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The New Paper
Sept 14, 2023
Local actress Chen Yixin raised a few eyebrows when she opened up about growing up with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in an interview with Pin Prestige in August.
The 23-year-old revealed how she was unaware of her condition throughout her childhood, until she learnt about ADHD just two years ago, when she was studying psychology.
At a press conference for Mediacorp drama series All That Glitters on Monday (Sept 11), the actress – who is also the daughter of veteran actors Edmund Chen and Xiang Yun – spoke to AsiaOne about her concerns and regrets regarding the matter.
For starters, she said she wished she knew of her condition much earlier, as it would have made a big difference – not just in her formative years but also with regards to her parents’ finances.
"When I grew up, I associated ADHD with uncontrollable children who caused trouble, and it never crossed my mind that I had the condition myself,” Chen said.
"It would have been nice to (be able to) cope with my focus better, and it would have saved my parents tuition money. Tuition is really expensive!"
According to Chen, her parents didn’t have a big reaction when she revealed her condition to them.
“They always knew I was more physically active (than others), but they (thought of it) more as a personality trait. They were not surprised when they found out."
While studying psychology, Chen saw similarities between ADHD and her own condition, and "wanted to get confirmation and medical support".
"Ever since I started schooling, I had always been a bit suspicious of my lack of focus. I was such a headache to my tutors. I could not sit still and always found excuses to visit the washroom, so that I could move a little.
"I was confused that some people could focus on the entire lesson. I would rather zone out than focus."
It also affects her driving, she admitted, though that situation has improved with medication that she started on last year.
Even during conversations with people, Chen said she needs to "jump around topics" in order to maintain her interest.
While she is aware that going public with the issue might be seen as attention-seeking, Chen hopes that the act of admitting having ADHD can be normalised.
"I am not seeking pity or emphasising how much I have overcome to get to where I am now, I'm just being public with a fact.
"In reality (the condition) is more common than most people think… I wanted my followers to be comfortable having flaws too."
She also doesn’t wish to be treated differently by people because of her condition.
"I can cope with it on my own, it's not an excuse for anything… So there is no need to walk on eggshells."