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Absent Minded ADHD … Not!

brain leaving
I’m outta here!

There is this popular idea that people with ADHD are absent minded.

To that I have to respond … what even is absent minded?

Are they suggesting that my mind is … what? Shut off? On a lunch break?

I Wish!

I cannot count the number of times I’ve gotten out of bed in the morning and realized my mind is still churning with the thing I thought last when I went to sleep the night before. Does that sound like it’s absent?

The phrase comes, not from my mind being AWOL, but from my mind not being on what someone else wants it to be on.

Okay, truthfully, it is often not on what I would prefer it be on, but it isn’t absent.

And another thing …

The number of times I’ve tried to rein in my mind, redirect it toward what I think it should be on, and then, after becoming exhausted from attempting that control, had it wander to something pertinent and relevant to the topic at hand is getting unnervingly frequent.

Does my mind know something I don’t?

I’m of two minds on some things

And that leads me to another oddity about this old noggin of mine, it seems that it has the ability to engage, somehow, in two things at once … maybe more.

The best example being that I can read while thinking something completely different at the same time.

It is true that I have to go back over what I read to be aware of what it said, but when I do go over it I am also aware that I am familiar with the words and phrases. I just read them, and that makes them even more boring then they were the first time my mind slipped onto a different track and left the book on a siding.

So far from being absent …

My mind is, in fact, present in both places. Although it is clearly not present enough in what I’m reading to comprehend, it is there enough to make the words familiar when I reread. And the thoughts that were sparked by those words usually involve a relationship between some concept apparent in the writing, and some situation in my life, that then becomes the focus of my attention and the locomotive of my train of thought.


You might still think this should be called “absent minded” and if you want to argue the point, I’ll concede, though like the name ADHD, I think it is a poor label for what is really happening.

My mind is hardly absent, if anything … it is multi-present.

I think that’s at least as good a description as absent minded is, don’t you?

Absent Minded ADHD … Not!

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

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APA Reference
Babcock, K. (2018). Absent Minded ADHD … Not!. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 4, 2020, from


Last updated: 14 Feb 2018
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