Hyperfixation

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    Brittany Johnson

    How to Tell If You're Hyperfixating on a Crush With ADHD

    I live with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), meaning I also live with a fun little trait called hyperfixation. To hyperfixate on something means that I essentially make that thing my whole personality for however long. They’re interests, hobbies, topics and even people that you ultimately become overly invested into to the extent that you lose complete track of time when interacting with the medium. On top of that, it’s easy to become a little obsessive, learning and doing as much as you can when it comes to your hyperfixation. When you have a new crush, it’s very easy to become invested and excited when it comes to that person. It’s something that most people who experience romantic attraction can attest to. A part of falling for someone is wanting to talk to them and be around them more, but when does that cross into them being a hyperfixation? First, in my opinion, hyperfixating on a crush isn’t inherently a bad thing. It only is if you start to lose touch with the reality of the situation, and you start going out of your way in ways that may not be appropriate to the stage of dating you may be in (if you believe in stages) that could be to your own detriment. Just like any hyperfixation, I believe that it’s largely negative when it’s impacting your quality of life or prohibiting you from going about your day to day. That, or the crush is largely impacting your perceived sense of self or the world. So when are you just naturally crushing on someone, and when are you hyperfixating? Here are a few key ways to know from my experience. All of these are subject to how you interact with your hyperfixations, so please take this with a grain of salt. 1. How detached are you from the outcome? It’s 100% OK to want someone to be your person, or to simply want to date them. Getting your hopes up is fine as well, but are you able to remove and detach yourself enough for it to be healthy? Let’s say you are in love with the idea of someone dating you, so much so, that it’s all you can think about. You’ve played out what you’ll wear when you meet their parents, and exactly what dish you’ll bring to the family dinner. The sheer idea of you two not making it sends you into emotional fits. Meanwhile you’ve only gone on a few dates with this person and you aren’t even exclusive. That, to me, reads more like a hyperfixation due to how attached you are to them specifically being your person. 2. How much do your daydreams take up your conversations with other people? Have you ever had a friend who won’t stop talking about their crush, non-stop? I’ve been that person, but only when I’m hyperfixating on them. We tend to talk about what excites us, which is fine, but in the same way that my baking hyperfixation ate up months of my life and hundreds of dollars from my account,  how much real estate are they taking up mentally? Are they on replay in your cranium the same way “Hamilton” was for me for six months in 2020? We think about our crushes a lot, but if they’re dominating your mind, it may be a clue that you might be hyperfixating on them. I have a friend (and I’m sharing this with permission) who would spend hours in bed daydreaming about their crush. If anyone interrupted, they’d become immediately angry or agitated. Sure, people bothering someone when they don’t want to be bothered can be annoying, but to have that reaction? That’s a little much, don’t you think? 3. Are you able to stop? When I say stop, I mean stop all of the added little things that you want to do because you just love and care about them so much. The one problem with hyperfixations is that they can easily borderline into obsession, which is super dangerous when it’s another person. What is you hyperfixating on them could be misconstrued as love bombing, which isn’t great. Yes, shower the person you love with care and affection, but know when to reel it in and back. If you can’t (like, you legit can’t ), that may be a red flag for you. For example, once someone I had a crush on mentioned that their allergies were bothering them. I, thinking this was completely “normal” (normalcy is relative) , went out of my way early morning to a CVS, spent money on three different types of OTC allergy medication and kept it in my purse just in case their allergies were acting and I just so happened to be there. Was that sweet? Sure! A little over the top and an immediate sign that I was hyperfixated on this person? Oh yeah. As I mentioned, hyperfixations aren’t immediately bad. It can become negative when you’re spending too much money, your judgment making is impaired, or it is negatively impacting the quality of life for you and the people around you. Hyperfixations on people run the same way. Being aware of the fact that you’re hyperfixating on someone is important, because it can help keep you in check and keep the relationship healthy. It’s easy, especially due to the love chemicals in the brain, to ultimately believe that you’re still in a “safe” zone emotionally and mentally even when you’re not. These are my ways of knowing I’m hyperfixating on someone. As always, seek advice from a medical professional if you have questions pertaining to you and your ADHD-related habits and tendencies. Everyone is different, especially when almost sorta in love.

    Community Voices
    Community Voices

    Does anyone else hyperfixate?

    In the last six years of my life I have lost my fiancé, my dream career, my health and my independence. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to describe how devastating it is to experience not just one, but ALL of these.

    I’m an avid reader - often getting lost in my books for hours and hours. I’m a gamer - I’ll immerse myself in an MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) for hours and hours. I’m a writer… And I’ll lose myself in my notes, or in the paragraphs I write.

    My family often poke fun at how easily I disappear into a completely different world. If they lived with the pain I feel every single day… If they lived with my misery and depression… They’d do absolutely anything they could to forget about the real world. I used to think that hyperfixating was a pain in the ass - I’d never get anything useful or meaningful done. But now? It’s my lifeline. The only thing that keeps me sane. And I’m sick of people judging me for doing whatever I can to stop myself from feeling like I just want to fade out of existence. I’m so very tired… So weary. I’ve had enough of them.

    #chronicillnesswarrior #ChronicPain #POTS #AutonomicDysfunction #EDS #NAFLD #BPD #Diabetes #InterstitialCystitis #Migraines #Depression #Hyperfixation #Hyperfixating #sad #Upset #exhausted #tired

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    Community Voices

    I am constantly hyperfixating on people that I find attractive, give me attention, or celebrities/actors and their characters. I find myself stalking their social media and even have a private folder filled with pictures and videos of them because I can’t go to sleep without looking at their images. It’s such a burden and I feel absolutely crazy !!! Throughout the day I would literally have to look at these images to give myself a boost of energy and dopamine or I’d be depressed all day. With celebrities, I would watch hours on hours of their music videos, interviews, every movie or show they’ve ever been in, Instagram/tiktok edits… ALSO they become the main character in my dream scenarios. Don’t even get me started on how low I feel without having someone to fixate on. I guess it’s a coping mechanism because it truly takes my mind off of the problems in my life, but it makes it hard to focus on important things and no one should feel THIS dependent on someone they don’t or barely know. I’ve also recently heard about “love addiction” which is basically being addicted to recreating that new crush/honeymoon phase feeling because you seek the rush that it comes with but not being able to maintain a lasting commitment. I genuinely feel empty without that “new crush” feeling and the low spiral resembles that of a depressive low. I physically can’t care for myself or my surroundings (not showering, brushing teeth/hair, throwing away trash, cleaning in general) when my mind isn’t preoccupied with my current fixation. And it’s not on purpose, I just begin to feel like my entire life is falling apart because first my real life is in shambles and now my imaginary escape life is too? When I have no escape it’s almost like I can’t find peace in anything. Everything frustrates me. I’m unsure if what I’m describing can be categorized as something else or if it’s normal, or I really am crazy.

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    Community Voices
    Community Voices

    Kinda glad its not summer anymore

    I get stuck pulling weeds from my lawn. I'm afraid to go in my back yard or take out the trash. I'll pass by a weed and I pull and pull the next and the next. Next thing I know an hour has gone by and I tell my self to go inside and finish work, but that one last weed is bugging me. I keep doing that, and now the sun's going down. Guess I'm glad we relaxed on the work from home stuff as well.

    #Hyperfixation

    Community Voices

    mental health care is so difficult

    Couldn’t make my biweekly therapy appointment on Friday because of Migraine…I hate having unreliable access to my therapist because there aren’t enough counselors at my college so the few good ones are over booked 😓it’s nice that we have free counseling but not when you can’t actually get consistent appointments. Now idk when I’m gonna get to see her next. My anxiety is real bad right now, my picking is at an all time high and idk how to stop fixating. Any folks who have found tips/tricks for #Picking ? #Anxiety #Hyperfixation

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    Toxic Hyperfixation With Borderline Personality Disorder

    Hyperfixation, commonly associated with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is an occurrence when an individual becomes fully engrossed with something, may it be a hobby, movie, book, person, and so on. Often, this hyperfixation affects the rest of the person’s life as they have a challenging time focusing on anything other than their fixation, including work, school, self-care and relationships . While hyperfixation is associated with ADHD and autism, it is also present in various mental illnesses, and as someone with mental illness , I often experience hyperfixation and would like to share my story with you. If you aren’t familiar with me or my writing, my name is Ashley Nestler, MSW, and I have been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder , obsessive-compulsive disorder ( OCD ) , “quiet” borderline personality disorder (BPD), fibromyalgia , generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD) and multiple eating disorders . I have struggled with my mental health since I was 12 years old, but I was only diagnosed and started receiving help in 2019. It wasn’t until recently that I realized what hyperfixation was and was able to put a name to something that has controlled my life for many, many years. Hyperfixation, for those who don’t experience it, may seem like a passion that a person has for something, but for me, it is so much more than that. When I am experiencing hyperfixation, I seldom have the ability to focus on anything else in my life, and — for me — this fixation often feels toxic. When I was younger, I would experience hyperfixation with television shows, books and characters so much so that I would often find myself imagining that the characters I was fixated on were physically with me and I would have conversations with them. If I came across someone else who liked this particular show, book or character, I would experience immense jealousy and restlessness, while trying to prove that I knew more about the show, book or character than the other person. Possessiveness was a big part of my hyperfixation, and I would find myself so immersed in my fixation that I often forgot to do things that I needed to do — such as chores, schoolwork or maintain friendships — because my mind was so preoccupied. Growing up, I experienced my fixations as a comfort because I felt that they were always there for me; but now, I find that they often disrupt my life. While I still find myself fixating on different shows or series, I now tend to fixate on actors from those shows or series as well. I become so entranced with an actor that I will spend hours upon hours watching YouTube videos of them or looking them up online, and they even take over my dreams and the majority of my thoughts. Experiencing these fixations now is frustrating for me because it feels as though I am stuck inside of my mind watching myself obsess over an actor and I want to break the fixation, but I feel trapped. Oftentimes the fixation will last for a few weeks before my mind moves onto someone else, but I feel like I don’t have a say in when the fixation will end, or how long it will go on for. The feelings that I experience for these actors during my period of fixation, I liken to being in love. My emotions for the actor become so strong that they take over my life, and I am often unable to attend to my work or any of my responsibilities. I feel like the majority of my life has been lost due to these periods of hyperfixation, and as I have grown older, I am often struck with grief over what I perceive as lost time. I have seen my friends and those that I have grown up with moving on with their lives — getting married and having kids — while I feel like I am still stuck in my hyperfixations and the control that they have over my life and my time. They have disrupted my personal relationships and my work, and while my hyperfixation was once a comfort to me, I am often angry at them and at myself for feeling so out of control. To me, hyperfixation don’t feel like a passion or something that is an element in my life; they feel like an all-controlling force, and I am still learning how to navigate my life around them. If you experience hyperfixation — whether you perceive them as positive or negative — please know that you are not alone!  Also, please feel free to share your personal story with me. I would love to hear how hyperfixations have impacted your life!

    Community Voices
    Community Voices

    When you hyperfixate on making Shakespearean hats

    <p>When you hyperfixate on making Shakespearean hats</p>
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