The holidays are nearly here! But do you enjoy them? If you answered no; don’t worry, you aren’t alone. Many adults with ADHD feel the same. While many people love vacation time away from work, eating good food and spending time with their families, it’s not always the case with ADHDers. [Read more…]
1. You Normalize ADHD
If you have ADHD, then there is a good chance one (or more) of your children has ADHD too. Children don’t like to be different; you might be the only person they know who has ADHD. By being open about your ADHD, you are normalizing it and even making it cool.
When you are hyper-focusing on your child or an activity you are doing together, they feel like the most special person in the world. The activity doesn’t matter. Listening to a story about their day, watching a movie together or working on a project in the garden, etc.; the attention you are giving is very powerful.
3. Emotional Intelligence
ADHDers are emotionally intelligent and they are sensitive (no matter how thick a crust they show the outside world), so you ‘get’ your children’s’ emotions. It is very validating and reassuring to a child to be understood.
4. Problem Solver
Problems can seem scary at whatever age you are. Having a Dad who is a natural problem solver is like carrying an ace in your back pocket.
5. Stands Up for the Under Dog
ADHDers have a strong moral compass and they aren’t afraid to vocalize that. You might be an advocate for your child at school, or you might use these skills for people you barely know. Either way, your child likes knowing you have their back and do good things in the world.
6. Good in a Crisis
When everyone else is panicky in a crisis, you become calm and instinctively know what to do. ADHDers excel in a crisis situation: car crash, fire, broken leg, etc.You handle the situation like a professional. This is very reassuring to your child.
ADHDers are life-long learners; which means you know a lot of things. You have an answer for every question your son and daughter ask. From ‘How far away is the moon?’ to ‘Why do worms live in the ground?’ and much, much more!
8. Role Model
By managing and treating your ADHD, you are setting a great example. Children are like sponges and observe everything you do and say. If you are being proactive in managing your ADHD, by exercising, taking omega 3, using tricks to help you with time-keeping and organizing, etc., they will do the same.
Because it’s hard for ADHDers to do the things that are boring for them, they generally just do things that they are passionate about. Not only is it fun to be around this type of energy, it also inspires your children to find what they are passionate about.
You are a lot of fun. You don’t follow the rules, you make people laugh, have a good sense of humor, you think of fun things to do, and your enthusiasm for life is contagious
When you first discover you have ADHD, you might be tempted to shout the news from the rooftops because you are thrilled to know this new piece of information about yourself. It explains why you are the way you are and why ‘simple’ things that other people find easy are difficult for you. You might feel relief, excitement and want other people to hear the good news.
But before you tell anyone, please proceed with caution.
Even though we know more about ADHD than ever before, there are still a lot of misconceptions, negativity, and prejudice again ADHD. People have been denied insurance, promotion and faced prejudice at Colleges or University because they shared their diagnosis. None of these things are politically correct and can be fought, but that takes a lot of time and strength to do.
Even well meaning people in your life, might just see the label ‘ADHD’ rather than the whole of you including your unique qualities and strengths.
Of course, tell your nearest and dearest, but beyond them, carefully consider who else you share your news with.
However, what you can do with everyone in your life is to address your symptoms. Develop a really good understanding of how ADHD affects you and then think of ways that will support you to perform at your best.
For example, if you know your memory for details is poor and a work colleague asks you something as you are rushing out, you could say, “Would you mind emailing me that request, my mind is so full right now and I really don’t want to forget it?”
If it’s difficult for you to pay attention in meetings, take notes, and explain to the people there you are doing that because it’s an important topic and you want to have it in writing.
If early morning appointments are tough for you because it takes a few hours to ‘come round’ explain to people that you are at your mental peak after 11am and would prefer to schedule things then.
No one will argue with any of these requests because they are things we can all identify with. They make the person feel respected, while all the time honoring your ADHD so that you can perform your best.
1) Think of 5 challenges you face because of your ADHD
2) Brainstorm solutions
3) Practice saying the solutions out loud, so when you are in a real life situation, it will roll off your tongue.
Being diagnosed with ADHD as an adult it is a life changing event. Like all life changing events, you want to share the experience and get support from your family and friends. So it can come as a shock to discover your nearest and dearest might not be very supportive.
Even though they love you, they say things like:
“You managed this long without knowing, why do you want to know now”
“I don’t believe ADHD exists”
“Well it doesn’t change your day to day reality”
“Of course, that was going to be the result that is how those people make a living”
These comments feel rude and hurtful. You might wonder why it would take being diagnosed would upset them, because they already know all about your behaviors and ADHD characteristics. All that has changed is the knowledge that those behaviours fall under the ADHD umbrella.
For you, getting a diagnosis helps you to understand why you are the way you are. For them, it triggers some emotions. Here are 5 common reasons why the people in your life aren’t supportive of you ADHD Diagnosis:
1) Parents feel guilty that they didn’t notice you had ADHD as you were growing up. Even though so much less was known about ADHD twenty plus years ago, however, the guilt is still there.
2) They love you so much they don’t want to think of their child as anything, but perfect.
Partner (wife, husband etc)
3) They don’t want things to change. Even though living with your undiagnosed ADHD wasn’t always easy, they know how to do that. Change, even good change can be threatening. They might worry you won’t need them so much in the future and stop loving them.
4) They think you will use ADHD as an excuse to get of your responsibilities and they will have to do
Everyone, including parents, partner and friends
5) Scared of ADHD medication. There is lots of negative press about ADHD meds and some people get very scared that bad things will happen to their loved ones if they take it.
While it is upsetting that the people you love can’t be there for you during this new stage of your life, it does help to know that you aren’t on your own. This is a common reaction, however, don’t let stop you getting support. There are tons of ways to connect with others and learn about ADHD. Here are 10 suggestions.
1) Find a support group in your area
2) Join an ADHD Meet-Up group
3) Attend conferences, my favourite is CHADD’s annual conference.
4) Read or listen to books on ADHD
5) Listen/Download ADHD podcasts
6) Join online ADHD forums
7) Join ADHD Facebook groups
8) Hire an ADHD Coach
9) Work with a therapist who knows about ADHD
10) Find ADHD blogs and leave comments under posts you enjoy. This is a great way to connect with and share tips with other ADHD readers
A common complaint or worry people with ADHD is that they feel ‘behind’ in life. Their peers seem to be racing ahead and they don’t feel they are where they should be as they pass age milestones. The truth is everyone feels they are ‘behind’ in life to some degree, but people with ADHD seem to feel it more keenly. Perhaps because some things do take them longer (e.g. graduating from University because they take fewer classes each semester) or because their self esteem and confidence is lower.
In a world where the media portrayal of what normal is has us all graduating from University at 21 years old, advancing up the corporate ladder in our mid 20’s and happily married with children at 30. It’s good to know to that the world is changing and there is a new type of normal.
People no longer work Monday to Friday, 9-5 in the same job until they retire at 65 years old. Today we have more career changes than past generations. There is flex time, satellite offices and stay-at-home-dads. You can be a self made multi-millionaire in your early 20’s (for example Facebook’s Mark Zucherberg) and keep working because you love it into your 90’s.
Traditionally, parents were of the opposite sex and had children in the ‘peak birth rate years’ of 20- 24. Now there is an increasing number of first time parents in their 40’s and it is no longer taboo to be a single parent. Elton John is the perfect example that you can be a new parent whatever our age or sexuality.
The average age for first marriages is getting higher and higher. At the moment, it is 28 years old for men and 26 years for women.
What does this have to do with ADHD? I wanted to illustrate that the old linear way of living isn’t the norm any more. We have more freedom to make choices based on what suits us than ever before. You are never behind; there is no rule that you are a certain age when you should get married, or buy a house, or have a particular position at work.
When you free yourself from these norms you give yourself permission to live your life at a pace that works for you will thrive. When you have ADHD it’s important to do what makes you tick, to listen to your internal messages rather than any external messages. If you do this, you will experience more happiness and success than ever before.