ADHD, shame, and strategies to overcome it

In my last post, I discussed how ADHDers’ experience with shame, and I felt shame recently, even though there wasn’t any real reason for me to feel this way. This lead me to wanting to know more about ADHD-related shame and find ways to overcome it, when I do experience, which leads me to this post.

First of all, what is shame? It’s when you feel like you’re flawed or inadequate. You have feelings of embarrassment and humiliation. You don’t feel like you belong or aren’t good enough, because of things you’ve done or not done, past experiences, and such.

People with ADHD struggle on a daily basis with getting things done, being on time, often forgetting things, quit school, get fired, and the list goes on. It can be so easy to feel broken, inadequate, and just not good enough. It’s something that many ADHDers/ADDers deal with.

I remember being 10-11, coming home crying, because I didn’t get a good grade on a test that I studied so hard for. My efforts and hard work weren’t showing. I remembered asking “What’s wrong with me?” It didn’t feel like my efforts were good enough. This before I found out I had ADHD. I realize now that this feeling is still kind of with me. What happened last week made me realize that. And I’m not the only one with ADHD who feels this sense of brokenness. Sense of you’re not good enough.

Good news is: We aren’t broken. We are good enough. We are all capable of accomplishing SO MUCH. Our brains are simply wired differently, and function differently than those with neurotypical brains.

Luckily, there are ways for us to manage our feelings of shame. While reading on the topic, I have managed to find some good strategies to help me and anyone with ADHD/ADD (possibly even those who don’t) manage this feeling of brokenness and inadequacy.

Strategy #1: Realize that you’re feeling shame. It’s not a feeling that we enjoy dealing with, but if we want to get past it, we need to realize that we’re feeling it and understand what triggered this feeling.

Strategy #2: Talk to someone about it. Talk to someone, who will listen, be empathetic, and knows a little bit about you and your ADHD. It could be spouse, parent, sibling, friend, therapist, … Whoever it is, it should be someone you can trust and who is there for you. Keeping it to yourself won’t always make it better. It can feel good to get things off our chest sometimes.

Strategy #3: Don’t think of ADHD as a flaw or a sign of not being good enough or being a failure. It’s not a personal flaw. ADHD is a real condition that is backed up by science. I like to say that my brain is wired differently. My brain works differently. Not better, not worse. Just different. And it can be a good thing. There are times when we’ll view, see or think of things that neurotypical people may not.

Strategy #4: Find the positive in you. Embrace the positive in your ADHD brain. Sure, there are some downsides to ADHD and it can be so easy to focus on that. But there are also a good and positive side to having ADHD. We can be creative. We are persistent and don’t tend to give up easily. We have an easy time thinking outside the box. Focus on the positive, when you feel that shame is starting to creep up.

These are just some strategies that I have found and help overcome come shame with ADHDers/ADDers. These are strategies that I helped me when shame came over me, and did help. I talked about it. I wrote down how I was feeling, about that moment of 10/11-year-old me that felt broken and not good enough, and how I feel that it’s still kind of with me, subconsciously. I focused on the positive side of having an ADHD brain.

At the end of the day, having ADHD isn’t always going to make things easy. It can be a challenge. However, there are things that can help us make things a little easier. Sometimes, it’s all about you look at it and how you think of it. Making baby steps to make our lives a little easier each day and taking it one day at a time.

Picture credit: Pixabay

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1 Comment

  • You pointed out some really great tips. Keep writing and educating. 🙂

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