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23 Phrases That Are Incredibly Frustrating For Someone With ADHD

No, you can't have any of our meds...

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Being there for someone with ADD/ADHD can be tricky, and sometimes you might say the wrong thing.

It happens, but it's helpful to keep in mind that some questions or phrases (even well-meaning ones) might have a completely different meaning to someone living with ADHD.

We recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community living with ADHD to tell us what they wish other people understood about the disorder; and it reminded us just how many myths and misconceptions are still out there.

To better understand the disorder, we'd suggest reading up on it. And in the meantime, please don't say any of these things to someone with ADHD...

1. "ADHD isn't a real disorder."

NBC / Via giphy.com

"Every time I mention my ADD, someone says something about it not being real, everyone struggling with things, or it not being a big deal. If someone opens up to you about themselves, you have no right to tell them that they are wrong."

lilyruthmadore

2. "Everyone gets distracted sometimes."

NBC / Via tenor.co

"ADHD is so much more than just 'getting distracted sometimes' and it’s frustrating when people assume that. Only we truly understand what it’s like to live with ADHD."

addisonnelson

3. "OK but doesn't everyone think they have ADHD?"

Cartoon Network / Via imgur.com

"ADHD is real and you should have a real diagnostic test and not tell people you have it because of an online test you took."

buymecupcakes

4. "You just need to work harder."

FOX / Via imgur.com

"I have ADHD and I have to work twice as hard as everyone else yet I’m still considered lazy."

malloryb4467cf49c

5. "Why can't you just decide to focus like everyone else?"

giphy.com

"I can’t control this no matter how hard I try or truly wish to."

sarahc432362212

6. "You just need to be a better listener."

HBO / Via giphy.com

"I'm so tired of always hearing 'you should listen better... if you were listening you would know... you obviously don't care or you would have listened.' I'm aware, but the constant reminders are like being slapped over and over again."

—Abraham Knoff, Facebook

7. "People with ADHD have an unfair advantage."

Comedy Central / Via giphy.com

"People act like it’s some sort of advantage I have over them. What I want people to know is that medication allows me to function like them. I don’t have any advantage. And even with medicine, I still have to use my own self control. It’s very easy for me to focus on the wrong thing. I could have a pile of homework, and end up cleaning my entire room instead."

erinh44afdfa4e

8. "Well, I would do better in school if I took ADHD medication, too."

"My medication doesn’t make me smart. I am the one that is smart. My medication helps me perform up to my potential and creates an even playing field. You taking ADHD medication is unfair, and quite frankly disrespectful. It doesn’t exist to give you an extra advantage, it exists to treat the people who need it to function normally." —alliem4b75f7dab
ABC / Via giphy

"My medication doesn’t make me smart. I am the one that is smart. My medication helps me perform up to my potential and creates an even playing field. You taking ADHD medication is unfair, and quite frankly disrespectful. It doesn’t exist to give you an extra advantage, it exists to treat the people who need it to function normally."

alliem4b75f7dab

9. "People with ADHD are just less intelligent or lazy."

"ADHD has had a significant impact on my life. I was not lazy, I was not stupid, I was not reckless, or immature. I needed help. And I wish people would try to understand that."—alexandrab43dd6c595
Twitter: @John_V_Collins

"ADHD has had a significant impact on my life. I was not lazy, I was not stupid, I was not reckless, or immature. I needed help. And I wish people would try to understand that."

alexandrab43dd6c595

10. "Well, if you really cared, you would've heard what I said the first time."

Walt Disney Pictures / Via giphy.com

"I often have to ask for clarification on things to make sure that I heard it correctly and remember. It doesn’t mean I wasn’t listening or don’t care about what you’re saying."

maddiechaskasbestfriendd

11. "You don't need extra time, you just need to work faster."

NBC / Via fuckyeahderbygifs.tumblr.com

"ADHD can be extremely overwhelming. It takes forever to get just one thing done and you constantly feel like there isn’t enough time in the day. But no one understands this and they wonder why you’re so slow at everything or how they finished ages ago and you’re only halfway through. Obviously if I could work faster I would. I never asked to be this way!"

alliem4b75f7dab

12. "ADHD is just an excuse for not doing well in school."

TVLand / Via giphy.com

"It’s also not something that just affects school, it’s something that affects your entire life in making decisions, completing tasks, and simple every day things."

addisonnelson

13. "Stop overreacting."

LOGO / Via giphy.com

"I wish people understood my overreactions. Having a breakdown because my room is a mess is something I can’t help. I understand that I overreact but it feels very real and rational to me."

meganc40d55c66c

14. "How could you forget about something so important?"

Netflix / Via theodysseyonline.com

"I wish that people understood how much it hurts receiving judgement from others when I am forgetful. I really am trying my best to remember, there are just times that I physically can’t."

eilam2

15. "Did you forget to take your meds today?"

"Asking someone with ADHD if they 'forgot to take their meds' just because they are excited or energized is a total invasion of privacy and actually extremely degrading. Like I can’t be excited without you assuming it’s just my disorder?"—kristena4d61a7c64
ABC / Via gq.tumblr.com

"Asking someone with ADHD if they 'forgot to take their meds' just because they are excited or energized is a total invasion of privacy and actually extremely degrading. Like I can’t be excited without you assuming it’s just my disorder?"

kristena4d61a7c64

16. "I honestly like you better when you're off (or on) your meds."

"Nothing hurts me more then people telling me they like me better on or off my medication. There’s medicated me and non-medicated me. I love myself but I respect medicated me because that’s the version of me who focuses on my future and my grades. Don’t tell me you don’t like me on my medication. It’s like telling me you don’t like the version on me striving for success."—lauran4787e2982
youtube.com / Via yungbasedblogger.tumblr.com

"Nothing hurts me more then people telling me they like me better on or off my medication. There’s medicated me and non-medicated me. I love myself but I respect medicated me because that’s the version of me who focuses on my future and my grades. Don’t tell me you don’t like me on my medication. It’s like telling me you don’t like the version on me striving for success."

lauran4787e2982

17. "Remember that last project you started and never finished?"

TBS / Via teamcoco.com

"When I get an idea or want to try something new and creative, I'm faced with an eye roll and 'remember the last thing you tried' speech. There's no understanding that being creative is like therapy for me. It's a way to channel my frustration and excessive thoughts into something useful or positive."

—Lindsay Dufour, Faceboook

18. "Omg it's like you have no filter."

CTV / Via reactiongifs.com

"My ADHD makes it so a lot of the time I really don’t have the ability to filter my thoughts before they come out of my mouth. I’ve hurt the feelings of a lot of people I love because of my inability to control the impulse to speak. I hate it."

Blake Chernin

19. "Wow, someone's spacey."

Magellan Pictures / Via reactiongifs.com

"It can be a struggle just to pay attention during a conversation or stop myself from interrupting because I just remembered something from a topic we stopped talking about five minutes ago. But when I can't stop myself from interrupting or letting my mind wander mid-conversation, I just come off as rude which is so frustrating. Even when I try, sometimes I can't help it."

--Mich Elle, via gmail

20. "Can I have some of your pills for my exam?"

imgur.com

"I wish people wouldn’t ask me for some of my medication around finals and midterms. They always say 'I have trouble focusing on studying' to which I respond, 'I'm having trouble focusing on this conversation.'"

maddiechaskasbestfriendd

21. "You know, you probably don't even need medication. Have you tried [insert non-medical opinion here]?"

"People also think that they can tell me whether or not I should medicate. I hate it when people suggest a solution when it’s none of their business."—averyp4f1565105
Disney / Via weheartit.com

"People also think that they can tell me whether or not I should medicate. I hate it when people suggest a solution when it’s none of their business."

averyp4f1565105

22. "You seem way too organized or successful to have ADHD."

"I wish people knew that just because I 'appear to have it together' doesn’t mean that I don’t still struggle."—emilys4196e7a4b
NBC / Via imgur.com

"I wish people knew that just because I 'appear to have it together' doesn’t mean that I don’t still struggle."

emilys4196e7a4b

23. "You aren't even trying."

NBC / Via samesaysjames.tumblr.com

"One of the most difficult parts is dealing with people's assumptions that you're just not trying. Especially when you start believing it yourself."

—Emma Rubenstein, Facebook

ADD/ADHD is a neurological disorder characterized by difficulty sustaining attention, by lack of self-control, and by impaired working memory. It’s now more often classified in medical literature as attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but lots of people (including some doctors) still refer to it as ADD.

Nearly 8 million adults in the U.S. suffer from ADHD. To learn more about the disorder and how to find support groups, check out the resources here at the National Resource Center for ADHD.

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