“You see, ADHD is obsessive, and we don’t get to choose what we’re obsessed with. It’s not a conscious decision and it’s not based on our personality. It’s whatever our brains want right this second.
You know that tired old joke: “wanna hear a joke about ADHD? a guy w– hey, a squirrel!” I hate to tell you this, but it’s true. I hate it, but it’s almost completely accurate.
The “anterograde amnesia”-style reaction is a little overblown. But that’s part of what’s so frustrating about it. I can be in the middle of a sentence, a really important one even, and if something catches my eye I can completely forget what I was saying. I’ll know I forgot it, but I can’t get it back. And yes, I know, this happens to everyone, but imagine if it happened every single time you tried to talk at all. And this usually happens in a matter of seconds.
I can be midsentence and stop to say “hand me that pen” and my last idea is gone because my brain is now thinking about pens. If you think this is fun or funny, you have never experienced it. It’s a fucking nightmare.
Do you know how stunted my capabilities are because of this? Do you understand how INFURIATING it is that I don’t get to choose my interests, they choose me? I have very little say in my hobbies. I can put myself in front of things but if my brain doesn’t latch on, I just don’t get to do those things.
I’ve talked to countless people with ADHD. Everyone says they were described as children the same way: “Smart, but lazy.” That’s me. My house is full of projects I can’t complete.
I started building a network analyzer out of a Raspberry Pi a while back. I worked on it solid for two days and got a really neat menu system built. I was working out the logic for how to proceed in my head, took a break, and the interest dissipated.
For the last two days, every time I wasn’t working on that project, I was thinking about that project. It dominated my thoughts, I was constantly imagining new solutions and ways to do things I wouldn’t be doing for weeks if I had been able to proceed. And then the thoughts just stopped. And then they wouldn’t come anymore. I sat down at that thing four or five times, and each time all I could do was put my hands on it and stare at the screen. When I tried to think about it, when I tried to say what comes next, I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t even form the image of the project in my head anymore. I could get a vague sensation of it, and then it was gone, replaced by whatever took over my thoughts. And then I acknowledged what had happened, put it in a box, and that was eight months ago.
This is why I can’t program. Why I can’t draw. Why I can’t perform music. Why I can’t sew. Why I haven’t written a book and why I didn’t start putting stuff on my website until this year. More on that later. The number of things I have wanted desperately in my life, acquired the resources for, and just been completely unable to concentrate on, is so immense it’s heartbreaking to even try to list it all.
I can’t do everyday things because I can’t remember them. I can’t responsibly own pets, for instance, because I can’t remember to feed them.”