Does Living With ADHD Make You Feel Like You’re a Failure?
Do you have trouble focusing and sustaining attention? Does it feel impossible to organize your life and stay committed to one task at a time? Has your inability to finish what you started and achieve your goals caused you to suffer from low self-esteem?
Although many people think of ADHD (Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) as a mild inconvenience, the condition can negatively impact every area of your life. If you struggle to meet deadlines and manage your time effectively, your performance at work or in school may suffer. Perhaps you have no idea how to break bigger tasks down into smaller steps—you’re so overwhelmed by everything you have to do that you procrastinate or avoid responsibilities. As a result, you may struggle with a damaged reputation and feel like you’re a failure.
ADHD can even affect your social life. Maybe you overcommit yourself socially and have trouble saying no to plans. You may feel overly reactive and impulsive when you’re around others, causing outbursts of anger or sadness that lead to fractured relationships.
In the end, the hardest part of living with ADHD is how it can cause you to view yourself as irresponsible or unreliable and damage your sense of self-worth. As an ADHD therapist, my goal is to help you embrace who you are and how your brain works and understand that ADHD is not the enemy. In some cases, it can even work to your benefit.
In A Fast-Paced World Of Constant Distractions, Living With ADHD Is Harder Than Ever
5.4 percent of men and 3.2 percent of women in the United States are diagnosed with ADHD. Although ADHD is not caused by cultural and environmental factors, the rapid, nonstop pace of our society today has made living with ADHD harder than ever before. The world runs 24/7 now. Smartphones, social media, and the infinite distractions that technology has created make it hard to focus, exert self-control, and balance screen time with other activities.
Unfortunately, many people see ADHD as a challenge to overcome. The truth is just the opposite. Although those with ADHD have trouble with executive functioning skills (which include the ability to sustain attention, regulate emotions and behavior, and organize and plan effectively), ADHD is not a weakness—sometimes, it can even work in your favor. Since ADHD makes your brain operate differently, it is easy to be creative and think outside the box. Studies have repeatedly shown that people with ADHD are generally better at divergent thinking than others (e.g., finding new uses for ordinary objects or new ways to perform everyday tasks).
In this way, dealing with ADHD is not about “fixing” a problem. It’s about learning to leverage your strengths while managing the pitfalls that can hold you back in life. Through counseling, I am confident that you will come to see ADHD in a new light and harness your creative power to achieve your hopes and dreams.
Treatment Can Help You Recognize The Gifts And Challenges Of Living With ADHD
One of the hardest parts of living with ADHD is the label—no one wants to be known for their diagnosis. Thankfully, labels are my last priority. I want to help you learn to regulate your emotions, enhance your executive functioning, and be more present and mindful of yourself.
In treatment with you, I will help you explore your ADHD symptoms and how they currently affect your life. I will look for ways to help you improve your executive functioning so that you can organize and concentrate more easily. You will learn strategies for planning and prioritizing, decreasing forgetfulness, managing your time better, and finishing what you started.
Since low self-esteem often goes hand in hand with ADHD, I will also teach you to pay close attention to your self-talk—to question whether or not the messages you tell yourself are accurate. I want you to look at the connection between what you think and believe about yourself, how you feel, and the way you live your life. By changing your self-talk, you can improve your self-confidence and develop a healthier, more balanced perspective of yourself.
Additionally, I want to help you learn new strategies to develop your attention, control your impulses, manage your emotions, and tolerate distress. I will use behavioral interventions to help you establish new habits and routines, use reminders and cues to help you stay on task, and modify your surroundings so that they help you focus.
One of the key strategies I use in ADHD treatment is a mindfulness-based approach. The goal of mindfulness (often referred to as mindful awareness) is to help you become better at paying attention to and being accepting of your experiences in the present moment—to be nonjudgmentally aware of your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. You will learn to be more aware of what your mind is paying attention to rather than allowing it to aimlessly wander whenever and wherever it wants.
Mindfulness skills can be practiced in ways similar to meditation, but they can also be practiced and used in the course of your daily activities. For instance, when you’re performing a task like driving or cooking, you will learn to be so mentally tuned in to what you’re doing that you feel calmer and your mind focuses more effectively. Mindfulness can also help with anxiety, which often co-occurs with ADHD.
No matter how discouraged you feel, it is possible to live a full, joyful life with ADHD. Therapy is a chance to figure out how to do that. This is a time to get creative and discover how you can use ADHD to tap into hidden strengths and succeed in life. I will help you look at both the gifts and challenges of living with ADHD and achieve a healthier balance as you move into the future.
You may have some questions or concerns about ADHD treatment…
I don’t want someone telling me that something is wrong with me.
Not only am I a psychologist specifically certified in ADHD treatment, but I am the wife of someone with ADHD and the mother of a teen with ADHD. I understand the condition on both a personal and professional level, and I can assure you that there is nothing wrong with you. My focus is not on labelling you, but on helping you sort through your strengths and weaknesses and helping you understand yourself on a deeper level.
I’m not depressed or anxious, so why do I need counseling?
Although ADHD is often thought of as less severe than depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues, this is not always the case. There may be areas of your life that are affected by ADHD without you knowing it. Additionally, you may not fully grasp the upside of life with ADHD. With the help of a professional, you can recognize aspects of your condition that you may not be able to on your own.
ADHD is just part of who I am and I don’t think I could ever change.
You may not be able to eliminate ADHD, but you can learn to cope with it more effectively. Change can be scary, but as long as you are motivated, patient with yourself, and have the right support and encouragement, it is possible to thrive in spite of your symptoms. Your ADHD does not define you, and it doesn’t have to prevent you from achieving your hopes and dreams.
You Can Live A Full, Joyful Life With ADHD
At the moment, you may wish you didn’t have ADHD at all. In therapy, my goal is to prove to you that living with ADHD is not a curse and to show you how to use it to your advantage. To connect with me, you can use the contact form or call me at 405-329-8501 for a free, 15-minute phone consultation.