“You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God.”2 Corinthians 9:11
You guys seemed to really enjoy my first post about this topic, If You Do This, You Might Have ADHD, so I decided to make a part 2, especially considering how many traits and habits could possibly be linked to ADHD in both children, adolescents, and adults.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a licensed psychologist, psychiatrist, or trained mental health professional of any kind. Everything I write is based on my own personal experience with coming to terms with my differences and adjusting to how my brain works. Please do not take my word as gospel of any kind – these posts are only meant to help further open the dialogue around mental health and dispel the stigma around mental illnesses and disabilities.
- You “zone out” frequently, staring into space
You likely know it well. Some call it “the thousand-yard stare” or “staring off into space,” You find yourself doing this frequently, especially when you feel mentally drained or overwhelmed in a particular environment. The people around you find it rather creepy since your eyes kind of glaze over. Still, it is a rather enjoyable experience, as you are able to give yourself a “focusing break” and allow your mind to wander freely. You might find yourself slipping into this disassociation when thinking too hard for too long.
This sentiment is echoed in an article in Healthline, which states that “zoning out just means your brain has switched over to autopilot. This can happen when your brain recognizes that you can complete your current task, whether folding laundry or walking to work, without really thinking about it. So you go into default mode”. And a lot of people with ADHD feel comfortable doing tasks in default mode, so whenever something becomes uninteresting, in order to keep from feeling bored, you will switch into this mode and try to conserve your brainpower to think about more interesting things later.
- You lose your trail of thought when having conversations
You often find yourself playing a game when you have conversations called “guess where I was going with this!” and most of the time, you lose since you cannot remember the point you were going to try to make until hours after the conversation is over. You often forget specific words or phrases and need assistance and prompting from friends, even if speaking in your primary language (which can be embarrassing sometimes).
It is like you have a hurricane of words and thoughts spiraling through your head at any given moment, and sometimes a keyword or phrase flies out of your grasp mid-thought. Do not be embarrassed when this happens – our brains are beautiful and complex machines, but sometimes they short-circuit. Simple as that. It just happens more often when you have ADHD.
- You have a lack of spatial awareness most of the time
Simply put, spatial awareness refers to “your ability to be aware of objects in space and your body’s position in relation to them.” It is like you are a video game character whose player is figuring out the controls and keeps bumping you into the wall while trying to find the right button to push.
Inanimate objects are your enemy. For example, you cannot count how many times you have run into the edge of your house’s countertop, and you have at least one ripe bruise on you at any given time and often cannot remember how you got it in the first place. I usually phrase it as “forgetting you exist” because you are so concentrated on a specific task that you are doing, whether that is a chore or getting from point A to point B. To try to lessen the frequency of this occurrence, if I feel my spatial awareness becoming weak or if I keep running into stuff repeatedly, I try not to get frustrated with myself and instead take a minute to gather my thoughts and ground myself in the moment and the specific task I need to get done.
- Drinks with caffeine do not make you any more energetic
You envy people who can be dog-tired and then drink a coffee and be hyper and streamlined for the next four hours. But unfortunately, coffee, energy drinks, and caffeinated beverages do not have the same impact on you. Sure, they might sharpen your focus, but they do not give you any more energy than an everyday sugary beverage.
This is probably because caffeine mimics a lot of ADHD medications, so it is kind of like a micro-dose of the types of medication typically prescribed for ADHD management. I do not recommend using caffeinated beverages as a substitute for prescription, but it can be a nice boost for when you feel your ADHD acting up more than usual. If you drink these beverages, make sure to stay hydrated by drinking LOTS OF WATER. I cannot tell you how many of my friends and classmates in college are baffled about why they feel unwell but are constantly drinking coffee or Monster energy drinks at any given moment.
- You have a hard time falling asleep at night
Nights where you do not toss and turn for long periods before falling asleep, are rare. You have tried warm herbal tea, noise machines, melatonin, basically everything short of chloroform. Still, your brain decides that the best time to have an existential crisis is when your head hits the pillow at night. So I take melatonin gummies before bed to fall asleep at a relatively average time. However, these do not always work, and sometimes I end up staring at the ceiling for hours, begging for sleep to take me so I can have a productive day tomorrow.
While a hyperactive brain can keep you awake when you want to sleep, this could be a sign of an anxiety disorder as well, since worries can also lock you into a state of alertness. This could be an example of multiple conditions/mental illnesses being responsible for a habit or trait: it is sometimes hard to tell which one is the cause when they manifest in similar ways.
And so I come to the final point of this post: while these traits could all be indicators of ADHD, they could also be physical manifestations of other disorders like anxiety, depression, PTSD, and others. For this reason, it is always best to get a second and even third opinion from qualified professionals before attempting to get on any ADHD medications.
If you want to read more about some of the other mental illnesses mentioned above, feel free to check out some of my other posts addressing them.
Thank you so much for reading, and I hope to be able to post again soon. 🙂
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Until next time!