D is for Disability

ADHD isn’t always a disability. It always causes difficulties for the people who have it, and part of the diagnostic criteria is that the symptoms cause distress in two or more areas of life. But no, it’s not always a disability.

Except when it is.

And that’s not me saying it’s horrible and evil and wrong or whatever, it’s me stating an objective fact.

If I cannot meet my work deadlines because my ADHD-skewed sense of time means I don’t start things until too late, that’s a disability.

If I don’t have clean clothes to wear on a regular basis because my ADHD-provided executive dysfunction means I almost never do the laundry, that’s a disability.

If I can’t maintain friendships because I always say the first thing that pops into my head and it usually offends people, that’s a disability.

If I don’t eat regular meals because I forget to eat even when I’m hungry, or because I forget I’m cooking food and ruin my meals, that’s a disability.

If I can’t maintain friendships because I keep forgetting to reply to e-mails, that’s a disability.

Many ADHDers are not disabled by their ADHD once they are receiving appropriate treatment and have found the thing they are able to hyperfocus on consistently enough to make a career in it.

Some ADHDers are disabled enough that they require support staff in order to maintain their homes and keep a job.

Both types of ADHDer (and everyone in between) are valid and worthwhile.

Don’t shy away from admitting that ADHD is often disabling. Don’t lie about it. Don’t add to the stigma of disability. Rise above that impulse and promote the idea that we are all worthy as we are, regardless of how much support we require. Push the narrative that “success” is as individual as we are, and that we should define our success ourselves and decide how we’re going to get there based on our personal abilities and disabilities.

Is your ADHD disabling? In what way(s)?


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