Are you ADHD?

brain with colorful blue and pink paint Don’t resonate with ADHD diagnostics written by neurotypicals? Here’s one written by two late-diagnosed ADHDers about what it’s like from the inside, after a lifetime of masking.

Jump to section:

Maintenance Tasks
Time Blindness
Non-linear thinking
Rushing & Risk Taking
Motivation & Planning
Dopamine Depletion

Maintenance Tasks

Do you find “normal” daily tasks of living to be a constant source of exhaustion and avoidance? Things like: cleaning, cooking, buying groceries?

Do you often think either:

  • other people must find the things I find boring interesting
  • everyone must struggle with laundry, hygiene, shopping, cooking, tidying, cleaning, vacuuming, maintenance (car maintenance, home maintenance, dental care, website maintenance, laptop backups), insurance, pet care, decluttering, lawn care (unless the maintenance is related to a hyperfixated, special interest sort of thing, in which case you probably over-do it?)

When you move house, do you end up moving a lot of stuff you no longer need, but you can’t motivate yourself to sort through it? Does unpacking take a very long time, or just never happen?

Do you endure situations that are suboptimal because doing something about it is worse than living with it? Like:

  • Driving with a dirty windshield is preferable to washing the car.
  • Using a mostly-clean dirty dish is easier than getting a clean plate.
  • Re-wearing clothes is easier than washing them.
  • Leaving too-old food at the back of the fridge or pantry is easier than throwing it away.
  • Living with a messy house is easier than cleaning it.
  • Not having stuff is easier than maintaining that stuff.

Do you have unopened mail that you plan to open later?

When you explain your struggles, do neurotypical people say to you “why don’t you just…” and you can’t explain why it’s so hard for you?

Do you have constant low-level judgement of yourself for not having your shit together like other people?

Back to top

Time Blindness

Do you snooze things, and then are surprised when they come back because time keeps unexpectedly passing while you were engrossed in something else?

Do you set multiple alarms and reminders prior to an event so you not only won’t forget to go, but won’t forget to prepare for it?

Back to top

Non-linear thinking

Do you start doing one thing, and then notice another thing that needs doing, and then another, until you can’t remember where you started?

Do you feel like everything you do is non-linear? Time is non-linear, thoughts are non-linear, activities are non-linear?

Do you never go A-B-C-D-E, but instead go A-Q-H-B-8-E?

Do people say to you, “The way you think is fascinating”?

Back to top


Do you find yourself asking, “What was I just doing” or “What was I saying”?

Do you always write things down because you know you won’t remember, but then you also have 10 different systems where you write things down in, so you can’t actually find it later?

Do you have over 100 tabs open right now? And is it because you don’t want to forget to read them, but you know if you put them in a “Read Later” app they will disappear forever?

Have you made multiple documents that were some version of, “These are the very important things I need to remember that will be stored here forevermore”?

Do you metaphorically and literally try to keep everything spread out in front of you so you know where it all is?

Do you leave physical reminders for yourself, like placing something near the door so you remember to take it somewhere?

Do you have “quirky” workarounds to keep you from forgetting things?

Have you ever gone to use an onion or a potato that you really thought was still good, and then realized you bought it months ago and it is bad now?

Do you try to mostly buy food that doesn’t go bad?

Back to top

Rushing & Risk Taking

Do you often rip open packages with your bare hands, teeth, or whatever tool is closest, because you don’t want to find scissors or a knife?

Have you jumped into things that others thought were risky but seemed just fine to you, or you were so excited or into it that you didn’t take the risk seriously?

Have you climbed onto precarious objects to reach heights because they were conveniently at hand, even though finding a step-ladder was a safer option?

Have you tried to lift heavy objects that others warned you that you shouldn’t?

Back to top


Do you often want to interrupt people, even if you don’t?

Do you seemingly randomly jump topics in conversations, because something has just reminded you of something else?

Do you wish sometimes you could put someone on 1.5x speed, because they talk too slow?

Are you favorite friends the ones you can talk to about any topic in any direction?

Do people sometimes say you talk too fast?

When you get excited, does it feel like your thoughts are like 5 people trying to squeeze through a doorway at once, and you have to slow yourself down so you can say one thing at a time?

Back to top

Motivation & Planning

Does your motivation feel unpredictable or chaotic? Meaning you could be really excited about something, and then a few days or weeks later, your enthusiasm might evaporate and you don’t know why?

Do you feel like sometimes your productivity is off the charts, and other times you can’t accomplish anything at all?

Does having someone else involved make certain things immensely easier than doing them alone?

Have you told yourself you must be lazy, selfish, immature, self-sabotaging, afraid of success, afraid of failure, or “lack follow through”?

Have you made yourself depressed trying to force yourself to do things you just don’t want to do but you feel are important to do?

Do you join gyms or membership programs in a surge of excitement, and then stop attending, and then keep paying for months or years because you want that excitement back and/or you don’t want to feel like you failed again?

Would you find it a fun adventure to organize someone else’s closet, but you can’t find motivation to organize your own?

Do you have fantasies and call them plans? I.E. are your plans more aspirational than realistic?

Do your to-do list apps fill up with things you still think are a good idea but you have continued to not do, until you abandon the app as too cluttered and start over with a different app?

Do you constantly want something to have been done, but you don’t actually want to do the thing itself? Example: I want my lawn to be mowed, but I don’t want to mow it myself. But for SO MANY THINGS.

Back to top

Dopamine Depletion

This is a state where you are so low on executive function that you can’t really figure out HOW to get dopamine, so you keep doing the thing you are doing.

Do you sometimes find yourself unable to leave places you don’t want to be anymore, even though your mind is screaming at you, “JUST GO!”? Does it feel like navigating your way out is harder than staying put?

When you go to the grocery story, do you sometimes find yourself in a zoned out state, wandering the aisles, until you force yourself to just go check out already?

Do you scroll social media hoping to see something interesting, while it’s slowly draining your energy?

Do you make mental checklists in order to accomplish daily tasks, especially if you are very tired? (Like: Ok, I need to go to bed. I’m going to brush my teeth, then I’ll clean the cat litter, then…).

Do you sometimes feel you are just zoned out in a conversation, and you can’t get yourself to zone back in? Do you find yourself saying nothing because you can’t seem to find a place to insert yourself, and even though you keep thinking of things to say, you don’t say them? Whereas other times, you are talking a lot and constantly worrying you are talking too much?

Back to top


Masking is when ADHDers try to act or think of themselves as neurotypical. It can make recognizing ADHD hard because you’ve been trying your whole life to “overcome” these traits and do not want them to be associated with you.

Have you asked yourself over and over if you have ADHD and are always like, “no…because X”? Where X is a very narrow thing, like, “I don’t forget my keys” or “I pay my bills on time” or “I’m never late to things”?

Does life feel like a constant struggle for you, in a way that it just doesn’t seem like others struggle?

Do a lot of your friends and your favorite writers just happen to be neurodivergent? Have any of them suggested that you might be also in some way?

When you see ADHD content, do you resonate with it, but tell yourself that it must apply to everyone, or lots of people?

Do you resonate with there being a “Wall of Awful” between you and things you want to do or need to do?

Do you tell yourself that you are just an ENFP, or an Enneagram 7, or a multi-potentialite, or gifted, or an HSP, any other label that you hang on to really hard because it describes the positive aspects of the ADHD neurotype?

Back to top

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *