It’s ADHD awareness month. Why? Because it can be a crippling condition to live with.
As the number of people diagnosed is significantly increasing, it’s no longer time NOT to be aware of the daily impact for those that live with it or are around people with it.
This condition is particularly close to my heart as I have family and close friends who struggle through life with ADHD.
ADHD prescriptions have doubled over the past decade. 1.5 million Australians now receive medication for the condition, and it’s estimated that 5% of kids and 2.5% of adults have it – many undiagnosed.
Once considered a childhood disorder, ADHD is now acknowledged to persist into adulthood in 50–65% of individuals, according to the ADHD Institute. The lockdowns triggered many adults to consider what gets in the way of their thinking and stress levels.
Studies show that ADHD symptoms are related to the biology of our brains. People can be irritable, frustrated, and have angry or emotional outbursts. They can find it difficult to pay attention, concentrate, and remember things. They can be impulsive and hyperactive. But they also have a superpower that others don’t. The ability to feel emotions deeply and pick up on what’s going on without having to say it.
It can be tough if you’re on the receiving end of their frustration. But it’s not personal. It’s about how they are not able to regulate their emotions.
Sometimes it creates unhealthy conflict. People living with ADHD are often aware of their communication style (although not so much in the moment they respond). This places them in near-permanent stress responses. How exhausting! Learning to live with how their brains’ work is a permanent and tiring challenge.
They don’t need to work around us. We need to work with each other. There is huge potential to create workplaces where conversations about ADHD, and other conditions, impact how neurodiverse individuals collaborate and manage themselves.
At the root of it is compassion. Then education. Try and remember – sometimes, when people respond in ways that seem to create conflict or even avoid it, it might have absolutely nothing to do with you. I suggest that is the case most of the time – whether people have ADHD or not.
Watch this fabulous 11 min short doc on ADHD and the role we can play.
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