Open letter to my Non-ADHD partner

1. Please don’t criticize or judge me. I know it can be hard to know how to love someone with ADHD, but I’m doing the best I can — I try really hard to make you happy, and to make things run smoothly.

2. Please know that when I’m acting strong and mighty, I’m probably full of doubt and or fear.

3. Please know that lectures don’t work, it is the opposite. I will only avoid you and shut down.

4. Please stay grounded when I act impulsively. I can’t always control myself, much less my ruminating thoughts.

5. I need space to thrive. Please give me room to grow, like a patch of flowers in the garden. I will bloom but it might take a while.

6. Please don’t label me or roll your eyes. Just give me a hug and tell me I can do it.

7. Don’t forget to remember all the things you love about me — especially when they aren’t obvious.

8. Know that my procrastination is a survival strategy. I can’t prepare, plan, or make lists in advance without feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Last-minute preparation brings clarity and focus.

9. My compassion for you comes from my ADHD brain wiring. My heart feels your every breath, heartbeat, need, and desire. And I have ADHD to thank, in part, for that.

10. I can read minds, so be careful what you think. Your silent thoughts come through loud and clear.

11. I cannot return from distraction the way you do. Phone call. Go back to work. Email. Go back to work. Coffee break. Resume again. I wish I could, but my response time is slower than yours. Just like a physical reflex, this is my brain’s reflex.

12. I will always fill your life with surprises and excitement (the good kind).

13. If I seem uninterested, distracted, or rude, it’s probably because my mind is hyper focused on something else. If I’m deeply involved in a project, I cannot think or speak of anything else. I’m in so deep that I can’t even think about saying, I’m busy now, can I call you later? Please know that I don’t intend to be apathetic or standoffish.

14. For all my volume and commentary, I need you to allow me to finish my sentences, even when there are times, I can’t communicate exactly how I feel. There’s so much action going on, it takes me awhile to sift and organize through my thoughts.

15. I am tough and resilient, but that doesn’t mean I don’t need your love and your support. I’m strong when stretched to my limits. But even rubber bands break when the pressure is too great and too frequent.

16. I have heightened senses. I feel an exaggerated version of every scratchy fabric, sensitive to touch, sound and smells. Sometimes a hug feels great; other times it feels like I’m suffocating.

17. I am sometimes too sarcastic. That is my way of lightening up the darkness in my mind. Please forgive me, I think it is funny and want to share. I never mean it to be cruel or critical.

18. I’m trying really hard. What is easy for you is a major effort for me. The simplest tasks that you breeze through cause my mind to swirl like a tornado. This is also why I am exhausted at times but can’t sleep or rest.

19. Sometimes when you think I’m talking to you; I am verbally processing what’s going on in my mind so that I can work through a problem. You don’t have to feel that you need to solve all my problems, just listen.

20. My “I want” drive is too strong. It steers my choices and messes with my priorities. When I’m struck by a thought, vision, idea, or word, I must get it out and let it flow and grow.

21. I know you love me. And I love me, too. I like the way I am. I don’t know any different.

22. I try to get the most out of every minute. That’s why I’m always trying to fit in just one more thing.

23. Wake up, Bolt out the door for a run. Shower. Make breakfast. Walk the dog. Get to work on time. Achieving that sequence without forgetting a thing? It’s not going to happen for me.

24. When I look calm, chances are my insides are racing. There is almost always a fast-moving energy flowing through my veins; a burning fire that I can’t put out.

25. Please don’t pressure me by dictating a list of important chores or priorities around the house. Machine-gun lists don’t enter my brain. Even when you speak to me kindly, I only hear the first two items on the list. If it’s before 9 am, I don’t even hear that.

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