Why ADHDers are late, pt. 3: When we know we are late and do 'it' anyway.

Mar 22, 2019

But there are also many times that ADHD folks are late and are 100% aware that they are late or at least, if they took the time to slow down and be honest with themselves they'd know they were late. I think this behavior comes down to two causes.


The first thing to know is that we run on adrenaline when our brain chemistry is not managed optimally. Adrenaline produces dopamine which is the primary neurotransmitter responsible for attention. So, anytime there is a deadline, we are more capable of attending. A typical ADHDer who may not have gotten anything done all morning, may feel a rush of adrenaline as the time that she needs to leave for an appointment approaches. That deadline indirectly produces dopamine, making her more productive in that moment than she has been all morning.


That attention, regardless of its reason for being is intoxicating. It can also feel terrifyingly fleeting. It feels like an opportunity that needs to be taken advantage of. "I didn't get anything done all morning. I can't walk away now that I'm finally productive." And when we are in that place, we feel like we have to "get one last thing done before we leave." Too bad that the reality is that that one last thing never fits neatly in the time we actually have before we need to leave.

But the pull is powerful, so we go with it until the last possible moment. which is actually well past the last possible moment. That's when the mental gymnastics begin. Any of this sound familiar?


...I got there in 15 minutes that one time...

...I might get all green lights...

...There was that one time I got a parking space right in front...

...The doctor will probably be running behind anyway...

...I can just drive a little faster....

...Google Maps always estimates longer that I need...


Yet, more often than not, you will be late. And you will be anxious and flustered. And, of course that affects your cognitive abilities and drains you, setting it up to be more difficult to focus for the rest of the day and to engage in compensation strategies like planning ahead.




Part 4 coming soon!



Standard Disclaimer:  In an effort to foil my own perfectionist tendencies, I do not edit my posts much. if at all. Please excuse and typos, mistakes, grammatical errors, or awkward phrasing. I focus on getting my content down. In my humble opinion, an imperfect post posted is infinitely better than a perfect post that goes unfinished.



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