View Full Version : Really focused when writing papers, but suck at everything else?


hattz19
02-04-14, 08:26 PM
This morning I missed my doctorís appointment, which I scheduled mainly to get a new script for my Adderall IR. I take 20mg 3x/day, and itís been working so-so. All I had left was 15mg which I took around 10:30 AM, but that failed to do much of anything but wake me up.

Around 1 PM I began editing one of my friendís English papers and realized that I had this weird hyper-focus. I didnít care about the noise around me, didnít latch on to what others were talking about, and more or less felt like ďmyself.Ē I confirmed my presumption that for some reason typing/writing papers was something I could do medicated or un-medicated, but I wonder why?

Right now as I type this, Iím not looking around or anything- just completely engaged to my computer. I spent two years in college after graduating high school (2010-2012), and the first year was at a private school that set my parents back $30k. The only class I did well in was English, I got a ďBĒ but still, had no idea I had ADHD and failed my other classes. I never read the books for that class, but I wrote the papers and did all the work. Thing is, I work really hard and want to work hard, but I canít focus and learn the material. I recall that professor asking the class that even though she didnít offer it if weíd prefer an in-class final exam instead of an essay on the book. In the class of about 30, 27 preferred an exam while only three (me being one of them) preferred a paper. I preferred the paper because I had much more time to B.S. a paper and cannot focus on reading a book.

I still wish the medication helped me stay engaged like I do when I write, it definitely doesnítÖ when Iím reading, say accounting, I have to be in the library and get ****** after every noise, and thatís medicated because un-medicated thereís no hope for reading. Papers, I could care less about any distractions since Iím engaged. Iím pretty sure that medication helps, but not sure if itís for me and am planning on trying another, maybe Dexedrine during my spring break. Anyone have any potential reasoning for the engagement vs. lack thereof?

Zephyranthes
02-04-14, 09:47 PM
Hyperfocus is in pretty much everyone with ADHD. It's rare and kind of unexpected when it happens, but when you get into high gear, only a bomb going off in the room can get your attention. Usually it's for things you enjoy doing, like for me it's video gaming, writing, or singing.

Overall, it's better to continue with medication, since the amount of distraction that occurs from being off meds isn't worth it.

Corina86
02-05-14, 07:25 AM
I'm not an expert on medication, but if you like writing papers and you're good at it, can't you choose a career path that involves that, rather than accounting?

Stevuke79
02-05-14, 12:41 PM
:goodpost::goodpost:I can relate whole heartedly to what you are experiencing.

Some how writing comes very easily to me even though I consider myself a "math guy". I could BS a brilliant paper, no problem; as far as I'm concerned, doing the prerequisite reading is basically cheating. I love math, prefer math and I am, hands-down, a math guy; still, until I entered the real world with things like excel at my disposal, my English grades were usually better.

I always thrived on the uninterrupted creative process. I think that's an ADHD trait. Math was more natural but was constantly interrupted with error checking that detracted in every conceivable way. With writing, error-checking is quick, easy and not a nuisance.

For me, I think it had to do with the error checking involved. Error checking in math requires working memory in a way that writing does not. No matter how good you are, you must either: 1. Mentally parse OR 2. Do scratch work. Both are doomed to failure without working memory. Writing also requires error-checking for things like grammar and spelling, but the difference is that grammar is purely and internally logical(fun fact) and spelling is either right or wrong. Mistakes are noticed with little effort, no working-memory required. I find this leaves my creative process unencumbered

hattz19
02-05-14, 04:41 PM
:goodpost::goodpost:I can relate whole heartedly to what you are experiencing.

Some how writing comes very easily to me even though I consider myself a "math guy". I could BS a brilliant paper, no problem; as far as I'm concerned, doing the prerequisite reading is basically cheating. I love math, prefer math and I am, hands-down, a math guy; still, until I entered the real world with things like excel at my disposal, my English grades were usually better.

I always thrived on the uninterrupted creative process. I think that's an ADHD trait. Math was more natural but was constantly interrupted with error checking that detracted in every conceivable way. With writing, error-checking is quick, easy and not a nuisance.

For me, I think it had to do with the error checking involved. Error checking in math requires working memory in a way that writing does not. No matter how good you are, you must either: 1. Mentally parse OR 2. Do scratch work. Both are doomed to failure without working memory. Writing also requires error-checking for things like grammar and spelling, but the difference is that grammar is purely and internally logical(fun fact) and spelling is either right or wrong. Mistakes are noticed with little effort, no working-memory required. I find this leaves my creative process unencumbered

I think you're spot on. I will admit I'm more "creative" without medication, but my script today was actually too early, so I have to get a "dose change" from my doctor tomorrow to actually get it dispensed... on top of all the other things I have to do, awesome!

I will say, though, I'm 1000x more productive medicated and 1000x happier, probably since I'm more productive. As far as writing, I wouldn't say I'm passionate about it to the point that I want to follow it as a career, financial outlook isn't wonderful and medicated I'm not terrible at business concepts... my memory is just terrible.

hattz19
02-05-14, 04:43 PM
Hyperfocus is in pretty much everyone with ADHD. It's rare and kind of unexpected when it happens, but when you get into high gear, only a bomb going off in the room can get your attention. Usually it's for things you enjoy doing, like for me it's video gaming, writing, or singing.

Overall, it's better to continue with medication, since the amount of distraction that occurs from being off meds isn't worth it.

That's how I feel. Some guy singing high-pitched in the cafeteria garnered my attention, whereas in stats the drop of a pin would've set me off.

addthree
02-05-14, 05:20 PM
I get hyper-focused when I work in photoshop. My attention span is pretty short for just about anything else. But I can spot my photos and make changes for hours uninterrupted.

dvdnvwls
02-05-14, 05:31 PM
Editing a paper is one tiny instant stimulus->reward sequence after another. You can "drop off of the clock" and just do it for a while. It's low stress because all mistakes are reversible and the stakes are relatively low (no one might get hurt etc). The questions "What am I supposed to be doing here?" and "How do I go about this properly?" are unimportant in this context. It is blatantly obvious in writing and editing papers that right and wrong are relative and perfection is impossible, freeing us to do a decent job instead of going perfectionistic. If we realize that we need to hurry, doing a worse job is a sensible and viable option.

Sounds pretty close to ADHD Heaven to me. :)

Stevuke79
02-05-14, 06:19 PM
Editing a paper is one tiny instant stimulus->reward sequence after another. You can "drop off of the clock" and just do it for a while...The questions "What am I supposed to be doing here?" and "How do I go about this properly?" are unimportant in this context. Sounds pretty close to ADHD Heaven to me. :)

:goodpost: insightful!

sarahsweets
02-06-14, 10:05 AM
welcome to the world of hyperfocus.

hattz19
02-18-14, 02:33 AM
welcome to the world of hyperfocus.

That's what I figure. I'm trying to watch this Econ video and can't even get through five minutes...

stef
02-18-14, 04:27 AM
well I am the same! but I know I love writing and languages
nothing better then Translation Hyperfocus!

if you don't enjoy economics, don't take those kind of classes because you "should" (unless of course there's some basic requirement in your degree...in that case take the very easiest ones and then flee this subject!)