I remember the shame coming over her horrified face at a first grade class party. Her son was overstimulated, fueled by sugar and he was done. The judgement from other moms was palpable. Their glares consumed her as she consoled the screaming heap that was her son. She over-explained that he’d missed his afternoon meds as I watched her drown in prejudice.
My kid had a great time that day. I was thankful he fit in, was likable and that I was not that woman – but my gut told me I may have more in common with her than any other mom there. By their judgy reactions I was almost glad. My ADHDer was diagnosed later that year.
It wasn’t until the teen years that he stopped fitting in. My son’s once magnetic confidence had waned so drastically that he’d become a homebody. His dying social life meant mine was too since drop offs and meet ups were rare.
It became clear that, despite having many wonderful friends, my tribe lacked anyone that truly understood. They listened and cared, but I wondered if, like the ladies at that party so long ago, they too were glaring on the inside. Not understanding. Judging. Parents of ADHDers can experience a deep loneliness that’s magnified by grieving their child’s losses.
In the seventh grade we joined a school community for ADHD kids. I cried at every parent meeting because I’d never felt so understood. It was as if I’d been holding my breath all those years and I could finally exhale! I could tell my kid was exhaling too.
ADHD can be an isolating journey. The payoff in surrounding yourself and your kids with people who get you is life giving. It brings confidence to be okay with where you are and encourages you to realize the sky’s still the limit. Find your people -they’re out there.
Have a story to share about how you found your tribe? Having trouble in this area right now? Leave us a comment so we can chat.