Reply To: I'm sick of being told ADD is a crutch.

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I can’t tell you how often I’ve felt this way, you are not alone! It always seems hardest when that unhelpful feedback is coming from someone close to us. For me it usually triggered a precipitous drop in mood and a fast downward spiral of self-hatred.

I think this is one of the hardest communication objectives anyone can face: sharing your perspective/understanding with someone who’s brain functions fundamentally differently from yours. Try to remind yourself that it’s okay if you didn’t conquer that Herculean task, and you can try again.

What helped me the most was learning how to clearly express my feelings (about what they said.) To learn how to do that, It took a few (difficult!) tries to kind of work together to “unpack” why they said what they said and why I felt the way I did about it. It was important to me that this person know that I felt hurt, even though they were probably just trying to help me. It takes a lot of vulnerability and trust to do that, so I know it’s not a great option in a lot of situations.

It might help to talk more about how your brain works when it isn’t in the midst of conflict. Look for the times when your difference is a gift. Like when you find a fun and creative way to do something or solve a tough problem, remind your loved ones that THIS is what AD(H)D looks like too. Anytime sometime says, “I never thought of it that way!” You can say it’s because your brain works differently.

Another thought: think about what would be a helpful alternative to these hurtful comments, and then communicate it. More than likely, loved ones want the best for us, and we can give them the tools to communicate in a way we better understand. But we have to show/tell/teach them these tools. My example is that my boyfriend would ask these questions that I perceived to be demeaning, like, “Is that what you’re doing now?” “Are you sure you want to…?” “Why aren’t you…?” And then I’d feel stupid and hurt and get angry at myself and we’d fight. Until I gave him an alternative: he clearly thought something different should be happening, so instead of asking a question with an obvious (to him) answer, I asked him to just say what was on his mind. So, “Are you going to be playing on your phone all day?” Became the much less judgemental “Babe, remember you said you would fold the laundry right when we got home.”

Didn’t mean to write a novel here, sorry! I hope you can find something helpful in these comments.