ADHD and RELATIONSHIPS
I love an ah-ha moment, don’t you? The older I get, they seem to come fewer and farther between one another, though. That’s probably why when they do come now they seem extra powerful. A paradigm shift always is.
So, the other day I was recording an episode of my podcast, See in ADHD talk radio. It’s a show where the people and I just discuss the million points of reality that ADHD touches. The topics range from dealing with some of the challenges that ADHD symptoms present like organization and time management to rare coexisting conditions like Vertical Heterophoria and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Sometimes it’s just a conversation about someone’s ideas and feelings about their ADHD and relationships. Occasionally, the subject of ADHD hardly comes up.
My goal with my work is to change our cultural conversation around ADHD. To eradicate the stigma, wouldn’t that be great?! Okay, so it’s a lofty goal, but I do believe it’s achievable. I often use this analogy: it used to be that being an adoptee was akin to sin. It often meant that a child was born out of wedlock and that child was labeled a bastard. At best, it was a pity because your birth parents didn’t or couldn’t raise you.
Can you imagine? No, of course not. Not now. Not now because we know better, and we’re doing better. I’m adopted, and I can attest it’s no longer a stigmatized condition. When I was in elementary school, I was one of two adoptees I knew, and people did say silly things like, “Wow! I had no idea you were adopted.” I assumed they meant because I wasn’t an Asian kid in a Caucasian home, like my friend.
Some people still say that, believe it or not, but I can tell there’s a difference in attitude. They aren’t thinking something bad happened in my family’s history or judging me like adoptees were decades ago. I would guess that they don’t care much because it’s not a big deal anymore.
This all speaks to the podcast’s mission. By talking about ADHD, it will decrease the stigma around it. It starts with either you having it yourself or living with or loving someone else who does. I’m sure the results will be similar to what we’ve seen with adoptees and if you need another example, just look at what’s happened in the LBGT community; first awareness, then acceptance.
Now, let’s go back to my ah-ha moment. So, I was recording an episode with Rick Green on relationships between both people with ADHD and non-ADHD, I’m on Your Side: ADHD & Relationships. He’s the comedian, actor, speaker, and all around super intelligent, awesome guy, who with his wife, Ava, run TotallyADD.com. In fact, he was recently inducted into the Order of Ontario in Canada, a most prestigious award, for all of his work in ADHD awareness and education. His stories are poignant and extraordinarily engaging, and I was glued to my seat. In fact, my 30-minute episode turned into a little over an hour!
Among the many aspects of relationships that we discussed, Rick is married to a non-ADHD woman named Ava, and he shared her ADHD ah-ha moment; you’ll have to listen to the episode for yourself but suffice it to say, I was moved. It reminded me of my ADHD ah-ha moment. The truth is we all have one. And the beauty is you don’t have to have ADHD to get one. All you have to have is an open mind and the willingness to either learn something new or be open enough to accept that something you believed isn’t true after all, and in that case, as Rick says, you need to be willing to stand corrected.
For some folks, the shift comes from learning all of the facts about medication, for others, it comes from distinguishing facts from beliefs. For me, my paradigm shift came from learning that most ADHD behaviors are done completely subconsciously and that my family members weren’t trying to intentionally annoy me or be difficult. I learned that if you have ADHD, it’s not your fault.
I’d love for you to share your ADHD ah-ha moment below because we’re all in this together, after all. There’s also a lot we can learn from one another.
Check out this video:
Living with ADHD
Illustrates how ADHD can sabotage marriages, families, friendships, and careers. Patrick & Janis McKenna from ADD & Loving It?!, share their struggles and challenges, while Dr. Umesh Jain, Gina Pera and a dozen ADHD experts dismantle the complex web of symptoms to allow you to transform your relationships. This video will especially resonate with everyone who lives or work with someone who has ADHD.