Afro ADHD: Why I Started It

Being able to interact with other neurodivergent people has helped me understand myself better and how I function. After living all my life feeling that I’m strange and don’t fit in it’s comforting to know that I’m perfectly normal for someone with ADHD. It’s a breathe of fresh air to be ✨normal✨ for once.

Regardless of that I’ve come to realize that there are a lot of ADHD things that I don’t relate to simply because I am black and also I am African. The ADHD community is mostly represented by Caucasians so there are aspects of having ADHD as a black person that they may never talk about because that’s not their story. The number of black girls who talk about ADHD I’ve found so far are two and both of them are American which means that they also can’t really speak about the African experience with ADHD.

I mean, how can they relate to when your parent thinks that there’s no such thing as ADHD and tells you that you need to pray more in order to be fine or talk to a preacher? How can they relate to being bullied in school and being called a coconut/Oreo and lazy because you’re failing to function in a culture dead-set on conformity among its members. How can they relate to being an African girl with ADHD in a continent where women are judged harshly if they fail to meet the standards of being a good woman as well as always having the blame for relationship failure placed solely on their shoulders.

There are ADHD I’ve been shy to share because they’re quite personal and a bit triggering because a lot of ADHD experiences before diagnosis can be…bad to say the least. But I also realize that it’s those people that have had the bravery to share their unfiltered stories that have had the most profound impact on my life. I want to be able to aid someone so that they have hope to continue and find ways to cope with their condition.

The more I learn about ADHD the less that I feel upset at it being classified as a mental illness and disability. Because it is and you know what? I’m realizing that there’s nothing wrong with that and there’s also nothing wrong with admitting that you might need accommodations, exemptions, and medications in certain instances to perform to the best of your abilities. For a while, I felt shame that I didn’t want to admit that I can’t function like a neurotypical person which I’m overcoming as I read the stories and join Facebook groups full of ADHD people from all walks of life across the world in many different professions. And most of them talk about their accommodations at work and how they use medication to consistently perform well.

Realistically speaking there’s a tendency to put people who don’t rely on medication on a pedestal that they have greater drive and discipline than the average mentally ill person, but I’m coming to realize that it’s a really silly notion. You should never feel ashamed of something that makes you function better. It’s that same reasoning that makes some women not take epidural and go through unnecessary pain for no reason. And in a sense, that’s quite a bit sadistic to expect someone to go through pain when the option of not going through it is there.

So as I learn to navigate this world with my ADHD instead of against it I hope that I can inspire a few other people.

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