A few weeks ago, I asked my teenage son what he noticed after trying Concerta for three days. In true form, he answered with a metaphor.
He asked me to imagine him inside a room.
Off the medication, he can look down many tunnels.
On it, walls go up over all but one of the tunnels, the one he’s looking down at the moment.
He can switch which tunnel he looks down, but he’s forced to see only one tunnel at a time. And he knows he’s forced because he wants to see down the other tunnels but is unable.
Me: “Do you know what you’re describing?”
Me: “The rest of us, without ADHD. How our brains work…or at least mine.”
Son: “How can you live like that?”
I then mentioned that, when he sees all the tunnels, he goes down the ones that look more exciting to him and stays away from ones he needs to go down, such as a “homework tunnel.”
He said yeah, he stays away from ones with “obstacles.” Then he shared that actually the medication has made it no easier to start down a tunnel with obstacles. Instead, once he starts down one of the tunnels with obstacles, the medication makes it harder to leave.
This was after only a three-day trial. We’re unsure what his experience would have been after a longer period.
More than anything else what I like about his film is how it shows that the way that others respond matters. At various times, we have the power to crush or uplift one another. If your child has ADHD, consider giving her/him a hug. If you have ADHD, give yourself and the child you were a hug. Just to start.
When one has a psychiatric diagnosis, questions about revelation come up. A search for answers around revealing ADHD brings up one: It depends.
What’s the context (work, school, home)? What’s the situation? Who are the parties involved (believers, non-believers, agnostics)? What are the stakes? Ultimately, what are the real (vs. mythical) pros and cons, short- and long-term? For ADHD, the only time I’ve seen the answer clearly lean toward “yes, tell” is at school for the purpose of working out accommodations. At work, the answer may largely depend on the work culture. How much diversity and what kind surrounds you?
How I wish we had more research examining the pros and cons of telling vs. staying quiet.
I’d already checked the freezer and cabinets and given up when I just happened to spot it.
Now I have to figure out whether it’s still okay to drink.
When ADHD is part of your life, life is full of surprises.