Young woman being bullied by a group of students.

When People Treat ADHD/ADD as a Joke


I was diagnosed with ADD when I was in first grade. I still remember sitting in my classroom trying to keep up with the activity we were doing. Everyone else was on the fifth question, and I hadn’t even finished the first. I got so frustrated I yelled “Stop! I can’t keep up!” and broke into tears right then and there. I’d also break down crying trying to do my homework. (I still do to this day.) That’s when my mom took me to the doctor, where I was diagnosed and put on medication.

The diagnosis was hard on all of us, and my parents deciding to give me medication was even harder on them. It hasn’t been easy living with myself, and my family, although they love me, found it hard at times to deal with me. Tasks that take most people minutes to complete will take me hours. I have to invest so much mental energy into the simplest things; even doing the dishes will leave me exhausted. Some days I get so restless and uncomfortable it almost brings me to tears. The worst is trying to stay organized, remember things, and complete assignments.

This is what it’s like for me to have ADD, yet many people use it as a joke. They think of an annoying, obnoxious and hyper child and make a lot of stereotypes and jokes. Trust me, it’s not funny at all. There’s nothing funny about feeling so restless it hurts. There’s nothing funny about breaking down because you’ve been sitting at the computer for five hours and only typed out five sentences of your essay that’s due soon. There’s nothing funny about people constantly telling you how obnoxious, annoying, and irresponsible you are. There’s nothing funny about walking into a class half an hour late because you forgot when it started. There’s nothing funny about having your professor pull you aside and tell you that you’re failing the class, and you ended up writing some silly nonsense on a writing assignment you lost track of. It’s frustrating, annoying, and downright embarrassing!

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been teased, laughed at, and yelled at because of my ADD. So the next time you hear someone cracking a joke about ADHD/ADD, just remember it’s a disability. You wouldn’t laugh at someone in a wheelchair or someone who is blind, so don’t laugh at someone with ADHD/ADD.

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