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We recently asked members of the Autism Community Page Facebook living with ADD/ADHD to tell us what they wish other people understood about the disorder. Here are some of the best responses.
Quick note: ADD/ADHD is a neurological disorder characterized by difficulty sustaining attention, by lack of self-control, and by impaired working memory. It’s now more often classified in medical literature as attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but lots of people (including some doctors) still refer to it as ADD. For the purpose of clarity and conciseness, we will refer to the disorder as ADHD for the remainder of this article.
2. Sometimes we focus on literally everything at once.
“People seem to think that ADHD means that I’m always too easily distracted. In actuality, I am focused on far too many things at any given moment and move from thought to thought very quickly.”
5. And both children and adults can have the disorder.
“I wish people understood that ADHD affects adults too, and it’s not just something you grow out of when you’re done with school. Kids that had trouble remembering their homework become adults who have trouble with adult tasks like remembering appointments and paying bills on time.”
7. But there are a lot of other symptoms, so ADHD can present differently in different people.
“ADHD looks very different in everyone. It’s important to know how your symptoms present themselves and educate yourself about coping strategies accordingly. Individualized help makes a world of difference.”
8. Sometimes ADHD makes it difficult to filter our thoughts, so we end up blurting things out.
“A lot of the time I really don’t have the ability to filter my thoughts before they come out of my mouth. I’ve hurt the feelings of a lot of people I love because of my inability to control the impulse to speak. I hate it.”
9. It can also make emotions way more intense and hard to control.
“I wish people understood the emotional aspects of ADHD. It’s like having a permanently short fuse and it’s so hard to rein in negative emotions once you start having them. Our struggles with emotional control can cause people without ADHD to get so frustrated trying to understand us.”
—Celesté Perez, via email
10. We genuinely have a very difficult time estimating how long it takes to do things.
“I’m really bad at knowing how long something is going to take me. I can’t account for how my attention is going to hold up or how many times I’ll check to make sure that I didn’t miss or forget anything. It may just look like poor time management, but I really have no clue how to estimate time or give timelines.”
—Michelle Rose, Facebook