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ADHD and Identity

It’s not uncommon for people to use ADHD as a synonym for inattentive or hyperactive. It wasn’t until a sociology course at my university that I realized why I used to get so annoyed by this. Humans have a tendency to assign moral values to labels. In a culture that emphasizes individualism, it can be easy to focus on a single aspect of our identities, especially if it’s stigmatized.

It can be difficult to accept a diagnosis, but ADHD isn’t inherently bad. When I catch myself starting to only discuss the struggles with a friend, family member, therapist, or coach, it’s helpful to remind myself of my strengths. I can’t change the way my brain works, but I can learn to use the tools at my disposal to succeed. I have ADHD but it is not all that I am.


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