I read a blog today from a spouse of a person with ADHD. She had the normal complaints regarding her husband and his lack of personal responsibility regarding his “tantrums” as well as his refusal to apologize for outbursts. She says “he says apologizing is like apologizing for who he is.” Her initial response was due to an article she read about not punishing behavior of children with ADHD. As the Catholic ADHD Coach I tend to avoid the idea that we need to choose the right spouse. Some ADHD books start with the idea that people with ADHD need to pick a spouse correctly because we are likely to choose a spouse for the wrong reason in the first place. I prefer to accept that what God created can’t be undone by man. It’s my belief and yet Catholic numbers for divorce are just slightly lower than society on a whole.
What I prefer to concentrate on is actual treatment of the person with ADHD. Most of us know something about ADHD and we then dismiss or accept but rarely do we actively treat. Less than 1% of people diagnosed seek treatment. I don’t mean adjusting the diet and discovering that certain stars and business personalities have ADHD and so I’m fine. I’m talking about treatment like the multi-modal approach I have talked about before.
If we look at the wife above, she is right. And it gets really difficult, no matter how patient, for the spouse to continually accept behavior. As adults with ADHD we have adapted and created management tools to get us to where we need to be. Sometimes those tools only help us and don’t present a huge amount of care for others. If her husband were coached he could bring this issue to the table. Having ADHD is not a hall pass. With proper treatment we can learn new ways to cope using medication, exercise, coaching and psychological support, when needed, to identify when we are just wrong and then accept that. Easter is approaching and forgiveness should be on our hearts. We are forgiven by our Savior and we are expected to forgive ourselves so we can then forgive the ones who love us.
If you have survived a life of untreated ADHD, you know what I mean so take the time to apologize. We often are not aware of our actions or there affect on others so accept it if they say they are hurt or disappointed. Then accept that ADHD is a mental disorder which requires specific treatment which will allow you to identify abnormal behavior and change it.
Motivation can be defined as an individual’s inner state that causes them to behave in a way that ensures the accomplishment of some goal. It’s a set of psychological processes that energize voluntary behavior. It’s the reason for which people exert and expend effort on activities that reward them. (Gualco, 2013). Notice line 2 and understand that ADHD is a biological disorder that interferes with psychological processes. Treatment allows you an opportunity to overcome some of the issues associated with the symptoms of the disorder. Medication, for some, opens the door and allows you to focus on some things. Coaching helps to keep you focused on your motivation and a coach that specializes in ADHD does that while educating you about the disorder, understanding your personal way of managing, and developing a way to get there using your management style of the disorder. The Catholic ADHD coach does that with understanding about your personal values system. I work with everybody but I especially understand life from a Christian, Catholic perspective.
Gualco, D., (2013) Instructor’s guidance week 1, University of the Rockies