A couple of adults with ADHD holding hands while running on the sidewalk.

What Others Don't See: 7 Real Life Struggles Of Being An Adult With ADHD

by Caroline Nelson

I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was around 3 years old. My mother and father could not take my behaviors any longer and put me on medication to appeal to their and my own sanity.

But, even on medication, I continued to display behavioral problems in class and, unfortunately, due to my “natural leadership ability,” I was able to rile up classrooms from grade K-6.

I have calmed down as I’ve grown older and have also taken responsibility for my actions, which has led to a much calmer and focused sense of self.

Still, that doesn’t mean I don’t have a problem sitting still or am not endlessly soothed by rhythmic noise. Here is a look at ADHD from my perspective.

Harnessing the endless energy is a rewarding challenge.

Many people have described me as fun, outgoing and bubbly. It’s a challenge, no doubt, sometimes feeling that I just want to run around and scream, but knowing that if I do that, I will probably be exiled by groups of people.

Most of the time, however, I successfully remind myself that at some point during each day, I will get to act as weird or crazy as I want.

It helps knowing that at the end of the day, I will have an outlet: exercise. Honestly, I don’t exercise to stay healthy -- I exercise because if I don’t, even at the end of a super long day, I will have way too much energy left over to sleep. Bikram yoga is great because it focuses and exhausts you, which is a blissful combination.

Is there an off button for the least productive Internet use?

Social media and certain websites can suck up a good two hours of time when I am trying to get stuff done. In fact, in order to be productive, I must put my phone on silent and will myself not to look at it every 10 minutes.

It is absolutely insane and, although I usually have things done about two days before they are due, I struggle to accomplish things at times.

I have gotten better. I have learned that having an actual desk and a positive working environment is the ultimate way to be productive.

The initial burst of medicine during the day.

Honestly, I can feel the medicine as it hits my brain. It can sometimes feel like a tiny explosion of stimulants and, every now and then, I suffer from headaches, which tells me that I need to lower my dosage.

But, for a good hour or so each morning, I can feel the medicine coursing through my brain and my bloodstream at an appropriate magnitude, which allows me to be as productive as possible.

Rhythmic noise.

I simply love a good rhythmic beat. Tapping a pencil, drumming of fingers, typing on a good, solid keyboard — I just love it.

I am fairly certain that this is my ADHD because everyone I know with ADHD also enjoys a good, solid, metronomic rhythm.

Every now and then, a great rhythmic song comes to the radio and it practically makes my year. The predictable beats provide structure and pattern, which is great.

When I decide to get a job done, watch out.

Now, this comes from my will of iron, not from my ADHD. As I said before, in the right environment, I am golden.

When I would lock myself in the library, the amount of work I could accomplish was legend… wait for it… dary. All I needed was a water bottle and the classical Pandora station to get cooking.

I play best with animals and kids.

I love rolling on the floor with my dog, taking him for walks and generally doing things that a dog would love to do. I also used to have a reckless pony, and when you combine ADHD with recklessness, it results in concussions.

Anyway, I interact pretty regularly as a mentor with kids in elementary school and I have no problem acting as if I am 7 years old. I always say that I am 22 years old going on 7. I am not like many people my age — I see children and animals as my peers.

Truth be told though, it’s not so bad.

Along with short-term memory loss, an inability to sit still at times and all of the other things I am too ADHD to list, these are my “struggles,” if you want to call them that.

ADHD has tasked me with a blissful challenge and has given me my positive attitude, infectious happiness and sense of adventure. For better or worse, it’s a deeply rooted aspect of my identity.

Photo Courtesy: We Heart It