This Is What It Feels Like To Have ADHD

ADHD is one of the most common disorders diagnosed among children; As of 2011, a staggering 6.4 million American children between the ages of 4 and 17 have been diagnosed with it. ADHD has also been a major source of controversy, as the spike in diagnosis rates since the 1990s has some doctors and researchers arguing that the disorder is being incorrectly and unnecessarily diagnosed. It’s important to remember, however, that despite the controversy, ADHD is a real disorder that has profound effects on those actually living with it. This video from BuzzFeed shows what it’s like to have ADHD through the anonymous confessions of Whisper app users. Their testimonies attest to the fact that having ADHD doesn’t mean that one simply has trouble paying attention in class. In reality, ADHD’s effects are much longer lasting and more insidious than that.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, symptoms of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) “include difficulty staying focused and paying attention, difficulty controlling behavior, and hyperactivity (over-activity).” NIMH points out that these symptoms are normal behaviors among most children, but for those with ADHD, they are more severe and persistent than with other kids. Perhaps because of the potential overdiagnosis of ADHD, some people don’t take the disorder seriously, and use the term to casually refer to anyone who is flighty or unfocused. One commenter in the video explains that many people around him don’t see his ADHD as a legitimate problem; He says, “Everyone says I use my ADHD as an excuse when I say I have a hard time focusing. It really pisses me off that people don’t understand.” Other Whisper users describe how their ADHD impacts their daily lives and long-term prospects:

My ADHD is so bad that I have to close my eyes when I’m on the phone. I won’t pay attention to the person, otherwise.
I really want to join the military...
I joke with people about having ADHD when I look dumb...

Despite the challenges of living with ADHD, one user reminds us that many people can and do overcome their struggles with the disorder and live full, happy lives.

When I got diagnosed with ADHD when I was younger, people told me I would not amount to much...

Watch the whole video below:

Images: YouTube (6)