Everything You Need to Know About ADHD

People with ADHD often display symptoms such as impulsiveness, hyperactivity and inattentiveness. However, there are many other less common symptoms that people with ADHD may experience. ADHD affects life in so many weird ways that you may not know about. I want to shed some light on these things, so that people with ADHD can know that they are not alone, and people without it may start understanding just how vast ADHD’s reach is.

Among other things, this article will list some of these lesser-known symptoms so that you can be more aware of them if you or someone you know is struggling with ADHD, as well as talking about specific things with ADHD that don’t work with the stereotype. After all, “everything you need to know about ADHD” being the title, I won’t start listing the obvious!

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knowing How adhd affects everything

ADHD is a life-changing disability. For many, it will affect their learning at school, organization skills, and their temperament pretty early on. For others, it may show up a little bit later in life, but it is still just as debilitating once it hits.

I was one of the “late-bloomers” of ADHD. I was diagnosed at 20. It had gone unnoticed mostly because I did well at school, which is usually where teachers and parents would start talking about ADHD. Early on, I did well, I didn’t really need to study, and I was a pain in the @ss with an attitude and the sarcasm to match. You know, the typical teenager experience.

The main ADHD symptoms in early years focus on hyperactivity

My mom would always sit me down after school and make sure I understood my lessons. We took the time to do them, so I never really had to listen in class… so I read books. It must have been extremely frustrating for my teachers, but then again, definitely not hyperactive behavior. All I seemed to show was a lack of interest in some subjects and wanting to do something else, either at school or at home, but a lack of interest in school… again, typical teenager experience, right?

It really showed up when I enrolled in a school program to become a nurse. Where I live, there are a few different types of nurses requiring different types of programs, and I went for the shortest one. I wasn’t looking for a long school program; I just wanted a certificate and job security.

I was NOT prepared.

The amount of things I had to MEMORIZE. That’s where it fell apart. First of all, we all need to appreciate nurses a little bit more. It’s one heck of a job. The learning process is harsh and the stress is REAL. Forget multiplication tables; I had to memorize entire illnesses with symptoms and how best to deal with them. So yeah, my ADHD showed up. I was always aware that my organizational skills were subpar, but I didn’t make much of a fuss about it. So I forget things and appointments, whatever, right?

See also: ADHD life hacks

zoned out woman with adhd

Nope ♥

It’s around that time that I reached out to my doctor about it, and we established that I did, indeed, have ADHD. Or rather, ADD(more on that soon). I started my meds, and things went silent. I had never really noticed how cacophonic my brain was, or how many trains of thought I could have at the same time.

The reactions from family and friends were pretty much all the same: ADD, you? Naaah. While some people listened and eventually agreed, others did not.

Imagine not believing someone saying that their brain has issues.

As I’m sure you’re aware, some people barely even believe in mental health problems, so I guess that fight was lost a long time ago for some people I no longer talk to. And no, I do not regret the decision of cutting anyone off for not believing in diagnosed health issues. Sounds like a weird thing to deny, but hey, whatever gets them through the day.

I never finished my nurse training, but it is what sparked my interest in psychology, researching mental illnesses to better understand them, and trying to find ways to help neurodivergence.

Turns out, an attention disorder is not an asset in the healthcare world. Who would have thunk?

While writing about ADHD, I realized… Most people know the main things.

There’s nothing wrong with the “main things,” but there certainly is more to ADHD than that. First of all, there are three types of ADHD:

  • ADHD inattentive type
  • ADHD hyperactive type
  • ADHD combined

PS: ADD is dead; long live ADHD!

They pretty much speak for themselves. You either got one, or you got both, right?

Nope ♥

Much like autism, ADHD is somewhat of a spectrum. One person could be hyperactive most of the time, with noticeable phases of inattention. Someone else may be very much in the middle and combine the two on the daily. I am of the inattentive type, and I rarely showed hyperactivity, but I have shown it. The term ADD was used before we figured out that ADHD can vary in terms of hyperactivity. Now that we know that, we understand that there is a spectrum, and we know that it depends on the person. Someone can be mostly hyperactive-type or mostly inattentive-type, or a bit of both.

And again, much like autism, ADHD is full of surprises. We’re still learning about it. Mental health, in general, is never an exact science. Whatever comes to mind when hearing or reading the abbreviation “ADHD,” I do believe you’ll learn something new in the list below.

See also: ADHD and ASD: the good, the bad, and the ugly of having both.

ADHD symptoms you may not know about:

  • Executive dysfunction: People with ADHD may have difficulty with executive functioning. While this can manifest in known symptoms such as poor planning, trouble organizing, and forgetfulness, the main trait of executive dysfunction is “The Big Nope.” That is what happens when we get stuck on a task and our brain decides that if we can’t do this task, we won’t do any task.
  • Impulse spending: People with ADHD tend to be impulsive in general, but the main issue is when it comes to spending money. Making purchases without thinking about the consequences is rarely a good savings strategy.
  • Cause and effect, or consequences: we understand the concepts but we can’t apply it to our lives properly. That is because the area of the brain that is responsible cannot make the link between cause and effect as easily as a neurotypical brain would.
  • Self-loathing: People with ADHD can be really hard on themselves and feel like they are not good enough. We see how neurotypical people feel about our ADHD symptoms. We know how it looks. It brings low self-esteem and possibly depression.
  • ADHD often means depression: since ADHD includes a lack of dopamine, the potential for depression is much higher than it is for a neurotypical brain.
  • Frustration: People with ADHD often feel frustrated, both with themselves and with others. Mostly, it’s about us. We have difficulty completing tasks or following instructions. We KNOW we have those difficulties, and it’s extremely frustrating to deal with. However, we can also get frustrated at people around us who don’t understand how we wish we weren’t like this either.
  • Act first, think later: with impulsivity and a lack of understanding for cause and effect, we often think a bit later than we should. We may interrupt people, which is certainly rude. However, we may also grab something from your hand without asking; we wanted a closer look. Similarly, we might ask questions that will make people uncomfortable.
  • Guilt about past events: Many people with ADHD live with guilt about things that have happened in their past. I live in my past, some days; I feel like I could have done more, or done better, if I had thought of specific things or if I had paid proper attention, etc. It’s entirely unnecessary, and I know that, but I can’t stop myself from reliving these moments and feeling like sh!t about it.
silhouette of a woman lost in thought, struggling with anxiety management. a low battery sign to indicate exhaustion.
I’m tired just reading this list of symptoms.

How do these adhd symptoms affect people’s lives?

I can’t speak for everyone here, but I just want what anyone wants. I want to be happy, I want less anxiety, fewer money problems, and a nicer outlook on life. I’d love to be more organized, but whether it happens or not, I just want my ADHD to stop being such an important problem in my life. I don’t need to be organized. What I need is peace of mind and better sleep.

None of the aforementioned symptoms will give me peace of mind or sleep. In fact, they will actively contribute to taking those away.

family & friends: know that our symptoms of ADHD bother us too.

Just like with any of the other ADHD symptoms, please be patient. Please be careful what you say. We know. We are painfully aware of how annoying all of this is, and I can guarantee you that none of us would want to keep ADHD if we had the option to get rid of it.

We’re trying our best.

It’s not enough, but we’re trying our best. Unfortunately, nobody came up with an artificial subconscious mind yet. What “everyone” has implanted in their brains in the form of a fully-functioning subconscious mind, we have to make up for with post-it notes and calendar notifications. And it is not as reliable, you can trust me on that.

See also: Thought Patterns & Mindset Reprogramming.

everything you need to know about managing adhd

An attention deficit hyperactive disorder is not easy to work with. In fact, I would bet that if it was properly understood, we would have a lot more leniency in our work life. Maybe even more leniency in our personal life and relationships, too!

Did you know that the normal brain blocks out 99.9% of the signals it receives at all times? Every second, our brains are bombarded with signals from our five senses and from inside our bodies. The neurotypical brain knows that, and blocks out most of it; it will pick and choose what to give attention to. Our neurodivergent brains also block out a lot of information coming in, but not nearly as much as 99.9%.

Which is why there is some debate about the meaning of ADHD. ADHD is not about a lack of attention; it’s more about being unable to filter what requires attention NOW vs later. Since we can’t differentiate, we give attention to all the things. If we give attention to all the things, I can guarantee you that not one of them has our full attention.

It’s not really something we can control

The brain does what the brain wants, really. Still, it is possible to make some things easier, which will diminish the overall impact that ADHD has. Working with our ADHD is a matter of understanding how our brain works and why it acts in certain ways. It can be extremely specific, sometimes. It can also feel a little ridiculous once you figure out the issue.

See also: The Art of Productive Procrastination

decorative pattern with text: I can't take a vacation from my own mind

ever been disappointed at your own brain?

Let’s use my life as an example, shall we? It’s okay, I never took myself seriously anyway.

The problem: I never really want to shower. It takes me forever to make myself go and take a simple shower.

How my brain works: My brain works by remembering emotions or reactions, mostly. It can link events together that I would never have linked myself!

Why is my brain acting like this? Through most of my childhood, the shower in our apartment had almost no temperature control. I hated getting into the shower because I knew that within those 5-10 minutes, the water would go from ice-cold to volcanic. I’ll be honest, mostly ice-cold, really. However, I always tried to play with the controls. I wanted to figure it out! I wanted warm showers, darn it! Most often than not, I spent longer fiddling with the hot/cold water settings than I spent having decently warm water.

yes, the showers were short. that is what you do when you don’t want to turn into a popsicle.

Now, I am getting close to my thirties, and I still cannot get myself to shower without a 2-hour bitching period. I have moved apartments quite a few times since my childhood years. My brain, however, associated showers with “cold-@ss water” and I guess I have shower PTSD now. So, as I was asking, have you ever been disappointed at your own brain? I believe you can figure out my answer to that.

ADHD is simpler than you think

Let’s move on from my memories of shower freezer burns and look into ADHD itself. It may sound very wrong, but I assure you that ADHD is indeed simpler than you’d think. What you need to know about ADHD is that it needs low-effort tasks, or short tasks.

Not everything has to be complicated: A book written by ADHD.

Simple, low-effort, and hopefully short, tasks. That is what our ADHD brain wants. You may wonder how we can manage that, and my answer is: painfully.

Like my Laundry Hacks for ADHD, if you look at any task, chances are that you can find an easier way to do the thing. Especially since our ADHD brains sometimes(often) complicate things… A lot.

Now, I don’t make the rules, but I can learn to play by them. If everything to know about ADHD boils down to difficulty + time = chances of task being accomplished, I can work with that.

Pro-tip: know your ADHD

I’ve talked about different kinds of ADHD earlier, but even those can be put into subsections. My best advice is to get to know how your own ADHD works.

What ADHD doesn’t want you to know

Okay, I’ll admit, ADHD doesn’t have sentience for such a feeling, but it sure is a catchy title. The truth is, by taking the time to look into how the brain works and how it is affected by ADHD, I noticed that the symptoms are just common sense. While not everyone would do the extensive research I did (and that’s a good thing, trust me), when it comes down to it, your brain is only doing what it can with what it was given. And it was given physiological differences that are noticeable on medical imagery. You’re not making it up, and you can’t change the fact that your brain cannot work like a neurotypical brain.

A physiological difference like a smaller prefrontal cortex, less grey matter, a dopamine deficit and a cerebellum that works less due to lacking dopamine are NOT excuses.

what to know about adhd – there is a lot of misinformation

In fact, most websites about ADHD contradict themselves. Even ones that we would trust! WebMD‘s description of ADHD: while many kids with ADHD outgrow it, about 60% still have it as adults. Ridiculous. I can’t outgrow a mental illness. What am I gonna do, grow a better prefrontal cortex? Steal someone else’s dopamine-producing gland? Can I return and exchange my subconscious and no one told me?

We’re not outgrowing it, we’re learning to deal with it. No matter how well we contain our ADHD, I can assure you: it’s still there. It ain’t going anywhere.

And while I’m at it: not only is it still there, but it’s becoming more and more certain that ADHD is hereditary. So my mom still has hers, and if I were to have a child, I’d pass it on to them. So there. Don’t come at me with your outgrowing b*llshit.

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