The myth out there is that only those on the spectrum struggle to regulate their emotions. But it’s not like that at all. Those of us with ADHD also have a REALLY hard time regulating our emotions. We can often be fine one minute and exploding the next because our brains are so difficult and so busy.
We often think more things in 5 minutes than most people do in 5hrs. It can go from being prepared to head out the door to looking for things you can’t find, to what you are doing later, to what you want to do for dinner, to what you have going on next week or next month…just totally random thoughts that have no real rhyme or reason.
We are like time bombs and can be hard to handle. We listen to what is being said to us but often our brains are so busy thinking of so many other things we don’t really absorb what is being said…the key is to make it short, clear and concise so we get what we need and can get on it. That being said staying on task is also really really hard for us.
Here are 20 things that may help you understand what people with ADHD are going through…
It’s a fact; a person with ADD/ADHD is hard to love. You never know what to say. It’s like walking through a minefield. You tiptoe around; unsure which step (or word) will be the one that sets off an explosion of emotion. It’s something you try to avoid.
People who have ADD/ADHD are suffering. Life is more difficult for them than the average person. Everything is intense and magnified. Their brilliant minds are constantly in gear creating, designing, thinking and never resting. Imagine what it would feel like to have a merry-go-round in your mind that never stops spinning.
From emotional outbursts to polar opposite extremes; ADD/ADHD presents several behaviors that can be harmful to relationships. ADD/ADHD is a mysterious condition of opposites and extremes. For instance, when it comes to concentration, people with ADD/ADHD cannot concentrate when they are emotional or when their thoughts are distracted. However, when they are interested in a specific topic, they zone in so deep that it’s hard to pull them out of that zone. Starting a project is a challenge; but stopping it is an even bigger challenge.
True love is unconditional, but ADD/ADHD presents situations that test your limits of love. Whether it’s your child, boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse or soon-to-be spouse, ADD/ADHD tests every relationship. The best way to bring peace into both your lives is to learn a new mindset to deal with the emotional roller-coaster that ADD/ADHD brings all-day-every-day.
Understanding what a person with ADD/ADHD feels like will help you become more patient, tolerant, compassionate, and loving. Your relationships will become more enjoyable and peaceful. This is what goes on in the mind of a person with ADD/ADHD.
1. They have an active mind
The ADD/ADHD brain doesn’t stop. There’s no on/off switch. There are no brakes that bring it to a halt. It is a burden that one must learn to manage.
2. They listen but don’t absorb what is being said
A person with ADD/ADHD will look at you, hear your words, watch your lips move, but after the first five words their mind is on a journey. They can still hear you speak, but their thoughts are in outer space. They are thinking about how your lips are moving or how your hair is out of place.
3. They have difficulty staying on task
Instead of keeping the focus on what’s in front of them, people with ADD/ADHD are staring at the colors in the painting on the wall. Like walking through a labyrinth, they start moving in one direction, but keep changing directions to find the way out.
4. They become anxious easily
As deep thinkers, they are sensitive to whatever is going on around them. Being in a noisy restaurant can sound like you are standing in the front row at a Metallica concert. A depressing news snippet can set them into end-of-the-world mode.
5. They can’t concentrate when they are emotional
If there is something worrisome going on, or if they are upset, a person with ADD/ADHD cannot think of anything else. This makes concentration on work, conversation, and social situations almost impossible.
6. They concentrate to intensely
When the doors of their mind open, the person with ADD/ADHD dives in like a scuba diver jumping into the deep ocean.
7. They have difficulty stopping a task when they are in the zone
And under the deep ocean is where they stay for hours. Even when their oxygen is running low, if they are enjoying the view, they won’t come up for air until they’re almost out of oxygen.
8. They are unable to regulate their emotions
For a person with ADD/ADHD, their emotions are flying wild, out of proportion and cannot be contained. The tangled wires in their brilliant brains make thought and feelings difficult to process. They need extra time to get their systems up and running properly.
9. They have verbal outbursts
Their intense emotions are hard to regulate. Since they impulsively say whatever they think, they often say things they later regret. It’s almost impossible for them to edit their words before they release them.
10. They have social anxiety
Feeling uncomfortable knowing that they are different, people with ADD/ADHD are often uncomfortable in social situations. They are afraid they will say something foolish or react inappropriately. Holding back feels safer.
11. They are deeply intuitive
For people with ADD/ADHD, the surface is an invisible exterior that they penetrate. They see beyond it. This is the most enjoyable aspect of ADD/ADHD. This inspirational trait is what makes creative geniuses. Inventors, artists, musicians, and writers thrive in this zone.
12. They think out of the box
Another wonderful aspect of ADD/ADHD is that because they think differently, their abstract minds see solutions to problems that the concrete thinker cannot see.
13. They are impatient and fidgety
Annoyed easily, wanting things to happen immediately, and constantly playing with their phones, twirling their hair, or bouncing their leg up and down; a person with ADD/ADHD needs constant motion. It’s a calming Zen activity for them.
14. They are physically sensitive
Pencils feel heavy in their hand. Fibers in fabric that most people wouldn’t feel can be itchy. Beds are bumpy. Food has textures you can’t imagine. Like The Princess and the Pea, they can feel a pea under twenty mattresses.
15. They are disorganized
Piles are their favorite method of organizing. Once a task is complete, papers related to it are placed in a pile, where they stay until the piles grow too high. That’s when the person with ADD/ADHD becomes overwhelmed, frustrated, and cleans up. People with ADD/ADHD have to be careful to not become hoarders. It’s hard for a person with ADD to keep things in order because their brain doesn’t function in an orderly manner.
16. They need space to pace
When talking on the phone or having a conversation, people with ADD/ADHD think better when they are in motion. Movement is calming and brings clarity to their thoughts.
17. They avoid tasks
Making decisions or completing tasks on time is a struggle. Not because they are lazy or irresponsible, but because their minds are full of options and possibilities. Choosing one can be problematic. It’s easy to avoid making decisions because they are over-thinkers. They obsess and dwell in the depths of their own minds.
18. They can’t remember simple tasks
Another paradoxical trait of ADD/ADHD is memory. People with ADD/ADHD can’t remember to pick up their clothes at the cleaners, milk at the grocery store, or appointments. On the other hand; they remember every comment, quote, and phone number they heard during the day. No matter how many post-its or calendar reminders they set; their distracted mind is always elsewhere. Visible items are easier to remember. That’s why they have fifteen windows open on their desktop.
19. They have many tasks going on at the same time
Due to the constant activity in their mind, once a task is finished, they are ready to move on to the next task without closing up the prior task. The more going on at once, the better. Multi-tasking is one of their favorite activites.
20. They are passionate about everything they do
The emotions, thoughts, words, and touch of a person with ADD/ADHD is powerful. Everything is magnified. This is a blessing when channeled properly. When a person with ADD/ADHD does something, they do it with their heart and soul. They give it all they’ve got. They are intense, perceptive, and deep. This quality is what makes the person with ADD so lovable.
Basically, a person with ADD/ADHD has trouble controlling their impulses. They also have many awesome qualities that you will enjoy once you understand how they think and feel. Compassion, empathy and patience will carry you through the most difficult times. It’s important to take extra care of yourself; take alone time regularly, do what you enjoy, find a support group, a therapist or a compassionate wise friend, take frequent vacations, meditate, find hobbies and your own passion. Most of all, learn how to breathe.
Some of the greatest inventors, artists, musicians and writers had ADD/ADHD. They succeeded because they had a loved one just like you supporting them through their daily struggles. Replace your anger with compassion. Realize how they struggle to do what comes easy to you. Think of the ADD brain, as one with electrical wiring in the wrong circuits. Next time you think that they are lazy, irresponsible, disorganized, and avoiding responsibilities; try to remember how hard they have to work extra hard to achieve a simple task.
Yes, ADD/ADHD people are hard to love, but once you understand the burden they are carrying, your heart will open up. Love and compassion will take the place of anger. You will see into their sweet and good soul.