Even Supportive People Don't Always Get It



I keep making the experience that even the people who believe and accept my diagnosis have a hard time accepting it when it applies to something they want that I can’t provide. It’s like they accept the general notion but not its consequences. Maybe because they don’t want to change how they deal with me or because it affects them - I don’t know. I just know it’s frustrating. On both sides.

Just the other day I alienated the heck out of my mother because she wanted me to do one ‘simple’ thing that I knew in advance (from experience) I wouldn’t be able to do because my brain would stop me at every step. She’s certainly not a denialist. She’s been very supportive on my way to the diagnosis and knows there are things my brain just won’t let me do. But surely the things she expects of me aren’t much to ask, right?

I now it’s hard to get across. It’s one thing to realize my brain works differently but another to accept it when that affects a very concrete aspect of one’s relationship with me. But that’s just what ADHD (or any mental quirk, for that matter) does. It doesn’t just affect life in general but all the little interactions in it.

Also, when it happens repeatedly with the same people, every time I factor in ADHD it sounds more like an excuse. I’m thinking of one friend in particular who keeps asking, about different and seemingly unrelated things why I’m not doing this or why I never do that - and the answer is always the same. Even I get tired of only having one answer to all those questions. I’m still glad because that’s one more than I used to have, but that effect sometimes wears thin.

This branches off the “I dont belive in ADHD Talk” thread. It’s a similar frustration but not on the general level, more in the day-to-day sense. Do you get it, too? How do you deal with this kind of situation?


I think I also understand. I have the same falling out with my own mother sometimes. I almost feel like the best thing to do is record any discussions I have with here then replay them next time there is a misunderstanding.


This is the basis of almost every conflict my mother and I have with each other. At a high level, she understands that I have ADHD. She also knows that I’m working on it, and in theory understands that things are more difficult for me, or that changing the plan last minute makes me very anxious and resistant, or that I sometimes do or say impulsive things that can cause hurt feelings. But if I actually apply that knowledge to a behavior that she is angry I did (or didn’t do) she gets all up in arms and accuses me of using the ADHD as an excuse. It basically comes right back to “not trying hard enough”, even though she knows that ADHD is what causes the appearance of “not trying hard enough”.

I completely understand your frustration, and I wish I knew how to deal with it better. They don’t see the volume of effort we put in every day to keep up with everything. They only notice the times when we failed to manage the ADHD, not the times were were successful. I try so hard to take it in stride, but it’s really, really hard to deal with.


Yep. Folks may understand when there is a lull in activity but once ya mess up it is back to “stupid” or “lazy”. Explaining it gets tiring. But there is always a part of me that hopes for the better and knowing that maybe they are trying hard to understand.


I don’t know I am trying to figure that out to. I think I might sit th down and give them an adhd crash course on my brain. Like neurology and psychology


Hi Max. Yeah… It can be beyond irritating.

My Mum railroaded me the day before yesterday. She pressured me into coming over, and then kind of hit me with a mini intervention style thing.

She just kept banging on, double guessing me, implying that I wasn’t doing enough to find a job. Telling me I should sell my house. Flipping simple little solutions to my problems at me.

As if I haven’t been stewing over every little aspect of my life pretty much every single minute of every day, to the point where I can’t sleep for running through possible solutions to all my problems. But she just wouldn’t let up.

I was so upset by it all, that I spent the rest of the day, and the night, until 8am the next day Googling “methods of suicide”.

Did you know that the old favourite of sticking a hose in your car exhaust and running it into the car so you succumb to carbon monoxide fumes doesn’t work anymore? Not since they took the lead additives out of fuel. About the best you can hope for with that is brain damage. Fun times.

Thanks Mum.


That’s tough, Simon! I hope you’re better now?


Slightly. Still a little over it all. But one foot in front of the other…

It’s not my style, but part of me would like it to be. It’s irritating when the only things in life that don’t contribute to my decline are a couple of cats.

Anyway… Did you end up working it out with your Mother? I find that whenever I ask my Mum to lay off, she just gets upset, and pushes harder. All I can do is walk out and stew on it for a while. Luckily I barely drink these days… If I got loaded up on booze… That might just complicate things.


Yeah, cats do that. Big shout-out to cats! And to taking things one step at a time.


Nah, it hasn’t come up again yet as a problem and I didn’t want to stir up a conversation like that out of the blue. We just left it at “you don’t have to get it, just accept it” and agreeing to disagree.

One thing I noticed, though - after a handful of confrontations like that, I’ve steered away from telling people about my ADHD as a general thing. If ADHD-related quirks come up, I’ll treat them as quirks and matters of fact and “how my brain works” but I try not to communicate them as symptoms anymore unless that’s called for or in cases where it makes for a good shorthand. ADHD as a frame of reference makes it easier for me to grasp these things but I’m not sure about non-brains anymore.