Help with Family who don't believe in ADHD

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    • #122703

      Hi, I was diagnosed with Innatentive ADHD 5 years ago, at age 52. It’s been a lifelong struggle and I was happy to have answers to my questions about why I struggled. I was always the airhead, and absent minded professor type. The most difficult thing is my siblings, 4 of them, not believing it’s a real thing. They see it as a lame excuse for getting 4 college degrees and job hopping into at least 7 totally different careers. I’ve always worked very hard, but have less to show for it because of all the moving around and career changes. Anyone else experience family members who think it’s all medical scam?

    • #122719

      Luann, if anything in this life, I’ve learned you can’t control
      what other people think, or believe. Some folks get an idea in
      their head, and to them that becomes gospel. Some people just
      are not open to considering that they may be wrong in their thinking.

      My #2 wife was very much like that. If she decided the Moon was
      made out of green cheese, then by-God it was, and trying to change
      her mind was a complete waste of time. To this day I tease her about

      You might remind them that the average individual has between
      three and five careers in the working lifetime. Don’t know you,
      but I’d hazard a guess that you left companies because you wanted
      a different challenge?

      BTW, Congrats on the four degrees! I survived one year of Jr. college
      and decided that there was too much life to be lived and I wasn’t sitting
      around a classroom any longer.

      As a young man I got hooked on reading Louis L’Amour westerns, Zane
      Grey, and the poetry of Robert Service. Besides their writing careers,
      these were men who had many different careers, and it was because they
      wanted to experience all that life had to offer. It wasn’t the money,
      but the journey, the adventure that led them into so many diverse
      occupations. They didn’t get rich, but it certainly deepened their
      life experience.

      As for your four siblings, they are going to believe what they choose
      to, but you can always hope, in time, that they’ll come around. ADHD
      is an invisible disease; it doesn’t show up on blood tests, but like the
      wind we know it’s there as we can certainly measure it’s effects.

      All the best to ya…

    • #122856
      Penny Williams

      Unfortunately, there’s still a lot of misinformation about ADHD out there. Many people deal with friends and family who don’t understand ADHD. There are some tips on interacting with ADHD non-believers in this article:

      Enlightening an ADHD Non-Believer

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Trainer & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #122996

      Ugh, it must be really frustrating that your family takes this position. AND to pile on that all your accomplishments are some kind of “problem.” Getting them to change the lens is going to be difficult because behind the scenes there is always 1 (or 2!) that are probably working this “story line”.

      Do they bring up the diagnosis? Or do you?

      My guess: They bring is up because they have issues. They are jealous of your accomplishments, of your consistent employment – and your ability to be flexible and change. All those features of ADHD appear to have been in your favor in those respects. or maybe they don’t feel recognized for the path they have chosen.

      Sure you have had to restart, pay tuition, and get to know a new career… but you keep moving forward. That in itself is amazing. I am sure your family is happy with their choices, and it would be great if they could choose to “change the lens” on your story.

      When we visit family: We avoid mentioning ADHD, talk about specific symptoms. That seems to flip the script. We find there is less eye rolling and parenting lectures when we say kiddo has “keen” interests (AKA hyperfocus), enjoys exploring (might be distracted and need some time to putter), has lots of energy (hyperactivity), or needs to get the wiggles out. yes, it all sounds a bit babyish to our kiddo.. BUT it has prompted a couple of family critics to SHUT IT.

      Maybe you can find some ways to shift the conversation with your own family?

      We are getting ready to go to a family wedding, and I am already bracing myself. Hope you best of success with your family.

      • This reply was modified 2 years, 6 months ago by lynnl. Reason: fixing a typo
      • This reply was modified 2 years, 6 months ago by lynnl.
    • #123365

      I am 41 and will never tell my father. I wanted to, but I rather he think what he thinks of me. He is the reason I didn’t take nary an aspirin until I was 35. His motto was deal with it; sickness is for the weak. He readily admits he would never tell me he was in pain even if he was. He would probably laugh in my face if I told him.

      I wish I didn’t have to tell my wife (she’s very skeptical. Scam is too harsh), but I needed to tell her so her mother (a doctor, also skeptical. But because I am not “blood” family. Long story) would refer me to a highly respected psychiatrist rather than some prescription machine. That required me telling her mother. Telling her mother means about another 50 people (All of whom are skeptical, because I am not “blood” family. Long story) know about my ADHD.

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