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  • Writer's pictureJeanne Chamness

Signs of ADHD– It’s not just kids!

ADHD – It’s not just kids!

7 indicators that you might not just be flaky

Often when we think of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), we get the image of that kid in elementary school who couldn’t sit still, was always in everyone’s space and spent as much time in the principal’s office as they did in the classroom. While that’s probably not too far off base, what would think if I told you that many, many adults are impacted every day by undiagnosed ADHD? We’ve learned to stay in our seats and keep our hands to ourselves, but there are many other ways it may impact our everyday life.

See if any, or all of these, describe you -

  1. Always in motion- People with ADHD often struggle with sitting still, like that stereotypical kid I mentioned, except we’ve learned socially acceptable, albeit occasionally annoying, ways to manage our constant need to be in motion. Some of us click our pens, jiggle our legs, tap our fingers, play with fidgets or turn random objects into fidgets (I can often be found manhandling a rubber alien, tiny gnome figurine or a binder clip when I’m trying to seriously focus).

  2. Managing time as a concept – Yes, many people with ADHD are chronically late. It’s not because they are inconsiderate or “don’t plan ahead”, but it may be because the actual concept of time is different for people with ADHD. We struggle with truly understanding how longs tasks may take. Having dinner ready at any stated time can be a nightmare. No matter how hard you try to figure out how to make everything ready at the same time, dinner is almost always ready an hour early or an hour late. Why? If you are actually able to do something from start to finish without a distraction, you will finish early because you’ve learned to schedule a “buffer time”. However, the likelihood of not being distracted is pretty small considering your buffer time was probably way off base, so those days everything is late.

  3. Struggle to complete tasks that are tedious or time consuming – Ugh. Trying to do things that require looking up information from several different sources can take hours. One little distraction and you forget where you were and then you have to start all over.

  4. Forgetfulness or tending to lose/misplace things– Quick, right now, where are your keys? Do you know? Or do you know they are probably on the table or in your purse or maybe next to the microwave? It might not be because you’re an airhead, but rather that your brain isn’t wired in a way that lets you remember the little things.

  5. Easily Distracted– How many times have you started to look something up on the computer, remembered something else and started searching that, then saw an ad for a sale on something you want, filled your online cart without buying anything and then walked away without ever finding out what you were originally looking up?

  6. Organizationally challenged – System? What system? You’ve probably learned ways to manage your stuff that allows you to function, but heaven help anyone else trying to make sense of it. Or you’ve tried to follow a system someone else created only to learn that is not the way your brain works.

  7. Difficulty starting big projects - The thought of trying to figure out where to begin can be paralyzing. You work best with strict deadlines that have consequences, because the only way you can shake that paralysis is by not having a choice anymore. You’re not procrastinating because you’re lazy, but because starting is much, much harder than doing.

Any of these sound familiar? If so, you might be one of the 4 or 5% of American adults who have ADHD. You’re not just a flake, your brain works differently.

Over the next few posts I will discuss ways ADHD can impact your mental health, as well as some tools and tips for ways to manage your runaway brain.

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