It could have been a tough night for non-nerds. Not true – we welcome everyone! But at least 3 of the 7 guys at the meeting were ‘techies’.
ADDA’s newest Peer Support Group – “Men Becoming Our Best” – held its first meeting February 18, 2018. Of course, we compared operating systems and file structures to how our ADHD brains work! That’s one thing the entire group agreed on. We “get” that we have different wiring.
This is a great starting point. We won’t have to spend time wrestling with feeling like “I am broken” or “I am deficient.” We can get right to talking about, “How does my ADHD affect me” and “How does it affect me as a man?”
What does that mean: “How does it affect me as a man?” We don’t know yet, but it’s one of the topics we’re exploring. We’re taking our cue from leaders in the ADHD community – Sari Solden (“Women with ADD”) and Linda Roggli (“Confessions of an ADDiva”). We know we all face different expectations tied to gender, age, sexual orientation and more.
Our group gives men a safe place to talk about the impact of ADHD on everything. And it impacts everything from time management to risky behavior to finding and keeping jobs and relationships. We alternate between planned topics and topics that come up during members’ check-in.
Like all ADDA support groups, we meet online. We get together while each of us stays in the comfort of our own homes. We chose ZOOM as our meeting platform. The visual interface lets us get to know each other better, to notice (and even learn about) body language, and to “attach names to faces.” Although if you prefer to remain incognito, ZOOM has a “voice only” option.
I love that we can have public or private sidebar chats. That’s a great place to share information (book titles, links, etc.) and expand on the conversation without interrupting the flow.
Our first meeting was productive and powerful. We left the “safe” topics (time management, distractibility, impulsivity, etc.) in the dust. We talked about shame, emotional sensitivity, and even body image (yes, that’s a “guy thing” too).
We explored our own definitions of ADHD. We shared what we were hoping to get out of the group. We talked about how what makes us look “OK” to others – things like: “you graduated college” or “you’ve got a stable home and family.” We also confirmed that they have no idea how hard we’ve had to work to make those things happen.
And, yes, we talked about computer Operating Systems. They’re a pretty good metaphor for neurodiversity. There are things you can do on a Mac that you can’t do on a PC. There are things you can do in MVS you can’t do in UNIX (huh? (trust me)). And everyone with a smart phone knows there are apps that run on Android but not on your iPhone.
We don’t consider these systems “normal” or “abnormal” – we accept they’re different.