Dr. Umesh Jain
is now exclusively responsible
for TotallyADD.com
and its content
Dr. Umesh Jain is now exclusively responsible for TotallyADD.com and its content

The Forums Forums Most X-treme! Where I Struggle Most The issue of who to tell and who not to tell about my ADHD

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  • Anonymous
    #89526 |

    When I was first diagnosed I felt like the weight of the world had been lifted from my shoulders, finally I had answers and I wanted to tell the world I have ADHD. As time has moved on though I question whether it’s really a good thing to tell everyone since so many people have misconstrued information on the topic of ADD/ADHD and frankly people judge. My girlfriend suffers from bi-polar and she only tells those closest to her, she’s embarrassed by her disorder and doesn’t want people to know and judge her. Probably the most profound comment she has made regarding our mental disorders is the world has too many labels as it is why give people the chance to label us for something which we cannot control, we are who we are not the labels the ignorant or misinformed put on us, we are not our disorders. Figured this would make a good topic for discussion, who have you told? Do you hide your disorder or wear it proudly?


    I’ve only been tested, but not too many people know. My husband, my boss, and a friend or two.

    I haven’t even told my mom, which is weird for me. We’re very close. I’m afraid she’ll judge me and I don’t think I’ll tell her until I’ve been on meds for a while.


    I’ve been tested and under treatment for the last couple months. I haven’t told anyone outside my wife and my kids, who are older now. They pretended to know, by sagely nodding their heads at all the right spots. If I get to be a “Permanent” employee anywhere, I will consider telling my boss, but I probably will never tell an employer. I will be telling my extended family very soon and I am not really looking forward to that.


    I was diagnosed when I was very young, I happened to find a book on the table my mom was reading called How To Cope with ADD/ADHD. Thats how I found out that I had it, and that it would stay with me for the rest of my life. I have only told a very few of my friends. And I guess I would say that I would hide it bc I dont really know of anything positive for having the inattentive type, even thought Im sometimes Hyperfocused, if that would then be combined?


    Hi here Rickster………..hide or wear it proudly???? Interesting ……neither actually….there are other choices, I’ll share.

    I do not hide….I don’t hide from the world, at all, not for any reason….to what end???? I am more than ok with the way my brain processes information. I am one of those who feels my brain and it’s process are a gift that have afforded me quite a great life….so far. I find that the way I see the world and myself in it are a wonderful advantage (for me). I see things quite different from the general populous, socially, politically…..artistically….many ways. For me being restricted to linear, compartmentalized thought and process holds no attraction…..none….. for me, it is actually debilitating. Sorry but there it is…..I find linear folks perspective limited and their scope extremely narrow…….that’s been my experience in the workplace, and socially. I understand there are many of us who do not share my thoughts….many struggle, and find life a very difficult road. I acknowledge that too, and feel deeply for their struggle, but, there are others like myself as well. So, I (personally) can find no reason to hide…….at all….ever!!

    The other side of the coin…….I do not shout what others call ADD from the roof tops either, I don’t know why I would or should….to what end??? There are so many reasons to keep personal information personal, for me. For a start there are many things that I do not entrust to the world, or the general population….not because of fear, or shame or embarrassment, as I said….. I possess none of those feelings. Some attributes or traits I possess are simply mine, they are deeply personal…..they are mine….for me only. What would be my purpose in running about telling everybody that my brain processes in a mode they call ADD?? What would i expect the benefit to be…..what could I possibly expect people to do with that information?? If I told my manager at work…..would I expect them or business community to give me special treatment……really?? I’ve shared with my family, by that I mean my immediate family, because it’s key to who I am. I share that and more, deeply with my partner. I’ve also shared with my children because they are also ADD and it is part of my job as a parent to educate them on things that may possibly affect their lives. I have one maybe two close close close sharing friends, that I have shared that, along with many other things very personal things….but that is a very very safe place for deep personal sharing….. that is why we are deep personal friends.

    If I may suggest……look around, see what people do, how they treat very sensitive information about others……what the worlds outlook is towards that which is different from themselves…. do they embrace, learn, celebrate or do they separate, compartmentalize and judge that which they do not understand and is different from their safe position of their norm???? I find if I stop and ask myself the right questions and allow the answers to bubble up……I will find the right path. My path, the path for me…maybe not a path for anybody else…… but it is right for me.

    Many people have labeled me a cynical, callous for some of my views, others find my ideas insightful, highly thought provoking and sensitive ……..either way that’s fine, I’m ok with that, they are perspective, people may do with them as they will…….but it is also a great sampling of that which I speak.

    In the end the our life choices are ours…….but I suggest….we examine, risk and benefit from a all perspectives and then act according to our heart, how could that be wrong????

    If I can share this thought……any information that does does not enhance our lives is of questionable value!!!!



    I didn’t mean I tell everyone, would probably never tell my employer or people I don’t consider close, but I definitely am not hiding my disorder, yes I still call it a disorder because I haven’t found away to turn the corner and start enjoying my ADHD yet. I find it frustrating extremely frustrating at times and am finding it difficult to deal with so like I did so often as a child I turn difficult situations into a joke, laughter has always been a big part of my life, it helps me get through the depression and the hard times. Maybe I don’t deal with things the way I should but it’s the best way I have found to cope. So now when I’m with friends or family and I do something ADHD related like searching for my keys that are already in my pocket. I laugh and say can’t be the ADHD must be the drugs. I’m trying to cope with this the best way I know how and laughing feels way better than crying.


    For me, wanting to tell people has had more to do with needing to talk through my experience in order to understand it myself. Not so much about getting them to understand me, because I don’t want to fall into the trap of making excuses. My responsibilities are still my responsibilities – how I choose to meet them is for me to figure out. (For example, it’s my job to pick up the mail every day, but I know if I don’t post the task where it will be right in my face, I won’t remember. I need to set an alarm and post a note. I can’t say, Oh, sorry, I can’t remember to get the mail, I have ADD, because it’s part of my job.)

    So far, listening to other people with ADD share their experiences and learning about common patterns and the neurological stuff has helped me feel less of a need to explain – or over-explain – to other people who either don’t understand, don’t believe in it, don’t want to know, or don’t need to know.

    That said, I am not shy or secretive about it. I’m not ashamed of it, maybe because it doesn’t carry the same stigma as something like bi-polar disorder or schizophrenia. Besides, I don’t care that much what people think – it’s none of their business. And how can I care what they think when half the time I don’t even remember who they are? LOL. No, but seriously…it might be worth asking yourself: When does it serve your best interests to tell someone? What are you trying to gain by telling them?


    Sounds healthy enough from here folks……but that’s just my simple take on things. I understand a sharing environment is sometimes difficult to find. In the past I found groups to work in (one in particular was male) ………because I was looking for a male issues and male sharing group, it was what I needed at the time. It was a super environment and a great experience, but the point I’m fumbling here is…. there are many many groups out there. They do not have to be an ADD group…..that is not critical at all…..a group, a safe, and caring group, a place to share out loud, and feel safe,is more important. The male group I was in was actually started by a catholic dude…..that is as far from who I am as possible….but I was welcome, it was a good place to share in a non-judging, none advising environment. I was enriched by the experience…….it served me well.

    Sharing is sharing, caring is caring……a hug is a hug. Sometimes that’s all that is needed. Listening can be as uplifting as sharing.

    Here’s a hug to you all….and a smile!!!!



    I’m just getting diagnosed and mentioned it to a few friends, but the reactions were surprising. From ‘it doesnt exist, there is no proof’ through ‘everyone has some kind of dysfunction, why do you need a label’ to ‘just cut down on the sugar and practice mental discipline’ 😛 So, now i think i’ll just mention it to people who have similar problems, or just know what it is or are open minded enough to accept that i do indeed prefer a lable of ‘managable disorder’ to ‘lasy forgetful alice in wonderland’ 😉 So, not going to hide it, but not going to yell about it either.


    I think disclosing is on a need to know basis. The problem is the ridiculous name that the disorder has. It trivialises it. It is a bit like calling measles ‘a bit of a rash’.

    If I need some accommodation at work I will ask for it but will be specific – for example, instead of saying ‘I need a quiet space because I have ADHD’ I will say ‘I need a quiet space because it will help me be more productive’.

    With regard to friends, I don’t say anything. They know what I am like and that’s that. I think I’d rather say I have neurotransmitter deficit that affects my executive functioning. They won’t know what you mean! 🙂

    If ‘they’ would just give it a sensible name and if the popular press would describe it properly instead of just being forgetful and not being able to complete tasks then it would make our like easier with respect to being able to discuss it.

    The problem is, when you are being diagnosed you want to discuss it. When I was at that stage I relied heavily on this site because it’s full of people who ‘get it’ and who won’t judge or dismiss.

    My hairdresser clearly has ADHD but she was recently diagnosed with depression. I suggested to her that she gets assessed for ADHD but she said she’d rather be labelled with depression because of the bad press and stigma associated with it. Says it all really.




    ‘it’ in the context of the last line in my post above means ADHD of course. My point being that she believes there is less stigma attached to depression than to ADHD. 🙂



    I tell NO one till I had a glass of wine too many.  It’s too embarrassing and hard for others to understand.  Because of the Chaos it creates I truly think it leads to a lot of addictions.  It makes me wonder if if it’s something that our parents used or a chemical in everyday use?

    BTW……. I have a loaf of whole wheat bread that is @25 days old and it looks fresh as new!  No Mold or anything?  Didn’t things use to mold once it was bad?  5 days later?  Maybe 10? Think I may have a Science Project going on!  Going to see how long it will last before I see Mold!

    It’s amazing some of you actually let people know. I usually try to hide it by claiming to be tired with a follow-up yawn or to have a lot on my mind lately with a few pre-made topics that usually would be on people’s minds.

    By the way, if the bread is dehydrated, then it probably won’t mold since life typically requires water.

    People I’ve told have been, for the most part, very positive about it. Especially when I explain how ADHD works – and liken it to the kids who get hyper when they’re tired. Once they make that connection (and get a couple of laughs out of my “SQUIRREL” reference and my jokes about the Little Pills my Doctor Prescribed so I’m “much … better … now” – complete with the nutty eyeball glare) they’re much more open and receptive to the idea.

    That is not to say I tell everyone and anyone. I use a pseudonym on this site precisely because I don’t want the world to know I have ADHD.

    I tell people I know I can trust, and, 9 times out of 10, the response has been positive. And the tenth? Well, it was more a case of the person saying, “I think it’s vastly, vastly over-diagnosed” (a statement I tend to agree with, in actual fact.)

    I’m not ashamed I have ADHD. I’ve learned to use it to my advantage in what I do for a living. It’s simply part of who I am, and it makes my personality the way it is. Frankly, some of my closest friends find me hilarious, or quirky, which I can live with, especially now that I’ve “came out” to them:

    I’m a geek. And I’m okay with it.

    But I don’t tell everyone. And the reason for that is very simple – it’s none of their business. When I disclose it to someone, it’s always in person, and always in a fairly private setting, where I can control the situation and decide how far into the discussion I want to go.

    And, as I said, the vast majority of people have reacted very positively. Some have even said, “wow, really? How did you discover it?”

    I explain that something happened (which I never – ever – go into, because THAT event is very private and personal) which put me on the path to the diagnosis. When I discuss some of the symptoms, with a lot of the people, you sometimes see a light go on over their head: “wow! I’m experiencing some of that as well!”

    To which, I reply, “well, there’s no shame in getting checked out. You never know until you know. I can’t diagnose you, of course, and understand it’s a spectrum rather than a hard-and-fast condition, but if you’re curious, talk to your doctor.”

    So, who to tell? Tell those your gut tells you to tell. You’ll be surprised at the response. In a good way. (SQUIRREL!!!!)


    when i first got diagnosed it was really exciting to finally be able to begin to understand the mystery of me, why i was/am so different from “neurotypicals”. i’ve certainly had my ups and downs since then, lately more down than up….anyway, back to the point….i at first decided to share my diagnosis with some of those close to me. i’ve had mixed reactions and found for the most part no real benefit in sharing, except, to some degree, with my husband.
    was really disappointed when my mother reacted by saying “so what – you are an adult now,….” don’t remember the exact wording that followed, but basically was dismissing any real consequence of the diagnosis, and was followed by “but there is definitely something wrong with you.” that was really hurtful and frustrating, but, well, she tends to be that way with me in general, guess i shouldn’t have been surprised.
    what was surprising though was how another long time friend reacted. ever since i told her she’s been trying to get Adderal from me! when i ran into her and she asked me for some, i just said i didn’t have health insurance any longer, so was about to run out myself. which was true, but honestly don’t feel comfortable with the whole idea anyway,and also felt and feel, idk, offended? that she was asking for this like it was some sort of recreational drug to share, not the life changing prescription medication it is for people like me with ADD/HD….and she keeps asking every few months. Last time she asked, she said she wanted it to help her move, but that she also knew people willing to pay for it at her gym…wtf?! i explained i still don’t have insurance, still can’t afford to pay cash for psych visits and med, and am really distressed about it. she said she would pay if i would give her half! so wrong on so many levels!!! so, obviously, i regretted ever telling her about this diagnosis.

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