Attention hyperactivity: ditching the ‘disorder’ and ‘deficit’

adhd text

I only recently came to the conclusion that I am ADHD.

There are so many reasons why this has only occurred to me at the blessed age of 31, and most of them are due to word usage.

Attention deficit: I only experience a deficit of attention when something is particularly boring! I am noinattentive in team meetings which make no logical sense to me. I am attentive at my postgraduate supervisory meetings because they are important, interesting, structured and to the point.

I am always attending to things, however, they are often outside of the things I would like them to be, need them to be, or others expect them to be.

I can also be very hyper attentive around subjects I find interesting. I can read for hours on end and often hyper fixate on my uni work.

The ‘deficit’ only ever comes when something rubs my demand avoidance up the wrong way (see Why I Struggle with Demands). The ‘deficit’ people experience around me are their experiences not mine, my behaviour is my own and others will make of it what they will.

The word hyperactive has always summoned up ideas of rough and tumble play, jumping about, climbing trees and running. It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to do any of that let alone had the energy for it! All the hyperactive kids I know through youth work are very much this person: easily distracted, not very organised, switching wildly between topics in conversations.

It never occurred to me that hyperactive might mean something else.

I am hyper-verbal, I talk often, I talk quickly and I will have the same conversations over and over (much to me husband’s delight!). This is to help with processing but also because I often forget who I’ve said things to!

I am also hyper-cognitive, I am always thinking, always processing. My brain never switches off and I am usually concerned with what comes next as apposed to focusing on and enjoying the here-and-now.

Then there’s ‘disorder’, a word that needs to be chucked in the bin. I am not a disordered individual, I am orderly in a fashion which suits me.

I live my life for me and the chosen few I have in my life. I am not interested in normative ideas on being ordered. I am me, exactly the way I’m meant to be, and sometimes that’s a pain in the arse, and sometimes it’s a real treat. How it is for others outside of my chosen circle is really none of my concern or my business.

So, I prefer the term Attention Hyperactive, it makes more sense to me. I am overly attentive, I am distracted easily and my brain and mouth never shut up. I am not disordered nor do I have deficits. I am a neuro-anarchist, I couldn’t be compliant even if I tried.

5 responses to “Attention hyperactivity: ditching the ‘disorder’ and ‘deficit’”

  1. […] The very first words used to describe ADHD are alarming and not particularly accurate. The words disorder, impairing and excessive are pathologising, suggesting that ADHD folk are somehow inadequate or imperfect neurotypical people. Personally, I prefer the term Attention Hyperactive for my own experiences as I don’t feel particularly disordered or deficient (see Attention Hyperactivity: ditching the disorder and deficit). […]

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