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ADHD – What’s Wrong With Me

Big Picture
Time to step back for a moment …

It has occurred to me that I need a refresher course in what ADHD actually is.

I’ve been looking at it lately through the microscope of analysis and I’ve lost the big picture.

And the big picture is that ADHD has three main manifestations, comprised of two major symptoms individually and in combination.

And these three main manifestations of these two symptoms occur to an extent that the impact on a life is negative.


There is inattention. It’s an insidious symptom that quietly carries the mind away from the focus it should be maintaining. It is accompanied by the rapid ADHD mind justifying the wandering with ease.

The easy justification and the quietness of the distraction make it difficult for the person with ADHD to realize that they have allowed their attention to wander off.

And to some extent I have allowed my focus to wander away from the big picture of ADHD and go meandering down the paths of little details.


The next major symptom is hyperactivity. Those of us who have this symptom know what it means to see life blur as it goes by.

We are fast people with fast minds. We are as busy as we can be, and we like it that way.

But it is a lifestyle that others find to be too loud. And that includes people around us who want to be in our lives. We often overwhelm them.

The secret symptom

The last major symptom, impulsivity, is not really a secret, but it is a bit of a mystery in one sense. Those of us who are hyper are quite obviously impulsive, it shows.

But people with ADHD that is only the inattentive subtype are very likely impulsive as well.

In fact, it could be argued that it is impulse that allows distraction to shift our attention.

The first two symptoms …

… are the first two main manifestations of ADHD. We have ADHD inattentive type and ADHD hyperactive type.

The third type is ADHD combined type.

That’s me. I’m the combined type, sort of like winning the lottery, except that I’m pretty sure that there are more of us than the sum of the other two types. And I’m pretty sure that this isn’t what winning is supposed to be like.

What now?

So that’s the “Big Picture” of ADHD.

I’m going to continue to remind myself of this as my life goes on.

I’ll continue to discuss all the other little details here as well, but it doesn’t do us any good to discuss them without reminding ourselves every now and then of the frame of reference in which those little details exist.

That frame of reference is the big picture, it’s us.

ADHD – What’s Wrong With Me

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). ADHD – What’s Wrong With Me. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 15, 2018, from


Last updated: 7 Mar 2018
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 7 Mar 2018
Published on All rights reserved.