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The Illusion Of ADHD

ADHD is Real
The disorder is real, what about the perception?

That title might make you think that I don’t believe ADHD exists.

But you know me better than that, right?

There is an illusion surrounding ADHD, but only the gullible could ever believe it doesn’t exist in the face of the still mounting tidal wave of evidence of its reality.

So what’s the illusion?

The illusion has to do with the fact that ADHD is a spectrum of symptoms collected together because they occur so frequently in our cohort. Together these symptoms and their intensity make up the bulk of the diagnosis of ADHD.

But since different people among us have different mixes of these symptoms and because we enjoy the symptoms to varying degrees of intensity, no two of us have exactly the same disorder.

And then …

Then there is personal perception of the disorder from the inside. That’s a thing that combines meta-cognition and a sort of differential perception of one’s self compared to others. And it yields a very shaky and unreliable result.

So why accept that result? Well, we can’t not accept it. It’s the crux of self awareness, and self awareness is the crux of being human.

And this is bad because?

Well, it isn’t bad, meta-cognition and self perception is what helps us develop our coping strategies, and they are the things that make most of the difference in our lives.

There is no cure for ADHD (don’t let any sales person tell you there is!) but there is treatment. There are medications and there is coaching, but these are supports for the most potent treatment, coping.

And I don’t mean being able to tolerate or put up with ADHD, coping is putting in place the strategies that help you deal with ADHD in a way that negates the disorders negative effects on your life.

But the illusion?

Yes the illusion … or more accurately, the illusions. The illusions are presented by the voices of those who tell you what ADHD is. They are telling their own perception. And it is usually accurate, and always valid … for them.

But if you have a hundred people in a room and all of them have ADHD, you have a hundred different versions of ADHD. And if you’re taking a shortcut to figure out your own ADHD by letting someone else tell you “all” about it, you’ll be misled.

If you want to find out about your ADHD, you’ll have to listen to every one of those people, take what they say and distill it down to the common denominator, and then you’ll have to use your own meta-cognition to determine how you stack up against that perception.

And then you’ll understand what ADHD is, for you, for the moment …. it could all be different tomorrow.

You see, ADHD is real, it’s only the set definition that’s an illusion.

The Illusion Of ADHD

Kelly Babcock

I was born in the city of Toronto in 1959, but moved when I was in my fourth year of life. I was raised and educated in a rural setting, growing up in a manner I like to refer to as free range. I live in an area where my family history stretches back 6 or more generations. I was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 50 and have been both struggling with the new reality and using my discoveries to make my life better. I write two blogs here at Psych Central, one about having ADHD and one that is a daily positive affirmation that acts as an example of finding the good in as much of my life as I possibly can.

Find out more about me on my website: writeofway.

email me at ADHD Man

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APA Reference
Babcock, K. (2018). The Illusion Of ADHD. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 26, 2020, from


Last updated: 12 Feb 2018
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