When you have ADHD and you don’t know it, you’re in a pack of one.
It is not optimal.
The world requires you to interact with your community for safety and support, but you are alone in your community in many social ways. And that can isolate you in negative ways.
Then the magic happens.
Well, it happens for some of us. We figure it out. Or someone figures it out for us.
We get diagnosed. We start to learn.
And we talk
We talk about it, having ADHD.
We explain it. We tell people about it.
We can’t help ourselves. This is exciting news.
We’re no longer one unique and unusable individual in the entire universe.
We are part of a segment of the population that is known and to some extent understood.
We are people … with ADHD.
And then we meet others. This often happens online. And the others introduce us to still more of our people.
And now we’re in the in crowd.
We still have to socialize with our immediate community, but we have a herd of like minded individuals that we can access.
And we do access these groups. We talk within these groups of what our lives are like. We make jokes that people without ADHD don’t get, or if they do they don’t find them funny.
And we rally. And we thrive.
And we grow!
Soon enough we are feeling confident. And that is the wonderfully good thing about these support groups.
And make no mistake, that is what these are. Wonderful, welcoming, spontaneous support groups of people like ourselves.
Well, most of them are like us. Some of them are different.
Some of them?
All right, all of them are different. There are no two of us the same and our ADHD is not the same as anyone else’s ADHD.
But, and this is too important to ignore, we all can empathize with each other, we can all feel what it is like to be each other.
We can all feel our way back to the time when we were undiagnosed, outcast, ostracized, shunned.
When an online group gets too big, a second pack develops.
And the membership is defined by self identifying as the more important people who need to tell others whether they are right or wrong.
There’s a kind of Orwellian aspect to it, not unlike the pigs in “Animal Farm.”
But how do you know?
How do you know when a pack has grown too big?
It is difficult for us to trust our senses. After all, we struggled for so long thinking we just needed to try harder to be “normal,” right?
But the truth is, when you start feeling like you’re an undiagnosed person with ADHD out in the real world, but you’re among your own pack, the pack has gotten too big.
What do you do about it?
That’s up to you.
But my advice is to start looking around for a smaller pack to run with.
You can transition slowly or just pack up and go once you find them.
But you owe it to yourself to spend as little time as possible feeling like you’re being judged.