When I was young, very young I was diagnosed with ADHD, in fact I was one of the 1st females ever diagnosed with it. At the time it was a challenging diagnosis, My parents were told that if I worked really hard I could be average. They didn’t believe it, they always knew that if I worked for it I could do anything.
For a long time I did let my label control me, I still struggle with residual thoughts of being ‘less than’ and ‘never good enough’ but I learned a long time ago that I had 2 choices; 1) feel sorry for myself and live within the limitations I was told I have or 2) break through. I broke through!
Now I know that ADHD is not as serious of a label as I could have, as many do have, but struggling with it has taught me a few things over the years.
To those with labels:
- Accept the truth, accept the actual diagnosis and what that means.
- Don’t accept the opinions, just don’t.
- You are the only one who can do the work. You can have the biggest cheer section behind you encouraging you every step of the way but YOU have to do the work.
To those who love those with labels:
- Don’t tell them they can’t do something unless you know it with 100% certainty.
- If your unsure say so “I don’t know hon but lets try together.”
- Trust the professionals for guidance but don’t believe absolutely everything you hear, they don’t know everything. Chances are you and your person know much more about their abilities and limits than doctors.
- Please stop saying things like “You did great…for having ______(ADHD)”
The fact is this ‘average girl’ with ADHD graduated HS with honors and did pretty darn good in College too… She now leads a successful career and has a great life balanced by faith and exercise NOT meds. There is nothing wrong with meds inherently, in fact I think they are a great tool and depending on the diagnosis a necessity. I’ve gone back to them a few time when life was too much for me to handle on my own. Personally I didn’t want to be dependent on them for a lifetime. Once again I’m lucky my diagnosis wasn’t as bad as it was 1st made out to be.
Does that mean I’m normal? NO, but really who is? I live life and face challenges just like everyone else, in fact I personally think I face these challenges better than many of my peers simply because I’ve had to fight more battles along they way. I’ve worked to create coping/organization/learning strategies. I’ve put time and effort into things most people never think about (how to act in a social situation for example.) I’m still not the greatest in social situations but to be frank I don’t know if that is because I’m an outgoing introvert or the ADHD and really it doesn’t matter either way.
I’m ok with my labels, they don’t define me.
Need an example that isn’t me? Check out Brian Burk
I love this quote “Though his autism can (notice this CAN, not does, not will, just can) affect his learning abilities, he’s an Aerospace Engineering student and a bonafide Ninja Warrior.”
Brian kicked Ninja booty on the course and hit that buzzer during city qualifiers, I can’t wait to what he does in the city finals.