ADHD is 2spooky4me

Halloween is upon us!

For those of us with ADHD, the spooky season can feel like it never ends…

Did a spooky ghost take my keys or was it just my ADHD making me leave them somewhere?

Does a poltergeist keep leaving all the lights on in the house or is it just my ADHD making me forget to turn them off?

Did I just forget to hand that assignment in or was it just a spooky illuUuUuUsion all along???

Probably the scariest ADHD thing to ever happen to me was when I forgot that I was driving a car, in the middle of driving. I was driving along with my father in the passenger seat, when he suddenly reached over and grabbed the wheel, shocking me back to the present. Turns out I’d completely drifted off into my own world, leaving the car to drive itself.

As it happens, cars are not very good drivers, and the vehicle had begun making its way over onto the wrong side of the road.

If I’d been on a highway or a really busy street, I could’ve had a serious accident. I could’ve ended up as one of those ghosts that keep stealing my damn keys.

More seriously though, I put my lack of a driver’s license down to my ADHD (as well as my complete lack of motivation to actually practice driving a car but that’s a different issue). I desperately don’t want to completely space out while driving and end up injuring or even killing someone…I think I’ll stick to catching the train thanks.

What’s the silliest or spookiest thing your ADHD has made you do? Tell us in the comments!

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Why Should You Love Having ADHD?

I’ve discovered that June Silny, our friend from the previous post, has previously published another article on the same website, called “12 Reasons Why You Should Love Having ADD”. As you have probably already guessed, I’ve got issues.

Several of these issues are with this article (ooh self-deprecation I’m so edgy I know).

I know people want to be positive and ~embrace~ their ADHD, but there are way more helpful ways to accept your diagnosis and learn to live with it, besides being like: “I’m really special and cool and sooo much more interesting than you neurotypical types”.

I’ve recently noticed this trend of talking about the “positives” of ADHD – I get that it’s important to be positive and to empower people with ADHD, but also I feel like there’s a lot of denial that happens with these big sweeping statements (also IMO, these really cringey statements) such as, “some people see raindrops, you see sparkling reflective circles dancing on your window” (June, pls).

No. That’s not how it works. ADHD people aren’t these special snowflakes or manic pixie dream girls/boys/misc., we’re real people who are all different and have different flaws and different strengths.

There’s been some recent scientific studies that suggest that there is indeed a link between ADHD and creative thinking, but to suggest that all people with ADHD are these amazing creative MACHINES who can MULTITASK SO WELL WOW and stuff in a similar vein, is just foolish and painting an unrealistic image.

I’ve also noticed that a lot of these Positive ADHD Posts like to mention how ADHD people are super great multitaskers who can do a whole heap of things at once. I mean yeah, some ADHD people may well be great at multitasking, but I know that personally, I can only focus on one thing at once – sure I might have literally 30 tabs open on Google Chrome at once, but that’s less me actively multitasking and more the carnage left over from my ADHD making me jump from thing to thing to thing and so on.

Stop glorifying ADHD! It’s not fun! I know it’s the trendy thing to be like “if I could trade in my ADHD for a normal ability to function, I wouldn’t!!!” (and you know what, that’s great and I’m very pleased that you’ve managed to overcome your disorder and be successful in life), but guess what, if I had the opportunity to trade in my ADHD for the ability to pay attention to people when they speak, and not forget what I’m thinking to myself about IN THE MIDDLE OF THINKING IT then I have to tell you that I would definitely take that deal.

Maybe I’m being too harsh though. Maybe I should stop caring so much about how other people choose to deal with their disorder. Is it really such a big deal if people choose to be exaggeratedly positive about their ADHD?

People With ADHD Are Hard To Love?

The other day, a link to an article was posted on the Pay Attention to ADHD Facebook wall, along with a rant about said link. Upon reading the article in question, I felt compelled to blog about it.

You’re likely wondering why I’m bothering to give an article that I don’t agree with extra exposure by talking about it and linking to it further, but the thing is, this article has OVER A MILLION SHARES. I am just…astounded….and also concerned.

In a stunning display of sweeping generalisations, June Silny presents: “20 Things to Remember If You Love a Person with ADD”.

Let’s start off with the first sentence…

“It’s a fact; a person with ADD is hard to love.”

Uhh…

WOW JUNE TELL US HOW YOU REALLY FEEL.

DANG JUNE, TELL US HOW YOU REALLY FEEL

Sure, ADHD can make relationships harder for some people, but such a sweeping statement is pretty dang insulting. I’ve never thought of myself as “hard to love”, and to be honest I’m pretty angry that someone would assume that I am, purely because I have ADHD.

Some of the points June makes are true, especially to me personally (2, 3, 5, 6, and 7 for example), but the way she’s written this post implies that all ADHD sufferers have the exact same experiences with the disorder, and that every single loved one of an ADHD sufferer feels the same way.

Upon further research, I’ve discovered that June apparently suffers from ADHD herself. Reading her article, it’s clear that June is imposing her own personal experiences with ADHD onto every single ADHD sufferer.

June certainly appears to mean well, but I feel like she’s not presenting ADHD sufferers as individuals, each with their own traits and personalities, but rather cookie cutter clones of the same basic person.

Considering the virality of this article, it’s SO important to acknowledge the differing experiences of ADHD sufferers, and the differing experiences of their friends, family, and loved ones, who according to June have their “limits of love” tested daily by ADHD folk.

Let us know your own experiences with ADHD, either as a sufferer, or as a partner (or parent, child, sibling, friend etc.) of someone with ADHD either on our Facebook page, or in the comments. Let’s explore and celebrate the diversity of ADHD!

High Anxiety

As we’ve talked about on our Facebook page, ADHD is often present in tandem with other mental health issues like depression and anxiety.

In their book, Driven to Distraction, Dr Edward Hallowell and Dr John Ratey mention how for many people, “the experience of ADD is one of chronic anxiety”. It can become all too easy for ADHD sufferers to organise their way of thinking around worrying and anxiety.

Hallowell and Ratey believe that this has to do with what they call the “startle response” in ADHD folk, that causes a sequence of events like this:

“1. Something “startles” the brain. It may be a transition, like waking up, or going from one appointment to the next, or it may be the completion of a task, or the receiving of some piece of news. It may be, and usually is, trivial

2. A minipanic ensues. The mind doesn’t know where to look or what to do. It has been focused on one thing and is now being asked to change sets. This is very disorganising. So the mind reaches out for something red-hot to focus on. Since worry is so “hot,” and therefore so organising, the mind finds something to worry about”

3. Anxious rumination replaces panic. One can say over and over in one’s mind, thousands of times a day, “Will I get my taxes paid on time?” or “Does that look she gave me mean she is angry with me?””

The driving force behind this process is to avoid chaos – the ADHD mind often can’t tolerate the chaos that comes with switching from one task to another.

At least my constant fretting has given me an idea for my Halloween costume this year…

Anxiety-Girl

Help us stamp out the misinformation surrounding ADHD by sharing this post!

Are You Putting Your Daughter At Risk?

Over the years, experts, teachers, and parents have consistently overlooked girls with ADHD.

A 1991 study found that girls make up 27% of inattentive ADHD suffers, and 20% of hyperactive/impulsive sufferers. However, it’s thought that half to three-quarters of girls suffering from ADHD are undiagnosed.

You’re probably thinking, “Why should we care so much about girls with ADHD?”

Well, ADHD girls can actually have a much harder time than ADHD boys, or their non-ADHD peers.

Girls with ADHD experience more peer-rejection than boys, and can have trouble building friendships and gaining acceptance.

The lower rate of associated behavioural disorders (like oppositional defiance disorder) in ADHD girls, whilst obviously a good thing, actually leads to lower rates of teacher referral, meaning that girls with inattention problems who don’t draw attention to themselves through poor behaviour are left to struggle.

Girls with ADHD have more internalising symptoms such as anxiety and depression, and are more socially withdrawn than boys.

In fact, women and girls with ADHD are much more likely to look back at their impulsive actions with shame and humiliation. This is due to the tendency of women with depression to engage in self-blame, as well as the double standard placed on women (men’s impulsive actions are often seen as funny, or ~wild antics~ etc. whereas women are more likely to be shamed for the exact same behaviour).

Women with ADHD also struggle significantly more with issues of negative self-image than their male counterparts. These women often have an ingrained low self-regard and a lack of faith in their own abilities and acceptability.

Girls with ADHD are at significant risk of developing substance use disorders, trending towards increased alcohol abuse and drug dependence. ADHD girls are also 4 times more likely to smoke in adolescence, compared to girls without ADHD.

Engaging in sexual activity earlier than their peers who don’t have ADHD is another significant risk facing these young women. These ADHD sufferers are more likely to take sexual risks, meaning that girls with ADHD face a much higher risk of teen pregnancy.

However, there is hope. If we start paying attention to ADHD, we can help parents and teachers identify the disorder in girls, and better the lives and prospects of young women living with this disorder.

If you notice signs of ADHD in your daughter – such as poor grades, anxiety, being over-focused on her studies, inattention, emotional explosiveness, or risk taking – consider seeking advice from a healthcare professional.

For your daughter’s sake, pay attention to ADHD.

I Love the Smell of Ritalin in the Morning

Sometime when browsing the internet I’ll come across those “I’m so ADHD it’s really hard to oH LOOK SHINY…” style of images floating around, and it gets to me every single time. I don’t even really know what it is about them that annoys me so much. Maybe it’s because that’s not even remotely how ADHD is for me.

why must you do this

why

Obviously it’s different or me at least I would liken it more to

“okay so I have to put away this stuff over here and then do this and then………………………………………. [unidentified period of time later] wait what happened why did I stop thinking about stuff, what was I thinking about again? Oh no I can’t remember what I was supposed to be thinking about, I know it was important but I can’t OH THAT’S RIGHT I have to clean up this stuff”

It eats away so much time and potential productivity and it’s SO FRUSTRATING.

After experiencing stuff like this every single day when I’m off medication, it especially gets to me when I see people claiming that medication is harmful or some kind of easy way out (I’d insert that comic from the last blog post but I’d hate to be repetitive).

Medication isn’t some weird, expensive ruse; it’s a legit thing that helps people, don’t be conspiratorial about it. Also, as a side note to university students – don’t be a dick and try to buy ADHD meds off other kids at uni. I need this stuff to help me function at even a vaguely normal level, don’t be a cheater, thanks.

These blog posts keeps getting less and less focused (a nice reflection of my mental state, don’t you think), but I feel like this is still important; it’s important for people to understand and read about the smaller issues that can come with suffering from ADHD, not just the larger problems.

I’ll continue to…OH LOOK SHINY!!!!!

Healthy Wealthy Lies

Another day, another infuriating article about ADHD.

Healthy Wealthy Times. What an amazing, reputable information source.

You’re probably thinking, “if it’s so disreputable, why bother even talking about it?”

I’ll tell you why; because this article represents the way that a lot of people think about ADHD. It’s also important to keep in mind that uninformed people may very well read that article and build their perceptions of ADHD based on crap.

This article represents the stance that so many anti-ADHD conspiracy theorists take. A single, individual doctor is taken as more trustworthy and reputable than essentially the entirety of the medical profession, or the multiple studies that prove the existence of ADHD.

Also, Healthy Wealthy Times, of course ADHD is a collection of symptoms….just like every other disorder or illness is a collection of various symptoms. That’s how these things are diagnosed; individuals display symptoms, and then a medical professional identifies that when shown in conjunction with each other, these symptoms indicate a certain issue.

That’s like saying to someone with the flu that they aren’t actually sick, but instead are just suffering from a collection of symptoms. A cough, congestion, aches and pains? You’re not sick! No flu medicine for you, sorry.

Obviously some people are misdiagnosed with ADHD, but to say that EVERYONE diagnosed with ADHD is actually suffering from other, easy to solve, problems is dangerous and highly problematic. ADHD shouldn’t be treated with JUST drugs – that doesn’t work anyway. ADHD medication isn’t some magical wonder drug that makes people madly motivated to do work and sort their lives out.

Besides, people are able to actually go off medication after learning strategies and different methods to help manage their ADHD. Of course many others find that their medication is necessary and continue to take it throughout their lives.

It’s also interesting to think about why ADHD is often targeted by “journalists” (I’m loathe to call anyone writing for Healthy Wealthy Times an actual journalist). Is it laziness? Is it sensationalism? Whatever the reason, articles like this need to stop.

I leave you with this with lovely image which perfectly sums up what’s really going on when people like Dr Saul say things like ”ADHD makes a great excuse…The diagnosis can be an easy-to-reach-for crutch”.

your medication is a crutch

You Better Work

As someone who suffers from ADHD, let me tell you that trying to hold down a job is stressful as hell – especially a job that requires lots of short-term memory use.

Everyone struggles with attention and everyone has off days, but try having an off day – where you can’t seem to get anything done, can’t focus, can’t remember anything, and feel frustrated and overwhelmed – every single day of your life.

It can be absolutely terrifying having a customer start getting pissed off at you because you have to keep asking them to repeat themselves:

“What was your name, sorry?”

“Michelle Smith”

“Michelle….sorry what was your last name?”

“Smith”

“Alrighty, what’s your address?”

“123 Fake Street, Faketown”

“1,2….what sorry?”

“123 Fake Street, Faketown”

“123 Fake Avenue did you say?”

“Fake STREET”

“oh sorry, my mistake, so that’s 123 Fakestreet, and what suburb was that?”

IT GETS SO EMBARASSING.

It’s not that I’m not listening, it’s that my brain just doesn’t hold onto what you’re telling me, even if I know that it’s important information. Please don’t yell at me, or sigh and roll your eyes at me; I’m trying my best here!

Once I begin forgetting stuff and people start getting exasperated, I start getting flustered and embarrassed which makes the forgetfulness worse. It’s a vicious cycle that by the end of the day can leave you feeling hopeless and despondent. Add to all that the crushing fear that your boss is going to notice how spacey you can be – despite your best efforts – and is going to confuse your forgetfulness with poor work ethic or lack of commitment to your job, and it can make for a less than enjoyable time.

Please think twice before you start getting pissed off at the person serving you at the register because they’re being forgetful – chances are they’re struggling a lot more in that moment than you are.

This isn’t meant to be some sort of “whine whine whine I’m on struggle street life is so hard for me” complaining session. I just think it’s important for people to consider how ADHD affects people in their everyday lives.

All I want is for y’all to cut ADHD sufferers some slack. We’re trying our hardest here.