1. Not every person born with ADHD is the same. It’s a condition of the brain which means there are going to to be similar symptoms, but also big differences. Think of it this way. Not everyone gets sick with a cold in the same exact way, even though it might be the same cold virus which makes them sick. So just because your husband has ADHD doesn’t mean you know how I learn, think, or act. And just because you read this list, doesn’t mean you know every person with ADHD and everything that ADHD does.
2. ADHD doesn’t stop in the classroom for most people. It’s a lifelong condition for a lot of people, and it changes throughout life. It’s something which impacts every part of my life. I may have trouble holding up conversations. I may have trouble getting to places on time. I may have trouble with tasks which are incredibly simple. I may not be able to watch a movie fully.
3. I outgrew my hyperactivity and I am lucky I did. Hyperactivity is a huge part of ADHD, but it isn’t mandatory for everyone to be that way. Just because I don’t have one of the symptoms of ADHD doesn’t mean I am not ADHD. Trust me, I’ve been tested and tested again. I am definitely ADHD. There are different kinds of ADHD though. Some people might be hyper, some people just simply can’t focus, and some people have a combination of both. See 1 if you have any more questions.
4. Sometimes my mouth moves before my brain fully knows what it’s going to say. I have been working on this my whole life, and I really struggle with it. It is so important to look at the WHY I am saying something rather than the what I am saying. I usually have very good intentions, I just didn’t say it exactly how I wanted too.
5. I’m not stupid. I can’t say this enough. I am not stupid at all. Chances are, I am smarter than you. However, sometimes things don’t click immediately for me, or I miss key points in a conversation and I want clarification or to double check. Somethings I might have to review over again just to understand.
6. Remember Dory from Finding Nemo? I feel like her a lot. My Short Term Memory isn’t always the best. If you’re giving me a task, it’s best to break it down and to give me a list so I can see what I have to do. This will keep me from becoming overwhelmed. Oh, and it’s just my Short Term Memory really. I can remember other things perfectly, including conversations from years ago.
7. Sometimes I am going to be random when having a conversation. To me, it’s not random though, it makes perfect sense. While you are talking, I either am engaged in the conversation (rarely), trying to catch up with what I missed (usually), or making connections to what you are saying (all the time). For example, if we are talking about ADHD, and I bring up how I was bitten by a squirrel when I was 8, it actually makes sense to me. I am thinking about ADHD which then makes me think about the meme about ADHD and squirrels, and then about squirrels and previous experiences I had with them and how it’s funny. This is done in seconds. I’m not trying to change the conversation, I’m just trying to contribute.
8. I can be moody. It’s actually a part of ADHD. My brain doesn’t see it as moody though, it sees it as completely normal. I also don’t always realize I am being moody. Don’t be afraid to say something to me if you see this. I don’t mean to be that way.
9. I can be lazy, just like you. But most of the time I’m trying my hardest. If something is difficult for me, please try to help me. Sometimes it’s just something as silly as making a cue card for me to follow along. If I’m hesitant to start something, it’s usually not because I am being lazy, but rather I don’t know where to start, or I’m afraid I won’t do it correctly. Though not everyone may agree, I will take the help if it is simply offered.
10. I’m not good with time management. I really try, but it is hard to be at one place at a certain time. My brain doesn’t process time well at all. I can’t tell if a minute has passed or an hour. Personally, I thrive with schedules and timers. Some people can’t function if they are in a routine.
11. Please don’t tell me what causes my ADHD, or that it doesn’t exist. Some people may use their ADHD as an excuse, but I don’t. Also, ADHD does exist, and it does impact my life. I have tried the diets, I have changed my entire life around, I have tried every remedy in the book. Some helped, but only minutely. What does help are stimulants (at least for me). They calm me down, put the world to a speed which just makes sense. I don’t question it, but I know there is a difference when I take my medicine. This isn’t always the case from person to person though.
12. I can focus on video games and sit at the computer all day, but a book can take three weeks for me to read. Why? Some things just grab my brain. Other things don’t and I have to really try to focus. And it can be painful.
13. I’ve tried to be organized. I try my hardest at what I do. Sometimes my brain just forgets to organize or to completely finish something because I get distracted and completely forget what I am doing. And when I try to tell my brain to focus, it gets even more difficult for me to sit and finish what I am doing.
14. Sometimes simple tasks can be very overwhelming to me. There are times where I get anxious because I am overloaded by all the information which I am perceiving. Being at the supermarket when it is crowded is hard for me. Trying to focus in on one thing when people are having conversations around me is impossible. I just hear white noise.
15. I’m very impulsive. I have been working on my impulsivity my entire life. I have tried my hardest to change this, and it has gotten much better with time, but I still struggle with it. Unless you are going to offer me advice that I can actually apply, please don’t. I try to think before I do. Sometimes it doesn’t work that way. The whole think before you act advice does not work.
ADHD isn’t going to be the same in each person. Just because you met one person with ADHD doesn’t mean you know what it does or how it feels. Some people might have ADHD and think this list is not true at all. Others may be upset I didn’t put things which affect them. ADHD is more severe in some people than it is in others. I personally struggle socially. Some people don’t. I don’t have as much trouble with time management. Most people with ADHD do. Some people don’t have have any sensory issues. I do. When working with someone with ADHD, whether it be an employee, a co-worker, a student, or a friend, be understanding of their needs. Be firm and direct when giving direction. Be supportive and forgiving. And most importantly of all, get to know the people for who they are, don’t just label them as ADHD.