Having people tell you that you intentionally forget things ranks at the top of the most frustrating things about having ADD/ADHD, which is directly related to executive function difficulties. This area of interpersonal relationships can be very frustrating and damaging to lasting relationships. Neuro-typical folks simply refuse to (or can’t) understand and view forgetfulness as an excuse or laziness. The neuro-typical wonders how something can be forgotten temporarily – which is why they conclude the (ADD/ADHD) person is being lazy or excusing themselves from whatever it is that needs to be done. Apparently, neuro-typicals are unable to “forget things” temporarily. The fact is, neuro-typical people do forget things, but easily play-it-off as normal every day forgetfulness. For an ADD/ADHD, this only adds to the frustration of “forgetfulness”. Neuro-typical folks seem to get a pass when it comes to forgetting to complete a task/project/etc, but not so for the ADD/ADHD’ers. Those of us with ADD/ADHD are forgetful so often, we don’t get any “get out of jail free” cards. The overly exasperated neuro-typicals have seen it all before (too many times in their minds). A typical response from a neuro-typical on such things might be: “Can’t you just make more of an effort”. Personally, I’ve gotten to the point of frustration that I many times will lash-out and say to the effect of: “why on earth would I intentionally forget to do something – the fact of the matter is, I completely forgot – it just wasn’t there!” At the end of the day, I’m tired of being put-down, talked down to, etc. for things that are beyond my control. After finally formally learning of my condition at the age of 50, I’m just not willing to hear it any longer. Does this mean fewer interpersonal relationships – almost inevitably – but so be it. Make no mistake, I’m not walking around looking for a fight on the multitude of matters that could fit into the scenario being discussed, I’m just pointing out that I’m much less tolerant of having people make me feel as if I’ve done something intentionally – when I didn’t.
Work related situations are a different animal, however. Lashing out in work related situations usually isn’t the best idea – unless you own your own business – which probably still isn’t a good idea, but at least you won’t get reprimanded by your superiors every other time you turn around — and almost assuredly get fired at some point. What’s confounding to employers is that people with ADD/ADHD often times have high IQ’s (which is my case) but then (over time) fail to demonstrate work performance that is commensurate with their level of intelligence. After (often times) painful interactions between employee and superior, the employee is either pushed aside, demoted, or simply let go due to “lack of adequate performance”. If I had a solution for this, I’d be a billionaire because this is where the rubber meets the road. Unfortunately, the best you can do is the best you can do. To keep up with the neuro-typicals in the work-force will require twice the effort and still the performance won’t measure-up in most circumstances. This usually occurs over a long period of time, but sooner or later, the thousands of situations and interactions in the workplace will inevitable unveil your poor executive functioning abilities of those of us with ADD/ADHD – and thusly fall into the scenario I painted at the beginning of this paragraph – being looked over, demoted or simply let go. The only saving grace is – IF YOU DO SOMETHING THAT YOU ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT – THEN YOU’VE GOT A SHOT AT MAKING IT. If you’re really good at what you do, the workplace will put up with your ADD/ADHD tendencies and forgive any misgivings. But, if you’re not is a line of work that you’re passionate about, you will inevitably fall prey to the scenario I just painted. It’s easier said than done, but if you fall into the category of constantly falling short, then get as much help as you can, study the subject of ADD/ADHD and be acutely aware of your own personal abilities, etc. If the inevitable should happen, take pride and pity on yourself. It won’t be easy, but take some time, accept it — and then move on. Look for something that matches your skill-set and/or that you love and matches your personal temperament better than the last situation – and hope that things line-up better than they did in your prior situation. Fatalistic or realistic? It’s your call, depending on how you want to walk through the world. In my opinion, it has to be a combination of both – at least that’s what works for me. The trick is finding what works for you and your individual situation.