So yesterday I went to my resident ADHD expert (my daughter, who is grabbing her own ADHD by the horns by researching it) and asked her about my theory regarding ADHD and crisis. (That they default to The Excitement Plan whenever possible and, in fact, tend to make it more exciting than it needs to be.)
“Absolutely!” She replied. “People with ADHD are so used to crisis it feels normal.”
I asked her if someone with ADHD would purposefully leave out details to make a crisis more crisis-y, but she said she don’t think so. She said it was more that they would focus so much on the crisis word (like “lockdown)” that they would not process the rest of the words. They might take them in, so when asked, they could give the information, but they wouldn’t take them into consideration when reacting.
Which explains a lot about my husband’s tendency to go there.
Imagine growing up in a world where you are constantly missing information. You think everything is fine, only to discover that you have inadvertently put yourself in a situation you are not prepared for. You can’t give the teacher the answer because you missed the question. You can’t finish the task you were given because you missed some of the instructions.
You would learn that everything can blow up and become suddenly bad at any moment. You would never really be able to relax. In other words, you would constantly feel like you were in crisis, no matter how many people reassured you that there was nothing wrong.
So then when a true crisis word was uttered, like “lockdown,” it would be irresistible. It would be the validation you could never otherwise find for the emotions you felt every day. The ones you kept being told were wrong.
So it makes total sense.
It doesn’t make it any less difficult for your loved ones to deal with, of course. But it does give them a place of sympathy to work from. And sometimes understanding can catapult those you have hurt by your inadvertent misrepresentations a long way down the road of forgiveness.
Now, they might call your mistaken reporting skills “lies.” They might accuse you of being a drama queen and walk away in disgust when your “crisis” turns out to be an overreaction.
But they will be less likely to do that if they understand that this is a side-effect of a lifetime of ADHD. And that as irritating as it is to have to deal with a person who rides this roller-coaster, it’s probably worse to be sitting in the car yourself.
But it will take time.
I know this, because I know all this stuff now, and yet I’m still ticked off by the drama from the other day with my husband’s lockdown at work.
I mean, I get why he made it seem worse than it was.
It doesn’t mean I like it. I mean, I really, REALLY don’t like it when someone lies to me, inadvertently or not. It’s pretty earth-shattering when you get put through something like that over and over by the person who is supposed to be loving you. Your best friend. Your partner.
And at some point, he is going to have to get that about me.