When I received my ADHD diagnosis, I wasn’t surprised as I had related to other people’s lived experiences a lot. However, I was convinced that my ADHD was only inattentive. Still, it turned out I have combined ADHD (both inattentiveness and hyperactive). that surprised me as I was never the child bouncing around the classroom (if anything, I appeared more still than most other kids). So when I started to find out how hyperactive ADHD can subtly present, it almost described me perfectly. I thought I’d share how hyperactive ADHD can manifest in a way that may not seem as obvious.
- I am always fiddling! – I constantly need to fiddle with objects from blue tac to bits of paper. If I don’t fidget, I cannot concentrate. I don’t know why; it’s just the way my nervous system works. (this also overlaps with stimming and my autism, it can be hard to determine if I’m stimming or being hyperactive due to my ADHD).
- Doodling- If I have a piece of paper and pen, chances are I’ll be doodling to help with my concentration instead fiddling with a random object. I did it in school all the time! But I had to be careful of school staff seeing me doodling in case they thought I was “Not concentrating” Oh the irony!
- Changing my body position – No matter if I’m standing, sitting or lying down on my bed, I have to alter my position every few minutes. I can’t help it, and I am always looking for ways I can feel more comfortable.
- Waiting, I understand the concept of waiting and the fairness of waiting your turn, but It can be hard to control my impulses when waiting in line or having to wait to say something. My frustrations and my irritability can build quickly because of this, but nobody can see the mental effort it takes to wait in line.
- Hyperactive thoughts – My hyperactivity does not only impact my actions but thoughts too. I can bounce around many different thoughts or ideas at lightning speed to the point I lose track of what I was initially thinking about. I feel this impacts my ability to structure my ideas (I’ve always needed some sort of support with this when it comes to my work).
- My mind struggles to switch off. When people say just relax, I ask myself how? As it’s challenging to relax and forget everything. It affects my sleep too, and it can take hours sometimes to fall asleep.
- Urge to Chew – I often need to chew on something to help maintain my focus. This can also extend to biting lips, picking at nails and spots etc. I just need to do something physical to get the dopamine boost!
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