So Is The ADHD Squirrel Meme Accurate?

Squirrel on a tree trunk

Have you ever seen the Disney movie called Up before? The first few minutes of it always have me ugly-crying, but that is beside the point.

In the movie Up there is a character called Dug. He is a dog who can talk because of the technology that is inside his dog collar. So we get to hear all of his thoughts throughout the entire movie.

However, he will be mid-sentence when suddenly he yells out “squirrel” whenever he sees one. This distracted moment has somehow become synonymous with ADHD, or at least, what most people who don’t have ADHD think that it must be like.

But is this meme really accurate?

In this post, I am going to share what I think about this ADHD squirrel meme, and if I think it is true. I was diagnosed with ADHD in 2021.

Where did the ADHD Squirrel meme come from?

I’ve always thought the ADHD squirrel meme came from the movie Up. That is the first time I can ever remember hearing about it, and the movie was released years before my own ADHD diagnosis.

However, according to several other people I have talked to who have also been diagnosed with ADHD, they say ADHD being related to the whole squirrel thing was way before the movie Up.

It all has to do with the sense of distraction that people with ADHD tend to experience.

However, I believe that unfortunately, this stereotype of ADHD is perpetuating the myth that this is how everyone who has ADHD experiences it, which I don’t believe is the case.

What is the traditional view of ADHD?

The traditional view of ADHD is that it’s a behavior disorder where children are inattentive, hyperactive, and impulsive. It actually used to be seen as something that mostly males experienced, and that it was something that boys would just grow out of as they grew up.

We now know that this is not the case. People that have ADHD will continue to have it for the rest of their lives, they may just become medicated, or learn how to cope with their disorder better.

Also, women with ADHD often go diagnosed because their symptoms may be seen as less disruptive than the symptoms men usually see. Also many have become very good at masking their symptoms.

Is the meme accurate?

ADHD is so much more than the meme makes it out to be.

But in my opinion, I would actually consider it accurate–in some cases.

While some of us can get easily distracted by something else (squirrel) and forget about whatever it is we are doing, but then return our attention back to the topic at hand, there is another scenario that also happens.

Sometimes we get thrown off course by the new thing (squirrel) and then this happens:

“Squirrel! Oh wow that looks like a different type of squirrel than the one I normally see around here, I wonder what different types there are in this area *pulls out phone and googles it* hmm squirrels actually do eat nuts, speaking of nuts I forgot I needed to find out if there is a nut allergy in Timmy’s class so I know if I can bake cookies with nuts in them or the need to be nut free… he did his homework right? Oh wait what was I talking about before?”

Many of us can go down rabbit holes of information, which is why so many of us can get stuck in this social media/internet loop where we were meaning to do something, but then got distracted and forgot what we were doing and ended up learning about the most random of information that we will never use.

I think it is more accurate to say that people with ADHD may experience both from time to time.

But it is important to remember that this is just one tiny part of what it actually means to have ADHD, or one tiny symptom of ADHD there is so much more to it than that and more information is coming out about it every single day.

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