View Full Version : What is "normal" and what is ADD-Inattentive?

05-10-16, 07:36 AM
Hey guys,

(This is my first post so I apologize for any lapse in etiquette or breaking of rules!)

A week or so ago it was brought to my attention that I could possibly have ADD. After looking up symptoms, other info, and even taking some online tests, I agree that it's a possibility.

However, whenever I've brought up symptoms and the ones with which I identify with my family, they all ask "isn't that just normal? Doesn't everyone experience that at least once in a while?" Now I'm wondering if I'm exaggerating what I experience and that I'm actually just lazy or something.

No one in my family has been diagnosed with ADD (although people wondered if my brother had it when he was a kid). I'm thinking that either they don't have ADD, or they do have it and just don't realize.

So, what is "normal?" What would someone without ADD-inattentive experience? I realize that I'm asking this in a forum meant for people with ADD, so I completely understand if this is difficult to answer. I'm totally open to speculation!

I am going to see a therapist in a few days, and will hopefully get the ball rolling on this, but in the mean time I thought I would ask y'all--especially since I've been obsessively looking up info already.

Thanks in advance for the input and insight!

05-10-16, 12:07 PM
It is quite difficult to know what is normal and what is symptomatic of ADHD, especially as your family has pointed out that everyone feels like this once in a while. The difference, I think, is that our symptoms don't just occur once in a while but for most of the time in most areas of life.

The other thing that is important is to look at impairments. How impaired are you? How do the symptoms affect your daily functioning? Are you as functional as most people around you?

It might help to look through the posts here on ADDF and see how much you can relate to.

05-10-16, 12:13 PM
The difference is really in how these symptoms affect the individual. Of course, everybody once in a while forgets their keys, has trouble concentrating, acts impulsively, etc.

But for someone with ADHD, that happens quite often to a degree that it impacts many areas in our life negatively. It impairs us, making it harder for us to fonction and do everyday tasks that would otherwise be a piece of cake for a non-adhder.

Like you, no one in my family has ever been officially diagnosed with ADHD or other psychological condition. We don't usually seek help for stuff like that.

However, I'm pretty sure several of them would get a diagnosis as some symptoms are defintely recognizable (sometimes even looking more severe than my own).

05-18-16, 04:40 AM
I feel in the same boat actually. I was recently diagnosed by an ADHD specialist and prescribed meds, but in all honesty what I'm most scared about is whether the diagnosis is flawed and I am taking meds when I don't have ADHD. (and what that will do to me long term)

It's not that I feel I don't have imperfections, it's just that to me I've had them 41 years so I don't know any different. Short of living in someone else's body for a week, I don't know how easy or difficult it is for them to do the same things I struggle with. It's not that I am incapable, it's just that I find it hard, and they seem not to.

My biggest ADHD impairments are really

a) Brain chatter that leads me to talk myself into mild-moderate anxiety about certain situations or environments

b) I find it difficult to 'live in the moment' a lot, I'm always thinking thinking thinking. Very restless

c) I find boring and mundane tasks very boring. This impairs me in my relationship with my kids, I find things like reading a bedtime story or playing a kids board game is mind-numbing. This frustrates me, I want to be able to connect better with them so much !
(I'm great in Theme Parks though lol )

d) I find it very difficult to do mundane tasks at work, consistently making mistakes on attention to detail that I shouldn't have. This has always been the case and has held me back.

Note: I am very organised personally in regards finances etc. Less so at work though.

However, the question above is whether these impairments are caused by Inattentive ADHD or simply how I am as a person ? People have strengths and weaknesses, I have plenty of both, so it scares me as to whether these impairments are just weaknesses, not conditional. I'm great with managing my finances, others (without ADHD) are terrible, so is this just a case of relative strengths and weaknesses ?

In many ways I want to be ADHD because it gives me hope for change, for treatment, to be a better version of myself. It gives me an explanation for why certain things I find to be more difficult than they should be. I just feel scared at the same time as to whether it's mis-diagnosed and I'm taking meds when I shouldnt be.

N.B. My Psychiatrist is foremost in her field and specialises only in Adult ADHD, which is comforting.

Little Nut
05-18-16, 10:15 AM
MrC, My benchmark starts out with making a list. What issues/problems/symptoms do I have (don't factor in whether you think you can do anything about it or not. Like presbyopia). Add Examples how they have negatively impacted me, and is it acceptable to me to live-with-it for the rest of my life. (Us older folks know that if it has been a problem for 20-30 years and we don't do something, we will die with it.) If the list has items I am not willing to live with and not addressable by me, I seek out a counselor. My point is for unacceptable problems that I am not sure how to fix, the number one priority is to fix them. A distant second is whether I am comfortable with the way they are fixed. -LN

05-20-16, 03:46 AM
"Normal" is a dirty word. ;)