Hyperfixations and ADHD: A Chaotic Combo

Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do.

Let your garments be always white. Let not oil be lacking on your head.

Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.

Ecclesiastes 9:7-10

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.

What Are Hyperfixations?

According to Oxford Specialist Tutors, “hyperfixation is complete absorption in a task, to a point where a person appears to completely ignore or ‘tune out’ everything else. An example of hyperfixation is when a child becomes engrossed in a video game to a point where they do not hear a parent calling their name”.

My best non-technical definition for hyperfixations is the “oooh! What’s that?” urge that is most often associated with ADHD. It takes over our conscious thinking and sometimes our subconscious thoughts as well.

United We Care expands on this by saying that “hyperfixation is more like binge-watching a show and following it even after it ends by reading the associated novels, talking to people about it incessantly, or in extreme cases, relating themselves with some character in real life. Now, binge-eating, obsession over an ex-partner, using a particular cloth, etc., also come under the paradigm of hyper fixation. Then it releases a dopamine rush into the brain. Therefore, the person will always enjoy what they are doing, whether it is good or not.”

Life With Hyperfixations

I can actually categorize phases of my youth based on what things I was fixated on at the time. For instance: high school’s fixations were reading and writing, and my first year of college’s fixations were fictional podcasts and K-dramas. I can probably break this down even more through every month of the last three years, but that might get a little dull, and I think you get the point. I have had various interests in the past couple of years alone.

Bit by bit, I lost interest in the particular fixation and moved on to the next new one. It is not like I do not like these things anymore; it’s just that they are just not as all-consuming as they were in that specific phase of my life.

I believe this is why kids with ADHD are labeled “the quitter kids,” aka the kids who always stop or drop out of things before they can become experienced or any good at the activity. They have a garage full of stuff like rollerskates, martial arts gear, and different incompleted art projects that they have accumulated over the years and keep because they “might get back into it again.”

Personally speaking, there were some things I was not allowed to get burned out on and quit, like Taekwon-do. However, my parents said that I would be expected to reach the rank of Black Belt before I finished high school, so that was that.

However, there were other things that I have pursued as hobbies (like drawing, theatre, and singing) that I knew would never last as enjoyable and fulfilling passions for me, and I also knew that I shouldn’t pursue any of these things as a career.

This doesn’t mean that I was weak or “gave up” on these hobbies; I knew myself well enough to know that the wonder and shininess of these activities would fade, and I wouldn’t enjoy a career centered around a hobby that I had slowly lost interest in.

Misconceptions About Hyperfixations

Honestly, I think it is misleading to label kids with ADHD “quitters” for recognizing hyperfixations as what they are: temporary fascinations.

This isn’t a sad or bad thing.

It just means that if you have ADHD, you get to explore various and diverse hobbies and interests throughout your life that most people would never think to try. You can brag that you have dabbled in many different areas and have a little knowledge about many different things.

And who knows? This could be an asset in your career and personal life.

Final Thoughts About Hyperfixations

Having hyperfixations is like any other character trait; it can be either good or bad, depending on various factors. You should not feel ashamed of being prone to hyperfixations, but you should also check that they are not taking up an unhealthy amount of your attention. Like everything else in life, it is a balancing act.

Remember, even though hyperfixations are fun to have and spend time on, don’t neglect your health and set healthy boundaries for yourself to make sure you are still living a balanced, productive life while STILL enjoying your hobbies/fixations.

Also, be gentle with yourself. You are only human, so it is natural to lose interest in activities as you progress through different stages of your life. However, do not force yourself to stick with a hobby or interest that you no longer find fulfilling just because you are scared of the idea of quitting. You aren’t quitting; you are instead giving yourself room to grow.

In conclusion, fellow ADHD people, don’t feel ashamed when you become less and less interested in something that has become very central to your life. This just means that there is something new and cool that you are about to discover, just around the corner!

Please like, comment, and subscribe if you connected with my post and if would like to see more of my crazy, exciting journey through life with Christ and mental illnesses. Every interaction I receive here means a lot. Thank you, and God bless you.

Until next time!

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