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“The ADHD Impulses I Suppressed My Whole Life? I am Unleashing Them.”

“When I reflect on my childhood, I see a distinct correlation between suppressed hyperactivity, brought on by shame and guilt, and squashed potential.”

adhd challenges break free from low self esteem: a woman walking out of a bird cage.

I have recently given myself permission to fidget without shame. I walk around, tap my feet, and bend my paperclips – ADHD behaviors that help my brain work properly, but that I hid or resisted for a long time.

In school and in social settings, my hyperactivity – in the form of pen-clicking, excessive chatter, and squirming in my seat – made me “impolite,” “annoying,” and “inconsiderate” of others. No one understood that my brain did not work unless I was able to physically move my body. That I would fall asleep if I couldn’t fidget in my seat.

When I reflect on my childhood, I see a clear correlation between suppressed hyperactivity, brought on by shame and guilt, and squashed potential.

[Read: What Happens When Hyperactivity Is Trapped Inside]

That’s why today, I give myself permission to display my ADHD – my authentic self.

The Cost of Suppressing ADHD

It’s sad when those us of (especially girls) with ADHD are told to be quiet, keep still, and hide our symptoms. It forces us to feel ashamed over something we cannot control. And yet, we try our best to obey those orders – a feat that uses up so much of our precious attention. Such consuming efforts, perhaps easy for neurotypical people, squander our energy. It’s why we can’t shine and show our true abilities.

We need to allow our ADHD to show. We need to stop altering our behaviors to accommodate neurotypical people. They have no clue what we are struggling with in our mind, and how engaging in harmless fidgeting behaviors helps our brains work properly.

We need to allow our ADHD to show so that our emotional scars can heal. So we can stop bending ourselves to the point of sacrificing our well-being, happiness, and self-identity. So we can see that all the things we were rebuked for are not our fault. So we can lift the weight off our shoulders that was never ours to carry.

[Read: “I’m Not Hiding My ADHD Anymore”]

Be Your Authentic Self

Do not be afraid to display your ADHD. People will judge; people will stare. But that is okay. It is not your fault that they don’t know any better. Accept that what you need is different than what others need. Don’t make others force you into running a race you will never win. You are in a whole different league.

So, put on a show. Let them watch.

Authentic Self & ADHD Hyperactivity: Next Steps

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2 Comments & Reviews

  1. Revealing your ADD or ADHD condition is a DISASTER in the workplace. The only fields of employment that understand or tolerate ADHD are medicine and education.

    I had a reasonably success 40 + year career as an engineer, always at for-profit corporations. These places are run by hard-ass dudes who have zero tolerance for mistakes, missed deadlines OR ANYONE WHO MIGHT SAY SOMETHING STUPID AT A CUSTOMER-FACING MEETING (as ADHD victims have a tendency to do).

    I bristle at being labeled ADHD, but I am NOT hyperactive. Unless you want to get fired or have your job applications trashed, find a way to hide or suppress this ADD $#!+. No law requires you to confess your private health information. Even gang members in handcuffs don’t blab unless they are totally stupid. You have the same 5th Amendment rights as everyone else plus HIPAA.

    If you need help, get help and follow your treatment plan. And read ADDitude but I’ve seen several articles that contain really bad advice on reacting to bullies and confessing to ADD.

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