Ep 5 - 10_10_19, 11.11 AM
5:40PM Nov 12, 2019
Lee Skallerup Bessette
middle class white
Hi and welcome to another episode of all the things
I want you to do that one again without me speaking over it.
ALL THE THINGS
That's right all the things ADHD. I am Lee, your co host I am at readywriting on Twitter.
I am Aimée. Also your co host and I am at digiwonk on Twitter?
Was there something shiny out of the corner of your eyes? I What happened?
There is something shiny. It's my glass of water.
Okay, there you go see ADHD. We have a hashtag on the Twitters for this. Tag all the things at
ALL THE THINGS I can really have to stop doing that, but I can let
one more time.
ALL THE THINGS
There we go. I love it. I'm just we live in all caps, folks. We also have an email address all the things ADHD at gmail. com and we'd love to hear from you that ideas that you have for episodes questions that you have for us you know, trolls aren't welcome though so I'll be blocking your butts
And I apologize in advance for my late reply to your email everyone to fine
I'll actually be on top of it because it's a shiny new thing as opposed my other email which is old and us so like right refreshing the all the things ADHD email constantly going like this. Questions and then like the work email will just be like Hello, hello. Hello, Is this thing on? Hello. Are you there? Yeah. Alright, so um, today, what we were going to talk about along with whatever digressions we come up with as we go is that We are going to talk about can grownups really have ADHD and the misconception or the assumption that we are not ADHD but in fact, just lazy. So true. And then we will also talk about the drug stigma. drugs, drugs, drugs, which are some are good, some are bad. drugs, drugs, drugs. Ask your mom and dad.
Were thinking the same Joke. I know
Gen X men generate. Millennials are gonna be like, these ladies are crazy.
They're crazy. Or lazy. Now that or maybe we just have ADHD or
Yeah, that is that is the official diagnosis after all,
hashtag no stigma
ADHD Awareness Month. All right. So and we've touched this. We've talked about this in in our other episodes as well, but there really is this idea of laziness. Right? Yeah.
So ADHD is a neurological disorder, right. And so the theory is because the treatment making the drug, the pharmaceutical treatment mechanisms address, a sort of, like, insufficient supply of dopamine in the brain, right? Or there's this theory that the neurotransmitters don't fire in quite the same way which leads to the sort of like, a toe bursts of over attention or in attention or sort of physical fidgeting, or all these other things. And, and so it is a neurological difference that presents as an incapacity to focus attention, right. But how it is described in culture is usually in moralistic terms.
Right. And, and so the popular discourse around ADHD tends to really focus on blaming the mother. Right? Always because ADHD is also framed largely as a disorder of childhood in which case the parents are at fault, right? This idea that, you know, kids these days, you know, They just need a good woman. Young they still right? Like in my day kids behave like this are these parents today they're too permissive or there's a sort of, like distrust of like Big Pharma this often comes from your anti Vax people hashtag Don't be an anti Vax are sort of saying, like, you're medicating these children and turning them into zombies like so, the whole discussion in the sort of public and popular realm is dominated by moralizing. Right? Where, where what is a neurological difference is sort of framed as a behavioral problem, or worse as a character problem, right? Whereas a parenting problem or more broadly, generational social problem, and so it's really difficult, actually, you know, to talk about ADHD as a kind of medical thing, right? If there's something in your head that works differently in ways that disadvantage you in daily life, right. We know it's more like you're a bad person. And if you tried harder or if you're, you know, parents had watched Yeah, a little bit more of your teachers had better control in the classroom then. Right. And that's I think a lot of that stigma comes from that moralizing.
Yeah. And and I think that there's, you know, and I think there's a lot of pressure from various various parts. I think that big pharma thing, and I don't think it's just for manufacturers, right. I mean, there's a lot of people where it's just like, they've they've The, the, the medical, sort of the the pharmaceutical companies have made up this disorder in order to sell more pills. Right. Right. Or, there's also well, in and you talked about this as well about how went straight for the structural. Right. Yeah, well, it's the way they've built the schools now, right, where our education system has has been set up and, and then my thing was, and I didn't really get it, but like, again, because I have ADHD, and then my my child getting diagnosed with it, you know, you start having the moralization as well, where it's sort of like if I could just homeschool my kids Have to medicate them. Or if I just sent my kid to Montessori school or Waldorf school, then I wouldn't even medicate them.
So to a private school where there's no sort of like, legislative reach around, you know, the rights to fair and equitable education for everybody, right? Sure. Just Yeah.
And that I can't afford anyways. Right right. Like I can't afford it. There's no way I can afford that. And and I don't like oh my god, like, homeschool like, and this is no value judgments. I have to say this, but like homeschooling my children is my nightmare.
Like, but Dude, I have a job.
Well, it's a full time job. When is this homeschooling happening with incredibly impatient daughter? Incredibly impatient me, right? Like, yeah. This is total nightmare.
Yeah. Well, yeah. And I mean, I realized that homeschooling is my nightmare because it's all the things I can't do. be organized. Stay on. And have my children actually listened to me. No, no, you know what I mean? And I'm not interesting to them. Right, my mom.
All right, so look, look what we've just said. We started talking about kids again.
Yeah, no, it's true.
But can grownups really have ADHD? Well, Lee, will not surprise you to know I've done some research into this. Some fairly extensive, you know, research, probably 30 peer reviewed articles.
I'm so glad that I that we're doing because my ADHD is such that I'm like, I found two people N equals two. So yes, the answer is great answers.
So this is good. You can handle the email and I will like read the entire Internet.
Yes, good. Excellent. That to me is the most fairest trade off I've ever heard in my life.
I Oh my god, I'm so glad about this. So what happens? So there have been attention Difficulties like since time immemorial. Right. They are exacerbated structurally by the advent of formal schooling, and by compulsory education, right, compulsory public education where even students who will struggle in a classroom are put into classrooms and the mainline medical or pharmaceutical treatments for ADHD have been known since the 50s. Right? drugs have been in use since the 50s for these purposes, but ADHD enters the kind of medical and psychological lexicon only in the 1980s right as a DD attention deficit disorder and then it becomes in you know, the next version ADHD and so over the period of the 80s the disorder is like in some sense being created right? Like if we're thinking about the social model of disability right that the disorder that we have come to know under this name is created discursive Lee right in the medical profession which is sort of aided and abetted by you know, pharmaceutical companies around The kind of like packaging and repackaging and marketing of these sort of well known drugs, but so it's a conjunction of like a need, right? The medical discourse around diagnosis, and a legitimate and efficacious pharmaceutical treatment. So if we get this sort of explosion, right, an epidemic of add among white boys, white middle class boys, right,
You know, because what happens to poor kids or two children of color, they're just criminalized, right? And when it happens to girls, it doesn't count. No one has thought to look for it in girls, right? So a lot of middle class white boys are being diagnosed in the 80s. And because it's all children being diagnosed, because they're being sort of disruptive in the school system that makes it very difficult for them to succeed in which kind of for grounds their difficulties, right. That's what an ADHD becomes a sort of disorder of childhood, right. And they created in these particular ways, and the idea was, they're going to grow out of it.
Yeah, right. Yeah.
As it turns out, like most of them didn't. Yes, like over 60% of people with the childhood diagnosis of ADHD continue to manifest symptoms of ADHD into adulthood. I mean, and it may be that some people are able sort of to behaviorally manage their deficits and challenges. It may be that some people are diagnosed as children when they don't actually have ADHD, right. Like the research is not like super clear on Yeah, it's something you can grow out over something you can cope with, or something that was misdiagnosed in childhood, right.
but the stories around that have always been its children. And it's a moral failure. And so adults, I mean, it's interesting the the millennials right there, the group, right, that really sort of got all these diagnoses and then, you know, kept taking their drugs through high school and still needed them as they went to university and this kind of, like unfortunate effect of people selling their Ritalin and, and, and possibly, also, maybe some overdiagnosis, particularly actually among upper middle class children. Because the idea was that these drugs that you could get made you a better student, right, so that if you were, you know, neurologically disadvantaged, they could bring you up to baseline. But if you were neurotypical, and you took it, you could work for 15 hours without going to the bathroom. Right? So, I'm just reading a book right now. It's kind of popular memoir called, I can't remember, I guess we'll have to put the name in the blog. But the author there is like, I was trying to finish a novel for my publisher. And so I was taking high strength off label prescription diet pills. And what she means is amphetamines, what she's taking ADHD meds, right. And so there's been some diversion of these pills. And there's been like, you know, college age kids continuing to use these pills as like, very slowly, we're coming to understand ADHD is something that can continue to affect adults.
And it's even hard for those adults to understand themselves as having ADHD because they've understood themselves that the disorder is something terrible, right? It only happen Two kids and so you don't recognize yourself in that representation. I'm not a you know, I'm not a middle class white boy kicking your classmates. I don't have ADHD, right? Like people say, the autism community say like, I can't have autism. I'm not a man. What idea that gets stuck in your head of what that disorder looks like. And if you don't match that picture, you will reject your own diagnosis, right? And that heavy moralizing around like your bad people with bad parents and for self control and only, like, just try harder, you would do better. So there's like this kind of like moralizing soup, and very poor tests for adults with ADHD, is that they use the term two tests, right? Like, can your mom fill out this form? What happened 40 years ago? Like Yeah, like, how reliable is that and, and so you don't really settle in.
And those forms. Yeah, and those forms Sorry to interrupt.
It those forms, in a lot of cases because I've have experienced with those forums reflect a male presentation of at ADHD? Sure they do. And none of my teachers, none of my teachers ever, ever would have filled out that form in a way that would have shown me is having ADHD.
Yeah. And the only ones who would were the ones who really hated me.
And I would never would have asked them of. Right. And so it's so it's and again, we know that it's more increasingly women now who are being diagnosed as adults because we just weren't diagnosed as children. We all got missed. Yeah, because what it was looking for us, right?
Well, you know, there's this kind of like, double bind where, like, you'll say to people, like I, you know, I am seeking treatment for this because, you know, like, I can't, I don't I never pay my bills on time and like, I can report it to credit agencies like for no reason because I just can't get my shit together or like, I've never get the permission. slips back to school and I'm late with all my stuff. And then people say, Oh, yeah, I mean, but everybody's like that. Right. So on the one hand, there's a sort of trivialization of symptoms that are like really distressing when you suffer from them. People like oh, everybody's like that, but like they're not though, right? There's that realization, but on the other hand, there's this, like, if you actually had ADHD, it would be the worst thing in the world, right? Like it would mean you're out of control and be like, you're lazy. Like there's a book that I'm not lazy, crazy or stupid, right? So you're lazy, crazy or stupid. If you have these things, like, you know, you tell people your symptoms, and they're like, oh, everybody's like that. Don't worry about it. They said, like, well, I actually have ADHD and I'm like, but you can't because ADHD is this terrible thing. Right? And so we're all just kind of stuck around sort of like the the medical and also moral legitimacy of the diagnosis. Yeah, right. Before you get treatment,
Yeah, seriously, and and the whole thing like, the amount of times like I'd be a millionaire if I had a quarter For every time somebody either implied or explicitly called me lazy when I was a kid,
Yeah, like, I would be millionaire. Like it was just like this was I was a lazy kid. That's what I was. I was the lazy kid in the family.
You know, I people used to make sort of like moral judgments about me as well, because it was clear I was doing everything at the last minute and still succeeding, which I would say did not inculcate particularly healthy work habits and me know, but it was like, meaning is framed as like, you're an arrogant show off. Yeah. Right. Because you're not even trying. Yeah. You're just doing everything at the last minute and doing fine. In fact, like the worst thing that anyone has ever said to me that like I keep sort of blurting out as the worst thing anyone's ever said to me, because it's like, at the top of my mind all the time was like one university professor who said to me by masters, you can't post on good looks and charm forever. Right? was a way of saying like, you're all hat a no head. Yeah. Yeah. That I it hit me where I live, right, which is like Oh no. She's seen it right? Yeah, I am lazy and unworthy. I don't work hard enough for this. I'm faking everything right. The worst!
Yeah. And I mean, I used to I did all my stuff at the last minute. And I had one and if I didn't care, but I took this challenge at one time I was it was an economics class, and everybody said that if you didn't stay on top of the homework, you would fail the class. And I said, Oh, so so. So, um, because I wasn't interested in it at all right, like I did. It was one of those courses. It's like, I have to take some sort, of course to fill out my Gen ed requirements in this particular area. And this is the only thing that fits my schedule. So I'll take macro economics.
Is it because you left it too late to register and had no other choices?
No, no, no, no, it was. Me. Yeah. No, no. We had various This was still when you had to, like show up to register. And I was, I was a swimmer. And so I was very limited in terms of my in terms of my class choices because I had to, like, make my schedule around when I swam, right, which I was never on time for either. So that's another thing. Um, and so and so I ended up taking this economics class, and I barely went, I never really did the homework. I sort of studied the night before. But I managed I think I get like a 78 or an 80 in it. Which, like,
did you hate yourself then?
No, no, I didn't actually I was like, really proud of myself. But I was also like, 17 and full of shit, right? Like,
it is the nature of 17. Yeah, right. Right.
Like I was like, I'm gonna show you all you guys and sort of show the teacher but so I went to get my grade from from the professor. And he looked at me and he's like, you know, just like you could have done so much better if you just applied yourself.
Oh my god right
now Yeah, I was like, DAMN IT.
I didn't just take a moment and think, though about how toxic it is to basically say to someone like you're not living up to your potential
Right because I think a lot of us hear that all the time. Like if all need started this have it sooner.
Like you know, you have so much potential if you could just apply yourself and it just leaves us in this position I think of always feeling like we're just existentially disappointing people you know, if there's something inside of us to which we owe a responsibility that we are failing to fulfill
right. So puts you at war with yourself. I didn't even people think they're being like kind to maybe motivational to say like, you know, you could do better like your live up to your potential. apply yourself as if I'm not like, really trying so hard to like, get this minimum. Last minute be plus thing done, right? And just some things like I actually have no potential, like I find that so toxic and hurtful.
Well, and it and it's this fine balance because at a certain point like for me, I know that, you know, I let go of something I let go of a long time ago, for better or for worse was perfectionism. Right? Like it was one of those fuck it moments.
Like, just like and so one of the reasons I'm also a very productive writer is because I care, but not that much,
But not that much. Yeah, I love blogging for that. Yeah, it was like, oh, like people really like my blog posts and like, have like a bajillion readers on hook and I and people always like coming up to the republican like, Oh, I could never do that. I'm like, I did that like half an hour before I posted it because like, I didn't book time to do it.
Just be like, talking and and that sort of challenge and discipline, I mean discipline, such as it is, you see these blog posts, where you just like kind of spew it. And I always edit them. Like it maybe doesn't seem like it. But I do.
For clear like I do rearrange the paragraphs and change the sentences and I'm like I want the arc to be like this but I do it incredibly fast and and that has been actually really liberating for me to write like that. Now just bring that to all my writing, just like
Yeah. So we're going to pause here now. And we're going to pick it up next episode where we're going to start talking about medication. Since we digress too much before we got to talk about all of the drugs, how those drugs impact us how drugs are perceived, and the different kinds of drugs that they take that we can take or have taken the effect that they have. So join us next time on all the things ADHD. You can email us at all the things email@example.com visit our website at all the things adhd.com or tag us in Twitter and Use the hashtag all the things ADHD. Until next time, I'm going to use my little catchphrase that I mended just for today, which is try to stay focused. Have a good day. Bye