Everything, everywhere, all at once (Picture: Getty)

ADHD is a contradictory condition that manifests itself in different ways depending on the person, the situation, and even the time of day.

For example, hyperactivity can manifest as racing thoughts, forgetfulness, or interrupted conversations – it’s not just running around and climbing.

Then there’s ADHD paralysis, which develops as a result of physical, mental, or emotional overwhelm, causing a “freeze” response where the person struggles to do anything at all.

Being on this rollercoaster of productivity/procrastination is frustrating, and we know it can feel just as crazy to outsiders.

To make up for the lack of work or responsibilities and not appear “lazy,” many neurodivergents end up going too far in the opposite direction.

ADHD marathons involve periods of hyperfocus, which is why some with the disorder may seem like perfectionists on the outside.

Leanne Maskell, ADHD coach and author of told Metro.co.uk, “Because people with ADHD have an interest-based nervous system, they have the ability to focus on tasks and shut out everything else, including basic self-care like eating.”


It is important to note that this can be a symptom of both ADHD and CPTSD ✨🖤 adhdinwomen

♬ Metamorphosis (longer version) v2 – Danilo Stankovic

Essentially, the person with ADHD struggles to focus and then complete all necessary tasks at the last possible moment, when it appears (at least on the surface) that they have their s*** done.

Leanne describes it as “binge focusing,” adding that the long-term effects of this type of behavior can include burnout, exhaustion, and workaholism.

“People with ADHD are motivated differently than neurotypical people, with a 30 percent developmental delay in executive functioning,” she explains.

“Especially in tasks of little interest, we may need factors such as novelty and adrenaline to ‘do what we know’. This means that we really struggle with motivation and can’t do anything if these factors are not there.

“When I study law, for example, I haven’t been able to ‘start’ studying all year. Since our concept of time tends to be “now or not now,” I was paralyzed trying to study all year long, knowing the exam would be months later.

Despite the fact that people with ADHD often find they thrive in stressful situations, running on adrenaline doesn’t work in the long run.

“It’s not healthy or sustainable to hyperfocus for long periods of time, and it can cause us to crash afterward,” says Leanne.

“We can get stuck in vicious circles where we have to hold ourselves to these impossible standards because ‘sometimes’ we can. It can seriously affect our self-esteem because we can feel a serious imposter syndrome if we can ask for help.”

To break this all-or-nothing cycle, she suggests “hacking” your hyperfocus. This may include ADHD coaching that “creates a scheduled break each week to practically pause and evaluate your life and strategies,” along with strategies that you build into your routine.

Strict work hours can help, as can “breaking up goals with artificial deadlines, daily exercise habits, regular accountability calls, keeping phones out of the bedroom, and always having food in the fridge.”

But most importantly, it’s important to recognize when you’re stuck in unhealthy patterns. Are you trying to keep up appearances by ignoring your needs? Do you hide problems to look “normal” at work or school?

Get to know your strengths and weaknesses and be open if it gets too much for you. Otherwise, your 1 mile per minute mind is pretty calm.