There needs to be a change of perception about ADHD in our communities, one that I believe will only take place as knowledge and understanding are shared. One that I believe can only take place by learning about the experience of having ADHD not just the symptoms.
ADHD has to get beyond the annoying kid that can’t sit still, that blurts out answers, acts impulsively, and can’t focus. How different is the perception of that child if instead of seeing a fidgety child people see a child who didn’t sleep all night. How real will his experience become if people see not just the outer actions but realize the inner struggle.
One of our children draws battles every chance he gets, elaborate battles that are animated by sound affects as he draws. When he is not drawing battles he is lining up opposing armies made of whatever is with in reach to form battles. Did I mention sound effects?
This child is about the least violent young man I have ever met so naturally it puzzled me why battles would consume so much of his time. I brought it up with our psychiatrist once. His answer was profound and I think worthy of repeating.
He said that is seemed to him that this obsession with battles was an outward acknowledgment of his inner battle to concentrate.
It makes sense. His battle is constant.
How many individuals struggle and are seen largely for their disruptions and failings with no understanding of their battle?
ADHD is hard for people to wrap their minds around. It is made harder by the absolute individuality of the disorder. It comes out so differently in each individual not only because each person may have differing symptoms but also because each individual reacts to their symptoms differently.
Take for example inattentiveness. All of my children suffer to one degree or another from inattentiveness but it does not show itself in any two of them in the same manner. One rolls with the inattentiveness, sometimes wandering around trying to remember what she was doing while another lays out her belongings the night before and checks them three or four times over to make sure she is not going to forget something.
ADHD is a mixed bag. I do not want people to think that somehow I ended up with the only ADHD family members on earth that have only cute, clever, and intelligent ADHD moments. Through the struggle to manage their ADHD they have found ways to use their ADHD to their advantage. They have found humor in their struggle.
As my husband is prone to say, “ADHD is a gift with a heavy price tag.” It is what we have tried to instill in our children. Strengthen your strengths and find ways to overcome your weaknesses.
As I considered how much to share and how real to get I couldn’t help but feel that the power is in the real experience. The change is in the real experience. The awareness is in the real experience. The fellowship is in the real experience; whether that experience is hard or humorous.