Adhd and Self-identity: Read This Before You Comment

From time to time, I receive criticism for the phrasing that I use to describe ADHD people.

I use “people with ADHD” and “ADHD people” interchangeably. But, honestly, I prefer to describe myself as “an ADHD person,” not as “a person having ADHD” or “a person with ADHD.” I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis –it is a disease that is attacking my body, but it is not who I am. I don’t really “have” ADHD because it is not a disease. It is part of who I am, part of my genetics –just like green eyes and brown hair are part of my genetics. It is not a disease that needs to be eradicated. It is just a different way that my brain developed.

But, regardless of whether or not you agree with my reasoning, basically it comes down to this:

As an ADHD person, I get to decide how I prefer to describe myself.

There are various terms used to describe ADHD people: ADHDers, shiny, squirrels, and many others, I am sure. These are all terms we use to describe ourselves. For every label, you will probably find an ADHD person who objects to it. So, that is why it falls to the person who has the ADHD to decide how they want to be described or addressed.

It may surprise non-ADHDers to find that there are actually many people on both sides of the “ADHD people” versus “people with ADHD” debate. This blog is not the place to debate such things.

It is unreasonable for those who do not have ADHD to try to dictate to me how I should describe myself. It is doubly unreasonable for those who are not ADHD to be offended by how I choose to describe myself or to tell me that I should be offended by how I choose to describe myself. I will describe myself and my community of ADHD people how I see fit. Other ADHD people are –of course– welcome to their own opinions and preferences, but since this isn’t their blog, they don’t get to dictate to me how I describe myself or my community of ADHD people here on the blog.

And, honestly, there are so many bigger problems in this world than how we describe ADHD! Let’s not make a mountain out of a molehill.

Let’s focus on things that are really, truly important:

• getting proper diagnosis and treatments for those who need it.
• educating parents of ADHD kids and ADHD adults about the disorder.
• curbing the misinformation that permeates our culture, media, and the internet.

If you want to be an internet social justice warrior, there is plenty to fight against in the list above!

Thank you for handling this topic in a reasonable and rational manner. A mature person scrolls past something they disagree with on the internet instead of attacking the person they disagree with. When in doubt, be kind. It doesn’t cost you anything to just be nice. Don’t be one of the people who spreads ugliness when they could spread beauty, joy, and sunshine.

Sarah Forbes