You Don't Get My ADHD


ADHD & Self-Sabotage

Everything I need to succeed is within me. Everything that keeps me from succeeding is also within me. I am my own nemesis.

I have learned some things about myself on this ADHD journey of mine.

  • I enjoy learning, or am I obsessed with it?
  • I am very easily bored.
  • I am quick to declare failure.

I enjoy learning, or am I obsessed with it?

Many people spend their free time with family/friends, out to the movies, at sporting events, swimming, or something else deemed enjoyable. I turn to learning: watching webinars, listening to podcasts or audiobooks, and reading articles. My usual topics of interest are mental health or business. It’s a good interest to have, but it often feels like it is all that I do anymore. I have a thirst for knowledge that doesn’t seem to get quenched. I start early in the morning when I wake up. Today, for example, that was at 3am. It is 4:40am now as I write this. Do I not know how to “have fun” anymore? Do I not know how to relax anymore?

I am very easily bored.

I have 2 kinds of bored: the first kind is where the task is so boring that I am repulsed by it and want nothing to do with it, and the 2nd kind is where the task is not enough to keep my full attention so I need a secondary task to do alongside it.

We will leave the first kind to talk about another day; my interest here is the 2nd kind.

I just wrote about being obsessed with learning, yet often I get bored and need to do something else while I am learning. For example, I was watching/listening to a webinar on youtube on my tv. Oh how nice it is to watch youtube from the couch and not at my desk. So I was interested in this webinar yet I had the urge to also be on my phone playing ADHD whack-a-mole. I just had to mindlessly go from app to app in search of notifications. Perhaps this is my form of using a fidget spinner?

I am quick to declare failure.

I am the type of person that needs to see progress quickly. If I don’t have a win by the end of the day then I feel like the whole day was a failure, a wasted effort. Nevermind if I am measureably closer toward a goal. I need to feel the success or else I was not a success. Maybe this is why I start and stop a lot of projects. I am usually excited to start a new project. ADHD loves fresh and new, but if I don’t feel the progress quickly enough then I am going to get frustrated and bail.

The first step is admitting you have a problem.

Isn’t that what they say? I am good at observing myself and identifying issues. I am less good at resolving those issues. I am going to try pretending, right now, that everything I just wrote was written by someone else, and I am responding to them with my advice. Let me put on my counselor hat.

So you think you are obsessed with learning? Well first allow me to praise you for your active interest in learning and improving yourself. That is a wonderful quality to have. If you find it to be monopolizing your time though, perhaps try scheduling your learning time each week rather than it being your default activity. Also place some rules on it such as not completing 2 learning sessions consecutively. Demand of yourself to do something “not learning” in between. Another approach may be to instead schedule the non-learning time each week. Make more appointments with the people in your life. What good is endless knowledge if we have no one to share it with?

Boredom. I know how frustrating that can be. Your boredom however may be less about being bored and more about having extra energy. I think making use of a fidget toy might be a good strategy; something that is mindless because when you use your phone you are distracting your mind partially from what you are trying to focus on as your primary task.

Quick to declare failure? Don’t. Ha, as if it were that simple. This is not an easy one. Perhaps mindfulness comes in to play here. When you are working on a task and you feel like a failure – ask yourself: “are these feelings accurate?”. “Am I being unreasonably hard on myself?” Taking 8 hours to have a win is still a win for the day. Would you rather not have the win because it took “too long”? Of course not. Sometimes a task just takes longer than we estimated. We work on it. We get stuck. We ask for help. We take a break. We work on it some more. Try not to be so hard on yourself. Some tasks take a lot longer than others. Sometimes we don’t have a win by the end of the day. Look at Thomas Edison. How many tries did he have before discovering a way to make a light bulb that worked? Were those failed attempts a waste of time or were they necessary to get him to the attempt that would eventually work? Sometimes to make a discovery we must first rule out a bunch of stuff.


That was pretty good. I should try taking my own advice 🙂

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