At Done, we're always thrilled to celebrate the incredible diversity among people with ADHD. However, we also want to recognize the unique challenges and pressures that members of the neuroqueer community face on a regular basis. Let's take a closer look at what having both ADHD and an LGBTQ+ identity can be like.
Understanding Dual Stigma
Having ADHD comes with a number of difficulties that you're forced to deal with on a daily basis. It's not uncommon for people with ADHD to feel like their symptoms are personal failings, especially when the rest of society doesn't fully understand that these behaviors are very difficult to manage. If you've ever been blamed for being lazy, hyper, or fidgety, you know exactly how those types of harsh opinions can result in a blow to your self-confidence.
When you add a queer identity into the mix, things can be even more complicated. Many people in the LGBTQ+ community have had struggles with experiencing rejection or judgment from others, sometimes even from the members of their own family. In addition, their identity is frequently used as a pawn in political debates, and the fight for basic rights and freedoms never seems to end due to anti-LGBTQ policies and legislation.
This is a type of dual stigma that neuroqueer often face. Facing both ADHD stigma and queer stigma at the same time can be relentless. Maybe on a good day when you feel like your ADHD is under control, you experience a hateful comment about being gay. Or when you're with your chosen family, one of them might tease you about how you're constantly misplacing things, not realizing that it's one of your ADHD symptoms. This could make you feel like there's nowhere you can ever be fully yourself and accepted.
ADHD and LGBTQ+ Mental Health
It's no surprise that dealing with the dual stigma of having ADHD and being queer can take a toll on someone mentally. In fact, it's one of the most important things to be aware of if you happen to be a part of these communities.
For example, did you know that about one in three people with diagnosed ADHD also have depression or have experienced a depressive episode? There are also higher rates of anxiety in people with ADHD than among the general population.
Mental health is a common concern among people in the LGBTQ+ community, too. Of people who identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual, nearly 40% report having a mental illness in the past year. LGBTQ youth are also more than four times as likely to attempt suicide compared to their peers.
It's especially important to tend to your mental health if you have ADHD and are a part of the LGBTQ+ community. Although there are many factors that can lead someone to feel depressed, anxious, or suicidal, the challenges you face as someone who is both queer and diagnosed with ADHD can contribute to these and other mental health issues.
Self-Acceptance with ADHD
If you're part of the neuroqueer community, you know that it's not always an easy road. But the flipside of that is the incredible benefits that come with self-acceptance and self-love. It can be incredibly freeing to accept and understand yourself and to celebrate these parts of your identity rather than feeling as though you have to hide or apologize for them.
Being neuroqueer can also help you reframe how you see the world. Consider the fact that people with ADHD are more likely to question their gender identity compared to the general population. That's not because having ADHD makes you trans or nonbinary. Instead, it's likely a result of the fact that people with ADHD often recognize how arbitrary many of the expectations in our world truly are — including the pressures to conform to certain types of gender performance. This broader way of seeing the world can allow people with ADHD to live as their truest selves.
So while dealing with dual neuroqueer stigma can undoubtedly be hard, it's also important to remember the incredible resilience in both the ADHD and LGBTQ+ communities. Neuroqueer individuals can learn to thrive in the face of adversity and are often more capable of carving out a life for themselves that celebrates every part of their identity.
At Done, we're here to help people from any background with their ADHD journey. If you're a part of the LGBTQ+ community looking for affordable, convenient, and inclusive care, don't hesitate to reach out to us.