Relationships

Follow the “Bouncing” Woman

We’re strong, flexible, and resilient. When it comes to the art of bouncing back, women with attention deficit have learned to be masters.

A woman shakes hands with her boss after discussing strategies to succeed at work with ADHD.
A woman shakes hands with her boss after discussing strategies to succeed at work with ADHD.

I host a couple of monthly ADHD support groups — one large group of men and women and another smallish group of just women with ADHD that I call the ADDivas. Last night, there was a meeting of the ADDiva group, a casual gathering with a lot of talking, interrupting, sharing, and laughter. As we introduced ourselves, one of our members — let’s call her Tracey — regaled us with the adventure of attending her first meeting in the large group.

Tracey lives a mile or so from GardenSpirit Guesthouse, where we convene. She recognized it instantly: lots of cars parked in the driveway and along the street. She parked her car, let herself in the front door, and began to circulate, chatting with guests who were sipping chardonnay. She decided this was a support group she would enjoy. “Did you come with someone else?” asked one quizzical guest. No, she had driven solo.

She finally found the hostess, marched up to her, and stuck out her hand, “You must be Linda,” she declared. “This is my first meeting.”

“Your first meeting?” said the woman, slowly.

“Yes, I’m here for the meet-up. Isn’t this the ADHD support group?” said Tracey. No. It was not. She had walked into a neighborhood block party.

“I’ll bet they talked about me the rest of the night!” Tracey told us with a laugh.

A lesser woman might have slunk out the door and headed home to bed. But this was a woman with ADHD — undeterred by embarrassment and determined to connect with others of her ilk. In psychological circles, they call that “resilience,” and folks with ADHD have a lot of it.

Our optimism reservoir carries us through many missteps, not to mention our shame and depression. It’s probably not innate. I suspect the ADHD clan learns to “bounce” along life’s learning curve. It’s one of our strongest and most effective “coping strategies” (don’t you hate that phrase?).

Resilience is also one of our most admirable traits. We see the light at the end of the darkest tunnel. We pick ourselves up off the sidewalk when we fall. We smile through our tears. We even make it to our meet-up support group meetings.

Tracey arrived at GardenSpirit that night a little frazzled, a little late — which is de rigueur for our meet-up. But she was warmly welcomed by those who understood her experience as an opportunity to “bounce back.”

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