On Today’s episode, we will talk about coming out ADHD. The when, if and how to disclose. I’m going to share with you my personal experiences of disclosure. This is the first episode I’m recording since I’ve launched the podcast. So, I want to let you know how that’s been going, and how I’ve been doing. And I’m going to share a very important milestone. We’re going to hear from you, the listeners.
I received an email from Ryan, from Wilmington Delaware, a college student studying social work. He writes:
“I have trouble with dates and am working on trying to figure out a system to get things submitted on time. Should I tell my supervisor that I have ADHD? I don’t want to make excuses but sometimes my work can be overwhelming.”
Ryan, Thank you for this email. I can totally appreciate the feeling of overwhelm. It sucks. I go through it a lot. It seems like it comes and goes in phases, but it does get better as you increase your executive functioning / life management skills.
Ryan… in regards to disclosing your ADHD, like with a lot of “what should I do” type questions, the answer is… it depends. I do think that in our field, there is generally more acceptance and compassion for individuals with invisible disabilities… at least in comparison to the corporate world.
Before you disclose I would ask yourself, the following questions:
- What am I hoping to achieve by disclosing?
- Is there any other way to achieve this other then disclosing?
- Am I currently at risk at being fired?
- Do I know what accommodations I need to meet the demands and expectations of the job?
- Can I get these accommodations without disclosing?
- What is your relationship with your supervisor like?
All of that being said, being out of the closet with ADHD is great!!! It is a lot less stressful, but I think there is a time and place for that to happen. I know alot of people struggle with this issue, and don’t want to use ADHD as an excuse. I get that, but here is the difference between an excuse and an explanation:
An excuse is, “I can’t be on time, I have ADHD” An explanation is, “I’m sorry, I struggle with being on time, which is common with ADHD. Here are the things I am doing to work on it…” It can also help to preface, “I’m saying this as an excuse…In all my past jobs (social work related) I have eventually told my employer that I have ADHD. Two jobs ago, I came out because I was sooooo behind on paperwork. In my last job ago, I came out ahead of having problems asking for an accommodation because we had cubical to do planning, paperwork and phone calls. I could not work in that environment. I felt comfortable with my supervisor. I asked her if I could use the conference room whenever it’s not being used, so I could get work done. I told her I work well in quite enviornments. It was not a problem.
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