ADHD : Not a Label

Have you ever had your assumptions challenged? As a coach, it’s my job to do just that for my clients all of the time but having someone else help me create a massive mind shift around something I hold to be true…well, that’s rare and amazing! And it just recently happened. I had been promoting the idea that all labels aren’t bad. My thought was that the ADHD label isn’t bad because other labels are worse. I know that sounds a bit weird but my thinking was that if Johnny goes to school and is “labeled” ADHD, that wasn’t as bad as being labeled lazy, naughty, or insolent. The basis of this argument is that at least the identifier of ADHD would help explain what’s going on. In fact, I put it out this way on all of my social media:

Labels are a problem when it’s the stigma that’s the label…‪#ADHDisREAL ‪#ADHD stigma is the real problem.

So, one day recently, one of my awesome Twitter followers informed me otherwise:

HER: ADHD is not a label, it’s a diagnosis

ME: Yes, but I’m just saying that ADHD is the label that explains things without the stigma versus ones that are stigma such as lazy or air-headed.

HER: I agree, but that includes being rid of the idea that it’s just a label.

ME: Yes, but sadly, that’s what humans do, we label in order to ID, that’s all I’m saying, better to ID by diagnosis than stigma. Her point of view missed the point, or so I thought. I don’t really know why but letting go of this notion wasn’t an option. I found myself musing the difference between what she was saying and what I was saying for a few days. On the surface there didn’t seem to be too much of a difference. So, what about it was calling me back to think of it over and over?

AND then there was my AHA moment:

Ohh, ADHD is a diagnosis, not a label.

You see? My intention was good. “Parents, please don’t get hung up on all labels being bad.” We see this idea everywhere by good citizens in the ADHD community advocating on the side of ADHD education and awareness. In fact, just this week, Rick Green, of Totally ADD, put out a 2 part series addressing this very issue, see the first in the series.

So how does this difference look and sound?

Labels are a problem because stigma is the label…‪#ADHDisREAL ‪#ADHD is a diagnosis, not a label.”

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