As the father of an amazing child who lives with ADHD, I have discovered something I secretly wondered for years - I myself have lived with it for all of my life. Although I have managed to develop enough coping skills that I have been able to be successful it has not always been easy.
“So where are you working now?”
I think for me it finally hit home when the first thing people would ask me if we hadn’t talked for a while was where I was working. In hindsight, it’s relatively obvious - I’d work somewhere for a year or so, become painfully bored, and move on. For me personally this wasn’t much of a problem, it presented me with new challenges and opportunities; being high-functioning meant that I could be productive and advance what I was working on enough to make people happy and then I’d be off to the next thing.
In some ways, this has helped me to learn a lot over the years as it exposed me to a variety of roles, environments and opportunities over the years. But eventually it became hard to explain to other people why I kept leaving and moving on when they had stayed in the same place for many years. I don’t believe that their way of looking at things is more correct (in fact I would argue to this day that it is the exact opposite problem) but it did send a signal that maybe I was growing bored a bit too quickly, particularly as I was entering my early thirties.
People don’t understand
Many people feel that they can understand because they have some days where they feel scatter-brained or a little fidgety. They try to be understanding but the reality is that they just don’t truly understand what it’s like to struggle with keeping motivated every day or having a brain that either gives 100% of its attention to a problem or 0%, with very little in-between. The effective manic binge behavior during the up-swing and the post-manic burnout on the down-slide are hard enough to deal with for yourself but then feeling guilty that they impact others serves to further compound the negative feelings.
It’s impossible to be inside of someone’s mind, at best you can hope to understand them from the outside without a shared experience to draw from.