Just diagnosed with ADHD. How do I tell my family?

Q: I was just diagnosed with Inattentive-type ADHD back in December 2019, as a 45-year old woman.  I haven’t told my parents yet as our relationship isn’t the greatest though at the end of the day, though we are very different in our political beliefs, etc. we are still family. I’ve just learned I can’t talk about certain parts of my life with them, at least for now. 

I’m wondering if you have any advice on how I should approach my parents and tell them about my diagnosis.  While I’m really frustrated I wasn’t diagnosed sooner, I know I’m a perfect example of the more-in-her-head girl who was missed as I wasn’t bouncing off the walls as a kid.  😉  I also know that ADHD runs in families, but nobody I know in my family and among my relatives has been formally diagnosed.  Any advice? 

My first thought is perhaps you should figure out what you hope to accomplish when you tell your parents about the diagnosis.

Often, when we are diagnosed we very much wish for the people we love to embrace this new information and offer support. Sometimes it happens and sometimes not so much. It sounds like you already have trouble communicating with them about some parts of your life.

If you plan to tell them as a simple disclosure and you have no expectations, that shouldn’t be a problem.

But if you are hoping by telling them that they will turn around and apologize, or tell you that they want to know more and support you – you might** end up feeling hurt and frustrated. Does this make sense?

Spend some time thinking about your goal, before you dive into it. That puts you in a better position to plan out how the conversation might go.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out for support. I always tell my community – we are stronger, together.

Stay in touch,

-liz

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