Everybody has experienced difficulty sitting still or paying attention; but, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is much more than this. For people with ADHD, these challenges can interfere with every aspect of their lives.
ADHD affects 11 percent of school-age children and symptoms continue into adulthood in more than three-quarters of cases, according to Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD), a nonprofit aimed at improving the lives of people affected by ADHD.
The Mighty teamed up with CHADD to ask people who live with ADHD to share one thing they wish others could understand about the condition.
This is what they had to say:
1. “We are not lazy or stupid.” — Chad Snelson
3. “I have to tell people frequently, ‘My mind doesn’t work like that.’ It isn’t that I don’t want to pay attention; [it’s] simply that everything seems to demand my attention all at once. It makes it hard to balance my thoughts.” — Melina Hunter
4. “Be patient with me. Understand why I do the things I do. Don’t yell at me. Believe me, I don’t want to have ADHD.” — Joane E Richardson
5. “It’s more than lack of focus.” — Jennifer Lynn
6. “ADHD can affect every area of your life.” — Natasha McCulloch
7. “When I say, ‘I’m trying,’ I mean it. I’m not happy to be forgetful or impulsive or emotionally reactive. I’m doing everything in my power to control it. But I can’t always control it, so please, for the love of all that is good and holy, understand I am not doing any of it on purpose! All I want is to function well in the world, but it’s a struggle every day. It seems dismissive, but it’s so true: It’s not personal.” — Sarah Daily
8. “Some days I just can’t get it together for all of the different directions my brain wants to go in.” — Jennifer Arnott
9. “ADHD affects not only the people who have it, but also everyone who loves and lives with them.” — Gina Pera
10. “It’s a gift once you understand and accept it.” — Jeff Carlson
11. “It’s not that I’m purposely not listening; it’s just that I got distracted by my own thoughts or something random.” — Ashley Scroggy
12. “I don’t like to be talked down to like a child.” — Nina Reyes
13. “I want to be able to communicate with everybody. I want to be able to say what I’m thinking without forgetting the small details that actually make my point relevant. It’s hard to say what you mean when your brain makes connections internally, at a rapid pace. I feel like I just don’t make sense.” — Haley Ingalls
14. “I honestly overwork myself a lot because I can’t do one thing at a time, which wears me out.” — Sarah Reese
15. “ADHD is not a life choice or a joke. It’s real and it’s hard.” — Amber Griffith A
16. “You can’t learn not to have ADHD. Yes, there are tools to help, but at 43 it’s still hard to stay focused, even on medication, with people around me making noise. So when teachers tell my daughter at 9 she needs to learn how not to get distracted by people in her class I know they don’t have a clue.” — Kelly Bradley Allen
17. “It is utterly exhausting living with a gray fog swirling around my head.” — Caroline Pearsall
18. “I can’t control my attention span all the time. I am fighting tooth and nail to focus, but sometimes I just lose the fight. I am not doing this on purpose. I know it makes the lives of the people I love difficult and I can’t apologize enough for that. I am getting it treated, but that’s just it. I have to get it treated. I will welcome suggestions at all times, but I need to be the one to find the solution.” — Tony Lampo
19. “I’m doing the best I can.” — Kari Livingston
If you have ADHD, what’s one thing you wish others understood about your life? Let us know in the comments below.