It’s Not an Excuse. It’s a Neurological Condition.

Next time someone chastises you for making excuses — for your own ADHD or your child’s — remind them of this important distinction between an excuse and a reason. Then tell them to butt out already.
Be Our Guest | posted by Annette Tabor
Adults with ADHD: Explaining Symptoms to Others

There’s nothing quite like the unsolicited advice of strangers (and even loved ones) to make my already-fragile ADHD self esteem go plummeting downward. There’s the good old “Set reminders on your phone” advice when I’m late, or “Stop and think” advice when I can’t find my keys — yes, again. But the worst of all in my book is this: “Stop making excuses.”

According to Miriam Webster, an excuse is “an explanation offered to justify or obtain forgiveness.” A reason, on the other hand, is “an explanation or a justification for an action or an event.”

See the subtle difference there? I’m not looking for your forgiveness; it’s your understanding and help that I need. I’m not begging or pleading; I’m informing and educating. All with the hopes of taking more steps forward than I’m taking backward.

Here’s one example: I do not like to drive. I see driving only as a means to get somewhere if no other transportation is available. My community has a inexpensive mini bus that makes the rounds of local shopping centers around. I enjoy taking that bus a few times a week. My friends say, “Why to you take that bus when you can take your car?” I tell them I like the convenience, the relaxing ride, and the avoidance of parking wars. “Oh, just another excuse for not driving,” they say. Nope. Not excuses — reasons.

Similarly, when my husband asks me if I want to drive somewhere I almost always say, “No, it is raining “ or “No, I am tired.” These are not excuses. I’m not seeking your forgiveness for not wanting to drive. I just want you to understand why it doesn’t make sense for me right now.

Now, if I blamed the car for being red or the day for being Wednesday, that might be a different story. Those are clearly excuses; I’m full of explanations, not excuses.

Do you feel there is a difference between excuses and reasons? Do you wish family members or teachers too would stop berating you for making excuses? Feel free to remind them excuses are made only when forgiveness is being sought, and being yourself is nothing to apologize for.

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