Autobiography of an ADHD Patient

Updated: Dec 1, 2020

By-Hritika Ahuja


“I stumble. I fumble. I falter. I fidget. I am impulsive. I am unorganised. I get distracted easily. I have a temper. I lose things. I day dream sometimes. I am hyper other times. There may be many things in me that you don’t like but… I am a human and shame is not one of the things I’d like to feel.”


You must be thinking that I may not even complete this article because I can’t pay enough attention but let me tell you I will safely walk you through this eye-opening experience till the end. You must be thinking, “What’s the big deal? We all face these issues?” (ones mentioned in the quote above), but I will explain how the same issues are a lot worse for me and other people like me. You must be thinking how shameful it is to suffer from this less-understood idea called ADHD but I will show you who I really am and then we can decide “amicably” if shame is necessary. You must be thinking that you’ve read and heard a lot about this condition and you find it all theoretically jejune, let’s find out if you’re wrong with this one.



I’ll start with telling you what ADHD really is about even though you’ve googled it before. ADHD was first mentioned in 1902 by British Pediatrician Sir George Still, who described it as “an abnormal defect of moral control in children.” [1] It took a while until the American Psychological Association could address and recognize the condition accurately under 3 subtypes:


  • combined type ADHD

  • predominantly inattentive type ADHD

  • predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type ADHD


-(Diagnostic And Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders, 2000)



Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a mental health condition, seen among both adolescents and adults, that results in more-than-normal levels of hyperactivity, impulsivity, and/or lack of attention in the behaviour patterns of those affected. Each component of hyperactivity and inattention don’t always strike in combo hence, the subtypes mentioned above.




Most researchers aren’t certain about why most of us deal with this condition but they believe it to have neurologically genetic origins. Some research suggests that low quantities of dopamine is a factor that may trigger ADHD. [2] (Basically, I may not be neurologically built to feel emotions of pleasure and reward and you think I need more of your negativity?) Remaining research talks about how less volume of grey matter might impair some of the physical/mental functions and contribute to ADHD. [3]


Statistically, one in ten children suffer from ADHD and almost 60% of them carry its symptoms into adulthood. (which means that if I and many others like myself are not treated {instead of illtreated}, soon you will be labelling us as the “troublesome, delayed and pain in the ass” sort of a co-worker). That explains how important it is for ADHD to be treated, bringing us back to the point of rightful diagnosis. For most clinicians, there exists no conclusive test to safely diagnose ADHD in people. One needs to be assessed for as long as 6 months to be diagnosed and treated. Let’s go deeper: for correct medical attention and assessment, one’s own loved ones must be observant enough to see symptoms and be sensitive enough to not stigmatize those observations into making one feel horrible about his/her “yet to be proved” patterns. Just as charity starts at home, so does compassion, sensitivity, and the yearning for appropriate diagnosis.



Behavioural therapies and carefully-prescribed medications are proven to help ADHD patients. Behavioural therapy aids by strategically monitoring and conditioning of a patient’s actions and patterns. ADHD pills are formulated to positively affect the chemicals in the brain so as to improve impulses/ actions. Other treatment that would also be supportive would be one’s lack of judgement and accusations towards ADHD people.

(And you ask if I daydream? Yes I do. I daydream about when me and my brain will strike the perfect chemistry and none of what you say will matter to me anymore.)


ADHD affects many and most aspects of a patient’s life than what can be put down on the surface of it. Personal, professional, social, familial, societal, academic, medical, financial, and many more; no side spared. Having understood what ADHD patients go through, I am having difficulty understanding the need and space for the shameful and negative remarks we receive, the social stigma which sticks for life, and your fake sense of superiority of just existing without a mental illness. NONE OF THIS ADDS UP. YOUR NEGATIVITY ISN’T REQUIRED.


The ADDitude Magazine says, “It is estimated that those with ADHD receive 20,000 more negative messages by age 12 than those without the condition. They view themselves as fundamentally different and flawed. They are not like other people.” [4]


I read somewhere that ‘shame’ is one of the oldest words known in English language and that shame is the hardest to deal with or talk about because, unlike guilt, it focuses on one’s identity, and not one’s actions. And when most people like to shame others for suffering from ADHD, they don’t care to look at the effect it carries.


Let’s leave aside the actual effects of ADHD on one’s life and just see the kind of havoc people and society’s contempt can cause in lives of the ADHD patients:

  1. Extremely low self esteem/hurtful self-doubt that causes low confidence while combating situations. (Thought I’d say something in front of them, but nevermind)

  2. A damaged self image. (I knew who I was. Can you give that back to me?)

  3. Feeling of failure. (negative remarks feel like scars I carry.)

  4. Pent-up anger. (if you think this article is angry, well, that explains it.)

  5. Withdrawal from others. (I don’t want to be around people.)

  6. Constant self- evaluation in order to be perfect. (if perfection beats shame, I want it, now!)

  7. Shying away from taking help. (if I asked for help, that’ll be more shameful.)

  8. Blaming others. (oh! shortcut)


You sure as hell think I’m ill but who, in their sane mind, would shame, mock, judge, trivialise, understate, undermine, and conveniently walk over another person who suffers from a mental health condition. Is ADHD not good enough to be empathized with?


NO! The problem is that we don’t give it the same compassion like we would give another mental illness. Most people blame the person for his behaviour when the fault really lies in their condition. People lack the patience to understand, not make a judgement, and give some benefit of doubt.


ADHD is not a disability. And here, I am perfectly ‘able’ to explain that. If you do understand now then take a few small steps in letting people know, in your life or on social media, that you choose empathy over shame for the ADHD community. Don’t make people’s life harder than it already is, don’t be that guy. It’s not rocket science.


Let’s revise:

  1. ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder, not a disability.

  2. Their behaviour patterns are owed to this condition, not to them!

  3. One thing the universe expects from you is empathy, comprehension, love and it's not so difficult. Loving is the easiest thing man can do, sometimes it can get difficult but that’s why you feel the need to love, don’t you?

  4. NOBODY needs your negative remarks, your shame, your superior attitude, your judgements, your accusations, your meanness, or YOU if you can’t change that. (If you have any of these, I’d suggest: Ctrl+Alt+Del)


P.S. If this wasn’t enough, let me tell you that on the upside, ADHD patients are also proven to be seamlessly energetic, spontaneous, highly creative and inventive, and hyper focused.


Healthline says, “A diagnosis of ADHD does not have to put a person at a disadvantage in life. Instead, ADHD can and has contributed to the success of many movie stars, athletes, and businesspeople. From Albert Einstein to Michael Jordan to President George W. Bush, there are many people who have reached the pinnacles of their fields with ADHD.”


So now, be appreciative, try these out!




  1. Don’t judge in thought, don’t be rude in words, don’t shame through actions.

  2. Don’t give them negative connotations.

  3. Treat them like an equal. Caring doesn’t mean that you make them feel less in any way.

  4. When they’re angry or in a frenzy, hold their hand and ask them to take deep breaths.

  5. Say, “Hey, I am here for you.”

  6. Be their loudest cheerleader. Tell them how proud you are of them, build them up, contribute to the missing dopamine.

  7. If they don’t understand once, be calm and explain again. Help them calm down.

  8. No matter what, be subtly stern about the fact that they matter and are important to you and others.

  9. Try engaging them in a bunch of creative activities and physical activities.

  10. Share your favourite refreshing playlists with them. Share appreciative posts often.

  11. Talk to them about your life too, engage them in problem-solving.

  12. Give them time and lots of hugs.

  13. If you are a family member, help them join a support group.

  14. Tell them that you’re extremely grateful to have them.

  15. Have a heartfelt conversation. Make them feel comfortable to pour their heart out.

  16. Stand up for them in front of shamers/haters. Push them to stand up for themselves.

  17. Seek their help to brainstorm good ideas.

  18. Forgive them if they unintentionally hurt you. Don’t be mad, be patient.

  19. Just love them, man! (best source of dopamine)

  20. If you’ve understood my point, pass on your understanding to others too.


Don’t be Dopa-mean, be the Dopamine for me and us all!

P.S. If this article doesn’t reach out to you or offends you… then, umm... I just want you to remember “I am a human and shame is not one of the things I’d like to feel.”


ADHD Support Groups and Other Resources

  1. https://www.meetup.com/Learning-Difficulties-ADHD-Identifying-Remedial/

  2. https://www.meetup.com/impulsivePeople/

  3. https://www.meetup.com/Bangalore-ADD-ADHD-Support-Meetup/

  4. https://www.meetup.com/Parents-with-Teenage-Kids/

  5. https://www.meetup.com/Delhi-Parents-Meetup/

  6. https://www.healthline.com/health/adhd/resource-guide#nonprofits


References:

[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/pmc3000907/

[2] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19738093/

[3] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26748338/

[4] https://www.additudemag.com/slideshows/adhd-and-shame/

[5] https://www.healthline.com/health/adhd/history#1987

[6] https://www.healthline.com/health/adhd#is-adhd-a-disability?

[7] https://www.healthline.com/health/adhd/benefits-of-adhd

[8] https://www.pineyridge.net/adhd/causes-effects-symptoms/

[9]https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-gift-adhd/201410/dos-and-don-ts-in-your-friendship-add-adults

[10] https://www.meetup.com/topics/adhd/in/



Further Readings:

[1] https://www.ncmh.info/conditions-we-study/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder/

[2]https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd-the-basics/index.shtml

[3] What can Parents do to help?

[4] https://www.healthline.com/health/adhd/adult-adhd

[5]https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/adult-adhd/symptoms-causes/syc-20350878

[6] https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1993-98233-000

[7] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0890856709626150

[8] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0890856709626125

[9] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1525089/

[10] https://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1012281226028

[11] https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/mrdd.10036



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