25 Blog Posts That Transformed Our Understanding of ADHD

that kid
that kid

1 of 25

“My Kid Is ‘That Kid’”

By Mary White

In ADDitude’s most popular blog post of all time, a mother introduces us to “that kid” — the intense child with special needs who has trouble making friends, and about whom teachers and other parents issue stern warnings. Everyone knows “that kid” — and this blogger happens to be the mother of not one, but two of them.

“I see it all — like the exhausted look on the teacher’s face as she leads my child to me with the mile-long list of rules violations,” she writes. “I have watched my sons try to connect on the playground, where their excitement of being FINALLY included creates this energy that their body must release as shrieks, screams, and loud laughing — all of which puts other kids off.”

Her plea: “Take time to get to know ‘that kid.’ You won’t regret it.”

Read “My Kid Is ‘That Kid’”

Related Reads and Resources:

Daydreaming man with inattentive-type ADHD.
Man daydreaming in field with inattentive-type ADHD.

2 of 25

“Inattentive ADHD and Me”

By Tim Beshara

What’s it like to live with inattentive ADHD — and not know about it until adulthood?

“People diagnosed with ADHD later on in life, like I was, wear the scars of a lifetime of judgment from failures you could never explain,” writes Tim Beshara in this raw and incredibly relatable blog post about the condition’s impact on all aspects of life, from his academic career to his interpersonal relationships. As one reader commented, “This article reads as if someone entered into my memories and decided to write about what they found in there.”

Despite a lifetime of challenges, Tim maintains a positive outlook: “It would have been nice to know earlier, but I can’t help that now. But I’ll certainly keep trying to find a way through it all.”

Read “Inattentive ADHD and Me”

Related Reads and Resources:

Blurred view of pharmacists behind counter in modern pharmacy

3 of 25

“Side Effects May Include: Humiliation, Judgment, and Stigma”

By Samantha Hines

It’s been said that enduring stigma is the most difficult aspect of living with ADHD, and the pharmacy is one place where individuals with ADHD are routinely judged and shamed for seeking treatment. It was true in 2014 — when the writer of this blog post asked for additional doses of her 8-year-old’s ADHD medication, only to have a pharmacist describe the medication as a “narcotic” — and it’s unfortunately still true almost 10 years later.

“Parents of children with ADHD, not to mention people with ADHD themselves – though no strangers to judgment – are not immune to it,” Hines writes. “There is something particularly raw about encountering it at the pharmacy where you are picking up the item that tends to elicit the most misunderstanding and prejudice. My son is not a drug user, and I am not a dealer.”

While awareness of ADHD and mental health conditions is growing, this piece is an enduring reminder that there is much left to do to eradicate the stigma attached to the neurodevelopmental condition.

Read “Side Effects May Include: Humiliation, Judgment, and Stigma”

Related Reads and Resources

Finding yourself as a woman with ADHD

4 of 25

“I Could Have Been Myself for So Much Longer.”

By Leslye Folmar-Harris, Ed. M.

Folmar-Harris, an accomplished teacher, clearly exhibited signs of ADHD since childhood, but was only diagnosed in adulthood — an unfortunate reality for many women of color. In this blog post, she grapples with the possible causes behind her late diagnosis, from internalized stigma to cultural attitudes.

“I was also unwilling to consider that I could have ADHD because, let’s face it, you can’t be Black in America and have something else wrong with you,” she writes. “I already have so many obstacles to vault because of my race. What would happen, then, if I did have ADHD? Would others think I’m not qualified for my career or anything else anymore?”

The writer acknowledges that it’s easy to fall into the trap of wondering “what could have been” had the diagnosis come earlier. But she’s given herself a second chance: “You can either get stuck on what you could have been,” she writes, “or you can focus on how much you’ve accomplished in spite of it all.”

Read “I Could Have Been Myself for So Much Longer.”

Related Reads and Resources

Teen boy with ADHD laying on pillow at home while listening to music with eyes closed
Teen boy with ADHD laying on pillow at home while listening to music with eyes closed

5 of 25

“In Defense of the Nap Year”

“It’s hard for me to explain Liam’s gap year — his nap year. They don’t understand a thing about what I call Post Traumatic School Disorder. All I see are raised eyebrows, and I have to shake off a twinge of shame that Liam’s not off at college, not where the other kids are. But where he is right now, at home with us, resting, re-setting, feels right.”

This anonymous blog post takes us through the story of Liam, a twice-exceptional (2e) child whose academic experience is mostly marked by tremendous challenges in traditional schooling. After making it through high school (once thought impossible) and getting into his first-choice college, he chooses to take a gap year — a decision that’s unconventional to some, but just right for his needs.

Read “In Defense of the Nap Year”

Related Reads and Resources

Concept image of intense emotions

6 of 25

“RSD Has Blessed Me with an Immense Capacity for Feeling — and I’m Grateful.”

By Taylor Maurand

Intense emotions are part and parcel of ADHD, and no aspect of emotional regulation gets as much buzz as rejection sensitive dysphoria (RSD), a term that describes extreme emotional pain in response to real or perceived criticism. Influencing marriages, friendships and even the job search process, RSD undoubtedly impacts our readers’ lives in more ways than we can count.

But there is a silver lining here, according to this blog post that takes a strengths-based approach to RSD. “I can look back and feel grateful for my RSD,” writes Maurand, who wrote this piece at the heels of a late ADHD diagnosis. “I was blessed with an immense capacity for feeling, and I love that. It has made me a stronger person, a more empathic person…I know that what might have appeared like ‘weakness’ to some was actually, all along, my greatest source of strength.”

Read “RSD Has Blessed Me with an Immense Capacity for Feeling — and I’m Grateful.”

Related Reads and Resources

Toddler hands playing with flour sprinkled on the floor. Os Tartarouchos/Getty Images

7 of 25

“They Call You a ‘Problem Child.’ I Know Your Heart Will Save Me Every Time.”

By C. Morris

This touching blog post is a parent’s tribute to her “Problem Child” — the child she’s had to pull down from the roof at 2, search the neighborhood for at 4, and remind to wear clothes on a regular basis “even as a child nearing double digits.” Along with detailing her son’s moments of mischief and intensity, this writer describes the special bond she shares with her child.

“You are the only child who says ‘I love you’ first — every time,” Morris writes. “You’re the only child who likes cooking dinner with me, who actually likes taking out the trash because being outside is the best. You are the only child who notices when I’m tired after work and offers to get me a drink from the fridge. You are the child who doesn’t notice what the rest of the world says he should, but the things you do notice, you make better and fuller and richer.”

“So perhaps, my middlest, you are my Problem Child. And maybe sometimes you do make problems for others. But far more often, you solve the problems no one else can see, that no one else can solve. That makes you so very special.”

Read “They Call You a ‘Problem Child.’ I Know Your Heart Will Save Me Every Time.”

Related Reads and Resources

surreal image to represent a distorted sense of self

8 of 25

“Has ADHD Warped Your Sense of Self? It’s Time to Reclaim Your Story — and Power.”

By Alise Conner, Ph.D.

The stories you repeatedly tell yourself about who you are may be inaccurate if you grew up with ADHD, diagnosed or not, writes Alise Conner, Ph.D., a psychologist with ADHD. This partially stems from the consistent inconsistency that characterizes the ADHD experience. As Dr. Conner writes, You know you’re a caring person, so why did you forget to text back your friend?

Criticisms and negative experiences tied to ADHD also have a way of eclipsing all the positive, great things about you. Even then, labels that have been affixed to you since childhood may have left you feeling puzzled and misunderstood.

Read this blog post to understand how to find and tell the real story of you.

“Has ADHD Warped Your Sense of Self? It’s Time to Reclaim Your Story — and Power.”

Related Reads and Resources

Tribe of Prehistoric Hunter-Gatherers Wearing Animal Skins Stand Around Bonfire Outside of Cave at Night. Portrait of Neanderthal / Homo Sapiens Family Doing Pagan Religion Ritual Near Fire

9 of 25

“The Night Watchman Theory for ADHD”

By Les Steed

Did ADHD traits give prehistoric populations an edge? A popular theory says that’s exactly the case. This blog post walks us through that theory, and what it means for those living with ADHD in the present.

“The Watchman Theory posits that our hyperfocus and ability to give equal attention to every element in our environment is actually honed by evolution,” Steed writes. “The theory is that people with ADHD are wired to be the perfect night watchmen and hunters of our tribes and that most of our current advantages and disadvantages trace back to this vital role wherein our ‘symptoms’ would have saved lives.”

Read The Night Watchman Theory for ADHD” to consider this theory that could explain a host of your symptoms and traits — from why you’re a night owl to why you react well under pressure.

Related Reads and Resources

Doctor and patient discuss the overlapping symptoms between ADHD and menopause.
Doctor and patient discuss the overlapping symptoms between ADHD and menopause.

10 of 25

“Medical Gaslighting Convinced Me That I Didn’t Have ADHD”

By Susie B. Cross

“Why did it take one-fifth of my life to get a medical explanation for why my brain works the way it does?”

Susie B. Cross knew she had ADHD well before her doctors did. But specialist after specialist, she was denied a formal diagnosis and was instead met with contradictory and condescending reasons for why she couldn’t possibly have ADHD.

“When I found my voice and questioned the professionals, things seemed to turn around,” she writes. Read Cross’s story to learn how she eventually got her diagnosis, and her advice for advocating for yourself at the doctor’s office — a critical skill for neurodivergent individuals.

Read “Medical Gaslighting Convinced Me That I Didn’t Have ADHD”

Related Reads and Resources

ADHD hyperactivity trapped on the inside

11 of 25

“What Happens When Hyperactivity Is Trapped Inside”

By Kiki Paroissien-Arce

Hyperactivity” is in the very name of the condition, but Paroissien-Arce argues that we don’t know nearly enough about this core symptom of ADHD and what happens when it goes unrecognized and bottled up for years.

“That hyperactivity manifested in quiet ways when I was a child,” she writes. “I chewed on the ends of pencils, bit my sleeves, chewed my hair, ate paper, tapped my foot, felt mildly anxious, picked my scabs, and felt a strange overwhelming need to blow out candles at restaurants. Beginning in middle school, I became increasingly self-conscious of these habits. My ADHD hyperactivity became more and more tortuous as I bottled it up inside.”

Read “What Happens When Hyperactivity Is Trapped Inside” to understand the real face of ADHD hyperactivity.

Related Reads and Resources

A young woman looking out her window

12 of 25

“On Piloting My ADHD Brain Through This Pandemic”

By Linda Roggli, PCC

The COVID-19 pandemic was (and continues to be) a generation-shaping event. In this blog post published a few weeks after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, Linda Roggli, PCC, an ADHD coach and longtime ADDitude contributor, touches on how the pandemic has uniquely affected ADHD brains.

“We don’t do well with prolonged emergencies,” Roggli writes. “We’re better in the short term, like calling the ambulance if someone falls on the ice, notifying relatives, and picking up the mail. This time, our ADHD is not coming to our rescue. It’s getting pummeled from all directions.”

Even in the face of a global crisis with no end in sight, ADHD brains, she says, are resilient. “We can take the long view and know that eventually this thing will end. In the meantime, we need to breathe in, breathe out, and smile.”

Read “On Piloting My ADHD Brain Through This Pandemic”

Related Reads and Resources

13 of 25

“Ritalin Is Not the Cause of School Gun Violence”

By William Dodson, M.D., LF-APA

In 2018, Oliver North, then president of the National Rifle Association, suggested that Ritalin is partially responsible for increasing incidents of gun violence in schools. William Dodson, M.D., LF-APA, a board-certified psychiatrist and longtime ADDitude contributor, tears down North’s comments in this op-ed, and indicates that ADHD medication, according to research, actually decreases aggressive behaviors. Dodson also outlines what’s at stake when baseless comments like North’s go unchecked.

“Mr. North’s shameless and hypocritical shifting of the blame for the level of violence to our children cannot be excused or allowed to pass unchallenged,” Dodson writes. “To do so would allow them to be misunderstood, marginalized, and demonized more than they already are.”

Read “Ritalin Is Not the Cause of School Gun Violence”

Related Reads and Resources

An hourglass used to demonstrate a concept of time

14 of 25

“Your Concept of Time Is Not Broken, It’s Just Unorthodox”

By Kama Jensen

You can thank this blogger for your new motto: “Time is a construct, and I wield it wisely!”

Yes, time management challenges create a slew of problems and headaches for individuals with ADHD, who may appear to have no structure, rhyme, or reason to their days. But that couldn’t be further from the truth, according to Jensen, who traces the concept of time in this piece to its roots in our natural rhythms of being. She also argues that people with ADHD are highly attuned to their natural cycles and flows.

You’re not really horrible with time,” she writes. “You just have a unique and unappreciated way of interacting with the physical world. Your time awareness and task management doesn’t follow neurotypical patterns, but that doesn’t mean there is anything inherently wrong with you.”

Read “Your Concept of Time Is Not Broken, It’s Just Unorthodox”

Related Reads & Resources

adhd odd boy lie lying
adhd odd boy lie lying

15 of 25

“The Ugly Truth About ADHD and Lying”

By Brynn Burger

For various reasons, from impulsivity to coping with the results of uncontrolled ADHD symptoms, children with ADHD may be predisposed to lying. This blog post by Brynn Burger, a parent to a child with complex ADHD, is a deep dive into her child’s habitual lying, the distress it often causes, and the complicated truth behind the behavior. She offers advice for reframing lying and maintaining the parent-child bond, making this a must-read for all parents of children with ADHD.

Read “The Ugly Truth About ADHD and Lying”

Related Reads and Resources

"My emotional hypersensitivity was misdiagnosed as borderline personality disorder."

16 of 25

“The ADHD Symptom Women Might Be Overlooking”

By Sarah Marie Graye

 ADHD is underrecognized in women because the medical community largely doesn’t interpret some behaviors as symptoms when they are exhibited by females — a belief that women also come to internalize.

Sarah Marie Graye, the writer of this blog post, thought she had borderline personality disorder because of her emotional symptoms. Her doctor disagreed, but his diagnosis of mood disorders and anxiety didn’t make much sense to Graye, either. Finally, another professional diagnosed her with the real condition that explained it all: ADHD.

As one person commented in response to this blog post, “I am sickened by how easily so many mental health professionals are so quick to label their female patients’ problems as depression, bipolar, or even borderline. I believe that this ‘lazy’ psychology has conspired to prevent women from achieving their full potential.”

Read “The ADHD Symptom Women Might Be Overlooking”

Related Reads and Next Steps

Enthusiastic Teacher Explains Lesson to a Classroom

17 of 25

“How Teachers Can Initiate and Promote Inclusive Education”

By Suzanne Robertshaw

According to an ADDitude survey, most educators say they’ve received no formal training for teaching students with ADHD and its comorbid conditions — a serious issue, given that these learning differences surely show up in all classrooms.

All educators should strive to create an inclusive learning environment that suits all learners. But how? Suzanne Robertshaw, a learning specialist, provides simple yet effective strategies that teachers can start using today to benefit all learners.

“Childhood educators, know this,” she writes. “There is nothing to be scared of in pursuing an inclusive environment for your learners. Any change you can make, even just reading up on a learning difference, could have a significantly positive impact on a student’s life.”

Read “How Teachers Can Initiate and Promote Inclusive Education”

Related Reads and Resources

Asian-American Girls and Women Can Have ADHD, Too!

18 of 25

“I’m Not Supposed to Have ADHD.”

By Emily Chen

Who is “allowed” to have ADHD? Even today, stereotypes dictate that certain populations couldn’t possibly have the condition. Chen, an Asian American woman, breaks down this harmful myth in this blog post.

“I was not ‘supposed’ to have ADHD because I’m an Asian American, and the model minority myth claims that all Asian Americans are obedient academic powerhouses,” she writes. “My parents saw an accomplished child who got As on her report cards. What they didn’t see was the steep price I paid for these grades.”

ADHD, Chen rightly notes, “belongs to all of us.”

“My hope.” Chen writes, “is that our society can move beyond what ADHD is ‘supposed’ to look like and more toward what ADHD is — in all of its myriad differences, struggles, and strengths.”

Read “I’m Not Supposed to Have ADHD”

Related Reads and Resources

letter mother son adhd

19 of 25

“Dear Son: I Know What You’re Up Against — and I Worry, Worry, and Worry”

By Elizabeth Broadbent

It’s a parent’s job to worry about their children. But for parents with ADHD, especially, watching their child grapple with the same symptoms and challenges they did while growing up is not easy. In this piece, Elizabeth Broadbent, a mom with ADHD, recalls her memories of growing up neurodivergent, and shares her honest (and sometimes funny) present and future fears — from bullying to forgetting to make bill payments — for her young son.

“I worry. Oh, I worry,” Broadbent writes. “But I also trust, with a mother’s heart, that in the end you’ll come out all right. I did, and I had it rough (though I still can’t open the mail).”

Read “Dear Son: I Know What You’re Up Against — and I Worry, Worry, and Worry”

Related Reads and Resources

Eliminating guilt about not doing anything

20 of 25

“Oh, I Am Very Weary…”

By Anita Hanson

Anita Hanson is tired. Tired of experiencing burnout — an underappreciated aspect of living with ADHD. Tired of stumbling to keep up with a neurotypical world that is obsessed with doing, doing, doing.

“It’s the kind of unrelenting tired that comes from a lifetime of feeling swamped and overwhelmed, of constantly running to catch up but never quite making it, of working much harder than everyone around me to meet life’s demands, yet still coming up short,” she writes in this blog. “The kind of tired that the neurotypicals in my life just can’t understand.”

Hanson, who has reached retirement age, is tired of being tired. “So now I have a new project,” she writes. “I am working hard at eliminating all guilt about not working hard.”

Read “Oh, I Am Very Weary…” and get inspired to live life on your terms.

Related Reads and Resources

Multiple exposure of young woman recovering

21 of 25

“I Live with Both ADHD and Depression”

By Maria Yagoda

A recent ADDitude poll revealed that most of our readers live with ADHD and comorbid depression, a combination that “rob[s] us of the will, energy, and organization to make the effort in getting better,” write this blogger. What’s more, it’s a combination that complexifies treatment — making proper diagnosis of both crucial. In Yagoda’s case, a late ADHD diagnosis was the missing puzzle piece that finally allowed her to properly treat her conditions.

Read “I Live with Both ADHD and Depression” to understand how ADHD and depression look when they show up together, and Yagoda’s tips — from overwhelmingly positive self-talk and journaling to exercise — for coping with both. As she writes, “Although the war against depression is made more brutal by ADHD, it doesn’t have to be a losing battle.”

Related Reads and Resources

A father working with his teen daughter, who has ADHD, on her writing assignment
Father and teen daughter working on writing assignment

22 of 25

“Teaching My Kid to Cope: Lessons from a Dad with ADHD”

By Douglas Cootey

“When my daughter, who also has ADHD, came to me with a problem, I swore I would be there for her this time — and not wing it.”

Cootey, a single dad with ADHD, takes us through the dos and dont’s of helping a child cope with complex ADHD in this piece. While we wish ADHD parenting came with a manual, Cootey assures us that it’s OK to worry about not knowing all the answers and not being able to solve all your child’s problems. The most important thing you can do for your child is show up entirely for them.

Read “Teaching My Kid to Cope: Lessons from a Dad with ADHD” for more of Cootey’s empathetic parenting strategies.

Related Reads and Resources

sleep advice for adults with ADHD

23 of 25

“This Simple Sleep Formula Calms My Racing ADHD Brain”

By Alex R. Hey, PCAC

Sleep problems might as well be a symptom of ADHD. As Alex R. Hey, PCAC, an ADHD coach writes, “The ADHD brain feels almost innately incapable of rest…we wake up tired the next day, which exacerbates our ADHD symptoms. It is a vicious cycle.”

That’s what prompted him to devise a formula for falling — and staying — asleep that actually works: In Bed + Feeling Tired + A Calm Mind = Sleep

Read “This Simple Sleep Formula Calms My Racing ADHD Brain” — your one-stop shop for tips on prepping your body and mind for rest so you can finally crack the sleep code.

Related Reads and Resources

A woman with her hand to her chin in thought while on her laptop

24 of 25

“What If My Intense Drive Is Because of — Not in Spite of — My ADHD?”

By Tracy Otsuka, JD, LLM, AACC

“The flipside to my ADHD weaknesses are my great ADHD strengths. I’m not hyperactive, just otherworldly energetic. I’m not distractible, just incessantly curious.”

In this blog post, Tracy Otsuka — a lawyer, entrepreneur, ADHD coach, and creator and host of the ADHD for Smart Ass Women podcast — credits ADHD for her ambition and long list of accomplishments. She inspires all individuals with ADHD to lean into their innate strengths (“I have never met a person with ADHD who wasn’t truly brilliant at something,” she writes) and reminds us that the sky’s the limit. “I’ve long subscribed to the theory that whether we think we can or think we can’t, we’re right,” she writes. “I choose to believe that I can.”

Read “What If My Intense Drive Is Because of — Not in Spite of — My ADHD?”

Related Reads and Resources

Life balance choices signpost, with sunrise sky backgrounds

25 of 25

“20 Rules to Live By: My ADHD Life Guide”

By E.V. Lansky

Dance to your own tune. Stay disciplined. Find a reliable ADHD support group. Find joy in the moment. Be grateful. And more helpful rules for learning to live and thrive with ADHD in this blog post that should be required reading for all adults with ADHD.

Read “20 Rules to Live By: My ADHD Life Guide”

Related Reads and Resources

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