Ask Miss Behaven

I was given a list of questions to answer and since that thread is so long now its confusing I thought I'd just start a new one.

1) Why do you think society in general rejects people like you?  I understand there are ways that systems are set up that are either not ADD-friendly at all or are at least are set up in a way that is easier for nonADD people to work within the framework.  But in our situation and from a lot of what I am reading about in other people's stories here, it is usually the ADD mate who is most beloved by others.  They are generally easy going, frequently very funny, non judgemental, and many other qualities that seem to make them a person that others love to be around. 

I know if I so much as say a negative word about my husband's forgetfulness or overcommiting himself there are usually ppl jumping right to his defense....he is busy, he is so much more helpful than a lot of husbands, and on and on.  It is true.  I am married to a great guy, but sometimes the greatness is easiest to see from the outside looking in because none of those ppl are picking up the slack for him when he has overcommitted himself, doesn't notice the mess he makes everywhere he goes, or are married to a man who regularly tells you he will do things that he never gets around to fact sometimes the reason is doesn't get to what he promised me is because he ALSO promised one of those other ppl to do something, and he feels he HAS to do that whereas what he is supposed to do at home can wait until *later*.



The whole culture and society we live is set up for Nuero Typical people. Everyone else is “different” or “special”.

An ADDer learns early on in grade school that she doesn’t belong. Doesn’t fit in. In listening to ADDers talk about their childhoods you will often hear stories of how they felt that they must have been aliens from another planet they struggled so much with how different they were. Most children with ADD do not have many friends if any at all.

Ask any parent with an ADD child and they will tell you how hard it is to get the school system to make even minor accommodations for their children, to even accept the diagnosis, to follow 501 and IEP plans. Never mind having the child be happily involved in play and sports and other activities with other children. A child with ADD will likely be suffering from anxiety and depression before their adult teeth gave all grown in.


If you think society tolerates people who are different, think about what it’s like to be “tolerated”.


You know how therapists and support groups will have people spend the day blindfolded to see what it is like to be blind and such? Spend the day shopping and handing out resumes at the mall. Wear clothes that don’t quite match¸ talk a little too fast and look everywhere but in people’s eyes. Leave your wallet at home and fill your purse with random items, so that when you go to make your purchase, you will have to rifle through your purse and then tell them you left your wallet at home. When handing out resumes pretend you don’t have your phone number memorized and read it from your resume to them. See how long it takes before you start feeling like the freak everyone is treating you like.


We are expected to be normal. To think, feeling, organize and socialize in a certain way or else there’s something wrong with us. Something that needs medication and therapy to make us more normal.


ADDers in support groups and on forums will confess that they feel like they are going through life playing a role. A quick look at the ADDforums site that is full of ADDers shows dozens of threads about how people there feel they are pretending to be an adult, while in their 40s! That they are faking it, playing at being normal so they can hold down a job, keep friends and make their families happy.


The goals we have as a society are not ADD friendly. Have a nice house that looks like Martha Stewart lives there, have a career, make lots of money, be successful, be perfect. You see normal women breaking down on Oprah because they can’t keep it together how do you think a woman like me feels?


Now about the close circle of friends. Certainly there are positive traits to ADD that can draw us friends. Thank the lord! But it also depends on your type of ADD. A hyperactive male can get away with being the outgoing A type man and have many friends. But what about my hubby? The inattentive, quiet, thoughtful, introverted, nerdy man? He is rejected not just by society but by the people close to him for not being the kind of man we expect men to be.


Also while your hubby does have friends and family, even people who stick up for him. How many of them really know him? How many know how much he struggles, knows his failings? I bet they are just buying in to the act, the role he plays for them to have their acceptance. He’s good at playing at being a good guy, at being normal enough to be accepted by them. He can downplay his ADD and pass it off as something that isn’t a brain disorder or mental illness. If they really knew him as you do it would be a different story wouldn’t it? If he told those people that he really does have a brain disorder how many would stay his friends? How many would accept him?


I have many friends and acquaintances. But none of them are close friends. I have no best friend. I have to keep a certain distance with them, hold them at arm’s length. If I were to confess to my “friends” that the other day I pulled out a bowl to grate cheese into and placed it on the counter, then minutes later found myself grating cheese onto the cutting board with the bowl sitting right beside it, they would look at me very strangely and change the subject. If I made a point of answering their “How was you day?” truthfully, telling them about laundry pilling up, forgetting a doctors appointment, forgetting to buy milk two days in a row, not getting around to cleaning up the dogs poop for three days etc etc it wouldn’t be that long before I no longer was invited to join them for outings or to come over to their homes.


I could never tell my mother in law that three time last month I forgot to send my son off to school with a lunch and had to swing by with McDonalds. I’d never hear the end of it and the whole family would be talking about it.


Every time my hubby and I leave the house we have to play a part. Pretend to be as normal as we can all day just to get through that day. By the time we get home we are exhausted, anxiety ridden and strung out from the effort of trying to be more organized, better at socializing, more together, more mature than we really are. And there is little solace at home, as there are children to acre for, pets to care for, a lawn that needs mowing, dinner to be made, bills to be paid and friends and family knocking on the door. That’s when hubby’s meds wear off and I start to shake from exhaustion and realise I hadn’t eaten all day.


Are those of us with neurological disorders and mental illnesses accepted by society? If we were would they need to put out ads and awareness campaigns like these?



No I am not accepted, not for who I am.




2) Do you believe that women with ADD are less accepted than men are?

I can see where in a traditional model for homelife, a woman with ADD could be at a real disadvantage.  The picture of the woman keeping all the balls in the air, scheduling everyone's different events, while keeping a perfect home could definitely be challenging for someone with attention or detail-oriented challenges.  BUT when

 you hear ppl speak about a man with ADD who isn't fulfilling his traditional roles it seems like much harsher words are used:  lazy, a bum, a jerk, unwilling to work, etc  Whereas women seem to get described as sillly or flighty.  Now I am not IN ANY WAY saying I would want to be described as silly or flighty (esp unjustified), but I'd prefer it to being called a bum.



I think both have it as hard but in different ways. There are different expectations put on men and women. It also depends on the kind of ADD you have too. My hubby says he wishes he was more hyper because hyper ADD men are more accepted. I say I wish I was less hyper because people think inattentive women are sweet, polite, and shy and quiet … all “good” qualities. A woman who talks a lot and who is forward and a-type is not as accepted.

I’ll take being called a lazy bum over being called a stupid bitch any day though.



3) From where does the deep seated focus on doing things FOR YOU come from?

I have heard this type of comment from several ADD friends.  For example one has previously functioned well on meds.  He decided to go off of them because he wanted to control his ADD on his own with no chemical help.  He has been dreadfully unsuccessful by any interpretation of the phrase, and he finally admits he needs the meds.  He is ready to go back on them (or so he says) but his mother has been nagging him to get back on them as he has spiralled further and further downward without them.  He is refusing to go on them until she stops asking him to because until that happens, he says if he goes back on the meds then it isn't for him it is for her?  My response is ???  Why isn't it possible to just have the same goal or desire for yourself as another person?

What is wrong with doing something for no real other reason than that it is good for your mate?  I don't like making coffee in the morning.  I don't drink the stuff and would prefer if my ADD husband did not have the caffeine, but he likes to wake up to coffee in the morning and for literally no other reason than I like that it makes him happy, I do it.  I'm sure there are things that he does for me in the same way.  People who love eachother ENJOY making eachother happy.

I expected to have a happy marriage because based on what I knew of each of us before I accepted the proposal, I believed we'd both put in the work to make our marriage happy because we love eachother.  That has proven to be true, and as a matter of fact I honestly believe my husband would have gone undiagnosed his entire life had he not gotten married, but because his ADD symptoms were interfering with our happiness (we'd started to argue a lot about him not doing what he said he would), he took action to find out what the problem was.  He realized no matter how much he tried, he wasn't able to overcome it on his own.

I don't see those types of expectations....that someone is going to love you and have your back and be your soft place to fall....are at all negatives in a marriage.   I think it is good to speak up when either you aren't providing that for the other one.  That is the only way it can get corrected.  I do believe that requires you to talk honestly about what each of you are looking for in a mate, but if you say you are committed to something, I can't imagine what would be wrong with expecting that to happen.




Its juts the way my brain works. It is harder to get it fired up and running. I need to have a real BIG NEED for myself to get my ass out of my chair. Sure I do things for other people. I do stuff for my hubby and he does things for me. We both do stuff for our kids. All out of love and wanting them to be happy.


But I think we are drawing from a well that is not as deep as other people. Our gas tanks aren’t as large. They run out faster.



There is a deficit in my internal reward system. I don’t get the feel good fuzzies that you do for doing good deeds. Mostly I just get tired.


I’m going to quote from someone on another forum here because she said it so well:


“ … the land of knowing is on one side and the island of doing on another - NTers walk from one to the other on dry land I am swimming upstream though tides of irrelevant stimuli I can't ignore ebbing and flowing through my brain and I am often swept away with the irrelevant crap and either end up on the wrong island of action or never reach the island at all –This irrelevant stimuli is both internal and external – No wonder the NTers are better at controlling their out put , They reach the desired island of action more often, because when they tell their brain to stop letting the distracting stimuli waters flow so they can focus on which island of action they want to land upon their brain does so willingly . . .

Most attribute the ADD to executive function - I attribute it to the executive secretary - she decides who gets in to see the boss - My secretary either lets every one and their dog in so my office is so crowded I can’t hear myself think literally or she will not let any one in or me out thus isolating me from the external world even those parts I need in order to do my job - when she lets in the people I need while keeping out those I do not see I can perform with no problems - I can not filter out some stimuli without filtering it all out - it is an all or nothing deal. . .

I can memorize I simply do not control what I memorize - which is annoying - in other wards if I remember to remember I can remember but I often get bombarded by nine million other things and forget to remember…

Why do you equate 'less successful' with 'less worthy'? Would this mean the profoundly disabled have negative value? I think success has diddly squat to do with worthiness as a human being. Maybe it's a cultural difference. I've not been conditioned to feel morally superior to anyone for something they haven't chosen, like their abilities, and I certainly can't think of any rational reason to.”


Aside from all that. I think NT people see love, affection and caring as something you do. Its an action. You guys are all about action. I’m not saying that’s bad, that is just how it seems to me. If you love someone you do blank.


To the ADD brain, which struggles with action, love is a feeling. It is a state of being. Something you are. I am in love, therefore I love. When you struggle to do anything its hard to impossible the see things like love as actions.  If I saw my capacity to love my children based only on what I do and how well I do it I’d hate myself. Because I just can’t DO as well as other women could. But I try my best and love them soooo very, very much.


As soon as someone say “If you loved me you’d do this and this and do it well” I start to panic. Hoops to jump through make me freak out. I’d rather run away screaming than try again and again and wind up not making it through all those hoops.