The blessing of a diagnosis clarity. It’s validation, it’s a community of others dealing with similar circumstances.
A diagnosis says, ‘You experience this particular thing, it’s real, and other people also experience it.’
And the more you discuss your diagnosis, the more you seek the experiences of others who share your experience and begin to understand your diagnosis more deeply, a character starts to form from its description.
The great thing about this is that it can help you strategise around the disorder.
The problem is that it gives you someone else to blame when things go wrong.
I slip into this thinking with ADHD all the time.
‘My ADHD doesn’t let me focus when I want to.’
‘I’m sorry I didn’t do that thing I was supposed to, my ADHD means I get distracted sometimes.’
‘I forgot what time we were meant to meet – ADHD.’
These are comfortable thoughts, but they’re bullshit.
I can force myself to focus whenever I need to. I just need to isolate potential distractions more-so than most.
If I forgot to do something, or what time I was meant to be somewhere, it’s because I didn’t write it down like I should have, or I didn’t prioritise it high enough. ADHD certainly doesn’t make these things easier to do, but it’s me who lets people down.
I am in no way seperate from my ADHD.
Personifying it, giving it character, and imagining what its motivations are can all be helpful ways to frame the diagnosis and help explain it to other people.
Its usefulness ends at the point where I start believing that its character exists outside of my own.
I’m no doctor or psychologist, but I’d be willing to bet that the same goes for a whole lot more than ADHD.