Isaak Guderian’s struggle between calmth and inspiration

Germany’s singer Isaak Guderian has ADHD. It’s both a blessing and a curse for him: how to find the right balance between the positive and the negative effects? ESCDaily spoke to him about the lyrics of his Eurovision song “Always on the run”.

The lyrics are about Isaak’s struggle with ADHD and his hyperfocus. Sentences like “I can’t refuse, I’m going under”, “I can’t break out when I’m free” and “All I do is keep my head up, but it’s time to keep the pace” are references to this.

Isaak does not own a television, because if he keeps it on in the background, it prevents him from having a conversation with his friends. He simply can’t focus or shut out the noise. He does have a smartphone, however that is a big challenge for him. “I am still figuring out how to handle that,” he says to ESCDaily. “My wife and I regularly have arguments about it, because if I get a notification, I am immediately gone. I struggle to be mentally present, even when I am with my kids.”


ADHD is a controversial topic. Some say ADHD is a disease that needs to be treated with medicins like Ritalin. Others think it’s more of a character trait, much like lefthandedness for example. They think ADHD should be renamed as “neuro diverse”.

The latter view seems to be supported by recent scientific literature. It warns against over-problematization, especially among children. Our society is not designed for busy or otherwise deviant children. Labeling ADHD as a disease causes children to suppress (part of) their identity, medical experts say. This can also be the case with other behavioral labels such as autism.


Isaak indeed sees ADHD as part of who he is. “I don’t know if I would want to get rid of it. That’s why I never went to a psychologist. If I were to change, I might also lose my musical talent.” Because of his hyperfocus, Isaak can sometimes work on a new song for eight to ten hours in a row. Moreover, living with ADHD also provides inspiration, for example for his Eurovision Song Contest song. It is not without reason that he sings: “I know my blessing with the privilege” – his disorder can occasionally be a blessing.

But the sentences that follow show a different picture: “I don’t feel like getting stronger, in my mind, it’s just a game that can’t be won.” When ESCDaily asks him about the fatalism that resonates in those sentences, Isaak says: “I keep making the same mistakes. I wait too long before filing my tax return. I’m on my phone while I’m with my kids. I know I shouldn’t do it, but I do it again and again. How many more mistakes do I have to make before I learn from them?”

Isaak does experience problems and frustration due to ADHD. He thinks the idea that it is just like left-handedness goes too far. “If I can’t be there for my wife and children, then that’s a real problem, not one that society has created.”

More acceptance for neurodiversity is a positive thing, says Isaak, but not every behavior should be applauded. People need to keep working on their shortcomings. “I ask myself every day: How can I be a better husband, a better father, a better friend without losing my blessings and my identity?”


That’s the question “Always on the run” deals with, especially in the bridge. Isaak shouts out: “Run from the silence, screaming for guidance, who am I fighting for?” In the video Isaak raises his hands and we see a person folding their hands, starting to pray. A deliberate reference.

It would help if he had a mentor, Isaak thinks. “Someone who accepts me as I was made and someone who at the same time points out that I have flaws. Who loves me too much to hide that under the guise of “you are who you are”. Someone who wants to work with me to become a better person.”

The song ends with the bridge and is therefore not “neatly” rounded off with a chorus. Isaak has not yet found the mentor, the solution. Small consolation for us as listeners is that he has enough inspiration to work on an album.

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