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I Think, Therefore I Am Distracted

cogito, ergo sum distractus
I should put this on a t-shirt!

There is some merit to the idea that hyperactivity is a physical manifestation of distraction.

And we all know that those with inattentive ADHD are far from stupid. Their minds are going all the time, they just don’t find their immediate surroundings interesting enough to hold their attention.

So, the thing that both inattentive and hyperactive types of ADHD have in common is distraction, they differ in manifestation.

How do I know this?

Well, let me just tell you how. Lucky me, I am combined type ADHD. Type 3 if you will.

I experience both of these things. I can be sitting at a table with someone while they and I are having a conversation, and something they say can make me think of something not related enough to the conversation for me to remark on it.

But then …

My mind will start examining the thing to be sure it isn’t requiring mention. I’ll consider other aspects and view the thing from different perspectives. I’ll contemplate ramifications and possible outcomes ….

Meanwhile the person talking to me will take advantage of the rare time when my mouth is not loaded and ready to go off to try and finally get one complete sentence in without me interrupting them. Then a second sentence, and then another and another and pretty soon I have to tell them I’m sorry.

Sorry about what?

Sorry that I didn’t actually hear anything between “What if we did this …” and “Do you think that might work?”

But at least I was still sitting at the table with you.

For me, that’s not unusual

Neither that I sat down and didn’t wander off physically, nor that I did wander off mentally. That’s the inattentive aspect of combined type ADHD.

But the Hyperactive part, what some of us sometimes call Vitamin “H,” is that when I’m doing things that are physical, cleaning the house, doing laundry, it’s very easy for me to just quickly do one other little thing in passing that sucks me down the vortex of “little things.”

We often use the Alice in Wonderland expression of being drawn down the rabbit hole to mean anything from following click bait for miles to explaining why we’re painting vintage logos from 19th century catalogues on T-shirts in the garage when we started out cleaning the upstairs bathroom.

I’m not kidding!

Well, I’ve never actually painted 19th century logos on T-shirts anywhere, but I wanted an image that would illustrate the disconnect between what we start out doing and where we often end up and that image was … shall we say somewhat adequate.

And much like the inattentive example above, this distraction all happens with the mind first. Thoughts and ideas lead to a need to verify conditions or situations and then additional questions get asked and we set up experiments to ascertain facts that lead us to try other things and before we know what’s happened … there we are with a stencil and an XXXL shirt and some spray dye on a in the gloom of the garage.

And when we’re told to just not be distracted, that just starts us thinking again.

Nope, there’s only one cure for distraction, and it’s temporary.

We call it sleep.

I Think, Therefore I Am Distracted

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. (2019). I Think, Therefore I Am Distracted. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 5, 2020, from


Last updated: 13 Aug 2019
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