What Does Your ADD/ADHD Look Like?


To the outside world, there will always seem to be something a little bit off about me. My ADHD may never make sense to those around me. But when others ask this is how I make them see:

The activity of my mind reminds me of an orchestra of the most talented musicians; first chair worthy performers,creative  and colorful lost in their own craft. The Orchestra gets it right some of the time, but for the most part there is little harmony and everyone’s playing their instrument over the others, pulling it together every now and then. The orchestra of the best musicians can’t get it right, because there is no maestro to take the lead. The most challenging symptom of my ADHD  The inconsistency my brain’s Executive Functioning make it difficult for me to sort and organize the details of the big picture.

I have come to accept the fact that I will need external supports to pull together the details that others deal with naturally and with little effort.

How do you discribe your ADD/ADHD to others so they can see?

2 thoughts on “What Does Your ADD/ADHD Look Like?

  1. I love the orchestra description — that’s exactly it. I’ve described my own ADHD many ways. I haven’t taken my meds this morning because I need to go to the pharmacy, so I’m not sure how coherent my answer will be, but if I don’t write something at this moment, I will forget and never come back to this question. If I imagine my brain, it’s like the contents of a tornado that has just lifted an entire community into its funnel — I suppose you could say that my brain IS the funnel. Inside of this funnel are large important pieces like houses and stores and trees and smaller pieces that are also important like pencils and pine cones and wood chips and straw and every other kind of debris, just a smorgasbord of stuff. With this smorgasbord, it’s like I need to take these contents and recreate a new community that is recognizable and functional and it’s beyond difficult for me. I have an idea of what this big jumbled thing should look like, but I’m not able to create it and actually make it happen. I have NO clue what I should prioritize first and no inkling into how much time I should spend on each task. Most likely I’ll spend entirely too much time collecting individual pieces of pine straw for say a flowerbed. In fact, if I have two hours to re-create a new community, i might start with these pieces of pine straw and spend an hour and forty-five minutes on this task when doing so does virtually nothing to create what I’m attempting. Then I would spend my last fifteen minutes frantically setting up stores, houses, and trees only to realize that I’ve wasted the majority of my time on a task (one flowerbed) that is not remotely important for the overall project (rebuild an entire community).

    Another thing that I struggle with is understanding the big picture but not being able to separate the details. Often this makes me look like I know more than I do. For instance one time at work years ago, a group of us were brainstorming and it was the kind of day that great big things were popping into my head and then they were popping out of my mouth. Several upper-management people were there and were impressed with my vision. I was commended on my insight and creativity and then given the job to implement one of my suggestions. BIGGEST FAIL EVER. Looking back now knowing that I have ADHD, my first step would have been to select team members who were good with details and action-oriented. Instead I tried to do it all myself because I was young and inexperienced but mostly because I have ADHD and didn’t understand my limited executive functions.

    Many of my early failures still haunt me and make me doubt myself. I have reached a point where I realize that I do many things well, but I have to take into account HOW my brain works and know my strengths and my limitations.

    • Oh boy! What a PERFECT explanation. I saw myself in that storm girl lol! Gotta laugh to keep the negative thoughts away.
      I have so many similar work stories too. Only difference is most times I knew what would help get the ball rolling I was just too ashamed to admit that a woman with such a brilliant idea had no clue where to start…I’d just jump in and hide the truth. I may make it happen but the mental strain would cause me to stop at good enough and never think of where the brilliant idea could have gone because it was just too painful to revisit. I thought “why put yourself through that again” instead of facing my limits in order to bless the world with my God given brilliance…those stories still haunt me. I still struggle with the fear of being less than expected even though we all know we are our worst judge with the silliest expectations.

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