Posted by: cmittermeier | January 22, 2014

ADHD is not your scapegoat… so grow-up!

If I need glasses to drive, but choose not to put them on and have an accident, will any judge in the world let me off?  I don’t get why so many young men I deal with seem to feel that adhd is a license to goof off, to get away with being late, forgetting homework.  Seriously folks, a diagnosis is to help you find best fit solutions – not excuse bad behaviour!  You idiots are giving the rest of us a bad reputation, and I for one don’t like it.

If I am in a wheelchair, it means I have to plan my transit routes differently, it does not mean you can never use transit.  The same holds true for adhd. A scapegoat is something that is meant to bear the blame for another.  Never let ADHD be your scapegoat.  Got a problem, welcome to the rest of the world.  We all have problems.  The answer will be different because you have adhd, not that there is no solution.  The solutions for other people may not work for you – so that means you may need to search further.  Let me take you through an example.

Time management is often an issue for us.   Some folks have wonderful internal clocks that mentally go bing and tell them to tidy up their work space just before quitting time.  Most of us with adhd can’t imagine having such an internal clock.  That is why there are ALARM CLOCKS!  Like, duh, imagine that, a gadget that will actually fill in the gap in ability… but there’s a problem.  You see, when I’m in hyper-focus (one of the benefits of ADHD, we can super-concentrate), I won’t hear many alarm clocks.  The only alarm in my house I will not ignore is the kitchen timer.  The “don’t burn food” trigger in my brain means it will cut through even my strongest zone moments.    I went through roughly 10 different alarms to find that out.  But just hearing the alarm isn’t the end of it for some.  Yes, hearing the alarm now means we have to make a conscious choice to stop what we are doing, put it away and follow the plan.  Too hard you say?  To which I counter, why?  Be honest folks, I’m not asking a silly question here.

Get real with yourself… why can’t you turn off the tv, or game, or iPod and move on to what you should be doing?  If its MORE interesting, its easy to turn it off, so obviously the next task is LESS interesting.  Less interesting can still trigger adrenaline and get us going if the negative pay-off for missing it is worse… like when we have to pay our tuition or face a hefty fine.  That interest scale can be mentally played with folks, you don’t have to settle with LESS all the time.  Find something in the LESS to make it MORE.  Good example, homework.  Why would homework be fun?  Well, for one, connect the dots upwards.  What does homework get you in the real world… a better job, more money in less time, access to the education you want (and though they won’t tell you in the younger grades, once you do your required courses the rest is only what you want to learn).  To explain that further… lets say you don’t like English courses.  You want to study music.  So, your English homework is the quest you must take to reach music-land where you only have to take your music classes. Yes folks, most required courses outside of your area end after one or two credits.  Those courses can be morphed in your mind to be the equivalent of a dragon guarding your treasure.  Another real world example… why play stack the blocks with an infant?  Because that infant grows up and then you get to play with the next generation of really cool toys.  Connect the dots folks, you aren’t choosing LESS, you’re choosing long-term MORE.

For every hiccup that is ADHD someone out there has found a work around.  The question is not can it be done, but are you willing to do it?  Are you willing to put the excuses aside and actually make a better life for yourself?  Oh, wait, I’ve lost you, you’ve gone back to your video-game…



  1. Reblogged this on Everyday Thoughts and commented:
    One of the blogs I read on the regular. Love this post 🙂

  2. Well said! I am always stressing this with Clients

  3. ACTUALLY…I am well aware of when I have problems due to ADHD and when I do not. Most of what ADHD has done is make me “quirky” in regards to how most others operate.

    I want to throw in this side topic here…

    As someone with ADHD I typically BECOME the scapegoat for people closest to me, particularly romantic partners. If we ever disagree it is ONLY because of my “mental illness” (say what???) or whatever way ADHD has me disillusioned and lost in a forest somewhere. It is NEVER a failure on their part.

    I try hard now to spot red flags denoting this type of stupidity or irresponsibility in potential partners, but it’s difficult to find that happy medium between clueless naivete and just being paranoid. So I’m learning a new skill set… 🙂

    I’m a fan of this article, but listen ADHD folks…don’t let others create shortcomings and faults for you just because you are aware of your unique wiring. It’s ignorant, unfair, and in some cases outright abusive. Own your own, and stick up for yourself when others try to get you to own theirs.

    • Your side topic is worthy of more pondering… I can’t say I’ve ever been in that spot though. I’ll pray you find the right partner!

      • Awww thank you! I don’t like being unpartnered but being abused for being quirky just isn’t worth it, yanno? And thank you for getting where I was coming from.

        And yes, similar things happen when someone has let’s say, bipolar disorder, or some other mental illness or quirk or “thing”…I see it happen a lot. I work with kids with developmental and physical disabilities (have worked with all ages of special needs) and one thing that always comes up from their own case workers and treatment teams is this idea of “acting out” because it is their way of reclaiming power when they feel powerless. Well…OR they don’t like you. OR they are a teenager and are acting like any other teenager. OR they are bored. OR you are otherwise getting on their nerves at the moment, OR just not making sense the way you are explaining it. Furthermore, most of the people I have worked with were born with their issues and know no other way, so maybe they don’t feel as powerless as you think. Well, same with ADHD. I felt fine until I was expected to assimilate into an educational group setting that expected me to behave abnormally for ME.

        Some aspects of ADHD really are a disorder for me, since attention span is just one tiny blip on my profile (which is usually the case), but most of it really is just different wiring than the majority.

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