What You Need To Understand About People With ADHD
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Health and Wellness

What You Need To Understand About People With ADHD

If I had a dollar for every time I forgot something, I wish I had a puppy.

What You Need To Understand About People With ADHD

Contrary to popular belief, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or more commonly known as ADHD, doesn’t mean that you’re hyper and bouncing off the walls 24/7. Approximately 11% of children ages four to 17, had been diagnosed with ADHD by 2011 (which is about 4.6 million children) and that number is on the rise. Another stereotype of ADHD is that it effects more boys because they are typically more “hyper.” While it is true that more boys are diagnosed than girls, the symptoms of ADHD in girls are commonly overlooked due to many different reasons. Many people also believe that ADHD is a disease that only affects children and by the time they have reached adulthood they will have outgrown it. With all these stereotypes and myths floating around, I’m here to set the record straight.

ADHD isn’t just about hyperactivity.

Having ADHD means you make impulsive decisions. Like those candy bars that they always keep by the cash register in stores, if you have ADHD you are so much more likely to see your favorite candy and pick it up without thinking about it or considering your options, like the fact that it puts you over budget, it violates your diet, etc. This impulsive decision-making effects every part of your life, not just your wait in line at the grocery store.

People with ADHD can also have a really hard time processing social situations. Whether we have trouble interpreting what is expected of us or determining what an acceptable response to a certain stimulus is, or we just can’t force ourselves to do what we know we should do, these are all symptoms of ADHD. A lot of people who suffer from ADHD describe it as sort of an out of body experience. For me, I know that sometimes, like when I fight with my parents for example, I will see myself yelling or overreacting, and I will know that isn’t what I want to do or what I should be doing, yet I can’t communicate that thought to my body. I usually compare it to a toddler throwing a tantrum. They know what they’re doing is wrong, yet they just can’t change the action. Those of us with ADHD want you to know that when we experience these “tantrums” they are as frustrating and as horrible for us as they are for you. We can be bad at processing our emotions and reacting correctly, and we're sorry.

People with ADHD want you to know that we will never outgrow this. ADHD is something that will stick with us our whole life—we just get a lot better at managing the symptoms. One of my favorite college professors once told me, “if your foot was broken, you would wear a cast to fix it, so why is it not the same way with your ADHD?” So it is important to us that you know that if medication helps us, then it will help us whether we are six years old, or 56 years old, there is no age limit.

ADHD also means you are extremely forgetful. I instantly remember I was supposed to email a professor, go to open my email, and forget why I even opened my computer in the first place. People have introduced themselves to me, and I immediately forget their name. I sometimes cannot remember for the life of me where I put my keys, my phone charger, or my glasses, but I do my best. So we want you to know that If we forget an event, a task, a name or anything along those lines, just remind us kindly again. We are not intentionally forgetting them.

People that suffer from ADHD are more likely to also suffer from anxiety and/or depression, especially girls. I often describe this as the “feeling of not being able to hold everything together” we try our best to be our best, but for some reason (like the chemistry in our brain) it always feels like things are falling apart, so we do our best to juggle them.

Those of us with ADHD also want you to know that even though our room, office, desk, just our space in general looks like a mess, we know exactly where everything is. Move something or clean up without us and we will be at a loss for at least the rest of the week. We organize our papers in stacks, and things are a mess until we get fed up and clean it all, only to have it to be a mess again within a week. Then while we are cleaning under our bed we find that book we were looking for about two months ago, so we stop cleaning and we go make a sandwich and read it. We want you to know that we easily get sidetracked, and we can’t help it.

Sometimes we stay up until three am reading that book, because we just can’t wait to find out how it ends. Sleep, in general. is hard for people with ADHD. I always describe it as being exhausted physically, my body begging me for sleep, yet for some reason I can’t turn off my brain. I’m laying in my big comfy bed thinking of 101 things and I figure if I can’t sleep I might as well get up and get some of that homework done that I can’t stop thinking about. So we want you to know that if were exhausted, sleep deprived, have those dark circles under our eyes, or we take a nap in the middle of the day there is no need to be concerned.

Having ADHD totally changes the way your brain works. We think and process information is completely different from everyone else. So if we don’t understand on the first explanation of something, then please try another way, because I promise that once we get it, we will have it forever. Our brains can also be incredibly focused on the subjects and tasks we find interesting. I may not be able to focus for a full 50 minutes in biology class, but I promise you I can focus for three hours on my favorite book, I can work on my sewing machine for another two hours without a break, or I could study Spanish for another couple hours, because those are the things I am passionate about.

When I was a kid my parents would call me "the bulldozer" because I would just clear a path wherever I wanted to go, no matter what was in the way. I didn't like in back then, but now it's just another funny nickname. My whole life people have told me "you're so over the top" or "you're so dramatic". I also frequently got told "why are you so loud" or "Hannah quiet down". My personal favorite has always been "you're too much to handle". Those of us with ADHD have heard similar statements our whole lives. What we want you to know about these statements is, they won't change a thing. They might bring down our confidence for a bit, but we are who we are. Growing up we hated the traits that we inherited from ADHD, but now that we're adults we wouldn't change a thing. Those traits are part of what makes us special, they make up a huge part of who we are.

What us ADHD sufferers want you to understand is that we really just need you to be patient with us. I promise we will get there. The paper will get written, we will find the car keys (even if it takes three months) and we will remember your birthday (even if it isn’t until the day before). We are passionate and we will love you with a fearless abandon. I will be the loudest person to cheer at my kid's sporting events and graduations, and we will bulldoze down anyone that stands in our loved ones way.

So most of all, we want to say thank you to all of our parents, teachers, friends, and other people in our lives that have been patient with us, helped us develop, and believed that we are just as smart and can achieve just as much as anyone else in this world. Where would we be without you?

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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