Newsletter #14: Racing thoughts and ADHD awareness via TikTok

ADHD doesn’t change, but our understanding of it evolves, and so do our methods of spreading awareness. This month’s ADHD news is a great example of that. We’ve got a study shining light on an underexplored symptom of ADHD, and an article describing the very 2021 experience of finding ADHD via TikTok. 

Happy June!

Study of the month: Racing thoughts are a common ADHD symptom

Sometimes feel like your brain is running incessantly forward and you’re struggling to keep up?

Psychologists refer to this feeling as “racing thoughts,” and a new study suggests that racing thoughts are a frequent symptom of ADHD. In the study, a team of researchers found that people with ADHD report high levels of racing thoughts, which led the researchers to conclude that “racing thoughts are a neglected but an intrinsic feature of ADHD.”

According to the researchers, racing thoughts might be like an internal form of hyperactivity. For more details of the study, see our write-up of it here.

News article of the month: Undiagnosed until … TikTok

One of the less expected phenomena of 2021 is that ADHD has apparently gone viral on TikTok. 

A new article in the Guardian captures the experience of discovering ADHD on TikTok. As Matilda Boseley, the 23-year-old author of the article, describes it: “the social media app TikTok figured out I had ADHD before I did.”

When TikTok’s algorithm started to direct Boseley toward ADHD-related content, she realized that “maybe I wasn’t somehow just ‘worse at being a person’ than everyone else. Maybe I simply didn’t have enough dopamine in my brain. I can’t overstate how liberating that felt.”

For those of us who lived for years with undiagnosed ADHD, Boseley’s story will ring familiar, no matter how we first spotted our symptoms of ADHD. And the article is a perfect illustration of the powerful role social media can play in spreading mental health awareness.

Coping tip of the month: Schedule “unproductive” time 

The classic ADHD coping tip is something about how to be more “productive,” but sometimes it’s worth highlighting the art of being unproductive. 

It’s easy to feel a constant feeling pressing you to cross items off your to-do list. Even more so if you already struggle with things like procrastination and organization, and thus feel the need to counteract those tendencies. 

But having regular time to engage in activities you enjoy without the need to feel like you’re being “productive” is essential to staying energized. Try scheduling a certain time in your day when you can do a hobby, read a book, etc. — time when simply nourishing your happiness and mental health is a higher priority than any unfinished chores or work.

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