We are unfortunately on the front lines of educating the public and health care system about ADD. Your “friend” is woefully uneducated about ADD!
I find it most helpful to talk about it in comparison to diabetes. Everyone understands diabetes and knows that people with that problem cannot simply make their blood sugar mechanism work better by willing it to be so. Most people know that insulin injections or medication are often needed for someone with diabetes and won’t criticize them for taking it. I let people know that ADD is a deficit of neurotransmitters just as diabetes is a problem with insulin. I mention that while everyone has had low blood sugar at some time, people with diabetes can’t just fix it without outside help, and that it is like ADD. Most people have been unorganized or procrastinated at some time, but people with ADD can’t just “cowboy up” and fix it without outside help.
I come from a family with ADD and so does my husband. We both are on medication for ADD (it makes a huge difference for us both even though we are very different in our presentations of symptoms) and 75% of our children are also diagnosed ADD and are on medication for it. It makes a night and day difference for them too. If we had both been diabetic, no one would question the diagnosis of our children, but because it is ADD I am often called names and told that I’m just trying to get everyone diagnosed as ADD. It hurts.
We are 40 years behind understanding. Challenges like down syndrome have been recognized since 1960 and so they are well understood and recognized. Challenges like ADD are about 40 years behind them in recognition and understanding. Someday – 40 years from now – I hope that my efforts to educate people will have made an impact and that people with ADD will have much less difficulty than we do today. Until then, I’ll go on “preaching” (as my kids put it) the information about ADD whenever it becomes an appropriate piece of information to share. So many people with ADD struggle without any idea that it’s not their fault. I want to be part of the solution.
Hopefully, someday people like your friend will be informed and understanding. Until then, know that you are NOT alone and that you are worth every bit as much as a neurotypical human being. If this friend of yours can’t become more educated and understanding then find a new friend! 😀
Hang in there!