ADHD Acceptance Month – What I Love Being About an ADHDer is…

ADHD Butterfly Source

IMPORTANT: This might come across as toxically positive – I am 1000% not that person. If you look at my past you will see how bad it has been. I do like celebrating the stuff I’ve been made to feel shame for about ADHD that I do like.

Dolphin Mind

A term coined by @3TrackMind79 – (one of the first people I saw talking about ADHD online and who helped me to start talking about it too)

I’m sure there’s a fancy scientific name for it, but I prefer to call it Dolphin Mind. I guarantee most everyone on #TeamADHD knows this feeling.

Here’s what it looks like to NTs.
Me: What a lovely pond.
NT: Yeah, it’s nice.
Me: I’ve always wanted nunchucks.
NT: ?!

In reality, here’s what our Dolphin Minds do.
Me Out Loud: What a lovely pond.
Me in my Head: Oh hey, there’s a turtle!
MimH: I LOVE Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
MimH: But who’s the best?
MimH: Michelangelo for sure.
NT: Yeah, it’s nice.
MOL: I’ve always wanted nunchuks.

Our brains don’t wait for a response from the other person. It’s not rudeness or impatience. We can’t control it. It’s just how our brains work. So, NTs only see what breaches the surface, which is just a fraction of what’s happening.

If NTs could glimpse beneath the surface, I’m certain the onslaught of thoughts would overwhelm them. Most NTs I know seem to get overwhelmed just talking to me. They couldn’t handle the sheer volume of thinking that goes on beneath the surface.

ADHD minds are built for speed, which leads to confusion by observers. And typically we can explain how we got from Point A to Point Z, but the other person doesn’t really care. They only care about the surface thoughts because that’s all they can see.

What’s most troubling for me is that I frequently forget that nobody else can see what’s going on beneath the surface. The conversation in my head is so vivid and so real that it’s confusing FOR ME when I realize the other person doesn’t know what I’m talking about.

Your Dolphin Mind is amazing and just because NTs don’t know how to appreciate it doesn’t mean it’s not amazing and appreciated. I love your Dolphin Mind.

Twitter Thread

Divergent Thinking

All my brain ever does is connect anything to anything else. It’s an analogous brain, it means that I can create seemingly abstract links from one thing to anything else. There’s a divergent thinking test that you can take here.

Communication Weaver

Due to my divergent thinking and dolphin mind I can have incredible conversations where I get to weave these concepts together, you get an insight into how this works in this thread here.

If an Autistic child goes blank in times of distress, or laughs, or does something that isn’t ‘socially’ expected. Don’t assume they are being defiant or awful. Shutting down causes flat affect (it occurs when overwhelmed by emotions for me), and laughter can be a stress response

It’s frustrating when people do not listen to your words as an adult, or understand that sometimes you just can’t speak. It is absolutely traumatic if you are a child. This is involuntary. Give them space and time, and don’t yell at them if they do not respond.

Most often shutting down for me is a way for me not to display emotion, usually because I do not feel safe doing so. Inside it’s an absolute storm inside my head, and it takes a lot to even interact at all when this happens.

It’s really hard feeling betrayed by your body, but I wonder if shutting down was a result of being conditioned not to respond to overwhelm when a child. ‘Tantrums’ (meltdowns) were not allowed at all as a kid, so I just started running away from home. I needed somewhere safe.

I still do this in extreme situations, which happen rarely, but if I can’t have the reaction I need to I leave and go for a walk. I have to process everything and come back.

It sometimes isn’t even me that is affected, it’s someone I know, or a really bad event. Hyperempathy is more often negative than it is positive for me personally. I feel everything too much. Dulling it with drugs makes me feel inhuman.

One thing I personally noticed is that I can’t use benzodiazepines, because I get a rebound effect from whatever I was trying to avoid. It’s like all the feelings are stored and manifest usually in really negative ways the second medication wears off.

My mental health got a lot better when I had names for all the things I did and allowed myself to feel things in my own natural way. I still can’t really do it most times, because people get distressed at my distress. I’m ok with it, but I take on their anxiety also.

Being stuck in a reinforced loop happened to me during burnout and I kept getting worse.
I felt awful and was ruminating. My family worried. I got worse. They took me to hospital. They put me on more drugs.

I got worse. My family worried. It was broken by someone treating me normally and validating me, engaging my interests (love of learning). I felt better when someone talked to me about some interesting historical event (fall of the Berlin Wall).

This is actually a really old recommendation for helping people in mental distress, engaging people in their interest areas. It’s found in 1st Century AD medical texts. Carl Rogers also talks about the importance of learning in a person-centred approach.

I wrote about the book I found on treatment of mental distress here. It was fascinating.

My personal belief is that meltdowns with huge emotions shown are self-medicating by using multiple modalities to engage the vagus nerve which mediates the flight/fight response.

I remember seeing traditional Greek funeral ceremonies when I was young (don’t know if this is a stereotype), and the expression of grief was so authentic. It’s so rare to see full force emotions shown this way in modern western funerals I’ve been to. The body keeps the score.

Hate social rules mainly because I think they are forcing us to stop trauma from being processed. Everything I’ve seen seems to support this based on my personal recovery from cPTSD, I’ve had to feel everything I wasn’t or didn’t allow myself to at the time.

I needed someone to listen at the time, to allow me to cry or scream, or be mad. I cried for the first time in therapy ever yesterday, overriding decades of suppressing emotion whole processing awful things. It took six sessions before I could let this guard down.

I only qualify for private therapy due to particular trauma which is covered by our public insurance scheme. But I think about the fact you are only given 6 sessions in critical mental health with this context, and it’s an impossible ask to make progress for public mental health.

WASP culture is the absolute worst thing to have happened for mental health.

TW / CW // suicide
Men kill themselves at higher rates because being ‘stoic’ has been completely misinterpreted from it’s original meaning. It’s one of the my most hated things – Stoics never suppressed their emotions, they were just not controlled by them.

Everything in stoicism talks about giving in then controlling after.
Epictetus said:
“the wise man, after being affected for a short time and slightly in his colour and expression, ‘does not assent,’ but retains the steadfastness and strength”
You have to feel shit ffs.

“It is better to conquer our grief than to deceive it. For if it has withdrawn, being merely beguiled by pleasures and preoccupations, it starts up again and from its very respite gains force to savage us.” – Seneca

As a practicing Stoic philosopher (yes philosophy should be practiced – not studied and forgotten), nothing makes me more upset than the misuse of the word stoic. It’s not what it meant at all.

If you don’t know what stoicism is, or how you practice philosophy this ended up being one of my main mental health tools.

Weaver thread. This is how I process information. If this was easy for you to follow it indicates the ability for divergent thinking(possibly). A thread on meltdowns ended up as a critique on society, and then philosophy. Staying on topic wasn’t good for me. I no longer try.

You’ll never guess how hard I find University, conversations with most people, how confused my therapists were, or why communication is generally difficult for me. This is my favourite thing about me now, but I was always punished for it.

Originally tweeted by Rory – ADHD Autistic OCD (@roryreckons) on September 21, 2021.

The Best Friend You Can Have (attention dependent)

I just care. I am sick of hearing that I don’t care about people – due to friendship degradation mechanics. I know how to make others feel good. If you tell me about yourself, I learn a lot and figure out what makes you tick. I have studied how to make people happy. I get thoughtful gifts because people don’t realise I have understood what makes them happy. I am a near human mood thermometer due to hyperempathy. I am loyal. I will take bullets for the people I care about – and have put myself in harms way multiple times in order to do this.

Amazing Problem Solving Skills

I am MacGuyver. I can figure out a way to make a temporary monitor stand out of paperclips, a banana peel and a carpet scrap. In moments of desperation I am at my best. I have had to deal with poverty nearly my whole life – this has made me resourceful. I’m the person you want around when you can’t figure out how to do something – I may not always have the answer – but you will get a ton of ideas to try before you give up.

Hyperfocus

You know how awesome it is when my brain is engaged and I want to work on something, or play something, or create something. I am near unstoppable with my attention. It’s hard to direct, but for stuff I am passionate about such as writing – I just get “in the zone” – it’s a perfect flow state for achieving what I want – I don’t need to eat, or drink, or sleep. It allowed me to do so much.

Tenacity – Bravery

I’ve had every reason to give up in my life. Multiple times. I wished for a long time that I did have the courage to do it. Do you know how strong you have to be to face near constant rejection day in and day out for twenty six years for unknown reasons – and to still keep doing it. I’ve taken more punches than most people have ever seen people throw. I’ve stepped into the arena and forced myself to do things I hate because I knew that I had to keep trying. Every battle that I know I cannot win – I have faced head on – even though this has been detrimental a lot of the time.

Novelty and Learning

Most people live boring lives – mine has always been stressful – I have never had a comfort zone, because masking causes me to constantly step outside of it. Due to this I have learned a lot. There’s no subject I do not want to learn about – and given the right instruction I truly don’t believe that there is a subject that I couldn’t understand. I love learning – it’s my favourite strength.


ADHD is so hard to live with – but it’s the most awesome hyperspeed life – I will die knowing I did everything I possibly could when I could – I doubt many other people get that peace when they die.

Daily blog challenge

October is here usually known as ‘ADHD Awareness Month’ – but IMO we ADHDers deserve more than that – we deserve acceptance. We need to be listened to, we need realistic accommodations, and help. We need to start moving toward ADHD Pride Month. People should be able to feel proud of being ADHDers, because the alternative is shame.

For the next 31 days I will be writing every day on being an ADHDer using this list of prompts:

  • Day 1: Introduction
  • Day 2: What I love about being an ADHDer is…
  • Day 3: My Identification/Discovery Story
  • Day 4: Reactions to Identification
  • Day 5: Hobby Graveyard
  • Day 6: Supports and Appreciation
  • Day 7: The ADHDer Community
  • Day 8: Favourite ADHDer Blogs/Comics
  • Day 9: Favourite ADHD Owned Business
  • Day 10: Sensory Seeking/Aversion
  • Day 11: Fidgets and Stims
  • Day 12: Favourite ADHD Charity
  • Day 13: Family
  • Day 14: Order from Chaos
  • Day 15: Everyone Should Know
  • Day 16: Work/School
  • Day 17: ADHD People I Admire
  • Day 18: Someday…
  • Day 19: I Love it When…
  • Day 20: Communication Style
  • Day 21: One thing other people don’t understand…
  • Day 22: Dispel a myth
  • Day 23: Can’t Live without…
  • Day 24: ADHD Political Issue
  • Day 25: Symbols
  • Day 26: Favourite ADHD Book
  • Day 27: Identity Language
  • Day 28: Dealing with Boredom
  • Day 29: Favourite Memes
  • Day 30: Hyperfocus
  • Day 31: Acceptance Means…

Published by roryreckons

I am an ADHD/Autism Coach as well as ADHD/Autism/OCD/CPTSD advocate and independent ADHD/Autism researcher. I am an ADHD/Autism Coach who trained through the ADD Coaching Academy. I write mainly about ADHD/Autism/OCD/Mental health issues, but will also discuss morality, abolition, and current affairs occasionally.

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