This reply was originally posted by user bburgastros82 in ADDitude’s now-retired community.
I know that I long struggled (and still do, from time to time) with the concept that it is okay to take some time and do things for myself. I think those of us with ADHD, especially those who went for a long time without being diagnosed or without proper treatment, have a hard time giving ourselves a break, and understanding that we have to take care of ourselves as well as others. When we were constantly criticized for not doing things correctly, or for not doing enough, or for falling short of the mark, even when we were trying our hardest, we internalize that shame and start to believe that our value lies in our ability to “get things done” and constantly be achieving things. Unfortunately, learning to relax and take times for ourselves, without guilt, is a skill we have to learn, just like so many other things. I I like the concept of non-judgmental observing…I think it is a very valuable activity.
Additionally, if you have someone you can turn to who can help you with ideas, don’t be afraid to reach out to them. I am lucky that my parents and a few of my friends have always been there if I have needed help figuring out how to get started on something. Years ago, for example, my mom would come over and essentially teach me how to clean, because I would start and become overwhelmed by the big picture and not be able to understand how to break things down, or how to start on just one thing.
If the option is available to you, I definitely recommend finding a therapist that you work well with. My therapist has done a great deal to help me learn to battle my shame and guilt, and to help organize priorities.
There are also some great books that can be helpful, including “Taking Charge of Adult ADHD” by Russell Barkley, “Journeys through ADDulthood” by Sari Solden (I found this one especially helpful for some of those feelings of guilt and shame), and “Mastering Your Adult ADHD: A Cognitive Behavioral Treatment Program” by Steven Safren et al.