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I’m often asked what it feels like to have ADHD. While many of the symptoms I struggle with can be experienced by anyone, ADHD has a prolonged impact on your day-to-day life. In today’s post, I’ll share my personal experiences of what ADHD feels like on both good and bad days, and provide actionable tips for optimizing your own good days and mitigating the impact of bad ones.
What ADHD Feels Like on a Good Day
On a good day, I’m in a positive state of mind, productive, and social. When I’m in a positive state of mind, everything feels easier. I’m able to focus, plan, and organize my day effectively. I’m also productive, able to direct my attention to my to-do list and follow through with tasks. Finally, I’m more social and connected, wanting to see people, call and text friends, and engage with the world around me.
What ADHD Feels Like on a Bad Day
On a bad day, I’m in a negative state of mind, emotionally dysregulated, and more reclusive. I tend to obsess over negative interactions, picking apart everything I said or analyzing what others said. The negative stories I tell myself are unhelpful and not grounded in reality.
I feel overwhelmed, and have trouble with memory, focus, organization, and prioritization. I tend to go inward and become introverted, not wanting to talk to others or engage with the world around me.
Optimizing Good Days
I recommend designing your space and routine to make sure you’re optimizing for good days while mitigating the impact of bad days. For example, focus on foods that won’t upset your stomach, make you feel bloated, or inflamed. This will not only help with your gut and brain health, but it will also help you have better quality sleep. Sleep is essential for us ADHDers!!!
If you have a busy day ahead at work, prepare yourself for that. Create a routine for your morning to ensure you aren’t late or frazzled. Go outside for a walk at lunch, message friends, and enjoy the sunshine if you have it. Take some time to prepare your space so it’s not cluttered, especially if you find cluttered spaces to be overwhelming or distracting.
There’s so many things we can do to optimize for good days, and it’s going to look different for everyone. My best advice for you is to make a list of things that make you feel good and make time for them in your day. I know this sounds overly simplistic, but that’s basically the jest of it.
Mitigating the Bad Days (When ADHD Symptoms are Raging)
No matter how good you treat yourself, bad days are still going to happen. Maybe you have a bad sleep, or someone says something to you that sets off your rejection sensitivity. When I have these days, I try to do the bare minimum. I always have some low-capacity tasks to keep me busy like organizing my space or working from bed. For you it might be Taking your dog for a walk, listening to soothing music, or do anything that can help you self-soothe.
What Does ADHD Look Like to You?
By understanding what ADHD feels like on both good and bad days, and by implementing strategies to optimize good days and mitigate bad ones, you can improve your quality of life. Remember to focus on your sleep, manage your energy levels, and prioritize self-care. With these tips in mind, you can make the most of your good days and manage the impact of your bad ones.