What ADD Feels Like

When I complained about how my writing had become analytical rather than beautiful, my PhD advisor encouraged me to write “one beautiful paragraph a day.” This was today’s paragraph.

Sometimes ADD (or ADHD-PI) feels like a sport—I’m locked in, my heartrate elevated, eyes wide, mouth dry, leg pumping as I scour my sources or tap out one flurry of text after another. Sometimes it’s like I ran into a brick wall at 50 mph, and I need time to recover. Other times all my fear and anxiety attack me at once and I hyperfocus on one intrusive thought or idea or I ping-pong between anxieties. Often I just gravitate toward what I want to do instead of what I need to do—am I lazy? uncommitted? Other times I flounder, even in what I want to be doing; ah, there’s a nice rabbit hole. Some days it feels like a superpower. Other days it’s like a disease, like something’s wrong with me, like I’ll never amount to anything. It can just show up as randomness, or as obsessiveness. It feels so many ways—good, bad, neither, both—but it always feels like ME.

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