Behaviour vs. Symptom – Simple analogy explains it beautifully

It is so simple, and yet so spot on that I had to share this (and make it way less ‘simple’ on my blog by waffling to the moon and back about it, of course.

***Link to Original Blog at End of Post***

I just read THE most obvious & simplistic, and yet 1000% accurate analogy to explain HOW the symptoms of ADHD can be both disordered symptoms AND are something that most people experience, to some degree, sometimes.

“It’s like blinking. Everybody does it, everybody has to, but if you encountered someone who blinked sixty times a minute, you’d surmise that something was wrong.”

It easily shows how that does not equate to ADHD being false – the action being normal doesn’t mean when its in use its always for normal reasons.

Side point to further address the HOLES in this argument: almost ALL behavioural conditions are the same. Rarely does a behavioural condition only get diagnosed if a person is behaving purely in unacceptable or completely foreign way. Not at all – examples:

Depression is NOT fake, and yet ALL people sometimes feel sad/hopeless/despairing (etc, for each ‘symptom/behaviour’) at some time in their life, for an hour or day or week or whatever, without having clinical depression, and if they try or change or do something, they feel better in a way that the actually depressed person will NOT. Same thing.

Some people get REALLY EXCITED about certain things – almost everyone will have something they get positively ‘manic’ about, but they do NOT have Bipolar. That doesn’t make Bipolar a lie, just because being manic is within the realms of normal behaviour too. Some symptoms, experienced by most people, to some level, some time – and often times, normal-level behaviour comes with the ability to override the behaviour, or control it (unlike disorder-sourced behaviours). Behaviour can be ‘normal’ or common, and just as valid as a disorder that also causes it…
However, the criteria for any behavioural act becoming a symptom, for any disorder, is dependent on key points. How much does it interfere/impact negatively on the ability to live a normal, functional life, and how intense (or constant/consistent/severe) are those behaviours when held up against ‘every day’ versions.

It has to be MORE intense, more severe, than the ‘normal range’ of the same behaviour. More consistent in its appearance. It needs to BE SUCKY TO LIVE WITH – or, make life harder than it seems like it should be or seems to be for others (ADHD is great for creating the ‘Kidult’ – grown ups who can’t seem to self-manage adult life like others, and who may never quite feel like ‘real’ grown ups).

It’s not so much ‘what’ the symptom or behaviour is that makes it ADHD, but how badly it impacts on your ability to function ‘normally’. The very part that makes us different to ‘most’ people who exhibit these as normal behaviours while we have a legitimate disorder, is EXACTLY the part you point out is different – is that not clear? YES it’s different to what you get, and in denying it, you’re pointing out the exact point that difference exists (the being too lazy/stupid etc. part).

Ah, yeah, if we could just stop it, then like you, person without ADHD denying its real because your one experience is different, then WE WOULD STOP IT TOO. It’s precisely that we cannot stop it that makes US legitimate ADHD sufferers and YOU ‘normal’. Although, judgmental is way more negative an infliction than ADHD 😛

Link to original blog post:


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