First, I would like to mention that this is not about making excuses for maintaining a relationship. These are some very real challenges that many face that do not have neuro-typical brains. Additionally, I am not a doctor or physician. I am just a person that has real world, first-hand experience with ADHD and relationships.
According to AdditudeMag, those with ADD/ADHD have a predisposition to encounter issues with maintaining relationships. Those with ADHD can be so focused on work or details of life that the neurodiverse brain loses focus on relationships. Why? The parts of life that have more of a tendency to run on auto-pilot can be dismissed or put on the back burner. This can cause issues between significant others as the individual with ADHD is running wide open on tasks and things that need to be taken care of or what holds their attention, but the significant other can feel distant and forgotten. I have seen this happen first-hand in my own marriage. I don’t intentionally decrease the feelings or needs of my spouse. Here, I’m talking about relational needs, simple things like holding hands, just taking time to continually invest in the relationship. Thankfully, after 18 years of marriage, we have learned to communicate when we are feeling alone. We have both had to learn to not become hurt by relational distance, but to talk about it. I still mess it up because I have the same brain that I was born with, but I do try to be diligent. I might send my wife a card once a month where I tell her all that she means to me and how I am thankful for her. We often schedule some time after the kids go to bed so we can just talk and hold hands. I have to be intentional about my relationship with my wife. When life is really busy or overwhelming, that is usually when my attention "drifts away." Keep in mind that this is with someone I see on a daily basis. Now, consider the difficulties that could occur in a long-distance relationship or with someone that you don’t see as often. It’s not that I don’t think of them or that those friends or family are not important. It’s just that they are not at the forefront of what holds my attention. And yes, this includes my relationship with Jesus.
Over the years, I have felt like a horrible person because I didn’t seem to have the same amount of dedication or studying scripture or praying. I was told by quite a few people that they would just sit down and study the Word for hours at a time. I felt so defeated and worthless. Along with my inattentive brain, I also struggle to read due to learning disabilities. I might be able to study for about 20-30 minutes, but mentally, I am not able to focus much longer than that. I made the mistake of comparing my neurodiverse brain with a neurotypical brain. No wonder I have felt like such a failure. Praise God, that He doesn’t judge me like that. He created me, knit me together in my mother’s womb, KNOWING that I would have different abilities and tendencies. My heavenly Father loves me just the same.
So, how do I combat the tendencies so that I spend time with God often? I do my best to make it a point to have a daily activity where I have time dedicated to that relationship. I have pop-up reminders about sending the Verse of the Day emails. I have to fight the tendency to feel like a failure. My friends, that is a battle I wouldn’t wish on anyone, because no one can see that constant struggle. But I am reminded that God’s grace is more far-reaching than my ability to mess something up. Thankfully, God’s Word is ALWAYS timely and relevant even in today’s world.
I hope this helps some of you in your relationships with God’s creation and with your relationship with Him. I’m not asking for a pat on the back or anything like that. Just know that we all need encouragement from time to time. Many of you have reached out to me to make sure I am okay and for that I am grateful.
That being said, there are some amazing changes on the horizon. If you will join me in praying that God would grant me the wisdom to navigate through the changes and the diligence to keep Him first.
I love each and every one of you.
In God’s grace,