Thursday, March 3, 2011


Within seconds of NPR posting a request on their facebook page for parents with a child with ADHD to talk to them about whether they've cut artificial food dyes out of the child's diet, it was swarming with people complaining about how ADHD was overdiagnosed, or how children just needed to go vegan, get off their meds, or try homeopathy. But the most overwhelming sentiment was the first one, many showed a great exasperation at NPR putting together this story, as it would only fuel the myth that ADHD is real.
A few minutes later, I see an Adbusters article being posted which says the same thing about overdiagnosis and Big Pharma (TM), only this time the disability being pulled apart for self-righteous neurotypicals to proclaim was all a myth started to get kids on expensive drugs was Manic-Depressive Disorder, sometimes known as Bipolar Disorder.
One time long ago, I was excitedly telling someone about a local film festival showing a film about an autistic photographer, and was treated to a 10 minute lecture about how there was nothing wrong with me, and my diagnosis was irrelevant because the doctor who diagnosed me wasn't a Psychoanalyst, and how it was all a ploy to get me onto drugs.
These three separate occasions, dealing with three different sources on three different disabilities have one thing uniting them: They are stories of unprofessional neurotypicals feeling that they alone understand that we disabled folk are all just faking it or being stupidly duped by a drug company, and that if we just realized we were normal, our lives would go on as happily as the average neurotypical's.
The invisibility of ADHD, autism, and Bipolar disorder means that it's frequently assumed on the part of those without disabilities that the disabled person is faking it, or perfectly fine, or just needs the right neurotypical type of thinking about life or kickstart (Usually in the form of "Swift kick in the pants" or "Good spanking" or "Wake up and smell the coffee"....) and the disability will no longer be an issue, and meds will no longer be necessary.
Ha, ha, very funny, everyone. I suppose my friends with physical disabilities don't need their canes, their vents, their wheelchairs, their walkers, their power wheelchairs, their white canes, their scooters, or elevators? It's all a big trick by Big Pharma. Embrace freedom! Live naturally!
I digress. My point is, for some people with mental and cognitive and intellectual disabilities, the medications are just as important to us as assistive equipment is to physically disabled individuals. Just because it's a chemical doesn't mean it's a bad thing. You claim that you just want us to live "naturally". Well, medicine helps us live natural lives, in control of our emotions and physical reactions, without being worried about sensory overload, mood swings, or other delightful things which plague someone who is undiagnosed, misdiagnosed, or unable to obtain their medicine. How much more natural is it for me to spend my days doing what I love, going to school, enjoying myself, and working a steady job? None of that would be possible for people with certain disabilities without their medication.
There's nothing quite as disablist as thinking you know what's better for us than our doctors and we ourselves do. Leave us and our disabilities out of your debates on the evils of the pharmaceutical industry.

1 comment:

  1. I've noticed this too, that neuroconvergent people love to deny that we actually are what we say we are, live like we say we live, think like we say we think. There was an interesting post on this that I saw a while back on another autie blog that laid this out really clearly to me.