The difference between Race Car ADHD and Brain Fog ADHD in a nutshell
I’ve pointed out before how every successful person I’ve ever seen talking about their ADHD is hyperactive, good at multitasking, has too much energy, finds it easy to start doing stuff and hard to stop, needs little sleep, and is male. By contrast, people with my sort of ADHD are hypoactive, good at hyperfocusing on one thing, experience brain fog and have too little energy, find it hard to start as well as stop, need endless sleep, and are female.
(Is that why women with ADHD seem especially likely to feel guilty for being “lazy?” Hmm.).
In my self-hating mind, Hyperactive/Multitasking/Racecar ADHD is “good ADHD” and my Low Energy/Monotasking brain is “bad ADHD.” (Obviously, this is nonsense. If you also have a Low Energy/Monotasking brain, your brain isn’t bad. Only mine. Or something).
Here’s a great example of how this difference plays out in everyday life:
ADHD Millennial: “The best rule I’ve found when I have multiple tasks to choose from is to start with the task that is least rewarding and most difficult. In other words, explicitly identify the task that I least want to do and would be most likely to procrastinate on – then do that task first.”
He does this because: “Generally, the ADHD brain gives the highest priority to whichever task is most interesting and rewarding. One of the problems with having ADHD is that even when you want to prioritize a different task, your brain might still automatically gravitate to the task that offers an immediate reward.”
Me: I have tried this strategy many times, and it doesn’t work. When a task is unrewarding and hard, I am unable to start. If I don’t give up and do something else, I will literally sit looking at my to do list, doing nothing but struggle with myself, for hours. I will end up getting nothing done because I chose to start with a task requiring too much activation energy. It must be amazing to be able to just decide to do something, and actually start doing it!
Also, I rarely procrastinate on tasks because they’re boring and unrewarding. Yes, that’s despite the fact that boredom feels like torture. I procrastinate because:
- it makes me anxious, or
- I believe I can’t do it, or
- I don’t know how to do it, or
- I feel guilty for doing it so late.
So I need to do the opposite of this guy, and start with one of my easiest, most motivating tasks – but take precautions not to get stuck doing it for hours.
And that’s how different sorts of ADHD can lead to finding opposite strategies helpful in everyday life.