The thing about the male ADHD brain is that, jsut like other men, we have our nothing box and we are single taskers. Our brains are like an iPhone; we can only have one app active at a time, and we just need a moment to minimise one and then open the other. We need a few seconds to shift “apps” from the “reading the paper” app to the “listen to her” app, and it can take a minute for the closing of one then opening of the other.
What is different about the male ADHD brain is this: ever been on your iPhone and working on something then suddenly another app just automatically switches over without you pressing anything, like an alarm on your calendar or something? With the male ADHD brain, our thoughts and attention arte like that. We get distracted by anything and everything, even our own random thoughts, and our minds are always active in ways we literally have no control over.
So it’s like we’ve chosen to load the “listen to her” app and suddenly, totally out of our control, the “OH SHIT LOOK AT THAT SEXY LAMBORGHINI DRIVING PAST THE WINDOW” app just pops open, then the “WE NEED TO WASH THE CAR THIS WEEK” app pops open, then the “WE HAVEN’T FINISHED GETTING THE COLLECT ALL CARS ACHIEVEMENT IN SAINTS ROW 4 YET” app pops open, and so on.
It’s not that we’re not listening. It’s not that we don’t care. It’s that most men have a special “hardware limiter” built into their brains which will keep those other “popup” apps from popping up randomly most of the time, but with the ADHD brain, that limiter is just plain missing. We never got it installed, and it’s a hardware that cannot be added later. Medication and nutrition can help; this will always be an issue to some degree, though.
To keep using the iPhone analogy, medication and nutrition help; it helps us keep our RAM clear enough that when those popup apps pop up, we can close them faster and easier. On top of this, though, the more stressed we get or the more we consciously work on focusing, the faster our RAM fills up and the harder it is to clear out those popup apps, which makes it just harder to function overall.
This doesn’t mean we’re not worth being with, or that we’re useless. It just means that for all our talents and skills and positives, we’ve got our own challenges, and need patience and understanding sometimes.