It's that time of the year again when we're all about spreading love, awareness, and understanding for our ADHD friends and community. We believe in fully embracing the uniqueness in each of us, and this month, we're shining our spotlight on a topic close to many hearts (including ours) - ADHD Awareness Month!
ADHD Awareness Month was created in 2004 by a collaboration of mental health organisations and supported by the U.S. Senate. Over the years, it quickly evolved from just a day in September to a week and, eventually, the whole month of October.
The theme for 2023 is Moving Forward With ADHD.
Orange is the colour to show your support, so you can expect to see plenty of it.
Things have come a long way over the last 25 years, but we’ve still got a long way to go as a society. The national medication shortage that our friends in the UK are currently experiencing is just one important example of this.
That’s why, this October, we're channeling our positive energy into raising awareness, breaking down stigmas, and offering support to those affected.
Why ADHD Awareness is More Important Than Ever
ADHD affects millions of individuals across the globe. Even if you aren’t personally diagnosed with it, you probably have a friend or loved one who is experiencing the reality of what it’s like to live with ADHD.
It's more than just a diagnosis; it's a journey, a unique lens through which people see the world. It can lead to revolutionary, out-of-the-box thinking, unparalleled creativity, and create real change.
ADHD has contributed to the brilliance of iconic figures like Emma Watson, Zooey Deschanel, Michael Phelp, and Justin Timberlake. And, of course, in the year of Barbie, we have to mention Greta Gerwig, who shared her ADHD diagnosis earlier this year.
But that’s just one side of the experience. While we love to spread positivity and celebrate our strengths, we do recognise the very real and very serious internal struggles that come with it.
The Reality of Living with ADHD
ADHD isn't just a buzzword or a fleeting “trend”; it's a very real experience for many every day with complex symptoms and genuine human challenges, such as:
Inattention: Imagine trying to focus on a task, but your mind feels like a pinball machine, bouncing from thought to thought. Completing simple tasks like washing up or replying to a message can feel like scaling a mountain.
Hyperactivity: When most people think of hyperactivity, they envision a child (usually a boy) bouncing off the walls. But hyperactivity can manifest internally, with a relentless stream of racing thoughts - including unhelpful ones.
Impulsivity: The urge to act on impulse is often irresistible. Hasty decisions, sudden outbursts and uncontrollable spending can often lead to unintentional consequences and regret.
Executive Dysfunction: Basic tasks like organising, planning, and time management can feel impossible. Even with the best intentions, it can often look like disinterest or laziness.
Emotional Dysregulation: Managing emotions can be a rollercoaster. From intense mood swings to dealing with Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria (RSD), where even a hint of perceived criticism can feel like a crushing blow, ADHDers definitely have a lot of feelings.
Despite a whole community sharing similar symptoms and behaviours, ADHD is still heavily stigmatised, and the media loves to spread myths and misconceptions (even from so-called psychotherapists).
The best way to combat this? Education.
Raising awareness is really about educating yourself and others.
How To Raise Awareness For ADHD
Join us here at PÓG in spreading positivity, fostering empathy, and building bridges of understanding as we dive into the wonderful world of ADHD awareness and some of the incredible ways we can make a difference.
It's time to spread a little extra love and understanding this October!
1. Educate Yourself
Knowledge is a powerful tool that can help break down stereotypes and build empathy - and it all starts with you! To raise awareness in the right way, you first need to build your own understanding.
To understand the actual science, your best bet is to read up on the latest research, books, and resources put out by professional organisations. This can be a fascinating exploration (or hyperfixation), especially if you have any interest in neuroscience or what makes people tick.
To see how it affects people’s everyday lives, social media is an obvious choice, but also look for personal articles in magazines and platforms like Medium, podcasts, and YouTube channels.
As you’re learning, pay attention to any of your own biases or believed misconceptions that pop up. Deconstructing these will make it easier to educate others who may have the same thoughts.
2. Share Personal Stories (Your Own & Others)
Personal stories are incredibly powerful and have the power to change the world. This is what connects us and builds community.
If you’re an ADHDer yourself, share your experiences, the good and the bad. By opening up, you create a safe space for others to do the same. Finding shared experiences can help combat loneliness and raise awareness, especially in a community that typically spends most of its lives asking “What the hell is wrong with me?”.
It can also help those undiagnosed to recognise their symptoms and seek the help they need and deserve (which is a good thing, despite what the media says).
For everyone else, don’t forget to amplify the voices of those who've bravely shared their ADHD journeys. Retweeting or sharing a post to your story takes seconds, but can make all the difference.
Let their stories be heard and celebrated! Plus, being the quirky, creative storytellers that they so often can be, their stories are usually worth listening to.
3. Reach Out to Your ADHD Loved Ones
If you have ADHD friends, family members, or colleagues, make the time to show your love and support. Reach out, ask how they're doing, and let them know you're there for them. Sometimes, a simple message can make all the difference.
Depending on their presentation, ADHDers can come across as the fun, energetic, life and soul of the party type. But that doesn’t mean that’s how they feel internally. Alternatively, someone with ADHD can look perfectly calm and collected but have hyperactive thoughts, which is particularly common in women who appear “neurotypical”.
4. Speak Up!
Raise your voice and challenge misconceptions whenever you encounter them. Wherever that be online, in the media, or while chatting with family or friends.
The world needs more brave people who are willing to advocate for those with ADHD by correcting misunderstandings, spreading awareness and setting the record straight, especially to the people they influence.
Content creators, this is your call to action. If you have a platform, you have a responsibility to use it for good. Take a stance and fight for it in your own way.
Use the hashtag #ADHDAwarenessMonth to speak up! Together, we can create a more informed, inclusive, and loving world.
Orange is the official colour of ADHD Awareness Month, so you can show your support through your fashion choices. We know we will be!
5. Start Conversations (and Listen)
Don’t shy away from the tough conversations, embrace them!
Initiate conversations about ADHD with your circle. Share facts and stories, and encourage open dialogues - even a healthy debate or two. The more we talk about it, the less it remains a stigmatized or misunderstood topic.
But remember, listening is your superpower.
6. Share Resources
All that learning you did? Share it. Not just the personal stories, but the research, articles, podcasts, TikToks - everything.
The more we share reputable sources of information and real-life experiences, the more we drown out the voices of those who wish to spread hate, negativity, and misinformation. And who needs that?
7. Advocate in Your Community & Workplace
Offline, we need to make sure our physical spaces are ADHD-friendly too. That means community spaces, schools, and workplaces.
Employment can be a particularly challenging environment for the multi-passionate, interest-based nervous system of someone with ADHD. It can be overstimulating, understimulating, too loud, too quiet, too much pressure, not enough pressure…
What’s not spoken about nearly enough is that, depending on your country, employees with ADHD are entitled to ask for reasonable adjustments or accommodations from their employer. This can look like anything from noise-cancelling headphones to increased working from home.
Safe spaces should be the norm, not the exception, but we need to work with these organisations to make it happen.
8. Support ADHD Organisations
There are a lot of fantastic organisations dedicated to ADHD awareness and support, including:
- CHADD: The National Resource on ADHD
- ADHD Foundation: Mental Health, Education, and Training Services
- ADHD World Federation: From Child to Adult Disorder
- Child Mind Institute
You’ll also find local organisations online or in-person if you ask around (or Google).
If you can donate to these organisations, amazing. But if not, volunteering your time, or participating in their events is just as valuable. Every bit of support helps.
9. Spread Universal Love
We're all about love, and this point is perhaps the most important. Show love, empathy, and kindness to those with ADHD. Let them know they're not alone, and that they are valued for their unique perspectives.
One of the more difficult parts of ADHD is Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria (RSD) which is exactly what it sounds like: an extreme sensitivity to anything that seems slightly like rejection (even when it’s not).
That’s why showing love is so essential for those with ADHD.
Of course, it’s totally up to you how you do that.
Now that you know how, this ADHD Awareness Month, let's come together to raise awareness, uplift each other, and make the world a more inclusive, compassionate, and vibrant home for everyone.
Show your support and wear orange! Shop our favourite orange pieces here.
Every kiss shared brings more love to the world.