By Maria Johnston
Living with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a journey filled with unique challenges and triumphs. As a woman of colour navigating this neurodivergent path in the United Kingdom, my experience sheds light on the intersectionality of mental health and cultural identity. In this blog, I invite you to join me in exploring the nuances, victories, and struggles that come with being a woman of colour with ADHD in the UK.
Being neurodivergent is a facet of my identity, a beautiful mosaic that shapes the way I perceive and interact with the world. Embracing this neurodiversity has been a crucial step in my self-discovery. In a society that often has a one-size-fits-all approach to mental health, acknowledging and celebrating neurodivergence is empowering.
For many women of colour, obtaining an ADHD diagnosis can be an arduous journey. Stereotypes and misconceptions about ADHD often lead to underdiagnosis or misdiagnosis. In my case, it took years of advocating for myself and seeking understanding healthcare professionals who recognized the diversity of ADHD presentations in women.
Addressing mental health within communities of colour can be complicated. The stigma surrounding mental health issues may discourage open conversations. As a woman of colour with ADHD, I’ve encountered cultural stigmas that perceive neurodivergent traits as mere personality quirks or dismiss them altogether. Breaking through these barriers is essential for fostering understanding and support.
The intersectionality of being a woman of colour with ADHD highlights the importance of tailored treatment approaches. Culturally competent healthcare providers who understand the impact of both neurodivergence and cultural factors play a crucial role in creating effective treatment plans. In the UK, accessibility to such understanding professionals remains a work in progress.
Thriving with ADHD involves developing coping mechanisms, embracing strengths, and advocating for accommodations. In a neurotypical world, understanding the unique needs of women of colour with ADHD is vital. From workplace accommodations to educational support, acknowledging the diversity within neurodivergence contributes to creating an inclusive environment.
Building connections with others who share similar experiences has been a cornerstone of my journey. In the UK, where mental health conversations are gradually becoming more inclusive, creating and participating in communities that celebrate neurodiversity is empowering. Sharing stories, resources, and coping strategies fosters a sense of belonging.
As a woman of colour living with ADHD in the UK, my journey is a testament to the resilience and strength inherent in embracing neurodiversity. Through open conversations, dispelling stereotypes, and advocating for culturally competent mental health support, we can create a more inclusive space for individuals who navigate the world with ADHD and other neurodivergent experiences.we can create a more inclusive space for individuals who navigate the world with ADHD and other neurodivergent experiences. Together, let’s challenge the narrative, celebrate our uniqueness, and pave the way for a more understanding and compassionate future.
If you have a diagnosis, are in the process of or feel you may be living with ADHD it is important to talk to a professional. Having a counsellor who specialises in ADHD alongside you in the process can help alleviate anxieties. Sometimes family members don’t understand, may be dismissive or perhaps they are not able to support you the way you need.