View Full Version : Coming out to your parents with ADHD


pechemignonne
08-05-11, 06:48 PM
I'm having trouble finding a way to let my parents know that I'm being evaluated for ADHD.

For one thing, I'm one of those possible ADHDers who actually did well in elementary and high school. I did have problems with doing my homework, but my parents made sure it got done (eventually, most of the time).

But then came college and university, and ten years of inconsistent grades, dropping out and starting new programs, crappy jobs, not being able to pay my bills so asking them for money, etc. etc.

They know that I have anxiety and depression. Both my parents have been on meds for same at some point.

I suspect also that my father has ADHD, and my mother's brothers as well.

So how do I talk to them about this? I need to get their input for the diagnosis, and so far I have told them that I am looking into changing meds, etc, so I'm doing an extended evaluation, as a reason why I needed my old school reports.

I can guarantee they will not believe me at first, and they will be resistant to disclose any info that might point to ADHD. My mother even tried to hide one of my report cards because it said I was lazy and she didn't want to give the psychologist "the wrong idea".

I know they mean well, they always tell me how smart they think I am and they are generally very supportive- and I know how lucky I am for that. But they are convinced that I just not living up to my "potential" because I don't apply myself. They will not want to think that I have a neurological disorder because it goes against their fundamental belief that I "can do anything" if I only try.

Anyone else had to "come out" to their parents, possibly even let them know that they and their family members might have ADHD too? Any tips, advice?

Lunacie
08-05-11, 06:58 PM
My mother was dead from cancer before my granddaughter and I were dx with ADHD, my father was deep in dementia/Alzheimer's and he wasn't someone I talked to anyway.

Since my granddaughter was dx first, it wasn't such a bomb when I told my brother and sisters that I have it too. I remember talking about it with my sister on a very long car trip after she'd been dx with cancer. She was telling me about "chemo brain" and I said, "Wow that's so much like what I've been living with my whole life." To me, it was a connection between us, but I don't think she could make that connection between my living with the brain fog and her dying with the brain fog.

anonymouslyadd
08-05-11, 08:02 PM
I know they mean well, they always tell me how smart they think I am and they are generally very supportive- and I know how lucky I am for that. But they are convinced that I just not living up to my "potential" because I don't apply myself. They will not want to think that I have a neurological disorder because it goes against their fundamental belief that I "can do anything" if I only try.

I think it's interesting that your mom hid the report card, which said that you were lazy, from the psychologist. The belief your parents have projected onto you is the same one I have:eek: (side note). I think your perspective is telling for you and what you can expect from them.

I believe the reason they would have a hard time believing in ADHD is that they would have to come to grips with the fact that their daughter isn't "perfect," and that she may not be able to do everything, at least easily. This can bring guilt to parents. Interestingly, their "can do anything if you try" attitude is a cover up. Furthermore, their denial is a defense mechanism, and defense mechanisms will be fiercely defended.

I don't want to have to tell you that it won't happen, because it may. However, I wouldn't expect them to believe it.:( I'm sorry to say this as it seems very important to you.

Good luck.

Hathor
08-05-11, 08:35 PM
But they are convinced that I just not living up to my "potential" because I don't apply myself. They will not want to think that I have a neurological disorder because it goes against their fundamental belief that I "can do anything" if I only try.



Sorry if this is sidetracked from your intention, but it is bizarre and devastating how far parents will take this kind of thinking.

In the last 3 months of digging in my past (memories and report cards) I have become increasingly convinced that I was nearly diagnosed in 8th grade (1982-1983)

In the comment at the end of this post you will see the teachers comment and her request to see my parents.

A few years after that comment I had repeatedly failed 10th grade. At that time my Mom and I were having a rare conversation (She had left home in mid 9th grade) and she mentioned that a teacher had wanted me tested for Learning Disabilities.

It was most likely the teacher who made the comment at the end of this post, and my parents did not act on the teachers suggestion to have me tested

My Mom said this with absolute horror in her voice, like the teacher had suggested my head was full of dead babies I had killed and eaten.

Then my Mom gave her own theory, that the problem was "skiing" :confused:

Eeyore is very disorganized in class. His work suffers because he doesn't have an organized notebook and often is without pen, textbook,...
He does not seem to be able to concentrate on his assignments. I am available for extra help anytime.
I look forward to improvement Eeyore!
*Parent Interview Requested

Anyway sorry I don't have any advice for you, best of luck with your Parents and diagnosis, and thanks for your advice in my fake psychologist sister thread (I am waiting for my diagnosis before I bump that thread)

pechemignonne
08-05-11, 09:06 PM
My Mom said this with absolute horror in her voice, like the teacher had suggested my head was full of dead babies I had killed and eaten.
lmao...

I think that every parent resists he idea that something might be wrong with their child on some level, but my mother (bless her) is the Queen of Denial.

This also has to do with the stigma associated with learning disabilities, and a fundamental misunderstanding of ADHD. My parents won't understand a dx of an LD in me, because I often got very good grades, particularly in the subjects that interested me. So, there's the inevitable "oh, but you're so smart! You just need to apply yourself."

I'm just afraid it will impede my getting an accurate diagnosis. My Mother has a tendency to minimize, particularly in retrospect. I'm hoping my Dad will make sure to put in his two cents, because if anyone can tell someone how lazy and messy and infuriating I am, it's him. ;)

stef
08-06-11, 07:31 AM
wow that must be difficult.
we really have a lot of the same symptoms!

I only heard about this a few years ago; my mom was very intrigued actually. And surprised, and felt a little guilty, it was strange.

I wish my Dad would have known, I'm 95% sure he had ADD, it would have been an immense relief to him to have read up about it. He was pretty successful but epically disorganised.

speculative
08-06-11, 09:51 AM
Sorry to hear you are having difficulties with your folks. There's so many difficulties that can be had in that regard. Parents my think their child has add and the child won't accept it, the child gets diagnosed and the child doesn't accept it, misdiagnosis, diagnosis and no one accepts it... After about my 10,000th uninhibited negative overfocused rant, it was my mom who suggested I get evaluated for add.

pechemignonne
08-06-11, 11:34 AM
Wow! I sent my Mom an email and she responded so well! I was shocked. I knew that she had gotten much better since I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression (she was very resistant to this idea at first), but I wasn't expecting such a positive response.

Hi,

Well it could be. When we first consulted the family psychotherapist in Valois, she suggested you might have ADHD. Mainly, because of the messiness, lack of organizational skills, lack of focus on what you wanted to be etc. I know there are varying degrees. The fact that you are very intelligent sometimes complicates that kind of diagnosis. You were quite active as a young child. I would not call you hyperactive but pretty close. You were like a jumping bean, I mean you moved around a lot more than your sister did. I chalked that up to personality differences but I didn't have much knowledge about ADHD at the time. Certainly the description you gave sounds like you. Your father often thought he might be and since I often thought you had some of his personality traits it could be that you inherited it from him. I mean some of the behaviour I dismissed as being like your father might have been the ADHD.

It is certainly worth investigating. Don't worry I no longer fear you being imperfect or my having missed stuff when you were a child. Because none of us are perfect and you are not an extension of me ;)

There were mentions of you being forgetful in school and I do remember you having problems with that sort of organizational stuff... It certainly would explain why you become all keen on a new career and then you change paths again.

Keep me posted and if there is something else we remember, will let you know.

Good luck,

Love,

Mom

Which only begs the question: I was 17 when they consulted the psych in Valois. I'm 33 now. Why didn't I get evaluated at the time? I think it would have spared me a lot of trouble. I'm happy my Mom is so laid-back about it (though it could just be the pot speaking, lol), but I'm kind of mad at her now. WTF Mom, why didn't anyone look into it?

*deep breathing*

I guess it's only fair to say tho, that she probably wasn't very well informed as to the severity of a possible ADHD diagnosis by said therapist. What would it have been, the mid-nineties? I guess they didn't know as much about it back then.

Still, WTF Mom? And Dad! Why didn't you insist on me being evaluated, if you suspected?

I love them, but WTF? God, they drive me crazy. "Yeah, someone said you might have a disease 15 years ago, but we were like huh, whatever."

At least this means I'll have less trouble getting accurate info out of them. But, still, WTF?

selita
08-06-11, 12:36 PM
I feel ya. My mom was always very critical of my problems... "just get it done"... "just make a plan and stick to it"... "maybe you wouldn't break out if you didn't eat so much candy"... I mean really.

She started criticizing me for starting medication recently. I'm almost 30 and it took me ages to get through university. I'd sort of forgotten I'd been diagnosed with ADHD in my teens. Since Ritalin didn't work, I really thought it WAS all my fault. Ritalin was just the wrong med. Even recently, I managed to dose and schedule it to avoid headaches, but it was barely helpful enough to justify using it.

Now armed with a psych degree and a load of research, I went back to my doctor and got treatment.

"Addictive drugs!" "They'll destroy your kidneys!" etc.

"Mom, I was on medication for ADHD back in my teens. You knew all about it."

"Yes, I remember that." (Vaguely.)

"And you don't think almost failing high school, and the interminable '4' year degree, was maybe related...?"

"...."

"So you're going to lecture me about being forgetful, procrastinating, disorganized, messy... but if I actually do something about that...?"

".............."


I really want to have that conversation. The one that ends with her going, "..............." I mean.

anonymouslyadd
08-06-11, 12:44 PM
I feel ya. My mom was always very critical of my problems... "just get it done"... "just make a plan and stick to it"... "maybe you wouldn't break out if you didn't eat so much candy"... I mean really.


Mine was too. However, my mom does believe in ADD, and I think realizes she has it herself. The same problems she criticized me of were ones she struggled with too.:confused:

Hathor
08-06-11, 02:29 PM
I love them, but WTF? God, they drive me crazy. "Yeah, someone said you might have a disease 15 years ago, but we were like huh, whatever."


Sorry if this doesn't apply to you, but when I get upset that I was not diagnosed years ago possibly because my parents ignored things, I think, sure it would have saved me a mountain of difficulties to have been diagnosed decades ago, but would I really be better off now?

Perhaps dealing with all this adversity has made me a much more unique and interesting person than I would have been if diagnosed as a child/teen.

My apologies if this is offensive to you in anyway - just that after I posted in this thread last night I went through the same "WTF Parents" thing, and that is how I have been dealing with it.

Good to hear your Mom seems to be willing to change her ideas though :)

Simenora
08-06-11, 03:17 PM
I would insist that they listen when you explain your ADHD but for whatever you do, don't tell them you suspect them of having it. They probably know already and feel guilt, which was why they are trying to avoid it.

Rebelyell
08-06-11, 03:24 PM
I wished my mom smoked pot,both my parents were all over my shiznit all the time,always on my case,everything I did or said was either a poor excuse or cop out it seemed.ALot of times I did try to weasel out of being in trouble tho.

selita
08-06-11, 03:53 PM
I tell my mom she's spacing out on me all the time. I won't deny: it's sweet, sweet revenge. She figured out she has it, to some extent, on her own.

Long ago, I said, "It's genetic," and she got really offended.

"Oh, right, blame the mom!"

"...I didn't say it came from your side...." (My parents are thankfully divorced.)

It's pretty tough to deny her mom has it though, so I'll just pretend it skipped a generation.

But I'd never call her short. :eek:

pechemignonne
08-06-11, 07:10 PM
Perhaps dealing with all this adversity has made me a much more unique and interesting person than I would have been if diagnosed as a child/teen.

I agree, as I said in the "Would you choose to be reborn without ADHD" thread, my problems have made me who I am.

But sometimes I look back, particularly on the past ten years, and feel like I have nothing to show for it. Personal growth is sometimes hard to appreciate, when I feel like if I had been dx at 17, I might have a house and a good job and children- you know, the dream life that diagnosis always brings (lol).

Well, anyway, I might be less poor and less disappointed in myself.

I wished my mom smoked pot,both my parents were all over my shiznit all the time
lol Sometimes it's funny, but sometimes it's not so hot. I mean, my Dad is completely undealable with when he's not smoking regularly, *serious* fast and loud talking and getting in people's faces, driving like a maniac, used to fly into terrible rages.

My Mom, on the other hand, just gets even spacier. Which is not cool when you're trying to have a conversation with her.

Also, when I lived with them, if I had any treats or baked anything, forget it. They would munchies the *entire* thing.

CrushCrush
09-23-11, 04:37 AM
So basically you were messy at home, dropped courses to take new ones, and didn't have focus in school

Well, that goes for like 80% of students lol... Don't most students drop courses?

Where the heck does ADHD come into this equation? Seriously.

It seems that you enjoyed your 'time' in Uni and the lifestyle there, and now have a GREAT job as a civil servant making great money. (for those who don't live in Canada, getting a gov't job is *EXTREMELY* difficult. It's like winning a lottery. You'd have to have a very high GPA and grades out of our institutions to be considered).

So great in school, great job... but your life isn't how you expected. Now you are thinking of ADHD?

You even saw a psyc at 17 and they didn't feel it was worth the diagnosis.

You've even been working at this amazing job for 3 years.

Now it's all starting to make sense.

Like.. it doesn't sound like you've suffered underachievement at all. You might want everything perfect, but I just don't see the connection here.

Like.. where is the impairments, the underachievemnts... I just can't find them. I'm trying to learn and research real world examples the best I can because I'm considering going to see Barkley in person when he comes to Toronto.

And want to ask him what he thinks of this and I will be prepared to debate him also.

I need to ask him 'where is the line?' 'when do we say a person meets treatment'.

PinkRoxy
09-23-11, 04:53 AM
Some say that it is easier to get a proper diagnosis from an adult than a child because as an adult its you that tells the professionals how you think and feel about things as a child its your parents that tell the professionals how you behave and sometimes that is hard to define the difference between ADHD and ASD because the symptoms are the same but you dont actually know the real reason behind those symptoms because the child is yet too young to express their feelings.

For example: mum thought I would always ask quesitons I already knew the answer too so therefore it was a stupid question.

My thought: I had actually forgotten asking that question and had no recall of ever asking it so therefore I am asking because I dont know the answer or had forgotten the answer first time round.

Overal its two total different meanings.

Abi
09-23-11, 05:52 AM
Tell them you are gay.

THen say "Hahahahaha I lied. But by the way I'm ADHD"

Fortune
09-23-11, 05:55 AM
My Mom said this with absolute horror in her voice, like the teacher had suggested my head was full of dead babies I had killed and eaten.


Oh yeah. My mother got so offended when anyone suggested I wasn't cognitively perfect, and she so proudly relates how she shot one of my teachers down for suggesting I had a learning disability and how she shot down a family friend who suggested I be evaluated for autism.

These reactions make no sense to me. She knew I was having trouble, and that it wasn't just being nearsighted (as in the first case) or that I was just "shy."


I love them, but WTF? God, they drive me crazy. "Yeah, someone said you might have a disease 15 years ago, but we were like huh, whatever."

At least this means I'll have less trouble getting accurate info out of them. But, still, WTF?

Congratulations on your mother being open and supportive. And so much to the frustration here. It's amazing when digging into the past to work out what things were like it's written all over, you know?

Nnnnnn
09-23-11, 05:59 AM
So basically you were messy at home, dropped courses to take new ones, and didn't have focus in school

Well, that goes for like 80% of students lol... Don't most students drop courses?

Where the heck does ADHD come into this equation? Seriously.

It seems that you enjoyed your 'time' in Uni and the lifestyle there, and now have a GREAT job as a civil servant making great money. (for those who don't live in Canada, getting a gov't job is *EXTREMELY* difficult. It's like winning a lottery. You'd have to have a very high GPA and grades out of our institutions to be considered).

So great in school, great job... but your life isn't how you expected. Now you are thinking of ADHD?

You even saw a psyc at 17 and they didn't feel it was worth the diagnosis.

You've even been working at this amazing job for 3 years.

Now it's all starting to make sense.

Like.. it doesn't sound like you've suffered underachievement at all. You might want everything perfect, but I just don't see the connection here.

Like.. where is the impairments, the underachievemnts... I just can't find them. I'm trying to learn and research real world examples the best I can because I'm considering going to see Barkley in person when he comes to Toronto.

And want to ask him what he thinks of this and I will be prepared to debate him also.

I need to ask him 'where is the line?' 'when do we say a person meets treatment'.
Facts :

She got diagnosed by a professionnal : she has ADD
You don't have a diagnose from a professionnal. You fancy yourself ADDer.
Don't go dig some old threads to attack her personally. And don't tell me AGAIN there's over diagnose and blablabla...

sarahsweets
09-23-11, 11:24 AM
Tell them you are gay.

THen say "Hahahahaha I lied. But by the way I'm ADHD"

Or tell them you're pregnant with triplets ...then oh my mistake its just adhd.

minuss
09-28-12, 01:41 AM
Wow! I sent my Mom an email and she responded so well! I was shocked. I knew that she had gotten much better since I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression (she was very resistant to this idea at first), but I wasn't expecting such a positive response.



Which only begs the question: I was 17 when they consulted the psych in Valois. I'm 33 now. Why didn't I get evaluated at the time? I think it would have spared me a lot of trouble. I'm happy my Mom is so laid-back about it (though it could just be the pot speaking, lol), but I'm kind of mad at her now. WTF Mom, why didn't anyone look into it?

*deep breathing*

I guess it's only fair to say tho, that she probably wasn't very well informed as to the severity of a possible ADHD diagnosis by said therapist. What would it have been, the mid-nineties? I guess they didn't know as much about it back then.

Still, WTF Mom? And Dad! Why didn't you insist on me being evaluated, if you suspected?

I love them, but WTF? God, they drive me crazy. "Yeah, someone said you might have a disease 15 years ago, but we were like huh, whatever."

At least this means I'll have less trouble getting accurate info out of them. But, still, WTF?


Intresting I am kinda in the same boat and so far have decided not to disclose. to them or any one . not now at least.
when i was a kid there were all sorts of signs like special classes ect.
but no tests.

now that i am in my early 30's and have just found out about it i look back and wonder would i have been better of knowing..

i guess there are stages you g through of some sorts when your first diagnosed.

for now i know that since i found out i stoped forcing myself to try.

this has taken a great weight off my shoulder.

but knowing also had its costs.

I no longer try to the point that my whole life has turned around at least temporary. (which can be a hell of along time)

I seem to forgive myself too fast. I seem to isolate myself too fast.

am I actually any better off?

maybe its just me, maybe if i get some meds that work then that will change.

but a parent telling their kid they may have ADHD WILL lead to a drastic change in life.

maybe you would of not made it as far in school. or maybe you would of been in some special school distanced from the "others".

You ended up pushing yourself. in a real life environment. it may of been hard but you are you cause of it . Better or worse.. who knows

keliza
09-28-12, 01:26 PM
I'm glad to hear that your mom is open to talking about it! That's got to be a relief for you, knowing that you have her support and back-up in the process.

My mom was always of the mind that if I "just tried hard enough" I would be able to overcome any obstacles in my path. And for a while that was true, to an extent. I was in gifted throughout elementary and middle school, took AP and dual-enrolled university classes in high school, graduated HS with high honors and was accepted to my #1 choice university. I was engaged in lots of clubs and sports, had a thriving social life, and despite not being very well organized, was quite successful academically. All outward appearances suggested someone with their life together.

It wasn't until I started flunking my college math classes (I'm talking overall grade of 25-30% kind of flunking) that I realized something was actually wrong. Everyone around me had always joked about me having ADHD, but because I was performing so well academically, it was never seriously considered. Also, because I was already in ex-ed as a gifted student, nobody ever considered that my weaknesses might actually amount to a disorder. They saw that I was spacey and disorganized, and once I started to hit puberty I began to show a lot more of the H/I symptoms (impulsiveness, blurting out in class, getting into trouble, skipping, etc.) But because I was very smart and high achieving, all I got was a lot of lectures about how I needed to "try harder" to get organized and stop the stupid ADHD-related mistakes and behaviors.

It also didn't help that I went to an "alternative" private school in which they believed everyone was special in their own special way. Unless a person had blatant, impossible to ignore symptoms of a disorder (like autism), the teachers were just as likely to assume that you were just "unique" and instead of having you tested for LD, would find ways to work around your difficulties to help you succeed. So in that way, basically everyone had an unofficial IEP, because the teachers would always go out of their way to sit with you and figure out an individualized plan that would help you reach your greatest potential.

And that was awesome, except when I got to the real world and nobody cared about my uniqueness or my difficulties or my potential. That's when I hit a wall and the brilliant, successful high school student became an amorphous blob of caffeine and failure and tears.

So I sought help from an adviser, who suggested that I might have a learning disability, or ADHD. They helped me set up a meeting with an educational psychologist, who agreed that it sounded like something was up.

After a battery of LD, ADHD, and IQ tests, the results came back loud and clear. I had ADHD-C, Mathematics Disorder, and an auditory processing disorder, all of which had been undiagnosed until then. I was mind-blown that I could go 19 years of my life without ever having been diagnosed with any of these disorders, but it was clear as day on the paperwork, undeniable in the test results.

I didn't tell my mom about this process until after I was already diagnosed. I knew she would be dismissive of the idea, because her attitude had always been that I just needed to try harder. She wasn't happy when she found out I had gotten tested behind her back, but after reading the psychologist's report, she had to admit that I really did have a learning disability. All of the pieces fell into place too perfectly to deny it.

And her response to finding out I had ADHD?

"Oh, well, yeah. Your pediatrician suggested that years ago, but you were doing so well in school, she said it didn't matter."

Cue head explosion.

minuss
11-24-12, 12:15 AM
Or tell them you're pregnant with triplets ...then oh my mistake its just adhd.

Yet another reason why it is easier for girls to ADD then men.

Sapphire11
11-24-12, 12:33 AM
My mum told me I was over exaggerating and to stop talking about it after I was diagnosed, She then went on to tell me I dont have ADHD I infact have brain damage, I have since started treatment and now beginning therapy and I now beginning to realise it is actually her who has brain damage she is toxic and narcassistic

Zevispaz
11-27-12, 12:02 AM
My parents were not surprised. My mom asked a bunch of questions, and everyone collectively agreed that I got it from my dad. :p

Cyllya
11-27-12, 01:26 AM
But they are convinced that I just not living up to my "potential" because I don't apply myself. They will not want to think that I have a neurological disorder because it goes against their fundamental belief that I "can do anything" if I only try.

I'll never understand how some parents would rather think badly of their child's personality than think they're just horrifically unskilled at something. :/

SquarePeg
11-27-12, 04:09 AM
I havenīt read all these posts, but just the title... I mean what age are we living in when itīs probably easier to come and say your gay or pregnant or both.

Mind you I can talk I still havenīt told my husband about my diagnosis, he is working away at the moment but I can just imagine his response when I tell him there is a legitimate reason for not being able to do housework!! Heīs never gonna buy that one.