The stereotypical kid with ADHD. It’s how the vast majority of the population on planet earth views ADHD and how it affects people.
That disruptive kid at the back of the class that calls out, gets up constantly and was probably male when you tried to bring up your stereotyped image.
It’s OK. Don’t feel bad for thinking that.
It’s why I doubted and denied my diagnosis.
“But… I wasn’t a disruptive child?!” Was one of the first things I thought after I was provisionally diagnosed
Because I was not that kid. I was quiet, studious (for the most part) and reserved. I was never overly hyperactive or inattentive. At least not to the extent that I’d ever have considered I had ADHD. And I’m still not like that.
Having looked back on my life for my diagnosis (I had to confirm whether or not I’d experienced certain symptoms), I began to notice that I had indeed shown symptoms of ADHD since a young age. People had picked up on it but because it was things I couldn’t control, I grew to accept that I was just rude because I interrupted. That I was just a fidget. That I was lazy and not hard working because I avoided tasks that required more mental effort.
The reaction to my diagnosis has really been a lot of shock, support but definitely some denial. A lot of people telling me that my diagnosis was wrong. When you already doubt your diagnosis, other people chipping in the least helpful thing ever.
Not knowing much about ADHD, I committed a lot of time to researching the condition, how it affects females and what I could do to manage my symptoms. Since having a psychiatrist basically list every single little ADHD trait I possess, I’ve been so self conscious and determined to change how I behave.
The comments I’ve had about my diagnosis… some have bought me to tears and made me extremely insecure
An understanding of my condition bought acceptance and slowly I became more certain when I told people “I have ADHD“. I started to find ways to explain to people how I am affected and why they may not see me as suffering. For me, the easiest way to describe it is that a lot of my symptoms affect my cognition rather than my physical, outwards appearance. So while I’m not uppity and noticeably distracted, internally I’m struggling to concentrate or having to convince myself to start a task that requires more mental energy.
But people don’t see what’s going on up in my head, do they?
I don’t fit that typical ADHD stereotype but my diagnosis is valid. My diagnosis is combined ADHD which means I have both inattentive and hyperactive traits. I take Concerta XL (Methylphenidate) and it helps and will help more when I find the optimum dose. I’m terribly sorry if you find this hard to accept or believe.
Personally, I can see a huge stigma around ADHD that is not changing at the same rate stigma surrounding mental health is. We’re so quick to jump and say that depression isn’t always visible etc but still have all these misconceptions surrounding ADHD that can be fairly damaging to people who get a diagnosis but have only ever seen ADHD as a bad thing. But there’s not as much effort to change it and educate others or if there is efforts, it’s never as widely accepted probably down to the fact that less of the population gets diagnosed with ADHD.
Educating people in the ways in which ADHD can affect different people is a vital part to changing misconceptions and stigmas
My parting words for this post are simple.
You do not ever know what someone is going through.
If someone gets a diagnosis that shocks you or you doubt, don’t fucking tell them. That diagnosis may have really hurt them or they may be struggling to accept it. I can assure you that your comments are in no way necessary and will make matters worse.
So please, be kind and considerate.