ADHD Myth #1You’re right. Everyone does have “ADHD moments”. Everyone forgets things sometimes, everyone gets distracted now and again, we’ve all struggled to focus on boring tasks from time to time, we’ve all experienced walking into a room and forgetting why we’re there. Absolutely. These are all ADHD traits and there’s not a human alive that can’t relate to every single one. But, and this is a big BUT, the difference between neurotypical people and ADDers is that people with ADD / ADHD experience all of these traits all of the time. Let me be clear – there is not a moment in our lives when we have a clear head and uninterrupted thoughts. There isn’t a day when we experience the peace of knowing exactly what we have to accomplish and know that we can do it. Every conversation with other people is a fight to stay focused and quiet not only the outside distractions but also our own internal dialogue. It’s like attempting to hold a conversation in the middle of a kindergarten classroom – every thought is loud and demanding immediate attention. Our brains are noisy and chaotic. Every time we attempt to remember what we are supposed to be doing, another mental crisis jumps the queue and BAM, we’re fighting distraction. This is not a ‘sometimes’ thing. It is perpetual. Day and night. (Hello, insomnia!) It’s why we drive you insane with our interrupting and talk at the speed of a running-late bullet train. We are trying to expel the thoughts from our heads to make space to be able to listen to you.
ADHD Myth #2:Spend the day in our shoes. No, scrap that – spend a day in our heads and then say that again with a straight face. The drug companies that make ADHD / ADD medication are most definitely making money off people diagnosed with ADHD / ADD, no argument on that front. So are the drug companies that sell insulin to Diabetics and Viagra to people with Erectile Dysfunction. As are the companies that sell glasses to people with Vision Impairment and hearing aids to the Hearing Impaired. ADHD / ADD is no less real than Diabetes, Erectile Dysfunction or Vision and Hearing Impairment. Would you tell a Diabetic to try harder to manage his diet because his Diabetes isn’t real and his sugar crashes are simply a result of his own laziness and lack of effort to manage his own sugar intake? After all, you also have sugar crashes from time to time so really, we’re all a little Diabetic, if you think about it. No? Because that’s ridiculous and insulting, right? It would be an insensitive and uneducated stance, wouldn’t it? It would, in fact, make you look like an ass of epic proportions and you’d never think of thinking it, never mind saying it. Now, try to imagine the frustration that we ADDers feel when we hear this statement, again and again, delivered with a smug expression and a truckload of judgement. Read the rest of this entry
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An insight into your child’s ADHD experience.Let me ask you a question. If you found out that your child had Diabetes, would you deny him Insulin? If he was short-sighted, would you deny him glasses and tell him to just sit nearer the front of the classroom? Well, then why – if your child was diagnosed with ADHD, would you decide to withhold medication? Since I wrote about my own ADHD diagnosis, I have been overwhelmed with private messages from distraught parents whose children have been diagnosed with ADHD. Their distress is exactly the same – they are afraid to medicate and are certainly not going to share the diagnosis with anyone, for fear of the negative stigma. Their relief upon reading my post was almost palpable – for most, it was the first time someone had spoken about medicating ADHD in a positive light. This really made me sad. Incredibly sad. All I could think was “Those poor kids.” Before you judge me as a drug-peddler, let me begin by saying that I absolutely understand the fear of the scary monster ADHD drugs that are out there. Read the rest of this entry
I realise more and more that I am the Mum I am because of the mother you were. Here are some of the valuable lessons you’ve taught me along the way.
From the time I was born, magic existed in my life. It was first revealed to me when you magically appeared from behind a fluffy blanket in peek-a-boo. I discovered it again in the tiny, glitter-encrusted note from the tooth fairy and the equally glittery trail that she left to the window. (Even when I realized you were the Tooth Fairy, I continued the pretense for the sheer magic it created in my life.) Magic was in the tree at the bottom of the garden, where the tree elves would enjoy the feast my siblings and I had painstakingly set up for them (they left crumbs and a very polite thank you note, suspiciously in your handwriting). I discovered that I could magically make people smile, just by smiling myself. Together, we discovered my inner-magic – my ability to do things I never knew I could, from traversing monkey bars to speaking solo in front of my entire school. I learnt the magic of envisioning something and making it happen. As I grew up, you showed it to me in more sophisticated ways. You showed be by achieving unachievable things yourself. My stay-at-home mom wrote books, plays, television shows and got them published – you showed me by your actions that I, too, could one day make obstacles disappear. Your mantra was always “Show me where it is written that I cant do this.”
I am a passionate person. So are you. You taught be to stand by what I believe, whether it makes me popular or not. I can’t count the number of times I sat on your lap, howling and crying crocodile tears because I had been ostracized for not doing what the cool kids expected of me. You gave me comfort, let me cry and always told me you were proud that I’d chosen the high road that led to your lap, rather than going against my conscience in order to fit in. I learned that sometimes the cool crowd aren’t that cool…sometimes the cool crowd are really the cowardly crowd. You taught me that not only is it okay to be me, it is, in fact, the most important thing in the world. You were never part of a herd and you are fabulous. I learned that my quirks make me fabulous too. Read the rest of this entry