(Originally seen in Bustle) June 2017 | CAROLYN STEBER
When your life is feeling a bit "off," it's not always easy to figure out what, exactly, is going wrong. But there are plenty of explanations worth looking into. Are you're always running late, missing deadlines at work, or flaking out on friends? If so, it could be that you have high-functioning ADHD.
While attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can have a huge impact on a person's life, high-functioning ADHD can be just annoying enough to affect you — but without all the full blown symptoms. "High-functioning ADHD means someone has ADHD but is still functioning at a high level," author and psychologist Dr. Helen Odessky tells Bustle. "They don't appear to be struggling to the outside observer ... [but] the reality may be quite different." To get through an average day, you might compensate by studying extra hard, or putting in twice as much effort at work. "You may also struggle with hyperactivity, where you feel you can't stop moving and always need to be doing something," Odessky says.
If you have a certain imagine in your head of what "ADHD" looks like, it might not have crossed your mind that this could be what's going on. So take a moment and read about the symptoms below. If any sound familiar, it'll be a good idea to talk to a doctor about some treatment options, all in the name of finding some relief.
1. You Aren't The Best At Budgeting Your Time
While it seems everyone else is able to meet deadlines and show up to things on time, you really struggle with staying on schedule. "Try as you might ... you miss deadlines or come so close to missing deadlines that you have to do things at the last minute," Odessky says. As a result, your life has turned into a 24/7 scramble to get things done.
2. You Are The Queen Of Procrastination
If you have something due for work or school, do you start the project now or wait 'til the night before? If you wait, it could mean you have ADHD. "If it's not due right now it's not due," Odessky says. "You are really good in a time crunch, but you have a hard time planning ahead or working ahead in a consistent way." (Sound familiar?)
3. You Aren't Able To Read For Extended Periods Of Time
While you'd love to sit down, relax, and read for a few hours, you just can't seem to make it happen. Odessky tells me it might be because you have trouble paying attention, or you find yourself rereading pages over and over again after getting distracted. It can feel incredibly frustrating.
4. Sitting Still Feels Incredibly Difficult
People with ADHD often have trouble sitting still, so take note if you fidget in your seat at work, or tap your foot while watching a movie. "It's a way to burn off excess physical energy," Odessky says. And it can be very annoying for you, as well as everyone around you.
5. You Do Best in Jobs Where You Get To Move Around
If there's one thing you despise, it's sitting for long periods of time. "You may even have chose a physically active job just to avoid it," Odessky says. Or might have to make daily gym trips. While there's nothing wrong with exercising everyday, take note if you only go in order to burn off tons of excess energy.
6. People Are Constantly Reminding You To Not Interrupt
ADHD can make it difficult to listen, so take note if you're constantly interrupting your friends. "This is due to impulsivity that people with ADHD struggle with," Odessky says. If you can't seem to wait your turn to speak, it may be an issue worth looking into.
7. Your Friends Often Call You "Flaky"
If you've officially become the "flaky" friend, it could also be a sign. "Individuals with high-functioning ADHD may appear flaky or scattered periodically or always," Dr. Michele Barton, director of clinical health at Psychology Life Well, tells Bustle. If you are always running late, leaving things unfinished, or constantly multitasking, this could be why.
8. Your Self-Esteem Has Been Pretty Low
As Barton tells me, all these symptoms — especially if you don't know what's going on — can lead to some pretty low self-esteem. Which makes sense, doesn't it? If you're constantly being accused of interrupting, or are always running late, it can start to feel embarrassing and frustrating.
9. You Hate It When Things Don't Go As Planned
While most people roll with the punches when things go awry, those with ADHD often feel all sorts of thrown off. "Many adults have, over time, created compensatory systems that allow them to manage their days," says psychotherapist Judi Cinéas, LCSW. That's why any sort of interference can lead to confusion, and some pretty intense frustration.
10. You're Incredibly Thrown Off By Disorganization
While nobody enjoys disorganization, take note if you're easily upset by a messy desk or an unexpected work meeting. "Organization is another very important tool for these individuals as it allows them to make more seamless transitions," Cinéas says. In other words, if things aren't "just right," it might feel like you're whole day is ruined.
11. You Get Personally Offended By Setbacks
After taking great pains to keep your distractible brain on track, it's easy to see why any sort of setback would be difficult to deal with. That's why, as Cinéas tells me, a glitch in your day can feel like a personal attack, as well as one that feels difficult to recover from.
If you suspect you might have high-functioning ADHD, don't be afraid to reach out to a doctor. A therapist can give you some treatment options, which can help make your life feel much easier.