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The ADHD Monster

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

I have ADHD and have had it since I was a kid. Sometimes my meds work well. Sometimes they don’t. There is no cure for this and pills help but they don’t solve the problem. I am prone to struggling in areas with a lot of visual and auditory stimuli. I have done therapy, group therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), psychoeducation and more through the years to learn to live with my ADHD and to control as much as I can. I know I am personally responsible for my actions and reactions. Sometimes I need help though and there are times I am just stuck with what my brain is doing to me. Some days it feels like a monster hovering on my shoulder always there ready to jump in and wreak havoc.

ADD and ADHD aren’t just that people can’t focus on a task or are hyper. Here are just a few of the things that people with ADHD deal with daily. Behaviorally they can experience: aggression, excitability, fidgeting, hyperactivity, impulsivity, irritability, lack of restraint, or persistent repetition of words or actions. Cognitively people can have: absent-mindedness, difficulty focusing, forgetfulness, repetition of words, hyper-attention, or short attention span. They can also experience mood swings. Some people don’t develop ADD/ADHD until they are adults, did you know that? And that’s just the tip of the iceberg folks.

I work hard every single day to not let my ADHD cause issues with others. Sadly, sometimes it just happens. I know I can talk, bounce my leg or fidget a lot when I am overstimulated. Believe me when I say that it pains me way more than you can even know once I realize I am doing it. Often, I don’t realize I am doing it until it’s pointed out to me. It is so annoying to me not being able to stop it at times you guys. I deal with it every single day as do my spouse and our roommate. It’s annoying when it happens, I really do get it.

So, why am I writing this? It’s to ask you to help me and others out. When we are bouncing our leg, talking too much, fidgeting, etc. and it annoys you; don’t treat us like an obnoxious kid. We are not kids. We are adults who have a real mental, medical issue. Please speak gently to us, pull us aside, text us if you don’t want to say anything in front of others. But by all that is holy, please don’t yell at us, call us out in front of a huge group, etc. like we are naughty children because we are not. If you spend enough time with one of us that it can be a real issue, let’s try and come up with a hand signal or something that you can give us that will help us realize what we are doing without embarrassing us. Perhaps talk to us when we are having a good day and ask us what it is like for us living with ADD and ADHD. Understanding what someone else is walking through can help with having compassion for them.

I can tell you that when people yell at me or treat me like a naughty kid it makes me feel terrible and not wanted wherever I am. It makes me want to get up and leave the event, dinner, group, or whatever and not come back. It is embarrassing to be treated in such a way as an adult, by other adults. Many others who I have talked to with ADD and ADHD feel this way as well. I get it, it’s annoying but please try to have some compassion for those of us struggling with our own brains on a daily basis. Many of us try very hard to mitigate how our disorder affects those around us that we love and care about and even just the people we meet on the street every day. Please try to extend us the courtesy that we work very hard to extend to all of you whether you know it or not.

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