This past week I read through John 9, the well known New Testament story about a man who is born blind and is miraculously healed by Jesus who gives the man sight for the first time in his life.
This man, and others who had been born with disabilities, had been deemed by religious folks to have been born without sight due to sin that he would have committed within the womb. Yes, that’s correct, their religious belief was that we are capable of committing sin as fetuses and this can be the only explanation for why a baby could be born with a disability.
The beliefs of the religious leaders were steeped in a form of social cruelty that left individuals believing they had caused their own misfortunate. Families were guilted into believing their faith and devotion to God was lacking and the consequence was a disabled child.
No visits to a doctor, no medicine, no surgical intervention, no hope. As far as the rigid religious leaders were concerned, you were born that way due to sin and your punishment was life long. A disability at birth was seen as a divine penalty that only God could redeem, and that was only if he chose to.
Upon being divinely cured of his blindness, the man is not met with celebration and well wishes; instead he is interrogated by onlookers and the scrupulous religious leaders. Onlookers chose to believe that the man was a fake who had never really been blind. The religious leaders finally decide he was born blind (after testimony of truth from the man’s frightened parents) and it couldn’t have been God who cured his blindness – in their attempts at righteous reasoning, the miracle could only have come at the hands of a devil.
I can’t help but see similar beliefs unfold when Adults with ADHD have their symptoms under control and life becomes less overwhelming. Some will say things such as, “He never had ADHD in the first place, a lack of discipline was his problem”, “She was lazy, she didn’t want to do the work”, “He just needed to get married, now that he has a wife he is more responsible”, “it was those energy drinks that were causing her inattention” and so on.
I won’t say there is a “cure” for ADHD, there is no research to support such as a statement, but I do believe there are some adults with this disorder who function well in life. They have been able to maintain a steady job, pay their bills on time, take care of their children responsibly and have healthy relationships with others. Some have been able to do all of this without taking medication for ADHD.
When society encounters people with ADHD who are doing well in life they are questioned as to the validity of their diagnosis. There are also people who have the false belief that those with ADHD can never change, improve, transform, or experience personal growth. The story of John 9 in relation to adult ADHD is a reminder that the seemingly impossible can happen. When we see adults with ADHD who are doing well in life, let’s not doubt them or their diagnosis. Instead, let’s be supportive and encouraging. Comparison causes us to look down on our own personal victories and accomplishments. Celebrate the positive changes that happen in your OWN life, be your own cheerleader if no one else is there to celebrate with you.
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Eph 4:29