October seems to be a month of awareness including ADHD. I want to share a little fact about myself and something I personally experience that many people don’t know to be a common issue for those with ADHD.
I struggle IMMENSELY in social settings. I am incredibly uncomfortable meeting new people, and I’m horrible at small talk, and large groups of people are difficult to me. Believe it or not, even playdates I used to set up for my kids weren’t easy. I typically leave social gatherings of any kind feeling completely drained, with a horrible headache that sometimes will last even until the next day, and very dehydrated (weird, I know).
For those of you who know me whether it’s just in passing or as a close friend, hearing this from me may surprise you. I mean, I’m a school teacher and a group fitness instructor, I’m very involved in church and even have a ministry where I speak to large groups of people (God was just being funny when he asked me to start doing that), and I go all out on birthday parties for my kiddos, so how in the world can I say I’m uncomfortable in social settings?
The answer is simple. I work very very hard to be able to do these things because I know if I don’t really work hard at it that I would become the person I was back in early teen years where I stayed in my room watching tv all day every day. I would have no friends, therefore my children wouldn’t have friends to play with, and I would not be living my life. For me to be in any type of social setting (even family get togethers), I am making a conscious decision to get out and be uncomfortable and put forth a great deal of effort.
Even my closest friends don’t realize that after something as small as a play date with just one other mom and her kids, I go home and crash because it’s so draining. People don’t understand that after a birthday party for one of my kids, I could probably sleep for days. I think I could take 2-3 Krav Maga belt exams (and those are brutal I tell you) and use about the same amount of energy it takes to throw a birthday party for one of my children. It wasn’t until recently that I realized this is one of the many struggles an ADHD person may carry with them.
ADDitude Magazine wrote a great article about this very subject, and they give 5 Social Strategies for ADHD Adults. Take a look at it. When you’re at your next social gathering and someone seems to be “stuck up” because they don’t always come talk to you or smile at you in passing or even make eye contact with you, walk up and talk to them. They could very well be like me and incredibly uncomfortable. I’ve been labeled as stuck up by many because I’m not social or approachable. Get to know me, and you’ll see I’m laid back and I do enjoy talking. I just struggle to begin the connections.
Click to read the article 5 Social Strategies for ADHD Adults