I’ll tell you why I might consider it though.
A few months ago, a tragic event occurred. There was a shooting in a school in Connecticut.
And then, because tragedy isn’t apparently enough for some, there were comments made about the mental health of the alleged shooter. I took the stance that his mental health was secondary to the issue, and only played a part in so much as societies treatment, marginalization and stigmatization of him would have played a far greater role in the events under scrutiny.
I have not changed my mind. But in a post entitled Asperger’s, ADHD, Autism and Violence: Is There A Connection … I suggested that ADHD was on the Autism Spectrum.
You’d think I’d said God was dead. I was questioned about my stance. I was abused about it. I was insulted, called names, and lectured.
Rather than retaliate, I chose to point out that this reaction was indicative of the attitude toward mental health that I was suggesting was the possible cause of the implosion that had ended many valuable lives.
I held my ground, saying that it was my firm belief that ADHD did lie on the Autism spectrum, albeit to one end. I offered no proof. I still can’t.
Understand, that I am not saying that you, if you are a person with ADHD, are any worse off than you were a minute ago. I’m not saying that someone with Autism is someone with worse ADHD than I have. I’m not saying that there is any reason to look at any of us differently as a result of this, should it prove to be true.
There are many reasons to look at people with mental health issues differently. The way they, we, are currently perceived is wrong. We aren’t less, we aren’t wrong, we aren’t in-valid. We should not be treated as less valuable. We should not continue to be patronized or isolated or stigmatized. Changes must be initiated. They must occur.
But before we can be respected, we must respect each other, we must respect those who, like us, suffer from mental health issues. We are not better than anyone else. The idea that people who, perhaps temporarily, do not suffer from mental health problems perceive themselves to be superior to those of us with ADHD does not make it right for us to think we are better than anyone whose mental health presents them with more challenges than we have.
Perhaps it would be best if we all thought of the human condition to be similar to a car engine. Keep the oil changed, filters clean, spark plugs firing strong and timing tuned and we’re good to go, maybe. But you can’t get your car tuned up every day. And even if you could, some engines have manufacturing flaws. Something could just give out, let go, snap.
Being a person means that you possibly have the genetic predisposition to suffer mental health issues. Perhaps you’ve always known they’ve been there, perhaps they’ve always been there but you’re just learning about them now. Or perhaps the predisposition has always been there but it’s just starting to manifest, or maybe it will happen next week or month or year …
Whatever the case, you don’t get to choose. And neither does anyone else. And you may not be happy with what happens to you, but wouldn’t it be good if people didn’t make it worse by judging you, isolating you, making you feel wrong about yourself if you seek help?
And here’s something new to chew on; researchers have discovered new genetic influences that are associated with both ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). There is no statement yet that would put ADHD on the Autism Spectrum, but for my money, and in my world, the facts are adding up quickly. Shared symptoms and now shared genetics, what’s next?
But, I won’t say I told you so … at least, not yet.
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Last reviewed: 29 Mar 2013