I’m thinking about hyperfocus.
sambear recently pondered whether or not I actually have ADHD, since I’ve been falling into hyperfocus at times since childhood. I said that I sincerely doubt that. But it did cause me to pay more attention.
When I’m healthy, I can hyperfocus at will. To me, hyperfocus means to aim every bit of my attention on a specific task to the exclusion of all else. It doesn’t matter whether or not the task is interesting. Getting my attention for anything else during a period of hyperfocus can require physical intervention (like touching me), although that isn’t so common these days. And I WILL be grouchy when redirected—it doesn’t matter if I loved or hated whatever I was focusing on, I don’t like being redirected.
One of the things I hate the most about the brain fog that comes with fibromyalgia is that I cannot hyperfocus at will as easily. I am more distractible in every part of my life than I was pre-FMS.
I’ve yet to see any description of ADHD that says hyperfocus occurs at will. Hyperfocus in the ADHD sense always seems to involve something that the person is interested in or enjoys. References to the contrary are appreciated if anyone knows of them.
I believe that my personal experience of hyperfocus as contrasted with the way sambear and R and G (all diagnosed with ADHD) hyperfocus is one of the reasons that I have difficulty relating to or grasping ADHD.
sambear can definitely hyperfocus. He can tune out the entire world, narrowing his reality down to a game or writing or the person who is fortunate enough to be the object of his intensity.
I don’t think he wills it to happen, though. And if he isn’t interested, or doesn’t enjoy whatever it is, hyperfocus isn’t going to happen. Period.
Both of us have been doing some incredibly boring stuff lately, in turns. It doesn’t matter what it is—it’s mind-numbing, repetitive stuff that just needs to get done.
I’m much faster than he is. That makes no sense in terms of experience, physical skill, etc. In fact, he’s faster than I am with the specific physical skills in question.
The only difference I can find is that I “turn on” the hyperfocus, and he can’t.
Feedback? I’m very interested in hearing about other people’s experiences with hyperfocus with and without ADHD as a factor.