There’s a difference when an ADHDer says “it’s been one of those ADHD days”.
This is how I started writing this post, and then realized, remembered the fact that—frustratingly—the term “I’m so ADD today” is thrown around like it means nothing.
Yes. I have ADHD every day. But there are some days—like today, when I can just feel the chaos in my brain intensify as the clock keeps ticking—from 6 PM onward because I took my morning Concerta at 6:20 AM and didn’t—again—manage to actually get my afternoon dose into my body. I can feel that difference in how my brain feels.
The thing is, whether it’s a less-well-managed ADHD day like today, or a more holistically approached day with my ADHD—one where I take my meds when I am supposed to, and get a decent amount of exercise, and get grounded with meditation and all that stuff—I still have ADHD. No matter how I choose to approach it, I still have ADHD, like I’ve had my whole life whether I knew it or not, and like I’ll presumably continue to experience the rest of my life.
I’m not about to get into the positives/negatives of ADHD. Honestly, it’s great to hear those things being discussed candidly, but it’s also at times a bit overdone. ADHD is just a part of me—at least that’s how I feel tonight.
Why neurotypical people misunderstand ADHD, or classify their five minutes or inattention or an hour of distraction once in awhile as “ADD-like” is that ADHD behaviours are typical human behaviours. It’s confusing, I get it. With ADHD, we experience these things—impulsivity and/or hyperactivity and/or inattention symptoms—exponentially more frequently than people with typical brain chemistry. The difference is that after a non-ADHDer’s hour of distraction or brief lapse into impulsivity or “off day”, they return to a normal level of functioning—they get a good night’s sleep or do something to recharge and they’re back at 100%.
Everybody’s ADHD looks different—some of us also experience certain symptoms associated with ADHD—or ADHD in general—more severely than others, and we all have different combinations of symptoms.
But a moment, an hour, or even a single a day of these kinds of symptoms does not at all mean that you’re having an ADD day. Because part of having an actual ADD day is knowing that you get to wake up and start all over again, with your same quirky brain. And depending on what factors are at play, who knows what that’ll look like.
I don’t know what non-ADHD life is like. I guess it would probably feel restful to even have one day off—even in contrast to having stimulants on board. Then again, if I just got a day off, I’d probably be bored partway through of normal brain life ;).
My ADHD life looks different every day. And it confuses even me, though you find patterns sometimes. (My ADHD might look different every day because I don’t remember or because shiny things. I don’t know. You couldn’t expect me to get through this without a shiny reference right? You also only find patterns when you pay attention…). But I know that this is the reality I live in. ADHD is a part of it—legitimately. It’s a whole mix of things, not awesome or terrible, i just is.
So help all of us with ADHD out if you don’t have ADHD, please.
Say you’re really distracted.
Say you’ve got too much energy.
Say what you’re feeling, that’s cool.
Please, though, don’t compare your off day to ADHD.
It’s not the same thing.