Hyperfocus

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.

Cur­rent Mood: :-?curi­ous
Cyn is Katie's mom, Esther's Mémé, and a Support Engineer. She lives in the Atlanta area with her life partner, Rick, and their critters. She knits, does counted-thread needlework, reads, makes music, plays TTRPGs, and spends too much time online.
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