To Tell of Not to Tell, That is the Question!

I often get the question of whether or not you should share if you have attention difficulties. I will cut the chase, the answer is preferably not to the general public. 

Different people have different belief systems when it comes to attention deficit issues. Some believe they exist and others don’t. Some think ADHD diagnoses are overdone whereas others think not everyone is being diagnosed. 

Clients often ask me if they should tell their supervisor or employer they have ADHD or some attention deficit issues. Unless it is a unique situation it is best not to. Aside from the risk of them not believing in attention deficit disorders, the knowledge about you can backfire in various ways.

The story I most often think about in regards to this is an old client of mine who had a great relationship with her supervisor. My client was struggling to get her work done and her supervisor kept asking how she could help her. Finally my client explained about the ADHD and they set up some systems to help my client get things done in an easier manner. Things went great. My client was able to finally thrive at her job.

Unfortunately, my client’s supervisor left and as she was leaving, she mentioned to the new supervisor about my client’s ADHD. I believe the old supervisor was trying to be supportive and helpful to both my client and the supervisor’s replacement. Unfortunately, the new supervisor did not believe in ADHD. Said it was an excuse and stopped doing the supportive systems my client’s previous supervisor did. 

Ultimately, my client left that employment because the new supervisor saw her as a person who was trying to get out of things, wanting extra support and basically a person filled with excuses.

It is stories like these that make me inclined not to share mental health issues because there are still stigmas attached. Because of my profession I am able to be very public about my ADHD because it attracts clients but if I were in another industry I would be much more circumspect.

I don’t like telling people to be silent to their “public” about ADHD but until the minds and hearts of all employers understand about ADHD we unfortunately need to be carefully whom we tell and whom we not tell.