Little signs I look for when someone tells me they think they have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD).
by Stephen Anfield
If I had a piece of belly button lint for each time someone exclaimed, “I think I have ADD/ADHD,” I could clog all the toilets at every single baseball stadium in the world! The National Institutes of Mental Health reports that 4.1 percent of American adults have the ADD/ADHD, meaning not everyone can be a lucky member of our adult ADD/ADHD club. So what makes someone a card-carrying ADDer? Here's my humorous take.
Note: You probably picked up on this already, but I’m definitely not a medical professional.
You’re late – I’m not talking a few minutes late; I’m talking hours, possibly even days late! I’ve grown accustomed to hearing, “Stephen, you’re LATE!” I’ve heard it so much that it might be easier if I just made my name Stephen “You’re Late” Anfield. I find myself struggling to be on time for events, but try as I might, I’ve seen a pretty consistent record of failure. It sucks. A lot. If you think you’re worthy enough to join the Late Posse, holler at me by commenting below.
You have an uncanny ability to recognize the most obscure connections – Have you seen the Progressive car insurance commercials? I’d be willing to bet that the advertising executives who created this campaign probably have ADD/ADHD. (For those who haven't seen them, they manage to find a connection between unicorns and glitter, big money and dancing, and the overall randomness will definitely be able to hold your attention!) That sort of brilliance only occurs in the mind of someone with ADD/ADHD.
You can think of at least three other words to describe your lack of organization, but you’re definitely not disorganized -- there's a method to your organizing madness. See that stack of papers there on my desk? It may be a mess to someone else, but I can find all sorts of order! If you’re like me, creating disorder is like a really good CAPTCHA phrase -- it’s a bunch of randomness that doesn’t make sense to anyone else but you, designed to prevent unwanted intruders. Some may call such organized chaos annoying, but I consider it a sign of brilliance. If you can quickly find an article you clipped from a magazine from last year among your 23 magazine subscriptions (that you don’t read) in a place that no one is likely to even think to look, you might have ADD/ADHD.
You’re fun – While we may possess characteristics that can be annoying to some, we’re a fun group of people! Have you ever met someone diagnosed with ADD/ADHD who wasn’t fun? No, you haven’t. If you have, you’re mistaken, and they were clearly misdiagnosed. It’s a known fact that people with ADD/ADHD are more fun. “Studies” have been done. Trust me. If you’re fun and charismatic, then you just might have ADD/ADHD.
You relate to what you've read from ADDitudeMag.com bloggers – Let’s face it; we’re kind of an awesome group of people. You’re here because you like what we have to say, and you're not alone. “Studies” have shown that 9 out of 10 readers secretly want to be like us. Our stories may have resonated with you, and that’s what we like! We’re here to share our personal experiences in hopes that you can find support, know that you're not alone, and apply the lessons we've learned to your own lives (and hopefully share some lessons with us in return). As out there as some of our stories may seem to an outsider, they are very real to those of us who have to cope with ADD/ADHD. Find yourself nodding in recognition while reading our slammin’ blogs? You might have ADD/ADHD.
You've found yourself writing your own "You know you have ADD/ADHD when…" Over the years, ADDitude readers like you have shared your best ones with us. The editors have compiled them into free downloadable posters (one for parents of ADD/ADHD children and one for ADD/ADHD adults), and on ADDitude's new ADD/ADHD social network, ADDConnect, there's a section dedicated to sharing ADD/ADHD moments.
In all seriousness, life with ADD/ADHD can be difficult, but it’s definitely something we can live with and embrace -- and reading, writing, and sharing these ADHDisms is a great way to do so.