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  #121  
Old 12-23-09, 05:26 PM
formychildren formychildren is offline
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Smile Re: A few blurbs I found regarding Hyperfocus

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Originally Posted by Asinda View Post
Does anyone else find that they have a tendency to hyperfocus on people? Yes, I have been known to do this too.

When I first meet someone I find interesting, I want to know EVERYTHING about them. How they grew up, what their favorite color is, family history of pets, what their favorite places to shop are, favorite forms of media, etc. You get the idea. I am filled with an unending curiousity. I find people to be one of the most fascinating things to study, and when I meet somone of particular interest, wether as friend or romantic interest, I have a really hard time holding myself back and trying not to be overbearing. I love to ask millions of questions and pick apart their body language, phrasing, habits and behaviours. Getting to know and forming profiles of people is incredibly exciting and stimulating to me.

I do want to note that I DO NOT feel any sort of stalker-type tendencies within this curiousity. I don't want to follow people, call just to hear them talk, sit outside their house, or any sort of emotionally untethered nonsense. I'm just simply fascinated with them. When my hyperfocus on a particular person winds down, I find that's the point at which I figure wether or not we have formed a mutually beneficial relationship, and either let them go gently or proceed at a more "normal" pace with the relationship. I still find myself analyzing and studying them, I just don't feel that unbound need to know. I can actually find myself switch into hyperfocus mode with existing friends and family members... kind of fall into "knowledge tune-ups" for a period of time with them. OMGsh, yes, me too!

I've obviously had to learn to appear less eager and forthright, as this can be very... I guess intense for a lot of people. LOL. Scaring people away is kind of the opposite of what I am trying to do here. Yep, been there too and have learned to control it since it rarely helps, heck I just did it again and now I have to break it off as a friendship since this person really isn't good for me. It can be very frustrating though, making the small talk I could care less about when I really just want to know about your best friends from fourth grade. Thus why I am so in love with the elderly... they are more than delighted to tell you their entire life story, chapter by chapter.
Huh, I have never thought of that. I haven't been around the elderly, but those that are older and more wise I do enjoy being with them for their conversations. Also, I love children... I never thought of my friend situations as a hyperfocus, thank you!
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  #122  
Old 12-27-09, 10:40 AM
Kryistina Kryistina is offline
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Re: A few blurbs I found regarding Hyperfocus

I like to collect stories, but I never though about hyperfocusing on people. Now that it is mentioned though, I do it all the time, and always have.

As a teen, I would call it "digging around in a person's psyche to see what made them tick", and alternately "sucking all of their information out of them". Back then, not only was I not a positive person, I also was not a very nice one, being terribly selfish.

I love the term hyperfocus though, and I'll be bringing those definitions to my doctor's appointment when I go to get diagnosed in a couple of weeks. (very long waiting lists with my insurance carrier)
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  #123  
Old 12-30-09, 05:58 AM
Kryistina Kryistina is offline
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Re: A few blurbs I found regarding Hyperfocus

~No offense intended, if easily offended, please skip just in case you might think I am saying something negative, thanks.~

I've been giving some more thought to this recently, and I have come to the conclusion that hyperfocus is a curse, pure and simple.

Without hyperfocus, we bearers of the initials would not know what we were missing in the attention department, so we would not feel so terribly bad about being the way we usually are.

We would probably learn better coping skills over time as well, rather than sounding like a bunch of junkies (to the hyperfocis ~Not a reference to drugs/meds~) romanticizing our chosen addiction.

It's like all of us ADDers are addicted to our hyperfocus, and nearly LIVE for the next time it waltzes into our lives to bless us with it's presence, regardless of the negative consequences...

Okay everyone, step 1: 'I recognize that I am powerless over my hyperfocus...'

*sigh*

But I love it too, I do, I do, and I can't help myself falling into that beautiful abyss every time it yawns before me. The price I pay is great, and never worth it later, but oh my gracious is it worth it when I've got that hyperfocus high.
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  #124  
Old 01-19-10, 02:21 AM
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Re: A few blurbs I found regarding Hyperfocus

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Originally Posted by Kryistina View Post
It's like all of us ADDers are addicted to our hyperfocus, and nearly LIVE for the next time it waltzes into our lives to bless us with it's presence, regardless of the negative consequences...
Negative consequences?? I can't think of any! Unless you mean that I absolutely tune out/forget about everything else during hyperfocus, even if it's something important that will bite me later on or that I'll get ****ed off and want to kill anyone who interrupts the hyperfocus...
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  #125  
Old 01-28-10, 02:42 AM
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Re: A few blurbs I found regarding Hyperfocus

This is so awesome. I'm a journalism major, and two semesters ago was reporter for my school's newspaper. I had this huge in-depth project due at the end of the year and although I got the story done in time for my teacher, I didn't get it done in time to be published. Not because I didn't work my *** off for 4 months. I literally spent day and night obsessing over the tiny details, words and phrases in the project to make it perfect. Whenever I was asked to do anything unexpected, like cover breaking news or write a brief, I freaked out because it took away from my project. In the end, my project was better than everyone else's, but it never ran because of a deadline. I'm still struggling with hyper-focusing... and I still can't decide whether it's a good or bad thing for me. Probably both.
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  #126  
Old 02-09-10, 08:40 AM
w1tty6uy w1tty6uy is offline
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Smile Re: A few blurbs I found regarding Hyperfocus

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Originally Posted by Kruth View Post
..I literally spent day and night obsessing over the tiny details, words and phrases in the project to make it perfect. Whenever I was asked to do anything unexpected, like cover breaking news or write a brief, I freaked out because it took away from my project. In the end, my project was better than everyone else's, but it never ran because of a deadline.
To me.. your perfectionist tendency is indicative of you being (innately) more of a writer/artist than a daily journalist (who pumps info out of MEDIUM QUALITY & HIGH QUANTITY).

From a talent perspective, it probably bodes well, and means you have (and/or are continually developing) advanced paradigms and perspectives through which to filter and refine your work.

However, the VAST, VAST majority of employers require good (or good enough) work done quickly vs. brilliant work done using abundant time... .. which is where, of course, artists thrive.

Good Luck!
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  #127  
Old 02-21-10, 11:51 AM
seburruela seburruela is offline
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Re: A few blurbs I found regarding Hyperfocus

For me, Hyperfocus has a variety of subtypes, sometimes it will spring up while reading a book and not being able to think about anything else untill ive finished it and then feeling sad the book is over, other days it is less intense and i can sort of do other things while keeping my new interest sitting quietly in the back of my mind (much like dexter´s dark passenger) there are periods when i have many hyperfocusing events and other months when it sort of dissapears for a while. Sometimes it comes in and saves the day and in end up doing something great for work most of the time it screws up my life! The intensity the variability of it showing up, the different triggers and the positive and negative variability of my hyperfocus moments really disturb me. I wish i could control it more in order to use it productively. Does anyone know how to train it? I would sure miss it though, it can be so euphoric to be on a good hyperfocused high

Last edited by seburruela; 02-21-10 at 11:59 AM.. Reason: clarity
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  #128  
Old 03-03-10, 09:51 PM
catydid catydid is offline
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Re: A few blurbs I found regarding Hyperfocus

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Originally Posted by seburruela View Post
I wish i could control it more in order to use it productively. Does anyone know how to train it? I would sure miss it though, it can be so euphoric to be on a good hyperfocused high
I can't hyperfocus "on demand" necessarily, but I have learned to make it work for me.

Before I knew I had ADHD, whenever I had a job interview and the interviewer would ask what my strengths are, I would always say that I thrive under pressure. I had been praised by employers for being able to pull the impossible off at the end of a deadline and had been applauded for my incredible creativity at those times.

I never knew there was a name for it, it's just how I was. After I was diagnosed with ADHD (combined type) I did my research and found that what I had been experiencing was some pretty intense hyperfocus.

When I hyperfocus, I absorb whatever it is I'm hearing or doing like it's magic. It's the strangest thing ever, but I'm definitely not complaining! Also, when I hyperfocus, my mind becomes clear and I can recall things almost as if I have a photographic memory. It's only like this when I hyperfocus. Otherwise, without my ADHD meds I'm a mess and have the worst executive function problems ever. Like seriously, I'll pick up the phone to call my mom and forget how to dial it and it will take me 3 attempts to call her. She's had the same phone number for the past 30 years! I have always been called an airhead and I've literally had people tell me that I'd never make it through 1 semester of college (not smart enough).

Since I've been diagnosed (about a year ago) I've been back in college and I have to take a full-time class load with challenging classes in order to do well. It sounds crazy, but for instance, last semester I took anatomy & physiology (a combined I & II class) with lab, a chemistry class that was a combination of general chem, organic chem, and biochem, with lab, and pharmacology. I purposely put myself under pressure and the ability to hyperfocus my way through the semester paid off. I got 102% in A&P, 98% in chem, and 98% in pharm. This semester I'm taking 16 credits (stats, microbiology w/lab, eng comp 2, 20th century lit, and developmental psych) and I'm getting a 4.0 in all 5 classes.

I'm not saying that to brag, I'm just trying to explain how well I can use it to my benefit.

Anyways, I go to every class, never miss a lecture, always take notes, never read the chapters (but I'll sometimes skim them and look at charts or diagrams), I rewrite my notes once and that's about it as far as studying goes. The day of my test, I'll get myself so worked up thinking that I'm going to fail because I haven't studied and as soon as the test is in front of me, the pressure escalates just enough and hyperfocus sets in. I'm able to think clearly, and recall information. I can picture pretty much word for word what the professor said during lecture, what he wrote on the board, what showed up on the slide presentation, etc. At any time before the test, I wouldn't be able to tell you how DNA replicates, but as soon as I'm done with the test, it's in my brain and I know it, days, weeks, and months later. It's like hyperfocus flips the switch to on or something.

Oh and another thing I do when I am taking a test and hyperfocusing, is that I write all over my test and you can actually see my thought process for every single question. If we're not allowed to write on the test itself, the professors will always let me use a blank sheet of paper. My micro professor actually commented on it when he handed back our last test. He was amazed to see the critical thinking and reasoning I used. I explained to him what goes through my head and he said he understands and that he actually has ADHD himself. He said that doing exactly what I'm doing is what got him through med school.

Anyways, if you've held on this long, thanks. I've been trying to explain this to people for so long but most people just think I'm bragging about my grades. It's not that at all, it's just I'm amazed (and very thankful) that I'm able to do this. Someone who can't hyperfocus will never understand how a seemingly "dumb" girl can actually achieve something.
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  #129  
Old 03-04-10, 10:32 AM
The Audience The Audience is offline
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Re: A few blurbs I found regarding Hyperfocus

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Originally Posted by Asinda View Post
Does anyone else find that they have a tendency to hyperfocus on people?

When I first meet someone I find interesting, I want to know EVERYTHING about them. How they grew up, what their favorite color is, family history of pets, what their favorite places to shop are, favorite forms of media, etc. You get the idea. I am filled with an unending curiousity. I find people to be one of the most fascinating things to study, and when I meet somone of particular interest, wether as friend or romantic interest, I have a really hard time holding myself back and trying not to be overbearing. I love to ask millions of questions and pick apart their body language, phrasing, habits and behaviours. Getting to know and forming profiles of people is incredibly exciting and stimulating to me.

I do want to note that I DO NOT feel any sort of stalker-type tendencies within this curiousity. I don't want to follow people, call just to hear them talk, sit outside their house, or any sort of emotionally untethered nonsense. I'm just simply fascinated with them. When my hyperfocus on a particular person winds down, I find that's the point at which I figure wether or not we have formed a mutually beneficial relationship, and either let them go gently or proceed at a more "normal" pace with the relationship. I still find myself analyzing and studying them, I just don't feel that unbound need to know. I can actually find myself switch into hyperfocus mode with existing friends and family members... kind of fall into "knowledge tune-ups" for a period of time with them.

I've obviously had to learn to appear less eager and forthright, as this can be very... I guess intense for a lot of people. LOL. Scaring people away is kind of the opposite of what I am trying to do here. It can be very frustrating though, making the small talk I could care less about when I really just want to know about your best friends from fourth grade. Thus why I am so in love with the elderly... they are more than delighted to tell you their entire life story, chapter by chapter.
Wow. I completely relate to this. I don't do this very often, but when I find someone interesting I can't help but ask them a series of odd little questions so I can discover who they are. I don't see other people doing this, so I don't think it's neurotypical. I think I may have even upset people on the odd occasion because I first I invest so much interest (non flirtatious) in them, and then when I have satisfied my curiosity, or I worry that I'm too intense, I back off, and they feel like it's a form of rejection.

I also used to think I got 'addicted' to things easily, because I will spend hours online, hours reading, hours playing a game etc. But it's slightly different because I feel compelled to stick to stimulating activities even when I'm not enjoying it that much so I suppose this is also a form of hyperfocus. I don't have much trouble shifting my attention when I'm focused on something though.
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  #130  
Old 03-09-10, 12:14 AM
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Re: A few blurbs I found regarding Hyperfocus

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Originally Posted by engineer View Post
Negative consequences?? I can't think of any! Unless you mean that I absolutely tune out/forget about everything else during hyperfocus, even if it's something important that will bite me later on or that I'll get ****ed off and want to kill anyone who interrupts the hyperfocus...
Tonight, after leaving Karate class, I was hyper-focused on the class and the new moves I had just learned. I was a great class. I couldn't think about anything else.

My brain was having a great time going over the various new moves when ... about a block down the street, I ran a 4 way stop. I'm talking straight through the intersection. I was already through the intersection when I realized what I had just done and slammed the brakes.

Thank God no one was entering the intersection- it would have been devastating.

I'm kinda shook up. I mean I get spaced but it's been a long times since I've done something like this.

Definitely a negative hyper-focus experience.
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  #131  
Old 04-16-10, 06:07 PM
desolationangel desolationangel is offline
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Re: A few blurbs I found regarding Hyperfocus

Hyperfocusing is how I waste my time, because I am not focusing on what I should be focusing on- and I don't mean what others tell me I should be focusing on, but what deep down I really want to be focusing on. Hyperfocusing prevents me from accomplishing my goals. I mean, sometimes it's good, but predominantly it is a hindrance, not a help.

I took Adderall for the first time in awhile today and I was awesome for an hour, but then after that it just seemed to make the hyperfocusing worse. Not sure what to do about this...
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  #132  
Old 04-16-10, 07:00 PM
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Re: A few blurbs I found regarding Hyperfocus

IF I could hyperfocus "on-demand" that would be cool, but for me it really is much more like the "perseveration" that Barkley describes in one of his videos.

I got all tangled up in a couple of issues recently that had me forgetting to go to an appointment, forgetting to return phone calls, missing dinner and unable to detach from it, kept me up until the wee hours.

It is a rare thing for me to find hyperfocus personally beneficial and not just plain obsessive.
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  #133  
Old 04-16-10, 09:43 PM
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Re: A few blurbs I found regarding Hyperfocus

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Originally Posted by The Audience View Post
Wow. I completely relate to this. I don't do this very often, but when I find someone interesting I can't help but ask them a series of odd little questions so I can discover who they are. I don't see other people doing this, so I don't think it's neurotypical. I think I may have even upset people on the odd occasion because I first I invest so much interest (non flirtatious) in them, and then when I have satisfied my curiosity, or I worry that I'm too intense, I back off, and they feel like it's a form of rejection.

I also used to think I got 'addicted' to things easily, because I will spend hours online, hours reading, hours playing a game etc. But it's slightly different because I feel compelled to stick to stimulating activities even when I'm not enjoying it that much so I suppose this is also a form of hyperfocus. I don't have much trouble shifting my attention when I'm focused on something though.
This is just what I keep referring to here (I think I even mentioned it in a post today) about interacting with people and how I can be really interested in a conversation (which can be about them) which is mistaken for interest in the person. It's not that I'm not interested in the person at all, but that it's disproportionate to what appears to be my interest based on their experiences with other people. I've had some people like me too much because of my tendency to do this, and then they have thought of my subsequent behavior (which is really just normal) as rejection. I try to tone it down now. I like the term hyperfocus for this situation, though.
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  #134  
Old 04-17-10, 10:44 AM
desolationangel desolationangel is offline
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Re: A few blurbs I found regarding Hyperfocus

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IF I could hyperfocus "on-demand" that would be cool, but for me it really is much more like the "perseveration" that Barkley describes in one of his videos...

It is a rare thing for me to find hyperfocus personally beneficial and not just plain obsessive.
Yeah, that's exactly how it is for me. Have you found any way to remedy it?
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Old 04-17-10, 10:00 PM
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Re: A few blurbs I found regarding Hyperfocus

I definitely identify with a lot of this. Sometimes my hyperfocusing is good, or fun, but mostly it is quite obtrusive.

Actually, I think I can hyperfocus on demand (usually), because there are some activities or topics that I know will always catch me. It's hyperfocusing on just *anything* on demand that I can't do.

I saw that video by Barkley that meridian mentioned- he had a good point about the distinction between hyperfocusing and perseveration. Very illuminating. It's definitely perseveration which is at issue with ADD, based on my experience, because after an "episode" of hyperfocus is over I won't necessarily go back to that specific activity when I hyperfocus again. But calling it "hyperfocus" probably won't get the wrong idea across (especially on this forum!).

The interest in a conversation or shared activity being mistaken for interest in a person that Sit-n-Spin talked about - this has definitely happened to me (twice being mistaken for romantic interest)! Unfortunately this has led to a reluctance in me to form relationships (both romantic and not), which isn't good. In general it is related to a fear/wariness of being misinterpreted (not just on matters of interest, but often on my purpose or meaning more broadly). Back to the topic (hyperfocusing): Instinctively, I avoid letting friends get the idea that I hyperfocus on things sometimes. I've been sort of trying to not be so closed about it. Of course I'm not going to go around telling everyone, but I've been trying not to lie or otherwise mislead people when they ask me questions or the topic comes up (e.g. about what I've been doing the past 5 hours).

About ways to possibly remedy the problems caused by hyperfocusing - I'm still in school, have only been diagnosed for a year and a half, and am FAR from an expert - but here are some things which *sometimes* work (not foolproof!!):
- If I have something I know I need to do but am hyperfocusing on something else, then I try to make a conceptual link between them and then go across it to the thing I need to do. (But this requires that I come out of the hyperfocus-reverie long enough to realize that I need to be doing something else. That's easier when I'm just beginning the hyperfocusing activity.)

-I try to really engage with the thing I need to do. Research it, look at it closely, talk to others about it (only of they have a helpful attitude), try to more fully understand why it's important and why it matters. Sometimes this will "flip the lightswitch," so to say, and I'll start hyperfocusing on the thing I need to do!! But that's hard to achieve. More often than not, it'll just give me enough momentum to get the thing done. (However, in some situations this strategy must be handled with care. For instance, when writing a research paper, applying this leads to me over-researching and not getting thenactual writing done. In situations like doing the dishes, it's a lot more effective.)

- Knowing and being consciously aware of the activities/environments that lead to hyperfocusing can help me avoid them when I know I need to do something else. For instance, I really wanted to bring my 5x5 rubik's cube to college with me, but after spending a whole day (more than 12 hours straight) with it, looking for new combos and algorithms and writing them down, I decided that maybe I should just leave it at home and let it be a treat for next summer. This decision isn't always easy to make. In this case, I had lots of fun and learned a lot. But when I somewhat suddenly snapped out of it, I also realized that I had a huge headache and that my stomach was not happy without any meals. These very physical sensations - and the fact that I interpreted them as bad signs (sometimes it's possible to interpret hunger positively, because it makes the next meal taste so good!) - made it easier to decide to leave it at home. Which was probably the "right" decision.
Here's an issue that makes it harder to decide to avoid hyperfocus-friendly activities: when I've repeatedly attempted to finish what I need to do, but repeatedly failed, despite having tried multiple strategies sometimes, that's demotivating. It becomes harder to resist those activities that remind you that, hey, you actually can do something without getting distracted! Knowing what those activities are makes it easier to go find one to do when you really want that stimulation. For me, luckily, medicine has helped a little with avoiding these situations. But not during the night when the medicine isn't in action; that explains why lately I've only hyperfocused on non-useful things when staying up late at night or when I've forgotten to take it, like on the rubik's cube day.)

- There are some activities that are both calming and not conducive to hyperfocusing, like taking a walk for me. Excercise in general probably falls under this category, but it's something I need to do more of. And, of course, it's not foolproof. Walks don't help with hyperfocusing on thinking, because you can just keep thinking as you walk. (Hyperfocusing on thinking is a somewhat special case, though.) But it does help with physical hyperfocusing, or some mental hyperfocusing (e.g. it would have helped with the rubik's cube, since I can't hold combos in my head for very long without the rubik's cube in my hands at least).

Anyway, all these strategies are sort of hit or miss. They all work a lot better when you're in a good frame of mind and not feeling discouraged or depressed - that is, if you want them to work.

But that doesn't mean that ADD-caused depression has to be a black hole (e.g. "I'm depressed and so strategies won't work as well, so I won't be able to overcome the ADD, and this 'fact' makes me even more depressed" ad infinitum - I've definitely fallen into this trap sometimes). In those cases it helps to have your purposes in mind, and to remember why they matter to you. Which is, of course, complicated by tendencies to get distracted and forget why you want to do something. (Writing down goals/purposes helps with that little - but then you have to not lose the paper - so taping it to the wall helps - but then you have to find the tape - bah, nevermind.) If you're in a circular and negative rut like that, or in a big hyperfocus, you kind of have to:

(a) take advantage of little moments of clear, positive thinking, or moments when you've broken out of the hyperfocus (both kinds of moment do happen!!), and set off a buildup of positive momentum that takes you back to a sufficiently positive frame of mind. Such a buildup will start slowly, but the good part is that it accelerates. Even if your frame of mind improves only a smidget, this might help strategies work a smidget better, which can then give you a bit more of a boost and improve your frame of mind a bit, which helps strategies even more, and this can snowball ad infinitum if you don't resist it! Observing the initial slowness can be like resisting it, because if you take that as a negative sign ("darn, I made an attempt at improving my frame of mind but it only helped a bit, and not nearly enough, so this won't work") instead of the positive sign that it is ("I attempted to improve my frame of mind a bit, and it only helped a bit, but this is good because now I can take advantage of the little improvement and build upon it") then it won't work as well.
This is also why trying strategies haphazardly works, because anything that works can be used to get a better attitude, which then helps other strategies work. I'm even tempted to say that with ADD, you can only apply them haphazardly, because it's so hard to form habits and be consistent about things. But generalizations like that often turn out to be non-helpful. And I don't want to devalue the efforts of others where the consistent or methodical application of strategies has helped - because if it works, it works.
However, knowing that a haphazard, ADD-ish approach to controlling ADD actually has the potential to be effective is very encouraging.

(b) Pay attention to what your body is telling you. If, while hyperfocusing, you're hungry or sleepy or need to use the bathroom or something, remember that there's a reason for those feelings, and then follow your body's orders and go do what you need to do. The short break gives you the little window of opportunity to snap out of the hyperfocus - take advantage of it. (I have found that, in order for this to work, I need to carry the opinion that my body's needs are more important than other things (like hyperfocus activities) because they're more primal. When hyperfocusing, it's incredibly easy to be under the impression that what you're doing is really important or otherwise necessary to do. Concrete, strongly held opinions are a little easier to consistently carry with you, even through hyperfocus. So being convinced that physical needs are more important than everything else - so by definition that inludes hyperfocus activities - is a useful way to be able to act on my body's needs and thus break out of hyperfocus.)
I have a feeling it might be obvious to others that when you, say, need to use the bathroom that then you should go use the bathroom, but it's not so obvious to me while I'm hyperfocusing. I suspect that at least a few others know what I mean. Little things like that are reason why it's sort of embarrassing to let on that I hyperfocus a lot.

(c) Be really open to what other people tell you. If someone tries to get you to come do something else, that's an opportunity to come out of the hyperfocus which you can take advantage of. With ADD it's really easy to be dismissive of others' observations, because very frequently other people (without add) just don't 'get it' all the way, even if they're supportive. Advice that they give can really miss the point. But there are usually ways that one can make such advice useful, so it pays to not be dismissive of it and to attempt to look for the ways that it can help you.
This is why I've tried to be more open with others lately, and tried to create more friendships, which is hard. And then it's hard to apply this with friends I do have - for instance, a couple nights ago a friend was trying to get me to go to sleep. But I resisted it, despite feeling really appreciative of the care that she showed me, and wishing that I could reciprocate and/or make more friendships like this. Definitely something I still need to work on.
Also, being open to others doesn't work as well when others have a bad attitude or frame of mind themselves, in which case it's better to be open to them but then think "how can I do stuff better than this person?" Or, sometimes it helps to try to help others, because it's usually a lot easier to give advice to others than to follow it yourself. But then you can attempt to be open to the same advice that comes out of your mouth (which is hard, but not always too hard to pull off).

(d) Generalizing (a), (b), and (c), be open and opportunistic and "self-serving" in general. The opportunistic part shouldn't be too hard for some people with ADD. The "self-serving" means looking out for your own interests and what's good for you - not being 'selfish', really, but having the notion that anything you encounter might benefit you, and then trying to make sense of that notion. And it has to be a conviction, not just a notion, because it won't work all the time. You have to be convinced that the world can help you, and doggedly pursue any solutions and strategies that you can find in it. With ADD it's hard for this to be a big, coherent, organized "master plan" in your head; so the sense of having a conviction or firm belief can help glue things together and orient your goals to what they need to be.
Humans are pretty good at molding the world to what they need it to be, especially when they're convinced of things. As far as I can tell, this isn't hindered or complicated much by having ADD, like so many other things, unless you're discouraged. So this approach can be effective for getting strategies that work and getting things done. It's like going fishing for strategies, and keeping the ones that are good.
Of course, like everything else, it's not foolproof, but it can be useful.
Also, when looking out for your interests, that means you need to have a clear sense of what your interests are. If you include the nice, addictive feeling of hyperfocusing as one of your interests (which is easier to do unconsciously/unintentionally), then this will of course make you look for more opportunities to hyperfocus and then hyperfocusing more.

All this stuff is related to looking for the good aspects of the world, rather than focusing on the bad parts, which can be motivating and overall worthwhile.

Also I've found that all of this is easier in some ways with medicine!

Anyway I'm sorry this post turned out so long, which wasn't my intention!! If you actually read it all, yay! (Been hyperfocusing on it, surprise surprise. Like I said, it's easy to know how to avoid it without being able to apply that knowledge all the time... grr.) I have the urge to go make a post in the 'adult education' section about writing speed, but I also need to go eat dinner and do my homework... so I will attempt to go do that... (the dinner part is easier than the homework part, so I'll do that first)... anyway thanks for bearing with me. This forum is cool.
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