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ADHD & Losing Interest Quickly
Last week, I was trying to do photography. Two weeks before that, I was eager to try and learn how to skateboard. 🛹 Today, I want to play the piano because I saw someone playing too well on the subway. The thought of learning how to play was intriguing. 🎹 I immediately researched about it, looked for a music instrument sale nearby, and was very eager to start focusing on how to play the piece I found.
These new ideas and desires that run in my mind are sometimes doubtful: deep in my heart, I know that when I encounter a struggle, or I begin to master the craft, there's a huge chance that I will quit. 🥺
Losing interest is one of the symptoms experienced by people with ADHD. An adult ADHD brain tends to become curious about doing something at one point but gradually loses interest in it. The focus and energy that was once there are just no longer present.
Everything Will Make Sense After An ADHD Diagnosis
The struggles I have felt after picking up a particular task as a new hobby for the nth time hit me hard. The stress and anxiety of being unable to stay doing one definite, enjoyable task produces plenty of questions inside my head.
That's when I decided to be more aware of my struggles.
These concerns, together with the other traits I experienced, made me decide to have a mental health professional check my mental well-being. 👩⚕️ At first, I was hesitant, but I knew that this step could help raise my awareness and understanding of my behavior.
It all made sense when my doctor explained to me that I have ADHD and its symptoms can affect my focus and concentration. An ADHD brain is quite different from a neurotypical person’s brain. Trying to focus on a particular task is usually harder for people with ADHD. This is because our brains are wired differently.
You'll understand more about your situation when you finally receive an ADHD diagnosis. After knowing more about it, you'll be able to solve more problems and relate with others who have ADHD as well. 😉 You'll understand your condition better when you know what triggers your curiosity and why your attention goes elsewhere after doing that specific task.
The Mini ADHD Coach Medical Advisor says: Hobby-bouncing is a common trait in people living with ADHD. The way your brain’s reward center responds to topics, activities and hobbies of interest can lead to diving headfirst into your passions. You may find yourself researching for hours, buying all of the supplies and then suddenly losing interest. In some cases, the loss of interest may not come until you’ve mastered the new activity. Either way, it’s important to be kind to yourself and allow yourself room to explore your different passions. Although long-term goals are important — your abandoned crochet career won’t really have a major impact on your life, and you learned some things along the way!
Regaining the Lost Control
After I received my ADHD diagnosis, I remembered all the tools and equipment I purchased to do a specific hobby and why I wasn't successful in learning them.
Back then, I was too harsh on myself, not knowing that being easily uninterested or losing track of progress can be one of the many traits of ADHD because the condition can affect a person's ability to maintain focus.
But after the diagnosis and some sessions with my therapist, I regained control I lost. 💪 I came to terms with the fact that it is okay not to know everything and not to be good at anything. The years of unsettled feelings started to make sense.
When I was younger, I began to doubt my abilities and knowledge, making me frustrated with the success that seemed so elusive. I manifested too many emotions because I struggled in my life, especially during my studies. At one time, I felt excited to go to college, but then I got bored and quickly forgot the things I needed to accomplish.
Also, my interest in maintaining focus on my initial course in college had gone down because of too much information and difficulties managing my time. I thought I was interested in getting a degree in arts, only to find out that I lost the motivation I needed, so I transferred to another program.
Now I had a glimpse of why I struggled to maintain balance in my life after several years of studying and many career changes. Because I wasn't aware of having a neurodivergent disorder, I blame every difficulty I have on myself.
Now, I think I have a better relationship with my ADHD brain.🙌
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Losing Interest in Hobbies, Relationships, and Life
One of the most complex parts of having ADHD is losing interest. It can happen with a hobby that we are passionate about or a person whom we love dearly. 💏
Sure, there may be moments when we feel like we're on the moon because of the enthusiasm and energy we put in, but after a while, that feeling will slowly dissipate and be replaced by a sense of emptiness. 😔 All in all, the feeling of not being able to focus on anything and allowing life to simply pass us by is disheartening.
That's how our brain works. The struggle in staying focused make it challenging for us to allot and spend time on our precious hobbies, commit to a long-term relationship or have the motivation to pursue our dreams. And that is entirely okay - it can happen to almost everyone, even the neurotypicals. It is much more essential for us to understand how to handle these situations and have the proper support.
Take my experience as an example. There was one time I have explored the Korean fandom briefly 💜 I searched about everyone and memorized all their songs. After quite some time, I lost interest and pursued other things. I can take a lot of good memories with me from my time as a K-Pop fan. It made me feel happy, and I always cherish the feelings I was able to develop during those times.
But now that I understand more about my condition, I can still appreciate their songs and play them on a loop, all while I focus on something else. I accepted that I could enjoy something for a while and then move on to the next without overthinking.
Losing Interest Is A Common ADHD Symptom
ADHD might have a direct participation when it comes to losing interest in an activity. These symptoms not only affect our focus but also our interest in doing something new. When starting a hobby, our ADHD brain tends to release "dopamine," a happy hormone. However, these hormones don't last long enough for us to continue mastering our craft. Once the reward centers in our brains are no longer feeling activated by the activity, the dopamine wears off and we start to lose interest.
Another reason we lose interest in activities, mainly hobbies, is our difficulty to focus on a particular task. 😭 Once we have already tried out our "newfound hobby," our focus shifts somewhere else. Once we lose interest, the attention strays elsewhere, and whatever activity we are doing gets pushed away to the side, thus making it fade away.
Being easily distracted by so many things can also add to why we often lose the interests that we started to have. Many people with ADHD struggle with organization because of their “weaker” executive functioning, making it hard for us to maintain focus and keep track of what we are supposed to do.
Understanding Relationship Between ADHD & Interest
There is a close relationship between ADHD and interest. We often forget that people with ADHD are highly creative. The areas of our brain responsible for thinking outside the box and being creative are usually more active than those who don't have ADHD.
It is for this reason that people with ADHD tend to be very interested in a lot of things. We are always on the lookout for new and exciting experiences that can give us the dopamine rush that we crave. However, our brains are no longer feeling rewarded by the activity, that's when we often realize that our interests are short-lived.
Hobbies can be temporary for adults with ADHD. We should understand that we are prone to create new interests and lose the old ones. The good thing is that we can still find ways to appreciate the things that we used to like even if we no longer have the interest in pursuing them. 😘
ADHD and Losing Interest: FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What does “losing interest quickly” mean for a person with ADHD?
For some people with ADHD, losing interest quickly means desiring to start something - a hobby or activity - and then quitting after some time. This can not only be an expensive practice, but also a frustrating one since you are essentially putting focus and energy on the hobby.
What ADHD-related traits affect the ability to stick to one interest?
Difficulty paying attention and getting easily distracted can contribute to quickly losing interest. Likewise, the dopamine surge at the start of the activity gradually fades, triggering us to lose interest in the hobby.
How do you cope with losing interest quickly?
The best way to cope is to accept that some of your chosen hobbies may not last forever. Treasure the memories and be thankful that at one point, you enjoyed doing them. Doing trial and error can also help you find that one (or two) activity you will stick to for a long time.