Today is Mental Health Month Blog Day and I wanted to do something to participate. Many of you may be aware that, while my personal mental health issue is ADHD, my personal challenge is to battle mental health stigma. I’m not alone, many bloggers work hard to minimize the effects of stigma with every post they write.
One of my favourite bloggers, Melanie Knapp, writer of Psychology Discussions, also believes in reducing stigma. Her voice is softer and gentler than mine, but her message is no less powerful.
She and I have decided to share a title for Mental Health Month Blog Day. And that title is the one you see at the top of this post. Here is her post.
And I mean it!
Don’t judge me. That’s really all I want to say. Don’t judge me and I won’t judge you. The part about walking a mile in my shoes is somewhat irrelevant. If you truly do know what it’s like to walk a mile in my shoes, I know you aren’t about to judge me.
But if you don’t know what it’s like to walk a mile in my shoes, if you don’t know what it’s like to have ADHD, let me make it easy for you. You already have all the symptoms. Well, if you don’t have all of them, you have most of them.
- Do you ever start doing one thing and end up doing something else?
- Do you ever walk into a room and wonder what you went in there for?
- Do you ever say something and, possibly while you are saying it, start to think you shouldn’t be saying it? And then know you shouldn’t?
- Do you ever make an appointment and then forget about it, completely?
- Do you ever find that you need intense activity to jump start your thinking?
- Do you ever over-indulge in something just because it feels good to?
- Do you ever leave some task to the last minute and then, when others would be giving up, you do it with little or no time to spare?
Me too. But here’s the difference. This is the norm for me. This is my life, from one end of the day to the other, these things happen for me over and over and over, ad infinitum. Or, I guess, ADD infinitum.
For instance, I can walk in to a room, wonder what I went there for, return to the room I had left in the hopes I’ll remember, only to wonder what I’m doing in that room. And even when it isn’t that bad, I still do it twenty times a day.
You might go in to a store to buy a quart of milk and come out with the milk and a chocolate bar. I’ll walk in to the store and come out with 10 things I wasn’t looking for, five of which I can’t afford and two that I already have at home … but I won’t have the milk.
Is there a problem here?
Yes, these things are problems. But you judging me won’t fix them.
I’m glad that those of you without ADHD don’t have to put up with these symptoms […] I don’t think you could take it.
And while this might be a bit judgmental on my part, I’m glad that those of you without ADHD don’t have to put up with these symptoms at the intensity and frequency that I have to endure. You see, I don’t think you could take it. We, the ADHDers of the world, have been working and living and playing with these symptoms all our lives, you’ve only been told what it’s like.
So I’m asking you nicely, don’t judge me, or others with ADHD, until you’ve walked a mile in my shoes.
And for heaven sake, try not to walk a mile in my shoes.