ADHD Awareness Week? Bah! Humbug!

There’s something terribly wrong with the concept of “ADHD Awareness Week.” This year it is scheduled for October 16-22, 2011. That makes no sense. If you wanted to schedule ADHD Awareness Week, you would schedule it for December 1-6, 2011 and then, when the time approaches, you’d change your mind and reschedule it for January 3-9, 2012 but then you’d find that it’s a bad time to do it (it’s only a few days after New Years and everyone is still depressed from the excess of alcohol and excess of already-broken New Years’ resolutions – “This New Year I will not drink excess amounts of alcohol.”) and so you find another time, say March 15-21, 2012 but then realize that the Ides of March may not be the best of times to make people aware of ADHD but, then, it just might be since, let’s be realistic, how many people remember what the heck the Ides of March are anyway unless, of course, that information is in their Google-fied calendar and a pop-up warns “Watch out for Brutus.”

But what’s really wrong with the ADHD Awareness Week is that ADHD does not last a week (damn…I wish it did!) but lasts all year long, but it’s worse than that. ADHD lasts all year long and every minute and every second that one is alive. It’s there even when you are asleep (more like “attempting to be asleep” to be more accurate). There is, then, the other problem with ADHD Awareness Week and that’s making other people aware of your ADHD. Let’s be honest. Nobody gives a damn. Oh, maybe a good friend gives a damn. A spouse or lover (mutually exclusive categories?) gives a damn. But Joe and Jane Shmoe? Don’t give a damn. In fact, having come out of the closet I have found that telling people about my ADHD has had one of two reactions: they avoid seeing me again as if I told them “By the way, I have the Ebola virus” or they mentally shrug their shoulders with a “that’s your fuckin’ problem and I don’t really give a shit…now can we focus on the task at hand?”

Maybe ADHD Awareness Week is not for non-ADHDers but is for ADHDers to take the time to reassess what they know about Pandora’s Gift and all its comorbid “accessories.” Perhaps it is a time for ADHDers to learn “what have we learned?” about ADHD. Perhaps it’s time for….

.  .  .  .  .

I apologize for breaking the post in mid-thought. My desktop alarm just reminded me it’s time for Adderall. So, sayonara ADHD brain. See you again in a few hours when it’s time for the next dose.

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  • Brook

    that’s funny.
    and true.
    But I’m also pretty tired of hearing about how “we all have ADD.” Or how it’s just some made up thing and we just need to buckle down or something. So I’d kinda like to get the word out a bit more.

    • Jeffs ADD Mind

      Getting the word out about ADHD is an admirable goal but sometimes I think that we’re setting ourselves up for heartache. It’s like trying to convince an atheist that there is a god (I’m in the atheist camp, btw). It’s a losing proposition because you begin the argument from a completely different set of understood “truths.”

      • Gina Bina

        I see your point, Jeff. But as one (like you) who has been hammering at this topic for a long time, from hill and dale, whether people wanted to hear about it or not, I do think our perseverance has made a difference.

        • Jeffs ADD Mind

          There’s no doubt that we’re better off getting “real” information out there to counteract the myths.

          • Katy R.

            The “we all have ADD” thing puts me over the edge, lol. Of COURSE. That must be why people have found my ADHD symptoms so normal all these years and why my incessant chatter/intensity/occasional trips to Mars don’t stand out at all…

            • Jeffs ADD Mind

              Let them live in our heads for one week…and then we’ll see if they tell us that they have ADHD.


    More awareness will eventually reduce the stigma. People used to say the same things about clinical depression that they do now about ADHD. So de-stigmatization is important. But I think one of the biggest goals behind something like an awareness week is to promote more understanding for people who are wondering if that’s what could be the issue for them or their children. Self-awareness is a powerful thing. Knowledge of what is and isn’t part of the ADHD helps someone to design a plan for treating it.

    • Jeffs ADD Mind

      Stigma reduction is important but I think your other point is really the big one: making more people aware that THEY (or their children) may have ADHD. As we know, contrary to the mythology, ADHD is actually underdiagnosed…not overdiagnosed.

  • Katy R.

    Personally, I LOVE it that so many people both a) don’t give a damn and b) want to give you their opinion about it anyway…about how it doesn’t exist…about how people with ADHD just need to focus…about how pharmaceutical companies are trying to kill innocent children…about how grown ups can’t have ADHD…about how ritalin is the devil (that’s funny, because it REALLY helps me get the boring shit done)…so my special request for ADHD Awareness week is that people need to shut up and listen. Or just stop talking. I’m not picky.

    • Jeffs ADD Mind

      It seems that those who know the least about a subject are the ones who have the strongest opinions about it. Of course, they may also fear, deep down, that they have condition X so if they deny its existence in others they are – in their minds – denying its existence in themselves.

  • Gina Bina

    Humans don’t like to think. About anything.  It’s so much easier to fall back on kneejerk responses. Especially when they don’t think they are directly affected.  It’s true for everything, not just ADHD.

  • Scott Hutson

    Jeff, I think you make a good point with your observation:  “Let’s be honest. Nobody gives a damn. Oh, maybe a good friend gives a damn. A spouse or lover (mutually exclusive categories?) gives a damn.”

      Oh yes, they give a damn and I may be wrong, but sometimes I think maybe a “I’m sick and tired of being aware of his (or her) ADHD every week”  is what they probably think about when they have to be a first hand witness of how real ADHD is every week,day,hour,minute,second……but I may be right.

    • Jeffs ADD Mind

      Oh…I’m sure there’s an element of “I’m sicked and tired of hearing about it and living with it.” But those you encounter in the “outside” world…they don’t really care. As I’ve noted elsewhere, there have been several cases in which I made my ADHD known and have regretted it. Some people just kind of look at you funny after you tell them you are ADHD and some people never mention it again but you know that, on some level, they are thinking about it all the time.

      • Scott Hutson

        Yeah, I seem to get a better reaction from my customers when I say: “I’m a little OCDish about installing things the correct way.” That will get they’re attn., and sometimes lead to interesting conversations about psychological disorders.

        • Jeffs ADD Mind

          I think “normal” people (notice how “normal” is in quotes) understand OCD or, at the least, are comfortable with it. They don’t see it as being debilitating (which it can be) and sometimes think it is a good thing to have. ADHD, on the other hand, is not as well understood and the more I try to see it from the outside the more I realize why people think ADHDers are crazy…that’s because we ARE crazy to a degree. We may accomplish great things in life but we sure take a hell of a circuitous route to get there!

  • Anonymous

    We don’t need ADHD Awareness week sinces my mother told me a couple weeks ago, “We all have ADHD”. (Sorry to mention it after you said it drives you crazy, Brook.) So, why the F do they call it a disorder if we all have it? And it must be that awareness week is about realizing the “gift” all 7 billion of us have received in being gifted with ADHD by some seriously twisted universal consciousness.


    • Jeffs ADD Mind

      If those who say “We all have ADHD” were among those who REALLY have ADHD, they would quickly realize the difference between superficial similarities and the “real deal.” Perhaps ADHD should be renamed “Perpetual Early Alzheimer’s” (with the snappy acronym PEA…so we’d ask each other…”Having trouble PEAing?”), then the “We all have ADHD” chorus would die down.

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