19 thoughts on “ADHD Form-O-Phobia

  • March 27, 2012 at 9:22 am

    Wow ! I get a case of brain-lock when I read forms of any length.

    • March 27, 2012 at 3:05 pm

      Hey, MotherMarcus,

      It’s looking like you and me are not alone! Quite a response to this post, here and on Facebook and Twitter. I’m so glad it’s not just me; on the other hand, I think we are definitely gonna need a HUGE group hug!

      Hang in there!


  • March 27, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    I love your blog posts for so many reasons…..I love good writing, I love to laugh, I love to have a peek into other people’s lives (yeah, I’m an incredibly curious person….though some call me nosey)….but quite honestly, the main reason I love your blog posts is because I get to sit here hugging myself, rocking back and forth chanting ‘I am not alone. I am not alone” It’s heartbreaking and uplifting all at the same time. Thank you sooooo much for sharing your life with us all.

    • March 27, 2012 at 3:02 pm

      Shannon, the reason I love writing my blog posts is that people tell me they feel the same way, and I get to hug myself and think, “Oh thank God, I’m not alone.” True story. (oh ya, and I love writing stuff, too!)

      Thank you for your very kind comment. It’s so good to know we’re not alone, eh?

      Take care,

  • March 27, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    Buy cookbooks with pictures so you see the end finished product…Microwave vegetables partly or fully, then add. Highlite with bright marker boxes to check and details on forms…if you don’t want to mess original make a copy and mark that..Then write on original. Better to try to do forms on-line as they tell you if you miss…Always put postage on return envelope BEFORE you do anything. BE MINDFUL. I can do same things but after a while proper checking–PROOFING–becomes ALMOST a Habit.

    • March 27, 2012 at 3:15 pm

      Hi Excelsior.

      I admit cookbooks with really nice, glossy photos just make me feel like an epicurean loser. Line drawings are nice, though. My Vegetarian Epicure (books I and II, by Anna Thomas, and The Enchanted Broccoli Forest, by Mollie Katzen (author of the Moosewood Cookbook), classics all, have lovely hand-drawn diagrams and drawings. I think I just realized that I prefer these because no matter what, whatever I come up with looks at least as good as a drawing! ha ha. Thanks for making me see that!

      Maybe I should recommend hand-illustrated cookbooks to ADHDers who feel like me and who couldn’t possibly live up to the photos in some cookbooks. I guess that would be like living up to a magazine photo of a gorgeous woman my age who’s had the human reality photoshopped right outta her! Not a winning proposition…

      As for a microwave, I stopped using microwaves probably over 20 years ago. Never did trust the things.

      I really like your tip about forms. I use the highlighter thing when filing receipts (thanks to Sidney Parker Holt’s powerful yet slim volume, ADD Simplified), and I can see where the concept can be applied to form-filling too (aka unavoidable torture, esp. around tax time or when renewing one’s passport, which, come to think of it, I just did. I must have blocked that memory out for the purposes of this post, because it was UGLY).

      We’re all different, so I’m sure many will find your tips very, very helpful. Thank you so much for taking the time to send them in!

  • March 28, 2012 at 8:28 am

    Hi Zoë,
    Oh how lovely to hear from you and thanks for your support. BTW, I am form-o-phobic, too. I always mess up on the first three or four tries and Marty ends up doing them for me.
    I am thrilled to hear from you.

    • March 28, 2012 at 5:03 pm


      You have my admiration for even attempting forms 3 or 4 times. Wow. That’s tenacity. Sometimes I give up before I even start (i.e. procrastinate until it costs me, big time). Ok, most of the time I do that. At least you try!! You have my respect. (well, you already had my respect, but you know what I mean).

      Hugs back,

      • March 28, 2012 at 5:10 pm

        Dear Z.

        You make me laugh. You really do.

        Another reason why I love you.


      • March 28, 2012 at 5:12 pm

        Thanks, Sandy.
        I’m all about the laughter! (and a bunch ‘o other stuff, too, but it’s all spiced with laughter).

  • April 7, 2012 at 10:46 am

    Thanks again for the validation. This “form-o-phobia” trait extends into every area of my life, especially invitations. By the time I get through grilling (as they see it) the asker, they’re sorry they asked me. A new, hopefully,friend, invited me by e-mail to go to church with her Easter Sunday. I had a question which I asked and sent. Then, oops, another question, which I asked and sent. And then, well, you get it. After many of these one at a time email questions, I haven’t heard back from her confirming and I’m a bundle of anxiety. At least, nowadays, I’m aware and I do try to sit on it, but that is just agnonizing.

    • April 7, 2012 at 11:37 am

      Hi Susun.

      Hey, I feel your pain. I describe myself as someone who, if you ask me to go to a movie, I have to know: what else is playing? Who is the director? Who are the main actors? Is it violent? What’s it about? etc., etc., etc. I don’t plan on changing much of that; I know myself well enough to not subject myself to things that, as an HSP, will only end up upsetting me. I use film to “escape” and find a happy ending, an uplifting mood, or some positive experience, even if it’s just great cinematography, great lighting, or, of course (my fav) excellent writing. And I’m just fine with that.

      Please give yourself love, acceptance, and understanding! After all, isn’t that what you’d like from others? Your true friends will accept you as you are, honest.

      Take care!

  • April 11, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    Dear Zoe,

    Another reader who has fallen in love with you. I thought I was the only one on the planet with this condition. I HATE filling out forms. I’ve got piles to do and thank you notes too. I feel as if forms were put on this earth just to annoy me and teach me patience at the same time. Ugh! It feels so good to vent. Thanks for the opportunity.

    Keep writing!

    • April 11, 2012 at 5:12 pm

      Awwww, Lj, that’s so sweet!

      You had me at, “Another reader who has fallen in love with you.” Thank you so much for your positivity and kindness. And please feel free to vent (share your experiences) here any time!

      Btw, if you’ve learned “patience” from forms, I wish you’d share your secret. I haven’t quite managed that trick yet. Mostly, I still procrastinate, but I’m learning to ask for help or – better – to delegate completely! Even if that means I have to hire a tax service or whatever to get it done for me.

      And here’s a very cool addendum to the post: even though I still can’t understand my drug plan documents for the life of me (the ones the program sends to me in the mail as statements of something-or-other) – the cheque (that’s “check” in American English) that they sent, I understood! And deposited! Immediately! Before some damn red tape or small print other other form-corollary-bugaboo took it away from me! Ha! So I’m getting there….

      Thanks for dropping by!

      (and yes, I will keep writing. I’m working on this blog, a book about women and ADHD, and a film script on the same topic at the moment. Who’s got time for !(*#&! forms?)

      Take care,

  • December 31, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    Count me in on this too (yes, I’m behind in my reading … as usual)… though, I wonder, am I the only one who once I start I need to fill out everything totally or I don’t see the need in doing it at all?
    This actually gets me in trouble at work where we have to fill in information about people in our computer database for various purposes, criminal and civil. My opinion is, while we are entering information, why not put everything we have in front of us or available to us at the time in the system so that if it is needed for an emergency later it is readily available? The attitude of the current PTB is basically put name and address in and leave the rest blank. Well, gee, this is how the same person ends up in the system 2, 4, 10 times, because adequate information to link them to a prior entry was not put in earlier. It clogs up the system, makes everyone’s job more difficult, prevents adequate record tracking, and generally seems stupid to me.

  • January 1, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    I’m so glad I decided to see if anyone else suffered from this problem. I have felt so alone and like a total idiot – shaking with fear at the thought of filing a tax return. I thought I was the only person who struggles to live in the modern world. I am highly educated an like to think deeply on matters of importance to me, yet I feel totally incompetent when faced with officialdom of any kind, especially if it involves form-filling! Thank you everyone for sharing your experiences, it’such a relief to know I’m not the only one.

  • November 22, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    All of this rings so true!! I became a notary public at work – and I am both good at it (the literalist/inflexible part that will not overlook a single box ensures that I am extremely thorough!) and terrified by it. Each time I am to notarize something, I ask in advance for the form(s) if available, and schedule a 30 minute block in a quiet room. While notarizing, I follow a fairly rigid system to ensure that I don’t overlook a single part (from checking and returning the id, to filling in the journal). Now that I’ve done over 20 notarizations, I feel more comfortable, but occasionally will be asked to notarize something that throws me for a loop.

    Re: recipes – when I cook, I follow them to the letter and if I can’t procure the EXACT ingredients called for, I simply won’t cook that item.

    Re: organic chemistry experiments – I was praised for my attention to detail and accurate notes. Once again, being inflexible and following the instructions to the letter came in handy!

    I marvel at those who “wing” it in both cooking and chemistry. But as much as I admire this ability, simply can’t bring myself to “let go.”


    • November 23, 2013 at 10:01 am

      Thanks so much for sharing your anecdotes – very insightful and helpful. As for “winging it” I’ve tried that with food and trust me, unless you want to waste a lot of money on unused food, it’s not necessarily worth it! I’ve ruined some recipes beyond recognition by trying to substitute an ingredient for one I didn’t have on hand. This rendered the food inedible. I’m all for experimentation, but for me, (like you) I stick to my recipes, unless I’ve made that dish so many times I can actually go wild and, say, leave out the salt. Woo! Renegade moment for me, to be sure! ha ha

      Take care and congrats on moving forward in your work.

  • February 16, 2018 at 11:37 am

    I googled to find out if the impossibility of filling out forms was related to my adhd, thank you so much for writing this. I’ve been filling out a form to release my car title and people are waiting for it and the form literally made me cry because I don’t know what boxes to check, what portions to fill out, etc. I feel absolutely frozen, it might as well be in Chinese. Somehow I managed a Master’s degree yet I can’t fill out a simple form.


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