how do I stop beating myself up and start building myself up?

Home Welcome to the ADDitude Forums For Adults Emotions & Shame how do I stop beating myself up and start building myself up?

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    • #54351

      I am 36, I have just been diagnosed, but the doctors and teachers knew something was wrong starting around 3 or 4, so I’ve had a ton of support and interventions throughout school. I am pretty successful, I’ve been fully employed for the last 11 years, and nearly fully employed for the last 14 years. I own my own house, I have pets that I take care of and I am in a good and stable relationship that is supportive of me and my issues.

      I finally got around to getting diagnosed because I am fed up with constantly being late with projects. Constantly working late into the night because I couldn’t get started all day long despite having nothing in my way other than my mind. Constantly having to cancel plans with my friends because I have to get things done that there is no excuse for having not done yet. Constantly forgetting important things like birthdays of my close family and partner. Constantly having to dash out at the last minute to do something that I should have done hours before.

      I’ve always been like this, but it is harder now that I work from home full time because it’s easy to put off work and keep working late into the night to get things done that really should have only taken half an hour if only I had started on it in a timely fashion. So I decided to see a councilor and she recommended going in for a diagnoses with a specialist. (I was tested many times as a kid, but as I loved the testing room/people/environment it always came up negative for ADD)

      But, to my actual question –

      I have a constant narrative running in my brain saying that it’s not true, it’s not ADD, I’m just lazy and if I could get my act together everything would be fine. I just need to try harder. I just need to work more. I just need to make more lists and use more post it notes and keep timers and trackers on my phone to constantly nag me to do the things I want to do (I already am the queen of lists and timer apps)

      Because, sometimes, when the stars align, I can be amazing and get everything done and everything’s clean and orderly and obviously thus the rest of the time I’m just failing at life.

      How do I change this internal narrative?

    • #54374

      Not an expert and I do not have ADD or ADHD as it’s is now labeled but maybe just start by accepting the diagnosis. My spouse and my daughter have ADHD. I have a different disability. My disability was diagnosed as something else when I was 10 and properly diagnosed in my mid 20’s. I was very much in denial of the proper diagnosis because there is no known cause and no known cure. Just symptoms of varying degrees that come and go, mild in some debilitating in others. I looked for tons of other possible causes before accepting the diagnosis and it’s progression into something that altered my life significantly. I railed against it and the unfairness of it for a long time. I still have the ‘it’s no fair’ and ‘I hate my life like this’ days. I cannot change it though. I can only fight it or accept it. I can only move forward if I accept it and then proceed to deal with it. I treat what I can. I find work arounds for I can’t. It’s a part of me, of who I am. I can’t choose it. So there is No sense in berating myself for being me. I cannot offer much in the way of ADHD advice my daughter is newly diagnosed and though I have suspected it in my husband for a long time he is just now accepting it as a reality in his life. His way of dealing with that tendency to be late or put things off was to train himself to be compulsively early for appoints, however, it does not apply to his motivation and his ability to self motivate is awful. Working from home was the worst choice he ever made because there was no motivation to get to work or go to lunch or get home…in short there was no physically based schedule. For him the changes in location helped him keep his awareness of time. I know it’s not great advice but hope it helps anyway.

    • #54395

      Welcome to the club. I’m, 49yo and only got diagnosed with Adult ADHD 5 years ago.

      My advice is to put some structure into your day.

      Have a look at some of the free resources on this site for time management and improving self-esteem

      Beat Boredom and Get More Stuff Done Today

      I’d recommend also getting an ADHD coach to help you with creating this structure in your life because
      1. It’ll be easier to create a daily routine with their help
      2. We all need positive feedback

      Best of luck

    • #54401
      Penny Williams

      This negative narrative and trouble accepting an ADHD diagnosis in adulthood is very common. You’re certainly not alone. Here’s some expert help to work through these feelings:

      Silence Your Harshest Critic — Yourself

      And also a guide on next steps:

      “I Try Not to Be Angry About the Past”

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

    • #54502

      I can sure relate. I was diagnosed 5 years ago. As a very young child I had a ritual. I would lay in bed and review the day and think about all the stupid things I said or did. The inner voice is not my friend. When I make a mistake these days, you would think I walked into a bank, robbed it and took out 12 people. I’m horrible with my negative, critical self talk. I try and recognize when it kicks in and I politely tell it to shut up. I then think about the wonderful things I do throughout the day. Even if it is putting one dish in the dishwasher. I also recently stopped doing something, I’ve stopped apologizing every 5 minutes at work. This has been amazing. I didn’t realize how much I did that until a new employee very nicely pointed it out. The #1 person I have conflict with is my boss. Talk about a nightmare to work for. I’ve stopped apologizing to her and it’s been a trip. I didn’t realize how much I assumed responsibility for their errors and would internally blame my ADD. As far as suggestions on time management, I too work on this daily. My hyper focus gets me in hot water as I lose all sense of time. It’s not easy being me, but I get better every day.

    • #82903

      I didn’t get diagnosed until about age 59! And actually I have been relieved to know that there IS a reason I have so much difficult with those things I struggle with. I have my times of hyper-focus when everything goes perfectly, and I am profoundly productive (work and home projects) at times, just like you. However, even with medication, my ADHD still pops up more than I would like it to. However, whereas I used to think of myself as a total screw-up who couldn’t do anything right, and constantly wondered why I made some of the choices I made, etc., I now recognize that my ADHD has had a huge role, and that I have some legitimate reasons why some things are so difficult for me. I still get down on myself occasionally, but nowhere NEAR as much as I used to. If I forget to put on my glasses and trip over something, I don’t think I’m a clumsy idiot; I just realize I have a problem in the vision category and I need to use whatever help I can get (glasses, in this case) to deal with it. It’s a true disability issue, and THAT explains a lot for you.

      If none of what anyone here has said or referenced helps, it may require some degree of therapeutic intervention.


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