Borders prevent people from understanding each other. The separation of a border causes people on one side to make assumptions about people on the other. In the case of ADD, and learning disorders in general, people without any condition, or “neurotypicals”, assume everyone with a certain condition shares the same symptoms of the same intensity. This dichotomy can harm people in opposite ways, making a condition seem far more trivial or extreme than it actually is for many people.
As somebody with ADHD, it feels like the disorder is so normal now that it’s not real. ADHD is diagnosed so commonly now that it seems like a fashion trend, something that people say they have just to be different. When I talk to somebody about how I have trouble focusing or how I space out for long periods of time, they’ll say “Oh, I must have ADD, too!”. It’s annoying because, however nonchalant they might be about it, I can’t prove them wrong. The spectrum of ADHD doesn’t have a concrete lower limit, and all of the symptoms are normal in children and teens. So while everyone and their brother now has ADHD, those of us who have actually been diagnosed are not seen as different and the kind of accommodations that many people with ADHD use, like extra time on tests or being able to type their work, are now standard. These can actually hinder learning for many people, who will just goof off on their computers or be put at a disadvantage if they can’t come in after school to finish their tests. This normalization of ADHD, for me, makes me question if I really am that different. I almost feel guilty asking for accommodations because I don’t actually know whether it “levels" the playing field in my favor.
Whenever I am convinced that I'm doing fine, because I've been breezing through vocabulary practice and classwork, I become so confident that I will have no problem on larger writing assignments, I procrastinate all weekend. Then, when I finally start on Sunday (I don’t take medication on weekends to avoid desensitizing my system), I’m overwhelmed and I can’t focus enough to even start.
In short, the border between me and other people causes them to perceive my condition as minor or imaginary. And because I don’t know if it’s easier for other people, I don’t ask for help or plan to spend extra time, and when I fall behind the difference becomes all too clear.