What is it like to be ADHD?

1) One of the top researchers (I think it was either Barkley or Jain) once said that the closest to an ADHD brain a “normal” person can come to is being very, very sleep deprived and very stressed out. Dealing with many demands and possibly also full of caffeine and sugar.
So imagine when you were a college student struggling to work and study and getting no sleep, exhausted and stressed out.
Or imagine when you were a new parent with an infant, tired, worn out, stresses, anxious and struggling.
This is what every day of my life is like.

2) This one below was stolen from a former friend of mine:

ADHD is like sitting down to play a game, but not knowing exactly which game. You have never seen this game before and you only have a rough idea of what this game entails.

The game has many pieces and a complicated board.

You are handed a set of rules that is very long and written in a language you understand but are not fluent in. Also you can only remember about 3/4 of the rules at any given time.

You are given just long enough to read the rules once before the game begins and then the rules are taken away from you.

Then the other players begin to play … with great skill.

You watch the other players to try to understand better how the game is played, however they are speaking a language you understand but are not fluent in, and they are both speaking and playing very quickly. Turns go by so fast you miss some moves as they happen.

Along with all this, there is a party in the room above you, distracting you with loud noises; thumps on the ceiling and so forth.

As you struggle to play the game the other players insult and berate you for your poor playing skills. Telling you that if only you tried harder, then you would be a better player.

3) Having ADHD is like having “one of those days”.

You know, you wake up feeling like you’re not really awake, your head is full of cotton fluff. You stumble through the day making stupid mistakes like putting the cereal box in the fridge. You are forgetful, maybe locking yourself out of house or forgetting to buy something on the way home. You can’t think on your feet very well so you put your foot in your mouth, saying something embarrassing or inappropriate. You’re tired and stress out and full of nervous energy. You embarrass yourself and feel confused and clumsy.

For you, when you have a bad day, one of those days, you can go to bed knowing that tomorrow will probably be better. That these days only happen once in a while. BUT … This is what everyday is like for someone with ADHD.

There is no going to bed knowing it will be better tomorrow. We go to bed each day knowing the next will be another one of those days. There is no escape. Everyday is one of those days from the day we are born until the day we die. Your tenth birthday, your sweet sixteen, the day of your first date, your prom, your wedding day … every day.

All the medication and therapy in the world doesn’t make it better or make it go away, all they do is help you cope. A crutch to help your struggle through each day.


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