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  • Writer's pictureAoibh Wood

Why ADHD is a shitty acronym

TL;DR -- ADHD implies that we are broken. We are not. Society expects all people to normalize to the behavior of the largest group. This is an unreasonable expectation. In short, it's them, not us. We're amazing. See here for an alternate term:

Throughout my life, I've faced challenges often labeled as "hyperactivity." It wasn't until the 1990s that ADHD was recognized as a diagnosis for certain neurodivergent individuals. This recognition was beneficial in education, affording specialized services. However, the portrayal of ADHD by institutions like NIMH and in the DSM is overwhelmingly negative, describing us as "inattentive" and "impulsive." Ultimately, the final "D" in ADHD stands for "DISORDER." That's not a nice word when applied to someone's very nature.

Despite this "DISORDER," I've thrived in the tech industry, earning a six-figure salary. I've raised four successful children and authored three novels. The truth is, I don't see ADHD as a disorder. I embrace my unique thought processes and attention span. My approach to understanding and learning isn't a flaw; it's just different.

In short, It's not me. It's you.

There's nothing "wrong" with me. I'm forced to cope with a society that expects everyone to normalize to the same way of thinking, acting, and executing. The term ADHD is a perfect example of this bias toward the larger population. For them, it's easier to see us as disordered and having something that needs treatment than to treat us as the special and unique individuals we are.

I prefer the acronym "VAST" for Variable Attention Stimulus Trait. It implies something closer to reality. The world is exactly that for many of us: it's VAST. We're not as limited in our avenues of thinking. In that vein, I think of myself in the following terms.

  1. Ability to think outside the box and approach problems from unique angles. People with ADHD often have a divergent thinking style that can lead to creative solutions.

  2. High energy levels can translate into enthusiasm and passion for projects, hobbies, or tasks. This energy can be contagious and motivate others.

  3. Quick decision-making and the ability to act on one's feet. In situations that require rapid responses, this trait can be invaluable.

  4. Enhanced multitasking abilities. The ability to shift focus quickly can be an asset in dynamic environments.

  5. An ability to live in the present moment. This can lead to increased mindfulness and appreciation for the here and now.

  6. A tendency to think independently and not just follow the crowd. This can lead to innovative ideas and solutions.

  7. A rich imagination and the ability to envision alternative scenarios useful in creative endeavors.

  8. Difficulty Organizing Tasks: Flexibility and adaptability. Instead of sticking rigidly to a plan, people with ADHD can adjust to changing circumstances.

  9. A drive to stay active and engaged that often leads to a wide range of experiences and skills.

  10. Strong verbal communication skills. This can be an asset in social situations and professions that require persuasive communication.

Isn't that a much nicer way to think of yourself? Gifted, not broken. Special, not less than. A "Jack of All Trades" rather than a "Master of None."

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2 comentários

Karen Worden
Karen Worden
01 de nov. de 2023

Thank the goddess for your beautiful neurodivergent brain! 😊 Perhaps you are already aware that many creative people are neurodivergent. Last year, Jae wrote a book with a character who has aphantasia. Jae wrote in a blog that she has this trait. Average doesn’t imply better, not to me. Cheers to your unique and wonderful brain!

Aoibh Wood
Aoibh Wood
03 de nov. de 2023
Respondendo a

Just a Touch Away by Jae, the book you mentioned, was the very inspiration for this post.

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