Text reads: Children and young people with disability.

Overcoming the fear of labelling

the word, disabled.



This blog was written by a CYDA Youth Council Member.

Since I was a school kid, I have shown signs of ADD – attention deficit disorder. 

Spending majority of my classes in uncontrolled daydreaming, fidgeting unconsciously with the stationaries on my desk, and missing half of my schoolwork unintentionally, I started to become frustrated about myself.

Was there something wrong with me? Why didn’t I fit in with the rest of others?

I was concerned. Parents and teachers were concerned. Classmates found me different. At the time, we did not recognise that these could be signs of ADHD, especially when I did not show much significant hyperactive behaviours. We all thought that I was just simply naughty, careless, and disorganised. This was especially difficult growing up under the East Asian society and culture where grades and ‘good behaviour’ were well rewarded and appreciated above all the other traits. We often tend to avoid talking about mental health and learning disabilities.

I did not want to be labelled; I was too afraid to be seen differently by people around me.

Over time, my mental health started to decline because of my low self-confidence associated with my uncontrollable ‘poor behaviour’ as defined by people and the society around me. It dropped to the lowest point when I reached high school when my lack of self-worth had eventually stopped me from moving forward. I had no choice but to finally seek help and get a proper diagnosis from a health professional, who realised all my behaviour could be explained by a legitimate medical condition commonly seen in thousands of other children and adolescents. There was nothing shameful and miserable about it, and I did not necessarily have to label myself with a diagnosis.

A diagnosis, instead, is an understanding of myself, and a closure to my unresolved thoughts. It is not a label to be ashamed of, no matter what it is.

I spent a few months afterwards getting to know about myself and positive strategies on how to get better, aka accepting and living with my diagnosis. 

I worked with my psychiatrist and parents who supported me through this journey.

I found study groups that were specifically designed for teens with learning disabilities.

I met new friends who went through similar experiences and understood the same struggles (but also perks!). 

I slowly accepted myself and found who I am. 

Years later, thanks to my ADD and the support I received around it, I was able to excel in my unique way and pursue my dream career, which I once thought I would never be able to achieve. 

This is a little message for those who wanted to seek help, but were afraid to be “labelled” with a diagnosis – please do not be. 

You are still as beautiful as who you essentially were.

And a diagnosis is there to help you to realise that.