Illustration: Noisey

In case anyone didn’t catch on (or didn’t want to jump to conclusions) from my articles’ occasionally unfocused structure and excessive use of parentheses, I have ADHD, and it’s a bit more on the extreme side than a lot of the people I know with the same diagnosis.

If you don’t know what ADHD is, it stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and while symptoms can be a little different for everyone, for me it means that any time I’m focused on something and I get distracted, whether that be by an outside event or my own thoughts, it takes much, much longer for me to get back to what I was doing than the average person.

Now, in today’s Internet age, it’s very easy to get distracted without having ADHD, but the key difference is that ADHD is caused by a very real difference in the brain that may or may not involve a slower reuptake of neurons. I’m not a science person, so while I can say what it is, don’t take my word for why that is. And if you were to take away all electronics in order to “help me focus,” you’d be surprised at how little it helps, as the biggest distractions for me are all in my head.

Nevertheless, years of medication convinced me that I’d rather live less focused than be a zombie, so the only two things that really help me focus are for me to be working on something that I care about deeply, such as writing, and a hot cup of coffee, the only medication I need.

I’ve gotten a lot better with it, but there are a lot of factors that can really bring out the worst of it: Some really big life event in the recent past or upcoming future, a really big episode of a tv show or part of a book, movie, video game, or even news event, or a new toy.

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All three have been an issue for me today.

First, I’ve got a lot on my mind about my future. I’m turning 18 in nearly half a month, I’m searching for summer jobs, jobs at my University, and jobs online, I’m trying to learn how to drive, and the University itself is kinda a big thing to think about. An exciting, amazing source of opportunities, but also a source of stress over multiple big decisions hundreds of smaller ones.

Second, the season finale of Steven Universe finally decided to show up on Amazon Video, for lack of a better term, I’m shook. The song’s still in my head, I can’t stop cheering and crying and gasping and crying more, and the song’s still in my head. Why didn’t I write an article about this?! I should have written an article about this.

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Finally, I got a new mouse for my laptop and this thing is way too fun. It has the most satisfying click, the scroll wheel is too fun to spin, there’s a seemingly pointless button on the side, and I’m playing with it like a fidget cube. I literally got distracted by the mouse for a good three minutes in between this sentence and the last. Like any new gadget, using it for long enough will slowly but surely make it less of a distraction, but this one’s certainly a hurdle.

I’m really not asking for advice, I get plenty of that. I’m just sharing why it’s been so hard for me to focus today, and some of the struggles I have to deal with daily. After years of self-hate and medication, I’ve come to accept that things just take longer for me to do than others, and that’s okay. It can be really disheartening to emerge from a daydream to find that ten or more minutes have passed, and have that happen multiple times in a day, but it’s also taught me to have an incredible amount of patience with myself, and thus have a lot more sympathy for others.

If you have ADHD, please feel free to talk about your experience with it in the comments. And I guess you can AMA about it if you want. :)