to be medicated with Risperidone because it became self-injurious. I also pace when I'm stressed.

    There's such a stigma and misconception about ADHD that I never made the connection for myself until after my ASD diagnosis. I realised there was still a missing piece that couldn't explain my inability to watch television or plan, do, and finish tasks without extraordinary effort. I've always considered myself a scattered space cadet but in order to be inattentive your brain is likely working on something else in the background -- which is considered hyperactivity. Impulsivity is a natural byproduct when people have hyperactive thoughts. I can't make decisions so I can be reactive without thinking through pros and cons. Linear, conscious decision-making is almost impossible for me and I just go with the flow most of the time.

    Re: Caffeine. I quit coffee for Lent last year and have only had one or two cups since, although I drink tea. Quitting coffee happened to coincide with me starting ADHD meds in March. I feel a lot better without coffee and now I feel sick if I have it with my meds. I've never liked chocolate or anything else high in caffeine. I think some people with Inattention or classic ADD benefit from a boost of caffeine but that doesn't mean we all do. Most of those studies don't factor in Autism or other personality factors. Good for you cutting back on coffee and sugar!!

  • Coffee helps me to be more attentive in small doses. I identify with the H (hyperactivity) being less physical but an overactive, racing brain.

  • HylianHylian Citizen, Mentor

    I have ADHD - combined type, and focusing on something for more than a minute seems like something I physically cannot do most of the time. I have to constantly redirect myself because my mind involuntarily wanders after a bit, which I've only gotten the hang of recently.

    I never did that well in school since I couldn't pay attention long enough in a class environment to retain what I was being taught. I do learn fine by myself though, and when I'm interested in something I can sometimes focus intently on it.

    I also have a lot of mental symptoms of hyperactivity, but I do have a physically hyperactive component to my ADHD which I never outgrew (but have better control of now).

    When I was a kid the doctor actually suggested to my parents that they give me small amounts of caffeine because it helps some kids with ADHD focus and be less hyperactive. I mentioned that in school once and other kids insisted that it was illegal for children to drink coffee, so I think I ruined a lie some parents told their kids. lol

  • I've heard that as well about kids and caffeine. I read an article about teachers who would give very needy unmedicated ADHD kids a can of Mountain Dew or some other caffeinated soft drink once a day to help them along.

    You're lucky that you're able to redirect yourself a bit with practice. I know how hard that is. My mind is constantly going in a stream of consciousness with connection after connection after connection like a sporadic dot-to-dot which never completes the picture. Meds have given me more energy and I feel more alert or awake overall, because I can now distinguish "sleepy" from "awake" (I used to always just feel fuzzy) -- but I can't say that my executive function has improved dramatically because that's about learned habits as well. I'm still on a fairly low dose so maybe it will improve over time and with the help of my OT.

    What age were you diagnosed ADHD?

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