For the past month I’d discussed the Pros and Cons of the situation with counselor, my parents, my sister and two psychologists, weighing up my options.
Do I open the proverbial kimono and expose myself to understanding, but potentially judgement? Or do I instead keep my lips sealed and hope that they all notice an improvement?
I decided to deal with it head-on. Fortune favors the bold, and sometimes you have to go head first.
Since my diagnosis I’ve lived and learned the following 5 truths of revealing ADHD. Each lesson has been learned many times over, and recognizing them has made the process a non issue.
1. People See Your ADHD Exactly As You Present It
When talking with other people, I treat my ADHD as casually as I treat the color of my hair or what I ate for breakfast that morning. It might be interesting and relevant in some situations, but it should never be given the same weight or emotion as breaking your leg.
When you present your ADHD to other people as simply being part of yourself, instead of a life consuming monster, two things happen: you start owning it (instead of being owned by it) and they don’t see it as a big deal.
2. Surprisingly, Most People Really Don’t Care
When I was growing up, ADHD was a big deal. Parents were wary of their children hanging out with the ADHD kid, ADHD kids were constantly getting themselves into trouble, and they were presented as being incredibly challenged in the class room.
This changes over time. ADHD no longer has the stigma it once had in social circles — especially if you don’t care about it either. (See 1.)
3. People Will Respect You For Your Honesty
With the friends I’ve got and the people I meet, I don’t keep my ADHD secret. As a result, the people I share this with appreciate that I’m not trying to hide anything from them.
When you comfortably and openly share yourself with people from a position of ownership, you will gain their respect.
4. It’s Nowhere Near As Scary As You Think It Is
Sure, the first time I told someone about my ADHD you could hear the coins jingling in my pocket as my leg shook. But that was the first time, and it hasn’t happened since.
Owning your ADHD, taking the steps necessary to keep it from getting in my way, and choosing to share your ADHD in an upfront and direct way makes life easier. In fact, it becomes a non-event.
After all, what’s the worst that can happen? You’ll tell someone you’ve got ADHD and they’ll show themselves to be a jerk. Excellent — you’ve just saved 6 months of wasted effort on a relationship that wasn’t any good for you anyway!
5. People Don’t Judge You By ADHD. They Judge You By Your Actions
When people comment on your distractibility, lack of focus or inability to finish a task, they aren’t rubbing salt into an ADHD wound.
They’re just saying you aren’t getting shit done!
If you find yourself baring the brunt of an ADHD Accusation, take a step back and look at the actual results you’re getting. Outcome is more important than input, and ADHD is just a label that’s been thrown about.
Revealing The Truth: Should You Tell People You Have ADHD?
This is a question that every ADHDer will have to confront when dealing with friends, new and old. No matter where it is or when it is, they still have to face it head on and make the call.
You see, in the end it is invariably simple. When you don’t want to share your ADHD, it’s often because you haven’t found an effective way of accepting and dealing with it yet. And I’ve learned that’s okay too.
What have you learned about revealing your ADHD?