Some people think that ADHD doesn’t exist; some of them think that we just need to be “disciplined” for misbehaving and not acting appropriately for our age. Some non-ADHD people are even using it as an excuse for procrastinating and for being lazy. It is sad that most people know only the myths about ADHD.
ADHD is always more than that. ADHD is both a super power and our Kryptonite. We sometimes feel limitless and are hyperfocused, but we do not always know when to stop. We sometimes think that we can do everything and everything is well planned, but three days later we find ourselves on a ball-pit of failure slowly swallowing us. There are times that we cannot really function well and unable to find motivation to finish a task and so we blame dopamine. We are an emotional sponge and can cry for almost everything that melts our heart. Emotional hyperactivity or hypersensitivity is sometimes so hard to contain. But ADHD is our strength and our weakness. This is ADHD.
In my younger years I was treated for depression. However, I stopped treatment for a long time thinking I could “handle my problems alone.” I struggled throughout college even though I had good intentions. Finally, at the age of 29 I went to a psychiatrist who diagnosed me with ADHD. I began treatment and my focus has been excellent. It gave me a sense of empowerment. I finally felt I could see the world clearly as if putting on a new pair of glasses. I told many people that I felt like Patrick Swayze in Ghost, that I could finally focus to kick the can.
When I was 8 years old I was diagnosed with ADHD. I did not understand what that meant and how it would affect my learning and everyday habits. It wasn’t until I was in high school that I had found a way to better myself without medication and therapy. I had to accept the fact that I do have ADHD and it’s not a weakness, but more of strength. My story has no uprising life story. I’m just a regular person like everyone else. I want people to see that people like me with ADHD are no different than any other person; we just have different ways of thinking and doing things it takes a little extra work
My son was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 6 years old he is now 13. He is the most loving caring boy I have ever met but people don’t always see that he is impulsive and struggles with social situations. He runs when things get too much. Today I had the news that his school can no longer cater for him (even though he hasn’t had the right support from day one). He has had a positive referral to a learning center and I’m hoping my little boy will soon get the education he needs. I wish I could change the way people see ADHD. They are not naughty, difficult children they just need loving and guidance. Just because you can’t see ADHD/ODD doesn’t make it less real.
“It’s such a freedom to know about my ADHD and to know what to do about it…it’s in implementing the solutions where the freedom comes.”
Of those who went undiagnosed with ADHD until adulthood, I am one of the lucky ones. I was able to struggle through and graduate from high school and college, I am successful in my career, and I have been married for two years. Even though my life looks great on paper, my entire existence has been a constant internal struggle that has made me seem lazy, flakey, forgetful and irrationally worried. Receiving a diagnosis of ADHD last year was a lifesaver. By learning as much as I can about my disease, I am able to make the connections between the way my brain works and my specific behaviors, and I feel empowered. I didn’t know I had ADHD until I was 29 years old because I wasn’t aware of the range of symptoms. The more we talk about it, the better chance we have to help those who are undiagnosed by showing them there might be something more going on, and that something more can be managed with the right help. Knowing is better, and it’s the first step toward a truly livable life.
As I parent, I wish my son’s teachers were more familiar with a few things about ADHD so that they could better support him. There is a lot of research showing that ADHD is real. It is a brain-based disorder affecting behaviors such as planning, attention, self-regulation, working memory, and processing information. It causes problems with academic performance and social interactions making a school environment a challenge for students with ADHD.
My son has a treatment plan. Medication is one part of it. It allows him to work more effectively. We constantly monitor his medication, and teacher observations and feedback are important when we are attending check-ups with his doctor. However, medication is not a cure. He needs to be taught skills and strategies to succeed. You can help by giving explicit instructions and dividing assignments into smaller steps. Socially, you can teach and reinforce good listening skills and provide positive feedback to reinforce appropriate behavior.
I work in partnership with all of my son’s teachers. I hope they know what a huge role they play in his life and how much their support means to us.
I am grateful that I was diagnosed with ADHD and learning disabilities when I was a kid because I got the learning guidance that I needed early on … and that set me up for a better future.
When I was little, reading was an impossible task for me and I thought it was because I was just a dumb kid. I didn’t really comprehend why they were testing me. After a lot of visits to a doctor’s office, they explained about my ADD and my learning disability. Having someone put a name to the differences that we knew were there was a breath of fresh air. It verified that my parents’ suspicions were correct.
My parents looked really hard for the right fit for me in terms of an academic platform. I ended up at a school designed specifically for kids who didn’t fit the standard mold. In the beginning it was really hard, but once we found the right fit, the future was filled with possibilities. That school was where everything went right.
We had always been told that I would never graduate high school, but when the school told us I would definitely earn my high school diploma, my mom started crying.
I was kind of in over my head my freshman year of college, but I knew I wanted to do better each year. I got the resources I needed my second year, which helped me have battle-ready knowledge for college – having a structured plan, working with a coach, using the resource center at college for tests, note taking and other assistance. Having access to that knowledge made easier to move toward my goals with confidence that I could succeed.
This is the first time that I feel that I have everything I need and I am not scrambling – I now have a better game plan to continue on in life.
This ADHD Awareness Month, the ADHD Community joined together to spread the facts, rebut the myths, and provide hope and help to adults and children with Attention Deficit Disorder around the world!
A big thank you to everyone who took steps to spread the word by doing an event, printing out a flyer, putting up a poster, sending the press release to their paper, passing on the adult self-screener, liking us on Facebook or following us on Twitter, sharing or retweeting our posts, listening to a webinar, or talking to someone about ADHD.
As we wind down from this year’s campaign, consider sharing your story about ADHD. The best way to change people’s views about ADHD is to let them know it’s not about somebody else, it’s about someone they know.
This post of the 2014 ADHD Awareness Month series of
31 Stories in 31 Days – ADHD in Your Own Words, includes the uplifting stories of 9 very public figures with ADHD. They are CHADD’s ADHD Champions: individuals with ADHD who have overcome their struggles and blossomed in their successful careers. Their stories are tales of triumph and inspiration. Each of our Champions serves as a testament to perseverance and the ability to rise above the disorder. Our Champions see ADHD not as a defect, but as a lifelong challenge in which the best is brought out in them each and every day. Read their stories here.