ADHD and Commitment issues

Image description: A cartoon-like image of a brain with facial features and arms with a question mark symbol directly above the brain.

Commitment - “The state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc.” - Dictionary

Before I was diagnosed with ADHD Combined Type I simply thought I just had commitment issues. I found it difficult to commit in so many different areas; friendships/relationships, hobbies, jobs, you name it!

Many of us ADHDers have difficulties with sticking with things. We embark on something whilst thinking of the next thing we want to get stuck into. Am I right!?

I’ve come to a realisation that my ADHD traits have had an impact on my difficulties with commitment.

Lack of sustained attention

Image description: A giant lightbulb with a man sat on top of it, a woman climbing a ladder towards the light bulb and another woman watering the bottom of the lightbulb using a watering pot.

Difficulties sustaining attention is an inattentive trait that many of us ADHDers struggle with. I’ve seen many examples of this linked to tasks and ideas but little examples of how this presents in friendships/ relationships.

Friendships and relationships require commitment, listening to one another and open communication. This means paying attention to the other person’s wants and needs and fully engaging in the relationship. I struggle with replying to texts and answering phone calls. I feel like it requires massive amounts of effort to first reply, and then to continue in endless conversation. This makes for bad communication on my part and is pretty disruptive to friendships/relationships.

I don’t do this intentionally!

My ADHD brain has difficulty tolerating boredom.

Many people with ADHD have difficulty tolerating boredom, and many seek out experiences in which intensity or stimulation is high. Sometimes the stimulation is extreme. - Amen Clinics

In the case of friendships/relationships, I think stable and smooth sailing relationships translates as boredom to my brain. I’m understimulated by the calmness of it all. Unhealthy, I know.

In the end, I drift apart from people and I tell myself “this wasn’t meant to be” or pull the “it’s not you, it’s me” card.

I never realised how much my lack of sustained attention affected my personal connections.

Impulsiveness

Image description: Two women jumping and hi-fiving mid-air.

I’m pretty sure most of us are familiar with the analogy of ADHDers feeling like we’re being ‘driven by a motor’. This is very true for me on a daily basis! I am very quick to dive straight into things, the trouble is, I find myself quickly wanting to jump straight out of it! If you’ve also been in this predicament you know exactly what I’m talking about. We make a rushed a decision without fully assessing the situation and then we end up in the same predicament over and over again.

It’s pretty difficult to commit to something when you weren’t fully aware of what you were getting yourself into!

Working on my commitment issues

Now that I’m fully aware that my ADHD traits have played a huge role in my difficulties in my commitment issues, I’ve started to work it.

I’ve become more open and honest in my communication. For instance, I tell people pretty early on that I might not respond promptly to texts or always pick up the phone to give them a call. Also, when I receive a text, I make it a point to reply and give a holding response stating that I’ll get back to them and I try to make sure I do. Goodbye, bad communication!

I’m still working on my impulsiveness. It’s a part of me that I don’t want to get rid of, but one that I want to work on. Before I jump straight into anything, I consider whether I’d be wasting people’s time as well as my own time. I also try to be sensitive to other people’s feelings by carefully considering whether I’m interested or not.

If you, like me, have commitment issues, don’t feel guilty. Take the opportunity to acknowledge which ADHD traits impact your ability to commit and aim to work on it.

Feel free to send any tips my way!

Rach, with ADHD.