There are parts of ADHD that just are. They are real and can be observed, especially from within.
The buzz and electric crackle of our brains when we are in electric bounce mode, jumping from one thing to another, bumper cars let loose in the living room of life, that’s one of those things.
And the way we can accept an appointment from someone with a date and time and file away only the feeling of having taken care of something, just the feeling and none of the details.
The way we mismanage time and can’t really predict how fast or slow it will go? Yep, that’s another one.
But our ability to focus is a weird one. We all know that there is a thing that some of us call hyperfocus. In mental health terms the more correct term is perseveration and it is not always pretty.
The ugly side of it …
Perseveration is an awesome force of concentration that can be nearly impossible to break.
Its major issue or drawback is that it cares not one whit, if I may be allowed the liberty to personify it, whether the focus it wields is on something that is needed or something that is distracting us from what we need to do.
In other words, perseverance is hyperfocus in all its ugly glory, whether we are stuck in a rut on the right path or the wrong one.
Right or wrong
How does that work? You know that age old question, if the fridge light is on when you open the door, how do you know it goes our when you close the door?
And if the light isn’t on when you open the door, is it blown out or has the switch broken? And if the switch is broken, does the light come on when you close the door?
Inside our minds there is a switch that sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t. Sometimes we can say to ourselves, “Yes, I need to do this thing.” and we’ll do it.
And no one notices, ’cause that’s the way it’s supposed to work. Open the door, the light comes on.
And yet …
Sometimes that switch doesn’t work and we walk right past what needs to be done and start stacking all the Popsicle sticks in order of stain color.
And everyone notices that the light isn’t on when the door opens.
When the door is closed the light might be on or off, ’cause yes, the switch is broken.
So yes, when we’re not being observed we can be on task or we can be on the wrong task.
And it’s on us whether we stay on track or get back on track, but it isn’t very easy to do.
Why? Because the switch is broken.