Some things have infinite speed settings, you set it to whatever you want, some have a variety of set speeds, you feel the control click into place with each speed setting you turn to.
Most people think ADHD has one speed, flat out.
But of course, that’s not true.
Now you’re thinking that there’s flat out and stopped dead, like when we pass out from exhaustion. But no, that’s not a speed, that’s just turned off.
So what’s the other speed?
Well, like everything else about ADHD, it’s complicated.
The dual speed setting is our normal setting. We’re going at two speeds at all times. And all you have to do is watch us to realize the truth of this.
Still don’t get it?
For some of you, the light bulb has already come on. But if you haven’t guessed what I’m saying, don’t feel bad … it took me 58 years to figure this out.
You see, as you watch me moving around trying to get anything done, you’ll first notice that I move quickly, I bounce from thing to thing, We’ll call that “Speed of action.”
But if you watch …
And if you watch closely, you’ll see that what ever it is I’m trying to get done is being done very slowly, because I’m fidgeting with other things at the same time, bouncing from this to that, and some of those things have nothing to do with the task at hand.
So the thing I’m supposed to be getting done is not getting done at the speed of action. So we’ll call this other speed the “speed of accomplishment.”
And these two speeds?
They have almost no relation to each other, with the exception that the speed of accomplishment cannot exceed the speed of action unless someone else comes along and does the job for me while I’m asleep.
The speed of accomplishment is related more to location, availability of distraction, and stress levels.
You see …
If I’m in a familiar location, I can be distracted by little things that need doing that I am aware of, even if I can’t see them. If the location is familiar or not, the availability of distractions in my sight will also affect the speed of accomplishment.
And if I’m stressed in any way, physically or emotionally, I’m going to be more easily distracted by things that wouldn’t normally distract me.
And the analogy you knew was coming?
You know me so well. I’ve figured out that I’m like a one speed sewing machine doing a zigzag stitch. I’m moving fast, using lots of thread, stuff is definitely getting stitched together, but the seam I’m working on isn’t growing at the same speed as the distance I’m covering back and forth.
So, while it looks like I’m either just on or off, when I’m one, I really am working at two speeds all the time.
It’s another paradox of ADHD.