There’s a process to ADHD Awareness Month. There’s a lot of confusion when it comes to ADHD. First, there is the issue of getting a diagnosis. Then there’s the issue of treatment. Next, are the feelings associated with these steps as well as life after diagnosis.
Often, there can be feelings of anger or sadness that the person had not known of this sooner. While others experience a relief, that finally there’s an explanation, a reason, and it’s not their fault.
Then, there’s the family, friends, coworkers, and others who will either be told or not and all of the rigmarole involved in deciding who knows what. Lastly, there are the challenges that persist after diagnosis and treatment and how to go about finding those solutions. It’s a lot.
October is ADHD Awareness Month, and there will be, as in every October, much awareness created. Myths will bust, and the latest and greatest information will be available to everyone with Internet access. More people will get over the stigma that surrounds the condition, and even more people will discover they, or someone they love, has ADHD.
So, why will there still be confusion after the awareness?
Take my word; the confusion isn’t because we don’t know much. We know a lot. ADHD isn’t like ALS, a degenerative disease that continues to mystify scientists. ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder, which impairs the executive functions, the functions of the brain associated with activation, focus, effort, emotions, memory, and action. Some of the symptoms of ADHD include:
- Poor Memory
- Poor Listening Skills
- Time Blindness
- Intense Emotions
- Chronic Procrastination
The day I found out about ADHD was when my sister told me she had it. We were in the throes of dealing with our mother who was fighting for her life. A battle she would surrender to two years later. We weren’t the closest of siblings but when it came to the subject of Mom, we were surprisingly on the same page.
So, imagine my surprise! Minutes after a poignant trip down memory lane, after my apology for being such a mean big sister in childhood, she started to lament over our childhood disagreements, as if I had not just apologized!
I stared at her with the most dumbfounded, you-are-kidding-me look and said, “Did we not JUST go over this?” And, that is when she said that it must be her ADHD, and yes, she confessed, she had heard me minutes before but she didn’t process what I had said.
Well, that was an eye-opener. That was also a very strange concept to wrap my head around. But she went on to describe what her doctor had explained to her, that ADHD can be understood as a processing disorder. That made sense to me. In fact, just months prior, my husband and I had had our daughter tested for a learning disability, and the results came back negative on the learning impairment but she did score very low in processing. Hmmm.
Until then, I admit, I hadn’t thought about how differently we process information. As humans, I assumed that information itself was what determines whether someone could process it or not. For example, math, I cannot easily process while, with language arts, I excel. Therefore, my reasoning was, math is hard to learn and language is easy. This thought is a product of faulty logic. The truth is, my brain can process the code of language far faster and easier than the code of numbers. It’s all about how I uniquely process information.
So, ultimately, that’s why there’s always going to be a lot of confusion surrounding ADHD. How it affects someone is unique to them. True, there are broad commonalities among the ADHD population. There’s the unique way they process time. There’s the way they have trouble prioritizing and organizing. And there’s the issue of not staying motivated and engaged with something; everything becomes boring at some point, and that’s when they can easily shut down.
But the degrees to which these things affect the person vary and the specific areas in which there’s struggle are unique to each person, so there’s no rule. That’s why ADHD so confounding.
The Process to ADHD Awareness Month
But now you know the process to ADHD Awareness Month, you know the drill. There’s no magic bullet to solve any of the challenges of ADHD because they vary individual to individual. And, on top of that, many times, when a solution to one challenge comes about, it’s only a temporary Band-Aid until a newer, more interesting fix can be found. (There’s also a perpetual stimulation or novelty seeking behavior that’s characteristic of the condition, but I’ll save that for another post.)
Hopefully though, this article will lessen the confusion. Do feel free to comment below if you still have questions and enjoy ADHD Awareness Month!