We have created an ADHD Self-Assessment Workbook designed to help you understand ADHD and how its symptoms can affect your life. It should be used alongside your diagnosis process to inform your medical professional.Learn more
The Overview of Our Daily Lives
Some neurotypical people wonder how having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder affects different aspects of life 🤔. After all, according to some people, they, too, experience some symptoms of ADHD like being forgetful, having struggles to organize, or even daydreaming. Though we can confirm that these instances aren't exclusive to all people with ADHD, it’s crucial that we highlight this: when you have this neurodivergent condition, these ADHD traits tend to disrupt our lives. That's why I hope that spreading awareness and experiences as someone diagnosed with ADHD can help others understand how a neurodivergent brain works.
Our everyday lives differ from each other. This is also true for those with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. After all, ADHD can be a complex condition with symptoms (and their intensities) varying from person to person. Some may experience getting challenges with inattention or being often in the zone, but there can be those that already developed coping skills with these ADHD symptoms. What may be true to me might not be true to you 😉. However, it doesn't necessarily mean that what I am experiencing is invalid. That's how an ADHD brain works, and the reason why we should do is support each other.
Right now, I have too many thoughts on how to tell what it's like living with ADHD. There are thousands of ideas circling my brain that I want to tell you, but sometimes, I cannot manage them well to turn them into something that makes sense 😞. However, I'll try my best to tell you how ADHD affects my way of living. After all, the struggle to stay organized can be something some people with ADHD feel like they are constantly fighting against.
This Is My ADHD Life
Before getting an ADHD diagnosis and talking to several mental health professionals, I felt lost and didn't know exactly what I was up against 😢. There were plenty of struggles with how I would start my day: from getting out of bed to initiating a new task, I cannot seem to get the right motivation to do them. When I find something that interests me, I will do them for hours without stopping to eat or take a break. Doing these activities, like playing video games or reading a book in one sitting, can make me feel like I'm in my element for the moment, and it helps me to get away from reality. I usually let myself spend long hours doing them because I know the time will come that they'll not give me that dopamine feeling anymore.
After I had my official ADHD diagnosis, I learned more about how to manage the symptoms of this neurodivergent disorder. However, an ADHD diagnosis doesn't automatically solve your everyday struggles. What it can be is a path to create actionable steps in managing the symptoms and traits and the challenges that come with it 🙂. I still get burnt food because I sometimes miss maintaining focus on cooking; I often avoid grocery shopping because this errand makes me feel overwhelmed, and there are lots of hanging large projects that I can't seem to complete. Still, I learned to accept my flaws more through effective strategies and accepting my Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
There are moments when my ADHD still gets the best of me, especially when it's about time management ⏲️ and self-control. I often lose track of my time, especially when I browse my social media, and I often have difficulties completing tasks because I do not know where the time goes, resulting in me procrastinating a lot. There are moments as well when I spend more time on break. Tasks that are important are often disregarded; it's as if my decision-making skills get clouded because I often have a hard time managing my impulse control.
But there's one thing that I cannot fully control. Even though my day gets tiring and I've been busy with my tasks (sometimes even with one task only), sleep still eludes me 😪. My ADHD brain's inability to wind down keeps me awake until I reach bedtime or sometimes even until the middle of the night. And when I finally fall asleep, it's usually a couple of hours away from when I need to be up again.
How ADHD Impacts Everyday Work?
Those with adult ADHD who often spend their lives in the office setting or are usually subjected to social environments cannot escape the effects of their ADHD. It's hard to stay organized when there are too many tasks piling up or to maintain a long attention span while also trying to pay attention in meetings and conversations 😵💫. Also, reports show that many adults with ADHD have an affected working memory, making them unable to remember instructions and details of their tasks, leading to more difficulties in completing their goals.
When we underperform or make frequent mistakes due to the symptoms of ADHD, like feeling overwhelmed with instructions or having difficulties paying close attention to details, that's when our self-esteem takes a hit. And when the cycle of self-doubt and low productivity repeats itself, ADHD can leave us feeling like we are constantly fighting against it 😭.
But not every ADHD experience brings negativity to a person. If we often have the right environment and support, we can exceed expectations and perform better than what's expected from us. When we maintain focus and minimize distractions, we can lessen stress and anxiety, allowing us to make decisions easier 😊. Also, thinking outside the box and incorporating creativity into our crafts is the second nature of those people with ADHD.
Maintaining Relationships while Living with ADHD
A lot of ADHD core symptoms can affect how we interact with people and maintain relationships 🧑🤝🧑. For example, difficulty maintaining focus in conversations, lack of planning for activities that involve other people, or impulsive reactions, can affect how our companions perceive us and how we feel about ourselves at the same time. They may misinterpret these gestures as rude or inconsiderate regarding how our ADHD symptoms affect us.
The key to maintaining a good relationship with everyone around you is managing your emotions well and understanding your needs. However, as many adults with ADHD tend to have affected emotional regulation, striving to save a friendship, or even a romantic relationship can be complicated. That's why it's essential to have people who understand and accept your condition so that they can provide a warm, nurturing environment when needed 🤗. If not, everyday may be a struggle and you may end up with more problems, especially when open communication is not established.
When we feel like we are displaying negative versions of ourselves or when we cannot fully manage our emotions and moods, we tend to push people away from us. Some adults with ADHD tend to isolate themselves and avoid managing conflicts because they aren't used to confrontation and they just bottle up their feelings on their own. This may result in anxiety, depression, and even substance use 🍺 when we reach a point where we can't cope with our symptoms.
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The Risks Imposed by ADHD on Our Health
When a person is diagnosed with ADHD and not able to manage the symptoms of this neurodivergent disorder properly, it can lead to many problems. This is where misunderstandings about ADHD tend to start. Some neurotypical people begin to think that ADHD is equivalent to the problems we have. They often tell us that we're just making an excuse for our lack of time management or other ADHD struggles, but in reality, that's just the tip of the iceberg. Many people need to understand that having ADHD is an everyday struggle of varying symptoms and intensities. On top of the mental health conditions we have to conquer, ADHD can also take a toll on our physical health 😥.
For example, some people with ADHD tend to skip activities such as exercise and attending therapy sessions. They also have the tendency to stay up late at night, thus risking their health. You might ask, “Why can’t you just cure your ADHD?” If only there were a switch to turn off 🔛the symptoms and make us do what we're supposed to, then that'd be great. But unfortunately, it's not that easy for those who experience this condition. Sometimes, when our ADHD brain goes against our best intentions, we get frustrated and give in to our symptoms, thus allowing our physical health to suffer.
Tapping Other Comorbidities and Mental Disorders
ADHD symptoms, when not paired with the proper strategies of medication, treatment, and support, may continue to give us trouble and worsen our condition. A lot of children with ADHD may struggle with learning because of divided attention and challenges in active listening because of distraction. When these children grow into adults, they can have difficulties adapting to the environment that they may be in, as well as in various social settings.
For adult ADHD, the risk of having comorbid disorders can be higher. When these ADHD symptoms cannot be dealt with specific strategies and essential self-help, we tend to have an increased chance of developing mood, anxiety, and even personality disorders. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children experiencing ADHD may also have other mental health disorders. Some reports say that the same is true for adults, with up to 80% of them having at least one psychiatric disorder 😯!
That's why the importance of having a proper diagnosis, taking good care of your physical and mental health, and undergoing treatment and medication can never be overemphasized. The road may be difficult, but if we persist and seek the necessary help, the journey toward well-being can be more manageable.
There's So Much to Deal With
Having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder can affect many aspects of your life daily. Aside from the struggles brought by ADHD on our executive functioning that can disrupt our daily activities, ADHD can also take a toll on our relationships, impair our physical health, and even lead us to develop other mental disorders 🧠. Some adults with ADHD might experience these life struggles often. Still, when things get manageable, and you are surrounded by the right people who can support and understand you, things can get easier bit by bit.
Some people with ADHD may start to give up and think they only have hardships, heartaches, and struggles, but that is not the case. When equipped with the right mindset and proper strategies, we can and will experience moments of joy, productivity, and contentment. We must remember that our condition does not define us and that there is always hope for a better tomorrow.
In this ADHD collection, let's try to understand more about these topics and continue to learn more, one subject at a time. Remember that you are not alone in your difficulties and that there are people who will be with you through it all.
Let's go! 💪🏻
Living with ADHD FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What is it like living with ADHD?
ADHD experiences differ from person to person, hence your symptoms may differ from another person with this neurodivergent condition. Moreso, should you have the same symptoms, their intensities can be different, too. But, generally, adults with ADHD may have problems with their attention span, ability to organize, time management, hyperactivity (both physically and mentally), and impulsivity.
Can a person with ADHD live a normal life?
Absolutely! While it may take time, support, and even interventions, such as therapies and medicines, a lot of people with ADHD are able to live a fulfilling life.
How can people with ADHD cope with their condition?
The first step, of course, is to get an official diagnosis. After that, you can discuss with your healthcare professional what can be done to manage your symptoms. Steps might include counseling and/or medicines. Joining support groups will also be helpful!