Aug 16

ADHD Love: “Dirty Laundry” and “ADHD Advantage”

Two books that aim to empower those diagnosed with ADHD are the new one by ADHD Love founders Richard Pink and Roxanne Emery, Dirty Laundry: Why Adults with ADHD Are So Ashamed and What We Can Do to Help and Dr. Dale Archer‘s The ADHD Advantage: What You Thought Was a Diagnosis May Be Your Greatest Strength (2015).

I. Dirty Laundry

This was written from the perspective of both members of a couple: Rich is the spouse of a woman, Rox, who has ADHD. They’re widely known for their ADHD Love brand, available on several social media platforms, including YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram.

From the publisher: “Every chapter starts with a common symptom of ADHD, like impulsivity or struggles with finances, and an earnest moment from their own lives to show you how they navigate the symptom together. Rox reminds you to be kind to yourself and love yourself for who you are; Rich offers tips on how he uses compassion and honesty instead of jumping to conclusions.”

In their book’s Introduction: “Why is Everyone Crying?!” (available on the Amazon book site), Rich writes about fans’ common response to them: “Of course, my ADHD wife knew exactly why this young woman, and all the rest of the people we met, were crying. It’s almost like they speak the same language, an unwritten dialogue of understanding that comes, ironically, from a lifetime of being misunderstood. She knew why they were crying because she’s one of them.”

Rox explains further: “It’s shame. The same shame I had felt for my entire life, until I received an ADHD diagnosis at age 36 and, soon afterward, became part of an incredible internet community of people just like me.”

And further down the page: “I know the dark nights that people with an ADHD diagnosis have had to get through, often alone. I know the shame that living undiagnosed can bring, and I know the absolute relief of watching a 30-second video on TikTok and being able to breathe for the first time in 30 years, because Oh my god, it isn’t just me.”

II. The ADHD Advantage

Dale Archer espouses his own type of ADHD love in The ADHD Advantage: What You Thought Was a Diagnosis May Be Your Greatest Strength. His previous bestseller was Better Than Normal: How What Makes You Different Can Make You Exceptional.

From Publishers Weekly on “the ADHD advantage”:

According to Archer, possible benefits include the ability to work under pressure, rebound from crises, multitask, and conceive of ideas outside the box. Part I of the book provides historical, genetic, and pathological context, Part II focuses on the so-called ‘ADHD advantages’ in more detail, and Part III connects them to entrepreneurship, athletics, and interpersonal experiences. Part I also contains the most potentially controversial material: Archer’s recommendation that ADHD sufferers and their guardians avoid managing the condition with medication and instead follow a ‘skills, not pills’ approach…

What are some other ADHD traits that can be helpful? According to the review by Anne Parfitt-Rogers, New York Journal of Books, they include:

  • lateral thinking
  • compassion
  • a sense of humor
  • good spirits
  • hyper-alertness when occupied

More about the medication issue? “The book presents a balanced approach, not ruling out medication altogether but reserving this as a last resort or for the most severe cases. As one specialist puts it, ‘Pills without further therapy don’t do much at all.’ Dr. Archer also mentions the serious adverse effects, such as stunted growth and suicide.”

Instead of medication? Included suggestions are “increased involvement in sports, associative learning styles, behavioral training, and addressing factors such as sleep and family problems. Promising results from mindfulness-based cognitive therapy as well as ‘medication holidays’ for those on prescribed drugs are discussed.”