The blessing and the curse
Hyperfocus is incredible, and incredibly frustrating. An extreme amount of time dedicated with a single focus on anything that your mind deems interesting… only it’s whatever your mind deems interesting – spend 3 hours learning about the history of the Venezuelan political system… only that you should have been doing the dishes.
Hyperfocus has got me through some tough times, in fact I think a large part of my survival is due to hyperfocus. During my Bachelor of Software Engineering we had a insurmountable workload – this meant that I had to pull all-nighters – a familiar concept to many ADHD people I am sure. People were always surprised that I wasn’t tired, the truth is that when in hyperfocus state, it takes utter exhaustion for me to finally cease doing the thing – if no one interrupts me.
At the same time, hyperfocus has probably taken a few years off my life due to focusing well past the limits of reasonable expectations. I once was awake 70 hours stuck playing World of Warcraft when it first came out during a holiday. I had also not eaten and barely drunk anything – when I was alone at home, with no one checking on me. I nearly didn’t make it to my bed I was so exhausted.
It’s the single most powerful benefit of ADHD for me personally, but it’s not controllable in the way that would actually make it a superpower most of the time – instead it’s like having laser vision that I waste hours heating up a lake with, rather than anything useful.
Hyperfocus is also what makes rumination intense. It shuts out any response to anything else in my head. I get stuck in a cognitive pattern, intensely experiencing whatever negative emotion or experience I have had on a seemingly infinite loop until something somehow breaks in.
Of all the things I wish I had more control over, this is the one I would want to be able to use like a switch – in this state I don’t really exist, my internal monologue ceases, there’s a single minded intense focus on whatever I am focusing on, I tune out nearly 90% of the world around me with only misophonic sounds bringing me back.
An island get away in my head, to an undefined island – sometimes good, often bad.
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 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…