Lila’s Weekly Film Review: ADHD – Do you really have it?

ADHD: Do You Really Have It? by Cameron Voris and Chris Bollinger explores a day in the life of a man living with ADHD. The use of rapid music and accelerated motion throughout depict how his body is struggling to keep up with his racing mind. Simple tasks such as heating up pasta sauce are made more trying because he finds himself constantly distracted.

This film brings up what I believe is one of the most delicate issues surrounding mental health, which is, do you really have the mental illness you may claim to experience, or are you misusing the term? On one hand, if someone in your life tells you they are dealing with a mental health challenge, I think your immediate reaction should not be to question whether what they are feeling is real. I think it’s important to listen to them, validate their feelings, and offer support.

On the other hand, there are many people who do not fully understand the meanings of words such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, and may use them too loosely or inappropriately. Vocabulary around mental health issues is so important in raising awareness, but is often overlooked. I admit that my younger self would misuse words all the time, before I entered college and became more educated about mental health. If I had a friend who was acting hot and cold, I would think “why are they being so bipolar?” or if I didn’t feel like going out with a group of friends I would say “I’m just feeling really antisocial tonight.” This happens so frequently; I’ve heard all sorts of phrases from “I’m so OCD about cleaning my room” to “I couldn’t get concert tickets; I’m so depressed.” The bottom line is, these words (while misused by almost everyone at some point in their lives) refer to mental illnesses and should not be used casually and inaccurately.

I felt that ADHD – Do you really have it? did an incredible job at depicting the chaos in the mere daily occurrences of this person, who is living with ADHD as a diagnosis. We all make mistakes and say the wrong thing sometimes, but this film is an important reminder to try to be more mindful and sensitive, and to spread awareness. The last shot of the girl (who I presumed to be his daughter) waiting to be picked up at school, really tied the film together emotionally. It shows how ADHD isn’t just something that affects the person who has it, but can have consequences for others in their lives, while they struggle to balance everything at once.

 


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