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“My Earliest Memory of ADHD Hyperfixation Is…”

In a recent ADDitude survey, readers shared familiar and amazing stories of their ADHD hyperfocus — like reading for 10 hours straight without a break or pulling an all-nighter to finish tax returns. Here, see how hyperfixation is sometimes a blessing in disguise for children and adults with ADHD.

5 Comments: “My Earliest Memory of ADHD Hyperfixation Is…”

  1. I love the fact that many of the stories of hyperfocus involve reading. My first real memory of hyperfocus does too. I was in 4th grade (I think), I’d finished whatever I was working on, and, as usual, got out my book and started reading. The next thing I know, my teacher has called my name and asked what the answer to number 3 is. I blinked a couple times as I rejoined the rest of the world, and looked around in utter confusion. She told me to get out my math book and which page to turn to, then asked someone else what the answer to number 3 was. Later, she told me that I looked so confused that she knew that I wasn’t intentionally ignoring her, but was just really “into” my book. She looked out for me for the rest of the year, and made sure that I moved on to the next thing with the rest of the class. The last day of school, she told me that she’d looked to see who’s class I’d be in next year, so that she could warn them about how “into” my books I get, how I’m not ignoring them intentionally, and that they could get my attention by calling my name, that way I didn’t get into trouble for something that I couldn’t help.

  2. Reading has always been a black hole for me. My response to any call to dinner or other summons was “just let me finish this chapter” but of course I never stopped at the end of the chapter. I would read at the table if allowed, and read while I was walking to or from school. My mom worried that I would walk right into traffic. I still have to avoid starting a good book in the evening. Last time I re-read Lord of the Rings I waited until I was scheduled for a vacation. I read The Hobbit on the airplane en route to Hawaii, and then spent at least half my days relaxing on the lanai or beach, reading my way through LOTR.

  3. I am 13. I got diagnosed with ADD when I was 11. I don’t remember the first time I got hyperfocused. I love reading so whenever I read, I will get caught up in a book and I won’t get any sleep that night. Sometimes, if I find a just-right book, I will fall asleep really quickly because there are no other thoughts in my head to keep me awake.

  4. I was 5 or 6 yrs-old. In the bedroom window n the dead of Winter n the Midwest, window open, & I was absolutely FASCINATED by the beauty, tranquility & wonder of the falling snow. I didn’t notice the cold had filled the room & stretched out 2 the hallway. I wasn’t cold; didn’t hear nor felt a thing except deep inner joy & peace as I was evn attempting 2 COUNT the falling flakes & project where each one would fall.

    Had similar experiences throughout the Season as I felt trapped n the car as it snowed, and started counting & tracking snowflakes again as they fell. Only ths time I felt like I was FLYING UP TOWARDS THM 2 MEET THM! In hindsight, probably the closest I came 2 an ‘Out-of-Body-Experience’. I didn’t sense the car, family, cars going by, radio or the stuffiness inside the vehicle. It was wonderful!

    Whn 10 yrs-old, on the way back from an International Jehovah’s Witness Convention n Ohio, all the Kids got the illustrated Bible-publication, ‘My Book of Bible Stories’. I was an extremely troubled, destructive (whn playing or running with toys) & depressd, hyperactive Kid. I hated car travel. But I was so engrossed n ths 230+ page book tht I finished it n less than the time 2 get home which was about 2.5hrs!

    N each case mentioned, ‘coming back’ was like being deflated frm a high. It was a bit disorienting & wished it nvr ended, sad 2 be back n ‘reality’ with all the noise & terrible distractions. Whn n College, I had the most fun doing my computer graphics, 3D & multimedia Projects tht took me ‘deep n the zone’ for many hrs, loving every bit of it! Still do after so many years! EVn now I still hav 2 hav family members come get me or check on me b/c of ‘gone’ so long! LOLOL If they only knew..!

  5. I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 54, but I remember as a child I could easily get lost in a good book. I read incessantly some days, mostly biography and history and would only stop if it was dinner time or some other appointment was looming. There was a wonderful, old-fashioned “boy’s adventure” novel that my Dad had read as a kid that was kept at my grandparent’s house and each time we visited I would try to read all 800 or so pages in the time we had. About age 12, I succeeded in reading the entire book in a single (long) day.
    In college, I constantly procrastinated on writing term papers (no surprise there). My senior year I took an independent reading course in criminology where I was supposed to read and review 10 books the professor and I picked out. Each report was to be a minimum of 10 pages and had to include a chapter by chapter summary, a review of the critical literature at the time of publication, and my own take. I read one book in the 14 weeks of the semester, and wrote nearly nothing. Finals week, I finally got serious. In the space of five days, I read the other 9 books and wrote my reports one after another. I was only able to finish because my girlfriend sat at the typewriter at the other end of the dining room table and typed each page as I finished it in long-hand on a legal pad (bless her). I rushed off to deliver it just at the deadline and went home and collapsed. I got a 98 on that class – I lost two points because I left behind the bibliography for one report. The professor told me if he was editing a journal and received my reviews, he would have sent them straight to be printed.
    I was very happy to do so well, but it was only because my girlfriend pitched in and my roommates put up with me frantically unable to do anything else for four days. Recognizing our mutual exhaustion (and the fact I had been a pain to everybody), I had my first reality check of how much procrastination cost me – despite my ability to hyperfocus. Didn’t “cure” me, of course, but it helped!

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