adhd superpowers

What is High Functioning ADHD?

Day 4: High Functioning ADHD


So many of the women I work with have felt this way.

I did.

You may not really even know what ADHD is, but you HAVE had a sneaking suspicion that you kinda, sorta are ADD some of the time.

You may be forgetful, even when you don't want to be, or when you have the best of intentions.

You may have a hard time coming up with a word you're looking for in a conversation. Often feeling like something that you want to say is "on the tip of your tongue, but just out of reach"

You may find yourself in situations where had you remembered ahead of time, you could have taken care of something one way, but because you remembered at the very last minute (just in the nick of time) you had to come up with a creative solution to get the job done. (Also known as McGyvering)

If these things sound familiar, you may be a person (myself included) that I lovingly refer to as having high functioning ADHD.

For the longest time, you may have moved along through life pretty well, and then it seemed that out of the blue, something happened and you felt less able to cope. Less able to manage all of the moving parts of this day to day thing we call life.

If you look at two specific groups,

1) those that are diagnosed with ADHD and have had symptoms of it throughout much of their life (often diagnosed in childhood and often treated with medication), and

2) those that do not have ADHD or its symptoms,

You may think to yourself on the one hand "well, I don't really feel like I fit into either group. I don't think I need medication. I have managed to get along pretty well in life. I'm not hyperactive. I can hold down a job. I can focus sometimes. It's not THAT bad."

On the other hand, you know that you struggle more than those around you with details and organization.

You may

  • be time-challenged

  • have a hard time focusing on certain types of work

  • catch yourself running up and down the stairs 4-5 times forgetting what you went up for each time.

  • read the same page of a book multiple times, each time reaching the bottom and wondering what it was you just read (that is if you read books at all!)

  • have so many projects started and not many finished.

You just don't fit in a neat tidy box.

You're quirky and unique and a bit unorthodox. You're creative and personable and very often kind. (More about this in another blog post.)

What does that mean about you and ADHD?

Chances are if you've felt overwhelmed, scattered, forgetful, stuck, distracted, unorganized, confused and you've Googled anything about ADHD you may have high functioning ADHD.

It's not an "official" term mind you.

It just means that you experience the common symptoms of ADHD, but maybe to a lesser degree than those that have been diagnosed. You may very well have ADHD (you should always talk to your Dr. if you suspect that is the case and want to seek out a formal diagnosis.)

So what now? 

  • ADHD is all about managing your mind - The tools that you use to manage your mind will be different depending on the degree that your life is affected.

  • Nothing's broken. Every person on the planet has to manage their mind, lest it get the better of them. Some of us need to manage it a little more than others.

  • The label is helpful if it helps you, and not helpful if it doesn't. Knowing that ADHD affects the part of your brain responsible for making decisions and organizing and prioritizing and remembering is why it's helpful to know about it. It can give context to what you may be experiencing. That's all.

Tell me, what are your thoughts?

If you suspect you may be struggling with ADHD type of symptoms and wpuld like someone to talk to to sort it all out. Let’s jump in a call! We jump on Zoom, from the comfort of your own home. You tell me your story and ask me any questions. I’m completely at your service for 45 minutes.

The only way to change things is to try something different. 

Click here to book a free mini-session.

ADHD and the Gift of Storytelling



I love when I can highlight the positive side of ADHD tendencies. One of these gifts, as I see it is the gift of storytelling. My dad is a prime example of this. As someone with "tendencies", he can tell a story like nobody's business!

Let me also be clear, my dad has not been diagnosed with ADHD, nor at the age of 79 will he probably seek out a diagnosis. Knowing that there is a genetic component to ADHD, I would say I highly believe that my dad is the person that I inherited some of my ahem, "tendencies" from.

For as long as I can remember, my dad has been captivating people with his ability to tell a story. He has this way of pulling the listener in and holding out just enough on the details as he goes along, that people are left wondering how the story will end. He's descriptive and engaging. He's both funny and serious. Just like a successful comedian whose timing can make or break their act, my dad inherently knows the "flow" of a good story.

Part of it is that he likes to talk. I mean really likes to talk. I actually mean he LOVES to talk. He usually refers to his gift of gab as "the Semien curse", laughs about it and keeps right on talkin'. Once he's got ahold of ya, it's hard to get away. But when it comes to storytelling, it comes in handy. It works for him. I've seen him use storytelling as a way to break the ice, to ease tension in a room and to captivate an audience. It's helped him through many a social situation.

When all else fails, tell a story.

A few years back, my sister Robyn Semien-Graef, a producer at This American Life was tasked with pitching a story from a parent. When she asked my dad if he had a story that he wanted to pitch for the show, he proceeded to share a story about himself. My sister crafted it in such a beautiful way, I thought I'd share it with you here. Enjoy!

One Switch (7 min long)