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To win one of three ADHD gift baskets featuring reader-recommended products (a $30 value), use the Comments section below to tell us: What do you wish the world knew about ADHD?


Wednesday, October 31, at 11:59 pm EST.


Only Comments posted with a valid email address will be considered valid entries. One entry per household per day. The editors of ADDitude will select one winner at random and notify the winner via email on Friday, November 2.
(Official rules)

450 Comments & Reviews

  1. I want the world to know that ADHD is not the fault of poor parenting. ADHD is a medical condition. A person with ADHD has differences in brain development and brain activity that affect attention, the ability to sit still, and self-control that he/she will never out grow. ADHD is real and makes school very difficult no matter how smart my child is!

  2. DISCLAIMER; The “we” in this comment is meant for those who relate. I AM NOT INTENDING TO SPEAK FOR THE ENTIRE GAMBIT OF THE ADHD COMMUNITY.

    Its frustrating enough when ADHD wins the day. We internalize it more than we may let on. It is in our conscious and unconscious thoughts each time we can’t remember if we locked the door, left the keys IN the door, have to go back to our desk at work at least three times to get items we forgot before actually heading home , and blurt out with inappropriate, impulsive, and socially unacceptable comments; including asking questions that apparently were answered two seconds prior. They are experiences that are just as frustrating and awkward to us as they are to you. Every time our loved ones manifest our own feelings on their faces with eye rolls, expressions of, “hurry up,” or just walk away in shameless embarrasment magnifies and negatively validates our own internal embarrassment and frustrations. We HAVE to accept how our brains work. We NEED to keep moving on through each stumble. It is for the sake of our own mental health. And the more our loved ones react in such a manner, the more it is their voice we hear while repremanding ourselves. Our inner voice ostracizes us enough with out needing to acknowledge how our loved ones are internalizing our ADHD enhanced actions. Having an emotional reaction while living through these metaphoric and literal face-plants does not end when you move on from it; nor does it end when we remove ourselves from the tainted environment. We are constantly trying to fix them in replay mode, incorporating the social feedback and consequences so that we can try to not, “screw it up again and in the same way we did it before.” So please don’t internalize and own our ADHD tendencies. It is already hard enough experiencing them without witnessing them externally reinforced in our loved ones reactions. WE GET IT. But we have to accept it and just try to learn from what ever it is, as many times as we need. Because it is brain chemistry. We cannot change it no matter how much you (and we want too; and believe me- we want too). Meds and alternative treatments only go so far. And meds mostly just help in the period in which they are in our system. So… please let it go? Our ADHD momments are not yours to own. So… Please?

  3. I wish people knew that it’s not a matter of diet or “trying harder” or using “can” statements. Really, I wish they knew how it felt to already be “trying harder” but still have people tell you to try harder. And I sure do wish they would stop judging ADD as some made up concept when they’ve never experienced it themselves.

  4. There are so many things I wish the world knew about ADHD…

    The most basic, that all of the others kind of build on, is that it is a real condition. The differences between ADHD brains and neurotypical brains are visible in scans.

  5. That some of us really struggle with it. I’m 26 and was just diagnosed, all these years I thought something was wrong with me. I never fit in, never felt “normal”, I’m confused constantly or forgetting things unintentionally, and then feeling stupid for it. People with ADHD are the weird kid, the very talkative kid, the kid that’s always “too much”. Most of us are constantly going through depression and anxiety problems because we’re trying to figure out what’s wrong yet trying to convince ourselves that you “just have to try harder”. But apart from all that, we’re pretty cool, if not just a tad bit more. We have something really neat called hyper-focus, and when we’re feeling great, boy are we feeling GREAT! It’s something we learn to live with and manage, but it doesn’t define us.

  6. I want people to know this is a true imbalance in the brain and nor fake. Peolpe are quick to be lame parents for being bad parents instead of understanding the condition. Kids with it just want to fit in with your kids and belong. So maybe if parents weren’t so quick to point out are kids as bad kids and help there kids understand they are no different then there’s.

  7. As a both a clinician providing services to students with ADHD as well as a parent to children with ADHD, I see and feel the daily struggles the disorder has on an individuals daily life as well as the lives of their loved ones. I would like the world to know ADHD is not poor parenting, it is not a lazy child, it is not something you grow out of! It is real. No person suffering from the symptoms wants to.

    A comment my coworker says all the time to school staff sums it up in a nutshell: “If a kid can…they will.” If they can’t then WE need to help teach and supply them with the skills to be able to.

  8. I wish the world knew that those of us who either have ADHD and/or those who support people who do have ADHD are doing our BEST. I wish the world could walk in our shoes for just a short period of time to truely understand how taxing it can be and how it affects just about EVERYTHING! I wish the world was more tolerant and accepting in general – we all have things we struggle with – ADHD (no matter if you are the patient or the caregiver) is our struggle. Don’t judge, be tolerant and accepting to all no matter the person, problem, or issue — known or unknown.

  9. I never realized that all the issues I’ve struggled with all my life were because of ADHD. For me they are mainly emotional and social. I used alcohol to stop feeling so awkward, to help me “fit in” and then later to try and stop the crazy circling thoughts, always wondering if I was good enough, always imagining the worst behind other people’s actions towards me. I’ve discovered other ways to handle things now but I wish someone had helped me earlier. My daughter, who just turned 11 and was diagnosed a few years ago, struggles with a lot of the same things I did,but now I know what it is and how to help us both.
    I guess what I want the world to know is that ADHD is a real condition that affects many more people than the world realizes but knowledge is power. We can take back control and help others learn ways to make life easier.

  10. I want people to know a few simple facts:
    -sensory processing issues are not exclusive to Autism, they include REALLY good sensory experiences (enhanced!) but also, they mean that we are easily overwhelmed.
    -my mental disorders are NOT an excuse. I am responsible for my behavior and will face the consequences. I do request an opportunity to explain my behaviour so that others can understand and know me better and maybe we can work to change the environment to help me avoid unwanted behavior. It can be really simple!
    -I process new information slowly, especially if there are distractions, like noises in the room, no other noise in the room, and when you talk to fast, and when there’s a song in my head, and when you mention something that reminds me of something I wanted to say and you let me go on and on following tangeant after tangeant and I will make us both late if you don’t say something to get this conversation back on track.
    -I DID take my medication, so it makes the symptoms of ADHD smaller, but they don’t disappear, I still need to learn those executive function skills that others learn on the go as their growing with young spongy brains and my forty year old brain takes a lot of effort to engage!

  11. I really want people to understand that ADHD has nothing to do with parenting. So many people are judgemental and want to blame the parents for everything. I’d like people to become more aware of ADHD and what it actually is.

  12. Living in a household with multiple ADHD diagnosis it is a struggle for anyone to stay focused! On task? Get things done? Having fun – that’s a different story.

  13. It’s a struggle everyday to stay positive and work to not react to my child. I realize that the way his brain is wired is leading his actions but the way I react can help him or hurt him. This site has been a God send, helping me to understand his brain and also get ideas!

  14. I wish the world knew that ADHD was real. That is a developmental disorder that can be treated. I often feel self conscious when talking about it because other mental illness are more accepted; bipolar, manic depression, anxiety, etc. Those are serious illness that people recognize, I don’t think ADHD carries the same weight. It still feels made up. But it’s not. It’s real and affects people.

  15. That ADHD may not always look like hyperactivity – that it may look more like being “spacey” or not paying attention, being sensitive to failure, and having sensory issues.

  16. I want people to know that I’m not lazy! That I get overwhelmed easily, that I’m processing your question before I answer and I’m not pausing to respond because I’m not listening. That ADHD affects so many aspects of my behavior and it’s not just about ‘distraction’ My daughter and I both have it and it’s tough on the rest of the family sometimes but we have routines and tools in place to help out one another.

  17. I wish the world knew that people with ADHD need a little support and understanding sometimes, and that getting on their case about things that are on the characteristics of ADHD isn’t really going to make things better. And communicating in this way will actually help in their interactions with all people in the end.

  18. I wish the world knew to provide more empathy versus condemnation. Hidden disabilities are disabilities nonetheless. As a parent it is a constant struggle to determine what is ADHD and what is Bad Behavior. Resources are limited where our children need it most. And please, please please stop calling yourself flippantly “I”m ADHD” because you have a bad day. This is a real disability with real challenges so don’t diminish and minimize them.

    Finally, More research needs to be done on this. My children, both diagnosed ADHD, have varying degrees of their ADHD symptoms. They are alike and different at the same time.

    If you or anyone you know has ADHD above all else, show some understanding.

  19. I wish the world knew that people with ADHD are still human. We have feelings, needs, wants, and dreams just like you. We aren’t contagious nor are we slow, stupid, illogical, or unlovable.

  20. I wish the world knew that children AND adults with ADHD have MANY strengths and talents! It’s easy sometimes, when we are overwhelmed, to focus on all of our child’s weaknesses, or the things that make us crazy. Learning to focus on our children’s strengths, the things they do well, and the things they are really good at, can help us as parents be more understanding when they need extra help on other things AND can make our children feel awesome, valued, and accomplished!

  21. I wish the world knew that, no, EVERYONE doesn’t suffer with the same things in the same way. I wish the world knew NOT to dismiss us as someone who just doesn’t try hard enough, or is overwhelmingly negative, or insensitive for being blunt. I wish the world knew that some days it takes maxiumum effort to do what others might see/judge as haphazardly completed. Also, that I am three times as hard on myself as anyone could be to me.

  22. I wish people could understand that just because we procrastinate at times, it doesn’t mean we’re lazy! Most of the time we’re trying to do too many things at once!

  23. I wish the world could see my 5-year-old’s huge heart instead of only seeing his impulsivity and the struggle it is for him to understand why his body and brain do not always cooperate.

  24. I want people to know that we ADHDers are just as lovable as we are difficult, just as dynamic as we are stuck. Like anyone, we respond best to kind attempts at relating to us and understanding the challenges we face because of the way our brains work.

  25. I want the world to know that my son’s ADHD isn’t from a lack of discipline at home and school. He feels left out at times and knows that he is different from the other kids in some aspects but I have taught him it doesn’t make him any less of a person. And that medicating our child is for the best for him!

  26. I wish people knew that ADHD doesn’t always look the same. That not everyone is hyperactive and children with a high IQ can compensate until the work gets too hard (in high school or college). That medication helps but it’s not magic! We still struggle with daily tasks (time management for me specifically), but we’re trying.

  27. Having ADHD and parenting young children who are fun loving, sensitive and messy creates internal chaos because in the outside you’re smiling and overwhelmed by love but on the inside you’re crying and angry because you dont have control of the mess or chaos you are surrounded by. It’s an exhausting battle inside yourself every minute of every day to remain calm and not let it out and not let it affect your entire day.

  28. I wish people knew that my son is kind, caring, compassionate and has a heart of gold. He should not be defined by his ADHD because he is a real person underneath it all. ADHD is a daily challenge in our house but I know that with patience and understanding, we can get through another day.

  29. I wish people knew what the schools really could do to help your children. What it takes to get a 504 plan or an IEP for an ADHD student and how to appropriately advocate for our children that have ADHD. I would love for the world to know that every year we have to remind the teachers that our children have a 504 plan that they are not following. That it is up to us as a parent or the student to remind the parent to be sure that they get what is recommended for them in the 504 plans. ADHD students are so often overlooked because it’s not always a visible disability. I wish there were more community programs for parents and children to share information with ADHD.

  30. I’d like people to know that those of us who self-identify our diagnosis aren’t trying to make excuses. We only want to help you understand our challenges.

  31. I wish the world could understand that without “A typical” thinkers we would not have many of the creative minds who have shaped every aspect of human culture. We would not have the artists, musicians and global leaders who have learned to harness their talent’s to make exceptional changes to the world. People who have been diagnosed with ADD and ADHD are generally very intelligent. They may never “fit the mold” but that is not a reason to stifle a creative and wonderful mind.

  32. I wish the world truly understood what it means to be forgiving and understanding of neurodiversity; to accommodate our weaknesses, and celebrate our strengths. It may seem a pain to change environments and procedures to fit those differences, but like all accommodations, they benefit everyone with both permanent and temporary differences. Creating check-ins and helping prioritize workloads are critical for ADHD worker success, and those same accommodations can help other workers keep on task and feel valued. Allowing for flexible working schedules help people with ADHD who are slow to wake up also help single parents get their kids on the bus in the morning. Creating schools, workplaces, and homes where everyone can thrive is a high tide that will raise all boats.

  33. This is real, I’m not choosing to be ‘difficult, frustrating, slow, too much
    Trust me, I’d be anything BUT if I had a choice. Why would I make excuses for something I live with daily & can’t change, despite all my on-going effort?

    Especially when you know how ambitious & full of life I generally am? If I could reach my potential in all aspects of my life, don’t you think I would. YES, I WOULD in a heartbeat. Deep down, that’s all I’ve ever wanted.

    Yes everyone has difficulties, ADHD difficulties generally inhibit even the basics of most things, even with immense effort.

    Inconsistency really is key is relation to ADHD, we’d get it right if we could. WE ENVY YOU NEUROTYPICALS.

    To summarise, ADHD is fucking up more or less on a daily basis. More than gettung it right anyways. Unless, in an ideal world, all conditions in your life were perfectly suited to all your executive functioning struggles.

    But who gets that eh? ‘Neurotypical’ or not

    Hear it for us, we ain’t lying, we’d all be high flying if we could, just trust me on this. Our AMBITION, BIG DREAMS, DETERMINATION, RESILENCE & need for FUFILLMENT & the next NEW thing won’t let us settle for the everyday, mundane. We’d be superheroes if we could!… Our weaknesses however, in most cases, hold us back from achieving this, tenfold

  34. Having ADHD does not mean I can’t be successful and keep up with neuro-typical people. It may mean that I have to work a little harder at some tasks or alter my approach to tasks vs. what neuro-typical people would do but that does not mean I am incapable of doing the work the same as my peers

  35. I want the world to know that ADHD requires tons of patience, love and understanding. It’s difficult to manage a child with ADHD, but with the proper tools and support, it becomes manageable.

  36. I wish the world knew that ADHD is hard. It’s hard for the person who lives with it. It’s hard for parents, for brothers who live around someone with ADHD. It’s hard for people who are around it every day like teachers and friends. It’s VERY HARD. It’s not the persons choice to have it and they maybe wish they didn’t have it but once diagnosed then you have to DEAL with it. Everyone has to deal with it. Find a way to work around it work with it and that is what’s HARD. It just doesn’t impact the individual it impacts on the single mam who’s trying her best to do help, it impacts the little brother who doesn’t understand what ADHD is but sees the symptoms every day. It impacts the teachers and how they teach the individual how the manage a level of disapline, support and care. We don’t choose to have ADHD in our lives, ADHD chose us.

    1. This makes me want to weep. It is so hard, especially when my thirteen-year-old grandson, who lives with us has failing grades, forgets to turn in schoolwork every single day, refuses to use evening schedules and morning schedules that are simple, and designed for his success. He will not follow schedules that he has written for himself. I am on four different sites almost every day, researching newest techniques, reading the most current studies related to the brain functions of ADHD, and just hoping to God there will be a breakthrough for him. I am both empathetic and pragmatic. I provide him with tremendous opportunities to experience and explore physical challenges outside the boundaries of team sports (driving almost three hours one-way to the beach for bodyboard and rock jumping, as one example.) His IEP is nailed down as well as it can be. It has gotten better every year. I’m not perfect but I am also not the “enemy.” I am exhausted, frustrated, and love this kid more than life itself. I just can’t figure out how to get him to the place of good choices, self-determination, and a desire to show at least a little cooperation.

  37. I would like the world to know the impact having adhd in a mainstream neurotypical world. The impacts on our emotional wellbeing, our learning, our parenting, our salaries and futures and careers. Having to proactively fight to be diagnosed and recognised as an undiagnosed child who grew up feeling I was different but feeling it was my own fault. Marriages destroyed due a lack of insight from me, from them.
    I’d like the world to know. . .it hurts. . .it’s hidden. . .others can blame, others can refuse to see. But I am proud now, proud to be me, and I’m proud that I don’t bully, that I care deeply, I try to send the love vibe out to the non believers. I want to put on a job application form; I have ADHD and this is how I manage my life.
    My wishes for the world. . .they’ll happen. . .one day 💖

  38. What I want the world to know about ADHD:
    Our brains are wired differently from yours. We aren’t stupid or lazy or coddled or not disciplined enough. We are office managers, mothers, fathers, teachers, repairmen.
    ADHD can be a blessing if you are diagnosed properly and learn how to manage your symptoms. It can be a curse if you are just flying through life willy-nilly like most of us were before diagnosis.
    Medication has changed my life for the better. There isn’t a stigma around diabetics taking insulin so why is there such a stigma around taking stimulants for ADHD?
    ADHD is real and nothing to be ashamed of! My diagnosis was such a ray of light for me. I finally understand myself and my children. I understand who I am and who I was growing up. I understand my failures and aim for more successes because I know how to work smarter, not harder.

  39. I’d like people to understand that they can’t judge if someone is “really” ADHD based only on *visible* symptoms. I don’t seem to struggle to sit still, I don’t fidget much visibly, I don’t get up and move around when I shouldn’t – but that’s because my social anxiety has me terrified to do ANYTHING that would be out of step with the people around me, because then people would look at me and judge me. So I suppress my fidgeting and restlessness (in public, anyway – I have basically permanent leg-bounce when I’m at home), and I’ve had people react with surprise when I talk about my diagnosis because “I’ve never seen you being hyper or fidgety or anything!” Well, no, because I’m expending a large amount of my energy to suppress it for fear of social disapproval from other people. It doesn’t mean the symptoms aren’t there, and I exhaust myself hiding them, which is part of the reason I run out of stamina for social stuff much faster than most people.

    Same for inattentive symptoms. You don’t see how hard it is for me to focus on things sometimes, because I have spent a lifetime practicing how to appear neurotypical. I fake it very, very well. So I’m not putting my head in my hands and crying, but as I’m staring fixedly at this stupid spreadsheet I feel like my brain is melting and the effort to not pick up my phone or start messing with other projects is almost painful.

    Just because you don’t see the symptoms, doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Some of us just had to learn to hide them in order to make it in a neurotypical world.

    1. I identify with this comment so much, I only wish that I had known someone who understands and gets what it is like to live with both ad/hd and social anxiety disorder when I was going through school. It took me until I was 24 years old to come across an article about social anxiety disorder and realize that other people struggled with the exact same things, it had a name and that I could get help for it! It took me another 14 years after that to find out that I was still struggling tremendously to do basic functions that other people seemed to take in stride because I also have ad/hd. This time I wasn’t as excited to get a diagnosis because what that meant to me, at first, was that if I had only known, I would have had a chance to live up to my potential so that the last 14 years weren’t spent struggling, and feeling guilty, and distancing myself from friends and family because they didn’t know I had ad/hd any more than I did and my actions appeared to be lazy, uncaring and selfish. I will say that I know exactly what you mean when you talk about having to suppress the ad/hd symptoms so you won’t be noticed. Any time someone would take notice and speak to me, my whole body would go into flight mode and my mind would go blank with a sudden feeling of fear and shame. This creates a self-fulfilling prophecy- since my mind was blank, I could not think or respond with any semblance of normality, instead appearing rigid and stiff while generic words came out of my mouth more as instinct than something I actually thought about in a way that revealed my unique personality. This was not me. I knew I was smart, hilarious, down to earth and loyal but only a select few had seen the real me, the relaxed and comfortable me. All anyone else got to see was the illness that I didn’t even know I had. And, yes, it is incredibly draining to get through each day like this.

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