Redefining Strengthens: Black Women Thriving with ADHD
(Black women are cis, femmes, and Black womanhood-identifying non-binary persons)
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental condition that transcends all racial and cultural boundaries, yet its impact on Black women often remains shrouded in the shadows. As a Black woman in her 30s, I found myself unexpectedly embarking on a journey of self-discovery. Throughout my life, I grappled with challenges that seemingly mirrored the concurring symptoms of my Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD). Yet, through an unforeseen revelation, I began to unravel the concealed threads that would eventually reveal another force that contributed to my struggles — ADHD.
Biases and Stereotypes:
The underdiagnosis of ADHD in Black women is rooted in pervasive biases and stereotypes that have infiltrated the medical realm. Healthcare providers may overlook or misconstrue ADHD symptoms in minority populations, perpetuating the notion that Black women are impervious to this condition. The strength and resilience attributed to Black women may veil the truth, concealing the neurological complexities of ADHD behind layers of unfounded assumptions.
Startling statistics reveal a distressing reality. A study published in Pediatrics uncovered that Black children displaying significant ADHD symptoms were 69% less likely to receive an ADHD diagnosis compared to their white peers with similar symptoms (Morgan et al., 2013). Such disparities mirror the insidious nature of bias that silently weaves its way into the diagnostic process.
A Surprise Symptom Twist:
For me, the revelation of my ADHD journey came as a surprise — a delicate twist in the narrative I had long held. I didn’t embody the stereotypical hyperactive image conventionally associated with ADHD. Instead, I experienced a more subtle tapestry of symptoms, such as daydreaming, disorganization, and a restlessness that echoed within. I had forged a façade of coping mechanisms to navigate the trials of C-PTSD, never suspecting that they obscured the essence of my true struggle.
Dr. Monique Johnson, an esteemed ADHD expert, clarified this enigma, stating, “Cultural differences and societal expectations often eclipse the…