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  • Writer's pictureRohama Kabeer

Being Brown with ADHD

One of the stigmas associated with South Asian families is that of perceptions of academic inferiority. The culture may label them as lazy or not trying hard enough. This is often the case for young people who have ADHD or neurodivergence. Neurodivergent is a non-medical umbrella term that describes people with variation in their mental functions, and can include conditions such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or other neurological or developmental conditions such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).


ADHD can feel like a burden but it makes you resilient and strong.

With the existing stigma of mental health and learning disabilities, the lack of awareness and understanding of the physical and mental impacts of ADHD, needs can go ignored for years. It can be hard to constantly keep something like that to yourself, to constantly deny it – there is often pressure to carry on like it doesn’t exist.


One of the stereotypes of South Asians in the Western world is that of being overachievers or a model minority. This means being both physically and professionally outstanding, causing you to feel lonely and isolating when you feel like your interests, chosen career path and neurodivergence is seen as being different, not good enough and something to hide.


These expectations and pressure can often lead to living our lives in silence, and our neurodivergence not getting the support that it needs. It can make people feel like their ADHD is a burden or an obstacle that makes them less capable – when really, it’s just part of what makes you resilient and strong. For someone to have the courage to acknowledge their ADHD and seek access to the correct resources to help them combat the symptoms that take over their academic, social, and interpersonal life is a big, bold step that highlights breaking stigma and self advocacy. Despite what culture and generations might say, admitting a diagnosis does not mean admitting defeat, rather the opposite. The courage to seek the help to thrive.


It can be hard to have professionals listen to your struggles and symptoms and have them dismissed. Often times, people of color and South Asians specifically, are overlooked when it comes to diagnoses – and even if they are diagnosed, they aren’t as likely to receive treatment. So, we can recognize the systemic problems that can prevent individuals from feeling heard and seen, but we are here to remind you that therapy can be the place where you feel heard and seen. A place to explore the challenges in a safe and non judgmental way.


Together we can work on re-building the confidence that can often be hidden behind your struggles and work through the generational stigma a diagnosis can bring.


We can work together to heal the generational stigma of ADHD.

Let’s focus on the great things ADHD brings - You are likely:


● a risk-taker and natural go-getter innovative and imaginative

● spontaneous and energetic

● can hyperfocus

● compassionate and empathetic

● outgoing, funny, and full of ideas

● caring and sensitive to others

● overwhelmed

● may procrastinate

● take time to process information or complete tasks




Together, we can work on coaching and counselling to help you feel less isolated in your neurodivergence, and help you build on the skills you already possess while adding more, to offer more ease in your life.


If you are interested to learn more and to explore ways I can support your academic and personal goals, please feel free to book a 15 minute no change initial consultation. Contact me through the booking link below or email hello@shantipsychotherapy.ca


 
Rohama Kabeer has added specialization for working with individuals with learning issues and ADHD to treat symptoms such as time management, procrastination, test/presentation anxiety, academic stressors and accessing accommodations.

I’m Rohama Kabeer, a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) with a passion to create a safe and empathetic space to help clients uncover their struggles and resiliency.


As a Pakistani international student who immigrated to Canada and lived a large portion of my life in the middle east, I acknowledge how hard it can be to reach out for help and find people that can understand and support you through complex individual experiences.


As a South-Asian woman trying to find her own place in Canada, I can empathize with our shared societal, cultural, and familial values, while recognizing the balance and effort it takes to find our own place here.


My experience includes working with individuals, teens and young adults, with mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, stress, family conflict, relationship issues, self esteem, life transition and emotional regulation.


I have an added specialization for working with individuals with learning issues and ADHD to treat symptoms such as time management, procrastination, test/presentation anxiety, academic stressors and accessing accommodations.


I welcome you to explore ways I can support your wellness and therapy goals. Book a 15 minute initial consultation with me by clicking the button below or email hello@shantipsychotherapy.ca




 

References:

https://www.additudemag.com/race-and-adhd-how-people-of-color-get-left-behind/

https://www.additudemag.com/mental-health-stigma-asian-stereotype-adhd-asd/

https://www.neurokin.ca/adhd-overview

https://drsharonsaline.com/2023/02/23/ask-dr-saline-what-does-adhd-look-in-black-and-brown-girls

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