Some title, eh? And I hear this in different ways. There’s the old dismissive standard: “ADHD is just an excuse for ! (fill in the blank)” And then there’s: “Every time you do that, you blame your ADHD!” And one of my all time favorites: “Instead of talking about your ADHD, why don’t you do something about it?”
It’s nice that there is so much help out there, isn’t it? And the great thing is that any one of these remarks immediately makes me retreat into myself, disengage from the person who says them, and re-establish my relationship with the cracks I’d thought I had patched in my shattered self esteem.
Before my diagnosis, I was easily distracted. Now, I’m … easily distracted. Before my diagnosis I would sometimes say inappropriate things. I still do that.
Before my diagnosis I would get bored with long, drawn out, mind numbing presentations and slip off into my own world. I would spend long periods of time staring out the window and living in my head. I would misunderstand people who were speaking to me in my native tongue, English. I would falter and fumble when I was in social situations where I wasn’t sure of myself.
Do you have ADHD? I have ADHD. I feel for you, I truly do. “It’s not easy being green.” has nothing on how “not easy” it is to have yourself scattered at high speed down the road of life.
And worse than that, while those of us with ADHD share your pain, we don’t share your ADHD anymore than you share ours, any one of ours.
Yes I have some of your symptoms, probably lots of them. But I don’t have all of them.
I’m have ADHD. But I’m also ALFF or Always Looking For Fun. What’s in the word “label” that makes us cringe so?
If someone said you were among the “kindest people” would you be offended? Not likely (unless they were describing the crowd you were hanging out with and suggesting you didn’t belong).
Okay, here’s a better example. Every Saturday morning I go to the local Farmer’s Market to pick up whatever I need, eggs, fish, honey, veggies, bread. I also always get my breakfast there.
The young woman who takes orders is in a situation where she needs to remember who ordered what. So she looks critically at the customer and adds to the bottom of their order a description of the orderer. It could be “pink shirt” or “orange scarf” or “leather purse.” You get the idea. Some of her customers are people she knows by name, that makes the label easy. Some of them are people she knows as customers, but not anywhere else, the regulars.
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.
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’m not you. I try to remember that all the time. My life is mine. Your life is yours. We are not a group of identical people with identical lives and identical problems.
But we are a group who recognizes that we are a group. And every so often, something will come up that reminds me that many of us have a lot of things in common.
The question, “Is that a thing?,” has started popping up in conversations with other people I know, who have ADHD.
One day recently, on a Facebook based ADHD page I belong to, one of my friends posted a note about becoming overly involved in online friendships too quickly, like, you know, before there is a friendship.
People with ADHD often have lots in common with each other. And when two of us meet, talk, and discover that there is some symptom that we don’t both share, or that manifests itself differently in each of us, it’s rare that we don’t understand what the other one is going through.
We, perhaps, get flashes of those symptoms or would have them, full blown if we didn’t recognize them and counteract them. For example, many of us suffer from being chronically late due to poor time management and being easily distracted. Thanks to my anxiety over being late, a thing I do not suffer happily, I am very rarely tardy. I’ll put off things that I want to accomplish in order to be on time for appointments or events. But I understand how easy it would be for me to miss an appointment. In fact, because of my poor memory, I’ve missed appointments entirely, being oblivious to their existence. So even though we are different, we are aware of how little difference there really is.
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.
Every week is the same. I start out believing I have a handle on things, a determined belief that I will get through and accomplish everything I’ve planned.
This Golden Age is the beginning of 168 hours I’m hoping to conquer. I feel good about that. So when do the wheels fall off? Lets have a look.