Is Your ADHD Experience Anything Like Mine? - Bitter Threads

Is Your ADHD Experience Anything Like Mine?

Welcome to my inaugural post on Bitter Threads, where I'm diving into the whirlpool of my ADHD and Aphantasia, my brain's special recipe for "interesting". I'd love to know how ADHD spices up your life too.

You know that pandemonium during a kiddie Easter egg hunt? That's pretty much my brain on a daily basis. Ideas ricocheting around like pinballs, forming something more like a bad jazz ensemble, rather than a harmonious symphony.

Then there's Aphantasia. Picture a circus, only without any of the visuals. My thoughts somersault and cartwheel around without any visual signposts. They're free to collide and combine because there's no visual boundary to separate them. It's just wild in here, I tell ya.

When ADHD hyperfocus takes over, ideas cling to me, demanding to be brought to life. Coupled with Aphantasia, this compels me to physically manifest these ideas, making them real in the world outside my mind. You might notice this in the way I sew samples for every minor pattern alteration or change my business logo more times than I can count. This need to "see it to believe it" has driven me to create an array of things, from websites to business names. Just take a look at this image showing the numerous times I've changed my FB name on my page – it's quite the collection!

image of all the times I've changed the name of my FB business page

And yep, punctuality isn't exactly my strong suit. I'm getting ready to meet Suzy Q in a bit but I have 20 mins before I have to leave. One moment, I'm rearranging my spice rack, the next, I'm on a deep dive on what my spices will look like color coding versus alphabetical sorting...I totally forgot about coffee with Suzy-Q half an hour ago. At this point in my life, I've make myself leave early now rather than start anything new.

My words tumble out like the Multnomah waterfall before I can even process them, it's an ADHD trait that has me saying some seriously stupid things. I've learned to play bouncer to myself, asking "DO YOU REALLY NEED TO SAY THAT?" but when she's on a bathroom break, the word salad breaks free.

Memory, another challenge. It feels like my thoughts are playing musical chairs in my head. No visuals to anchor them means I'm often left with unfinished thoughts, "What the hell was I just on about?"

And don't get me started on faces! The thing with strangers coming up to me and talking to me like they know me? Happens all the time...but I actually know them. LOL

As a kid, I was always amazed with the witnesses in police shows who could tell the sketch artist what the suspect looked like. How did they do that?!!

Speaking of the whirlwind in my brain, I gotta mention object impermanence in ADHD. It's like playing a game of hide and seek with my own thoughts and belongings. If I can't see it, it might as well not exist. This 'out of sight, out of mind' phenomenon, as explained in an insightful article I stumbled upon, is a classic ADHD trait. It's like my brain needs visual cues to remember things, but here's the kicker – with Aphantasia, those visual cues are like mirages in a desert. I can't conjure them up in my mind's eye. So, imagine the double whammy – my thoughts and things disappear from my mental radar unless they're right in front of me. This explains why my workspace looks like a scene from a detective's office, with notes and reminders plastered everywhere. It's my way of making the invisible, visible. It's a quirky workaround, but hey, it adds another layer of 'interesting' to my life's tapestry.

My fidgeting is non stop. It's like a disease. I remember one boyfriend who hurt my feelings so badly that I still remember the scene (not visually...just a list of the events and the icky feeling it left behind) to this day. We were in the NYC subway. He was sitting on the bench and I was bouncing all over the place when he asked me pointedly "Why do you have to be so goofy all the time?" And, it wasn't in the "Oh, you are so cute" tone but in the bad "I am just seeing my future with you and it is not good" way.

Sure, ADHD and Aphantasia can be a struggle, but there's something special about it too. The thought juggling and lack of visuals spark a creativity storm. Ideas smash together, yielding some surprising (sometimes bad, sometimes tasty) results.

Take my Belt Bag Pocket Skirts, for example. It started as a skirt-bag duo because what I really wanted was a purse I wouldn't take off or put down. Transforming an attractive skirt into a cute, reversible bag was a visual-free creative challenge. I ended up deciding the bag part was too much and I really didn't want a bag at all and simplified it into what I have today.

And my unique spin on the Union Suit. Who would have thought a baby shirt head opening on the rear could revolutionize a woman's union suit? But, yes my brain went there and here we are now with a union suit you don't have to remove every time you need to use the loo. 

Realizing that most people can picture things in their mind while I can't was a gut punch. Check out the Reddit on Aphantasia if you just discovered this about yourself. It's wonderful to have an entire community of people who can't visualize either. Overtime I've come to appreciate my unique mind. Sure, it operates differently, with a distinct absence of visuals and no filters on my thoughts, but it keeps my life far from boring.

I'd love to hear how ADHD and/or Aphantasia has added color to your life. Drop a comment and share your experiences. You never know who you might inspire!

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