ADHD Quotes About the Neurodivergent Way of Paying Attention
March 21, 2023 5:00 AM EST
ADHD is a chronic mental disorder that affects the ability people have for paying attention and focusing on tasks.
There is no cure for it, although it can be managed with medication and therapy.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 6.1 million children aged 2-17 years have been diagnosed with ADHD in the United States as of 2016.
This statistic can help highlight the prevalence of ADHD and the importance of understanding and supporting those with the condition.
People who have ADHD have above-average levels of hyperactivity and are often prone to impulsive behavior, which can often present as behavior problems in children.
There is a growing community though, that considers ADHD, and other clinical mental health disorders as “neurodivergent” instead of a disease, disorder, or problem.
You might have heard this term recently, and some of these ADHD quotes address the concept in a little more detail.
The idea between neurodiversity is that we can focus on the way brains are different instead of labeling something as a defect.
For instance, a person with ADHD might have trouble sitting still and focusing on the task at hand, but they often show higher than average levels of passion, drive, and creative thinking.
These are all wonderful traits and skills!
Sarah Cussler, assistant director of Undergraduate Writing and Academic Strategies at Yale Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning explains how “Even their impulsivity can be an advantage because they’ll say things other people are afraid to say.”
Some of these ADHD quotes address the seriousness of the struggle life with ADHD can be, while others try to paint a funny picture of what having ADHD is like.
Keep reading to learn more about ADHD and neurodivergency, while also discovering some inspirational words for those who are different!
Don’t forget to also check out these anxiety quotes to help relax your mind and ease fears.
Check out our most popular quote article, a list of short inspirational quotes for daily inspiration.
Check out our inspirational quotes category page for more inspirational life quotes.
Funny Attention Deficit Disorder quotes that try to paint a picture of what having ADHD is like
A report from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) found that ADHD can have a significant impact on a person’s daily life, including impairments in social, academic, and occupational functioning.
This statistic can help people understand the broad impact that ADHD can have on an individual’s life.
1. “It’s like trying to listen to your favorite show with really bad noise disrupting the signal. All the while, loud children are screaming around you and throwing things.” ― Christine Ashley
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2. “Picture a room with 1,000 TVs, with each TV showing something different. Now try and concentrate on just one TV without getting distracted.” ― Damian DaViking Aird
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3. “Nothing like ADHD and a good fight to the death to make time fly.” ― Rick Riordan
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4. “It’s like being a cat with 100 people with laser pointers.” ― Jamie Hynds
5. “It’s like opening 100 tabs in your browser at once and trying to do something different in each one at the same time. Then someone walks up and wants to have a conversation.” ― Jennifer Arnott
6. “Living with ADHD is like walking up a down escalator. You can get there eventually but the journey is exhausting.” ― Kathleen Ely
7. “Living with ADHD is like being locked in a room with 100 televisions and 100 radios, all playing. None of them have power buttons so you can turn them off and the door is locked from the outside.” ― Sarah Young
8. “I have more thoughts before breakfast than most people have all day.” ― Unknown
9. “I keep getting distracted while trying to read a book about how not to get distracted.” ― Unknown
10. “Think of having ADHD in this way… You have a ‘Ferrari’ brain but with ‘Chevy’ brakes.” ― Unknown
Positive ADHD quotes from doctors, writers, and presidents
A study published in the Journal of Attention Disorders found that college students with ADHD reported lower academic self-efficacy and more academic problems than their peers without ADHD.
This statistic can emphasize the challenges that individuals with ADHD may face in academic settings.
11. “For all the hoopla you read and hear about the overdiagnosis of ADD and the overuse of medication-indeed, serious problems in certain places—the more costly problem is the opposite: millions of people, especially adults, have ADD but don’t know about it and therefore get no help at all.” ― Edward M. Hallowell, M.D., Delivered from Distraction: Getting the Most out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorder
12. “I was trying to daydream, but my mind kept wandering.” ― Steven Wright
13. “Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of, but stigma and bias shame us all.” ― President Bill Clinton
14. “When you have ADHD, your home reflects our thought. Disorganized and in disarray. And like with a disorganized house. you can only apologize for your disorganized brain so many time before it becomes exhausting.” ― Sarah Young
15. “Sometimes I’ve got too many thoughts at once. It’s like there’s a four-way intersection in my brain where everyone’s trying to go at the same time.” ― A. J. Finn
16. “ADHD is not about knowing what to do, but about doing what one knows.” ― Dr. Russell Barkley
17. “Behavior isn’t something someone has. Rather, it emerges from the interaction of a person’s biology, past experiences, and immediate context.” ― L. Todd Rose
18. “People with ADHD often have a special feel for life, a way of seeing right into the heart of matters, while others have to reason their way methodically.” ― Dr. Edward M. Hallowell
19. “Most teachers and adults could benefit from pretending that all kids in their class have ADHD-what is good for kids with ADHD is good for all kids.” ― Dr. Edward M. Hallowell
20. “For reasons we don’t quite understand, soon after you command yourself to pay attention, you forget that you commanded yourself to pay attention.” ― Dr. Edward M. Hallowell
Inspirational ADHD quotes for patients and loved ones
21. “Passion isn’t everything, but everything is better with passion, especially if you have ADHD. I hope that you all find that passion for something or someone. Never stop looking for it. Once you find it, fight for it with every breath.” ― Shayne Neal
22. “Not enough people realize that ADHD is not a disorder about loss of focus. It is a disorder of loss of emotional control, which is triggered by outside influences, self-esteem and our interpretation of events. Whether this is positive or negative, it triggers us to hyper-focus on what consumes our thoughts. Staying positive is critical and distancing oneself from hurtful people is essential, in order to live a life with purpose.” ― Shannon L. Alder
23. “Don’t waste your time being what someone wants you to become, in order to feed their list of rules, boundaries, and insecurities. Find your tribe. They will allow you to be you, while you dance in the rain.” ― Shannon L. Alder
24. “I’m not ashamed of who I am, but I’m tired of being defined by a disorder.” ― Gloria Joynt-Lang, Braking Hard
25. “PTSD and ADHD happen due to excessive unconscious access to the pain body. You can come out of that by accessing the bliss body through meditation.” ― Amit Ray
26. “Every person with ADHD already knows that destination addiction is part of their disorder. However, if it doesn’t have a positive outlet, it can destroy your life. It is not another person that will make your life better; it is the qualities in them that you admire. Incorporate those attributes into your own life and you won’t miss a thing.” ― Shannon L. Alder
27. “That’s the other thing: Even if you’re on medication, you still have to treat your body properly and take care of yourself. The idea that ADHD goes away or you grow out of it isn’t true.” ― Ty Pennington
28. “ADHD isn’t a bad thing, and you shouldn’t feel different from those without ADHD.” ― Adam Levine
29. “ADHD is just another word for fun, exciting and adventurous.” ― Julie Posey
30. “I prefer to distinguish ADD as attention abundance disorder. Everything is just so interesting, remarkably at the same time.” ― Frank Coppola
31. “Each one of us is different, but one thing that is true; Each one of us is wonderfully made, and so, my dear, are you!” ― Donna Anello
32. “Never give up on someone with a mental illness. When I is replaced by we, illness becomes wellness.” ― Shannon L. Alder
Helpful ADHD quotes for parents and spouses
33. “Parenting an ADHD spouse is always destructive to your relationship because it demotivates and generates frustration and anger.” ― Melissa Orlov
34. “The hardest thing about ADHD is that it’s invisible to outsiders. People just assume that we are not being good parents and that our child is a brat. When they don’t have an idea how exhausted we truly are.” ― S. C.
35. “Forgive your child and yourself nightly. You didn’t ask to live with the effects of ADHD any more than did your child.” ― Martin L. Kutscher
36. “ADHD is real and valid. The sooner we recognize the patterns and learn to work with these kids, the better assured we will be that they as adults will be healthy members of society.” ― Rhonda Van Diest
37. “ADHD is a neurological and behavioral disorder that affects not only the person with it but the entire family, including parents and the extended family of parental siblings and grandparents. It tests the limits of the family’s ability to be supportive, understanding, and loving.” ― Dresher Larry
38. “It is difficult to instruct children because of their natural inattention; the true mode, of course, is to first make our modes interesting to them.” ― John Locke
39. “Be patient with me. Understand why I do the things I do. Don’t yell at me. Believe me, I don’t want to have ADHD.” ― Joane E Richardson
40. “ADHD is not a choice or bad parenting. Kids with ADHD work twice as hard as their peers every day but receive more negative feedback from the world.” ― DRB
41. “I know what’s its like to grow up with ADHD and how important it is for parents, caregivers, and patients, to have access to accurate information.” ― Ty Pennington
ADHD quotes from Anna Whateley and Jenara Nerenberg
42. “My room is the safest place my body has. My mind doesn’t really have a safe place.” ― Anna Whateley
43. “Despite what the words “attention deficit” imply, ADHD is not a deficit of attention, but rather a challenge of regulating it at will or on-demand.” ― Jenara Nerenberg
44. “Many women latch onto language from popular psychology, such as “panic attack,” when often they are instead experiencing sensory overwhelm.” ― Jenara Nerenberg
45. “High stimulation is both exciting and confusing for people with ADHD, because they can get overwhelmed and overstimulated easily without realizing they are approaching that point.”― Jenara Nerenberg
46. “My alphabet hates itself. Like … imagine someone says, ‘Think outside the box.’ My hyperactive mind creates a sphere and laughs at the box and researches for hours on end how much better spheres are.” ― Anna Whateley
47. “My heart beats too loudly at the change in plans. Changes happen sometimes; they aren’t always a bad thing. I grip my coffee cup and wriggle my toes. I can do this, the coffee says; of course you can, the meds reply.” ― Anna Whateley
48. “Once, in the morning, I decided I would be a biologist, and spent hours in the library studying, preparing for my amazing career. I told the librarian, who still smiles at me. She must think I will get out of this place and make it one day. One book I found about organisms was so fascinating I sat down with it in the stacks, engrossed. It took me fifteen minutes to realize it was about orgasms. I read until lunch and then hid the book on the shelf.” ― Anna Whateley
49. “What happens when we stop pathologizing difference?” ― Jenara Nerenberg
50. “They said I could pass as normal, that I was clever and no one would ever know. They lied. Not about passing. The lie was hidden beneath, in the desire for me to be the same as them. I am extraordinary. They should have helped me soar, be more of me, not less.” ― Anna Whateley
More insightful ADHD quotes
51. “I am not absentminded. It is the presence of mind that makes me unaware of everything else.” – G.K. Chesterton
52. “If we run every class the way we run it for kids with ADHD, we’d probably have a much stronger education system.” – Robert Reid
53. “Having a child with ADHD is like having three children. It’s exhausting!” – HK
54. “ADHD can affect every area of your life.” – Natasha McCulloch
55. “This is a mental health issue, not a behavior issue! People including doctors and schools need to recognize it as such!” – Ridge Meadows
56. “There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision.” – William James
57. “You can’t change who you are, and you shouldn’t be asked to.” – Jonathan Mooney
58. “I didn’t let ADHD prevent me from achieving my goals, and neither should you.” – Howie Mandel
59. “Remember that you are not alone. There are others going through the same things.” –Adam Levine
60. “The symptoms of trauma and ADHD are often confused.” ― Jessica Marie Baumgartner
Thought Provoking ADHD Quotes
61. “ADHD is a prime example of a fictitious disease.” — Leon Eisenberg
62. “In the midst of all the chaos swirling through your brain, all the disorganization and impulsiveness, the condition (ADHD) also seems to trigger a certain kind of creativity.” — David Neeleman
63. “We believe that more than 4 percent of the children in this country suffer from ADHD… We want to know how to better identify and refer children for treatment.” — David Satcher
64. “Working is the best thing for me because I’m borderline ADHD, so I need some kind of focus or I go a bit extreme. I need work to keep me sensible.” — Jaime Winstone
65. “All behavioral or mood disorders – including depression, OCD, ADHD and addiction – have some neurochemical components, but sufferers can still work to overcome them.” — Jeffrey Kluger
66. “I probably suffered from ADHD, but they weren’t so quick to diagnose it back then. For PE, they’d drop you in the woods with a compass and a pack of matches. It gave you confidence that you could rely on yourself.” — Will Arnett
67. “Frank: “I wish I had ADHD or dyslexic. All I got is lactose intolerance.” Percy: “Seriously?” Frank: “And I love ice cream too.” — Rick Riordan
68. “I was a child actor. I was this spaz kid diagnosed with ADHD, and I worked all the time.” — Fergie
69. “ADHD is not a mental illness even though the government says it is. It is an amazing blessing if you learn how to use it and stop using it to play a victim.” ― Shayne Neal
70. “It turns out that up to 35 percent of people with bipolar disorder also have ADHD.” ― Julie A. Fast
ADHD Quotes To Give You Hope During Recovery Journey
71. “I have late onset ADHD. I take on too much and end up spinning plates, but its entertaining, and it helps you make quick connections if youre a comedian, if you have a brain that can dance around too much.” ― Rory Bremner
72. “I’m from the ADHD generation, to be honest – I genuinely was on Ritalin in middle school – so I’m most comfortable with a hundred things going on at once. It’s deadlines that get pesky.” ― Tim Federle
73. “Well, if you can’t then write in the press or put on television the importance of parents changing what they’re doing, then the safe way out is to say, “Look, learning disabilities is probably genes. ADHD, probably genes.” And that is the political alternative to not blaming the victim.” ― Jerome Kagan
74. “One of the places where research is needed is all the sensory problems. And you get sensory problems not just with autism, but with dyslexia, learning problems, ADHD, attention deficit, you know, things like sound sensitivity, problems with fluorescent lighting.” ― Temple Grandin
75. “I was a very focused kid. I always had this crazy lifestyle… billions of jobs, two hours of gymnastics every day, handball, anything with a ball, really. I must have had ADHD or something. I was very energetic, and very small. I didn’t start growing until the last year of high school.” ― Mads Mikkelsen
76. “These diagnostic profiles like depression, ADHD, autism, dyslexia, it’s half science and the other half is a committee of doctors bickering over what it should be, and it has changed. It’s not precise like a diagnosis of tuberculosis would be very precise.” ― Temple Grandin
77. “What I did next was so impulsive and dangerous I should’ve been named ADHD poster child of the year.” ― Rick Riordan
78. “ADD is like going through life, carrying a one-man band contraption with a broken strap.” ― Julia Smith-Ruetz
79. “Do not say, that child has ADHD. Say it: He wears the 7R gene.” ― Gert Van Mol
80. “What I did next was so impulsive and dangerous I should’ve been named ADHD poster child of the year.” ― Rick Riordan
What did you learn from these ADHD quotes?
Where did the term neurodivergent come from?
Well, Judy Singer, a sociologist with autism, used the term “neurodiversity” in the late 1990s.
She described it as “a concept that certain developmental disorders are normal variations in the brain.
And people who have these features also have certain strengths.”
Some other mental health disorders that fall under the category of neurodivergent include Autism Spectrum Disorder, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, and other learning disabilities.
One interesting point in the theory of neurodivergency is brought up by Alecia M. Santuzzi, Ph.D., who points out how workplaces are structured in a way that is unfair for those with ADHD.
Simple adjustments might not only benefit the employee but the organization as a whole.
Advocates of neurodivergency posit that instead of paying attention to impairments caused by ADHD, we could focus on someone’s strengths, not what they lack.
(Good managers and leaders should do this, anyway!)
In the case of people with ADHD though, there’s some evidence that suggests they exhibit high levels of spontaneity, courage, and empathy.
They can use that ability to be hyper-focused on certain tasks.
What did you learn from these ADHD quotes and sayings?
Do you have ADHD, or maybe, know someone who does?
Feel free to share your strengths, or that of a loved one, with us in the comment section below!