Self-advocacy and Accountability in a neurotypical world

tl;dr: ADHD is an explanation not an excuse.

These are some of my thoughts and feelings about ADHD, accountability and self-advocacy (and agency).

I have to put my hand up for a lot of my apathetic behaviours, where I knew what the right thing was to do but did nothing out of cowardice, smeared with rejection sensitive dysphoria, tainted with my own insecurities and my undiagnosed untreated mental health.

– I have never been “the bully”….. but I have passively-aggressively come at people and dug at people and got short with people. I have helped plot against others with others and coerced others to join in. I have said things to people to get them to be more agreeable. I have actively gone out of my way, to do things, in order to get people to like me or to get them to do something for me.

I put my hand up that I am accountable for my mental health and how my negligence in my
self-care also impacts others who care about me – I accept that I have let people down.
Even with just reason, I also think it wise to know when it’s OK to let other people down. It’s OK to be selfish, to not feel ashamed about being fallibly human.

I will take ownership that I still do these things unknowingly repeating what I have observed and thought was OK as it was normalized around me. Monkey see? Monkey do?

It is hard to pin exactly the blame or accountability for many things I do as a result of living with ADHD. But there is a lot of things I do unknowingly do that I already suffer the consequences of,
and that is from being undiagnosed, untreated, depressed and anxious. No mental health tools, I had a empty mental health tool kit, with exception to a few participation stickers for “team building exercises” and a couple of positive self-taught self-coping, self-soothing mechanisms.

It’s hard to unlearn behaviour of trying to compensate for living with untreated ADHD. As much as I want to take ownership of those things – I need people to also meet me half way. That some of these things I do cannot be changed, that to deny that is to be wilfully ignorant of what ADHD is.

It’s not my fault my teachers, group leaders, bosses, class mates, friends and family don’t know about ADHD and it’s many presentations. Or do not have the tools or know how to deal with people who have mental health conditions that require accommodations and special requests that are at consequence of caring for someone with mental health – a burden I never want to bestow upon anyone – but there it is starring us all in the face, that living with ADHD does make me disabled.
As much as it is a part of my self. It also disables me – it stops me from participating how you would expect of me. There are obstacles that I did not create all around me that I have to navigate in order to keep up. Those obstacles are not my fault – it is only my job as my duty to myself to accept that they are there for me. I have to acknowledge and it is my job to understand my obstacles and do my best to get past them.

Saying No. Being strong and standing with your truths should be your boundary and your guide.
But it is not an excuse for our poor behaviour. Acting out. Hurting others unnecessarily.

And it is the duty of others to at least be considerate or mindful that those disabilities are there for people out there, and we can’t always tell you what they are, or what we need or how to help. That learning, being patient, being understanding, trying to understand others perspectives does not take much from you as much you would probably appreciate that same respect.


Published by Jenn has ADHD

Jenn Parker, New Zealand. ADHD Advocate and Peer.

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