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4 Common ADHD Myths

Jessica McCabe of How To ADHD and TotallyADD’s own Rick Green discuss 4 Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder myths that messed up their lives!

To see all of our videos featuring Jessica McCabe and Rick Green together visit HowToADHD and TotallyADD Together!

Prefer to Read? You will find the transcript of this video below.

4 ADHD Myths That Messed Up Our Lives

Hi I’m Rick green from Totally ADD and I’m here with Jessica McCabe from How to ADHD.  If you’re not  subscribing to that How To ADHD YouTube channel you should be.
Delighted to have you here.  We’re going to address four attention deficit hyperactivity myths that affected our lives growing up.  Four ADHD myths.  So the first one we’re gonna start with is..

You Can’t Have ADHD, You’re Not Hyperactive

Jessica McCabe – How To ADHD
No.  Yeah no I grew up very quiet, shy introverted, staring out the window, reading books all the time.  I was
definitely not bouncing off the walls.  I definitely have ADHD.
Rick Green – TotallyADD
Yeah I was the same.  I was the quiet one actually, and I had an older brother who was literally bouncing off the walls.  There’s home movies of me sitting in a high chair, watching my brother, and just eating and I weighed like eight pounds at age twelve.  I just so…  I wasn’t in the high chair at age twelve but yeah I did not have that hyperactivity.  I did have some other internal restlessness.
Jessica McCabe – How To ADHD
I’m pretty restless… we’re just gonna talk about one ADHD myth the entire 18 minute video.  I do have combined type ADHD now.  So that you know there’s three presentations of ADHD now.  There’s the primarily inattentive, primarily hyperactive-impulsive, and then combination.  I do qualify for combination now but a lot of adults have you know don’t have like the overt hyperactivity, bouncing off the walls, they they have that internal restlessness and that kind of fidgety stuff, but yeah I’m always restless.  It’s very, very, rare that I’m like I mean I’m completely at peace with where I am and and where you know what’s going on around me right now.  There’s always you know 20 30 50 100 browser windows open.
Rick Green – TotallyADD
My wife says that I’m often, this isn’t it, my mind is elsewhere, so I’m working and I want to see the kids and then the kids are over and I’m,  I should be working.  I’m never there where I should be.  I’m always, what I should, or I’m never where I am, I’m where I think I should be, and  that takes me out that internal distraction going on.
ADHD Myth number two

If You Just Try Harder You’ll Do Better

Jessica McCabe – How To ADHD
Or be normal.  um. I think a lot of times when people tell us to try harder when we have ADHD they don’t realize how hard we’re already trying and we don’t necessarily especially as kids realize how hard we’re supposed to be trying.   So we believe people, and then we try harder.  I’m pretty sure that’s how my workaholism started, you know.   I growing up I felt like I always had to be doing more.  I never had time for friends or food like you know stopping and eating a meal is just so strange to me, like I sit and eat a meal at my desk and I just work straight through because all my life I was told to try harder and you know what I’m still not normal.
Rick Green – TotallyADD
The workaholic was a big thing for me.  I’ve done 700 episodes of radio and television that I have written and performed in.  A lot of them I directed, some of them I produced as well, and I always felt like I was underachieving, because there were other things, like my finances that were way behind and other people were managing, and so I wasn’t trying hard enough.
I love that phrase try because when I say to you, try and get up and walk around the room and you get I said no don’t actually get up and walk around the room you just try.  What’s the line Yoda had about there is no try either do or do not?  And so it was the worst advice ever,  try harder.
Jessica McCabe – How To ADHD
This goes to me along the lines of give it a hundred percent!  Here’s the thing, if you give something a hundred percent, other things are getting zero percent.
I was successful in work by putting all this effort in but everything else fell apart.  I didn’t have any lasting friendships. I’m going to my second divorce.  Don’t just try harder.  Find strategies that help you do better and not just in one aspect of your life but all the aspects of your life but all the aspects that are important to you.
ADHD myth number three

Gifted Students Can’t Have ADHD

Jessica McCabe – How To ADHD
Okay so when my mom took me to the doctor to be evaluated for ADHD she took me to our paediatrician.  Which is often your first stop and the doctor asked her how did she do in elementary school?  Now I was like she’s a total nerd.  She did great,  and the doctor said well she can’t have ADHD. She can’t have ADHD because she’s smart.  She did well in school, she can’t have it.
Again I still have ADHD and it’s it’s not insignificant it’s not an insignificant amount of ADHD.
Rick Green – TotallyADD
This comes back to try harder.  You were trying as hard as you could to get those marks it wasn’t coming necessarily easy right?
Jessica McCabe – How To ADHD
Well I was, and here’s the thing.  In elementary school there was so much scaffolding and I was in one  classroom, I had one teacher, I had one book to keep track of for each subject and it was in my desk and you know homework was half an hour of work that I did at home under parental supervision and I had enough structure and scaffolding that I did fine.
I was gifted enough that I was able to perform.  I came home without my jacket almost every day.  The ADHD still affected me I was still weird and didn’t have many friends but I in school was fine and then as I got older when I started having to be responsible for transferring classes and remembering to bring my own books to class and managing my own homework and having longer-term projects suddenly that ADHD really started getting in my way in a way that it didn’t in elementary school.  So basing whether or not I had ADHD on how my grades were in elementary school was silly.
I was gifted enough to get through it, and I hear that from a lot of people, I was gifted enough to get by until I wasn’t.
Rick Green – TotallyADD
I was never accused of being gifted.  Based off my marks when my mother passed away at 92…  good for her.
Hopefully I make that two because I’m 91 now (not really!) that when she passed I found my report cards Ricky needs to try harder.  Ricky’s handwriting so…  Ricky would rather play with his toys.  Ricky is easily do.
It was long before The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) published the 18 signs of ADHD.  There they were on my card.  Now nobody knew and thd.com/2020/06/DSM-5-Criteis was back when it was called minimal brain dysfunction. Which is actually in some ways not a bad name for it it’s because it kind of is it’s like executive function disorders.
I prefer that because it’s not just attention its emotions.  It was never suggested I was gifted.  What was interesting is it was suggested and proven on tests that my brothers were and so they went off to gifted programs special with all kinds of enhancements and I didn’t.
At the time when I was you know eleven, twelve I didn’t think I wonder if I’m low on dopamine and norepinephrine.  I didn’t make that connection.  What I thought was, I’m kind of stupid I guess. I’m the dumb one of the family and now I know I’m the smartest and the best looking.
Jessica McCabe – How To ADHD
At 91.   ADHD myth number four

You Can’t Have ADHD You’re Too Old To Have ADHD

I was twelve when I was diagnosed this one’s for you.
Rick Green – TotallyADD
Okay I was older than 12, I was 47.  My son was around twelve, thirteen when he was diagnosed because he was gifted and I thought oh it’s skipped a generation and he got into a special program and then wasn’t getting the homework done because it was forgetting.  It was the first time he’d ever had homework because he got it all done in school, in elementary school because he was gifted
So when I saw that list of symptoms that were ADHD I thought well this can’t be it.  I’m an adult and then when I realized because I have all these and I don’t have ADHD and then a session with a specialist.  I realized I do have ADHD but I was really reluctant cuz it’s like I’m 47 and even if I got a little bit of that I got it handled at this age.
That’s a really common belief is I got it handled. Talk to our spouses, talk to our kids, look at our bank account. We have aspects of it handled and the biggest thing the way that I think so many adults say they’ve got something handled.   I don’t do that.  I don’t do that.  It’s like, I tried out for…
Imagine you’re seven feet tall, you try out for gymnastics, you’re horrible, but nobody knows you’re seven feet tall and they say try basketball, and you go no, I’m not gifted, I’m not into sports.  So many people have I wanted to start my own business I didn’t or I wanted this but I didn’t.
It’s that, yeah I just don’t do that, it’s not a thing I do because they tried and they failed and they have no idea why until they get diagnosed.  So four myths.
Myth number one – you can’t have ADHD you’re not hyperactive
Myth number two – if you just try harder you’ll do better or be normal
Myth number three – gifted students can’t have ADHD
Myth number four – you can’t have ADHD you’re too old to have ADHD
This was great. Thank you very much to Jessica McCabe. Round of applause.  Get out of your chair, stand up stretch, touch your toes.  We’ll get into more myths in another video probably called for more myths about ADHD.  Gotta  get something catchy.
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