I was diagnosed with ADD when I was in college. I actually had coping mechanisms for dealing with it before then, which is why it probably went unnoticed for the most part. I memorize really well and always had A's & B's in school--and most people with ADD have poor grades. When I was diagnosed, I told very few people because I didn't want them to think I was crazy. A couple years later, news broke about how people were selling Adderall (the medicine I take) on the black market. You better believe I wasn't going to speak up and tell people I took meds!
12 years have passed since my diagnosis, and I thought it might help to educate people about ADD based on my experience. Let's face it, even though there are some people who have worked with adults or kids with ADD, they still truly don't understand this condition. So, here's my Top 5 "must-know" list about ADD. These might vary for other people--I'm only speaking for myself.
- Medicine is not a CURE for ADD. It just makes living with ADD a lot more tolerable. I take the strongest dose of Adderall XR (extended release), but when I'm stressed out or tired, my ADD seems to be worse. If I don't take my medicine for some reason, I might tell you. But, it's not kosher to ask me if I've taken my meds.
- Until you truly know me, it isn't cool to joke about my ADD. And, it's never ok to make ADD the butt of your jokes. Some people might think all those t-shirts with random ADD messages on them are funny, but I honestly find them offensive.
- I'm a person with ADD. Sometimes I'll say, "I'm so ADD." Remember that I'm a person first and the condition comes second.
- Just because I have ADD doesn't mean that I'm defiant or unruly. It just means that I have the attention span of a gnat.
- While medicine isn't a cure, it is a necessity (at least for me). I've heard parents say that they don't want their child on meds because it makes them like a zombie or alters their personality. You know what? People with high blood pressure take medicine, but it might take trying a couple different meds before finding the right one. The same is true of medicine for ADD.