October is ADHD Awareness Month. ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is estimated to affect 2.6 million people in the UK, according to ADHD UK.
I was diagnosed with ADHD in February of this year, after a long process of research, waiting lists and assessments. My diagnosis at 20 years old means that I’ve spent all, but my final year of university, without the support that is vital for those with ADHD – and it’s no surprise that people like myself fly under the radar.
Many people associate ADHD with a disruptive boy who misbehaves in school. While this can be true, ADHD-ers are not cookie-cutter copies of each other. Although all ADHD-ers are categorised by symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity and executive dysfunction, there is a huge spectrum of how this presents itself.
For ADHD Awareness Month, it’s vital we pay attention to the full scope of symptoms and dismiss myths about the disorder – while it would take a lot to cover everything, we can address a few key issues here.
MYTH: All people with ADHD are hyperactive.
FACT: For many with ADHD, especially those socialised as women, symptoms are internalised – for example, daydreaming, fidgeting, problems with managing deadlines and struggling to prioritise tasks. This internal struggle is dismissed with the true issue hiding under the surface.
MYTH: ADHD is just being lazy.
FACT: ADHD isn't laziness – even when we have the drive to do something, we may struggle due to our condition. On the other hand, we should recognise that ADHD-ers have the ability to “hyperfocus” on things they’re passionate about and produce incredible work through this.
MYTH: Everyone’s a little bit ADHD.
FACT: While the symptoms of ADHD are experienced by everyone at one point or another, the persistence and frequency of these symptoms differ hugely – for those with ADHD, the symptoms can have severe effects on their everyday lives.
ADHD is a complex condition that can be exhausting to live with – but with the right support, we can overcome struggles and grow to appreciate the different ways our minds work.
For more information about ADHD, check out ADHD UK and the ADHD Foundation.