“ADHD Reframed”

“ADHD Reframed” is the title of a poem I spontaneously wrote in early January 2023 after reflecting for some time upon this name “ADHD” – and the new year. My intention for 2023 is one day at a time doing my small part to dismantle the false assumptions of what ADHD looks and feels like in adulthood.

I proudly identify as ADHD, not because the name itself accurately describes me or my inner and outer world experiences but because it’s the current name widely known from the incomplete, imperfect, and ever-evolving Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM) and dominant “medical model.”

This poem alone does not and could not fully encompass all the beauty, depth, and complexity of what is currently called “ADHD.”

My hope is this offering below represents “one dance move” in a wider global movement for more, much more, understanding and celebration of the human experience both visible and invisible.

“ADHD Reframed” by Shelly Lyons

ADHD stereotypes remain
In part, because of a terrible name
“Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder”
It’s above and beyond time
For a reframe

I focus on this and that
And that and that and that!
All that interests me really
And there is much to be interested in
When you pay attention

Beauty, ideas, the faintest sounds
Conversation, deep connection, a cat’s reflection
I am always paying attention
To something

Nature’s rhythms, morning light
My inner world so vast and fast
What captures my senses
Moment to moment

My interest might be different from yours
But I am always paying attention
To something

From Latin
The wanting of something missing
I do not want for attention
Or what others mistakenly perceive to be missing
Capable, resourceful, and resilient AF
That’s the real ADHD

Perhaps you are wanting of something
More of the same and like you
You are not like me
I don’t label you with a deficit
Do I?

If there is anything I experience a deficit in
It is understanding and curiosity
From a world
With limited and linear thinking

Hyper meaning over, above, and beyond
But who gets to decide what is above
Or beyond?
What standard of ‘normal’ is this based on?
Surely not mine

Stillness may help some while movement is best for others
Quiet is required for some while noise is a necessity for others
Activity is of the mind and body
It can be internal or external
Visible or hidden
Preferred or required

Instead of trying to change us to be more like you
How about understanding what we need so we can be more
like us?

Dis meaning apart
Apart from order
Whose order?
Your order, your way of being
Is not my order

My order is made up of infinite mental connections
Above and beyond linear thinking
Outside the confines of still black and white
Order for me is color, connection, and clarity
Wrapped in infinite creativity