A lot of my friends are people with ADHD. And I hear a lot of things about life with ADHD from them. I don’t agree with everything I hear, but I’m not saying that they are wrong.
Some of us have some aspects of the disorder and some of us have others. I’m grateful I’m not the person with all of them.
I’ve heard more than a few members of our tribe complain about folks who “think they might be ADHD” because they always lose their keys, or they can’t concentrate to read, or they get lost easily.
It’s not their fault that they believe that is all that one needs to be considered a candidate for an ADHD diagnosis.
Yes, the information is out there, yes they could look it up. But are they being told to?
What’s in a translation? A lot apparently. There has been a rash of hoax “news” reports stating that the “Inventor” of ADHD confessed on his deathbed that it is made up. I don’t even know where to begin with this, unless maybe to say … No!
The great thing about stories like this is that they sound really good, don’t they? But I like to ask questions when I read things. Questions like “Where’s the interview?” “Who did the interview?” “Can I please read the actual interview?”
There are people in this world who feel that specific mental health issues are new manifestations. They believe that certain disorders are caused by new things that we do, new things that we eat, new chemicals in vaccines and medications.
These people truly believe that ADHD didn’t exist before. They truly believe that Autism was caused by vaccines. And they honestly believe that they can cure these disorders with diets and restrictions.
I’ve heard it a hundred times. “Hyperfocus is so great!” And yet, I’ve been having a problem getting on board with that.
You see, focus isn’t just a noun, it’s also a verb. And I think it’s an active verb. I think focus is something we need to do “on purpose” … and I can’t!
Okay, not true, I can. But not easily. And I have extra difficulty making myself focus on what needs to be focused on when my mind is attracted to something … anything else.
Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. Things aren’t always as they appear. Looks can be deceiving. This line of thought is most certainly applicable to people with ADHD.
We don’t stand out, at all. At least we don’t stand out, out on the street. And we don’t stand out in the library, at the restaurant or café, at the gym or in church or the mall.
We can be picked out in the class room, sometimes, if you look closely. But you have to look very closely, we’re trying hard to fit in there.
I think, sometimes, that there is very little else in my life so bad as the fact that I have ADHD. I hate that I get distracted, I hate that I fail to focus to the extent that it keeps me from accomplishing things. I hate that I am often left suffering guilt and anxiety over the things I sometimes say and do.
But I hate the misinformation about ADHD even worse. I hate that people hear things from others and repeat those things as if they are gospel. The phrase “They say …” is not a citation for anything and yet it suffices for anyone who wants to sound knowledgeable.
I’ve said I have above average intelligence before, but I have a confession to make. I just say it, I can’t prove it. I say it and no one argues with me. No one ever questions me. I’m not a member of Mensa, I’ve never had my Intelligence Quotient rated, and while I made the honor roll in my last year of high school and through college, my school grading was far from spectacular for most of the time. In fact, I was a solid C-minus student.
The thing that took me from being a C-minus student in Grade 11 to an honor roll student in grade 12 was simply this: when I started grade 12 the first time, I lasted a month … and then quit. I was 18 years old, I was old enough to quit, and so I did.
After 11 months of trying to hold down three jobs at once just to keep myself in alcohol, I decided I needed my high school diploma in order to get a decent paying job. Actually I went to my high school to find out how to join the navy and ended up signing up for my last year of school just to finish it. But that’s another story.
I am not ADHD, I have ADHD. I am not a disorder, I have what is referred to as a disorder. And I am not even sure I agree with that. I am not a patient, I am a person, not a patient person, just a person.
And I am not a statistic, not a number, not even an anomaly. I am not broken. I am not different, or at least I’m not different enough that I should be identified as such. We’re all different.
I am not retarded, though there has been a lack of development in part of my brain. I’m not unintelligent, in fact, like many people with ADHD, I am of above average intelligence.
There are people out there who doubt that ADHD exists. And sadly, some of them are people who think that saying something in a loud or strong tone makes them right.
There are people out there who will tell you that, because of the flawed logic they have applied to their investigations of ADHD, they know more about it than others. The ones who claim to be able to cure or remediate ADHD with diet or brain training come to mind.
And what all these people have in common is a need to isolate us and make us feel like we’re wrong. Either we’re wrong in thinking we have a disorder, since they’ll happily tell us that it doesn’t exist or possibly doesn’t persist into adulthood, or we’re wrong to think that diet won’t help or that mind tricks won’t fix it. If nothing else, we’re just wrong to think that we deserve to be taken into consideration since we’re just one of a kind.
There’s this old joke, from the pre-GPS era, that goes like this:
A man was driving across the country. He was in an area he was unfamiliar with and he seemed to have lost his way. None of the roads he saw seemed to be on his map, and every time he turned onto what looked like a better road, it quickly deteriorated into a worse road than the previous one.
He was just about to give it all up and try to retrace his steps when, there on the side of the rutted logging road he found himself on was a cabin with a grizzled old gentleman seated on the front porch.