By Rick Green
There are lots of quizzes and tests you can take to find out if you have ADHD. We have one online – give it a try! Or you could have some brain scans done!
It may show what’s going on, but doesn’t really help you finish that stuff you’re procrastinating doing, or finding what you’re missing, and it sure doesn’t help you to arrive on time!
But since most people who take tests dread finding out that they have ADHD, I have created a new test. I call it 23 Signs You Do Not Have ADHD. This fabulous new quiz is as scientific as I could make it. Which is to say, I put on the lab coat I used to wear when I was a teacher at the Ontario Science Centre back in the 1970’s. (The late 70’s. I’m actually quite youthful.) OK, well it’s more scientific than that, but the lab coat helps too. So here we go!
23 SIGNS YOU DO NOT HAVE ADHD
1. You’re a mess in a crisis.
Folks with ADHD tend to be great when the adrenaline flows. That’s why there are so many with ADD in adrenaline-producing careers: the military, police, fire & rescue, E.R., stock market, high tech, show biz, and sales.
2. You feel like you are living up to your potential.
One of the most common things you’ll hear ADHD adults say is, “I’m underachieving.” I’m betting even famous ADHD adults like Richard Branson feel this way. One reason? We may actually be underachieving. It’s hard to be your best when you have the equivalent of 9 radios blaring in your head 24/7.
3. You finish projects on time.
Wow, what’s that like?!
4. In the past month a few friends have said, “You seem like you have ADHD lately. Maybe you should get tested.”
ADHD is there from childhood. “I’ve been so scattered, confused, and overwhelmed… ever since my house exploded,” is not ADHD. It’s stress and overwhelm from your house exploding. Or a loved one dying. Or losing a job. Or any recent crisis.
5. You’ve been with the same company more than 6 months.
Okay, an exaggeration. But we tend to get restless. Or get fired. Or go off and start a new company.
6. Your parents and siblings don’t have ADHD.
ADHD runs in families. It’s in your genes. The statistic I’ve heard quoted by the top experts is that it’s 79% heritable. About the same rate of inheritability as your height.
7. You have your taxes done and filed ahead of time.
Wow. I cannot imagine.
8. The term ‘hyperfocus’ doesn’t really resonate with you.
Despite the name, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder is not a ‘Deficit’ of Attention. It’s uneven, unmanaged, unpredictable attention. Sometimes on the wrong things. Or at the wrong time. When we are interested, we are laser focused.
9. When someone asks, “What were you thinking?!” you are able to tell them.
10. Without taking your eyes off this screen, you can tell me where you left your keys.
11. You have no trouble reading any of this.
40% of ADHD kids have a Learning Disorder such as Dyslexia. And the majority of ADHD kids become ADHD Adults.
12. You tend to listen more than you talk.
It feels like every time I’m interviewed on the radio, the host discloses the fact that one or two of their kids have been diagnosed and they think they have it too.
13. You are curious to find out if you have ADHD.
I am not the only ADHD adult who has noticed that the people who are the most vehemently opposed to the possibility that they might have this mindset are the ones who seem to have lots of the symptoms. A number of the experts in our videos have told us the same thing.
14. You have a great sense of time, and never get lost.
It’s not a universal truth that people with ADD lack this ability. I’ve actually developed a good sense of time. But so many ADHD folks get lost or arrive late to everything they attend.
15. Your To-Do list has fewer than 493 items on it.
Don’t ask. We get enthusiastic.
16. Your desk top is visible.
For some reason people with ADHD need piles. And the weird part is, we know what is in each pile. What looks like disorganized is actually differently organized.
17. Now and then you walk into a room and wonder, “Now what was it I came in here to get?”
I have days where I go back to where I started, “Oh, right, I was going to get the stapler.” And then return to get it… and arrive… and wonder… “Darn, what was it I came in here to get?!
18. You tend not to overreact.
ADHD affects Executive Function – organizing, prioritizing, keeping track, staying on track, finishing, following through…It’s also about monitoring your emotions. Reacting appropriately. Whatever that means! I mean, reeeeeeaaaally! OMG! How dare they say I overreact, I’m a drama king! It’s the end of the world!
19. You don’t talk to yourself.
Working Memory, that is to say, holding stuff in mind… “Right, the stapler. I’ll go get it.” … is often a weak point for ADHD adults. So speaking it aloud helps to keep it alive.
20. You’ve said “No more coffee for me. It’s after 7:00!”
Caffeine is a stimulant. Half the planet uses it to focus at work. ADHD medications are also stimulants. Unlike coffee they aren’t addictive. So many ADHD adults find that they can drink coffee at night, and it actually helps them focus their thoughts, and slow down their racing mind. So they can fall asleep.
21. You can tell who made your shirt by the tag on it.
When we ordered ADHD T-Shirts for our shop, we made sure they came without tags or removable tags. Weird, right? Not really. Y’see, we struggle with managing our attention. And our emotions. And our reactions. But we may also struggle with physical sensations. Noisy rooms, bright lights, certain fabrics, even clothing tags; all of these can add to the irritation for a prefrontal Cortex that is struggling to deal with overwhelming input.
22. Your closet isn’t full of unused scuba gear, musical instruments, exercise equipment, yoga gear, and sports equipment.
ADHD folks tend to be interested in a lot of things. We can be curious. And enthusiastic. And say ‘yes’ to everything.
23. You read through this list in order, thinking about each one, not skipping to the end.
Again, I have to say, wow! Good for you, because I can’t do that!
If you think you do have ADHD, you’re not alone. About 1 in 25 adults qualifies as being in the spectrum – probably struggling in life but not knowing why. And assuming they are lazy, weak-willed, flaky, or dumb.
You’re not crazy. It’s not a mental illness. It’s how you’re wired. It’s about low levels of certain neurotransmitters. It’s biology not morality. And there’s lots you can do about it.
A recent University of Memphis study showed that people with ADHD score higher than their ‘neurotypical peers’ on 11 standard tests for creativity. So if you find out you have ADHD, it will explain a lot of your challenges and also where you thrive. And at some point you’ll actually experience relief, “So, there was a reason!” You’ll almost certainly also experience, “Why didn’t I know sooner?! Why didn’t someone see this before now?!”
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