Real Advice from The Disorganized Mind by Nancy A. Ratey

Check out Nancy’s real advice from Chapter 12: Strategies for Maintaining Spiritual & Mental Wellness.

Living or Working with Someone with ADHD

“I wish you could talk to my family,” I’ve heard from many clients.

I have talked to families, many of them.  And I’ve listened, as well, to the spouses and children of my clients, to their partners or significant others, to those who are directly affected by the ADHD with which my clients cope.  All of them have a stake in learning how to compensate for the symptoms that threaten to tear relationships apart, and what I hear over and again is that they are willing to try almost anything to help their loved ones, if only they knew where to begin.

“I wish you could talk to my assistant or boss or co-workers,” I’ve heard from clients, too.

The dynamics at work are different from those of the family, to be sure, but the investment each partner makes in a professional relationship is serious and important in its own right.

So I have talked to assistants and co-workers, to many people whose professional lives are closely entwined with those of my clients.  I’ve also had the privilege of coaching them as part of the transition period when my clients leave our formal coaching relationship to put into practice all they’ve learned.  At my clients’ requests, I’ve taught these assistants about adjusting for their bosses’ idiosyncrasies and ways of thinking, and listened to survival stories from the trenches of their jobs.  By tailoring strategies for accountability, structure, questioning, and listening to their unique situations, they’ve turned their working lives around.

Granted, I have experience and training and expertise in coaching individuals with ADHD, and I live each day as a woman with ADHD, so there’s much I know and share about the subject.  But what I’ve learned from all those to whom I’ve spoken – spouses, partners, children, assistants — also deserves to be shared, for they are the true experts, one might say, in surviving the nitty-gritty details there, where each story plays out.  People and careers that they love are on the line, and in the necessity of the moment, they are doing what they must.

“It’s been such a struggle to get this right, and we really have to make a commitment every single day,” one client’s wife told me.  “I’d love to be able to help even one person by talking about what I’m learning.”

“You have no idea how important this is,” a client’s assistant told me about my intention to include in this book real advice from real people affected by ADHD symptoms.

The families and colleagues of my clients have demonstrated insight, creativity, humor, and resilient good will in helping their loved ones and/or co-workers cope.  They hope, along with me, that their comments and suggestions will help you, too.

© 2008 Nancy Ratey

Jodi Sleeper-Triplett
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Author: Empowering Youth with ADHD