Time to Tell the Boyfriend About My ADHD?

The growing need to share my attention deficit disorder -- what I regard a dark secret -- grows as I increasingly feel that this would offer some context as to who I am, and why I react a certain way.
ADHD & the City | posted by Jane D.

I am itching now to come out of the closet with my ADHD.

Jane D., ADHD & the City Blogger

The birthday is around the corner and driving me batty. There is a sense of utter doom and ultimately anger at what I've sometimes considered wasted years and energy. I remember that a neurologist once showed me a drawing of an iceberg, with the majority of it submerged. A person with ADHD is running at 30 percent when she could be at 100 percent. It has been nearly four years since I got the news, and sometimes I wonder if I would have been running at 70 percent if it had been diagnosed earlier. Such thinking is counterproductive and toxic.

The arguments with the boyfriend have been escalating -- two professionals with new and stressful jobs, and clearly the issue is not just distance, but a sense of panic that I am overcome with when he leaves, and I am left with a sense of being abandoned. The battle is not simply the economy and ADHD, but now anxiety and fear, too. Sometimes, suddenly, I find myself overwhelmed with a huge wave of despair, and the tears spill out like a storm. The boyfriend has now seen this several times, and if he is smart (which he is) he knows that the beast is more powerful than the problems related to geographical distance. If all things could be solved by money, the world would be a wonderful place.

This is what happened the other day. I dissolved in tears and made some accusatory remarks about how he doesn't follow up with XYZ. The battle of "he said, she said," "I did, you did" was a series of collisions and ended when I burst into tears. He is right: I can send out confusing messages, say things out of the blue. I can suddenly dissolve into sadness, and there seems to be a kick in communication -- a knot that grows.

Later, I spoke with the father and brought up perhaps one of the most raw questions I've asked recently: Should I come out of closet and share the beast with someone who I clearly love? The growing need to share what I regard a dark secret grows as I increasingly feel that this would offer some context as to who I am, and why I react a certain way. Maybe it's the ADHD meds, the Adderall, maybe it is what ADHDers are like. Maybe he will leave me or slowly fade away.

The father said that being genuine is important, and the earlier the better. How would one like to date a compulsive gambler only to later marry them, and have a bomb dropped on them? "That's not fair," the father says, and he's right. "What would you do if you found out that the person that you are dating has this disorder?" I asked. The father said that if he truly loved them, he would try to understand the disorder better and help them.

Sometimes, we need to take a risk. I am itching now to let the cat out of the bag, so to speak. Should I or shouldn't I? I am standing at the edge of a cliff and ready to take the leap with the hope that a safety net awaits me.

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