Why have we accepted such a demoralizing label?

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    • #194832
      add-positive
      Participant

      I would be the first to argue that having ADHD creates soul crushing challenges on all levels. However, I question why we are allowing society to label us in such a cruel and demoralizing way: Attention DEFICIT HYPERACTIVE DISORDER – and then to add our brain difference to a book titled “The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5)”. There’s so many cruel words used they had to shorten it into an acronym! It’s inhumane. The label itself adds enormously to our pain through the hopeless nature of the label and how it invites society – ‘experts’, journalists, etc. – and even sometimes those close to us to denigrate us mercilessly. People have had our brain differences since the beginning of time, but for most of our existence life was much simpler and village-oriented – where the skills we lack weren’t as necessary for survival and where our weaknesses were offset by others in our tight-knit community. I would imagine prior to this modern, industrialized era that our energy and creativity and brain-storming super powers were seen as valuable assets for our communities. Few would argue that Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, or Elon Musk, founder of Tesla, are not ADHD. They so clearly demonstrate our strengths and the awesome gifts we have to offer the world. And what is the difference between them and most people with ADHD? Support! Assistants that no doubt follow them around all day and make sure they get all the support they need to ensure they can focus their energy on sharing their gifts. It’s such an irony that the world acknowledges and admires their strengths and yet, through this cruel label, treats those of us without this support as unwelcome and chronically defective. What if our label focused on our gifts? How would that impact our perception of ourselves – and how we lived our days? How would it change how society viewed and treated us? How would it impact who was interested in hiring us and for what positions? What if we were hired to brain storm/problem solve all day and left it to someone else to follow up? I’m so demoralized by this long list of deficiencies that are being drilled into my head all day long from books and articles and news stories and family comments, etc. that I barely spend any time focusing on my super powers. Mostly I just feel unwanted and am left really questioning my worth. Yes, we do have challenges in some areas. That is an objective fact. However, imagine what a difference we could make in the world if the world labeled us based on our superpowers, objectively outlined where we had challenges, and then presented as the solution that new environments and support structures be designed that naturally allowed us to thrive and share our gifts (with the implication being that we were welcome members of society, that the “normal” way of living in the world was in no way the only accepted way and that we were well worth the effort)? I believe we could easily design that new environment and support structure ourselves. I feel like the “normal” world most people have bought into is harming our planet and our bodies and minds with it’s polluting and destructive ways. It may be that only those of us who are divergent – those labeled now as ADHD or autistic or dyslexic, etc. – are the only ones with the ability to envision a new world – outside of this “normal” one – where we could all thrive. Divergents tend to not be bought into this “normal” world and we, of course, bring completely different “out of box” approaches and perspectives – and proven brain strengths – to solving the crises we face. If someone started a class action lawsuit forcing the use of new labels that focused on our strengths, I would sign up in a heartbeat. But we can start by coming up with our own label and asking the world to switch to it. Asking others to see and respect our strengths could be a powerful way to start shifting our energies toward building on our strengths and not being “chronically” sidetracked by our weaknesses. We need the world to stop just idolizing the Jeff Bezos and Elon Musks of the world and start acknowledging that all of us currently labeled ADHD (dyslexic, etc.) have something unique and essential to offer the world. I would love to hear your thoughts and what new label you would like used!

    • #194833
      p2vulco
      Participant

      Divergent Attention Hyperfocus Condition(DAHC)??

      What i find misleading is the attention defect bit. I mean, I may seem to be not paying attention much of the time but that’s just because my brain is going full throttle thinking of more interesting things..

    • #194838
      add-positive
      Participant

      I love it p2vulco!! I might drop the ‘condition’ though because this, to me, implies our divergent attention hyperfocus is something that may need to be fixed. What about, instead, brain, ability, thinker, mind, genius, cognition, intellect, neural structure, talent, aptitude, gift, faculty, or strength? So true about being distracted by more interesting thoughts!

    • #194860
      p2vulco
      Participant

      …Divergent Attention Hyperfocus Trait (DAHT).

      Like you I find the term ADHD doesn’t describe us very well at all. The problem is, most people don’t look past the label – and our label is misleading! In fact I was guilty of this myself. I was surprised to learn that I had ADHD (at 34,) and almost dismissed the doctors assessment based on the label alone. I thought to myself, well I don’t have an attention deficit, quite the opposite and as for hyperactivity, well that’s just a label for naughty kids!!

    • #194862
      add-positive
      Participant

      Trait is perfect!! Then it’s just a simple description of a brain difference. I so agree about the label not capturing what’s going on and I was just reading recently what you were saying – that the hyperactivity associated with children rarely shows up in adults. I was diagnosed in my late 40’s and it really hit me hard. My self-esteem already wasn’t great and to be given this label felt like the heaviest of weights being laid on me. I started thinking about the labeling when reading a book about using cognitive behavior therapy to improve executive functions and one of the challenges for CBT therapists is addressing people who are demoralized and depressed. I thought, yea – you try going through life with this cruel label and see how confident you feel. There are so many times in history where people have been called cruel names and had to stand up and demand to be respected. It is helpful for scientists to study and report on the objective challenges someone with brain differences face, but I feel like that’s led us to not question all of the denigration that has come with it (or the serious lack of studies looking at the advantages brain differences create). It’s like we don’t feel we deserve to be treated with respect. No human should be labeled with something that includes the words ‘disorder’ or ‘dysfunction’ (like dyslexia – which is used to describe a person with lower left brain activity but ignoring how their superior right brain activity helps them excel in fields like radiology (where they can easily see cancer tumors on a lung scan) or design). Why did those who chose these labels not consider – or feel a responsibility for – how their word choices would impact millions of people?

      • This reply was modified 1 month, 4 weeks ago by add-positive.
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