24 thoughts on “ADHD and the Highly Sensitive Person

  • August 11, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    Zoe, if I am correct this blog was posted 04/21/10. For some reason it lodged itself in the back of my brain. Here it is the middle of Aug 2010 and I have been on the HSP website YOU directed me to and found ME. Wanted to acknowledge on the blog where I first saw the cover of the book. Have taken the quizzes and read some archived articles and will eventually get book.

    I can not thank you enough Zoe. Your writing means so very much to me. I know for sure I am HSP and was a HSC. Still not so sure about the ADHD but sure do LIKE reading about your journey and will continue. But the gift you have given me through your writing is PRICELESS. A gift I do not want to return, exchange, regift or set aside. There are no words except thank you for this PRICELESS gift.

    Denim’s FOG is diminishing, because of YOU!!!

    • August 11, 2010 at 12:58 pm

      Call me a sap, Denim, but your comment brought tears to my eyes. I think I’ve probably hinted before that these blog posts take an inordinate amount of time to research and write, but feedback like yours makes it all worthwhile. I know the writing is helping me, but it feels so rewarding to hear that it’s touching others, too. So thank you for sharing your experiences.

      Take care!
      P.S. – what’s an HSC?

  • August 11, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    Zoe, if you meant sap as a negative trait, take your dominant hand and slap the other hand on the back and say “sap is not a negative trait, stop trying to suppress it”. If you meant it as a positive trait, go girl. My intent was realized.

    There are just not enough appreciative people in this world. Or they are out there and they don’t express it. I am going to be one that expresses appreciation whenever I can.

    I know how much energy it takes for me to write just to journal. So add to that, public viewing, researched information, ADHD and that makes you awesome. Plus you read and respond to your commenters. DUH!!! When do you eat and sleep (no answer needed).

    I hope you have seen where Jeff describes his writing process. If you have not, ask him where to find it on his blog, cause digging for it might take hours and I don’t remember where it is. His method would be the only way I could write for public viewing.

    HSC = Highly Sensitive Child
    HSP = Highly Sensitive Person

    • August 11, 2010 at 2:00 pm

      Gratitude and appreciation are beautiful things, I agree!

  • October 1, 2010 at 10:11 am

    YES Denim. Zoë’s writing is PRICELESS and abundant! (I can’t keep up!) AND… so are YOUR contributions. You crack me up!

    OMG I’ve just found this post. So I can be ADHD, HSP, GAD, FAT and MAD. The last two come free with this super-sized co-morbidity! I thought my overwhelm contradicted my ADHD — GREAT insight. I’m NOT so much an enigma! (hmmm, don’t know if I like not being so unique) I’m nearly 42 and still trying to find my identity. Any more acronyms you want to throw my way Zoë?

    Maybe there’s help for me yet! I’ll study this in more depth! Thanks!

    Side note… this “writing p-r-o-c-e-s-s”… is that Greek? I’m having trouble becoming more Greek, um, I mean, “normal”. Are you saying there can be method in the ADHD madness? So, Zoë, how do you stay on top of all these posts, and be so productive with your writing? How to you turn innate incessant rambling into such positive, organized and informative work? (you’re inspiring!)

    cheers! P

    • October 1, 2010 at 10:44 am

      Pannie, thanks so much for your comment!
      I’m just running out the door, but I would like to address some of your points…
      please stand by! (Or just amuse yourself ’til I get back!)
      I do have to say quickly, though, the HSP was CRITICAL to me and my understanding and acceptance of myself – glad you’ve discovered it!
      Take care,
      Z. 🙂

  • October 1, 2010 at 10:02 pm

    Pannie: “YES Denim. Zoë’s writing is PRICELESS and abundant! (I can’t keep up!) AND… so are YOUR contributions. You crack me up!”

    Zoe is going on the road with OUR comedy (yeah okay Zoe it is YOUR) routine. Thank goodness I don’t have to go or reveal my identiy. She is the one who wants to be rich and famous. I just want to be content and right now I spend most of my time there. So she will talk about this wacky woman she met online when she started writing a blog. She can (and will) make up what ever she wants. Pretty good deal, as we have never met and I won’t tell her where I live.

    Thanks for the compliment. Please keep reading. There is some really powerful stuff here and will be in the future, unless Zoe forgets to…

    • October 1, 2010 at 10:34 pm

      Ooooh! Denim! It’s one of those NASTY cliff-hangers! No fair! I can’t believe you’re being so mean to me! To us! What happened to the love?! hee hee hee hee…

      As for “She can (and will) make up what ever she wants.” – are you KIDDING me? I don’t know how many times I’ve told people I don’t bother writing fiction, ’cause I could NEVER make this stuff up! People are infinitely fascinating, and you, my dear, are no exception. (and I even forgive you for the cliff-hanger). 🙂


  • October 1, 2010 at 11:18 pm

    Absolutely brilliant idea for a book. You write an off line journal about your days, feed in the blogs you wrote, then the comments in date order. That would be a hilarious read and a series. I think you are about 6 months behind in the offline journaling. Better get cracking!!!

    Life: Behind the scenes with an pwADHD by Zoe Kessler

    If I remember, I will randomly drop the other end of the cliff hanger on another comment. And why do you have to forgive me for being me? LOL

  • October 3, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    I do like hiding behind the pc too, Denim! 😉 I’ll be watching for that fall or leap from your cliff! LOL

    I just have to gloat somewhere… so might as well be here. Who else would understand this accomplishment? My superhero cape got a good airing today when I lept from a monumental cliff. Somehow, I controlled all those shameful behaviors of mine, and I’m so pleased with myself I could explode! After 12 years of “shunning” (no, not Amish, just fits the situation), I finally met my inlaws today! Whew! A new chapter in my journal begins tonight. Now, when the real Pannie starts revealing herself (rambling on at the next family do probably)… well, we’ll see… the mother seems a bit scatty. I might easily blend in? No wonder my honey has been able to put up with me all these years? LOL

    Ok, so that’s a completely unsolicited admission to a few(?) “strange” women. Maybe you’ll understand how proud I feel for maintaining that control on such an important meeting?

    Thanks for “listening”! =)

    • October 3, 2010 at 4:23 pm

      Hurrah! Hurrah!

      I am standing and giving you an ovation. Actually, I just sat down to type this, but yes, right here in Ontario, Canada, I stood up at my desk, clapped my hands, and yelled, “HURRAH!” for you, Pannie!

      Way to go! ANY awareness, and change in our ability to act, PRO-actively, for our own life’s betterment – well, hey! – THAT’s something to celebrate!

      And HURRAH for all of us for getting to share in your happiness and achievement. I am being completely sincere when I say it’s CRUCIAL to first note, then celebrate, each and every little step on the way that takes you to a new understanding and allows you to CHOOSE your behaviour, rather than having it chosen for you by your wonky brain chemistry (or whatever the heck it is we’re dealing w/at any given moment).

      Congratulations, and again, sincerely, thank you for sharing. I feel honoured that you would think to write here and tell us all. So beautiful!

  • October 4, 2010 at 12:00 pm


    I really appreciated that! There are many new “friends” (yourself included) that have helped me over the last several months — learning to live without intense anxiety and fear. My new “girl” friends Lyrica and Strattera are in that list too. Who knew it could be so easy? 😉 One down, life to go…

    many thanks, again!

  • November 24, 2010 at 7:42 am

    i am so glad to see someone writing about hsp…3
    years ago at 59 found out i’m adhd..then i too
    discovered the hsp factor which i think affects me
    even more than a.d.d…i like lynn weiss book
    “a.d.d. and creativity” the best…i am the artis-
    tic, visionary, type and that’s who she speaks
    too…there is a lot about sensitivity in it..then
    i found http://www.sensitivesoul.com…www.intuitivemen-
    toring.com… fantastic articles in the blogs
    and archives of jenna avery(wwwsensitivesouls.com.
    intuition is so important to me and hsp’s are
    usually very intuitive…
    thanks for bringing this up as i don’t see it
    on most of the a.d.d. sites and for me its one of
    the most impt…i have learned quite a bit and
    am writing down all the things i’ve learned that
    are helpful…rue hass does meridian tapping for
    the sensitive person to heal all the old shame,
    wrong messages etc. and does a free monthly call..
    i love her, she is awesome!!!www.intuitivementoring.com…

    • November 24, 2010 at 7:45 am

      Brenda, thank you SO MUCH for all the information! I can’t wait to check out the links you’ve sent.
      Take care,

  • May 4, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    Hello Zoe,

    I am new to this website, many thanks to my pain care doctor! What you have described as being hypersensitive is exactly me…I also have ADD.I am not ADHD though. This pain care doctor has been treating me (chronic pain for neuropathy due to DDD) since 1998 and was the one that had me tested for ADD. My youngest son (33) also has ADD and Diabetes 1.

    Recently during a 2 month epidural process for my spinal pain, he talked to me at length about other things he had noticed in me (synocopy) over the years. He suggested this website to learn more about ADD and Hypersenitivity.

    Take a video of me, and you have described the combo! You do not know how many times I have been told “you are too sensitive” by a man that claimed to love me and wanted to marry me. I finally broke it off a year ago because I couldn’t stand hearing him say it to me again! He stressed me out more than anyone I have ever had a relationship with. If someone is not supportive of you, or tries to understand you when you are describing what you are feeling, RUN!!

    Thanks for all you do for people like us, Zoe!!

    • May 4, 2012 at 5:33 pm

      Hey, Bubbles,

      Wow, you go girl! Such an empowering story. I’m so glad you decided to do what was best for you, and that you’re worth having someone who “gets” you just as you are!

      Thank YOU for sharing your story. with us here. I’m glad you’re finding my blog helpful, and please say thank you to your doc for recommending it (if I’m correct in taking that from your opening sentence, wasn’t quite sure).

      I hope you are getting great results with your pain management; it sounds like you’ve been through a lot (although it looks like you’re pretty darn good at pain management, at least when it comes to extricating yourself from painful relationships! Congratulations!)

      Take care, and hope to see you here again.


  • October 28, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    Hi! I am an HSP, as I discovered when trying to figure out my oldest son, who is most definitely a highly sensitive child. Recently he was diagnosed with ADHD (for inattentiveness, not hyperactivity). We resisted talking to a doctor about it for years, but finally did when his struggles in school (in second grade) seemed to be leading to depression, despite the ultra-supportive Montessori environment of his school and a wonderful, encouraging teacher. He was just so hard on himself and extremely aware of how much he was struggling. I would really like to know more about the ADHD and sensitivity combination, but haven’t found anything other than what you have written here (the link at the end of the post is no longer active). Have you found any more information about this combination since writing your post? Thank you very much, I would do anything to help my son appreciate how special he is, and feel more successful and confident, and above all, happy.

  • April 30, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    I just wanted to point out that it is possible to be both ADD and HSP. Especially, I think, among women whose ADD tends to be the quiet and daydreamy type, as opposed to the loud and hyperactive type.

    I am an ADD’er and an HSP’er

    • May 1, 2013 at 8:31 pm

      Hi Zipporah.

      Actually, I am the hyperactive type AND an HSP also. Trust me, it’s weird being me!

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post and for sharing your comment.


  • May 2, 2013 at 8:10 am

    Hi Zoe,
    Well here it is almost a year later…thought you would appreciate an update 😉
    The man I got away from (had to go to court for a restraining order!) decided I was manic depressive and sent me the ‘Dummy’ book and told me to read it…told
    the Judge he was ‘trying to
    help me’. The Judge
    ordered the restraining
    I remarried on Dec. 1st 2012 to my very best friend who also has ADD and understands the hurdles that we ate now jumping together!! He does agree with my hypersensitivity and he and my pain care Dr. have truly spent hours with me trying to find the best solution in meds because I also have severe pain with arthritis and neuropthy. All this in a year!!! Don’t EVER let people tell you there is something ‘wrong’ with you!!! They are just jealous because they can’t think ‘outside the box’ !!! Thank you for ALL that you do Zoe!! If it hadn’t been for your encouragement I would probably not remarried after being single for 14 years! Thank YOU!!

    • May 2, 2013 at 10:00 am


      What can I say? Thank YOU for starting my day on such a happy, triumphant note! Hurrah to you and your tenacity, success, and new-found happiness! I’m delighted for you, and delighted that you took the time to share this wonderful turn of events, and words of encouragement to others here at my blog.

      I had a tear in my eye (of joy) as I read your message and you’ve started my day off with my heart just singing.

      On a personal note, as I think you might know, writing this blog and much of the other work I do sometimes seems a thankless task, only because I toil away here in solitude and the pay is meagre at best. But that is only in financial terms. It is good, strong people like you, and the other hard-working professionals out there, all of us together as a community who understands, who support, and who encourage each other through thick and thin who truly make my life rich beyond compare!

      Thank you, thank you, thank you, and I hope this year continues to bless you and your new husband with untold riches of joy, happiness, and the gift of vibrant health.

      Blessings to you and happy (Belated) May Day – full of hope and promise.


      • May 12, 2013 at 12:48 pm

        Thank you for all that you do…you are appreciated!!!

      • May 13, 2013 at 4:10 pm

        Thanks, Bubbles!
        I appreciate that! 🙂

  • May 20, 2013 at 6:13 am

    Do HSPs also have brainfog and get depressed when they fail to understand others or fail to convey something due to inability to order their thinking?

    How do HSPs react when they are called names due to being goofy in anxious situations? I get stressed and unable to retaliate and then all day goes ruined. In the morning next day most of the time I feel like new.

    Maybe I need to learn meditate? Can HSP condition be changed with anti-depressants?


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