“Why are you so dramatic?”
“Pray about it!”
“You’re just lazy!”
“You’re really creative BUT….. “
“Why can’t you get along with everyone?”
These are just a few examples of common unhelpful phrases that are said to people INCESSANTLY in childhood. These phrases begin to plant thoughts that exacerbate over the years such as: “you’re different AND you’re bad.” These phrases can cause children to be very intrinsic and teaches them to adapt their behaviors to please others. These phrases then turn into inner thoughts in an effort to “blend in.”
What people don’t know is that these are signs of a bigger issue, a neurological deficit. These phrases are used to attempt to correct behaviors that are a result of our executive dysfunction . The truth is that indiviudals with ADHD experience extreme executive dysfunction, causing them to exhibit behaviors that are different from people who are neuro typical (FYI: saying “normal” is so 1900’s, lol).
Translation: You can try harder, talk less, and praying about it, but it won’t change your brain. You need more than that!
Still not convinced?! Well, did you know that by the age of 10, children with ADHD, diagnosed or undiagnosed, have received 20,000 more negative messages about themselves then Neurotypical children? This sets the tone for negative self talk, feelings of despair, and even in some cases, a desire to stop learning.
Check out these stats below:
Pretty shocking right? Are you starting to see the light? Keep reading.
Executive functioning refers to skills that help people to achieve long-term goals, manage their emotions, plan, organize, etc. When people struggle withexecutive function, their lives are immediately more challenging than the lives of their peers. Going untreated and/or undiagnosed, those with ADHD live a life full of potential struggles such as substance abuse, obesity, hypertension, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and are even more at risk of unemployment, homelessness and early death.
Let that all resonate.
Imagine getting ready for the day and it takes you 10 minutes. Now imagine getting ready for the day and it takes you 60 minutes. The latter is what it’s like for those with ADHD as they attempt to do every days tasks like read an article, get dressed, respond to an email, clean the bathroom, etc.
Whew. Exhausting right?! The good news is that with education and support, circumstances can be improved. Notice I said improved and not “fixed.” While there is no cure for ADHD there are environmental, behavioral, and even medicinal treatment options.
In order to improve one’s executive dysfunction, they must first be made aware of it and seek to understand it. Then, they have to have a desire to treat it. For adults, they have the power to do that, but for children, they are at the mercy and will of their parents.
If you’re a parent reading this and you find yourself saying these phrases to your child (or get “complaints” from teachers or other caregivers that include these phrases in regard to your child), get them assessed. The diagnosis (and appropriate intervention) could be the difference between a life of struggle and confusion or a life of awareness and implementation. The choice is yours. Remember, one day, your child may ask you why you didn’t get them help. Furthermore, self-reflect and identify if you have some of these same behavioral challenges as your children. If so, you may have it too. 80% of ADHD is genetic. If not you, perhaps their other parent may have ADHD as well.
If you’re an adult and you’re wondering if you have ADHD, take the guess work out of it and get assessed. Get the answers you’ve been wanting for your whole life. You may have been powerless in your childhood, but you now govern your own decisions. Not only are you worth it, but your future depends on it!
All in all, when left untreated or undiagnosed, every aspect of one’s life is impacted in a negative way. We have options, so let’s make sure we are making choices that leave us empowered to live a better life.