“Once you label me, you negate me” ~ Soren Kierkegaard
I have been thinking a lot about labels, lately. Specifically, I have been thinking about how some people perceive the diagnosis of ADD as an unwanted label, rather than a medical diagnosis which warrants a treatment plan.
With all of the external messages about ADD and its treatment, it understandable that people might shy away from embracing this diagnosis. Hearing people either imply or say directly that ADD is not a “real” medical condition or that kids are over medicated can be hard when you have a loved one affected by this and, perhaps, is taking medication.
So, it is no surprise that some people say they do not want a label of ADD or do not want their partner or child to have a label of ADD. Accepting a label, whatever it is, is a choice. Yes, unwanted labels can have potentially deleterious effects on ones sense of self, if one chooses to accept others’ labels and definitions as conclusive.
As a parent of a daughter with ADD and an adult with ADD, I know first hand how insensitive people can be, albeit usually unintentionally, upon learning of this information. However, I try hard to make the choice not to allow insensitive comments and actions to affect my actions by keeping the following in mind:
- ADD is real.
- Having ADD can be a gift.
- There are challenges to having ADD.
We should take whatever actions are in the best interest of ourselves, our partners and/or our children.
Fear of Labels
If fear of having a label is dictating the choices that we make, then all sorts of unintended consequence may ensue.
- Are there people who you are not telling who could be helpful if they knew of the diagnosis?
- Are you encouraging affected people to use their strengths?
- Are you researching and making informed decisions about the various treatment plans? A comprehensive treatment plan may include cognitive behavioral or other therapy, coaching, medication, social skills training, support groups, and parenting skills training.
ADD is part of a person, just like being near sighted or having asthma. Please do not let it define you or a loved one, but also do not ignore it.
Questions To Ponder
Use the questions below to make a choice that will work for you and/or your family.
- What are the gifts of ADD?
- What are the best ways to address the challenges?
- With whom do I want to share this information?
- What do I want for me, my partner and/or my child?
ADDed Perspectives Bottom Line
“If I accept your label, you negate me.” I hope you won’t let labels define you.