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A Watershed Moment for Behavioral and Mental Health

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Holy smokes! That was my reaction after seeing Elon Musk give his Saturday Night Live monologue during his hotly anticipated hosting gig.

“I’m making history tonight as the first person with Asperger’s to host SNL. Or at least the first to admit it.”

For those of us in the behavioral health community and for me as someone who has ADHD, Elon’s monologue will be something we look back upon. This was a meaningful moment in the history of our understanding of mental illness.  I’m passionate about helping kids and adults who live with ADHD, and I can tell you that being able to gain that confidence, as Elon has, to speak openly about a mental condition is huge.

Elon Musk is one of the wealthiest, most successful people in all of history. His life is now an example to all of us who live with anxiety, depression, ADHD, Asperger’s Syndrome, and an entire catalog of mental conditions. He’s proven that if you can manage your condition medically and behaviorally, ADHD can become a superpower. Those of us in the ADHD community know that when we harness our ADHD and cope with the dysfunctions it may cause, we can push past the level of thinking possible for the average individual. Thus, we have a gift that enables us to help the community in different ways as those who don’t have ADHD.

When somebody of Elon Musk’s stature declares that he has Asperger’s, it pushes people to think about mental and behavioral health to a new level of understanding. The greater the knowledge people have of these disorders, the more we feel empowered to live our best lives without stigma or fear. We are then unafraid to talk about what we have and help others understand who we are as people and what we have to offer this world.

I’ve said for many years that I have ADHD, and I’m proud of it. From my journey with ADHD, I know that just having the confidence to say how proud I am, much less saying it, is what so many of us in this community desire. From the first introduction as Elon walked up to the center stage last Saturday night, I could tell, as many can quickly ascertain about those of us along the mental health spectrum, that there was “something going on there.” And I immediately thought, what a moment!

For many who saw his monologue, their perception of conditions like Asperger’s, autism, and ADHD will never be the same—and that’s a good thing! It may not come naturally to think of people with Asperger’s as being anywhere near the spotlight, much less on national television, or leading multi-billion dollar companies. But when managed properly, these conditions can lead to incredible things. 

Holy smokes, indeed!

Blog post written by Zachariah Booker, CEO of ADHD Online.

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