(Not my writing, preserving author anonymity)
I have ADHD. My dad has ADHD.
I know that it’s hard for NT folks to understand what it’s like to have ADHD, but you HAVE to stop connecting moral judgment to our ability or inability to do things.
We would not be on time if we just loved you more. We would not remember our appointments of we just tried harder. Our brains are not a good fit for this neurotypical world.
Assistive methods and devices are not there to train us to have a habit when they’re gone. Assistive methods are what allow us to maintain these habits.
If we grow out of one method it’s just because we’ve replaced it with another. Ideally, the method would be housed in our brain (yay medicine! or meditation! or positive self-talk! or any sorts of other internal practices!) but it’s still there.
You are allowed to be frustrated with us. You are allowed to be angry when we don’t follow through on commitments or pull our weight or mess up.
You’re not allowed to extrapolate intention from this. Maybe your assistance helps us do things. This doesn’t mean we’re some deadbeat who wants to be babied or cared for. It just means that this assistance you provide works.
And if that’s the method we’re using, you can’t be upset when you’re gone for a few days and we fail at a task. Because our method was you, and you were not there. Your assistance is not teaching us to be better. Nothing about this is a teaching moment, other than teaching us to feel even more shame.
It’s also okay for you to not want to be our method. It’s okay for you to stop providing that assistance and have us find something different that works. But you also have to understand that we do have to find a replacement. It will take time. We will mess up.
This doesn’t mean we’re trying to guilt you into returning to helping us in the same way. It just means that we genuinely relied on you for this.
If a person is permanently leaning backward and you’re holding them up, it’s okay to say that you’re not comfortable holding them any longer. You’re tired and feeling used.
It’s okay to tell them to go find something else to hold them up.
But this person can’t stand level on their feet. They’ll always be leaning.
That doesn’t mean your obligation is any greater.
It just means that when they wobble and fall without you there, you can’t accuse them of just doing it to guilt you. They can’t help it. They’re just trying to find things to hold them up. That alarm clock isn’t strong enough, the calendar lets them sink to the ground, the chore wheel is too small.
ADHD folks. We have to be okay with falling. We can’t turn this into actual guilt trips.
Just like our body and mind is ours, theirs is theirs.
Sometimes methods work but they don’t work out.
Sometimes you have to let go. We will fall.
Sometimes the falling has a lot of consequences.
Sometimes you’ve been yelling at us for laying on the ground for our whole life and we just can’t find anything to prop us up.
But our balance issue is incurable. Without external forces, we will never stand up straight. Maybe for a second, we might be able to fake it so it looks that way, but that’s not true.
We can’t be cured.
Our brains will always be doing that and we’re just doing our best.
Sorry if this was long, feel free to disagree, I just feel a lot about this today. I just feel this so much. The shame. The judgment. Please give your loved one the benefit of the doubt. People with ADHD can be jerks too, but the struggles of being ADHD are not what defines them as such.