My Channel was a Bit Ableist When I Started
May 28, 2022 6:36 PM   Subscribe

How to ADHD is a channel/website by Jessica McCabe, who talks about her life with ADHD. It started with a TEDTalk about six years ago, but she posted a video a few weeks ago reviewing the internalized ableism that was part of that talk, and how she's trying to do something a little different going forward. Highly relevant for anyone who struggles with disability. (slyt, 12:58, some jump cuts, works well as audio-only)
posted by curious nu (12 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
I really enjoyed this video when I saw it a while back. Simply put – you are good enough. You don't need to change to be enough. The endless treadmill of strategies to try to resemble the neurotypical and fit in the box may help you, but they're not required. You can just be.
posted by lookoutbelow at 12:18 AM on May 29 [4 favorites]

TED Talk, for those who'd like the link.
posted by MollyRealized at 1:32 AM on May 29

This message needs to be louder. Especially when we're first getting diagnosed and starting meds. The meds are wonderful, and you can try different ones and different doses to try to optimize them, but at the end of the day, after the meds and all the strategies, you're still going to have a disability that you need to accept and work around. And how things go for you is still going to partly depend on how much others are willing to accommodate you. I like to tell people the effect of the medications is like going from having migraines to having regular headaches. It's not really a cure, but you're a lot less miserable and a lot more functional. But you still have ADHD.
posted by antinomia at 4:12 AM on May 29 [14 favorites]

This is a really lovely video, thanks for posting.
posted by warriorqueen at 7:49 AM on May 29

Thank you for the TED Talk link, MollyRealized. Bonus: It has a transcript for those of us who are hard of hearing, who absorb information more readily by reading it rather than by listening to it, or who are just plain impatient. (The transcript also is available in Croatian, Portuguese, Slovencina, Arabic and Japanese.)
posted by virago at 9:28 AM on May 29 [3 favorites]

As someone on the spectrum, married to someone on the spectrum, I will admit that managing people who are chronically late due to ADHD has been a real challenge for me.

I own and manage a fruit and flower farm (no, not those kinds of flowers). There are certain things that need to be done as a team. There are certain tasks that need to be done at certain times, because nature, the sun, and the temporal limits of the day require it. What then am I to do with people who are never on time?

I am genuinely looking for tips, techniques and guidance. I want to be inclusive and accommodating, yet the need to be at a certain place at a certain time is a fundamental work requirement on a farm.
posted by birdsongster at 11:41 AM on May 29

@birdsongster, I have ADHD and manage several people with ADHD, and have been fortunate that in my field I can accommodate them and even create an environment where they can excell, but I wouldn't be able to do that in every field and every business. There are some jobs that cannot accommodate every disability, and it's ultimately their responsibility to meet the commitments they made when they took the job.

It may be that the best thing you can do for them is help them not have those responsibilities any more, either by further accomodations in your business, or by helping them find another job elsewhere.
posted by AstroCatCommander at 12:14 PM on May 29 [8 favorites]

Thank you AstroCatCommander, I appreciate your comments.
posted by birdsongster at 1:40 PM on May 29 [1 favorite]

I don't think I will ever get to the point of accepting me for me and being okay as I am and being enough as is. The rest of the world keeps informing me that I'm not, and frankly I can't deal with that disconnect. People are going to have expectations and I am going to keep on not meeting them--how am I supposed to be okay with that?

I'm not specifically saying this in the context of "I got diagnosed with something," because lord knows I was not when I tried. But there are expectations in the world and it's not unreasonable to think that you need to live up to them and to have that screw with your brain when you can't.

I'm glad she's finding self-acceptance somehow, but to me that seems like asking to get a live pet unicorn to show up in my yard.
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:40 PM on May 30 [5 favorites]

Ooof. Yeah. I struggle with this, because I know that I have a boatload of internalized ablism, and I know internalized ablism really shapes my feelings about things. But I also have to live in the world that exists right now, and I also have to live in a world which is mostly comprised of neurotypical people (or people who are neurodiverse in a different way than I am.) And that means that I have to try to be different, because I need a job, and I want human connection, and nobody owes me their friendship. So I dunno. In some abstract way, I know that I am good enough, but I feel like that's kind of a meaningless platitude, because it's hard for me to imagine a world where who I am would actually be good enough. And maybe some day we'll achieve that world, but it definitely doesn't exist right now.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:26 PM on May 30 [6 favorites]

"Everyone is worthy of love and basic care" is an article of faith--you can't reason yourself into accepting it. Where I find some dissonance is "...therefore I don't need to stress about working on myself," because I think most people do need to work on themselves, but I recognize the context is somewhat different.
posted by praemunire at 4:36 PM on May 30 [1 favorite]

I appreciate all of you contributing to the comments. I also have ADHD, PTSD, Depression, and to a lesser extent, anxiety. My wife also has ADHD, Anxiety, and Depression and may have Autism. 2 of my sons has ADHD, one also has Autism. To make things more ironic, I am also a mental health counselor.

I think like most of us who grew up with ADHD in a time where it was less understood (that would be the 1980's and 1990's for me), we usually ended up masking due to ableist mindsets. Or, for any of us who had some success in school, there was the ol' chestnut "How did you get your Masters? You have ADHD". I literally did not start college until I was 32, because I thought I was too stupid and lazy to go, due to the internalization that happened from my mother and my emotionally abusive stepfather. I also got "what is wrong with you, why can't you be like everyone else". Those types of statements have caused some bitterness to callous neurotypical people.

You can also probably guess the populations I work with (ADHD, Autism, PTSD, Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar, Substance Abuse). There are so many times when new patients that I have that tends to be either "why can't you be like everyone else" or "you have great gifts, but I don't like dealing with you when you're frustrated". The phrase is emotional dysregulation and it is a physiological phenomenon that we struggle with. I do almost every day.

If you have to deal with people who tell you you're not enough, understand that is not true. None of us here
think that way, and we know trying to get out of that mindset is difficult. You are all worthy. You are are originally wonderful because each one of you is uniquely you. Remember that when you are down. There are plenty of us and we support you.
posted by Chocomog at 11:34 AM on May 31 [6 favorites]

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