Thursday, October 13, 2011

Friends Are Important

This week's guest blog is by Ari Tuckman, PsyD, MBA.

I always look forward to the CHADD conference. As a psychologist and presenter, there's no better place to learn about ADHD from the biggest names in the business. But honestly, my biggest reason to look forward to it is that I have so much fun with my friends there (my wife calls them my "CHADD buddies"). Unfortunately, since most of these friends aren't local, I only see them at the conference. Sure, phone and email are good but they're not as good as the real thing of being together in person.

So it's fitting that this year I'll be presenting Everyone Needs Friends: Even (Especially) Adults with ADHD. It's hard to find the time to stay in touch with friends, whether they're local or far away. I know this very well from personal experience, as I juggle work obligations, giving time to my family, and staying in contact with friends. Far too often, work and family get most of my time and my friends get a quick email. I know I need to keep a better balance, but it's a real challenge. It also seems like I have more and more clients talking about similar struggles. Like me, some don't feel like they have enough time for friends. Others have the time but don't know how to make those friendships happen. In both cases, we feel like we're missing out. And we are.

So that's why I wanted to present on this important but often overlooked topic this year. It's a universal struggle, but folks with ADHD often have some additional challenges because of the way that typical ADHD behaviors tend to be interpreted. This then influences how others see the person with ADHD which feeds into how that person sees himself. Self-esteem and self-image interact with relationship dynamics. My goal for this presentation is to help attendees better understand themselves and others, so that they can create friendships where everybody feels better.

Hopefully I'll see you at my presentation on Saturday morning at 10:30. But you can look for me and my friends each night at the hotel bar. We'll be the ones laughing and making a bunch of noise.

Ari Tuckman, PsyD, MBA, is a psychologist in private practice who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of children, teens, and adults with ADHD, anxiety, and depression. He is the author of More Attention, Less Deficit: Success Strategies for Adults with ADHD (Specialty Press, 2009).

1 comment:

Laura said...

Each time I attend the CHADD conference I feel recharged, reconnected, renewed. The information is fantastic, but the recharge comes from my CHADD buddies. There's just something about hanging out with the members of your own tribe. Despite being separated by many months and miles, we pick right up where we left off. We get each others' humor, enjoy (or at least roll with) each others' quirks, and appreciate each others' struggles and progress. Best of all, we happily geek out together on the finer points of our evolving understanding of ADHD, how we treat it and how we deal with our own symptoms.

I'm not completely 'out' to my professional community, but at CHADD, I'm surrounded by fellow competent, dedicated, dynamic ADHD-ers. Some of them are even psychologists, just like me.

This year, I can't attend - and am missing my friends already. See you next year in San Francisco!