How do I tell my Asian parents I have ADHD?

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    • #107388
      shahhk2
      Participant

      Hey, I am 24 years old and a university student. I just recently became diagnosed with adhd, and it puts a lot of things in perspective and freakishly explains a lot of my behaviour. I have been financially dependant on my parents which is why I have been hitting my head against the wall trying to finish my software engineering university degree. I have been failing university courses since 2012 and my whole family is fed up and all my friends have jobs in their related university degrees.

      My parents are south asian (Indian) and don’t believe in mental health issues, they completely freak out when I take supplements, saying that “a young man like yourself never needs supplements”, especially since my blood reports usually come out golden. I have struggled with depression for years and whenever I have told my parents about depression they rejected the notion and outright called my psychologist an idiot and told me I am making excuses for my failures. And they continued this even after I got them to sit down with my psychologist (of their own volition) for an hour.

      I do want to tell my parents about my adhd so they have some understanding, and because I want to forge my own path in the world, I know I want to be involved in the film industry and I can’t stomach another engineering course. I know I am not going to get their approval, that is done and gone.

      Any Asians in this forum? Any suggestions for how to go about telling my Indian parents about my adhd?

    • #107390
      toothfairyt
      Participant

      Vietnamese American here. I honestly don’t have much insight for you as for how to break the news, but I feel for you and you aren’t alone. Asian parents have a deep hatred of anything that could be seen and exploited by the gossip community as a flaw. Medical diagnoses and perfectly typical presentation be damned. I figured out I was lactose intolerant a couple of years ago and my mom wouldn’t have it. I’m 30. She kept saying, “you’ve never had a problem with milk!” Except all through childhood, if I ever had more than a small amount, I would spend entire evenings in the bathroom.

      I equate this reaction to finding out that the perfect child you created and raised from your own DNA, parenting, and choices is broken. They see it as a personal failure. This is CLEARLY not true because you are a human and not a vase/ inanimate object and medical diagnoses are not flaws or failures in the least, but it stems from generations of perfectionism and being blamed by their parents for everything they ever did wrong.

      I think once I became a parent myself I realized that our parents are still using us as a measure of their success in life. Anything that tarnishes this in their eyes in unacceptable. They have society induced tunnel vision.

      Tell them. They won’t understand. Not for a long time, maybe never or at least not out loud. Just try not to take it so personally when they get that way. Do what makes you healthy and happy.

    • #107434
      Penny Williams
      Keymaster

      It’s tough to break strong cultural beliefs. All you can do is be honest with them. And then you have to do what you need to in order to take care of you.

      I hate that ADHD is classified as a mental health disorder. It’s a physiological difference in neurology. Maybe that’s a way to help your parents accept it?

      So sorry that you’re in this situation. Try to stay positive and take care of yourself.

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

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