That’s part of what we do – making and recognizing patterns or connections that other people can’t see. And the thoughts pinging around randomly.
Just think, some people do all kinds of meditation or mental exercises, or take drugs to try to get to a state of free-association that comes to us naturally! It’s pretty cool.
But it can be a problem when you’re trying to have a straightforward conversation with people.
I’m really open about my diagnosis, so with friends & loved ones I can say, “Sorry, I was pinging” or “Sorry, squirrel! Can you go back to [whatever the last thing I remember]?”
With other people, I try to breathe and relax to minimize the blurting (trying *really hard* to focus, or not to blurt, just makes it worse). And if I am pinging inside my head, I’ll say, “I’m sorry, I’m not following you. Could we go over that again?”
Sometimes it helps to do ‘active listening” or if it’s appropriate to the situation, maintain physical contact with the person like a hand on their arm. (Obviously that’s not always okay, it depends on relationship and context).
Here’s a kicker: My husband is also ADHD and is super, super into animation. So he’s constantly quoting The Simpsons, Futurama, South Park, Bojack Horseman, etc, whenever we’re trying to have a laid-back conversation. Drives me nuts because I don’t know 99 percent of the references he’s making.
So then he freaking EXPLAINS THE ENTIRE EPISODE TO ME. Just stick a fork in my eye, please.
But I can get him back now. Because I’ve gotten into Game of Thrones and he isn’t. So now I get to do the whole “explain the entire backstory so you get the significance of the quote” back to him.