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How ADHD Makes Me a Good Citizen

I realized today that ADHD has, quite against my will, made me a good, upstanding citizen.

Here’s what I mean: being a good citizen is all about the small things. It’s about giving your seat to someone who needs it when the bus is full.

Citizen of the YearAnd let’s start with that. I’m perfectly happy to give up my seat, because honestly, I’m not a great fan of sitting down anyway. Score 1 for being a good citizen.

It’s the same thing with elevators. If we’re talking about a reasonable number of floors (no thanks, Empire Sate Building), I’d rather just take the stairs. You might call that hyperactivity with a dash of impatience thrown in, but I’d prefer to think of it as doing my part to reduce elevator overcrowding.

Of course, I can’t talk about being a good citizen without mentioning all I’ve done to support my local library system. You don’t know what philanthropy is until you’ve paid a triple-digit late fee.

OK, obviously I’m not being totally serious here, but I’ll mention one thing that is serious: having ADHD has led me to learn a lot about mental health in general.

One of the problems with mental health awareness is that most people don’t go out of their way to learn about mental health conditions if they aren’t personally affected by one in some way. And I probably wouldn’t be any different.

But I am personally affected by ADHD, which has nudged me toward becoming more literate not just about ADHD but about mental health more generally. That literacy does, unironically this time, make me a better citizen because it makes me a more informed member of society.

I guess everyone contributes to the community in their own way. Sure, you might pay your taxes on time, but I’m keeping our local library afloat, so why don’t we call it even?

Image: Flickr/Epping Forest District Council

How ADHD Makes Me a Good Citizen

Neil Petersen

Neil Petersen writes regularly on education, learning disabilities and technology. He received his B.A. in 2014 and was diagnosed with ADHD at the beginning of his college studies. Neil also works for a music education non-profit and hopes to help create an education system that can better serve students with ADHD.

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APA Reference
Petersen, N. (2019). How ADHD Makes Me a Good Citizen. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 22, 2019, from


Last updated: 26 Mar 2019
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