Ram, who is a great contributor to the ADHD blog, has written about the difficulties of dealing with family. I couldn’t refrain from offering some advice:
Families are truly difficult. Ignorance makes it even worse. You need to manage your way. you know them and you know you, and I don’t. One alternative way it could be handled is, when you feel there is reason to say that you have ADHD, say it. Then if they come back with crap, you can just say, “That’s an interesting viewpoint.“ And then do not engage further on the subject. If they keep saying crap, just keep saying, “You have an interesting viewpoint there. “You don’t have to answer any questions or explain or defend.”
Principle O the Day, from AA:
JADE: You don’t have to justify, explain or defend.
Confession O the Day:
I am biased towards encouraging people to come out about their ADHD when possible. The more of us who come out, the less stigma there will be.
Wise Saying O the Day:
The best thing about good advice is that it does so little harm, because no one ever follows it.
Analogy O the Day:
Trying to educate someone about ADHD when their mind is already made up is like trying to teach a pig to sing. You will just get frustrated and it annoys the pig.
Also: If you don’t mind a bit of a long side-story that is somewhat related:
I had to “out myself” as a psych-patient to my boss because recently, I was two weeks on sick leave because of ADHD-related emotional problems/meltdowns – first one week, then I got back to work for two days, but because of my troubles the week before, I had gone off of my anti-depressants for a week cold-turkey, by accident. It whiplashed on me mentally pretty bad, so I had to go for another week of sick-leave. That’s when I confided in my boss over the phone. The two weeks away from a toxic environment and starting the anti-depressants again (of which I, of course, suffered side-effects again, as they were “new” to my sistem) I was replenished. I came back to work with the attitude of a cock-eyed optimist, knowing my colleagues would be pissed off at me, but keeping casual and extremely helpful. I was no longer put down by the small things, and my colleagues quickly accepted me as a member of the team again (in 3 days!).
Stupidly enough, I took a fall from my new bike yesterday: new, better brakes, so I braked the front wheel and literally flew over the handlebar! I hurt my knee and my right wrist. I was decided on not going to see a doctor and soldier through, but when the wrist worsened and I couldn’t move my thumb properly, I got scared and went to the emergency room. It’s all concussions in several joints, but because of my line of work, the doctor prescribed almost two weeks of ice-packs and rest! The talk I had with the boss over the phone was anything but pleasant. I was so mortified, I started apologizing saying “I feel like the master of all assholes, I’m so sorry!”. Anyway, the conversation went over my 5 weeks of sick-leave this year alone – I had to name a few colleagues who’ve had simillar bouts of unluck with their health in previous years and it all turned out fine – and at my mention of how my psyche-problems were gone for the moment and that this was just bad luck, the boss started to explain to me that nothing at work had changed – it was maybe my condition that made me feel like everyone was against me? I agreed, and it went a bit back and forth. In the end, I think I convinced him of the truth: that I’ve been in a serious of very unfortunate “accidents” this year and that I am by no means trying to wiggle myself out of the workplace and/or become a problematic co-worker.
But I think he was almost trying to convice me that if I feel down and hysterical a the behavior of others, I should maybe realize that it’s me who is at fault and I shouldn’t go on sick leave. I only understood this/interpreted it so by mulling it over. I think my next conversation with him I will explain to him – again – that such an incident happened once in 3 years at the company, and that he should compare it with my biking accident: Stepping on my left foot hurts my knee and grabbing things with my right hand hurts my wrist. Being aware that these pains come from my accident do nothing to stop the pain or heal me; only medicine and rest does. Sometimes, it’s the same with psychic problems: I can be as aware of it as I like (sometimes I do realize my head is overreacting and I can’t stop it), but sometimes, being aware isn’t going to do any good. Only rest and medication will.
ram – quite a mess you are dealing with. i hope all gets better soon. i have one critique for you – it is not “stupid” to fall off your bike. a strategy – monitor yourself to be sure you are not calling yourself names. there is enough undeserved abuse from others.
being aware is a first step, sometimes a huge first step.
Oh I see, thanks for pointing that out, Doug. I’m not as against calling oneself names as you, but I do like to point out, I call some stituations “stupid”. When I wrote that “Stupidlly, I fell off the bike” I wasn’t impying that I was stupid, rather that the situation itself was stupid. If anything, I was being responsible by testing the bike before taking it to work and test all the brakes. I think my fear and premonition about good breaks was what kept me on edge and helped react and keep my concussions and scrapes to a minimum.
But I am glad to tell you that you’ve had an influence on me, and whenever I catch myself saying “You’re so stupid!” I pat myself on the back and say “no you’re not. You sometimes act stupid, but you’re not stupid”. To me, it’s a step in the right direction 🙂
that’s beautiful, you have made a big! step.
and you are an inspiration and a valuable contributor.
So glad to know I inspired you to share your personal advice to me 🙂
I recently “came out” to my boss as a psych-patient. I don’t like telling people I have ADHD – I usually say I’m a psych-patient and don’t care to say the name of the condition because it has a stupid name and it’s been so misrepresented by the media, that they wouldn’t take me seriously.
Ram – good for you. you are an inspiration
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No, sir, YOU are an inspiration! 🙂 But if I am one as well, I’m glad.