Dealing with a Loved One Who Has ADHD
WHAT IS ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER (ADHD)?
As a quick reference, according to the Attention Deficit Disorder Association:
ADHD is a highly genetic, brain-based syndrome that has to do with the regulation of a particular set of brain functions and related behaviors.
In layman’s terms, ADHD is when people struggle with normal functioning of certain skills. These skills include attention, memory, hyperactivity, concentration, social skills, etc.
Also, ADHD used to be referred to as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). Nowadays people still use the term ADD, but the medically correct term is ADHD.
*For more information/references on ADHD, scroll to the bottom of this post.*
HOW DOES ADHD AFFECT MY LIFE?
ADHD is a recurring issue which strains my relationships with my mom and my boyfriend, Slade.
I do not have ADHD, but my mom and Slade do. Slade was actually diagnosed with it as a child. My mom wasn’t, so I can’t medically say she has it. I studied ADHD in undergraduate college and can infer she has it.
My mom is a very loving woman, but sometimes it was a struggle growing up with her. I felt like she was always in a different world.
Like most children, I craved my mom’s attention all of the time, but she seemed to be preoccupied a lot. There were times when she was the only person I could go to, but she didn’t listen to me. She ignored me and wound up misunderstanding what I needed from her.
I was so frustrated with her so often. I didn’t understand why she just refused to listen or notice the every day realities surrounding her.
Then, I grew up and found out she may have an attention disorder.
Everything finally clicked and made sense, but it still didn’t fix anything. Nothing changed. Our relationship got further complicated as I grew into a teenager and then an adult.
Now I’m in a serious relationship with an amazing man. He just so happens to have the same disorder as my mom.
Almost every day is a struggle. He constantly gets distracted easily and forgets recent things I’ve told him. There are times when he half listens and only catches a few words I say. Sometimes he just dismisses me altogether and doesn’t realize it.
Two of the most important people in my life isolate me in a way they might never understand. Occasionally my depression deepens when I’m around both of them which leaves me feeling lonely and insignificant.
*See related article Struggling with Anxiety and Depression: My Story*
HOW DO I DEAL WITH IT?
Part of my journey to becoming healthier is accepting my realities. This is one of them.
Even though I battle loneliness and isolation on an almost daily basis, I have to remember a few things.
- I love my mom and Slade no matter what circumstance.
- I accept they will always have ADHD, and I can’t change that.
- They both battle every day life difficulties due to ADHD.
I deal with it simply by helping them. This involves matching one of their weaknesses to one of their strengths.
Whenever my mom isn’t aware she’s ignoring me, I try different ways of demanding her attention through mentioning things she’s passionate about. This helps her focus on one thing at a time and shows she’s giving me her attention.
Whenever Slade forgets tasks, I tell him to make lists. This is extremely effective because it not only improves his memory, but also focuses his attention on healthy distractions.
Ultimately, patience is a major contributing factor in helping and dealing with ADHD. I admit I’m lacking a little bit in that department; however, I channel the small amount I do possess because it matches one of my weaknesses with one of my strengths.
It also helps to love the ones you’re helping, especially if they love you back.
At the end of the day, I remind myself love will always triumph any disorder.
(Yes, I resorted to the cheesy love ending, but wasn’t it sweet?)
Here are a few resources for you if you just read this post and want to know more about ADHD.
- As referenced above, the Attention Deficit Disorder Association website linked here is a great resource for any information on ADHD.
- The National Resource for ADHD aka CHADD is perfect for information on ADHD in both children and adults.
- For more data, statistics, and research on ADHD, visit the government’s website for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) linked here.