I get really fucking protective over the idea of ADD/ADHD. I guess protective is the right word. I don’t like doctors. I don’t always trust doctors. I don’t go to doctors unless I absolutely have to. But do I believe the doctor that diagnosed me as ADD some 15 years ago? I do. Do you know why? Because it is a real thing with real side effects. After I was diagnosed I did quite a bit of research on the disorders and what it is about the drugs that fix them. The data has changed in that time I’m sure, but it’s still the same general idea.
The basic cause of ADD/ADHD is that there’s something misfiring in your brain. That isn’t all that different from the basic cause of a lot of other mental disorders that I see people all over the internet throw themselves on their swords to defend. The basic point of ADD/ADHD medication is to force your brain to fire correctly and to make those connections that it can not make on its own. Do some doctors/parents force children to take medication they don’t need? Yes. But that’s not a problem that is inherent to ADD/ADHD diagnoses exclusively. The truth is that some children NEED help with the way their brains work and in those cases doctors and parents who are willing to take the right steps are a godsend.
I have never taken medication. Honestly, my parents didn’t even think to see if there was a problem with me because I always did my work and got straight As. And while I was shy, I was involved in quite a few extra-curriculars. My brothers, on the hand, were hot messes. They needed the medication. They went from being D students who didn’t have many friends to A students on the swim team after they started taking the medication. It was their reactions and problems that made my parents look at me differently. It made me look at myself differently. Because I always had problems, but I didn’t ever ask for help. I just muddled through the hard way. Sometimes I still feel like I’m muddling through the hard way.
We have not been taken advantage of by the medical profession. My parents are not stupid. My brothers are not stupid. And I am not stupid. Even so, sometimes the way my brain works makes me feel stupid enough on my own without idiots on the internet trying to tell me that I’m making things up.
I am scattered all of the time. My thoughts do not work in straight lines. They don’t even work in spirals or trapezoids. My thoughts are telegraph dashes from jumbled messages. I’ve learned to read them and to reorganize and re-categorize them for people who sometimes can’t follow my readings. So while I sometimes feel crazy and stupid, and while complete strangers might think I’m crazy and stupid, know that it’s only a trick of the light. Give me a minute to shift to the left and all that’s left will be me again.