I have ADHD. This has brought a lot of sadness to my life but it is a fundamental part of who I am. This set of strengths and weaknesses that I have, that I share with so many other people with ADHD is fully integrated into my personality. You cannot separate me from my 'disability'.
So when I am called the biggest waste of potential you have ever met, not as good as other people or unsuccessful and unfocused, maybe that just means that I am struggling to find my way in this world and that other people have serious problems with being judgmental and kind of mean. To the teacher from high school who actually called me the biggest waste of potential, I would say that I had close to 4.0 all though out undergrad and grad school, and that wasn't because of your harsh words, it was despite of them. I almost didn't go to college because so many people with words like yours made me feel stupid and incompetent.
Just because I don't meet other people's criteria for success, doesn't mean that I am a failure. When you compare me to other people you consider to be more successful and say that I am unfocused and letting my 'disability' get in the way of my success, I am probably not going to be saying anything to you, because I can't believe you are saying that to me. My lack of focus, which you are blaming on my ADHD isn't why I haven't been 'successful'. I haven't yet decided what success looks like to me and I have made a lot of wrong turns in my life so I am taking my time and going slowly and deciding who I am, what I have to offer the world and what that will look like for me. I can't be on your timeline, I can't actually 'do' time like other people do. My 'success' will come in my own time, and might look very different from what you consider to be successful.
I don't know why so many people want to judge other people so much and I don't know why it always hurts so much. I always thought that when I grew up, I wouldn't care what other people thought. But I have learned that being judged and found wanting will always be a little painful.
If someone offered me the chance to do life without ADHD, I would have to say no thank you. This is who I am and this is who I want to be. I am a human being, trying to find my way in this world, trying to walk softly and trying to make my little corner of the world a happier place. My 'disease', my 'disability' is something that I don't want to be cured from. The challenges of ADHD have taught me strength and perseverance, and how to get knocked down and get back up again...over and over and over again. Because quite frankly, I don't always learn from my mistakes. The strengths of ADHD have taught me to think creatively, pour my energy into what I love and go out and find what brings me happiness and joy. The way other people react to my ADHD has taught me suffering which in turn has taught me great patience and compassion.
To everyone out there who has any type of 'disability', you never stand alone. You are who you were meant to be. You have unique strengths and challenges, like everyone else. You are a beautiful person and you can be whoever you want to be. Find your passion, find your joy and follow it with devotion. You won't be able to ignore the judgement of others, but you can rise above it and embrace yourself and your authentic life path. Their words are hurtful, but in the end they don't matter. Show yourself and others compassion. Don't let other people and their judgments define you. You are beautiful. You are loved. You are enough.