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Unhappy April Fool’s Day

Day 275: A fellow of infinite jest Tim via Compfight

I’ve been racking my brains trying to figure out why I can’t think of an April Fool’s Day post. I love writing humor, why would this be so hard?

This morning on Twitter one of my wise and wonderful Twitter peeps pointed out the obvious: her ADHD son has been dreading April Fool’s Day for weeks. Aha!

April Fool’s Day with ADHD is no joke.

How can you get creative and have fun with a day that scares the hell out of you? Writer’s block was inevitable.

I’ve long felt like a sourpuss for not enjoying this perennial celebration for pranksters. I also didn’t have a clue about the many valid, logical reasons why I’d shy away from the shenanigans.

I should have clued in last night when I was watching Murdock Mysteries with my friend Elaine (one of the tribe).

I can’t think of anything funny to write for tomorrow, I complained. You got any ideas?

After a moment’s hesitation: “Nope. I hate April Fool’s Day.”


As a child with ADHD, every day was April Fool’s Day. This day epitomizes a world turned upside down. For non-ADHD folks, that might be a fun, stimulating, refreshing break from the daily grind. I spent decades fervently wishing for one day – just one – where it was smooth sailing, with no shocks or jolts to my system.

Even on days that were incident-free, with no strange reactions to what I was saying, no sudden firings from jobs or me ending up at the wrong friend’s house for a sleepover or any of a number of ongoing social faux pas, my days were anxiety-filled, waiting for the next shock to my system. This day typifies a typical non-diagnosed ADHD day for me.

It doesn’t help that I’m also an HSP (highly sensitive person). This is a genetic trait in approximately 15-20% of the population that predisposes us to be more reactive to loud noises, emotional shocks, and a number of other triggers. ADHD can also heighten physical and emotional sensitivities.

In other words, it’s easier to shock us 365 days a year. We don’t need you to do anything special for us today, thank you very much.

Some enjoy that adrenaline-laced jolt received from someone telling you a whopper on April 1st. For me (and others like me), that same incident can trigger an avalanche of undesireable responses:

1 ) confusion (a normal state when you’ve been undiagnosed and / or untreated for ADHD)

2 ) anxiety

3 ) fear

4 ) paralysis (how do I respond to this?)

5 ) helplessness (what do I do? I have no control over this.)

6 ) rush of adrenaline experienced as physical pain, a sick feeling

None of this is pleasant or mirth-producing.

So, if you’re contemplating jumping around from behind me at a conference and yelling “Boo!”  – don’t.

But for the rest of you non-April Fool’s Day-averse people, Happy April Fool’s Day.


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Unhappy April Fool’s Day

Zoë Kessler, BA, B.Ed.

Zoë Kessler is an award-winning author, journalist, and speaker specializing in women and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD / ADD).

A frequent contributor to ADDitude Magazine, Kessler has also created video, standup comedy, and guest blogs on ADHD and Marriage covering ADHD-related topics.

Zoë, an internationally recognized ADHD expert, has been interviewed on radio and featured in magazine articles, documentaries, and books on the topic of women and ADHD across North America.

Her newly-released memoir ADHD According to Zoë - The Real Deal on relationships, Finding Your Focus & Finding Your Keys (New Harbinger Publications, 2013) about life with ADHD is now available.

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APA Reference
Kessler, Z. (2014). Unhappy April Fool’s Day. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 4, 2020, from


Last updated: 1 Apr 2014
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