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The 10 Main Symptoms I Struggle With as an Adult With ADHD

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As a 32-year-old woman with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), these are the 10 main symptoms with which I personally struggle.

• What is ADHD?

1. Forgetfulness.

I have to set constant reminders and alarms for important appointments and even mundane chores at home because chances are, I will forget.

I keep things in the same place every time I put them down because I know I’ll lose them otherwise.

I tell myself out loud that “this specific place is where I’m keeping this item” if I’m putting it away for safekeeping because it helps me remember.

2. Timekeeping.

I usually underestimate or can’t seem to gauge the time it takes to do something or get somewhere.

I know this about myself, which is why I force myself to leave way before I actually need to, so I often end up being ridiculously early.

3. Procrastination.

It’s a real challenge for me to actually get started on something, especially if I don’t understand it or I don’t find it interesting.

I work pretty well under pressure, though — I rely on deadlines to get things done at the last minute.

I always fail to go to bed when I intend to and can’t shut down my brain to sleep.

4. Hyperactivity.

I can’t really sit still for long periods of time, and usually, I fidget with my nails or twirl my hair.

Being bored freaks me out; it’s impossible for me to just wait patiently without doing something, like looking at my phone.

Sometimes I get so restless that I feel irritable and agitated.

I struggle to just relax and unwind, I always feel like I need to be doing something, or that I’m forgetting to do something important.

5. Inattention.

It’s really difficult for me to keep my attention and not let my mind wander if I’m doing something boring or repetitive. Because of this, I often end up making careless mistakes.

Even when people are speaking to me directly and I appear to be listening, my mind wanders and I miss what’s being said.

6. Distractibility.

I’m easily distracted by any noise or activity around me; it’s hard for me to ignore even the smallest things.

I will stop what I’m doing and instead focus on whatever sights, sounds, smells, emotions, random thoughts or other tasks have grabbed my attention.

I have a lot of trouble following through with anything; I will pick up hobbies for about a week or start projects with good intentions, but get distracted by a new project to start and never end up finishing the last.

7. Social Problems.

I talk too much in social situations and tend to monopolize the conversation just to avoid awkward silences.

I often finish people’s sentences for them, which I know is rude, but it happens before I can stop it.

During a conversation, I’ll be so busy concentrating on remembering what I wanted to say that I won’t be paying attention to what you’re currently saying.

When I’m talking, I will lose track of what I’m saying, and branch off into several different tangents that have nothing to do with my original story.

Relationships are very hard for me to sustain, especially when they become familiar or routine.

8. Impulsivity.

I’ve really struggled with addictive habits, like alcohol abuse and spending too much, etc.

I tend to act impulsively, without anticipating the potential consequences.

I’ve had 10 jobs in the last 15 years, averaging 18 months per job.

I’ve had a lot of speeding tickets.

I’m useless with money, so I have to religiously maintain an expense/budget spreadsheet just to stay on track.

I’m notorious for interrupting people or blurting out inappropriate things because I don’t think before I speak.

9. Hyperfocus.

I can get so focused on something I’m interested in that I don’t come out of “the zone” for hours and don’t notice things going on around me.

10. Emotional.

I’m extremely hypersensitive to criticism.

I can’t seem to handle frustration very well because I have such a short fuse.

I’m very curious about the world and I’m always interested in learning new things.

I’ve always felt like I’m underachieving in my life and not living up to my potential.

My attachments to people and animals in my life are intensely strong.

I’m really good in a crisis, or a situation that requires quick-thinking outside of the box.

I often feel like I’m stuck in a rut, like I’m not moving forward in my life.

Because I was diagnosed as an adult, ADHD has been such a huge part of my life and my personality for so long that I thought it would be impossible to improve most of these symptoms. It’s still a daily struggle, but with the right medication and therapy to learn healthy coping skills and methods to help me, it’s so much more manageable.

Photo by Guilherme Stecanella on Unsplash

Originally published: April 30, 2019
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