ADHD (or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) has become one of the most commonly diagnosed neurodevelopmental disorders in children. According to the CDC, approximately 1 in 10 children between the ages of 5 and 17 are diagnosed.
While it is most often associated with children, Adult ADHD is also a reality for many adults, albeit often a silent one.
One writer is bravely pulling back the curtain and giving the world a glimpse into what life as an adult with ADHD is really like. And we love her for it.
Sara Farrell Baker recently shared a raw and candid Facebook post on Adult ADHD and it has quickly gone viral, resonating with thousands of people.
Accompanying a photo of her immaculately organized refrigerator, she opens her post saying:
Adult ADHD is some weird shit, lemme tell you.
It’s not daydreaming about cats, getting distracted by shiny things, or choosing to binge Netflix when you’re supposed to be studying.
Sara explains that for her, ADHD is a “serious executive dysfunction.” While completing a task may come easily to some, it doesn’t always to her.
The thing in your brain that allows you to complete a task, even when you don’t feel like it? Mine’s a lemon. Complete garbage.
And sometimes? That task that needs doing, like laundry or going through emails, grows and morphs into a monster, taking on a life of its own.
And it requires Herculean effort and energy to complete it.
Just the thought of doing the task becomes all-consuming and the weight it carries is crushing.
Sometimes the weight of The Thing That Needs Doing is so heavy on my psyche that I disappear under my blankets for several days.
The term “mental load” is not hyperbole. It is a damn LOAD; a physical weight on the air around me. I can’t do The Thing but I also can’t stop thinking about how I need to do The Thing.
But that’s not all. Because it’s in these moments when the mental load is suffocating and over-powering, that ADHD really comes out to play and brings “shame, frustration, and despair” to the party.
Baker goes on to explain that ADHD doesn’t always manifest itself in the same way.
Sometimes it looks like needing to set alarms throughout the day to remind her “to do basic shit.” Things like washing her face, taking her medication, and eating and drinking water.
Sometimes it looks like forgetfulness, procrastination, anxiety, chaos, and struggling to even get out of bed.
But other times it looks like this: a beautifully organized refrigerator. A refrigerator that took 7 hours in the making.
Baker shares the story behind the photo telling her followers that she was supposed to be making dinner. A dinner she didn’t want to make. A dinner that she thought about how much she DIDN’T want to make several times throughout the day.
Partway through the afternoon, she started making it anyway. She put on some quinoa (for her bomb quinoa enchiladas) but that’s as far as she got. Dinner-wise that is.
Around 3:30, I put some quinoa in my rice cooker (I’m not an overly healthy person, I just have a bomb quinoa enchilada recipe) and then I took out some bins I bought months ago for organizing my fridge. I spent about 20 minutes putting items from my fridge into these bins.
Instead of focusing on the thing she didn’t want to do (making dinner), Baker turned all of her attention to a thing that made her feel good: cleaning and organizing her refrigerator.
Because contrary to popular belief, people with ADHD can focus when it comes to something they like.
Somewhere in that 20 minutes, I hyper focused like a sonabitch. You see, people with ADHD *can* focus. We just tend to find something we like or that makes us feel good and we focus SO MUCH on it that it is the only thing in the universe that exists to us.
ADHD is not just about being easily distracted, or unable to focus, or sit still. It is so much more than just forgetting where you put your keys or not being able to multi-task.
Baker ends her post by saying:
And that’s the story of how I spent 7 (SEVEN) hours tonight thoroughly organizing and deep cleaning my fridge while my husband finished making those enchiladas.
(Just in case you think the post was a humblebrag to show off her fridge she added a picture of the rest of her kitchen in the comments captioning it with “TADAAAAAA send help.”)
The sharp contrast between the two photos also showcases the very real duality of living with ADHD.
While no one sent help (that we know of), they did send a ton of support.
The post has received over 2K likes, 3.5K shares and nearly 1K comments.
Many of the commenters could relate and finally felt seen in their own struggle with ADHD.
And for those people who see themselves in the post but have never been diagnosed Baker shared these words of wisdom:
If you relate to this or feel like you may have ADHD, I can’t recommend going to see a doctor enough. If you are able to see a psychiatrist, GO.
Getting a proper diagnosis and the right meds is like putting on glasses. I struggle with all the things I wrote about here, but I am significantly more functional (and happier!) since getting my medications figured out.
Baker’s message validates what so many of us live with on a daily basis. It also gives those who don’t struggle with, or understand ADHD, a much-needed window into the world of someone who does.
You can read her full post here.
(And if you’re wondering about that bomb quinoa enchiladas recipe? You can check it out on her website, No Purple Walls, here.)