So my little sister is a third-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. She was the Canadian Junior Champion in 2009(?) and went on to fight at the World Juniors in Turkey. At her peak, she could lift her leg up and past her head while standing up- that’s to say that if she was standing in front of you, she could axe kick you in the face and crush your nose. She’s a really terrifying person disguised as a feminine, laid-back, city slicker hipster. She’s definitely the cool one in the family.
She currently lives in Ottawa (our country’s capital), and came home this week under some sad circumstances. I was glad to be able to see her though, even if she is the only person who can make me want to hug and strangle her within the same five minutes. People with siblings should understand this.
She came home on Wednesday night, and we had some snuggly sleepovers. She gazed lovingly at the cat, who brings his stuffed fish to the foot of the bed every night. She sent Snapchats of Finn to her friends- obviously proud of her fur nephews. She hates the ferret, so poor Otter was shunned and spent the weekend in is cage. Luckily he’s pretty resilient and made up for it by overturning all the garbage cans in the house upon his release.
This visit made me painfully aware of the effects of ADHD on relationships, and this is what I want to focus on for the remainder of this post. My sister was visiting and I might not see her for several months, but all I wanted to do on Saturday was (in her words) “cut paper”. In my mind, I had planned to spend the weekend getting my Etsy shop set up (see The Entrepreneurial ADHD Brain), and hadn’t mentally accounted for the limited amount of time that I would have my sister around for. This is ADHD hyperfocus, and this is how it can damage relationships. If she hadn’t taken me aside to say “CHRISTINE, I AM ONLY HERE FOR ONE MORE DAY, PUT THE PAPER STUFF AWAY”, she would have left feeling unimportant, and I would have been kicking myself for not prioritizing the time I had with her. Communication is key, and now that she’s gone and I’ve had some time to reflect on the weekend, I realize how blessed I am to have such an honest and kindhearted person to call my sister. I didn’t want to do anything because I felt overwhelmed at the change in schedule, but we talked and compromised on a massage and nice dinner. I hate spending money on myself, but she pushed me to realize that life isn’t just about getting the bills paid. It’s important to have some fun along the way.
For those affected by similar actions of an ADHD loved one: it’s not you. We really do love you, but the struggle to time manage and prioritize is real. Please be patient with us, and when needed, give us a (figurative) kick to the head. Sometimes it might be a challenge, but know that we (at least, I) appreciate it. Be self aware and understand the source of your feelings, speak up for your needs, hold each other accountable, and practice patience (<- lol). After all, “ain’t about how fast I get there, ain’t about what’s on the other side. It’s the climb.” – Miley Cyrus