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1. I want to talk about ADHD. I was diagnosed with ADD when I was 13-years-old. To say it's misunderstood (both by people who have ADHD and people who don't have it) is an understatement. What people need to understand about those of us who have ADHD is we are not homogeneous
2. Because many people think those with ADHD all have similar symptoms and challenges, we don't often get the empathy and support we need. ADHD is something we live with every day, hour, minute. It can ravage our lives and you may not even be aware of it.
3. When people have asked me in the past to describe what ADHD feels like I get into details about how it impacts my life every day but I always add that for me that ADHD has caused me a great deal of emotional pain. It's a frustrating, infuriating disorder.
4. I want to be clear, I don't speak for everyone with ADHD but I have spoken to enough people over the last two years with ADHD that I feel comfortable speaking about it publicly.
5. People who don't have ADHD often oversimplify what it means to have ADHD. I don't blame them, they're not living with ADHD. But that's one of the reasons ADHD is so misunderstood because it's anything but simple. That's why it's so hurtful when people jokingly say "squirrel"
6. Whenever someone brings up ADHD. It makes it seem like it's is just an issue of distraction. Wrong! For example, I read 2-3 books a week! I don't know many people with ADHD can do that. But for me taking clothes out of the dryer & folding them, that's like climbing Mt. Everest
7. Those of us with ADHD don't need your sympathy, we need your empathy. We need you to understand that we are capable of so much but just need you to understand what our limits and challenges are. We don't want you to see our limits/challenges as excuses...they're explanations
8. For example, people will often say that people with ADHD tend to procrastinate. That is a total misunderstanding of what ADHD is about. Procrastination has a connotation of intentionally putting something off for various reasons. We don't want to be this way.
9. For people with ADHD the issue is often the difficulty starting things. It is enormously challenging for us in certain categories. The simplest things can be exhausting and feel impossible to begin/finish. It's stuff that doesn't make sense to people without ADHD.
10. Which is often why we hide these things that we find challenging because they can be embarrassing. I once had someone with ADHD, who made a good living, tell me that for years they would pay bills when things got shut off. It was a cycle they found nearly impossible
11. To get out of, it destroyed their credit, and it was only when they got married and their wife took over that they fixed their bill paying issue. People with ADHD hide a lot of shame in this and we hold it in because people don't understand our diagnosis.
12. Because of this shame, we don't talk about ADHD generally. We may talk about it with close family members or a psychiatrist but we don't talk about it with our friends & certainly don't talk about it at work (I know this is a generalization and may not be true for you)
13. As egotistical as this may sound, I really hope to change that. I've been thinking about talking about ADHD for a few months and finally acknowledged how misunderstood it is among adults. Because we don't talk about it, ADHD has a big impact at work and home.
14. Now, I realize that being able to talk about it is a privilege. People rightly fear that they could be seen differently at work or may not get assignments they deserve. This is a step-by-step process that will take a while...but it's so important because ADHD has an impact
15. On people being successful at work and even getting a job. Some people think ADHD is over diagnosed...I don't know if it is or isn't, but I can tell you if it is, it's over diagnosed in kids. It's under diagnosed among adults. We know that if someone isn't diagnosed
16. As child, they're less likely to be diagnosed as an adult. Many people see ADHD (because of the hyperactivity component...which not all people with ADHD have) as a boy/man's disorder...which leads many women to not be diagnosed.
17. At home ADHD can have a big impact on relationships, we have a hard time staying organized and tidy. This can have an impact on relationships. I have taught myself many tricks over the years but many people with ADHD aren't taught to be mindful of their ADHD.
18. Want to know why I have so many towels? Yes, I can be bougie...I'll admit it. But its because it allows me to keep my bathroom organized. I found that it was very hard for me, especially when I have a lot of things going on in my life, to lay my towel over the bar.
19. My towel would often end up on the floor and I didn't want to live that way anymore. So I realized that if I just put a basket in my bathroom I could toss towels in there. Is it crazy to use a towel once and wash it? No doubt...but the alternative wasn't very attractive
20. What I have learned about ADHD is that it can ravage ones life if you let little things slip. I knew if I kept dropping the towel on the floor, I wouldn't make my bed, I wouldn't put my clothes away. Then, that would lead me to get depressed with the state of my home
21. And that would then bleed into my work, etc. I have had mixed success explaining my triggers to people. Some think I'm making excuses or they just don't understand why a simple thing like hanging a towel is a challenge. But I'm not going to stop explaining it
22. Last year I was meeting with a company that wanted to hire me and I told them I have ADHD and would find it challenging to work in an open office environment..the people I was speaking to understood that and were happy to accommodate it. But it hasn't always been easy
23. One of the challenges for me is in order to focus on something like writing, unless I have the adrenaline that comes with not wanting to get scooped, I have to really shut out everything. But people don't understand that I can't do a back and forth when I'm in that zone.
24. In the past (before I learned what systems I needed in place) I would see an email come in from a friend or colleague asking to chat. I would tell them I was focused on work and they would often say "it'll just take a minute!" They didn't get if I gave them that minute
25. That there was a good chance I wouldn't be able to get back to my work. People would get annoyed and think I was being difficult. That's the reason I'm talking about ADHD now, I hope people on both sides of ADHD can be more mindful of what works and doesn't work. (cont)
26. The best way I heard ADHD symptoms described was "a Venn diagram with many circles." But it all boils down to this: we have things that challenge us, things that may seem simple/silly to you, but they're things that can quite take over and destroy our lives if not addressed.
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