So often, I’ll hear someone laugh and say “Oh, sorry, I didn’t do this because of my ADD/ADHD!”
There aren’t enough words in the dictionary to explain how much this annoys me. As someone that has ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), it becomes frustrating for me when other people use it as an out or a crutch. They’ll say that they didn’t get something done because of ADD/ADHD, blaming their outright laziness or forgetfulness on an actual diagnosed mental illness.
Being forgetful can be a symptom of ADD or ADHD. But, just because you are forgetful doesn’t mean that you have it.
I hear other people say it, and it drives me up the wall. I have ADHD, and I’ll forget to get things done. I’ll talk in circles, I’ll work on multiple projects at the same time. My mind is like an internet browser with 20 tabs up and I’m working on every single one at the same time. (That’s actually what my internet browser looks like, too.)
I’ll slip up on responding to texts. This happens even if I’m in the middle of sending a message because something else came up and I started working on that instead. I forget to return calls, even if I’m holding my phone, because of something else popping up on another screen. Eventually, I’ll return to the text or the call, but I lose my train of thought in the middle of the conversation. I’ll also have about five or six conversations going on at one time and mix them up.
There are medications you can take. While they can be helpful, they’re not cure-alls.
There’s never a cure-all to help with this. When writing, I’ll jump between paragraphs and forget where everything was originally meant to be. Ideas come and go faster than I can blink.
Hearing someone say they have ADD/ADHD when they don’t is not only irritating, but it’s also insulting. It makes me feel as though my genuine, diagnosed issue is being undermined because someone made a regular, commonplace, human mistake. There is so much more to ADD/ADHD than just being forgetful.
People with ADD or ADHD can often be forgetful, yes, but they also can be easily irritated, excitable, fidgety, impulsive, short attention spanned, persistently repetitive, and can genuinely just have trouble paying attention. Those with ADHD have all those symptoms in addition to being hyperactive. My friends have called me out because I’ll have an absent look on my face in the middle of a conversation. When I give input on the conversation, it might be something that was said five minutes ago. Or, it may not even have anything to do with the conversation in the slightest.
I know that I have a fidgeting issue. I’ll chew on my nails, pick at nail beds, or there’s this game on my phone that gives me something to fidget with. The same people that falsely claim they have ADD or ADHD are the same people that get annoyed with me for fidgeting or repeating myself.
Unfortunately, these disorders can also trigger or lead to depression and anxiety.
I know mine did. Often times my anxiety occurs in social situations because I know that I’ll have a difficult time focusing. I tend to spend a lot of time alone because I don’t want to irritate the people I care about. In social situations, I’ll get the same blanked-out stare when people are talking to me.
As a result, it’s difficult to make friends. My lack of focus has caused people to believe I have no interest in them or what they’re saying. However, it’s not that I’m uninterested in hearing what they have to say; it’s that I have so many issues with focusing on it. When my thoughts are racing so much, it’s hard to grasp onto just one.
The next time you want to blame forgetfulness or laziness on “your ADD/ADHD”, remember that there are people who are genuinely suffering from this.
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From the midwest with a lifelong passion for writing.