ADHD + Friendship – Give up or not?

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    • #126872

      Hello everyone! First of – apologies for the lengthy post, I am looking for some guidance!
      I have a person I have been friends with for three years. She struggles with ADHD, depression, and anxiety. I myself work in the mental health field and have a young child who has ADHD so I know all too well the hardships this brings with it. I would say her ADHD is pretty severe – more so during times of intense stress. We came into each other’s lives when my friend was going through an extremely difficult time. Through the three years things got even more complicated as my friend has been through so many traumatic stressors that It’s sometimes hard to put into words all that she has lived through. Through all of it I have stood by her thick and thin – sometimes (actually most times) I ended up being the only person who was there. The friendship is extremely special, deep, and meaningful on both of our parts. She has always reciprocated with kindness and gratitude – although it was never something that is expected from me. She struggles a lot with disorganization, lateness, procrastination, inconsistency, impulsivity, etc. etc. etc. — most of the people in her life have drifted away mainly due to the frustration of how she is and how she operates. These things – although frustrating at times to me – have not been things that bothered me much because I see the wonderful person that she is and appreciate her for her gorgeous soul. There are times in our friendship where she would go MIA for a couple of weeks and not answer texts or phone calls – I usually continue to reach out continuously – and then she responds weeks later apologizing profusely and being ashamed for having disappeared, it not being intentional, and how much our friendship means to her. Currently, she has not answered me for almost two three months– this is the longest it has been. Nothing at all happened between us to prompt it so there could be no reason that I am aware of. I have been reaching out weekly, sent a card, checked in with her family to make sure she is ok (she is) but still nothing. My dilemma is always between my head and my heart – logically i know this has happened before (although never this long) and she values me but I also don’t know long I am supposed to be reaching out? I don’t want her to feel like I have abandoned her because of these behaviors, because most of the time I know she can’t help it, with all the things she struggles with – but I also don’t want to feel like a fool with constantly reaching out? My heart tells me continue to reach out – my head says “enough is enough.” I always usually lead from my heart and friendships are extremely important to me, as is this one (im also pretty low maintenance, don’t need to speak to you every single second of every day lol – but am also extremely responsible, trustworthy, and loyal.)
      Would love to get some guidance perhaps with people who struggle with ADHD themselves who have been on the other side of it and what they would want from their friends? I don’t want to give up but I’m also tired – — truly I just miss my friend.

    • #126878

      As an adult that has lived with this disorder all my life it is something I do on a regular basis. I have a few IRL friends that accept it and deal with the long absences and when we start hanging out we really enjoy the friendship and joke about my MIA times. You must know working in mental health that she isn’t doing it intentionally and she feels at times that she has pushed you away. I often felt like I had ignored my friends so long that even if I recontacted them all the guilt I would feel from going silent so long would not be bearable on my part. I am actually in a similar situation with a friend that is so much younger than me I have felt like the friendship was silly and could not be real. The friend has continued to reach out to me and I text back but, always make excuses why we can’t hang out. This has gone on for over a year so if she is as special as you say then you already know the answer you are seeking from us.

      • #126879

        Thank you! I absolutely do! I know it’s not intentional and i know the guilt she feels – but i also want her to know that i do not hold it against her and would never abandon her. I guess that’s the hard part because i don’t want the person to feel that guilt and hurt and just want to be a good friend and do right by them 🙂

    • #126899

      Coming from a 58yr young man a friend like you would be beyond words to describe. Always being different failing starting over and never getting the correct meds I needed. Always turning to booze and cocaine to knock the monkeys out in my head. Being labeled an alcoholic and addict. Yet once correctly diagnosed and properly medicated. I can take a drink and don’t drink to get drunk. I can see the back end now. But to friends I’m still an addict and drunk who think I take meds as sn excuse. If I had a friend like you. I would hang on tooth and nail. Yet at somepoint for no reason at all I wld do exactly what your friend is doing. If she gets in touch. God Love u for being there for her. Not until I was in my 40’s did 1dr. truly help me with my dissorder. Still it’s a daily struggle. But now I have a fighting chance👍🏽

    • #127497

      I don’t think you should give up. I’ve done the same thing your friend is doing Mia. I never meant to hurt my friend I don’t always realize when I do it and recently my good friend who lives in a different state then me gave me a huge wake up call. She told me how it makes her feel when I do that and I can hear how she felt in her voice while she talked to me and I made the decision right then that if she text me no matter how I was feeling I would respond. She is also not needy. Another thing happened about 6months ago I think. I told my brother I would come by his shop in the morning cause I need his help with something anyway I never showed up when I said I would and he called me and I didn’t answer his call. I didn’t call him back until 3 days later. Again I heard it in his voice And the way he explained to me, I realized how wrong it was for me not to call him. I told him when I missed our set time to come by I felt bad for screwing up I ignored his calls because I didn’t want to face him. I felt like I had disappointed him for not being able to show up. He said it doesn’t matter to him if I show up or couldn’t. He just wanted me to call him and tell him I’m coming or I can’t cont makoit that’s all. He explained that when I didn’t show up and didn’t respond to his calls for three days he doesn’t know what happened and then he worries did something happen to me. He said just call

    • #127687

      Personally, I think the biggest issue here is that, you seem to be her only friend. I don’t know if your friend is getting therapy/medication for (not just the ADHD), but the depression and anxiety. But that would be a step that would greatly benefit her.

      It’s never enough to just have 1 friend to rely on. It’s so helpful for our mental health to … be outside and see things and meet people. The more bridges we connect, the more perspectives we experience, can all help us heal from bad experiences in various ways.

      You’re her friend yes! And that’s wonderful! And we all need close friends to love and cherish. But we also need a social circle, even if it’s a small one. You, personally, cannot be switch on all the time to be her one pillar of support. (I’m not saying give up on a friendship. Not at all. But you’re tired. You’re a mental health worker. You should understand how you, too, need to have some focus on your own mental health where you give yourself some distance to make sure you don’t over tax yourself too.)

      Sometimes we just need breaks from people. I’ve done it in the past where I’ve reached my limit for social interaction and went totally radio silent. No phone, no internet. Just me and everything I need to recharge my mental health, as an ADHDer. But when depression is factored in, yeah that’s more concerning;;

      Do you live close? Or close enough to travel? Consider arranging a day out every now and then, where you can do something fun instead of just calling/messaging. Where you can do a positive thing, maybe a club once a month, or something where you can just spend time together and reconnect. (If not, then maybe a video call on Discord or Skype, etc).

      We all need friends, but we also have to take care of ourselves too. Both you, and her.

      If you’re reaching a point you’re making yourself ill/tired. You need to then step back and focus on your mental health. You can’t support anyone if you’re not also looking after yourself. <3

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