Home » Blogs » ADHD Man of Distraction » ADHD Brain Space Conundrum

ADHD Brain Space Conundrum

This is my mind on meditation ...
This is my brain on meditation …

There are a lot of seemingly conflicting aspects to ADHD that I’ve mentioned before.

Like how we can’t focus on most things just because we should, yet we can focus on some things whether we should or shouldn’t. You know, home work, report writing, calendar items vs. TV shows, video games, rain on the window, leaves that you’re walking through, an insect on a journey across the patio table, a comic book, the waitress with the pretty smile, the … oh, sorry.

Or how about the way that stimulants calm our agitated behavior down, at least until they wear off.

And the big one for me …

How about the way that I can drift off into my own mind, chasing one thought with another, until the day is the equivalent of a wasted notebook of doodles and half written song lyrics, yet supposedly, I can’t meditate because I get distracted by the things around me when I try to sit still.

Okay, maybe that’s not really conflicting. The fact that I can sit still and think for long stretches is only true because my mind is doing the bouncing, ping-pong thing that my body would do it I tried to concentrate on one part of life, one aspect of being, one thought.

But what is meditation really?

According to Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary as quoted by The Free Dictionary by Farlex, meditaion is “continued or extended thought; contemplation.”

Huh … it doesn’t say it has to be about one thing. Just that it is “continued or extended …” That seems like an easy thing to me.

In fact, that seems like what I do all day. And while it may be assumed that said “continued or extended thought” should be about some one thing or concept, I can assure everyone that I do keep coming back to things. I just take turns thinking about a bunch of them.

An analogy is needed I think …

Computers are said to multitask, but the truth is that the CPU, the chip that would be considered the brain, can only perform one computation at a time. The trick is that there are other parts of the system whose job it is to tell the CPU, “Okay, enough on that problem, now work on this for a while.” The reason it looks like the computer is doing a bunch of different things at once is because when it works on something for “a while,” that while is actually measured in milliseconds. A CPU can work on many different things for a multitude of “whiles” in a second.


And that’s what the ADHD brain does when it is given the task of meditation. Something in our brain says, “Okay, enough of that, I’m bored, let’s think about fish, or Facebook, or what color shoelaces I’d like to buy next.”

Now, there’s no reason not to meditate on fish or shoelaces, none at all. And you know I won’t meditate on either of those for long. And whatever I started out meditating about I’m sure to come back to again eventually.

Don’t be an agitator

And how much better could I be at that if I wasn’t also taking the time to be agitated with myself for letting my mind wander?

So I’m going to suggest that, if like me, you have trouble meditating, you just simply redefine meditation for yourself. We’ll call it “Brain Spacing,” and we’ll get good at it rather than fighting it.

I mean really, no one else could do this like we do. Am I right?

ADHD Brain Space Conundrum

Kelly Babcock

I was born in the city of Toronto in 1959, but moved when I was in my fourth year of life. I was raised and educated in a rural setting, growing up in a manner I like to refer to as free range. I live in an area where my family history stretches back 6 or more generations. I was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 50 and have been both struggling with the new reality and using my discoveries to make my life better. I write two blogs here at Psych Central, one about having ADHD and one that is a daily positive affirmation that acts as an example of finding the good in as much of my life as I possibly can.

Find out more about me on my website: writeofway.

email me at ADHD Man

No comments yet... View Comments / Leave a Comment



APA Reference
Babcock, K. (2015). ADHD Brain Space Conundrum. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 19, 2018, from


Last updated: 17 Dec 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 17 Dec 2015
Published on All rights reserved.