Feeling like a horrible person

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    • #79922

      I’m not sure if this is an adhd thing or just because I’m awful….! Wondered if anyone has had the same thing and has any advice…

      I just feel like I’ve turned into a really horrible person. I don’t act horribly, I just feel myself getting more and more inwardly judgemental, impatient, angry, unhappy and bitter every year.

      I wasn’t diagnosed with adhd until I was 26…as I kid I was relatively symptomless in that I did well at school, was polite, kind and very introverted..the only signs were anxiety and obsessive behaviour. I seemed to change suddenly when I was 16 and got all angry, depressed and rebellious…it seemed like it happened overnight. It was like the old me disappeared and I turned into a completely different person. I’m sure a lot of it was a teenage thing because it ran its course, but I’ve still never really got the old me back. I’m so nihilistic and moody.. I’m still thoughtful and kind, I look after my nan and spend all my spare time volunteering at an animal rescue centre because it’s the only thing that makes me feel worthy and happy, but I feel fundamentally rotten at the core…that’s the only way I can think to explain it. Everything I think seems to be morbid and hateful.

      …. I should point out that I’m not sitting in the dark loathing everything like Scrooge – it’s more like a pitch black sense of humour coping mechanism that’s gone to far. Still, I don’t like myself. Friends and family say I’m a nice person but I know that I’m not really… I want the sweet kid who only thought nice things back. I’m medicated, I go to therapy, I’m outwardly nice, but nothing is helping me get the nice, happy self that I liked back. I just end up doing the lying awake all night feeling guilty about how horrible I’ve turned out. What can I do?

    • #79923

      I think you need to find something about yourself that has interested you, but is a tad outside of your comfort zone. Attack that. Excel at it, because you need to have something about yourself that you can admire. When you accomplish this, you will forever more be able to draw strength from this skill. You will always be able to hold that coup in your mental pocket…to tap into whenever you need some ‘pick-me-up’.

      • #79928

        Starbright, what a lovely bit of advice – one I wouldn’t have thought of myself. Thank you

      • #79930

        I think Stabright is right on.

        It sounds like you invest a lot of your time in helping others, which can be rewarding in more ways than one. The thing we as humans often forget is we also need to invest in ourselves as well. Kudos to you though for raising your hand and asking for help, it can be difficult to do.

      • #80792

        Its not just you, trust me. With everything I’ve been through, I too feel myself becoming more selfish, bitter and angry each year. Its like, we hurt those we love unintentionally without a way to stop. It sucks. Big time.

    • #79958
      Penny Williams

      Here’s a list of ideas to bring the happy back from other adults with ADHD:

      Self-Care Strategies: “How I Make Happiness a Priority”

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Trainer on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #79971

      A few thoughts:

      1. Have you tried practicing EFT? Emotional Freedom Technique, also known as “tapping”. Search YouTube for “EFT”+[what you’re describing]. You might feel silly doing it at first, but it works for a lot of people. It’s helped me greatly.

      2. Another approach is exercise. Studies have shown that aerobic exercise (any type you enjoy whether solitary or group/team) can help with what you’re describing. People with ADHD specifically can benefit from a mix of aerobic exercise and activities that are challenging, requiring skill and/or coordination. (Martial arts, dance, golf, etc.)

      3. Discuss your meds with your doctor. Sometimes negative thoughts can be a side effect and so another medication might be a better fit.

      4. This phrase is particularly concerning: “Friends and family say I’m a nice person but I know that I’m not really”. You have a different perception of yourself than your friends do and it would be helpful for you to address that. Have you discussed this with your therapist? You care for your nan and volunteer at an animal rescue. People who aren’t nice don’t do that. There’s something inside you that’s affecting how you see yourself.

      5. Know that this isn’t you, this is your brain. Your brain is essentially playing tricks on you. Be gentle with yourself. Do some research on “Limbic ADD”. It might help you.

      I hope that some or all of this helps. Kudos for asking for help.
      Wishing you the best.

    • #80156

      Heres the straight talk; your not a horrible person. But if you think you are then you will be. I am not gonna stop you from beating yourself up. Go on and do it. Just know that no one can change it but you. Cut that self pity shit out. Stop it. Decide now that your gonna be a better person. Go out there and change. Be the hero in your story. Love yourself. Become obsessed with self improvement. But guess what none of this matters if you don’t believe it yourself.

      • #80819

        Patrick has a strong post.
        1. Get formal neuropsych testing; make sure ADHD.
        2. Any mood altering substances? No alcohol, etc. sobriety with sponsor 12-step or find 12 step to ADHD, it’s just a more accountable CBT.
        3. Long acting stimulant 24-7 with low dose SSRI
        4. ADHD is self doubt, self centered fear. Patrick really says it well.

    • #80611

      “I want the sweet kid who only thought nice things back.”

      No one thinks only nice things. No one.

      I think it’s also unrealistic to want to be the sweet kid you were when you were, well, actually a kid. You’re not a kid, so it’s unrealistic and unfair to yourself to expect that you could be the same as you were a couple decades ago.

      If you haven’t spoken to a counselor or coach about this lately, I think it might be worth a shot. I would definitely recommend bringing this up with someone you really trust to respect you and what you share with them.

      A therapist can help you figure out if there’s depression, anxiety, etc. that might be causing your thoughts to skew toward bleaker subjects. They can also help normalize some of your experiences and help you deal with the feelings you’re describing.

      Having a “bad” thought isn’t the same as actually doing the bad thing. Having “bad” thoughts doesn’t make you a bad person.

    • #80682

      You’ve gotten some good advice here. The exercising suggestion is a great one, as well as developing a hobby/interest/skill that you can feel positive and good about. Along the same lines, have a few goals in life that you are working towards. If you’re not living a life that makes you feel fulfilled then you will naturally tend towards negative thinking.

      Another piece of advice would be to deal with any unresolved emotional issues that may be at the core of the negativity. And begin a meditation practice which could be very helpful in a number of ways. Finally, if you believe in God, pray regularly. Ask for help with your struggles, but also count your blessings and get in touch with feelings of gratitude.

      It may benefit you to work with a therapist who is more of a life coach to help you set goals and work toward them. You can do this also by making and keeping a written record of what you are working toward, the steps you are taking to get there, and the progress you are making along the way.

      Lastly, get out in nature as much as possible! It’s hard to feel morose when in the presence of fresh air and natural beauty.

    • #80712

      Firstly I would encourage you to see an counselor. A good counselor will not only affirm that you are indeed not a bad person (as you most certainly do not sound like one) and will help you get to the root of the specific causes of the disconnect between who you feel you are and who you want to be. That you are concerned about and have chosen not to act on your negative feelings says a great deal about your good moral character.

      However, your description of yourself sounds very similar to how I have felt at times during my life including relatively recently. I also often feel like I live with a “pitch black sense of humour coping mechanism that’s gone to far”. I am 57 years old and hope that you will not wait as long as I have to get to the root of your discontent. I will share my story just in case it sheds any light on what you are experiencing.

      The root of my disconnect is that I have been overly nice for way too long and have built up lots of resentment inside. Having ADHD has resulted in lots of uncomfortable interactions with co-workers, friends and family and as a compensating mechanism I have tried too hard to be exceptionally nice and helpful. I’m naturally a nice enough person but not as nice as I was trying to be. As a result I felt taken advantage of and unappreciated which eventually turned to anger and negative judgments about the people around me. What has surprised me was is all I was conscious of was the anger and the rest was residing deep inside (and I have had lots of counselling and considered myself as being pretty self aware). I’m now learning how to have appropriate boundaries around being “nice” and to balance my needs with those of others. My 18 year old daughter has also had counselling on the same issue as I had brought her up to be overly nice.

      My one encouragement would be to not be so hard on yourself. Life is not easy and life with ADHD has its own special burdens. I have found Acceptance and Commitment Therapy useful in helping me to move past the pain which was created by having undiagnosed ADHD into a life driven by what I value.

      • This reply was modified 3 years, 9 months ago by rkechow.
      • This reply was modified 3 years, 9 months ago by rkechow.
      • This reply was modified 3 years, 9 months ago by Penny Williams.
    • #80805

      Thanks so much for sharing and advice.. I’ve had a lot of counselling and cbt but am researching therapies and techniques you’ve mentioned that I haven’t heard of – England always seems to be about 15 years behind the US in medicine and mental health especially. It’s always nice to know you’re not alone on here, too.

    • #80836
      Wolf and Duck

      My ADHD experience is VERY like yours! I was EXACTLY the same as a child/teenager, then got diagnosed in college at about age 21.

      I think like that when I’m depressed. I look at everything negatively. Things people do all have a negative motive, things people say have a negative meaning, things I think are all a general ‘doom and gloom’ topic. I find my hormones seem to affect this a lot, but sometimes it’s just if I’ve been working too much or stressing out too much. I start taking 500mg Tryptophan before bed for awhile until it goes away. I read ‘The Mood Cure’ and got a lot of helpful advice from it.

    • #80618

      May I kindly suggest looking at this free web site out of UC-Berekely?


      Very helpful.

      I’d also gently suggest seeking a DBT therapist (dialectical behavior therapist) as he/she would combine mindfulness with cognitive behavior therapy- the reframing of your thoughts/views.

      PLEASE know that YOU are highly valued. You are given this life as a gift for some reason/s. You need to find supports who can help you on your journey to experience a high quality life as intended by a higher power (if you so believe)

    • #80967

      Hi i was diagnosed in my 40s. I was always a person who overcompensated for my perceived ‘lack’ by helping others too much. And decades of daily bad looks from people at work, socially, public when I forget things or make errors or mix my words up… it’s really hard for us. So at long last I’ve eased up on myself! These things helped me:
      1) Exercise and hobbies including martial arts based exercises. They’ve built my confidence by my body feeling stronger
      2) celebrating that i love nature and im really good with animals rather than hiding it and doing some volunteering and meeting likeminded. You perhaps have an intuitive sensitivity with animals that neurotypical people don’t have. Celebrate that it’s wonderful!
      3) Mindfulness meditation courses and practice over years now it’s helped so much. When the critical thoughts come along I can now notice them more as just thoughts like clouds passing. It’s taken a long time though and I’m not saying it’s easy!
      4) Therapy with a therapist where we focused specifically on building my self-compassion.
      5) Getting adhd diagnosis and possibly autistic spectrum too. Feeling more proud of what I’ve been through and survived and my resilience.
      6) adhd books: Focused Forward (cant member author)
      And The Gift of Adult ADHD by Lara hobos Webb.
      7) listening to any additude podcasts and articles about shame and adhd

      Good luck with this. You are young enough to turn this around. Speak to your therapist about this and put some focus on it in your sessions, it is your therapy agenda after all!
      Try to celebrate yourself, you sound lovely and a very sensitive person. Building self compassion is perhaps the next part of your journey to work on…

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