Updated: May 18, 2021
Whether you are self-diagnosed or have a professional diagnosis of Autism or ADHD or both, you understand the frustrations of having very productive days but others, it just seems like you are distracted by every little thing in your environment and cannot seem to concentrate on a single thing. It is like everything, from your cat, Instagram, TikTok, online games, taxis, laundry, dishes, responsibilities, school, etc. is constantly competing for your attention and you feel like you can't get anything done! It feels like distractions grab your attention and their arms are tied around you, preventing you from the important things you really have to do. The day has flown by, before you know it! Whether or not you are professionally diagnosed, you know this struggle all too well. It is really frustrating when you try to explain this to others, and yet, they do not believe you and tell you to "just try harder to concentrate." It is very frustrating when you try to explain this, but they just assume you haven't been trying hard enough to focus. This is not true, at all.
You have plans to get the laundry done, get the dishes done, get the trash taken out, write, and other things, but your brain and the distraction demons just get in the way. It literally feels like the distractions are holding you in this tornado that keeps you off the ground. You may feel like Alice from "Alice in Wonder Land", following the rabbit hole of so many things. You get overwhelmed by everything and all these things are keeping you from studying or reading for school.
I do not know about you, but I have tried to force myself to focus on all the things I have to do, hoping that the energy drinks will keep me focused. I love stimulants, because sometimes, they help me focus. I once had to get ready for my home kitten visit to ensure the lady approved my house for the kitten to stay with me. I had two Monster energy drinks that day, because I needed to focus on getting the house spick and span for her arrival. I had to listen to music while cleaning, sweeping, mopping, and other things. I was also anxious about getting ready, because while my house was getting clean, I wasn't.
One thing I have had difficulty with for many years with no medication is time management. This means I get distracted by one thing and focus on something that doesn't need much attention, knowing I have so many other things I have to do and check them off of my to- do list. For example, I can spend a long time focusing on the stories I make up every day, even though I do not plan to publish any of them. I believe I may have maladaptive daydreaming, which is where I act out scenarios in my head all day long that have never happened or probably never will. I make up characters who constantly fight and argue with each other, which always divulges to farce or satire. (As I write this, I see a cute girl who looks no older than 14 or 15. I like her haircut and her cute face. She is returning some books to the library as I write this.) Anyway, my point is, my brain messes up a lot and I forget to do some things.
Another thing I suffer from is... What were we talking about? The sun shining is really beautiful! The girl from the library gets her backpack and everything back and prepares to leave.
Oh, yeah. Another thing I suffer from is that I focus on things that are not important. As soon as I try to work on the website or write my book, my cat walks on the keyboard and tries to attack the touchscreen while I'm working. But I cannot leave him in a room by himself, or he gets really bad separation anxiety. I get distracted by small noises at home, so I forget what I was doing. I have sensory issues because of my Autism and get distracted easily because of my undiagnosed ADHD. (To be fair, a psychologist when I was 11 years old said I didn't really have Autism, but rather the worst case of ADHD he had ever seen.) But as an adult, I am not 100% certain if I have ADHD or not. I self- identify as having undiagnosed and untreated ADHD or ADD because of how easily distracted I get and so much time goes by where I didn't get everything done on some days.
I sometimes panic if I didn't get enough done. I have to go to a distraction- free place, such as a library to get some work done. The problem is, I can't drive because I don't have my driver's license, which is a story for later. I need to go to a place designated for studying or working, so that I can concentrate.
Another problem I have is that I work on building a strategy to help me focus, but I cannot seem to stick to anything. I have tried writing things down on a whiteboard or a sheet of paper, setting reminders and alarms on my phone, creating a schedule on my computer and printing it out, and keeping a written to- do list, etc. These are all strategies I have tried, but I can't seem to stick to any of them! I stick to a strategy to help me focus but then I can't seem to stick to anything long term. I have been learning how to manage my time and block out distractions for YEARS, but it still doesn't work. I have gotten better at these skills, but I still am HORRIBLE at everything. I still have no medications for my issues, because getting diagnosed as an adult is really hard.
I know some of you can relate to this post. Please leave a comment and share if you agree!