Tux, Tee

Formal or informal?

ADHD support is pretty important, if you have ADHD. Even if you don’t know you have ADHD, that support is important.

I’m talking about the kind of support I received as a child and youth, and even on into my teens and adult life, from my family. I didn’t know I had ADHD, they didn’t either, in fact, we had no idea what ADHD was, weren’t even aware that such a thing existed.

We weren’t living under a rock, we’d heard of Attention Deficit Disorder, we just never knew what it was or how it manifested.

Still, my family, without knowing what to use for a label to describe me, treated me with respect, found ways to help me focus, made mundane things interesting in clever ways. They weren’t treating ADHD so much as they were treating KS.

That’s right, KS, Kelly Syndrome

I was different. It was a given. We all got past that and figured out, as a family, how to make that work.

I compare that to the support available from medical professionals and coaches and the comparison does my family proud.

Formal, as opposed to informal

In my mind, formal ADHD support is the structure that is created around the disorder of ADHD. It needs no people with ADHD to be put in place, only the knowledge that such people exist and that they need help.

And as a result, the structure of formal support is a little impersonal at first.

So, not as good?

No, I’m not saying that. Some people thrive on structure that seems to be held in place at arms-length. I call that “gantry support.” It’s like the structure that supports a rocket before take-off.

That’s some pretty reassuring stuff right there. It looks a little flimsy, but as soon as you lean on it, you realize how supportive it is. And as to it being impersonal, once you get comfortable with it, it becomes your own.

So, better than other support?

This isn’t a competition, but in the interest of a fair assessment, there are some drawbacks. Formal support is there during coaching sessions and counselling sessions, but when you walk away from the “office,” if you didn’t get enough of the landmarks, you may not be able to find the support structure that you clearly saw during your session.

It isn’t gone, it’s still quite real, but you may need a few sessions in order to see and feel and use that support. Think of yourself as a rocket looking for that gantry in the fog.

But that will change …

Yes, eventually you will be able to lean on those supports without even thinking about them. Well, most times anyway. Stress can make lost children out of all of us.

The good thing is that, the more we lean on supports that are there, the more comfortable they become, the more adept we become at using them to our advantage, and the less likely we are to fire off an ADHD rocket in the wrong direction.

On Monday …

… I’ll look at informal supports, perhaps you’ll see things you recognize there from your own life.