Reply To: I should know better than to try explaining to my mother

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Hey Ranma,

I would wager a guess that many people on this sight find relating ADHD symptoms to anyone without person context is an immeasurably frustrating experience. I personally think it is because those who have logic and reasoning skills not inhibited ADHD tendencies aren’t able to reconcile how something so involuntary, like controlling impulse cannot be easily fixed with the same logic they use to manage their day.

Though I have no magical solution to your situation, I know what helped me in giving my parents a starting point in relating to why I have always been, “this way,” was having formal training in learning how to learn. I recognize I had an advantage in this, as I am a trained teacher with two teaching credentials; one of which is in special ed.

So, not saying go out and spend thousands of dollars for a career change if you are not already in education, but maybe building some understanding of how learning works in any type of brain, may help you in getting to a point where explaining your experiences becomes a bit easier?

In my child development classes as well as classes geared to teach the teacher how to deliver instruction, I recognized how much I have truly been struggling and it didn’t need to be like that. I of course was stubburn though and didn’t admit to myself until my mid twenties that I was not going to learn how to adult without help. But building a vocabulary allowed my inner dialogue with myself organize what it is that I was actually struggling with. I am not sure I would have gotten to this point had I not had resources about how the neuro-typical brain processes information to compare it to my own struggles with learning.

Before I started to build that vocabulary, I had no better answer to questions involving, “Why can’t you do this? You are not stupid!” other than, “I don’t know!” Because I didn’t; and most importantly, I didn’t have any context for how a neuro-typical brain could so easily accomplish a task list. All I knew was that everyone seemed to manage their time and finish tasks so easy and that I was baffled and angry that I couldn’t.

Developing an understanding of how the neuro-typical brain learns was just as crucial as understanding how my brain works when trying to give someone a starting place to relate to ADHD as well as encourage the slightest big of empathy. Developing an understanding of how the typical text-book perfect brain learns help me to recognize what it is that I have been trying to communicate to my parents baffled by my academic failure. I also started to understand and empathize more with my parents why they struggled in reasoning why I worked the way I did.

I recognize that I am suggesting peeling away an an onion with infinite layers, but my own experience in having even the slightest understanding in the basic concepts of how the text-book perfect human brain learns and processes new concepts is very powerful when sharing ADHD experiences to those resistant in or unable to understand.

Good luck and I hope you find the support you are looking for!