This is yet another desperate attempt to get others to understand what it is truly like living with symptoms of ADHD. For some reason I can’t just let go the fact that people will always deny and criticise this disorder that people like me have to live with everyday.
For starters I’m not predominately hyperactive, I’m what is called combined; I have both hyperactive and inattentive symptoms (the sub-type of ADHD that exists with very little hyperactivity and impulsiveness).
I start by feeling awake and alert which is a good sign, it means I might be able to focus with minimal effort.
But then it all gets a bit too much. I read over lines and the words won’t process, or they process but there’s no retention. So I read over lines and it takes a great effort to move on from there. Music is usually helping to stimulate my mind more and to block out any distractions. It’s still not enough.
Frustrated, I throw the book or magazine (these days I can only manage to read magazines and comic books) away and my legs will dance around, not to the music – they are moving way too fast to keep to the beat. I feel restless and have racing thoughts. Sometimes they are anxious but usually they are just random neutral thoughts that pop up suddenly, and one thought branches off into two or more associative thoughts. Soon they layer upon each other and another completely unrelated thought comes up. My thoughts can be heard very loudly as though someone is standing next to me and yelling them out at me from inside an echoey chamber.
I only listen to the thoughts at night when I’m trying to sleep. I don’t normally fall asleep within the hour, or two, or three. They become very vivid and visual at night. Occasionally having so much noise in my head can become physically painful. It’s a merging of emotional pain with physical pain.
During the daytime these thoughts might give me a good idea with how to spend my time but if I can’t focus on anything – I will attempt two or three things – then I’m left alone with my dancing legs, flapping hands and insurmountable amount of energy I can’t channel anywhere. Sometimes I feel like being destructive but I usually only resort to such methods when I’m going through a violent anxiety driven rage. Most of the time I am overjoyed and energetic and just need to keep moving. At times I crave social contact (which is a bit weird given the title of this blog) and will feel very uncomfortable if I can’t fulfill this desire. I can usually take being bored a few minutes but if this lasts any longer and I can’t figure out what to do I could just scream from the frustration at having so much energy and nowhere to put it.
I even cannot focus enough to watch my favourite TV shows or set up my video game console. My senses are so alive that everything around me becomes bright and loud and I just can’t settle myself down to sit comfortably on the couch.
I can be a very happy and socially engaging person during this time though and don’t even need one alcoholic beverage to be able to say a few words to people. Other times I might require one or two.
I’m still not completely certain whether this is ADHD or is more related to the mania in bipolar. I do become manic too but that usually involves non-stop energy and having the ability to do more tasks than I usually do while having a flood of creative ideas, feeling like I’m not doing things fast enough and with the odd grandiose delusions. The whole time I feel like I’m back on stimulant medication too. This type of sped-up feeling in my brain which I don’t experience with normal hyperactivity. Could also be hypomania though. Could be both. How can you really tell the difference?
I eventually do crash and for a few nights now have experienced more depressive thoughts.
The fact remains that this hyperactivity I experience is completely out of my control. It takes away my ability to focus, even on those things I enjoy. I usually slip in some Omega 3 or even a weak stimulant to help me focus. Then I put too much energy into it and I crash pretty soon. I fail to control my impulses especially when it comes to spending and speaking. Occasionally with my own actions too but I usually live by a daily to-do list to keep myself more organised and occupied.
It really becomes difficult to make choices and follow through with them. I often start projects and never get back into them, especially when something else grabs my attention and it doesn’t take nearly as much effort to stick with. Once again I’ve failed to get into the mode to write my science fiction but that’s ok because I’m yet again obsessed with the Marvel Comic Universe and band photography, I guess.
I love to be hyperactive though. I enjoy the extreme happiness and energy that comes with it. My self-confidence seems to be on overload and I get most of my creative ideas this way. Trouble is I can’t focus and process information properly. My memory is more impaired and I’m so active and impulsive that I might end up doing something without thinking it through, often ending up with physical injuries or losing important items or saying something offensive to someone without realising it. Just try and think of the many times in a day you need to focus, remember things, watch what you say to people because of how they would react if you didn’t, avoid distractions and suppress impulses and keep your damn body still. You need to do these things within minutes of getting out of bed and an insurmountable number of times before you go back to bed, in which you must then sleep otherwise you’ll be fatigued, forgetful and find it very hard to focus the next day. If you don’t you’ll delay getting very basic tasks done, offend a whole lot of people or they’ll judge you based on your intelligence which is based on how they view your social competence and general knowledge about the world and even the speed in which you can recall a memory, and most importantly you will not just mess up a few times a day but constantly throughout the day damaging your own self-confidence and risk your relationships with people, your bank account and pretty much everything you need to always be aware about; locking the front door, remembering where your keys are, looking before you cross the road, and if you have little ones to take care of…you’re now taking on double the responsibility and you can’t even remember whether you zipped your fly up. And now you have to constantly re-check you did.
I still love being more hyperactive than most but it’s still so damn hard to control and just get on with those mundane daily tasks, and even the fun ones as well. And not to feel like a complete failure when comparing myself to other people who don’t have to face the constant barrage of symptoms I do on a daily basis. I still have more energy than them.
I did not even get around to talking about how my hyperactivity can make it seem impossible for me to make dinner or how when doing daily household chores I feel such intense resistance to the task the more I try the more uncomfortable it feels.