Last Friday I wrote about being an introvert while not appearing to be an introvert.
Today I’d like to talk about stigma and not attracting attention by … attracting lots of attention. ADHD should likely stand for Acquired Dichotomies and Hiding Deftly. But it doesn’t.
Additionally, I’d like to address the concept of labels in a small way, and I think we should start with that.
Labels are often considered to be negative things. But the truth is that they were created to be tools in treatment.
Consider that the word retarded was initially meant to indicate a development that had been slowed down or stopped before completion.
The problem with labels is that they become useful tools as insults and judgements. Once this happens, those who need to be able to describe situations for the purpose of treatment are then required to “label” the situation by alternate means in order to facilitate treatment.
Our disorder has been used as an insult, but we can’t just change that name. We need to be able to access treatment and therapy, so we need to be able to use the label.
Like people of color, or women in a patriarchal society, we have a designation that separates us from the perceived “better” group of people. And that’s wrong.
We are lucky enough that we can walk down the street without being recognized, so I am not going to suggest that our situations are even remotely as dire as the previously mentioned ones. But life is more than just walking down a street.
We need society in our lives.
Attracting attention seems the least likely way to deal with this problem, but I’m finding that in my life it seems to work, in a crude and humorous way.
Remember the kid in the playground who bullied everyone else? Do you realize now that he was hiding his own perception of inferiority? He was hiding in plain sight by controlling his situation.
And that’s kind of what I do, though I don’t actually bully people.
I own my life
I make no bones about my ADHD. I do not hide it. I announce it whenever it seems appropriate to do so and also times when it likely isn’t appropriate at all. I can’t help that, I have little idea about what appropriate timing is.
But I also make sure people understand that I am not an imbecile. My vocabulary is better than the average, my ability to understand concepts and nuance is pretty good. My short term memory sucks, but my long term memory is encyclopedic, and I use it.
My sense of humor is well honed and my wit is sharp.
And since …
Since I have ADHD, and since I do talk too much, say borderline inappropriate things, and insert myself in conversations that I maybe am not needed in, I try to make sure that these activities don’t leave people unhappy with the experience of interacting with me.
I do own my own persona, I make it clear by the way I speak and by my body language that I have accepted myself and, more over, I don’t need acceptance from others to feel good about myself.
I have ADHD, and I’m good at it.