Autism & ADHD | What it’s like having both

I really am excited about this blog post because a lot of people have absolutely no idea what it’s like having 2 different disorders co-occurring. I’ve heard a few people say that autism and ADHD are the same thing. It really upsets me because I know exactly how different both are and how they affect me differently. In this blog, I’m going to explain how both disorders basically contradict each other on a lot of things.

Autism vs ADHD

My autism causes me to be overstimulated and need to shut down but my ADHD causes me to be hyperactive and now I can’t relax enough to restore myself.

My autism insists I need order and routine but my ADHD makes it hard to follow the routine because I get bored and distracted easy.

My autism wants to obsess over a special interest and while my ADHD mostly agrees with that because it makes me hyper fixate on my autistic special interests, I still get distracted and bored easily which makes me unable to stick to one thing for too long. That’s why I have a long list of crafts that I do and continue to add more to the list.

My autism causes me to be sensory avoidant but my ADHD causes me to need constant stimulation so I’m always stuck picking which one will have the least harm done if I ignore it.

My autism makes me not want to be social but my ADHD pushes me to be social because being stuck at home relaxing doesn’t feel good for my ADHD, which then makes my autism very uncomfortable struggling with the lack of social cues.

I need sleep to restore my autistic brain but my ADHD makes me feel restless and now I can’t shut my brain off so I’m up all night with racing thoughts that my autism is unable to process.

My autism wants to organize everything in my space but my ADHD makes it hard to stay focused on a task and both conditions tend to struggle with execution dysfunction.

My autism causes me to have meltdowns due to sensory processing issues while my ADHD doesn’t really care unless it’s distracting me.

My autism does very well focusing on details but my ADHD causes me to easily forget the details and now I need a step by step process broken down.

My autism makes me learn new things pretty quick but my ADHD makes me hyper focus on something else prematurely and now I can’t retain the information I learned.

My autism makes me shut down and occasionally have non verbal episodes when dealing with severe sensory overload but my ADHD makes it hard to shut up sometimes and I talk nonstop.

My ADHD causes me to be impulsive but my autism can’t tolerate unpredictability and now I have to carefully plan it out before it’s executed.

It feels like a constant war in my head between the two. I can’t always accommodate one’s needs without interrupting the other. My depression is amplified due to the confusion and inability to be comforted. I can’t help myself when there’s such confusion.

While there are some similarities between the two, it’s definitely not the same thing and it’s absolutely not the same spectrum. Some people have one or the other but there’s some who deal with both and it’s very complicated. I hope you learned something from this blog because it’s very important to be able to recognize the difference so that you can accommodate your needs accordingly.

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