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OP-ED: I Am “Normalizing” My ADHD by Using It as an Excuse to Get Out of Things


Photo by Jackson Parli / The Daily Pennsylvanian

As someone who suffered for years from depression, anxiety, and a disease where I can’t stop eating gummy worms, I’ve always tried to be an advocate for mental health. According to some social science research journal somewhere probably, “stigma against ADHD has increased 10000% percent in the past 2 months” (Fauci, 2021). 

Every day, I try to normalize my ADHD by using it as an excuse to get out of things. Whether it’s going to class, taking out the garbage, or even getting my mom a birthday present, you can count on me to weaponize … I mean explain … how my ADHD has prevented me from doing my daily tasks. Some may ask, “Jackson, don’t you take meds for that?” To which I respond, “Mental health is complicated, so no, I cannot take out the garbage, and it’s pretty rude of you to ask.”

An important part of the normalization process is to demonstrate how ADHD affects everyone differently. For instance, while other people with ADHD may do things like cook for themselves or spend time with their friends, I make sure to go out of my way to present a completely unreliable demeanor.

In addition, my ADHD also gets me accommodations in school, including notes that are taken for me in my classes. Although I do have access to these, I simply refuse to read them on the grounds that they are boring. Not enough people are speaking about this in the Penn community, and I refuse to be silenced.

In conclusion, I am a warrior and a crusader for the fight to normalize mental health, and no, I cannot clean my dinner off the dining room table because I am having a “bad brain day”.