What It Feels Like to Have ADD/ADHD

Life with ADD/ADHD

Many people are aware of the symptoms associated with adult ADD, also known as adult ADHD—short attention span, easily distracted, disorganization, procrastination, and impulsivity. But what does it really feel like to have this common condition that affects approximately 4.4% of American adults? At Amen Clinics, we have worked with thousands of people who struggle with ADD/ADHD. Straight from the psychiatrist’s couch, here’s what some of them have said about what life is like with ADD/ADHD.

What our patients have said about what life is like with ADD/ADHD:

“I feel so bad about the rude things I say.”

I have a tendency to blurt out whatever pops into my head. If you’ve ever answered “yes” when your wife asks you if those jeans make her butt look fat, then you know how I feel. It’s like the words just spill out of my mouth and it’s too late to take them back. As soon as I say something rude, I regret it. I’m really not trying to be hurtful, but I end up making people mad at me or hurting their feelings and ruining my relationships. I spend so much time feeling bad about the mean things I’ve said. Why can’t I just keep my mouth shut?

“My mind is being assaulted…all the time.”

No matter where I am, I can’t help but notice everything that’s going on around me—the wind blowing that tree branch, the itchy tag on the back of my sweater, or the pretty butterfly that just flew by. It’s really a problem when I’m in a conversation with someone, especially with my husband. My mind gets distracted, and I miss what he’s saying. Sometimes, he’ll notice that I’m not paying attention to him, and he thinks I don’t love him or care about him. Or he’ll ask me to do something, but that’s right when a loud car whizzed past us, and I lost track of what he was saying. Then he gets mad at me when I don’t do whatever it was he requested. It’s not that I’m not trying to listen to what he’s saying, it’s just that there’s so much going on around me that grabs my attention, and I can’t block it out. It’s like I can’t filter out all the unimportant stuff. I just want to turn my mind off sometimes.

“Everything takes me so long.”

Even when I think I’ve given myself enough time to get ready for something, I find ways to be late anyway. Last week, I had a Zoom job interview, and I gave myself half an hour to get ready, but during that time, I managed to get distracted and start a load of laundry, answer some emails, and call my mom. All of a sudden, I only had 5 minutes left and I still hadn’t finished my hair or makeup. I ended up jumping on the interview a few minutes late, and I didn’t look or feel my best. I was sure I made a bad impression, so I couldn’t focus on their questions or what I could bring to the company. I’m sure it cost me the job. It made me feel like a failure like I should just give up trying to get a job.

“I get so antsy if I have to wait for anything.”

I’m so impatient, I refuse to wait in line at the store, so I end up eating cereal for dinner because it’s all I have in the house. I hang up if I’m on hold with the bank for longer than a minute. I walk away from my computer if I get the dreaded spooling icon. The bottom line, it means I don’t get things done even though I wanted to do them, and I actually tried to do them. Due to the pandemic, I had to file for unemployment and the website took so long to load and there were so many steps involved, I just gave up. I ended up losing out on several weeks of benefits before I finally got through it all.

“My life is in piles.”

At home, at work—everything is in piles. I have stacks of mail and bills on the kitchen counter, work files piled high in my car, and my clothes are in heaps on the bedroom floor. It drives my wife crazy.  She’s always yelling at me to clean up after myself and to get organized. Me, I don’t even see the mess. I don’t know why she’s so focused on it. We end up arguing about it a LOT.

“I feel so bad about the rude things I say.” “Everything takes me so long.” “My mind is being assaulted…all the time.” “I get so antsy if I have to wait for anything.” “My life is in piles.” —things people with ADD say. Click To Tweet

ADD/ADHD and other mental health issues can’t wait. During these uncertain times, your mental well-being is more important than ever and waiting until life gets back to “normal” is likely to make your symptoms worsen over time.

At Amen Clinics, we’re here for you. We offer in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, remote clinical evaluations, and video therapy for adults, children, and couples. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or visit our contact page here.

9 Comments

  1. Interested

    Comment by Josephine Pearson — June 7, 2021 @ 4:54 AM

  2. Everything that was said is exactly how I feel and I feel bad that rather stay quiet in a conversation. I can’t carry a conversation with my daughter because they get mad at me. I don’t think I say or do anything wrong but they do, so I keep away but I miss them and I feel so lonely. I do have many friends but I don’t like to visit much or be in the phone, I used to like to read but I can’t concentrate and never finish a book so I just play solitaire and other games in my phone.

    Comment by Flor E Pena — June 7, 2021 @ 5:59 AM

  3. Need to know about ADD treatments

    Comment by Melanie — June 7, 2021 @ 7:04 AM

  4. I’ve been following Dr. Ayman’s approach for years do you take any insurance for somebody who wants a scan and treatment for memory loss or anything

    Comment by Teresa — June 7, 2021 @ 8:02 AM

  5. Its my boyfriend…I try to be patient…but says the Same thing every morning…is out of whack when his morning routine is interrupted…he just can’t pick up where left off!! I can’t help making lunch or dinner he gets all weird if I watch and forgets what to do!!! I tell him you cooked for 30 yrs what’s the problen? He doesn’t answer…the most infuriating thing is when I’m telling him something in middle of a story he busts in interrupting me telling me sonething I already know then when done walks away!!! Or I ask hime somerhing…2feet away says what…ugh I get so mad!!!!

    Comment by Patricia — June 7, 2021 @ 12:06 PM

  6. This sounds about right. There’s also a whole host of behaviors that come along for the ride, most not listed in the DSM but many psychiatrists know what to look for. The need for high stimulation activities like driving too fast, resultiing in speeding tickets, participation in fairly extreme sports, shifting around/squirming /playing with things when you’re supposed to be listening, getting off-topic and disrupting conversations. If your ADHD was inherited, there’s a lifelong pattern of night owl behaviors and frequently, a history of academic/behavioral struggles despite high IQ. High energy, high in creativity and a general “buzz” of constant activity.

    Comment by Charlotte Cerminaro — June 7, 2021 @ 12:29 PM

  7. I have all the symptoms you describe above that’s how I feel and my loved ones sometimes don’t have the patience it takes to deal with the symptoms I would like to talk with your specialists, but not sure if I can do it financially.

    Comment by Geri Duran — June 7, 2021 @ 1:09 PM

  8. Hello Geri, thank you for reaching out. We’d be happy to send you information regarding insurance, reimbursement, and financing options.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — June 8, 2021 @ 1:35 PM

  9. Hello Melanie, thank you for reaching out. We’d be happy to send you more information. Here are some resources on our website in the meantime: https://www.amenclinics.com/conditions/adhd-add/; https://theaddquiz.com/. We look forward to speaking with you.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — June 8, 2021 @ 1:37 PM

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