What is it like to have ADHD?


ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is caused by an unusual development of the brain. This unusual development affects the person’s attention span and self-control. Symptoms vary and affects each individual differently, making it hard to detect. As a result, many are unaware that they have ADHD until they have reached adulthood. While there is no formal statistics done in Singapore, a survey conducted in the US on the number of children with diagnosed ADHD shows that ADHD is a lot more common than you think.

ADHD affects a person’s attention span and self-control. People with this condition are usually hyperactive, sensitive, unable to focus and easily distracted. Often times, these symptoms are misunderstood as a personality or an attitude problem.

It is extremely difficult for people with ADHD to explain their condition to other people as they struggle to figure out what is happening inside their heads. Furthermore, most people just assume that you are not trying hard enough rather than allude it to an actual problem with the brain. Books may tell us this and that, but they do not give us a full understanding of what people with this condition is going through.

Having ADHD is like having an extremely active, but unproductive mind. It is akin to disorganised bees constantly buzzing around inside your head, except these bees are disorganised and are not given focused tasks. It feels like a computer that keeps on crashing – various applications are being opened, your web browser has 1000 tabs opened on 1000 different topics, causing your computer to lag and crash constantly. You try to close some of them but nothing is responding! It is like a massive traffic jam on the highway with all the non-stop honking and shouting. Having ADHD means that your head is in constant chaos with no respite nor rest at any given moment, no matter how hard you try.

With all the chaos going on inside their head, people with ADHD tend to space out. The multitude of information that they need to process inside their brain makes them distracted and preoccupied. You can often observe them staring into space and become unresponsive to the people around them which is why they are often being tagged as slow or rude when they require multiple attempts in order to catch their attention.

As there are a lot of things going on in their heads, people with ADHD also tend to be more hyperactive and unfocused. Their attention shift from one thing to another rapidly. This often gets them into trouble particularly at work and school because it may result in unfinished tasks. This is also why they are often being misunderstood as lazy, unproductive and unorganised.

It is difficult to understand what it is like to have ADHD but believe me, these people are trying their very best. We may not see it, but they struggle in their own way and do put in their best efforts. They are often frustrated with themselves when they cannot seem to control their thoughts, their words and their actions. They may come off as arrogant and rude but understand that they are not actually like that.


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