Have you ever felt so bored that you want to go out into the street and grab strangers by the shoulders and look deep into their eyes and tell them, again and again, without breaking eye contact, about how bored you are? I would say I reach that level of boredom about once a day, sometimes more.
Around once a day I feel so bored that I cannot stop thinking about what it would feel like to run straight at a wall, not because I want to cause myself pain but because I want to feel something, absolutely anything, as long as it is sharp and novel. I have never run straight at a wall; maybe if I did it even once I would stop daydreaming about it.
I was diagnosed with ADHD last year and it wasn’t a surprise, to the extent that people asked me why I’d sought out a formal diagnosis and I couldn’t really tell them. Sometimes it is nice to have your suspicions confirmed by a medical professional, I guess. I decided against taking meds because I cope well enough without them, and I like sleeping and eating and meds can often make those two things less nice for you. I did not want to lose my sleep or my food.
I even find it hard to explain the ways in which I am different from people who do not have ADHD; there are anecdotes and pieces of data I half-remember reading on the internet, just enough to regurgitate a few interesting figures, but none of that is really ever interesting.
Instead I think that what makes me different from all the people out there who do not have ADHD is that I get bored. I get so bored. I have no idea how to put the breadth, the depths of my boredom into words. I get so bored I want to scream and cry, like a child, on a daily basis.
People say I should find hobbies and I should do some volunteering and I should do some exercise and I should go out to see my friends and I should go for walks and I should read some books and I should do some art and they make me want to scream and cry. I already do nearly all of those things; I work and see my friends and I have hobbies and I work out so much that I have those lines on the sides of your hips that usually only actors in superhero movies have. I do all those things. I am still bored.
There are days that stretch and stretch in front of me and there are moments when I feel like the night will never come, that I am stuck in a world where nothing will happen ever again and I will not even have the relief of sleep to keep me occupied for a few hours. On hundreds of occasions I have looked at the sun and glared and tried to will it into going down, just so I could have hope again that the day would not last forever.
I look at the people who do not have ADHD and I wonder how they fill their hours, there are so many hours in every single day and yet somehow they apparently manage to fill them, they even complain about the fact that days are too short and that they have too many things to do. How? If I am not always doing something I begin to lose my mind but it is impossible to always be doing something.
I am not a millionaire and I have a lot of imagination but even I cannot come up with enough things to do to keep me busy for every hour of every day, every single day. There are too many hours in the day, no matter what I do. I wonder what it feels like to sit still and feel content. I do not believe it is a feeling I have ever experienced. When I was a child I was an insomniac, already, and when I was finally getting ready to go to sleep, after midnight, I would ask the nearest adult what plans we had for the following day.
I could only go to bed if I knew that it was a mere temporary break; that more things would be coming shortly. I was born bored and I worry I will die bored. Sometimes it is a good thing; I will do anything to avoid doing nothing and that means that I have, so far, in my life, done a lot of things. I can look back and think: yes, I’ve been busy. It’s been good. I’ve done a lot.
That is a nice feeling; I will always throw myself into anything I come across because I have never known anything else, and I have come to see it as an odd, accidental luxury. I have never known anything but passion, because I am so terrified of the void always standing right behind me. I only regret that it has to come at such a heavy price; that I cannot exist in a neutral space, or rather that the very idea of the neutral feels my chest with lead.
A lot has been written by adults with ADHD recently because we have become quite trendy, as a people, and I guess I just wanted to add my two cents. If you would like to understand what it is like to have ADHD you have to think of the time you have felt the most bored in your entire life before and understand that I feel that way every day.
Maybe a flight was delayed for six hours and you had to sit there and wait and wait and wait and you nearly went mad, and you remember it now, sometimes, and think about how bored you were on that terrible and endless day at the airport. That is how I feel for a portion of the day, every single day. If you asked me to explain one thing about having the brain that I have, that is the one thing I would pick. I am very bored. I am so bored.
That is why I wrote this: I wanted to open my window and scream but I know I can’t do that, so instead I spent 23 minutes writing. I am now 23 minutes closer to the point at which the sun will go down. 23 minutes closer to the point at which I remember that the day will end. 23 minutes closer to sleep, which will reset the clock, for a little while.