Reply To: Feeling resentful about his ADHD

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It’s no problem at all.

That being said, I need some help. I’m very discombobulated right now to where I am mentally paralyzed. I had a conversation with my English instructor yesterday, and it went well. However, I can only slightly remember certain pieces of it that were like gems, because they got me asking questions as if I am a small and curious child. I can’t remember them now, because they shook my core perspective on a few things: failure, relationships, and perfectionism. These are 3 concepts that I’ve been struggling with and seeking clarity on for years now. I’ve known that these were internal issues I have, but I couldn’t understand them until yesterday, and now due to my ADHD memory, I’ve lost that understanding.

1) Failure:
I’ve always told myself that I must not fail at whatever I’m doing, because if I do fail then that means I’ve lost an opportunity and I’ve disappointed myself and my closest loved ones. I have a very deep-seated fear of failure (and abandonment, but that is another story) that cripples and paralyzes me at the worst times. Along with my ADHD, It keeps me from going after what I want b/c I’m always looking for issues that I might run into so it might not work. The reason why is because ever since 1st grade up until 9th grade, I was able to excel in school on my intelligence alone with no problem, It all came so easy to me. I had no clue how to handle failure or adversity whatsoever, because I started out being “successful” and achievement-oriented. Success on an academic level is all I’ve ever known since I was 6 years old.
2) Relationships:
I’ve never thought too much about relationships, because I’m too focused on myself most of the time (I know this is selfish, but I’m being completely transparent). Plus the relationships I do have with my family are deep enough to where I don’t have to worry about losing them, which is why I take them for granted. Although, I also care too much about their opinions and worry excessively about disappointing them. In doing so, I never was able to form my own identity, since I was too concerned with making the people around me happy. I grew up being rather quiet and shy (I still am) so I didn’t have to do much for my parents’ attention (well my mom’s at least), then I also had them to go to with any issues that I had.
3) Perfectionism:
This is the worst of the 3, because I’ve learned it and it’s been ingrained in me since I was a toddler. I understand that no one/nothing can ever be perfect, but we all strive to be as close to it as we can. However, there is a difference between this, and LITERALLY SEEKING and obsessing over being perfect. I achieved a lot as a kid, won many athletic and academic awards, I didn’t understand it at the time but looking back on it, I feel as if I was set up to fail in some way. Because I got so much recognition for my gifts and talents as a kid, I developed an unrealistic standard of perfection in concert with a sense of entitlement that I understand is HORRIBLE for my view on how to be successful in life.
BASICALLY, I’m admitting that I learned from a very young age the idea that achievement and success comes easy, without having to work much for it. I know this isn’t right at all, but it’s all I have ever known. It has to be changed, but with what idea? What am I missing? I didn’t do well in college my first year, I flunked it. But I only became more doubtful of myself from that. I don’t know what to take from the failures I’ve had up to this point

This is INSANELY long I know, but I really would like to hear from others. What lessons do we take from the failures that we have? And how do we mature from them? Anything is appreciated.

-Kendall Boults Jr.