Yesterday, I went to my first ADHD support group at the learning develolpment services center . Before I arrived, I was already nervous about going inside. New environments, as exciting as they can be, at times can cause me a great deal of stress and anxiety. Not only that, but I was late, as usual. The stress that comes along with walking into new environments with strangers and being worried about interrupting them is in my top three stressors, yet it’s a stress I face everyday.
As I sat in my car debating whether to go in and fighting the impulse to leave, I had three thoughts.
Thought One – “You’re late again, you’re punishment will be to go into a room of strangers and have them all glare at you to show you how angry they are that you interrupted their attention, maybe that will teach you a lesson so you are never late again.”
Thought Two – “You do not need to punish yourself Tracy, you did the best you could to get here on time, just go home and work, you can come back next week and try to be on time again, ADHD really sucks sometimes, squirrel.”
Thought Three – Maybe they’ll understand and have a good sense of humor about it, I mean this is a support group for people with ADHD after all.”
I couldn’t have been more delighted by the response. I walked in and was immediately greeted by one of the presenting doctors, Mark Katz, Ph.D. I asked him if I was in the right place for the ADHD support group and then apologized for being late. He said, “If there was ever a time to be late, it would be to an ADHD meeting, you’re homebase here.”
I felt an immediate sense of relief and a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.
The meeting was extremely informative. I heard terms I’ve never heard before but explained so much about me. Understanding brings me relief.
It was funny to me to be sitting in a room full of adults who wiggled their feet and shifted in their chairs like I do. I didn’t have to feel restrained and confined. I felt safe and free to wiggle as much as I felt I needed to. Another stress relief. I remember once sitting next to a lady at a seminar who I had to apologize to once I became aware of how much I was squirming around. I was annoyed with myself, I can only imagine how annoyed she must have been with me.
When I left, Dr. Katz stopped me on the way out to tell me a funny story. He said he had this woman call him at 6:00 p.m. saying she would be there at 6:30pm but never showed up. She called him at 8:30pm apologizing for not showing up and said she started cleaning out her refrigerator. We both let out a big roar of laughter knowing that it’s quite possible we would have done the same thing.
Interesting how a choice of perspective can change everything.