ADHD and Relationships: Connecting, When There’s No One To Talk To

ADHD Expert Rick GreenI Need To Talk To Someone

In a previous blog, I was talking about the power of connecting with other people who have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

In some ways, every video, audio, e-book, blog, Instagram or Facebook post, newsletter, Tweet, and Friday Funny email, is my way of connecting with you.

Having someone to connect with is such a gift. Somehow speaking things aloud, and being heard gets it out of our system. Especially when it’s something that others can identify with. ‘You have five alarm clocks? So do I!’

But as several people have mentioned, sometimes there’s no one to talk to when you need to talk.

It can be tough to keep friends when you have adult ADHD or adult ADD. Perhaps it’s the middle of the night.  Maybe your family doesn’t believe you.  Perhaps you can’t get to a support group.  Or you don’t feel you can afford a therapist or coach.

BE YOUR OWN ADHD SUPPORT GROUP

If there’s absolutely no one you can talk to, then put it down on paper. Start a Bullet Journal (Great as an ADHD planner or journal! There’s a how to video in the resources listed below.).  Write it out. Pour your fears, anger, frustrations, and despair onto the page. It’s amazing how turning runaway thoughts into proper sentences, gives you a sense of control.

Journal it. In a special journal. Or just some blank pages.

Spew it out. In all it’s glory and drama.

Here’s the benefit, it loses it’s charge. When you reread what you wrote a week later, a month later, a year later, it will have little or no power. You’ll suddenly see your own overreaction. The drama.

I WAS A MIDDLE-AGED DRAMA QUEEN KING

When my first marriage ended I wrote and wrote and wrote. Hundreds of pages.

I was journaling everything. Every dark thought, every fear, every vague hope.

About five years later, I found the thick stack of pages. ‘Oh wow, this will be so good to read and understand myself, and come to terms with it all. I’ll see what I’ve learned.’

I begin reading… Oh my God!  I had forgotten how good life is now. I am with Ava and the kids are doing well.

If you read what I had poured onto the page, you might have thought I’d either died of shame or leapt off the balcony of that tiny one bedroom apartment. (And to be honest, the thought had crossed my mind, as I’m sure it does with many going through a divorce. Depression and ADHD make us all more susceptible to suicidal thoughts, or suicide.)

I couldn’t bear to read what I’d written. It was embarrassing.

The one good thing that came out of it is our video on Emotional Sensitivity. Once I saw my reaction on paper, I saw how adults with ADHD can be ‘overly’ sensitive, ‘overly’ emotional, and ‘over-reacting’ to situations. It’s a great video because it also gets into the physical sensitivities to noise, unwanted touch, and chaotic situations.

ADHD, CREATIVITY AND MY LURID DIVORCE DIARY

There were pages and pages my thoughts, fears, and anger. Oh, lots of anger.

I’d go and check to see how many hundreds of pages I wrote, but I’m not even sure where I put it all. It’s now packed away… But the first half is basically variations of, ‘Woe is me. It’s the end of everything. I’m a monster. I’m broken. A failure. I don’t deserve to be happy. I’m a terrible father. A horrible human being. Unlovable. Blah, blah, blah…’

Discovering what I’d written, and then reading it… was a bit like when Jack Nicholson’s wife finds the draft of the book he’d been writing in the Shining. “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Page after page of it. The same stuff. I kept skipping ahead in my diary, hoping to find some kind of nuggets of wisdom and courage. Gradually, it did change. A new tone. I was writing from a different perspective.

At some point, I started to comment on what I’d written a week or two earlier and offer some perspective. Things I was dreading didn’t turn out as bad as I had feared. (Nothing is ever as bad as you fear when you are really creative. Creativity has you invent all kinds of truly disastrous outcomes. I sometimes think I should have been a horror writer.)

MY ADHD DIARY IS MORE THAN WOE IS ME!

It was hard to read. But I was left with a profound sense of how much progress I had made. And how deeply I had felt things. How much I cared about my children and even my ex-wife.

As well, I had a strong sense that I was never going back down that rabbit hole again. No matter what happened, I wouldn’t work myself into such a sorry state of panic, fear and angst.

Because the minute I start to slide into that fear, that OMG! I remind myself that things are never as bad as I fear. I remind myself of how dark life looked when I was alone and afraid and it was an illusion.

BENEFITS OF JOURNAL WRITING FOR ADHD

Writing is powerful. And not just for the huge disasters like death and divorce. It’s an awesome tool to manage your ADHD and see that yes, what you are doing is working.

One of the 36 Strategies that Patrick McKenna and I talk about in ADD & Mastering It! is journaling. Every morning Patrick writes out what he did yesterday, while it’s still fresh in his memory. He’s been doing it for decades. That’s a lot of yesterdays.

It means he doesn’t have to rely on his memory. His life, his progress, the setbacks, the things that worked and the things that didn’t help are all laid out for him to refer to at any time.

Whether you take on that kind of practice, or simply write out problems when you’re struggling with them, journaling can be a great way to make an overwhelming problem suddenly seem, well, manageable.

Writing it out by hand, it stops being all consuming. It goes from being, “All I can think about! All I’ve been thinking about for hours!” into some sentences on a page. Sentences with beginnings, middles, and ends. It stops the tornado spinning. It interrupts the torrent.

The problem stops being all-consuming. You are no longer worried about the future, or stuck in your past.

It’s all right here in the present. All laid out on paper.  It’s not the end of the world. It’s 823 words.

Writing is a great tool. And, as Ned Hallowell points out, so is connecting with another human being.

Best,

Rick

PS – Here are two resources we recommend.

  1. Join our online community. I love our Patreon group and I think you will too:
ADHD Community

For as little as the cost of a cup of coffee a month you can take part in live Patreon community discussions with me, Rick Green + see our new videos first + other perks

2. Our friend Jessica McCabe at How To ADHD has a great video tutorial about How to Create a Bullet Journal. You can find that here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkZEEQG6IVE

ADHD Video
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3 Replies to “ADHD and Relationships: Connecting, When There’s No One To Talk To”

  1. I used to journal, it was my favorite outlet. Somewhere down the line it got hard to do, anxiety broke my momentum, and my mind went blank.

    I have less patients with myself, and I find myself mired in podcasts, videos, webinars, and an occasional blog. Blogs usually lead to one or other of video or podcast though then the time slips past in blocks of 3, 8, and 10 hours unaccounted for.

    I get so peeved at myself for lacking the discipline, or even the freeking ability to remember I’m trying to discipline my time wisely. (I could really use a sound effect here) “Gerr” just doesn’t have the punch required for effect.

    Okay I’m done for now.

    Evelyn

  2. Evelyn . . . I’m with you. I haven’t tried journaling – but a few months back – I was mired in ADD blogs, webinars, videos . . etc etc etc hours and hours and hours . .

    Where does the time go?? It’s October – 7:30 pm and it’s dark outside. My life is just slipping away as I “exist”.

    Journaling would just take up more time that I’m not using wisely . .

    how to cope . .

    L8ly Lost

  3. Hi! Journalling is so helpful… especially gratitude journalling!
    I was interested in your show; but it’s in North York. Anything closer? We live a street away from you. I’d love to take my ADHD teens to see you for a CADDAC show!

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