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If you ask me, I'm not a hard worker. I don't consider myself motivated, passionate, driven, or anything else of the sort. Nope. I'm lazy, incompetent, inept, unfocused. I'm too indecisive and lethargic to accomplish the things I need to. Even now, I have 9 tabs open for no reason other than to distract myself from studying. At the same time, I'm staring at my phone, waiting for it to buzz so I can attend to someone's message. I deleted all the games on my devices to help myself focus on the important things, but those have only been replaced by endless Tumblr voids and Instagram spirals. Definitely not the traits of a hard worker. For years, I told myself and was told by the people around me that I could do better if only I tried. If only I put in the energy, did the work, added the hours, used my brain, I could tap into my potential. Or at least that was the theory. The issue is, I'm lazy. I don't try hard enough. I don't do the work. I make everything last-minute. I procrastinate like my life depends on it. I have a hard time keeping up in school, and every parent-teacher meeting is a monotonous repetition of "she has the potential to do better". And I believe it too. Nothing I ever do is enough because I could have done more if I was neurotypical. And nothing I do can ever be enough for me because then I'll just be the complacent kid who uses ADHD as an excuse to slack off. So I tell myself to work harder only to wind up in a social media rabbit hole hours later. So what can I do but tell people I have ADHD and I'm trying to concentrate but it's hard to do that assignment when all my energy goes into getting myself to read the first question? But to that, I get "don't blame it on ADHD", or "it happens to everyone, get over it", or "just put away your phone and you'll be fine uwu". There's even the occasional sigh and "this was never an issue before?". But here's the thing: it was an issue before. But I never talked about it. Why? Simple. I was ashamed. Not just of my inattention, but of all the little things I do that I've only recently realized are caused by my ADHD. I zone out when people talk to me, and I have to actively remind myself to listen. I forget what people say right after they finish talking. When biology class isn't interesting enough I will internally go crazy if I don't find something more stimulating to do. I have to remind myself why I'm looking at my watch and why I entered these rooms and what I was supposed to be doing, but at the same time, I can remember that one fun fact about a movie I watched years ago, or hyperfocus on learning a script or writing for hours. I can't channel the energy I put into my interests into studying or tedious tasks because that's just not how my brain works. But for a long time, I didn't know that. I didn't realize that people could regulate their attention better than I could. I thought everyone was operating on the same level as me, and that I wasn't putting in as much effort as the rest. I would look at all these people in class quietly doing their work and I'd be amazed. Because I thought it took everyone else the same amount of effort and energy just to start working, I assumed I was less hardworking and dedicated than them. And I was ashamed because it was clearly just a weird character flaw that I never listen and never remember and can't concentrate. I'm just not trying like everyone else is. So yeah, I never talked about my symptoms before I found out I had ADHD for the simple reason that I thought everyone else had them too and I was the only one not overcoming these issues. I was too embarrassed to talk about how I lose focus during tests or why it takes me three hours to finish one worksheet because I thought things were that hard for everyone too. So I just told myself to try harder. And I shamed myself into attempting to concentrate and finish tasks as everyone else did. And when it didn't work, I would shame myself some more until all I could think about was how incompetent and incapable I was for not trying hard enough, even though I was probably trying harder than my neurotypical classmates just to get through half the work they could do. This is why I hate when people tell me to try harder or that if I put my mind to it I can focus. Because it doesn't work like that, and I've already wasted so much time on things like this that just don't work for me. When you tell someone with ADHD to try harder, you're not even recognizing the fact that they're already trying ten times as hard to do things a neurotypical person can do without much effort. And all you're doing is invalidating them for trying in the first place.
- It's Not a Pharmacy Scam
"ADHD is just a fake disorder being pushed by big pharma." "It's all the pharma companies trying to sell Adderall." "ADHD is nothing but a scam, a hoax perpetuated by Big Pharma and the psychiatric industry." These are all real comments I've heard or read about ADHD when doing research or talking to people about ADHD. Before I knew about my diagnosis, every time I heard about the disorder, there would always be some flavor of "big pharma" and "fake disorder" accompanying. This caused me so much confusion when I found out I have ADHD because there's a crazy amount of stuff on the internet saying it doesn't exist, and we're just lazy and looking for an excuse to get meds. So what I want to do in this post is to tackle these statements with facts and science. So let's start! "It's overdiagnosed." Maybe. In countries like the US, some school districts receive extra funds if they have kids with medicated ADHD, so there is some incentive to overdiagnose. I've had teachers in elementary school push my parents to get me on medication after my diagnosis, even asking me about it in class. So it's definitely possible that it is overdiagnosed. However, this doesn't mean it's a fake disorder or that everyone with a diagnosis doesn't have it. The majority of people who have diagnoses fit the symptom descriptions and are impacted by ADHD in ways many neurotypicals don't realize. A lot of people with ADHD-PI actually get passed off as lazy in their childhood and get diagnosed as adults, when there is no incentive to overdiagnose. It's also important to note that there are hardly any reliable statistics on this, just ballpark estimates by people who believe ADHD is overdiagnosed. "It's propagated by big pharma." The phrase 'big pharma' seems to be a recurring favorite among downplayers of ADHD. So why do they think pharmaceutical companies are to blame? There are many medications available to treat ADHD, so it seems plausible that pharma companies benefit from ADHD diagnoses. However, not every person with ADHD takes medication. In the US, about 62% of diagnosed kids take medication, and only 30% use medication as their only treatment form. There are other approaches to treating ADHD, and they include CBT and using strategies such as the Pomodoro technique or limited use of technology to help with inattention and focus. Depending on the severity, some people with ADHD can get by fine without medication, but many need it to focus on the same level as neurotypical people. I think a lot of the stigma and mistrust comes from a misunderstanding of medications and how they help with ADHD. Essentially, ADHD stems from a combination of genetic, environmental, and neurological issues. Scientists aren't sure what causes these factors to lead to ADHD, but they have been able to identify the biological and genetic contributing factors, and a lot of it has to do with brain chemistry. The brain uses chemicals called neurotransmitters to allow neurons to communicate. There are many neurotransmitters, and each is responsible for different things. The important ones concerning ADHD are dopamine and norepinephrine. Norepinephrine is made up of dopamine, and dopamine is made from a chemical called dopa. People with ADHD have a deficiency of dopa, meaning we have less dopamine and norepinephrine in specific brain regions where they are essential. The brain area where these deficiencies occur vary, but they result in more or less the same symptoms. When there are deficiencies of norepinephrine in the frontal cortex, high-level functioning and attention are affected, in the limbic system, a deficiency causes emotional dysregulation, a deficiency in the basal ganglia is associated with inattention and impulsivity, and deficiencies in the reticular activating system can cause inattention, impulsivity, or hyperactivity. These brain regions are connected and frequently interact with one another, so no symptom occurs in isolation. What medications do is adjust the levels of norepinephrine to the baseline. There are three ways of doing this: by introducing norepinephrine, by blocking its catabolism (breakdown), or by blocking its reuptake (when neurotransmitters are taken back into the neuron without being sent across). Stimulant medications raise the level of norepinephrine by introducing more of it into the brain, while non-stimulant medications block reuptake or catabolism of existing norepinephrine. Many people who bash ADHD medications don't realize that while some can function without them, many people need their medications to focus and do things that neurotypicals can do easily. So it's wrong to blame the pharma industry for ADHD because people need their medications, and all this accomplishes is further stigmatizing the use of medications for brain disorders. "Kids just want Adderall." Again, this view comes from a lack of knowledge of what medications do and how they help. It could also come from the legitimate concern that kids without ADHD will get their hands on stimulants, which is, unfortunately, a big problem. There are many instances of kids with ADHD being forced into giving their medications to other kids who want to get high, but as I said before, the people who take medications for ADHD need them for legitimate reasons. "There's no evidence that ADHD exists." This is the problem with many disorders of the mind and brain: they're hard to see physically. It's easy to tell when someone has a broken bone because you can see the fracture and bruising, but you can't tell as easily if a person has a mental or neurological disorder just by looking at them. The symptoms of these disorders are often invisible and hard to explain to people who don't experience them, meaning many people end up having to 'justify' or 'defend' their disorder. The good news is that scientists have clearly determined that norepinephrine deficiencies, grey matter volume differences, and specific genes are linked to ADHD, so there is now substantial evidence. Besides, while the name has changed over time, ADHD symptoms have been described as early as the 1700s. "People with ADHD can't be successful." Michael Phelps, Justin Timberlake, Michael Jordan, Richard Branson, Jim Carrey, Simone Biles, Solange Knowles, all have ADHD. People with ADHD are just as capable as neurotypicals at success in their careers. Studies have shown that traits such as hyperfocusing, hyperactivity, and impulsivity may make ADHD-ers better suited to entrepreneurial jobs than neurotypicals. In fact, people with ADHD are three times more likely to run their own business. ADHD doesn't mean you won't succeed, and your symptoms absolutely do not sentence you to failure. "Everyone's a little ADHD sometimes." Sure, everyone is forgetful or impulsive once in a while, but that doesn't mean everyone has ADHD. There's a big difference between showing a symptom occasionally and actually having the condition. Saying everyone's a little ADHD is like saying everyone has depression because we all get sad sometimes. Why is there so much stigma and denial of ADHD? My guess is people don't know enough about it. This was true for me too. Before I found out about my diagnosis, I thought also it was about hyper kids and pharmacies. I didn't realize it's not all hyperactivity, adults can have ADHD too, and that there are so many biological causes for it. So the next time you hear someone dismissing any disorder or catch yourself making assumptions, do a fact check. Google it, or if there are too many conflicting articles on Google, find someone with the disorder and ask them. It's that easy to do and makes the lives of those continually having to defend their disorder or condition so much easier as a result!
- It's Not a Deficit
The full form of ADHD is Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. Sounds accurate, right? People with ADHD can't focus enough, so 'deficit' seems like an appropriate word to describe our attention reserves. But this word is problematic in ways I didn't even realize until fairly recently. 'Deficit' means a lack of something, in this case, the capability to pay attention. On the surface, this seems to describe people with ADHD fairly well; one of the defining traits of ADHD is the inability to sustain focus on certain things for long periods. But this is pretty inaccurate. People with ADHD do not, in fact, have a lack of attention. It's more complicated than that. Think of it this way: imagine everyone has a little dial in their brain that decides which tasks to focus on and how much attention to give each task. In neurotypical people, this dial is labeled from 1 to 10, with equal intervals of focus and attention, and the needle moves systematically between the numbers. In people with ADHD, the dial is numbered 1, 2, and 15, and the needle switches back and forth randomly. What this means is that while neurotypical people can identify tasks that require sustained focus, prioritize them, and commit to paying attention to them, people with ADHD basically have two modes: inattention and hyperfocus, and while we're pretty bad at prioritizing and focusing on the tasks that are important but not necessarily interesting to us, we can concentrate for extended amounts of time on things that are exciting, interesting, or not monotonous. For example, I find it nearly impossible to write essays for school. The amount of planning and outlining needed to start the essays leads me to compulsively procrastinate and then rely on the rush of adrenaline I get near the deadline to give me the motivation to finish as much of the work as possible. This usually results in low-quality work with errors and typos. On the flip side, if I'm learning lines in a script, working on a challenging drawing, or writing about something that personally interests me, I can focus for hours and sometimes even regain focus after a momentary distraction. There is no deficit of attention in people with ADHD; we have plenty. What's really going on is an inability to regulate attention. I can't bring myself to focus for long enough to reread and edit something I wrote previously. Still, I can hyperfocus for as long as I need while writing the first draft. The issue here is that 'deficit' implies that we can't pay attention, period, while we actually can pay attention, just not to things that don't excite us. This wording is harmful because it fosters stereotypes of people with ADHD as lazy or unmotivated or simply not trying hard enough. It also creates the perception that people with ADHD can't be helped because they simply don't have enough attention, which only contributes to the stigma around the condition and prevents people with ADHD from learning strategies to cope. So the next time you meet someone with ADHD, don't assume they can't concentrate on anything because that's not the case at all. There are plenty of people with ADHD who are successful in their jobs and life because they can focus on the things that excite them and have strategies to help them concentrate on the things that don't. People with ADHD are not automatically failures because of their inattention, and this is precisely why saying "attention-deficit" is misleading. TL;DR : The phrase "attention-deficit" creates false perceptions of people with ADHD because it implies that we don't have enough attention, which isn't true. People with ADHD can concentrate, but have trouble regulating their focus. This creates two modes of concentration: inattention and hyperfocus, for which "deficit" is an inaccurate description.
- About | mind bites
ABOUT MIND BITES Hi, I'm Spoorti, the creator of this site! I'm 17 years old, and my pronouns are she/her. I enjoy acting, singing, drawing, and writing short stories. I was diagnosed with primarily Inattentive - type ADHD as a young child but only found out about my diagnosis this year. After knowing about my diagnosis, I did a lot of research to find out what exactly ADHD meant and how it had been affecting me. However, most of the resources and websites I found were either targeted towards parents & teachers or were full of heavy medical jargon that was hard to understand. There were hardly any resources for kids and teens. So on an impulse, I decided to start up a blog to share what I knew and learned about ADHD in the hopes that others would find the information helpful. The goal of this site is not just to shove statistics and bland research in your faces. I want to inform you, but also to talk about what it's like to have ADHD and hopefully interview people so you can read about the experiences, thoughts, and feelings of those with neurological disorders and mental health struggles. If you'd like to write a piece or talk about your experience, don't hesitate to hit up the contact page and let me know!
- mind bites | ADHD blog and forum
WHAT IS MIND BITES? Mind bites is a blog and forum that discusses ADHD, neurodiversity, and mental health. This website was set up to tackle misinformation, spread awareness, answer questions, and create a community free of the stigma that surrounds mental health and neurological disorders. If you're new to the site, I recommend introducing yourself in the forum. It's a great place to connect with others and find friends. If you have any questions, submit them in the Q & A section of the forum. I'm also looking for writers or artists, so if you'd like to submit a piece for the blog, let me know in the contact page! About me Contact me WELCOME TO MIND BITES a blog about mental health and neurodiversity NEURODIVERSITY TOP BLOG POSTS The latest articles from the blog. See more Spoorti Hegde date time-to-read.short-label Shame If you ask me, I'm not a hard worker. I don't consider myself motivated, passionate, driven, or anything else of the sort. Nope. I'm lazy... view-count.label write-comment.write-a-comment counter.count Spoorti Hegde date time-to-read.short-label It's Not a Pharmacy Scam "ADHD is just a fake disorder being pushed by big pharma." "It's all the pharma companies trying to sell Adderall." "ADHD is nothing but ... view-count.label write-comment.write-a-comment counter.count FORUM Start a discussion or ask a question. Check it out GET UPDATES AND NEWS WRITE FOR THE BLOG!