Stephanie Loftus: How Does ADHD Affect My Concert Experience?

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Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional; please do not use this as diagnostic criteria. This is just my personal experience of going to concerts as someone who has ADHD.

When you ask someone about their experience at a concert, no one will have the exact same answer. Some people may feel as if their concert experience was boring because the music was too slow for them. Others may consider it the best night of their lives. Have you ever wondered why you feel the way you do about concerts? Or have you ever considered how neurodivergence impacts the concert experience?

What is it like when I am at a concert?

As someone with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), my brain is wired differently than others. I may act on impulse, such as by purchasing concert tickets the moment a show is announced. I don’t always know where to focus my attention when there is a lot going on, especially at a concert. There is so much to take in, from the flashing lights to the instruments being played, to the crowd screaming. But I love it. I like the chaos of everything going on and coming together. It fills my brain with a dopamine rush, leaving me filled with adrenaline when the show finishes.

If I am anticipating a show coming up, my brain tends to hyper-fixate as I listen to the artist’s music back to back, and it consumes my thoughts. Before seeing boygenius in June, I listened to their discography AT LEAST once a day while I was at work or at school for a couple of months. Leading up to their show, all I could talk about was how excited I was to see them live. When it came time for Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus, and Julien Baker to enter the stage, it was such a surreal moment, and I relive moments of the concert when I look back at photos and videos. Enter my hyperfixation and a way to relieve my PCD.

While I can’t speak for everyone who has ADHD or any other neurodiversity, I can say that concerts are truly an all-out experience for me. I love the excitement I get before a show, the intense emotions at the moment, and the lasting impact it leaves on me after. It is hard to imagine how I experience concerts without it. The next time you are at a concert, remember that everyone’s experience is a blend of varying emotions and viewpoints which makes the interpretation of live music so diverse and exciting.

Check out any of Stephanie’s show coverage here!


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