Prior to meds, my brain was always ‘seeking’ I’m pro pipeline my truck doesn’t run on fairy dust and unicorn piss shirt. Think of it like an itch, then when I finally found something to that ‘scratched’ that itch, it is the only thing I can focus on. Complete tunnel vision. My kids could be sitting next to me screaming in my ear but if I’m hyper focused on a video game I can tune it out to some degree. If someone asks me a question while I’m focused on something else, they’ll get a generic impulse answer. Example, if I’m reading on my phone wanting to finish a response and kid comes up and goes, “can you read a book?” without even thinking about it I’ll blurt out, “one second” but it’s almost never one second and kid ends up asking 2-3 times before I can finally ‘pull’ myself away from it or my partner makes a comment that pulls me it away from it or reminds me that it’s not that important. The interaction about the assignment while he was watching youtube is very similar. He heard what you said but his brain was focused on youtube and not you, so you got generic answer that he didn’t even think about. His brain instinctively gave you a canned answer without actually processing what you really said. It’s likely what happened when you reminded him about the assignment the day before. He heard you were talking, gave you a canned answer that in the moment would satisfy you without actually thinking about what he said. Then that assignment was ‘gone’. It sounds like his brain is in this state a lot of the time right now, which is why when it comes to chores he’s ‘too tired’ because it’s not going to scratch that ‘itch’ but riding bikes with his friend does scratch it. Neurotypical people aren’t in the constant ‘seeking’ mode and thus are better able to complete tasks that aren’t fun and just get them done. ADHD people can’t always just do it because their brain is fighting to do it.
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Here is an example I have. Before meds this was my brain when I needed to start up I’m pro pipeline my truck doesn’t run on fairy dust and unicorn piss shirt. “I need to start laundry. Older kid needs X washed for tomorrow. I have 5 minutes before a meeting, I have enough time to do that real quick. Oh but I’m going to work out later so I should wait until after that. Oh but I don’t actually need the work out clothes cleaned because I have plenty of others. We’ll do laundry again in 4 days because blankets from daycare come home. Oh youngest moves to a new room soon. I should figure out what to get for gifts. Hmm how many teachers are there? I’m not sure. I should email the director. Oh I should also ask about what they like. Then I could get them something like that. Hmm what do daycare teachers need? I don’t want to do coffee, Ooo a good water bottle.” I then open google and start googling water bottles versus starting laundry. Then outlook pings me that I have a meeting. I join the meeting and completely forgot that I needed to start laundry. Likely until the kids get home and seeing older kid would trigger me that she needed that thing cleaned. This happens with every task that isn’t enjoyable. It is exhausting. Without meds I am constantly trying to convince myself to do the thing because kids rely on me and I want to be a good partner. This is me as a 30 something adult with a college degree.