Being an adult with ADHD is, in a good way, different. Not just from the majority of the population, but as well as from each other. We are similar but also different in many diverse ways. Our ADHD challenges define our difference in many ways. ADHD presents a different phase in each person’s life. Each of us struggles with a particular combination of symptoms. Some symptoms may be a big deal for others, and some may not be a bother at all. Others manage them successfully, while others try hard to overcome it. There are three subtypes of ADHD: inattentive, hyperactive/impulsive and combination. There are many things adults with ADHD want other people to know. But, they are bound by reasons which are most the time, others are unaware of.
People with ADHD, having one of these types may be faced with varied circumstances in their everyday life. We can be challenged by the melange of symptoms characterizing these ADHD types. We face undertakings due to ADHD symptoms hindering our tasks.
For instance, a person with a predominantly inattentive type of ADHD is less likely to become a shopaholic but is more prone to forgetting bills.
Here are Things Adults with ADHD want you to know
1. There’s the world. And then, there’s our ADHD brain.
While our brains are unique, so are our life situations. ADHD adults, like other people, strive to live fulfilling lives: male, female, or changeover; single, married (with or without kids), divorced, widowed; living with parents or with other people; each one living uniquely, in age, culture, language, health, and religion. We work distinct scopes of jobs and these jobs are constantly changing, like everything else in the world. And we try our hardest to cope with these changes.
Then, add comorbidities to the equation. Some folks with ADHD also struggle with these. Some 40% of ADHD adults have two, three or even more extra challenges. They are those “second things” that can come with ADHD – helping to bring mayhem to the ADHD life – depression, anxiety, social and learning disorders and many others.
2. Spill the Beans or Nah?
People tend to complain about our ADHD attitude and all the other things that we don’t mean to do. Oftentimes, after finding out about it, they’d say, “OH! That must be why!”.
At the end of the day, it all boils down to deciding whether to tell our ADHD secret and who to tell it to. Most people with ADHD fear facing dismissal, hostility, close-mindedness and all other collateral damages that could happen just because we told one secret about ourselves, “I have been diagnosed with ADHD.” These decisions come with the hope of awareness; the hope that everyone we tell our secrets to will understand. Well, it’s not like it’s transmissible or something but some people just don’t sympathize or resist the chance to. Our ADHD is not our fault, but for some reason, others think otherwise.
While spilling the beans is a rather hard thing to do, would shaving the beans back inside the can be harder? Revealing ADHD is sometimes bound to pitfall. Disclosing our ADHD secret remains a risky decision unless stigma and prejudices about the disorder are totally managed or eliminated.
3. We Love to Talk
Yes, ADHD people can be prone to blurting things out, oversharing, TMI – as in talking with what seems to be “no limit” or “no filter”. It helps to find and hear people share the same dilemma that we have. This is why there are different forums for people with ADHD, parents of ADHD children and loved ones of people with ADHD.
We love to hear different stories about how other people respond to our secrets. Stories are as unique as our symptoms. Some stories can be tragic – losing a friend, losing a job, disbelief, and hostility. But others can be funny especially comments from people who know nothing about ADHD. Sad or funny, our different telltale stories of ADHD should by now raised an awareness of the disorder and the possible harsh responses of the society.
4. ADHD May Jeopardize Work
One of the aspects that an ADHD can bring adverse effects to is work. There are many adults and teenagers who kept their ADHD a secret for the fear of losing a job. They dread losing their dreams and not living to their potentials because for being judged of having the disorder. Not just this, ADHD can be used by other people – colleagues and associations – against us.
There are countless stories of people with ADHD lying about it and trying to get on with life, pursuing dreams and not having to worry about ADHD being used to against them.
5. The Big Question
“Who do I tell my secret to?”
This is the big question. It is a constant challenge to decide whether to tell the world about our ADHD or not. We think of all the positive, creative and powerful strategies that we can use in order to tell people about ADHD but sometimes, reactions go out of hand and don’t go as planned. Sometimes we strategize, forethink and plan, but at times, it’s a risk we accidentally and blindly take. The negative comments, reactions and collaterals can be quite hard to handle.
On a lighter note, there are others who can sympathize, understand and acknowledge. It feels nice to have people on your side. It feels great to never have to justify your behaviours. It feels wonderful to have allies.
Thinking of the ways we can explain our ADHD is already tough in itself, thinking of how people will react makes it twice the endeavour.
Hopefully, eventually, when enough people will speak knowledgeably about ADHD, the stigma will be broken. And no one has to worry about ADHD diagnosis and telling everyone about it.
Being diagnosed with ADHD doesn’t make us less of a person. ADHD does not define us. We are not ADHD, we are people with ADHD.