Reply To: 28 M Corporate Attorney – Just Diagnosed

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Do you love yourself?

I suspect not, but let me explain. First of all, I could be your brother. Well, more likely father since I am 30 years older. But we share a lot of similar characteristics.

Last week I was at a CHADD meeting and the guy running it had everyone talk about their challenges. It was one of these “wow! you do that too?” kinds of things. Failure as a kid and being told of it, forgetting important stuff, pain, ways to deal with it, hyper focus, you know all about it. Then the facilitator said that we’re all talking about what we do, not who we are. We value ourselves based on what we do, not who we are. My interpretation of that is: maybe I don’t love myself. All of my stress comes from impressing others. My entire career was based on proving the bastards in elementary school wrong. I didn’t go to a top 10 law school but I did get a PhD. It’s weird that everyone says that ADDers only respond to internal motivation and yet here I am trying to win the praise of others. It’s a paradox. My wife would really like it if I cleaned up my crap. I know that. But I’d rather win her praise by cooking a fantastic meal or writing a hilarious story. Cleaning is boring. Creating is fun. And yet I can’t just create for myself. Maybe if I was just ADD without all this baggage I could. But after years of rejection I can’t even see myself anymore. All I can see is what I do. And I fear like hell that someone will say I did a lousy job. Anxiety can be horrible for me when it comes time to perform, and to win approval.

So, if you really look at yourself are you focused on what you do or who you are? Do you see yourself as someone that does things to impress others? Can you just sit still and be happy? Do you believe in yourself?

I don’t know anything about psychiatry so maybe you should ask someone that does about all of this. It apparently takes more than just drugs to make things right. With that said here’s my guess about your guilt. You went through a big shock finding out about your ADD. People that survive big shocks can feel guilty. You’re dealing with it. Search “shock guilt.” Your reality is changing.

Good luck.