[…] I am capable of living for 50 years without knowing […]

Okay, I’ve ranted about mental health stigma before. You all know, those of you who follow my blog, that I am upset with the idea that people should be judged to be wanting in some way if they suffer a mental health disorder.

But did you know that whenever I demand to be treated as an equal member of society regardless of my ADHD, I feel guilty? It’s true.

Why would that be?

I feel guilty for demanding this when I am capable of living for 50 years without knowing I have a mental health disorder. If I lived for those 50 years feeling like stigma was not applicable to me, my mental health issues must not be as debilitating as those of other people.

But wait …

And yet, I am aware that I have very poor self-awareness. I am aware that I have suffered. I just can’t reconcile the suffering with the having survived relatively unscathed.

What is unscathed?

Okay, you got me there. My life could be lots better. I owe my inability to stick to a single job to my ADHD. And I certainly could have been more successful at the things I’ve done if I wasn’t always distracted by new projects or movement in my peripheral vision (damned squirrels!). And I’ve lost friends and opportunities due to opening my mouth without engaging the spell check/grammar check/stupid check feature of my brain app.

So I guess I shouldn’t feel guilty for asking people to consider my recurring symptomatic behaviour as … well … recurring symptomatic behaviour caused by a mental health disorder.

And I am asking that this consideration be given to all of us ADHDers as well as people with other mental health issues.

And you know what else?

The real news story is that there are people who don’t know that there is help available. They don’t know that there is no shame in seeking help, and that there is no blame or guilt in not having perfect mental health.

The shame, blame, and guilt belongs to those who perpetuate the myth that we, with mental health issues, are somehow substandard, that there is a norm that should be lived up to, and even more insidious, that we are somehow responsible for our mental health problems.

I wouldn’t be someone who sees the world as a place where perfect mental health is a prerequisite for being accepted into my world. And I wouldn’t accept someone like that into my world unless they were willing to entertain the possibility that they were wrong.

So I’m saying it once again, with feeling and conviction: Please realize that we deserve to be recognized as valid human beings. We have the right to be valued based on our merits and not devalued based on our shortcomings.