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For The Cultural Notion Of What It Means To Have ADHD To Significantly Shift

by Pete Quily on March 10, 2013 · 5 comments

#11. This post is a part of a series where people answer my anonymous survey question. If you have ADHD but haven’t gone public with it, what would it take to you go public with ADHD?

There are risks and rewards for going public with ADHD AND for staying hidden in the ADHD closet. See this post for context on the series.

“For the cultural notion of what it means to have ADHD to significantly shift.

Ie. for people to think something other than that people with ADHD were brought up by lazy parents who sat them in front of the television/Playstation; for people to stop thinking exclusively of the “fun” things that being ADHD entails, such as being always on the go, “random” etc., but to see that it wrecks relationships and leads to constantly being out of control.

For people to stop thinking that medication for ADHD is some kind of sell-out manner of choosing conformity, being controlled, diluting one’s own entertaining personality but a necessity for most..

There’s a lot of things it would take, but media simplification is going to stand in the way of most of them for most of my lifetime, if not all of it.”

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

LuAnn March 11, 2013 at

I came out about my ADHD two years ago. As a mental health therapist, I had guarded this secret closely because being a consumer in our field carries much shame and secrecy. I decided to risk it because the stigma is never going to decrease unless we give a new face to the label of mental illness (I also have SAD – a depressive disorder). People already thought me strange, so it was not much of a stretch to know the underlying cause. Like many other differences, it is hard to keep ADHD a secret. What surprises me even more is that so many people in my field seem clueless to their own ‘issues’. Maybe they aren’t clueless, just afraid to own them. I finally decided the secrets were worse for my well-being than the stigma.

Pete Quily March 11, 2013 at

Good on you for having the guts to do so LuAnn. don’t know if there’s research on it but seems anecdotally higher rates of SAD & ADHD to me then gen. population. I know there is research showing higher rates of depression and dysthymia among people with ADHD.

while going public with adhd or not involves many questions and shouldn’t do so impulsively if you do, it’s also important that staying in the adhd closet you could be getting much worse labels than adhd by others

Yes I know people who work in mental health who’ve been stigmatized by their colleagues for going public. It’s disgraceful. Part of it maybe some of them have a hidden shame of having adhd and projecting that shame on the condition, adhd meds and the people with adhd

“I finally decided the secrets were worse for my well-being than the stigma” very well put

Belinda March 13, 2013 at

I am considering not going public because of the recent laws for people with “mental health issues” not being eligible for 2nd ammendment rights.

Pete Quily March 13, 2013 at

that will be a complex issue Belinda, because many people have mental health conditions but they’re not all violent, some people with some conditions are and in some case if someone has a history of violence and say psychosis that possibly maybe justified but not for all. Finding ways to draw those lines won’t be easy. And if the lines are drawn too wide are people going to avoid getting treatment because of it & what negative effects will that have on them and society? very complex issue, no easy answers.

Francois Paradis March 18, 2013 at

I personally tend to think there will be lots of people that will judge me for a million reasons including, but not limited to, my ADHD. I will chose to be judged, even hated, for my transparency as well as my integrity, respect for myself and actions. I accept the fact that whatever I do, whatever I am, is sure not to please everybody. I would rather be hated because I am true to myself then be loved while never reaching my true potential because I refuse to express myself.
I sound a little extreme like that and I respect everybody’s personal right to decide whether to share their ADHD or not but I cannot lie. I believe there is a cost to not expressing fully who we are and I do not want to pay that cost.

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