Good morning! Here’s your Mon morning #ADHD basics thread:

ADHD causes an inability to “feel” time. It is said that people with ADHD have a short “time horizon”; that we can’t see very far into the future. Since we struggle both to measure time (as in, how long something takes)
And to feel the future, it can complicate a lot of things. Some examples:

- chronic lateness due to not knowing how long things actually take (like getting ready, driving somewhere etc)
- overbooking /busying oneself due to not being able to accurately judge how much time things will take up in the schedule

- not being able to work consistently toward a goal because it feels too far away and it’s in the “not-now”

- not managing time well in the moment
(Ie, I only have half an hour for lunch but I spend 25 minutes fiddling with something in the kitchen because it doesn’t feel like time is passing)
ADHDers conceptualize time in two ways: now/not now. Anything NOW demands our attention, is urgent, is stimulating, can be attended to

Anything in the NOT NOW is basically never/I don’t know when it is and I’ll probably forget
So, projects with fuzzy / far away deadlines (“just get this to me when you can”), things that someone asked you to do “later when you have time”, or tasks you think you’ll return to (like cleaning up after eating) all go into the nebulous Not-Now Land
Things come back from Not Now Land only occasionally and only in a few ways.

1. they suddenly become urgent (have you finished that report that is due today?)

2. They become interesting (I just saw a show about fly fishing & I remember I bought that rod and reel 8 months ago)
Or 3. You plan for them, put them in a real, feel-able future that you are aware of and you remind yourself that they exist.

Guess which one ADHDers are bad at?
It’s actually a lot if you think about it. I need to put said event or task into a time in the future and I already need to know what Future Dusty, who is a creature of great impulse, will be doing at that time
If I don’t have some kind of method of tracking future events and tasks like a calendar or planner, I can’t do that. But as many an ADHDer knows, HAVING a calendar and REMEMBERING THE CALENDAR EXISTS AND TO CHECK IT are very different things
If I can remember to put the thing in the calendar and remember to check the calendar, I also have to be cognizant of the date and time in the moment. Like, I can know that tomorrow is Tuesday and that I have a dentist appointment on Tuesday but if I don’t remember that
Tuesday is Tuesday when I wake up, I can still forget.

This one is so hard to explain. It’s like, I remember that I have an appointment Tuesday. And I know that today is Tuesday. But my brain doesn’t put those facts together somehow? It’s weird.
So there’s the “in-the-moment” forgetting that can happen. For this reason, keeping your calendar and planner game strong is both important and very challenging.
Another way to think about “now/not now” thinking is “black and white” thinking. Another way to think about “black and white” thinking is “all or nothing” thinking. Many people with ADHD are all or nothing thinkers and this extends to tasks and gets mixed up with time
Most ADHDers, without coaching or therapy, are pretty rigid thinkers, especially about tasks. We don’t want to start them unless we can finish them (perfectionism). And since we can’t “feel” time and we don’t know how long a task might take, we are paralyzed to start it.
Conversely this can look like starting tasks and getting really behind because you under-estimated how long it would take.

“Hey what time should we leave for the movies?”
“Come over in 20 minutes! I’m just doing the dishes and getting ready!”
[proceeds to take 30 min doing
Dishes and then another 20 getting ready and the person waiting on you is very annoyed]
It can be really distressing when you think you can get like, five things done but you only get one done because it took WAY LONGER than you anticipated yet the next time you go to get things done you still underestimate. ADHDers get locked into a cycle of not learning from
Past mistakes/behaviours so we keep making them and not understanding why.

It can be distressing to be SO SURE you budgeting enough time to get somewhere/finish on time and still be late.
It’s like, imagine time is 3D, it has volume or weight. And when we want to make a plan or plan a task, we have a box and we need to fill that box with the appropriate amount of objects, which have volume and weight.

Except we see in 2D.
We know there’s room in the box but how much? We know the objects take up some of the room but how much? Know how many objects you can fit in a 2D box without knowing the size of the objects is impossible. Ladies, gents and NB folks, I give you “managing time and tasks with ADHD”

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More from @dustychipura

Jan 21
Ok so probably pharmacists and doctors think I’m drug seeking when I’m out of my meds because when I’m out of my #ADHD meds and can’t/don’t know how to get more I’m:

-highly distressed which reads like aggression
- talking fast, interrupting cause im panicking
-emotionally dysregulated
-very disorganized and can’t remember things / coming off as all over the place

All of these are ways I act when I’m both unmedicated and distressed
I remember years ago I went to a walk in clinic in Ontario where I didn’t have a family doctor, struggling badly and so distressed and when the doctor told me he couldn’t prescribe me stimulants I burst into tears which some how led to us getting in an argument?
Read 11 tweets
Dec 19, 2022
Good morning! Just a gentle reminder that rejection sensitivity and quick anger / irritability are a part of emotional dysregulation, which is an aspect of #ADHD not listed in the DSM and commonly overlooked by physicians!
This time of year can really bring up the feels so I thought I’d remind you that if you:

- are often told you’re “too sensitive”
- are obsessing about everything you said at a party, dissecting it and getting convinced everyone hates you
- get TOO over-excited or over-stimulated at holidays get together and feel like you should have toned it down / got told you were too much

- find yourself irritable after a lot of focus or concentration, even in social situations
Read 9 tweets
Nov 11, 2022
I was just minding my own business when I saw y’all tweeting about the Twitpocalypse so if anything terrible happens to Twitter here are 5 things I want you to remember:
1. You, as a person with #ADHD, have so much worth, value, heart and meaning. It’s not easy to have ADHD sometimes! But I want you to remember that you deserve as much care and gentleness as you give others.
#2. There are many other space to find neurodivergent community & acceptance. Idk about mastodon but there are discord servers, tiktok and IRL spaces. Find them and find your group.
Read 6 tweets
Nov 9, 2022
Today was one of those great days where everything came together; I had only a small amount of obligatory tasks, my #ADHD wasn’t raging and it actually felt like I had *time*. I could move slow and not be overwhelmed cause I didn’t have much to do. I’ve got spare time to putter.
Some days, I’d be crawling out of my skin with boredom. Other days I might be overwhelmed. It can be a hard balance to strike because adhd really does give you a variable capacity. It takes time to get into the swing of structuring options
and understanding how to navigate between high, medium and low energy days. One of the things I did today, for example, is that I wanted to make breakfast for my partner and his friend who slept over and my housemates and me and my child, rather than pay to eat out
Read 8 tweets
Jul 27, 2022
OK let me tell you a story about an #ADHD thing that happens to me and maybe you. It's when you slowly plan and build up to doing a thing but then your secret brain plan gets interrupted and you ABSOLUTELY LOSE IT.
I find this most often happens to me on a day off but not always - sometimes there's a thing I need or want to do. Say, paint a picture. But for some reason I don't feel like I can paint the picture *now*, but I KNOW I have a free evening tonight at like 5 pm.
So maybe I have time in the morning.. maybe I have time in the afternoon.. but for some reason in my brain I feel like I need to "build up to it" so I do a bunch of other stuff first that my brain is telling me is important or like, a prerequisite.
Read 21 tweets
May 30, 2022
Did you know that when you have #ADHD, a part of your brain known as the anterior cingulate cortex sort of.. doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to?
According to Dr. Russell Barkley, the ACC helps us organize our behaviour toward future social goals. So, it helps us to inhibit impulsive action in the service of long term goals. Ie, not oversharing about a wart on your butt to a group of people you’re trying to befriend.
Essentially, part of the ACC helps us to anticipate social consequences between the now and “what’s gonna happen in the future if you act this way”, according to dr. Barkley
Read 24 tweets

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