Sparrow Profile picture
Jun 29, 2018 27 tweets 6 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
It really astounds me how many people think, "it couldn't possibly be ADHD, I can focus when I'm interested"

like hi you are literally describing hyperfocus which is common in both ADHD and Autism.

I just wish we had less stigma, more sharing important information.
Seriously one of the ways I bond with other neurodivergent people (especially Autistic and ADHD people) is to make jokes about how weird and sometimes wonderful hyperfocus is

it's a mental minefield of "I did all the things! But nothing on my to do list. Again. Whoops"
Knowing about hyperfocus in our ableist society is also really important

Because I think we all internalize that maybe we're just "making up our disabilities" or "it's not THAT hard to focus"

But then we end up beating ourselves up for variable attention and disability
Anyway, if you're a parent or a teacher, and a kid is only getting As or only focusing "on things they're interested in"

Consider whether maybe they're struggling with executive function and are only able to hyperfocus *when they're interested*
More info on ADHD hyperfocus…
Anyway, if you can only focus on things you're interested in :

You are not lazy. You are not imagining it. You are not "making excuses."

I'm sorry you haven't had access to resources on executive dysfunction and hyperfocus.
I can't find a good article on ADHD hyperfocus, but for me uninterrupted hyperfocus is like the Ultimate Stim

I just sink myself into this vibrant web of knowledge and let my mind wander and explore

It's really incredibly great, even though sometimes frustrating
One way that I cope with boring af adulting tasks is to pick a thing I REALLY don't want to do, and then procrastinate by things like "washing my clothes so I can go outside"
I used to cope by making arbitrary deadlines ahead of time and then convincing myself IT HAD TO BE DONE ON TIME

But using anxiety as fuel to complete boring stuff was...not a sustainable coping strategy for me
I'm still parsing how much of my executive dysfunction is due to brain fog, suddenly having less anxiety-as-fuel because I accessed treatment, and Autism

And how much is something else (maybe ADHD?)

But I thought this info/research infodump could be useful to others
If you're still in school or academia, this book has some useful tips on coping with assignments and writing papers and, like, making an outline out of colored clay

IIRC it's a little bit "we did it, so can you" which hi I see those bootstraps…
There's also a TON of useful info on Autism, including on hyperfocus, on the tag #ActuallyAutistic

You can also try using #AskingAutistics if you have questions
This link (to a free PDF) includes organization strategies designed for executive dysfunction, as opposed to "buy another day planner"…
Also, just knowing that hyperfocus has a name and other people deal with it too

Has helped me put down some of the internalized ableism and shame I carry about why boring things are just inexplicably hard

(Learning new languages - the memorizing vocab gets me every time)
Also a personal trick that works for me sometimes is to play good music to get things done

I think the parts of my brain that are all "IT BORING. NOOOOOO." get to play with the sounds and then it's actually possible for me to focus on like, paying bills (it's still hard tho)
It also helps me if I take breaks between boring tasks or limit how many I do in one day/sitting

Because if the "reward" for finishing a boring task is ... Moar boring tasks... just, no

Or if I try to force myself to focus past my limit, it's insta meltdown/shutdown
A downside to hyperfocus is that it can be hard to remember to take breaks, and I'll just turn my phone alarm off and keep going

Sometimes I have to set alarms and leave them in another room, or set like five alarms in a row, so I don't lose track of time and miss appointments

Another downside to hyperfocus is that sometimes I forget to eat or drink because I'm SO IMMERSED in a task and also if I stop it's hard to get going again

I try to have snacks handy to my workspace and easy to prep food in the freezer so I can feed myself and keep going
I can also get incredibly cranky when I was blissfully hyperfocusing and FINALLY DOING A THING

If someone interrupts me

Or like, life interrupts me

I try to let people know if I'm hyperfocusing and not up for interruptions
Also, if I have to stop a task I was hyperfocusing on to like, deal with life or take care of my body

I personally find it helpful to leave myself notes on what I was thinking or doing

So it's easier to restart my task again later
I'm a sucker for any kind of spreadsheet that say, tracks my word count or apps that gamify doing chores

I tried making my own sticker chart but honestly maintaining it was too much work
Anyway, I know people are often concerned about meds or access to meds. That's very real.

But there are a lot of different coping strategies out there that do not require a doctor.

What works for me may not work for you. I offer these as examples of potential ways to cope.
This post by @disabilisaur on differences between ADHD and Autism may be helpful for some folks

Here is also a helpful reminder about gender and neurodivergent diagnoses

Tired : Autism and ADHD are more common in boys

Also tired : Autism and ADHD are underdiagnosed in girls and women

Inspired : gendered stereotypes about Autism and ADHD contribute to underdiagnosis
Update : today I hyperfocused and so the bathroom litter box is FINALLY clean but my hip and back are super cranky also I still need to do the boring pill box refill

These are the kind of trade offs I make all the time

PS the hyperfocus was worth it
PPS since we're having a "things I wish everyone knew about ADHD" moment, here's a couple threads on Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria (RSD) which is common in ADHD

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More from @UntoNuggan

Jul 28, 2018
I mean if exams are in blue books and hand written, and people taking notes on laptops and other accessible technology have trouble writing by hand, then this is ZERO SURPRISE but I bet @Lollardfish is right it's time for able academics to yell about laptop bans
"Oh but students who have trouble writing by hand can get accommodations via disability services--"

Did you know that accommodations require a doctor's note

And not everyone can afford a doctor

Also some professors are actively hostile to disabled students
I had this one professor who had an "absolutely no laptops" rule and i presented my handy note from disability services

But it was a tiny seminar

I was the only one using a laptop

My classmates asked questions about why I was exempt

It was awkward af

Laptop bans are bad
Read 24 tweets
Jul 23, 2018
Getting really tired of this thing where a marginalized person says "this will harm my community" and people say "you're exaggerating that hasn't happened"

then like a week later the thing happens. The same doubters are all WHO COULD HAVE PREDICTED THIS CALAMITY

The good thing is once you spot the pattern it's easier not to become one of those people WHO COULDN'T HAVE PREDICTED THIS CALAMITY because they didn't listen to / believe marginalized people.
It's really easy to personally break this cycle. Ready?

1. If a marginalized person says a thing will harm their community, believe them.

2. Signal boost and see if anyone suggests ways to help

Yes it is that simple
Read 11 tweets
Jul 18, 2018
Since it was apparently news to a lot of people that straws are used for accessibility (DESIGNED FOR IT, even)

Here is a partial list of common kitchen items that can help disabled people cook (that we self pay for)

Kitchen thermometers : useful for colorblind people who can't discern the color of meat to test doneness

Also for d/Deaf people who want to test the doneness of bread but can't tap it to check if it "sounds hollow"
Waffle makers : because flipping pancakes requires a lot of manual dexterity and standing over the stove

These can be an access tool for those with back problems, chronic pain, coordination issues...
Read 27 tweets
Jul 13, 2018
I need environmentalists to hear that when they say "some sacrifice is necessary" to save the planet

& they're talking about *tools disabled people use to drink*

What I hear is "it's okay if you dehydrate if it's for the greater good"

I hear eugenics. 🙃

If you ASK disabled people, we could maybe work together on lifehacks to save the planet that don't limit our access to hydration.

Read 13 tweets
Jul 10, 2018
[Food, dietary restrictions]

Working on a mind map of my #MCAS triggers

This is part of the fermented/Aged Food branch. One intolerance has a cascade effect on other foods.
[food, dietary restrictions]

This mind map thing is really helping me process some feels and I think also it's less "here's my huge list of food intolerances" more "a few categories that have many sub categories"

Which is helping ease my internalized ableism tbh
[Food, dietary restrictions]

I know there's a lot of overlap with mast cell triggers, so in case this helps anyone here's my current mind map of #MCAS triggers

Help with captioning is appreciated.
Read 12 tweets
Jul 7, 2018
In case you are also chronically ill and planning for potential power outages or heat waves, here are some things I do or am considering doing for copes

Hopefully this will help someone else
It sounds weird but this dog pad is pressure activated cooling power. It requires no electricity and is reusable. (You can also make it RLY cold in the freezer.)

There are big dog sizes that work for my entire body…
Consider filling a bathtub or bucket/tub with cool water. Dip your feet or entire body in to lower your body temperature.
Read 28 tweets

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