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When a Friend Said, 'He Is So ADHD!'

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“He is so ADHD!”

The day started as one of those “good” days; I woke up early, made time for breakfast, was even having a great hair day! I felt confident enough to tackle the “public” and even possibly enjoy it. Before long I found myself chatting with an old childhood friend, laughing and sharing silly jokes all while revisiting our past. The amusement I was having seemed to come to an abrupt halt, however, after he made a sarcastic comment about another person we were discussing. “He is so ADHD!”

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It stopped me in my thoughts. I didn’t know what to say or even feel. It was a new emotion for me. I had to excuse myself to go do what I often do when confused or troubled — isolate myself to process these thoughts and feelings and try to understand them.

Having been recently diagnosed with inattentive attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder along with clinical major depressive disorder as an adult, I’ve been having to re-learn so much about myself, my behaviors and how I respond to different situations and stimuli. I can recall a time before my diagnosis when I too was guilty of making similar comments, “He/She is so ADD;” “He/She needs to take some Prozac; “He/She must be bipolar,” etc. But the comment from my friend actually made me feel hurt and angry at first. How could he be so insensitive to joke about someone with ADHD? It is a real struggle and a real fight for some. If he only knew how hard it is for some of us to do what are basic and simple tasks for most, I think he would have been more careful in his choice of words. I know I am now.

I think that’s when it clicked. I was the same way until I gained some understanding and knowledge. Now, it’s not so funny. Don’t get me wrong, I like to think I have a great sense of humor and have learned to laugh at myself and humorously blame all my troubles on my ADHD. But to use it to belittle someone else hit a new nerve I didn’t know I had. If there is anything I gained from having ADHD, it is a greater sense of compassion, patience and understanding.

I questioned myself. Should I have told him I have ADHD, which would probably have made him feel bad and made things awkward for both of us? Should I just blow it off and hope it doesn’t happen again? I’m still not sure yet. But I do find purpose after this experience in helping to bring awareness through social media, blogging and learning not to hide it as much. I’m still working on the latter part; it’s not easy to put myself out there. But when I do, I find others respond very positively with support and even questions. Helping to spread awareness about ADHD is satisfying, meaningful and helps me better come to grips with this new reality I’m learning to live with.

Thinkstock photo by Wavebreak Media.

Originally published: July 17, 2017
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