sighs-mic shift: the effect of ADHD on self and culture

Updated: Jan 22, 2021

I. Hate. Certain. Noises. When someone’s loud sigh pierces through my thoughts as my fingers are doing the light tap-tap against the wibbly wobbly of my keyboard, I only wish I could project myself into the interior of my computer to seek refuge from this astronomically atrocious sound. Unfortunately, as this is quite the dangerous route, my only real flight-or-fight response is to involuntarily sigh right back, which—as it turns out—is also quite the dangerous route, given its high probability of misinterpretation as an incendiary expression of ingratitude.

Despite this, the “sigh” is not the most frustrating thing that bars me from completing my tasks. This sigh mostly presents itself when I bring up how my neurodiversity affects me at home, and I somehow end up half-conveying this with my Foot In My Mouth—although my intent remains to reduce conflict and misinterpretation, this “culturally uncomfortable” topic usually has the effect of upsetting my parents instead.

It’s difficult to interject that I am not neurotypical. Sometimes it’s felt as if the very essence of my identity is put to shame. People are embarrassed when I mention it to others. They say, shhhh, when I talk about it at home. They sigh. But if I’m not ashamed of it myself, no one else should be for me—I only wish I could tell them about the psychological trauma and internalized inferiority that comes from being undiagnosed for so long. Although I still can’t fully explain it, I know this for sure: it’s not an excuse; it’s a reason.

Previously, I reluctantly accepted the excuses and labels assigned to me by unfounded tirades of misconceptions, stigma, and ignorance. What I’m still learning to do is to stand up against others’ misconceptions and redefine 2e for myself. I’ll set my own pace, establish my own boundaries instead of having others impose their erroneous standards upon me. And once I feel ready, I’ll work to transcend them.

Recently, I had the pleasure of writing a blog for REEL2e! that was an excerpt from the "Interior World" section :) and here's the full post!


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