Abbie Chatfield Calls Megan Marx “Ableist” After She Said ADHD Is an “Influencer Trend”
Abbie Chatfield has clapped back at Megan Marx after she made “ableist” statements about Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and spread misinformation about the medication that is used to help symptoms.
Megan’s comment was a response to a follower, who asked her on Instagram if ADHD is “an influencer fad”.
But before we get into what Megan said and Abbie’s response, there are a few things we need to discuss.
What Is ADHD?
According to KidsHealth, ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is usually recognised in early childhood. People with ADHD have a difference in brain development and brain activity, and the disorder can affect people’s attention span, the ability to sit still and self-control.
However, while signs of ADHD are usually present in people from when they are very young, it can still be difficult to get a proper diagnosis — especially for women.
According to CHADD, girls are diagnosed with ADHD at just under half the rate that boys are diagnosed with.
Women and girls experience the same general symptoms of ADHD as men and boys do. However, they express those symptoms differently.
That difference is the reason why women and girls are underdiagnosed, as clinicians, parents and other adults who work with children look for the male model of ADHD symptoms, which include hyperactivity and impulsiveness.
What Did Megan Marx Say About ADHD?
During an Instagram Q&A, Megan was asked whether she believed ADHD was an “influencer fad”.
“I do think that ADHD diagnosis, there’s a possibility that it could be a little bit of a trend,” she said, after noting that she’d probably “get herself into trouble” with her statement.
She went on to say that some people with ADHD may have symptoms that were brought on by “environmental factors”, including being “overstimulated” by social media.
“Who doesn’t have problems concentrating? We need to address as a society why we aren’t concentrating.”
Megan then went on to say that “many high functioning influencers are warking [sic] on about how it’s changed their lives and driving other people who feel shitty to try and get medication too [sic].”
The neurodivergent community consider the term “high functioning” to be ableist.
Megan then said in a later post: “They’re influencers, they make people seek treatment, and it could be a plethora of other issues going on, [such as] Depression, Bipolar [disorder].
“There’s a bunch of different mood disorders it could be. It could be an overstimulation of using social media. But this isn’t discussed.”
Abbie Chatfield Responds
Abbie immediately spoke out against Megan’s “unfounded, invalid and ableist opinions”.
Abbie, who has been diagnosed with ADHD herself, has been open about her journey, aiming to spread awareness about the disorder.
“It’s actually a diagnosis and a health condition that affects people’s lives,” said Abbie. “This idea that [ADHD] is a trend or you shouldn’t be on medication is so ableist [and] so offensive.”
She continued: “Only now — through social media and speaking about the f*cking symptoms that are debilitating — are they able to f*cking see that they might have it… Now, there’s been this collective answer discovery because of social media.”
“The Masked Singer” judge, who was diagnosed with ADHD in her adulthood, said that she was able to understand herself better and let go of the “guilt” she felt because of her symptoms after getting the right answers.
“People have been going through life thinking, ‘there’s something f*cking wrong with me’. [They have experienced] severe anxiety, depression and [had] an awful f*cking time,” Abbie explained.
“[Before] you get diagnosed with ADHD, you go through your whole life thinking… you’re stupid, incompetent, inadequate or you don’t listen well enough or you’re forgetful. [You’re told that] you’re ‘silly, loud and abrasive’ and you’re ‘too much’,” Abbie said.
Abbie then shot back at Megan, who said that an ADHD “diagnosis should be taken more seriously”. The TV and radio personality pointed out that the current wait time was around 18 months and could cost around $1,500 to $3,000.
“People with an ADHD diagnosis didn’t get up one day and go, ‘I’d like to spend 18 months on a waitlist and a lot of [my] f*cking money and time just, so I can fit in with a trend’,” Abbie said.
Megan Said Influencers Were Using ADHD Medication to Lose Weight
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse. After making a sweeping statement on the disorder itself, Megan went on to say that ADHD medication was “basically meth”, as both drugs minimised your appetite.
She claimed that some influencers were using the medication to lose weight.
“I thought it was interesting that these influencers have lost quite a bit of weight, and they’re not talking about it,” Megan said.
“[Influencers are] happy to talk about being on medication, happy to talk about being on ADHD. But they don’t want to talk about the fact that they’ve lost weight because of their medication, and I think that’s problematic,” she said.
In a later statement, she continued: “I know a bunch of people that got ‘diagnosed’ even though they claim not to have ADHD (faked or stretched the truth significantly) because they like the effects… as a party drug AND for weight loss.”
Abbie Said Megan’s Comments About ADHD Medication Were “Disgusting”
Abbie started off by saying that a person’s weight is extremely personal and private and shouldn’t be up for discussion.
“Who the f*ck do you think you are saying that people are owed an explanation for anybody’s weight loss or weight gain?” Abbie asked.
She added: “The reason why people don’t speak about ADHD medication making you lose weight is these people don’t want to encourage you to take medication to lose weight.
“People are trying to destigmatise medication for mental health issues. It’s important to speak about medication if you feel comfortable. No one has to tell you anything, particularly why they’ve lost weight.”
Megan Responds to the “Hate”
After Abbie’s video went live, Megan responded by saying she had the right to make comments because she was also diagnosed with ADHD.
“I’m ADHD diagnosed and am on medication for it. It’s literally changed my life for the better, so I understand the process very well,” Megan said.
She then spoke about her own journey with medication, saying she had previously taken an addictive drug after being misdiagnosed with a different condition, and it “really f*cked me up”.
Megan took back her previous comments about influencers using ADHD medication to lose weight and comparing it to meth, saying it was “quite obvious” that wasn’t what she meant.
Abbie Responds to the Megan’s Latest Statement
Abbie responded to Megan’s response, saying that no one was jumping on a “hate train”, but rather, they were reacting to her “deeply problematic and ableist rhetoric”.
“It doesn’t matter if you have ADHD and are medicated. I would say it actually makes it much worse,” Abbie said.
She said that Megan’s comments “harmed others who have ADHD” and prevented people from getting the help that they needed.
“Well done making yourself look much worse,” she concluded.
If this article brings up any issues for you or anyone you know, or you think you may be experiencing depression or need support with your mental health, please contact your GP or in Australia, contact Lifeline (13 11 14), Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800) or Beyond Blue (1300 22 4636), all of which provide trained counsellors you can talk with 24/7.