I have always had trouble doing just one thing at a time. I am the kind of person who watches tv, browses reddit, plays a video game, and has 3 text conversations going on at the same time. I realize this isn’t effective in a lot of ways, and I realize that my multitasking isn’t doing much to make me a more effective human being. That being said, anyone who has experienced boredom while ADHD can attest to the fact that it seems unbearable to be doing only one thing.
This applies to reading just one book at a time as well. I buy 7 books and I will start all 7 within the week. I think I have started 30 books so far this year and have finished 4 of them (thesis related books not included). I start all these books at once, but one generally hooks me and I will follow it through to the end. Usually finishing after only a couple of sittings. This is the hyper-focus aspect of ADHD which is the other extreme I live in. I can either do 20 things at once, or I can do one single thing until it is done. If I get into hyper-focus mode it is easy to forget basic tasks, for example: eating, feeding the dog, doing laundry, taking a shower, and responding to any sort of communication. If I am in this mode, good luck trying to get even a minimal amount of attention from me.
ADHD is a life lived in extremes, especially when I have forgotten to take my medicine or have failed to realize it has worn off. Medication has helped me focus on two or three things instead of twenty. It has also helped prevent the kind of hyper focus that is detrimental to my mental and physical well being, but it isn’t a miracle cure. There is no medicine that makes me neurotypical, and that can be frustrating in a world that treats ADHD symptoms as laziness. Tardiness, not finishing tasks, missing deadlines, misplacing items, and taking too long to finish what should be a simple task are looked at as character flaws. In reality, these are symptoms of a disorder that I am fighting to keep in check. My ADHD is a massive pain in the ass, but sometimes it is an asset. I have learned to think in different ways than my peers and have found alternative ways to complete tasks effectively. I have spent my whole life thinking outside of the box and developing creative solutions to various problems. I persevere when other people quit and my many failures have helped me develop grit. These things define me more than the symptoms of my disorder and they serve me well when my symptoms are creating internal havoc. Like I said ADHD is filled with extremes.
Life without ADHD is not something I have experienced, and it is likely something I never will experience. So I read too many books at once and I bite off more than I can chew. Despite this, I have managed to create a precarious balance in my life making sure not to move the Jenga blocks that keep the tower from falling. I wonder if other ADHDers live in a never-ending game of Jenga as well?