Shame is something that many of us have felt at one point or another. It’s an emotion, and as humans, we’re pretty much all programmed to have emotions and feel them. It all starts from the moment we’re born and pretty much goes on until we die.
As individuals with ADHD/ADD, we feel shame too. We know all too well what it is. Since our brain is wired differently, we struggle with so much, such as being late for work or picking up the kids or to an appointment, losing/misplacing keys/phones/wallets, handing in assignments late, struggling to complete a task or project, and the list just goes on.
None of us want to struggle with these things. We don’t purposely arrive late to work or an appointment.
However, all of these scenarios can lead to feeling shame and like a failure so much more. It can become a belief that we are a failure.
Last week, I had an incident where a lot of these feelings of shame came up. I won’t go into detail or say what happened, as it’s a little personal and I don’t feel as though it’s really important to discuss. I will simply say that I was with others when it happened.
When this happened, certain things were said, were simply suggestions and not meant to be hurtful in any way. And deep down I knew that. I was aware of it, due to the tone and such.
However, my ADHD brain didn’t quite interpreted that way. Because of how I’ve struggled throughout my life, my brain automatically went to “Oh my god! You struggled and failed again. Shame here we come!” The situation and comments (although not meant to be hurtful) were a lot for me to handle.
This is just one example that I can give where I felt this way. And I know that many others with ADHD/ADD go through the same thing. I know I’m not the only ADHDer/ADDer who goes feeling shame and often feeling like a failure. It’s just so sad that it can become a belief of ours, when it doesn’t have to be.
Although I know all too well how ADHD affects my brain, my emotions, and my life, this was a little surprising in a way. Mainly because over the last few months or more, I’ve been working out being aware of my emotions, trying to be a little more prepared for things, and just taking things one step at a time. All these things have helped me manage situations a little better. Making baby steps. And it’s helped me feel better about myself.
So, despite the progress that I feel as though I’ve made with myself, if nothing else, this kind of just showed me that the belief of failure and shame was still within me. It made me realize that I do still have work to do on myself and things to address. And that’s okay. I’ve always been a hard worker and I want to work and improve myself for both my family and I. I am worth it and I want to give them the best of me.
I feel that every ADHDer/ADDer has the ability to overcome their struggles, their beliefs, their sense of failures, etc. Yes, our brain is different and can make simple and easy tasks a little more challenging. However, they are not impossible. We just need a way to figure out different ways to do things, approach things, and it will mean doing things a little differently. It also may mean that we may need a little help to find ways that work for us and to overcome our struggles and beliefs.
And there’s nothing wrong with needing a little bit of help at the end of the day. As much as we don’t always want to admit that we need help, we do sometimes need to ask. As much as we may have a difficult time saying no and wanting to help others as much as we can, we do need to admit when we need to step back and accept and admit that we need some help and support.
I will end this post on that note, and I will discuss strategies on how to overcome shame in my next post, as I don’t want to turn this post into a 10 page essay.
(Picture made with the help of Canva)