Andrea Pope: Hunting for ‘Invisible People’

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In a quiet coffee shop nestled away from the bustling city, I sat down with Andrea Pope, the founder of The VAST Connection. As she sipped her coffee, Andrea shared the essence of her mission, “My nickname is Radar, and I’m a hunter, a hunter of almost invisible people like me, who are too socially successful to be visible to the average person.”

This ‘Hunter on a Mission’ proceeded to explain why she wants to unlock the mystery component which frees ‘invisible people’—individuals like herself, who navigate the world with an almost imperceptible difference. Andrea’s journey is one of resilience, self-discovery, and a commitment to bringing comprehension to a condition frequently overlooked.

The Invisible, as Andrea described, are individuals who, despite their success in society, carry a unique set of characteristics that often lead them to be socially misunderstood. They may say and do odd things, at odd times, for reasons even they don’t know why… Yet, they lead seemingly ordinary lives, paying bills, and sustaining themselves, while enduring intense internal struggles, in silence.

Andrea’s revelation came in the form of a simple test—a test for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). With just 18 multiple-choice questions, this test became a beacon of understanding for Andrea, and others like her. “If I had seen that test at any point in my life, I would have known immediately why I was so darn different than everyone else,” she shared with a sense of relief.

The pivotal moment came when she recognized a common thread among The Invisible – medical misdiagnosis. She was recognized as an ADHDer, by another ADHDer!  When seeking help, most ADHDers receive every diagnosis, except the right one. Andrea’s voice resonated with frustration as she explained, “We ‘The Invisible’, are too successful to apply the term ‘deficit’ ‘disorder’ to. That ‘figuring out’ exactly ‘what is not the same as the rest of us?’… is clearly beyond most of the medical industry. 

Taking matters into her own hands, Andrea evolved her ‘ADHD Radar’, spotting familiar ADHD symptoms in people, everywhere she went. “My internal radar has caught 25 people, so far… and counting… just by passing the ADHD test forward. The world needs more than a couple of intuitive with ADHD Spotting Radar!” she exclaimed, emphasizing the urgent need for wider awareness and accessibility to diagnostic tools. This simple test, she believes, is very key to unlocking the right diagnosis for countless individuals. 

“Why is such a simple 18-question test for a genetically transmitted condition not handed out in every doctor’s office automatically?”  (the ‘DUH’ tone in her voice was unmistakable.)

Andrea’s question penetrates to the core of the issue, genetics. She advocates for making the test readily available, not only in medical settings but also to parents of children who have already been diagnosed. The goal is to empower individuals with knowledge about how their biological chemistry affects their social life, fostering a sense of understanding of their life experiences.

Surface ‘success’ is what prevents the medical industry from even perceiving the underlying ADHD cause, which surfaces with symptoms such as depression and anxiety… and treats those symptoms with the opposite drugs that support ADHD functioning. “Don’t you think that’s a major problem?”, shaking her head in disbelief.

So where can The Invisible be found? According to Andrea’s extensive experience, they are scattered across various professions and industries: sports and fitness, the fire department, paramedics, cops, nurses, construction workers, hospital ERs, surgeons, construction yards, artists, musicians, and the entire entertainment industry. Andrea has encountered individuals, from all walks of life, who have no idea why they don’t feel like they ‘fit in’. “Wouldn’t you be a bit freaked out, if you knew you were not ‘in sync’ with your peers?”

Andrea Pope challenges the stereotype associated with ADHD, pointing out that those with the condition can not only live with it but thrive.  “We ADHDers can be at our best too…” emphasizing the importance of recognizing and embracing the unique strengths that come with ADHD’s ‘out of the box’ thinking style as well.

“ADHDers are 6 times more likely to become entrepreneurs than average” she shared, highlighting the prevalence of the condition among those driven by innovation and creativity. It’s not confined to any particular demographic; rather, it touches every corner of society, often in unexpected places. “We all have to live and work with ADHDers, whether you are aware of it or not,” she says with a knowing smile, “Just looking at the test might suddenly ‘make sense’ of someone you know.” 

In a world that often struggles to see beyond the surface, Andrea Pope, Radar, stands as a beacon of hope, on a mission to unveil the ADHD story to those who have remained invisible to themselves… for far, far too long. Through her advocacy and personal journey, she seeks to rewrite the narrative surrounding ADHD, turning it into a story of resilience, strength, and triumph for ‘The Invisible’ – people who are anything but unseen, just undiagnosed.

Her call to action is clear: get the ADHD test out, break through the medical invisibility that shrouds individuals with ADHD, and bring each one into the light of understanding and acceptance of their genetic inheritance.

As she concluded our conversation, Andrea reiterated her mission with passion, “My nickname is Radar; The VAST Connection is now hunting for the 6-8 hundred million invisible ADHDers…  who don’t have to be invisible to themselves, any longer.” 

Pass It Forward:

QR Code to The VAST Connection and the DSM-5 Official ADHD Test

Under 50 years old:

8 or 9+  gray boxes 

= see a professional: 

GP, Psychiatrist, psychologist, nurse practitioner

Over 50 yrs old:

5 or more gray boxes 

= see a professional: 

GP, Psychiatrist, psychologist, nurse practitioner

You’ve likely learned by now how to hack your way through or around a few symptom issues, and mark off a white box…, try doing the test as if you were your 11-year-old self, or get a relative or friend, who was around for those early years, to mark the test as though they were you back then. 

We tend to underestimate the social effects of our symptoms on our communities.

ADHDers tend to have extreme ‘social consequences’, both in super strengths and kryptonite.