If you worry about telling people you have ADHD, this post isn’t going to put your mind at ease. I’m not talking about telling people at work, like we discussed in last Friday’s post, I’m referring to telling the people you interact with throughout your day-to-day life.
Is it a good idea for everyone to know? Currently we deal with the stigma of mental illness when we ‘out’ ourselves. Some of the icons of our ADHD society suggest that we are of higher than average intelligence … and of course I have to agree – duh!
But my believing that won’t make others realize that my mental health limitations are in the areas of time management, emotion, and behaviour, not in the area of intellect.
For the times they are a changin’ …
… we should be able to garner the respect we deserve ….
Once this stigma is removed, we should be able to garner the respect we deserve … but will we? There are some rather dismal statistics I’ve heard in passing about people with ADHD. I don’t like them. And I can’t verify them. As I said, I’ve only heard them being given in talks by authorities on the disorder, I have no citations.
If these statements should be revealed to be true, they may be the source of future ostracizing and stigmatization for those of us with ADHD. Many of them refer to our behavioural and time management issues.
And then there’s promiscuity (don’t shoot the messenger), one of our more endearing qualities. It may lead to unwanted pregnancies which can result in an increase in children in fostering systems. Since ADHD is heritable, this means a higher percentage of the children in these systems may have ADHD. Welcome to our group, kids. But what happens to adoption rates when this statistic becomes part of the general public’s general knowledge.
“Right here in River City. Trouble with a capital ‘T’ ”
Another little item on the list is the suggestion that we are prone to self-medication … that’s a nice way of saying we may well have addictive personalities. I can’t speak for or against this idea, but being an alcoholic means that I might be part of this statistic. So called “meds” of choice purported to be in the ADHDer’s repertoire are alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, marijuana and addictive behaviours like gambling and sex (I can claim four out of these six at different times in my life).
Are we safer when we’re parking or driving?
And did you know that we are more likely to be involved in automobile accidents? Wait ‘til the actuary geeks get a hold of that stat, then take a look at your insurance bill (apologies to the actuary geeks who may be reading this).
In fairness, if you are the kind of ADHDer who is prone to accidents (and many of us are, myself included), our accidents seem to occur at slower speeds, when we’re bored or distracted. Should we just ignore the speed limits? When driving at excessively high speeds, many of us are more able to focus on our driving.
Do not start speeding and blame me for it
If anything we should learn to pay attention when we’re driving at slower speeds. It can be done, I have a good friend whom I would lend my car to anytime. She is constantly vigilant. But she is the exception, I sometimes wonder why I allow myself to drive my vehicles.
How much help can I be?
So, if you were wondering whether or not to out yourself, I’m sorry, I haven’t answered that question. And I don’t intend to. In fact, I haven’t been of much help at all on an individual basis. But no two of us are alike so I couldn’t have answered that question for you anyway. I can tell you that I am out. I’ll tell anyone who will listen.
I’m just worrying about our society suffering if we educate the masses too quickly. And lord knows … I do worry.