ADHD is an invisible disorder. Or is it?
ADHD is a psychological disorder that affects an individual’s ability to perform or complete day to day tasks.
But there are two reasons why this means that ADHD is not obvious to others around us, especially those of us who are older and were diagnosed late in life.
And those two reasons are both because of perspective.
Look at it this way
When I was a child, we had no idea what ADHD was. We didn’t hear about ADD until I was well into my teens. And we never thought it could be in our family.
We thought, in fact, that it must be something extremely obvious to any and all who witnessed it, so it clearly wasn’t in out immediate circle of family and friends.
Why was this?
If you think you are normal, or within the norm, anything that happens in your life can be explained away. “That was bad luck.” “Wow, I had a lot of things on the go.” “Things really just don’t seem to be going my way, do they?”
And we had no documentation of obvious things like the phrases that need to be looked for on report cards. “Kelly is a very bright student but needs to try to concentrate on his lessons more.” “If Kelly would apply himself he would find grade six much easier to deal with.” “Kelly has a way of bringing new thoughts into the classroom, but needs to learn when it is appropriate for that to happen.”
If I don’t know I have ADHD, how does anyone else know? If I do not stop and say, “Dammit, I’m being distracted again. Freaking ADHD!!!” then how would anyone around me know that this was an ongoing issue?
The answer is that they might if they were familiar with ADHD and with me, but they likely aren’t going to be familiar with both.
And even if they are, it is easy to just say, “That’s Kelly, that’s just the way he is sometimes.” because they can’t see in my head to know all the times I’ve just fixed whatever is going on and moved on with my life as if there was nothing wrong.
So reason number one is
Others cannot know the things that we are so unaware of that we actively cover them up in order to make sense of our lives.
Without even being aware we are doing it, we are looking for reasons and excuses to account for our lives and our problems. We do that so that we can fix our lives, but we think it can be done from our side without any assessment or information.
And reason number two?
Those around us are people we interact with in day to day life. They are random people, coworkers, school mates, neighbors, friends, family, in laws and all. And they are all specialists in what they do.
But they are not specialists in you and I.
If their role in our relationship is not one of assessment and their training is not in that field, how could they know we have ADHD. Perhaps if they have it and have been diagnosed, and perhaps if they have done some serious research on the topic, and perhaps if they then actually paid attention to you or me they might be able to say, “Hey, you know what? You might have this ADHD disorder thing. It’s possible.”
The odds are that won’t happen very often.
You’re more likely to be in trouble than to be understood.
Aty least that’s what it looks like to me, from my perspective.