Because ADHD isn’t just jokes.


BrainI know a large number of individuals who have adult ADHD (yes, as adults!). It’s a part of me that I always like to know people fully. So, that has recently opened the door of understanding that this is a widely misunderstood illness.

To just clear it up for everyone who will come in and say ADHD doesn’t exist:
1) No, not everyone who can’t pay attention has ADHD. Not everyone who makes poor choices has ADHD. Not every child is taught how to treat others, and they may not have ADHD. But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist just because you haven’t been around it. So don’t judge the mother in the grocery store with the “naughty” kid.
2) ADHD symptoms can be made worse by a number of things: allergies, chemicals in food and in products, and even by some medication. So if people are particular about things, don’t tell them they are weird. You may not know why they do what they do. Be a bit flexible and help out!
3) Medicine is right for some people, and not right for others. But unless you have been there, you shouldn’t really give that opinion to someone who is there.

What a neuro-typical brain sees in someone with ADHD is often someone who doesn’t think things through before speaking (“What, are they stupid??” No, they’re often brilliant.), someone who can only make jokes and will forget what they were talking about (chronically…not like every once and a while), someone who is just “emotional” often, and someone who is generally everyone’s favorite person at the party.

But what makes me sad is that the people who make jokes, or say that they have ADHD because they stopped paying attention, or exile people because they don’t think just like they do, often don’t actually understand how lonely it is to have the illness.

So that being said, here is something that I have found very insightful as someone who doesn’t have ADHD, but loves people who do. I hope it’s helpful to you too.

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Written by a child with ADHD:

Take My Hand

Take my hand and come with me
I want to teach you about ADHD
I need you to know, I want to explain,
I have a very different brain
Sights sounds and thoughts collide
What to do first? I can’t decide
Please understand I’m not to blame
I just can’t process things the same

Take my hand and walk with me
Let me show you about ADHD
I try to behave, I want to be good
But I sometimes forget to do as I should
Walk with me and wear my shoes
You’ll see its not the way I’d choose
I do know what I’m supposed to do
But my brain is slow getting the message through

Take my hand and talk with me
I want to tell you about ADHD
I rarely think before I talk
I often run when I should walk
It’s hard to get my school work done
My thoughts are outside having fun
I never know just where to start
I think with my feelings and see with my heart

Take my hand and stand by me
I need you to know about ADHD
It’s hard to explain but I want you to know
I can’t help letting my feelings show
Sometimes I’m angry, jealous or sad
I feel overwhelmed, frustrated and mad
I can’t concentrate and I loose all my stuff
I try really hard but it’s never enough

Take my hand and learn with me
We need to know more about ADHD
I worry a lot about getting things wrong
everything I do takes twice as long
everyday is exhausting for me
Looking through the fog of ADHD
I’m often so misunderstood
I would change in a heartbeat if I could

Take my hand and listen to me
I want to share a secret about ADHD
I want you to know there is more to me
I’m not defined by it you see
I’m sensitive, kind and lots of fun
I’m blamed for things I haven’t done
I’m the loyalist friend you’ll ever know
I just need a chance to let it show

Take my hand and look at me
Just forget about the ADHD
I have real feelings just like you
The love in my heart is just as true
I may have a brain that can never rest
But please understand I’m trying my best
I want you to know, I need you to see
I’m more than the label, I am still me!!!!

By Andrea Chesterman-Smith

…because love wins.

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Why you should let people go.


A little while ago there was an app called “Who Deleted Me?” It was designed by Anthony Kuske, whose Twitter profile says he’s from the UK and “makes websites and stuff.” This app was one of those things. The purpose of said app was to do just that – tell people who had deleted them on facebook.

Facebook is a weird, strange, awesome, and dumb thing all at once. We get to connect with anyone virtually anywhere around the world. But at the same time, we can also see all kinds of things that are left to our own imagination. Because let’s be honest – no one is as happy as their profile picture all of the time. And thinking they are can ruin your life.

So then what do we do when one of our used-to-be best friends decides they’re done and we’re not friends anymore? And then what happens when you find that out through a crazy little app? Well, if you cared, it probably sucks pretty badly. If you don’t, you’ll probably have an easier time with what I’m about to say.

If someone doesn’t want to love you, or be your friend, or doesn’t build you up even when they are your friend, it’s time to let them go. Yeah, not that easy, right? Well, it sort of is.

Why would you want to be friends with an enemy you have? Would you call up the kid who picked on you in second grade and ask them to be your best friend? No, I certainly don’t think you would. Sorry to say, but when your friend walked away (and in a dramatic way like a facebook delete to prove a point without a real conversation) they entered the same category. Either they didn’t appreciate you, or they think they will have a better life elsewhere.

I’ve had people die in my life, and I’ve had people walk away. When I was younger, both destroyed me. Now, only death hurts me. Because I only keep camp with the people who I really know love me and who will let me love them back. And it’s okay to know that someone walking away isn’t your fault. It’s the walking person’s fault.

So, if they walked away, don’t chase them. And don’t let them come back. If they cared, and they were someone to want around, they never would have left to begin with. You’re worth more than being someone’s option. They chose to have you let them go, so let them go. And don’t apologize for knowing your worth.

Strong is beautiful – you are beautiful. Smile and do something you love. Because you weren’t worth letting go.

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…because love wins.

Beauty, beauty.


Your life is your lesson. You can’t change what people say to you, how they handle your quirks and imperfections, or even sometimes what you say when you’re not thinking. But you can learn. You can grow. And you can take everything we learned in school and make yourself the student, and life the teacher. Your life is your lesson. And you’re getting straight A’s.

…because love wins.

To look back.


I’ve been through enough big things that I’ve learned the value of being able to look back on what was hard. I’ve learned that it always passes, but that the lessons stay. Tonight I was looking at some pictures with my mom. On my 21st birthday I could hardly stay awake in the car on the way to my birthday gathering. I was just so down and fatigued. Just depressed.

She said, “Those are some pretty deep, dark days to look back on.”

Yes, they are. And I’m so happy to be looking back, not being in them.

…because love wins.

Mental Illness and Jesus


So I’m crazy. 

At least that’s what society says. Of course the stigmas of depression have continued to improve as years pass by and we can see that people all around the world have it, but still, there are lot of people who don’t understand mental illness. Either because they have it and don’t know, or they just don’t have it. Which is awesome. 🙂

But for those of us who do understand and are also Christians, there is this post.

So I have mental illness all around me. As you know (hey frequent readers!) I myself have been diagnosed with depression. I’ve got anxiety, more anxiety, addiction, and ADHD hanging out in other people in my family and friends. And it’s a new learning experience every day.

First thing’s first. Jesus CAN fix anything. He totally can. Prayer works, and you should keep praying, no, matter, what. There have been plenty of times when I have been hopeless for the people around me with mental illness. And by nature of depression, I was pretty hopeless for a long time for myself. But, I have learned to not relent. God wants us to keep knocking on that door until He opens it. He desires healing – he desires peace for us. But, that doesn’t always mean that He’s going to answer in the way that we think He will. He’s going to answer in the way that is most effective for bringing us to Him.

I will tell you, being mentally ill will bring a person to Jesus. There’s not a lot more to do without actually going crazy. Trying to help someone with anxiety, depression, or ADHD will as well. And you know what? I’m thankful for that. Some of us are on meds. I used to think that they weren’t necessary. Jesus humbled me…sometimes that’s the tool he wants to use. Sometimes the meds can’t do it all and there’s some serious soul-digging that has to happen.

But through it all, Jesus is king. He knows that mental illness is just another piece of the fallen world, and the truth remains the truth – He has freedom for us. We may not know how healing will come in earthly terms, but we do know that it will come from Jesus.

Anyway…if you’re ill, or someone you know is, don’t give up. Beg for strength, mercy, healing. Keep your eyes on the goal. You may need to change the plan to get to the goal, but walk in with a shield of love, and see that healing will come, in some way. It will. So rest in that. You’re not at all alone.

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…because love wins.

“I suffer with depression.”


“It’s the stigma that makes you hold it in and you hide it, because the stigma around depression in our society is very real. Unfortunately we live in a world where if you break your arm, everyone runs to sign your cast. But when you say you have depression, they run away. We can’t procrastinate on something this important.”

This, my friend says it all really well. Please watch – understand depression.

Depression is real. It’s not weak.

Depression

…because love wins.

This is what depression feels like.


Wake up.
Crap. I hate this. I don’t even want to get up. 
Lay there. Try to sleep again.
Can’t sleep. This sucks. Why even get up? I hate everything anyway. 
Alarm goes off again.
Just…no. 

Deep breath.
Well, I have to. People expect it. But *sigh* nothing is good. 

The feeling sinks more in as the tired wears off and the reality that there is no energy to come shows up again. Another day, after another night where you thought you’d go to bed and wake up okay. Another morning where you cannot understand why you can’t get it together.

I don’t want to brush my teeth. 
Sit on couch. Stare out window. No thoughts.
I can’t brush my teeth.
Lays back down.
Please, don’t let anyone come and talk to me.

Mom shows up. “Time to get up!”
She makes me so mad, but okay.

I can’t do this. 

The fog grows darker and darker as you realize that you haven’t the strength to even get dressed, let alone try to put on a disposition that you care about something in the world. The fog that takes away what you do enjoy, and leaves you begging to just enjoy something again.

Get dressed from the unorganized clothes.
I’ll get to those tomorrow. 

Work.
Come on brain, concentrate. Please, just concentrate. 

Rubs eyes.
Can’t concentrate. WHY CAN’T I THINK!? 
What’s even the point? 

Tears.
Phone call to mom.
I can’t do this. 

“You can do this.”

I can’t do this. I can’t do this. I can’t do this. 

The walls start to crash in. You feel like an idiot because nothing is wrong, but everything feels dead, teary-eyed, and purposeless. You want someone to call and check on you but you couldn’t speak with them even if they did. You’re just…exhausted.

You make it through another day, somehow.

Go home. Empty house. Feels like your heart.

Who cares about TV? Why are there always so many dishes? I hope no one calls. I have to try to get this house in order. 

Sit on couch. Exhaustion piles on thick. Tired eyes, no reason to stand up, achy body, and every negative thought ever.

You won’t be able to do this. All of your friends are going to leave. Your family won’t want to be around you. You can’t be real with these people or else you’ll just sit here like this really alone. You’re a mess; get it together. 

No dishes, no cleaning, just begging for bedtime. But knowing 7pm will always be too early. Lay there awake and in aching misery for a while more. Cry, if you’re not too tired to.

Please, God, let it be better tomorrow. 

——

I find that a lot of people have no idea what depression feels like. Oftentimes, it’s a joke. “Why don’t they just get over it?” “Why don’t you just be thankful for some things?” “Clean your room; open some blinds!” “Just call a friend.”

But I just couldn’t. No one with serious depression can. In all honesty, to have depression and not kill yourself sometime during the day is a huge feat. And it’s not pretend. It’s devastatingly real. So real that I would rather go through every day of chemotherapy and amputation instead.

People who stay alive in this aren’t a mess – they’re stronger than you’ll ever know.

So here’s to hope. If you don’t understand depression, please do. Know if your friends and family are depressed. If they’re not calling you back, it might because they need you to go to their house and help them. Clean their house until they can do it again on their own. Never tell them they’re a mess – they’ve already got all the problems evident enough.

If you do understand depression, and you’ve been there, you’re not alone. You are never, ever alone. I know how you feel, and I now, for the first time in my entire life, am not fighting the negative screaming in my head. I’m alive, and you will be too.

Just comment here if you need help. I can help you know what to do.

Don’t give up. You are not ever alone.

…because love wins.

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I have depression.


I have depression.
But I am not depression. 

I am not a foggy thought.
I am not a worried eye.
I am not an aimless tear.
I am not a useless try.
I am not my frustration.
I am not just lazy.
I am not really mean.
I am not crazy.
I am simply me.

I have depression.
But I am not depression.

I overcome each day.
Just to get out of bed.
I wake up and say,
“I’m going to try again.”
I withhold how I feel.
And sort my self from my thoughts.
I try to be who I am.
And even if you don’t understand,
I’ll never see you for what you’re not.

I have depression.
But I am not depression.

I am open, honest, helped.
I am well.
I am stable.
I am understanding.
I am able.
I am strong.
I’ve sought light.
I’ve come to see,
That life doesn’t have to be a fight.

I have depression.
But I am not depression.

I write these things to you,
and you may know what it feels,
or you could turn and walk away.
But there is one thing to know –
whether you have depression or you don’t,
the world around you has depression,
so tell them right now that they’re not alone.

I have depression.
But I am not depression.

A little known fact about me is that my family is riddled with depression. I myself manage it, understand it, and am treated for it each day. I’m writing this honest post to share with those who have depression that you are not alone – there is hope, there is life, there is sanity beyond the fight.

I am well. I have been taken care of. This society that we live in seems to think that those with depression are muted by their medications or should be left alone to cry. But I want to silence that today, because you’ve seen me, and I’m alive.

Who I am is not pretend. I’m just finally me. So do not leave those with mental illness alone. Rather, take a moment, and help them believe.

Most importantly – I am not my depression. I am not hiding, running, fearing. I am free. If you have depression, you don’t have to live this way. Reach out just a little even if you don’t feel you have the strength. Someone will help you until you can walk again.

If you are afraid of depression, ask me about it. Seek to understand. You can no more hide than a penny in a water glass. Be kind – for you yourself may face this one day.

And if you’re taking care of your depression – I am so proud of you. And I’m not the only one.

I’m going to leave you with a video of a little girl with cancer and rotationplasty who I have been blessed to mentor. She is brilliant, and though this dance exemplifies overcoming a physical disability, it  speaks to our mental lives as well.

Back on the stage!

Share this with your friends and family and share your success stories below. And, keep smiling – on and on.

Oh, and, just don’t ever. give. up. One more breath at a time.

…because love wins.