People Share the Quirky Things About Them That Turned Out to Be Symptoms of ADHD
As the parent of two children who have been diagnosed with ADHD, over the years I’ve read all the medical books I can get my hands on. But sometimes hearing firsthand from people who actually experience living with ADHD can give us a greater understanding of how it feels for them. For those of us who are neurotypical, it can be especially helpful to understand how a friend or family member with ADHD may experience everyday events and stimuli and how their disorder creates additional challenges for them. The things that we may take for granted as simple tasks can be extremely taxing for people who are neurodivergent. Knowing these things may help us to remember to be kind and patient when we might ordinarily see their behaviour as frustrating or even annoying.
You can read here about What You need to know about my decision to medicate my child.
Remember, their brain isn’t wrong, it’s just different. ADHD may even turn out to be their superpower!
Being Overly Chatty, Too Loud or Inappropriate
Chronic interruptions, rambling nonsense ideas I felt were funny and compelled to share.
As far as personality stuff right now; I’m quiet. I don’t talk much unless I’m really familiar and comfortable with someone. A lifetime of saying dumb things, over sharing, or saying something inappropriate to the situation has made me really think before I talk. It’s not entirely a bad thing, but I feel like my only options are “off putting dummy” or “really serious quiet person; it bothers me a lot, and I feel like others feel like I’m judging them or don’t like them when I really really just don’t want to put my foot in my mouth.
I grew up thinking the way I couldn’t stop talking, I couldn’t stop over sharing, I was extremely forgetful, I was called “crazy one”, I was obsessed with getting an adrenaline rush from anything, I would hyperfocus on crushes to the point where it was painful for me then most of the time lose interest if they took any interest in me, I hopped from hobby to hobby, etc. god there is much more. I always thought they were just a part of who I was and I would never be able to change, And I was basically fucked because I thought I was lazy, stupid, inarticulate, and eclectic. Finding out that no, actually these things weren’t normal and there is a way to help myself balance them, I’m not stupid, I’m not lazy, I’m not just “eclectic”, was like I woke up from a bad dream. Now I plan on actually getting help and doing something about it!
Being loud! I didn’t mean to and have curbed it a lot after living with my best friend who would kindly say “inside voices” to me all the time. But I used to constantly talk waaaaay too loud for no reason. I found out later that this is a symptom of ADHD.
Talking too loudly. I’d been talked to a few times by HR at one job because people had complained they could hear me several cubes down. My family members would always tell me to be quieter.
After I was diagnosed, I found that in a list of signs and said OH WOW THAT EXPLAINS SO MUCH
Not knowing when it’s my turn to talk Ain a conversation and constantly interrupting people.
Always saying the wrong thing. Blurting out something that just crosses the line. Then anxiously regretting it for the next week.
my constant stream of talking when the urge arises.
It was more frequent as a kid, but I distinctly remember a day, I was talking to my mom and she just said to me “Don’t you ever shut up?”.
Changed my life.
I think that’s when I turned into an introvert.
Now I only gleefully overshare with folks that I *know* can ‘tolerate’ my quirky self, otherwise I keep myself in a severe check.
My inability to respect authority.
Throughout my life whenever someone would ask me do to something it suddenly became the last thing I’d want to do, even if I actually wanted to do it beforehand.
I thought this was just part of who I was, but it’s most likely oppositional defiant disorder, which has a comorbidity of up to 60% with adhd
Exactly this. I think it is partially borne out of ADHD shame. You may be thinking about doing something, but because someone mentioned it, it now feels like you’d only be doing it because they said. Doing it now would feel like admitting you forgot, when actually, you didnt.
On the other hand, even if I have forgotten or its something I’d not even considered, I still do not want to do that thing that someone has asked of me. Weirdly, totally fine with it at work, probably because there is an established chain of command. Outside of work, it feels like I’m being judged and I couldn’t want anything less than to accept instruction.
I’m also struggling to explain it. It’s hard to explain. It’s kind of a big mix of emotions involved but yeah.. Basically don’t
That’s interesting because though “respecting authority” isn’t how I’d put it, I struggle with rejection sensitivity so much that one of my biggest stressors is thinking anyone is mad at me. I can’t even function if I think someone is upset with me for any reason. If anyone in a position of authority tells me to do anything, or I think I may be breaking any rules at all, I’m in a panic. I won’t even park illegally waiting to pick someone up for fear of being told to move 😛
I am the same. I follow rules very strictly; obey signs, follow work policy, constantly check my speedometer to check I’m driving the speed limit… I really don’t want anyone to tell me off.
But I also fall into the oppositional defiance category because if someone told me a rule to my face, I would be like WHY?! NO! and I would bitch about it to everyone.
Follow written/societal rules for fear of being told off, if I get told off I oppose it.
I feel like my life is a constant state of cognitive dissonance, contradictions, and paradoxes.
Self-deprecating humor. I realize that it was a survival instinct that I developed as a way to try to take ownership of the dislike that people sometimes expressed towards me, a way for me to avoid that sense of rejection.
“You think I’ve let you down? That’s nothing compared to how badly I let myself down all the time!” That kind of thing. If I could point out my flaws before other people did, I thought it gave me some kind of upper hand. I don’t do that anymore, I like myself a lot more now and I’m realizing that I was always way meaner to myself than anyone else ever intended to be.
Making Unusual Noises
Going through phases of being either really tired or loads of energy. Making random noises all the time (for example referencing memes or singing). Always forgetting what I was saying halfway through saying it. Being really loud and energetic sometimes. The list probably goes on lol
When I was a kid, my God I must have been annoying. I made random sounds constantly. Now that I’m an adult I’ve managed to get the noises thing -mostly- under control but I still make weird meme references or say odd phrases a lot.
I will take one word from a conversation with someone and immediately sing a jingle or say any phrase containing the word. Example: Someone says the word rock – I belt out “Like a rock, ohhhhh like a rock!” I picked it up from a Chevy commercial in the 90s. It’s endless.
Weirdest quirk? Sometimes I absentmindedly make stupid noises to myself in places where I’m comfortable. I have enough self-awareness not to do it in a job interview or anything LOL. I’ll go “lalala” “dododo” while I’m doing tasks or “bloop” ie if I place a pencil down on a table. My coworkers notice sometimes and laugh – legit quote I got from a coworker about 20 years older than me “sometimes you seem so mature for your age, other times it’s like you’re 5.” 🤷🏻♀️
Starting New Hobbies Often
Motivation to explore new hobbies. I get a brilliant idea, interest, or hobby and run with it for about a week, buy all the stuff for it and then never touch it again.
I can’t hang out with friends two nights in a row. I always thought it was because I was an introvert.
Im bad at conversing. I over explain when I get excited about something new I learned about, I talk about myself a lot because idk what else to say, I jump in d uring a slight pause in a convo only to realize it wasn’t a pause and I just cut someone off.
Definitely being a jack of all trades. I have a good amount of knowledge and skills strewn across all areas.
I thought that’s me being me, I made it so much my trademark that everyone in my family asks me for random info if they don’t want to look it up.
But it’s just me being interested in anything and everything that is new…. Doing a deep dive and on to the next thing.
Another thing is being so sensitive to sensory input. Since portable cd- players were a thing, I was glued to them just to drown out noise. Idk why, but I always thought it’s a “me” thing.
having 1 million interests that are mostly … a bit weird ^^ I always thought it is because I like to write stories and this is research 😀 oh and writing and the way I write: well, it explains everything. especially the pantsing ^^
the fast talking, how hyper and bubbly I can get, how much I can fixate on one thing, like a tv show, a topic or whatever ^^ my enthusiasm ^^ that is all me, of course, but ADHD is certainly part of the mix 😀
I’ll study all *about* a hobby before trying it out. Books, Subreddits, Websites, Youtube videos. I know the ins and outs of a hobby before I begin.
Then I start. And..I suck at it. Because I may *know* it, but I haven’t *done* it.
And mentally, yeah, it makes sense, duh, I haven’t ever done it before.
But by the same token I’m TERRIFIED of people seeing my mistakes, and to the point where I may stop the hobby, because I can’t have people know I’m not GOOD at something I KNOW about.
Learning math, learning how to solve a problem then completely forgetting the steps I just used and being unable to solve the next problem.
- My desire to try everything. I love starting new projects and trying every activity i can think of
- My forgetfulness – i always would lose jackets and water bottles and keys.
- My tendency to obsess over things at a time which is sometimes not good but sometimes makes me super productive at a task
I don’t know if it’s like part of ADD but….y’know how like we have trouble remembering anything, recalling memories or information unless it’s really important or interesting to us (and even then, it’s a dodgy process)?
Losing and forgetting everything
I’ll remember exact sequence of events from 15 years ago, but I won’t remember picking up prescription from the clinic.
Weird…my long term memories are actually pretty good. I can recall stuff all the way back to pre-K.
It’s short term memory I struggle with…like what happened this morning and yesterday?
Poor Impulse Control
Impluseive spending. Thought I was a bad person for spending money on stupid stuff. Changing a song every 30 seconds. Constantly moving around in my chair at school/work. Hating large groups because I can’t follow more than one conversation but I can’t stand to miss out on any of them, so I end up overwhelmed and laying on the floor in a separate room petting a cat/dog.
That stuff by the cash register, those dumb sample size things, ten year old combo and bugle snacks, candy, pens, mini speakers… I buy all that. I’m getting better with my money but i still buy a lot of stuff I think I might need. Im terrified of becoming a hoarder because it piles up and I’m terrible at house work and then I just throw stuff away. The environmentally unfriendliness of it all gives me anxiety. I now recognize that as an impulse control problem.
changing a song every 30 seconds especially — I remember being on a road trip where a friend asked why I didn’t just let the song that was over halfway over just Finish, since I changed it, and I just .. .. .. well I was just over that one then. time for a new one. I have to force myself not to constantly switch radio stations now when I’m driving with other people)
Taking forever to finish a story cause i’d go off on like 500 different tangents
Having extremely intense emotions. Also being really expressive. And I can’t ever shut up
not being able to tell a story without going off topic and being overly emotional towards criticism or towards change.
Road rage 😬
The Sense of Hearing Constant Background Music
that i’m always reciting songs in my head over and over and over again
The constant songs that are in my head. Sometimes it can help me concentrate by singing them outloud while I am working on something or playing video games but I don’t always catch myself doing it. So I have a co worker who will give me a song occasionally but singing just a few words of it just to hear me sing it until another one pops in my head and most of the time I don’t realize that it happened.
Omg I’m like that with singing and dancing. The urge to dance and move… to whatever song is in my head. It’s constantly a battle.
Sometimes when I’m under pressure i feel like I’m listening to a radio but it’s in my head lol
Having a song play 24/7 in my mind is most certainly true for me and that’s why whenever I can I try to play actual music so that I don’t have to deal with music clouding my brain .
Being too tired /too bored to do things. I always thought I was just lazy. Hyperfocusing, literally not being able to put whatever I’m doing/interested in down, I thought it was a gift lol. I guess it sort of is but not all the times. Jumping around from hobby to hobby. Today im into music tomorrow I want to build a rocketship. Mind racing, takes me an hour to go to sleep EVERY NIGHT. I started taking melatonin 2-3 weeks ago. I can actually go to sleep without thinking nonsense thoughts for half of the night. So many more traits, I could literally right a book on it.
Before meds I think the weirdest one would be how fast and random the topics in my head would fire off. I can’t do it as often anymore now but it’d be like a game to me – I’d find myself thinking about something so odd and random and I would try to retrace my steps as to how I got there in the first place. For example, one time I was at McDonalds with my dad and I was looking at my burger and within the span of maybe 3 minutes or less I was thinking about this one person from a book who ate steaks that were actually grilled slabs of meat made from his child’s body and that lead to a zombie apocalypse scenario and out of the blue I asked my dad something about how long dried meat could last without a cooler
Hahahaha omg I am reading this, pulled over in my car, laughing sooo hard! I do this all the time! I’ll be talking to. Someone about something, and there will be a natural pause on the conversation, in which time I will go on a brain tangent and connect that conversation to something insanely out of the blue! Then, I have to ask the person I’m with a question about what I was thinking… like 2 mins after… and it’s so random to them! And then from the look on some people’s faces, I feel compelled to explain to them how I go to that topic in my head, or how I related that topic in my head, and the whole thing just gets really weird really fast. GAAAHHHHH! SOMEBODY STOP ME!
Feels like the brain is some sort of web browser infected with mal-ware popups occurring every second
Having a constant inner monologue in my head at all times.
Thinking up obscure ideas but not being able to verbalize it in a way that makes sense to others without going on a lengthy tangent.
Losing interest in something because the idea of doing it is more fun than actually doing it.
Hyper fixating on books and TV shows so hard that it becomes the only thing I can think about.
Having no concept of time or direction, especially while I’m distracted.
Selective OCD. For example, I mentally set myself up to straighten up the house and end up spending hours deep cleaning the kitchen. Instead of just putting things away and moving on, nothing ever really gets done because every time I start something I’m either too scattered brained to finish one task, or I obsess/hyper-focus on one part of the task.
I used to read a lot as a coping mechanism for other stuff in my life. I’d not notice sunsets, not hear people or alarms, eventually look up and realize I was starving and it was past midnight
Oh, hi hyperfocus!
Never leaving the house on time (by the nature of always forgetting something inside at least once & time blindness), not being able to finish the majority of self started projects, fidgeting and being obsessive (hyperfixation is life. Without an obsession I get amxious and depressed).
Time? The fuck is time? What do you mean it’s been 3 months? Felt like a couple days to me.
All of my insane number of hobbies and jumping about. After starting my medication I was able to focus on just the one, drawing which was something I had always wanted to do. I’ve completed 2 courses and am on my third since I started my medication a month ago and I haven’t jumped through a bunch of others, or spent a butt load of time on video games.
Being unable to focus in class without drawing (I now have an animation degree); being unable to go to bed before midnight at the very earliest; binge eating when bored; hyperfocusing on books and games; being gender non conforming (there’s some cool studies done about the correlation between ADHD and not conforming to gender roles); feeling too understimulated to (ironically) get stimulation so I’d just lay around all day.
Definitely the daydreaming/zoning-off.
My family and friends would always poke fun (not in a mean way) at my constant daydreaming through class and in general when I was a kid. They always said I had my “head up in the clouds” or I was a spaced-out blonde, that I thought it was part of my personality. Years later, as an adult, I come to find out its a major symptom of ADHD in women. Go figure.
The way I’d always daydream as a kid, and really liked escaping into books or fantasy worlds in my head. Everyone thought it was just my personality, including me, never thought it may be ADHD. Also my tendency to love learning and dive into researching different things all the time, and then talk people’s ear off about them whenever I could.
My social anxiety and shyness. For a while I thought I just had major social anxiety which is why I’m so shy around people I’m not comfortable with but I never stop talking to my friends. turns out rsd plays a huge role in keeping me quiet
Constantly finding a new hobby and then abandoning it for another one.
Being all or nothing.
Going from being extremely extroverted and happy only to become an anxious introverted adult. (Turns out that when you get shit for being too much, talking too much and always being happy and coming up with new ideas you learn that it’s bad and you do anything not to be that way. I’ve gotten a lot happier again after finding out I have ADHD. I wish I could have been allowed to be my happy extroverted self growing up.)
I was a happy, chatty child until I started going to school and being scolded for not being able to follow math or do sports and never really fitting in with my peers. Well guess what now I’m a total misanthrope shut in
Being introverted. In reality I freaking love people but I get to insecure to be around them.
By thinking I am different I create a barrier between “me” and “them” leaving me feeling like I might be awkward or stupid or too hyperactive etc., which then leaves me to think I am being judged.
Become Bored In Relationships Easily
Also the relationship thing. I tend to be all in and then bore easily. I think no matter who it is, ill be that way, because ive left some really amazing people when I felt it was getting too comfortable or i just felt i needed different stimulation. Im wondering if maybe if i don’t impulsively leave, id get passed it.
Intimate relationships suffer because I miss someone when they’re not around, but I get bored with them when they are around.
Most recent dumb, noisy fidget I got called out for recently was putting out one palm and snapping my finger on the other hand against it. It kind of felt like a game while I was listening to my friends speak. I got super focused on trying to make the snap noise happen the same time as that my knuckles would make contact with my palm. IDK what made me do it, I just subconsciously started doing it, but it was entertaining as hell
It was a long time before i knew that bouncing my leg was a symptom commonly associated with ADHD.
I very much relate to the slapping parts of my body. Im a drummer and i fidget a lot by making the world (including myself) a drum kit. I also click a beat with my tongue and tap my teeth together!
Prone to Sensory Overload
I don’t like noise that I’m not in control of. I can’t stand the sound of neighbors doing yard work, repairs, etc… Music I don’t like in stores or waiting rooms (seriously why have unrelaxing music in the waiting room at the pdoc?). I can’t stand the awful noise my shitty fridge makes or my dying dryer. I hate blow drying my hair because it’s too loud. I hate alarms, even when it’s music I like. I don’t like how loud the shower is or when my cat meows incessantly.
And forget bars, sensory overload.
oh god now im way too aware of the ticking clock behind me guess its time to leave the state
Delayed Auditory Processing
I make faces, & say things in weird voices, to emphasize what I’m saying. Very overly animated. My family will now point it out to me so that I can be more aware of it, because I’m sure I look like a weirdo.
Also (and I didn’t realize that I did this until after I was diagnosed), I’ll pretend I didn’t hear what you said – “Sorry, what?” when I need an extra few beats to process what you said. Little bit of delayed auditory processing there, or when you speak to me but don’t have my full attention.
When it’s late, and I’m tired, I sometimes can’t find the right words. I lose my words and struggle to say what I want to say. I hate that. But it means, it’s time for bed.
I say, “Huh?”, even if I heard you, because it takes me about five seconds to process the stimulation of someone speaking to me, especially if it’s out of nowhere.
Hypersensitivity to Touch
hypersensitivity to certain types of touch (tags on clothing…ugh. I also dislike socks/shoes touching my feet constantly, but that’s probably just me.)
I’ve always despised certain textures like felt or microfleece, and everyone’s always told me I was being stupid about it.
I figured out a while ago that I have problems with hypersensitivity, particularly with touch and sound, but it’s weird to see other people describing the same problem and it possibly being connected to ADHD.
For some reason I have always hated the feeling of construction paper and cardboard.