Famous personalities with ADHD

What connects me with Simone Biles, Justin Timberlake, Michael Phelps, and Solange Knowles. Unfortunately neither the athleticism nor the ability to sing in a way that masses want to listen to me. Attention-Deficit- Hyperactivity-Disorder More about ADHD In fact, some famous and very talented people have ADHD. I am still looking for my talent. But I won´t despair, Rosamunde Pilcher only started writing her novels when she was well over 50.

ADHD is not the same as hyperactivity

ADHD is often equated almost exclusively with hyperactivity. Some who have it are also conspicuously hyperactive, (fidgety), but often this hyperactivity does not come out, but manifests itself as an inner drive. That's how it is with me. That is why I speak of ADD. You surely remember the wind-up toys from the past. If you wind one up to its limit and then lift it off the ground, it will be buzzing like mad but not getting anywhere, then you put it down and the energy is gone, nothing works anymore. That's what it feels like, being driven to the point of exhaustion and having nothing to show for this effort.

Not the result of the wrong upbringing

ADHD sufferers are often described as lazy, cowardly, week, and boring. ADHD is not the result of the wrong upbringing. It does not only occur in socially deprived families. On the contrary, it is not people who lack discipline or are selfish. Their brain functions in a different way. It is simply a different evolutionary variation. Unfortunately, one that does not always cope well in today's world with its thousands and thousands of stimuli. But it is important to distinguish between influences from the outside and self-directed stimuli. In a crowded city, with lots of loud noises, lots of fast movements - people, city trains... I get the instinct to run away very quickly (if only I could) and have to find a quiet place. That is the reason why I like to sit in a café out of the way and just watch. On the other hand, when I'm working on something, it can sometimes help to listen to music, preferably always the same piece of music, then I don't really listen to the music, but it calms me down and I'm not distracted by other noises.

A description of a famous building site shows you what it´s like

In Germany, a massive reconstruction project was implemented on one of its major motorway intersections.

It is one of the busiest crossroads in Baden Württemberg, with about 170,000-180,000 vehicles driving on it every day. Due to the heavy traffic load and the associated accident figures, what was called "The Egg" was converted between March 2002 and December 2003 for 52 million Euros. Its shape has changed since then. Nevertheless, it is still called the Echterdinger Egg. Some labels stick well, too well.

Why this digression into road construction? In the ADHD brain, the condition is the same as before the reconstruction. Everything comes together and causes congestion. In the non-ADS brain, the condition is like after the construction or better. The traffic in the brain (= information) can run smoothly, there are much fewer accidents, hardly any information is lost. In the ADHD brain there are too few messenger substances or transmitters or they "fizzle out" too quickly. These substances bridge the gaps in the brain traffic i.e. the gaps = traffic bridges.

Calculating percentages - how do you do that?

This means that if an ADHD person does not complete an activity, e.g. doesn't close a bottle properly after pouring; doesn't turn off the tap after washing his hands; or only mows the lawn halfway, leaves the lawnmower outside and goes to check his e-mails; forgets to mark anniversaries or to say "thank you"; gets lost on routes that he should know like the back of his hand; suddenly doesn't know how to calculate percentages, even though he's learned it a hundred times in his life and, after all, has his school-leaving certificate; things fall out of his hand and break - then he's overstimulated. Figuratively speaking: There's a traffic jam on the motorway, or accidents happen. Don't think this apparent carelessness, negligence doesn't bother him. He suffers a lot from it, but he won't show it to you. Every time I want to knit or crochet something, I have to re-learn the stitch and the strokes, they don't stay in my head.

The "Hide" button is out of order

Another example to make this clear to you: Imagine you are taking a trip by car through a beautiful landscape, listening to your favourite music on the radio. You can concentrate on driving, enjoy the surroundings and sing along with your favourite song at the top of your lungs. However, if you suddenly get into a dangerous situation, your entire attention is drawn to the situation. Your stimulus filter ensures that everything "unimportant" is blocked out and all your concentration is used for driving. You can recognise this control function by the fact that, in retrospect, you no longer know exactly which song was playing at the moment of danger.

People with ADHD, don´t have the blanking out mechanism, and focusing on the essentials does not work or works less well in this situation. People with ADHD remember everything, they can remember things that others can't, so some people wonder why people ADHD have difficulty concentrating and can't remember what they were asked to do five minutes ago, (this is why the question "How was school today?" is an annoying double whammy) but can remember data that no one else knows.

Adults with ADHD have to be strategists

Adults with ADHD which has not been detected develope compensation strategies. Unfortunately, this means that they need a lot of energy, so they wear out really fast if they cannot regenerate. A small example of a strategy of mine was: I could not learn shorthand. It is hard to make learning abbreviations so lively that they stick in your mind. A long time ago I worked as a secretary and took dictation. I wrote keywords in longhand and, with my knowledge of human nature, I was able to piece the text together almost as the person dictating would express himself, in my opinion. In 99% of the cases, it went well. Sometimes my texts were even better than the originals and I was praised for the modification.

Resources are used up quickly

Depending on the environment in which an ADHD sufferer is, other diseases can lay themselves over the  ADHD. This confusion on the "data highway", however, gives the person with ADHD a skill that he masters particularly well: associative thinking.

For ADHD sufferers, it always depends on the environment they are in, how they fare. If it's one in which the others find them strange, awkward, boring, incompetent or slow or one in which the others take the trouble to get to know them (which is often tedious), recognize their potential and make a valuable friend.

ADHD is not a gift. In the right environment and if ADHD sufferers have people around them who can take over routine tasks or help them with them, they can achieve great things and develope according to their abilities. In the wrong environment they can fall through the grid, suffer under incorrect diagnoses and treatment, or fall prey to  addiction and perish.

Now it seems that I have described this condition in some ways so positively that some people may wish they had ADHD. There is a flip side to everything. The negative sides are spoken about frequently and disparagingly, the positive ones less so. In a TED Talk, Jessica McCabe talks about her history of ADHD. It is worth watching the video. (See below)

What does this have to do with fibromyalgia?

That was a long text, and what could it possibly have to do with fibromyalgia? You've heard of fibro-fog?

Where could the fog come from?

You can no longer concentrate, you can't think properly, you keep forgetting things and just feel out of place. That kind of sums it up. One study found that fibromyalgia is more common in people with ADHD. The symptoms: difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness, and general cognitive problems are often given little attention when treating fibromyalgia. According to this study, they could be based on undiagnosed ADHD. https://www.everydayhealth.com/fibromyalgia/people-with-fibromyalgia-may-also-have-adhd-study-finds/. Further research in this direction will take place. This does not mean that everyone who has fibromyalgia also has ADHD.

Picture: Photo by Daniele Levis Pelusi on Unsplash


Khalil, R., Khoury, E., & Richa, S. (2018, July 20). The Comorbidity of Fibromyalgia Syndrome and Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder from a Pathogenic Perspective. Retrieved May 23, 2020, from https://academic.oup.com/painmedicine/article/19/9/1705/5056818

Golimstok, A., Fernandez, M., Garcia Basalo, M., Garcia Basalo, M., Campora, N., Berrios, W., ... Cristiano, E. (2015). Adult Attention-Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder and Fibromyalgia: A Case Control Study. Neuro, 2(2), 61-66. https://doi.org/10.17140/NOJ-2-114

Real egg. (2018, June 26). Wikipedia. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Echterdinger_Ei

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