They Don’t Believe In ADHD
By Rick GreeN
After a recent talk, a woman from the audience shared her frustration over friends and family members who question her diagnosis. A loved one had announced, “ADHD is made up by drug companies. The way Greeting Card companies created Mother’s Day.”
I wish someone would give me a card and chocolates for my ADHD…
And by the way, Mother’s Day was started by a woman from West Virginia to honor her mother, a peace activist who nursed soldiers wound in the Civil War. Hallmark just got rich off it, and then used their profits to make movies in soft focus with B actors.
But I digress…
Two Challenges We All Face
Finding someone qualified to make a proper ADHD diagnosis is one challenge.
Accepting that diagnosis can be a bigger challenge. At any age.
Last night at a birthday party a mother sought me out to talk about her teenage son who refuses to acknowledge or deal with his ADHD.
It takes courage to be willing to look, to consider the possibility, and to admit that you are struggling, not coping, and in danger of going under. Courage, perhaps driven by desperation to embrace the diagnosis and start moving forward.
When things start to improve, suddenly you have momentum.
Then, it seems to me, the biggest danger to your progress is the reaction of loved ones, acquaintances, teachers, even your doctor.
When a friend in her 50’s suggested to her family physician that she suspected she might have ADHD, the doctor smirked, “Of course. Obviously. I’ve known that for years. But at your age, what are you going to do about it.”
Sadly, my friend has done nothing about it.
I defy that doctor to be that cavalier with any other mental health diagnosis.
“Clearly you have epilepsy. But at your age you’re probably used to it. So just carry on the best you can…”
ADHD Is Still Dismissed And Disdained
We created TotallyADD because I knew, first-hand “… what you could do about it.” At any age.
Ask any ADHD specialist about the huge difference treatment can make. Heck, ask me! An arsenal of ADHD-Friendly strategies continue to improve every area of my life: work, my family life, my health, my confidence and self-esteem.
The biggest challenge is finding ADHD strategies that actually work. That have been proven to work. There’s so much misinformation, people promoting ‘treatments’ that have been studied and found ineffective. (Yes, Bio-Feedback, I’m talking to you.)
And then there are the strategies that people are will swear are helpful, but aren’t. And may even be counter-productive. (Yes, Cannabis, I’m talking to you. Yes, I know you’re great for many conditions. And yes, you reduce anxiety so people feel like they can focus better, but admit it, every study has shown you make memory and focus worse, Cannabis.)
You Can Turn Enemies Into Allies
Some people will never change. You need to cut them out of your life. Or minimize contact. For both your sakes. Then there are those with a nasty agenda.
That said, I’ve discovered it is possible to educate people in a way that has them open to actually hearing the truth. Perhaps even curious to learn more. If you want to be able to defend your diagnosis from people around you, or defend a child or family member, I high recommend our video Facing The World. It’s probably the funniest ADHD video I’ve done. But for many folks the most important in overcoming the roadblocks that stop them from moving forward.
It starts with understanding that when someone says, “I don’t believe in ADHD,” they are speaking the truth. They truly do not believe ADHD is a real disorder.
That’s okay. Because you know what? At one point, neither did I.
And that’s the place to start: “You know what? I didn’t believe it was real either. I thought it was just some big conspiracy of lazy parents, or the internet, but then…”
Start exactly where they are. And don’t make them wrong for being there. They know what they know, and now you have a chance to make sure they know better.