ADHD : Deviation, not Disorder

I am diagnosed with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, ADHD. But every single letter that is used in the name for this this type of brain, makes me a little angry. After living with my ADHD devil for 27 years, I believe the name is completely wrong. Especially the last D of the name, the one that stands for Disorder.

Disorder feels negative

The word disorder stands for illness, an abnormal physical or mental condition. The word expresses negativity, it implies a kind of inability. Although it is more friendly than for instance disease or illness, it still suggests something is wrong. If we take disorder out of the medical context and look at the meaning of a public disorder, angriness, violence, threads and unsafety show up in the definition. Disorder is definitely not a good thing.

I can understand that the medical world is satisfied with the term disorder, and I believe a lot of parents and teachers on this planet would even be happy if the last D of ADHD would stand for Disease or Danger. But for me it feels like this D implies that I am less than the neurotypical people that surround me. It makes me feel like I will never be able to perform as good as them, it implies a kind of inability that I don’t agree with.

The whole ADHD experience

Living with an ADHD devil inside my brain does make certain things a little harder. The devil does cover my entire world with a good amount of chaos, which causes daydreaming, distractions and disorder in my life. This time I am talking about the disorder that means the lack of organization, no the illness definition and definitely no the public one. But together with the ADHD devil also comes the angel, the one that brings me so many good things, the one that makes me shine in a lot of things I do.

Despite the chaos that lives inside me, the angel is able to provide me with many good qualities, many super-powers. Thanks to my ADHD I have the ability to enter an extreme state of concentration, to be super creative and come up with solutions that other people can not see. My angel makes me an extremely good listener, she makes me compassionate and honest, and when I trust a person enough, I have the ability to brighten up his or her world with my true joy and happiness.

I might function in a different way. I might not be able to do the things other people do and I will definitely not do them in the same way as them. But it this difference bad? Does it make me perform less than the people around me? I think I don’t, I believe it is just a difference, and not a negative one, not one that is a disability or disorder. I see myself as a deviation from the neurotypical brains that surround me, the ones that own this world.

Why I choose Deviation

Deviation means doing something that is different from what people consider to be normal or acceptable. Why I prefer deviation over disorder or difference is in the word consider. This word shows that the difference is based on an opinion. The believe of the neurotypical brains owned by the doctors that came up with the name ADHD. The word consider, shows that ADHD brains are not wrong or different, they are considered different, but just according to one opinion. Deviation gives the opportunity to also call the neurotypical brains different, according to our opinion, and this is exactly what the truth about ADHD is.

ADHD brains work different from neurotypical brains. But, neurotypical brains also work different from ADHD brains. By using the word deviation, ADHD no longer suggests that one difference is better than the other one, the differences become equally capable, equally allowed to exist.

Deviation in this world

The world we live in is ruled by the neurotypical believe of normal that created moulds that everyone has to fit in. Neurotypical brains have created rules and standards that every person in this world should meet, they have created a normal and every deviation from this norm is not tolerated. This is what has created the name ADHD and the negative image that comes with it. Simply because we don’t fit the mould that is created for us.

Often I imagine a world, ruled by ADHD brains. A world in which everyone is considered normal, because everyone is different. A world in which there is not one way to do things, but where everyone is allowed, and even encouraged, to do things that work for them. A world that is open for differences, a schooling system that encourages children to figure out what way they learn best. Jobs that don’t ask you to be available at a certain time at a certain location, but award you for the work you do, no matter when, where or how you did it. A world that focuses on people’s results instead of telling them how to do things. A world in which ADHD brains can show all their amazing qualities, their full potential that is now often hidden deep inside them.

Unfortunately, this world does not exist (yet, hopefully), and us, ADHD brains, have to try to fit in everyday, we have to carry the disorder label and are forced to notice our differences, our shortcomings. The only thing we can do in this world is trying to build up a life in which we can use most of our ADHD super-powers. A life with people that, like us, are able to see the ADHD angel instead of only the devil. We have to choose a life in which we can stay as close to ourselves as possible, because if we try to fit in the moulds that have been created for us, we will just feel disappointed and frustrated.

Further reading

I have written multiple articles about the problems with the name ADHD, the name that is for sure not made up by the people that own a brain that accommodate the devil and the angel that come with it. I believe the name causes a lot of negativity, it does not cover the truth about the type of brain that comes with it and this frustrates me.

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