Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Adult ADHD and Church

Adult ADHD isn't like child ADHD. I'm not running around like a brat and throwing fits. I'm not jumping out of my chair. I'm not shouting at people.

But I am distracted.

I'm a member of the worship team at my church. As such, I am considered a "leader" there. I don't really view myself as a leader, but so it goes... Today I just learned that several people have complained to the worship team director about me, asking for him to "have a talk" about it. They complained not because of anything I did while playing on the team, but because of the way I appear when not no the team.

It was noted that I don't appear engaged. I look around and appear "bored." And indeed, I am certain that I really do appear this way. I am bored. After a while of service, I'm not engaged. I'm distracted... My mind is 1,000 miles away. You see, I choose not to take ADHD medication on the weekends. I don't think it's necessary, and I don't want to be on it every single day. As a result, I'm back to my old ways. I might as well be in my high school algebra class.

I guess this is displayed physically when I am at church.

Now, I have no idea why these people, Christians, didn't approach me in a Christian way, letting me know that I was distracting. This is how the Bible tells us to handle a conflict with a brother. I don't know why a gossip approach was chosen. I don't know why they complained about me and not to me. I certainly wish they would have let me know personally. I would have told these people why I appear to be so bored. Maybe they would have understood, maybe not. At least such an approach would have allowed me to explain the situation. And maybe I wouldn't have to be upset. I could just say, "Okay, I don't want to distract people. I'll sit in the back from now on."

But this didn't happen.

And so now I sit frustrated and upset and hurt. I wonder why people in my church family would act in such a way. I wonder if I can even go back to this church. As of now I feel like an outsider. I'm not welcome because of the way I appear.

Man, that hurts. Bad.

reposted from last year


Jennifer said...

I hate that for you :( I'm easily distracted, PLUS I'm deaf. I have to concentrate really hard to hear the lesson or sermons, and I just can't hold concentration for that long. Most Sundays I have no idea what the lesson is's so frustrating! I am hoping that when I have my second CI surgery I will be able to hear well enough at some point to just be able to listen and pick up some of the words, rather than having to concentrate so hard. I can relate ((HUGS))

David said...

good post, Matt

Oracle said...

I hate that too....

I try to be as honest as possible with people often too damn honest an I often think people are just scared !

After your comment and going to read your blog I went to see my GP and I was refered THANK YOU ;) finally light at the end of the tunnel

Pearl said...

I suppose people were trying to avoid awkwardness, ironically enough, avoid blurting something tactless so went to the person who's a professional speaker?

Just guessing tho.

I'd hate to bring something up if 20 people ahead of me already had. The minister might know if it's already been mentioned.

Why were the people able to be distracted? I dunno.

But I hear how bad a place it is to be told.

carli said...

I spent endless Saturdays at synagogue growing up watching my mother and her friends gossip about everything and everyone. It didn't exactly endear me to the tenets of Judaism, and it didn't make any sense. I guess it's just human nature, but that's not an excuse. Your peers need to practice what they preach. I'd have a chat with them.

Karoli said...

This is really a shame. First, the minister should have told anyone who approached him to approach you directly -- that would have been the biblical approach to the issue.

Second, I also have ADHD and I always draw on the outline during the sermon to make sure I hear everything that's being said. Putting my focus on the pencil and paper allows my ears to focus on the message. I suppose to some that may appear to be boredom -- to me, it's engagement.

But more fundamentally, I hope you can overcome this and forgive the folks who said something behind your back. It's likely that they were well-meaning in their intent (wanting not to hurt your feelings), and I would hope they weren't trying to drive you away. Try praying to forgive them.

I would also suggest that you talk to the minister again. This time tell him that you are disappointed and hurt that he did not take the biblical approach when complaints were spoken and chose to speak on their behalf. Don't do it with accusation, just express your conviction that allowing people to behave in that fashion fosters gossip, and you believe that as a leader, it's up to him to stop it and enforce the biblical principles of conflict management.

Appearances aren't everything. I'm so sorry that you're hurt. I know that God appreciates your effort to use your gifts to glorify Him...don't let this stop you from that.

Hugs to you!

HeiressChild said...

gee, i was wondering why people were being busy watching you instead of listening to the preacher and focusing on what was being said.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear about the hurt you've experienced.

I think everyone here makes good points.

I believe I'm with Pearl and Karoli as far as suggestions. These folks probably didn't handle this the best way but I'll wager they weren't trying to hurt you.

My prayer for you is that the Lord will give you a peace about the situation and a spirit of forgiveness. Maybe the way you handle this situation will be an example of Godly living to the others in the group!

God bless you!