This post started one way and took me somewhere completely different by the end. It all started with a picture (see Picture 1 below). Somehow wanting to reflect on what it said about “my world” turned into writing about a sneeze and ended by me asking you to join me in starting a movement.
My Plea to You . . . I’m Begging . . . For Real
To anyone who has a child, friend, spouse, colleague, employee, or anyone you regularly interact with who has ADHD, and to any teacher who has a student with ADHD,
- Please please PLEASE do not roll your eyes thinking it’s just an excuse.
- Please please PLEASE do not tell them they are lazy or aren’t working to their potential.
- Please Please PLEASE be understanding if they break down at some point because they’re overwhelmed.
- Please Please PLEASE be understanding that sometimes the breakdown looks similar to anger toward someone they love and respect, which may even be you.
- Please Please PLEASE be understanding if a paper has been forgotten or if you mentioned something in passing that they didn’t remember to do.
Don’t get me wrong. ADHD is not an excuse to be disrespectful or uncaring of rules or other people, but sometimes our brains are utterly overstimulated causing us to forget things, lose sleep, have difficulty processing simple tasks, and get frustrated with ourselves. Certain behaviors we have are truly outside of our control — literally uncontrollable.
The Rebellious Sneeze
It’s hard to try to explain this to those who can’t relate to what it’s like and especially to those who don’t believe it even exists. It’s hurtful to hear someone tell us to just act “normal” or to stop being lazy. To tell a person with ADHD to get control of their emotions and actions is truly no different than me telling you not to close your eyes when you sneeze.
Can you do it? Now, imagine if everyone around you keeps their eyes open when they sneeze because that’s what “normal” people do, and those are the rules. Anything outside of that is considered disrespectful and a cause for reprimand. Why do you automatically close your eyes when that tickle takes over in your nose? Why can’t you control it? You can’t tell me, can you? Sure, you can easily look it up and recite to me a great explanation that doctors have given, but I’m willing to bet it all doesn’t make sense to you or me.
After hearing often how strange you are for closing your eyes when you sneeze, how much you’re just wanting attention, and how disrespectful you are for not following the rules given by school and work stating that you may not close your eyes when you sneeze because that’s considered rude to those around you, and after being labeled and placed into a group of other “eye closers”, I’m thinking you might come to a point where you question what’s wrong with you. You may even begin to practice at home because you so badly want the attention off of you, and you want to be considered a “good” person. Whether you try to make yourself sneeze or run in front of the mirror when the urge to sneeze hits, you might practice and sometimes even get to a place where you feel so close to being able to keep those eyes open. . . but you just can’t do it.
What’s wrong with you that you make a fool of yourself (according to others) and close your eyes at the very moment you know the rules tell you not to? And how is it so easy for everyone else to do it?
Are you being rebellious? Does it mean you struggle with authority? Is your faith not strong enough? What’s wrong with you that you feel it necessary to be so disruptive to other people’s lives by not following a simple rule?
Normal. I hate that word.
I believe there’s no such thing as “normal”. It doesn’t exist. There are people who make life easier for parents, teachers, employers, friends . . . At some point someone said these people are what normal looks like because it’s easy for them to learn and easy for them to replicate their authority figure, and they always do what is expected.
I believe that is not normal. Let me add to that, though. I also believe that is not abnormal. Who are you? What traits do you carry? THAT is normal. I may not be designed the same way as you, but that doesn’t make me abnormal. That makes me normal.
Again I will say I hate that word. How about we make a stand and stop using it? #SayNoToNormal That word causes so many problems and ignites insecurities within people.
I have ADHD. I have a child with ADHD. My campus is made up almost completely of students who have ADHD. We are NOT lazy. In fact, individuals with ADHD typically do more in one hour than a non ADHD individual does in a day. We do NOT have a learning disability. On the contrary, did you know that ADHD and highly gifted tend to go hand-in-hand? Why is your child not doing his homework but somehow makes a 100 on every exam? It could be because he’s bored in class listening to a teacher say the same thing she’s been saying for a week. Maybe he needs a challenge, and instead of doing the work he considers to be meaningless because he already understands the concept, he’s designing a computer program that could be used to help his dad run his business a little more efficiently because a few months ago his dad couldn’t come to his baseball game because they had lost track of some information at his work, and he had to stay and make sure it was all accounted for. Individuals with ADHD thirst for challenge, but we also don’t want to give our time to something that won’t produce something meaningful. Your child may not feel that writing his vocabulary words and definitions 15 times is beneficial since he can already tell you what each word means and how to use it in a sentence, but he wants his dad at his baseball game, so he will use all his time and energy to do something that typically requires a person to pursue a lengthy education and a great deal of training in order to make that happen, and he will not give up until he has completed the task.
Not everyone is wired the same way. How boring this world would be if we were. But I wonder why it’s so difficult to accept our differences. Why do we take those differences and make others feel less than? Why are we all expected to produce the same quality of work and follow the same steps to get something completed as the person beside us, and why are we all expected to be able to process things in a certain manner . . . in order to be considered good, intelligent, and normal?
Repost the link to this page, and give it the hashtag above. Let’s start a movement!