I Have Lost 4 Passports Thanks to ADHD

August 16, 2022 Michael Thomas Kincella

Since the age of 18, I have lost four passports. This sportsman-like proficiency in losing valuable documents is partly a result of having attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Dealing with ADHD Because I'm Always Losing Passports and Other Things

If Losing Were a Sport, I Would Win

While we're counting items I've lost down through the years, here are a few more: I've lost at least one driving license. I've temporarily lost two cars because I couldn't remember where I'd parked them. And, when you include money, wallets, and various bits of clothing, I've lost a small fortune's amount of stuff.

In fairness, all this losing isn't solely because of ADHD; in some cases, alcohol played a huge part. But then, when I used to drink, I was neurotic and obsessed with checking my person every 10 minutes. You know, doing a quick inventory check. This frequent checking, ironically, increased my chances of losing the items I was so desperate to protect.

Because of ADHD and Losing Things, All My Items Have Designated Spaces Now

As you can imagine, losing passports, licenses, and money is quite an inconvenience -- not to mention expensive. And, I'm happy to report that once I ditched alcohol, the loss rate plummeted. But just because I was sober didn't mean I was above losing things. I still had to effect a system to prevent panicky searches for valuable items.

To that end, all my valuable items now live in designated spaces throughout my home. For example, my wallet lives in the drawer of my bedside table. That's also where my medication stays, making it a breeze to wake up and throw back pills. The medication never leaves the drawer, and the only times the wallet isn't in the drawer are the times I forget to take it out of my pocket. As you can see, my system isn't flawless. It is, however, miles better than my old system of doing things.

My Old System Wasn't a System

Back before medication, back when I was a heavy drinker, nothing had designated places. Everything--valuable or otherwise--lay strewn about my apartment. Locating items was a lottery: sometimes, my wallet was right in front of me, and at other times, I was an hour's hunt away from having it peek out at me from behind a bread bin.

I've made my peace with ADHD; I'm never going to be the ultra-organized type. I'm always going to be in a battle with myself and my nature and have the propensity to lose or misplace or forget stuff. That's fine. I can live with that, as long as I don't lose any more passports.

Do you lose important things like passports because of ADHD? Do you have designated spaces for your things? Let me know in the comments.

APA Reference
Thomas, M. (2022, August 16). I Have Lost 4 Passports Thanks to ADHD, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, May 31 from

Author: Michael Thomas Kincella

Find Michael on Twitter, Reddit, and his website.

January, 19 2023 at 5:43 am

Yes I lose everything also! I have learned to have designated places for things and I am trying to teach my kids, which are budding ADHDers, to have specific places for things. Our main things are toenail clippers, keys, phones, tape and scissors, notebooks and pens, brushes and combs, phone chargers and even their chromebooks! Also, it's funny about the husband has been telling me for 2 years I need to go get my passport so we can take a trip and everytime it crosses my mind to make a special trip to the post office to apply my anxiety goes thru the roof and I make up a million excuses why I don't have time that day!!! WHYYYY????!!!! I could be sitting on a beautiful island right now?!?!?! My untreated ADHD is crippling!

November, 18 2022 at 9:09 am

Hahaha…not only do I love this; I’d gladly take you on as an opponent in the sport of losing stuff! (Lost only one passport, but have a horrible time with 2 items: my phone & my keys.) I lose about 3-4 iPhones / yr and just as often (if not MORE) have to replace my keys. (It’s ridiculous how often I have to rekey my whole house. But I’m too safety-conscious to just to use a spare, so when I lose my set (abt twice/yr), it’s an ordeal. Oh well! Better safe than sorry, right?!! I promise not to send you any tips about how to keep up with your passport if you promise not to offer tips on how to stop losing my phones and keys! :).

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