On Reading

and not absorbing.

A client recently asked me if it is an ADHD thing to not absorb stuff while you're reading- in other words to read a whole bunch but then have to keep starting over because you realize you don't know what you just read.

YES this is totally an ADHD thing.

Here's the counterpart:  reading quickly, and absorbing easily, things that interest you right now, the shiny/new stuff as it were.

Typical ADHD thing: newly diagnosed or in process of diagnosis ADHD adult reads a dozen books on ADHD super quickly even though they don't seem to be able to get through books normally (that's hyperfocus, by the way).

Another typical ADHD thing: to find the bits you're interested in of a book, feel like you got the gist of it, and then lose interest, lose focus and then it just sits around.

Classic self-critical thing: to then get down on yourself for "never finishing" a book or "reading a bunch of books at once."

Coach's request/challenge: Accept that this is how you read. Graze to get the bits you want- or really- hunt for the meat you want. It's ok to leave the rest.

Harder challenge: Give yourself permission to put aside books that don't catch your interest enough to pull you through them. Let go of the idea that you "should" finish books– unless you need to for school/exam/etc (and then I could coach you through the process- that's still no excuse to just keep trying harder and harder and getting upset about it!)

Believe in your own hunter-like reading process. You ARE finding the juicy bits, and maybe you don't WANT the rest.

Look for formats/material that suit you. Try: essays. short stories. poetry. magazines. things you are interested in rather than things you think you should read or things you think you should be interested in.

My current state: sleep-deprived parent of two young children with very few minutes in a row to myself– I don't really read much at all right now. I read some stuff online. I read science and news magazines with short articles. That's ok. It will change again.