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Grandma on Finding Love: “Do Less, Do Better, Smile More, Worry Less”

Has this ADHD adult lost her chance at marriage? Low self-esteem, depression, and her family’s critical comments have left her feeling hopeless about relationships.

Three meltdowns in a month – that’s not good.

For me, a meltdown consists of a terrible combination of ADHD and feeling dark blue, then asking, “Is this it?” and bursting into tears. Can I come to terms with the reality that this is who I am? That this is me, warts and all, and there’s not much I can do to change that? That given the way I’m wired, I may never be able to fall in love, stay in love, and find stable work?

On the bright side I found myself a new shrink. I am told this psychologist is British and she has an interest in working with people with ADHD. We’re supposed to get together this week – but don’t get me started on Valentine’s Day. The grandmother’s domestic helper Loretta likes to remind me of Black Tuesday.

“Have a special date?” she asks me. “Yes, with myself,” I say.

But back to the shrink: I’ve semi-lost hope that I can avoid facing up to myself. This is who I am, things won’t change greatly, and I must learn to live and make light of my fate. I’ve been told to focus on the things I love, like chlorine, chocolate, and red wine. (Then from my aunt comes my all-time favorite advice: Stop being so narcissistic and think of others more.)

Still, the reality and burden of being human, of being sometimes caught up with the comparison game, continues to bog me down at times – no, often. Come April the cousin and her fiancé and her dreaded parents are supposed to come visit, and I will succumb to more get-togethers that only make me wish I had a boyfriend to accompany me. The aunt already told me to mark down the family gathering dates; I think about it and sigh. What can I do to prevent this emotional train wreck?

And the comments from the grandmother continue: I need to have a personality makeover, an attitude adjustment, do less, do better, smile more, worry less, and then see if someone will take the bait. Sheesh.

One evening after a long, stressful day, sadness swept over me as I considered what my life might have been if I were more aware of these blind spots. If I had been warmer, kinder, more tolerant of the suitors that came before the younger me, I believe I would already have been married and perhaps settled down someplace, in one place and on one continent.

The aunt says that there is nothing that she and the grandmother can do to help me in the relationship area – and forget about matchmaking, since their friends’ kids are all married.

They’ve recommended that I keep my temper in check and retreat to swimming and things I love when I feel moodiness come on. They tell me they have no power to change my fate, that they are not God.

Speaking of God, in the darkest of times I’ve headed to mass for a spiritual respite. Last week’s homily was, “Why bad things happen to good people,” such as cancer and car accidents. In my own thoughts, I wanted to add ADHD to the list.

The priest? The guy looked well over 80, and couldn’t even answer the question except to send this message: “Turn to the Book of Job. Poor Job – he went through it all, too. So when you think life is really bad, turn to Job.” I’m tired of hearing about Job, because unfortunately he’s not around right now to serve as a sounding board.

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