It was a beautiful (pre Covid 19) summer’s day in Montreal. Jenny walked into my office in a 50’s style yellow sundress, sat on my sofa and burst into tears.
There was nothing sunny about Jenny’s emotions that day.
Clients come to see me at all of the different stages of their ADHD journey.
Some have known they have ADHD for years and are managing their ADHD pretty well. Then something stressful happens in their life and suddenly their coping strategies aren’t enough and they need extra help.
Other clients like Jenny have recently found out they have ADHD and need help navigating the overwhelming array of options to treat and manage ADHD. They are also making sense of their emotions, because it can be very confusing to be in your 40’s, 50’s or older and suddenly discover you have been living with undiagnosed ADHD.
Jenny was in her early 50’s when she was diagnosed with ADHD. It was a huge relief to her, and she was so excited she couldn’t help tell everyone she met – her friends, family and the next door neighbour.
The problem with this open honesty is not everyone responds in a positive way, which Jenny discovered that morning.
Her postman knocked on her door to deliver a package and Jenny, still full of excitement, shared her ADHD discovery.
He asked if she was on medication.
She was proud to tell him that she was.
Jenny had done lots of research about ADHD meds. She weighed the pros and cons. She booked an appointment with her doctor to discuss her options and went home to think some more.
After careful consideration, Jenny decided that she would try taking ADHD meds. She went back to see her doctor and got a prescription.
She had been taking ADHD meds for exactly 4 days when her postman told her not to take them and gave a passionate and judgmental rant about why it was wrong to take ADHD meds.
Jenny was taken aback, shaken and started questioning everything she had recently learned about ADHD.
The reaction of Jenny’s postman isn’t a one-off.
The general public isn’t very well informed about ADHD, and yet they have very strong opinions.
A dangerous combination.
When you are new to ADHD like Jenny and still trying to make sense of it, you are very vulnerable to outsiders’ opinions.
I explained this to Jenny.
I also asked who she thought was in a better position to know what is best for her, Herself, after living in her body for 52 years and doing all her research and getting advice from her doctor, or a person she barely knows?
Jenny laughed. She felt reassured, and her equilibrium was restored. She started to feel excited about her diagnosis again, although in a more subdued way.
She also decided to be a little more cautious about who she would discuss ADHD with.
There is a brilliant passage in the book, Untamed, by Glennon Doyle, that would have been perfect for me to share with Jenny that day, but sadly the book hadn’t been written then.
However, I wanted share it with you now in case you ever have a similar encounter to Jenny.
It wasn’t written specifically about ADHD meds, but the advice still applies:
“If there are people in your life – parents, siblings, friends, writers, spiritual ‘gurus’ who judge you for taking prescribed medicine, please ask to see their medical license. If they can show it to you and they happen to be your doctor, consider listening.
If not, tell them sweetly to F*** all the way off.
They are two-legged people who are calling prosthetics a crutch”
– Untamed by Glennon Doyle