“He always just says what’s on his mind without thinking about the consequences.” “She is so impulsive; she sees it and buys it whether or not the money is there.” “My friend just blows up at the first signs something isn’t working the way he believes it should.”

These are common phrases that are heard about people who are ADHD. If you are ADHD you are well aware of these truths about yourself. Most times when people talk about these types of behaviors it’s in the vein of he or she does not have a filter. In other words, the person doesn’t have the ability to process information before responding and/or reacting. While this is true, I would like to introduce another perspective with ADHD.


Recently I was having a conversation with an ADHD friend who has become quite an advisor on providing insight to the ADHD mind. My friend shared with me…

“The most important thing that we can learn early in life is that we have very intense emotions-10 times what others feel-and we have to know and understand that and control it as much as possible…”

Most of those on the outside look at the person with ADHD think, “Why can’t they just learn to control their emotions,” when the real question should be, “How can I help filter the information for this person?”

When you are simply annoyed, ADHD is overwhelmed with frustration. If a non-ADHD person is down and out, the ADHD person is spiraling down into a deep state of depression. Likewise, when you might be excited about a new product that has come out, the ADHDer is more than excited, he goes out and purchases it based solely on the emotional high being experienced.


Moms, Dads, Brothers, Sisters, Husbands, Wives and Friends…listen carefully…


Should your ADHD wife fly off the handle, don’t walk off calling her crazy. When your child isn’t doing his homework, don’t call him lazy. If your friend purchases a car she can’t afford, don’t judge that she is irresponsible. And by all means, if someone you know is down and out in depression, don’t just assume they should and will get over it.


How to be a filter:

  • Consider how a person might respond to a situation or news
  • Think about how you are going to introduce new information
  • Take time to reflect on how the person with ADHD has responded in similar situations
  • Find the right time to introduce new information
  • Get the ADHD person to talk about his or her feelings (after the emotions have calmed)
  • Don’t assume they will get over it (whatever “it” is)
  • Continue to reach out, even if things seem okay
  • Be a good listener (not everyone wants you to solve their problem; they just want someone to understand)
  • Educate yourself about ADHD


Share some other ways a non-ADHD person can help be a filter!


Special Note

This post is in memory of and inspired by the loss of fellow Marine Gunnery Sergeant Matt Land. Matt inspired many people in and out of the Corps. You will be missed Gunny. Semper Fi.

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