One thing I universally hear from my ADHD brothers and sisters is how annoyingly frustrating it is sometimes to be “gotten” by one’s friends, peers or family. As much as they want to and as much as they try, they feel too disconnected from their linear, non-ADHD peers, save but a few. There’s a saying that true friends can be counted on the palm of one hand and there will always be fingers leftover. I think this saying can be applied to the above, as it is a unique, keen, special kind of person that can recognize how we go about the word in our own non-linear way, and then hop on life’s journey with us and “gets us”. They are all the richer for allowing us into their fold and we are also tremendous benefactors in having these individuals in our lives, allowing us to express our way of going about the world without fear of embarrassment, shame, or feeling constrained, and we can just be ourselves.
Yep. Just like any good thing, not everyone will “get us” at first. The ADD/ADHD Tribe is just like an unopened present: When we meet the right people and they quickly catch on that we are a cheeky bunch who doesn’t play by conventional rules, they latch unto us because they know they’ve found something special.
They know a good thing when they see one.
To quote my dear colleague Niall Greene from on one of his latest posts, You can sometimes feel like a square peg being forced into a round hole in society. Another analogy is feeling like a fish out of water; indeed I could go on and on with different metaphors to describe this, but I think you know what I mean.
So in a decidedly linear world with the people in it playing by conventional rules, it is very much a reprieve and a relief when we find these “gets me” people where we can completely let loose and be our 100% ADHD selves. They get all of our quirks, all of our unique traits and all of the eccentricities and the je-ne-sais-quois of our character. Where someone else might give them lackluster or rather dull advice, we step in and offer a totally different perspective, broadening their horizons. Accepting our eccentricities is what makes us love our linear brothers and sisters even more. To quote my colleague Niall’s aforementioned piece, he, in particular is hypersensitive to smells. As Niall describes, he’ll be in a room and immediately try to suss out what “that” particular smell is and forget whatever is freaking happening at the moment; the hypersensitivity to that smell will absolutely DOMINATE anything else that’s being discussed or going on.
So you’re maybe wondering what some of my eccentricities are in that regard? Sure, lol. I’ll divulge. My two big “things” are light and sound; allow me to elaborate. If I am, for example, talking on the phone with you and there’s some persistent background noise that just wont f*cking go away, it’ll ABSOLUTELY take over and all I’ll hear from the person talking to me is Charlie Brown’s teacher’s voice.
Lol. Yup. Just like that. I have a friend, in fact, who has the habit of calling me when he’s doing a million things at once or – the most dreaded of them all – eating while trying to talk to me. When this person tries to have a conversation with me doing the latter, ALL I am 100% FIXATED on is the sound of chewing, slurping, half-formed words as a result of talking with a mouthful of food and everything else gets drowned out completely. When I’ve FINALLY had enough, I’ll say “AM I TALKING TO YOU OR THE DAMN BOWL OF CEREAL YOU’RE SCARFING!?!?!?!? (Cereal was the culprit in that instance). My friend will say “no no! I can do both at once, to which I say, “I don’t speak Kellogg’s”. Call me later…..NO EATING”. Lol, a bit extreme? I dunno. But it’s definitely one of my “things”.
Now about my other “thing”, hypersensitivity to light. This one’s a little bit trickier, so let’s see how I can properly explain it. I’m someone who loves sort of low, ambient lighting. If I’m in a setting where there’s too much light coming from above, a ceiling light, what have you, it just plain out annoys me to no end. Lol, I know it has no real rhyme or reason to it, but it just does! How many times, whether at my house or at a friend’s place, or visiting family have I not gotten up to turn off some of the lights so as to create a gentler, “soothing” environment……..only to have someone get up later to turn the lights back on, which means me having to turn the damn lights off again, lol. It’s also not so much brightness – although it is a large component – it’s the angle, reflection, I dunno, lol. Like I said! Eccentricities!
Rounding off the two other “things” my beloved friends “get” about me is the fact that having lip balm with me, specifically, Burt’s Bees peppermint lip balm is like a dying man in a desert needing water. It’s inconceivable for me to NOT to have my lip balm with me at all times. Whenever we go shopping or run errands, people will preempt me – because they know me so well – and remind me, “Hey Mauro! Your Burt’s Bees! Don’t forget!”. My most beloved ones will even have bought me a pack sometimes in advance knowing how much it means to me. These people are DEFINITELY on my VIP list, lol.
The last is linked to my love of all things tech or gadget. Anyone that knows me always marvels at how good a condition my iPhone, iPad, Mac, or anything that’s technological which I own is. I’ve sold or given stuff and have had people literally comment that it’s just like it came fresh from the box. “Pristine” is a word I often hear. Segue into why all my tech stuff is always in such good condition: My last “thing” is me regularly cleaning my tech/electronics belongings with 90% proof rubbing alcohol and then wiping them clean, and with the utmost of care. My very dear friends in Washington, DC who know this always have a spare bottle of 90% proof rubbing alcohol ready and waiting for me when I go visit. That’s true friendship right there and them “getting” me, lol.
So in a world where some of us truly feel like the square peg trying to be forced into the round hole, it’s such a blessing and a relief to have those that unconditionally love us and accept us for who we are. This is why we recognize how lucky we are to have these people in our lives as they are more often than not our bestest friends in the world. We compliment each other perfectly because they appreciate our “Sui Generis” way of thinking/being and we, in turn, appreciate them for them doing just that……loving us, no strings attached.
Will there be people who don’t quite “get us”? Sure! But that’s their loss. Meanwhile, the “gets me” crowd will always have a very very fond place inside of us, and vice versa.