I Don't Want to Celebrate ADHD

August 2, 2022 Michael Thomas Kincella

I didn't get a say in my birth. My mother and father took the executive decision to procreate without my input, and I landed on the scene in the April of 1985 before I could register any objections. Upon my arrival, the doctors deduced a few things: I was a boy. I was healthy. And, given the amount of wailing and thrashing, I appeared mildly inconvenienced by this whole birth scenario. For nearly 32 years after that, the doctors didn't miss much--except to diagnose me with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

I don't blame anyone for missing my ADHD. I grew up in Ireland in the '90s; ADHD--if it even existed on parents' radar whatsoever at that time--was a US affliction that turned American children into untamable ferrets, implacable but for medication. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder certainly didn't apply to mild-mannered, introspective children on the other side of the Atlantic.

The missed ADHD diagnosis is just one of those things. It's nobody's fault, and it doesn't really matter. In the end, I got the diagnosis--and the help.

I Don't Want to Celebrate ADHD; I Want to Live

What might my life have looked like had the doctors, teachers, or my parents caught ADHD early? It's a moot point. But, I suspect my life would look much the same as it does now, only at an earlier point with an earlier version of me.

But now that I have confirmation and medication, I don't want to look back; I want to live a normal and fulfilling life. I don't want to wave an ADHD placard. I don't want to celebrate neurodivergence. I don't want to change the name of the disorder because "disorder" distills, in a word, the sum total of life with ADHD--unaddressed, unmedicated, and frightfully messy.

I don't want to celebrate impulsivity, either. Nor do I want to celebrate procrastination, forgetfulness, substance abuse, future-blindness, or a slew of other debilitating symptoms that caused me to exist solely in a fight against my own brain instead of thriving as a human being. These symptoms stopped me from living a rewarding life and aren't exactly cause for celebration.

ADHD Isn't that Bad

While I don't want to celebrate something that prevents me from living a fuller life, I do like some aspects of having an ADHD-addled brain. For example, I like how quickly my brain--without conscious effort--creates analogies to better understand things. I like how ADHD aids creativity. I like the odd connections and off-map thought processes.

Most of all, however, I like that I can even sit and write a blog like this. I like that a combination of medicine and exercise allows me to marshall my thoughts and attention for the time it takes to write these words and look favorably on certain aspects of a disorder that badly affected my life. It wasn't always this good.

In my opinion, medication and exercise are the things genuinely worth celebrating.

APA Reference
Thomas, M. (2022, August 2). I Don't Want to Celebrate ADHD, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 25 from

Author: Michael Thomas Kincella

Find Michael on Twitter, Reddit, and his website.

August, 3 2022 at 7:49 pm

I appreciate this. While I used to really like how trendy it is to talk about neurodivergency, I realize that I don't really like enjoy people talking AT me about it. Recognize that I have it, sure. Acknowledge that I may think differently than you. But like, I'm not your "Unicorn" because I have adhd. Thanks for this!

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