Dinner with a friend had become twenty questions. She was asking me about ADHD, about blogging, about many things. I don’t need much encouragement to talk. If anything I need discouragement.
Then she asked me if it was important to me to educate people about ADHD …
I paused, and thought. The question wasn’t what I was expecting. I do talk lots about ADHD, and not just here. I would call myself an advocate, even a zealous one on occasion.
The truth is, it’s important to me that I educate people about ADHD, but it’s even more important to me that I let people with ADHD know they’re not alone. I get a greater sense of accomplishment from hearing people say that they recognize themselves in what I say. I am saddened when I hear that, until that point, they had felt alone. But hearing them say they feel like they have found a community here cheers me greatly.
My dinner companion didn’t know it, but she’d started me thinking about why this was important to me. And I may have figured this out. Up to the age of fifty, I was undiagnosed. I was also an underachiever socially. I felt like I was alone in being the way I was, like there was no one else like me. I spent my life avoiding engaging with people or engaging from behind my keyboard from where I could edit my communications, as I said on Monday.
It wasn’t until my diagnosis that I started coming out to play. And even then it was with a bunch of ADHDers. I fit in with them, with their group.
My family accepted me, but when I left them to strike out on my own I soon learned that I was not the successful social animal I’d thought I was. In fact, I was a bit of a dud.
If ADHD is represented in approximately ten percent of the population, and there were, on average, 30 kids in my one room school (yes, I’m that old) then there were three of us. If there had been opportunities for diagnosis, we would have been said to have “Minimal Brain Dysfunction” but there were no such opportunities. Because we were ostracized we did not look to each other as a peer group, but rather we secretly aspired to be included in the “in crowd.”
So, I had little opportunity to locate my own kind and confirmation (of sorts) that they were not worth associating with. A sure way to guarantee a lonely childhood, or at least one that is lonelier than it needed to be.
Now, we not only think outside the box, we are out of the box. The box has been dumped. We, its contents, have been inflicted on society and the box itself has been broken down and put in the recycling (I should have kept it to put some of these piles of papers in). And we gravitate towards each other, we sing in each others hearts and minds and we cheer each other on.
And I like to think I am helping this along. Perhaps I’m being too kind to myself, but if so, don’t tell me. It’s a pleasant delusion.
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From Psych Central's World of Psychology:
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Last reviewed: 20 Jun 2012