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Redditor Sparks Drama After Telling Self-Diagnosed Friend That She Probably Doesn’t Have ADHD

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So-called hidden illnesses can lead to a lot of misunderstandings. One issue people with diagnosed hidden illnesses deal with is people who self diagnose then make false claims about an illness they actually have.

A person is unlikely to claim a disability like blindness or paralysis, but many people claim conditions like OCD, ADHD, autism and anxiety disorders without ever being assessed or professionally diagnosed.

After a woman reached her limit with a friend who blamed bad behavior on a self diagnosed condition, they consulted the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback on their reaction.

Redditor adhdaita asked:

“AITA for finally breaking and telling my friend she probably doesn’t have ADHD?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“My friend M self-diagnosed ADHD something like 5 years ago. I told them to speak to their GP and get tested, if they really thought they had ADHD.”

“We live in a country with free healthcare, so it wouldn’t cost M a dime, just the process. When M said they probably had ADHD, I started as supportive, urged them to talk to an expert, and get tested.”

“My SSRI’s have changed my life, so if she can get help, she should.”

“However, my friend said it wasn’t ‘that big of a deal’ because it didn’t affect them much. Over the last 5 years, they often bring up their ‘ADHD’ whenever anything vaguely uncomfortable or inconvenient happens.”

“They’re almost never late, but the one time they are ‘Sorry, it’s my ADHD’.”

“The moment they struggle focusing on something, they pull the card. If we (pre-pandemic) were at a restaurant with a friend group and M was rudely on her phone, ‘it’s because I have ADHD’.”

“Last year, I had to talk her out of illegally buying ADHD meds off some uni student selling them for tests.”

“I told her there are various ADHD meds, and even if she does have ADHD, the ones he’s selling might not even work! If she felt meds would help her, PLEASE see a doctor!”

“Over the years, resentment has built up. I have a host of diagnosed mental illness as well as adult diagnosed autism. I went to the doctor because my life was a mess.”

“M is not teaching themselves healthy coping mechanisms through ADHD self-help sites. M is not going to the doctor. M describes her own life as unaffected by the ADHD she claims she has.”

“I shut my mouth because I’m not a professional, and maybe M DOES have ADHD. I don’t know.”

“But now with the pandemic, M has been going on and on and on about how she obviously has ADHD because staying at home has been so hard on her. I said that that has nothing to do with ADHD.”

“I’ve been working from home since March. The whole country has had multiple lock downs.”

“We all leave home as little as possible and almost never see friends or family. Everyone is tired, struggles focusing, etc…”

“In pandemic times, everyone I know has been dealing with the psychological and physical effects of such low-contact and barely leaving the house.”

“She said that wasn’t fair, because she has ADHD. I said she should probably get an official diagnosis if she was struggling so much, but she said it wasn’t that big of a deal.”

“I snapped and said she probably didn’t have ADHD, and that she still hasn’t seen a doctor because she knows he might not diagnose her. She yelled back she had ADHD and I was being discriminatory.”

“I said she might have ADHD, but that we’d never know, because she just likes the label and refuses to see a doctor if her life is so impacted. She said some mean sh*t about my home life and ended the call.”

“Some friends in our group are saying I was a massive a**hole, but others are thanking me because they’ve been keeping their mouth shut for years.”

“I’m just looking for a reality check I guess.”


Redditors weighed in on the situation by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors decided the OP was not the a**hole.

“NTA. Like you said she might have it but she’s using something self diagnosed to try and justify her behaviour.”

“It’s frustrating to have actual health conditions and having to listen to someone who does this, I can see why you snapped.” ~ EasyCheesy_123

This post touched a nerve with Redditors.

“YES. What your ‘friend’ is doing is NOT HARMLESS!”

“Whether she has it or not, she is part of the reason that people are genuinely afraid to seek treatment or accept/ disclose their ADHD diagnosis. They’re afraid of being unfairly painted like a whining, excuse-making, thoughtless jerk that blames all of their problems on their diagnosis instead of learning how to deal with life’s problems.”

“It increases the likelihood that people will unfairly associate ADHD with trivial, annoying things like lateness and impoliteness that affect others instead of understanding the underlying (and often invisible) everyday, ongoing difficulties it poses for the person that has it.”

“I have ADHD and the stigma doesn’t bother me because I know better, but I know so many kids and young adults that could benefit from treatment and appropriate coping strategies that are too embarrassed to seek help because there is still a huge stigma attached to the actual diagnosis.”

“I tell people and I still get, ‘oh my god I never would have known’ (of course not, because meds and coping strategies are actually effective) or have them acting like I’ve just admitted I have a terminal illness and asking all sorts of questions about my childhood, etc etc…”

“I usually ONLY disclose it when I hear people stigmatizing it or spouting misinformation about how parents allowing their children to be treated with meds are ‘lazy’. I simply step in to say meds have changed my life, and my parents’ lives, and I’m 100% confident I would not be as successful and mentally healthy as I am today without them, and the coping strategies I’ve developed.”

“So they shouldn’t judge because clearly they have no idea what they’re taking about (as evidenced by their shock and awe at my diagnosis).”

“If I am late, if I am rude, if I forget something extremely important, if I do something monumentally thoughtless… I. Do. Not. Blame. My. ADHD.”

“I am in a high-stress career and no one has any idea, and I’ve never blamed a fumble on my diagnosis (not that there have been many). When I do careless things with my friends that are ADHD-related, like forget to Venmo someone back right away or totally blank on something they were saying to me, I just… apologize and fix it right away.”

“At this moment, I couldn’t even tell you which of my friends know about my diagnosis and which don’t. I have absolutely no idea. Doesn’t come up much.”

“At home, with my family, I have more of what seem like careless behaviours, such as leaving things lying around, forgetting to shut the dishwasher, or losing the keys to the car. This is because my mental energy and executive functioning skills are so completely drained from masking my ADHD symptoms at work and in public that I don’t have enough left at home.”

“I also feel more comfortable relaxing there, where the stakes aren’t as high and the consequences aren’t as severe. Sometimes if it’s been happening a lot, I do remind my family and close friends that it’s tougher for me to remember to do seemingly small, habitual things.”

“But I offer this as an explanation, not as an excuse, because I don’t want them to see me as careless or disrespectful. But then I still apologize and attempt to do better.”

“Also, about buying random meds.. this is the reason I’m not allowed to get a refill on my meds until within days of mine running out. This is why I have to move heaven and earth to make an appointment with my doctor if I want to go on vacation and need some in advance, or heaven forbid move my script from one pharmacy to another (because calling and faxing never accomplishes anything).”

“This is why I have to hide my meds (which makes it difficult to remember to take them) if I’m around people I don’t know well. Because it’s a hot f’king commodity and a**holes are buying and selling it to people like your friend, so it’s gotta be closely regulated.”

“On behalf of at least myself, if not everyone with an actual diagnosis…..”

“You go tell her where she can f’king shove it until she gets her a** to a doctor.” ~ jmmbbmdl

While the OP’s friends may think this self diagnosis and the excuses are harmless, as explained by someone with ADHD, it very much isn’t. For people with the condition her friend has chosen as an excuse for being an a**hole, her actions cause a definite harm.

Written by Amelia Mavis Christnot

Amelia Christnot is an Oglala Lakota, Kanien'kehá:ka Haudenosaunee and Metís Navy brat who settled in the wilds of Northern Maine. A member of the Indigenous Journalists Association, she considers herself another proud Maineiac.