I’m really embarassed…

Home Welcome to the ADDitude Forums For Adults Emotions & Shame I’m really embarassed…

Viewing 19 reply threads
  • Author
    • #119658

      I lost my keys while at work today. No idea where they went. Hate myself. I wish this kinda thing happened rarely but it happens all the time. My car is stuck at work. I really suck.I also lost my phone yesterday. I’m basically the worst. Why does anyone trust me with anything. I don’t know what to do.

      I don’t know how to pretend like I’m an adult and everything’s fine when I do things like this. Any time I felt like I was on a roll or that people thought I was smart is met by this kind of thing. I have to deal with the fac tthat I’m a phoneless, keyless adult and somebody’s going to notice.

    • #120045
      Penny Williams

      Give yourself some grace. Beating yourself up only makes you feel worse, and lessens the ability to problem solve to get back on track.

      Have you tried getting a Tile for your keys and anything else you tend to lose?

      Total Recall: Great Gadgets to Jog Your Memory

      What type of phone do you have? If it’s an iPhone and you set it up, you can use Find My Phone to track it down. I believe Android has a similar function, but I don’t know anything about it. And, with the right case, you could keep a tile with your phone as well.

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

    • #120639

      Mouse, you’re most certainly not alone in the “forgot my stuff” department.

      Keys and a phone are small things (in size)…ever lost the hood of your
      car? I did..:)

      It was a Chevy Luv pickup with a canopy on the back, and while I was replacing
      the 4-banger with a Chevy V8, I had taken the hood off and set it on top of
      the canopy to keep it out of the way.

      Month later I’ve got the new engine and all installed, so of course I wanted
      to take it out for a test drive. Never even thought about the hood on top of
      the canopy…somewhere along the road it must have lifted off the canopy and
      as to where it went….well, I never could find it. Custom hood with a scoop..

      I could go on all day about stuff I’ve lost/forgotten behind, so cheer up!
      Your keys will show up sooner or later, and as ADHD Momma suggested, you might
      be able to track down your phone.


    • #120832

      Don’t feel bad. I often go back n’ forth from feeling BRILLIANT with adhd to feeling STUPID or not smart enough. You’re not alone & we both have to work on knowing we are smart & good enough & not base it on circumstance.

      I literally forget if I’ve done something when I’m showering. Like I’ve washed my face a bagillion times, but I’m like–did I wash my nose & chin w/soap? I completely spaced out thinking about something else. YOU’RE NOT alone.

    • #121876
      Mama Vautour

      I once lost my keys while they were in my hand. I was going somewhere with my son and I couldn’t find my car keys. I enlisted his help in finding them. We both stopped dead in our tracks and looked at each other when we heard the sound of them jingling as I moved them from one hand to the other to pick up a cushion to look under it. I’d been carrying them in my hand the whole time.

      I once lost my purse while it was sitting in my lap. My b/f and I were sitting on the couch, talking. I said I’d put it off long enough, I had to go get the groceries. I looked over at the dining room table and the chairs, scanned the couch and asked him if he’d seen my purse. He said on, he hadn’t. He scanned the room and the hallway from his vantage point. Maybe it’s in the kitchen, I said and lifted the purse off my lap so I could stand up and go look. As I made that gesture we both looked at each other and laughed. He’s another ADDer.

      I don’t just look for my glasses when I’m wearing them. I look for them when they’re in my hand.

      I can identify with your feeling that people are going to find you out sooner or later. I used to change jobs frequently. I always did well, really well at my jobs. But eventually I’d start to get that gnawing feeling that they were going to find out that I wasn’t as smart as they thought I was and I’d move on to wow some other company for a little while before those nagging feelings returned. Apparently, this is not uncommon among people with ADD.

    • #121984

      Just going to add another voice to the “you’re not alone” chorus here – because you’re not!! And you are NOT stupid or the worst. You said “someone is going to notice” – yup! So let them. Anyone with a heart will recognize that you’re not doing this to yourself on purpose, and anyone who wants to give you a hard time isn’t worth paying attention to. We’ve all been there. You’re going to be ok!

    • #122428

      Nothing works every time – especially with inattentive ADD. I live by routine and keeping things as simple as possible. When I go to the grocery store, I park in nearly the same exact spot – otherwise I’m likely to wander aimlessly for my parking spot. Keys, phone, vitamins, medications, garage stuff – you name it, for me to have a grasp on where these things are, hey need to be in virtually the exact same spot every time. It’s methodical and cumbersome all in the same package. Too much clutter and unorganization is literally chaos. I spend an inordinate amount of time keeping my daily life organized and in order – mostly so I can function at a reasonably high level. Most people don’t have to do that, which inevitably affords them with much more free time, but so it goes. If you overload your plate, just know that you will have this sort of thing happen regularly – and if it does, give yourself a break. If you don’t want to make these sorts of mistakes as often, then slow down and get (and try to stay) organized as much as possible.

    • #122442

      Hi damnmouse,
      I lose things all the time and your post really resonated with me. I hate myself when i lose things but lately what I’ve been doing is applauding myself when I can find things or put things back in their place. It’s been really rewarding. I’ve been known to lose my debit card once every three months (poor Wells Fargo) but I’ve fought my brain who says “you can put your card back later.” I know this doesn’t help you find your things right now, but please reward yourself when you find them or put them back in the same spot. All I have to do is congratulate myself mentally like “YES YOU FOUGHT YOUR BRAIN AND DID A GOOD THING.” Please consider starting doing this. I have faith in you and all of our adhd brothers and sisters here.

    • #122448

      I lose my keys/phone/bag/etc very often. I also ‘lose’ my car when I can’t remember where I parked it. I don’t have ADHD. I think you’re just having a bad few days … we all get them. 🙂

    • #122451

      I can totally relate! When I was in middle school and high school (10 years ago) I constantly lost the keys to my bicycle. Our caretaker would just bring them to my during lunch break or when I passed his office. It was a constant source of embarrassment. I’m still very inattentive when it comes to things like keys, phones or (sun)glasses so I’ve developed a system that works for me and minimizes lost things (it still happens once in a while though).

      For me it helps to have a somewhat of a permanent place or places for things like keys and my phone. I only have one coat per season and my keys are in my right pocket. Looking back I can never quite recall what I have done with my keys, but because it’s an ingrained habit, they are always in my pocket. When I’m not wearing a coat due to the weather my keys are in my right trouser pocket or in specific compartment in my bag.

      I also have limited the amount of bags I have. I have one backpack for work and university and one ‘nice’ purse for when you need one of those. In each bag there is a designated compartment for phone and keys. So when I’m locking up my home etc. and my mind is miles away I know that I will put my keys/phone where they should be because that is an ingrained habit (muscle memory).

      At home everything has it’s own place too. So when I can’t find something I don’t have to panic because 95% the item I’ve lost is simply in one of the designated spots, I just don’t remember placing said item there.

      Perhaps something like this will work for you too? It has saved me a lot of stress, anxiety and embarrassment over the years. Don’t let being someone who loses things define you and get you down! Good luck!

    • #122458

      Hi! Yes, all the forgetting important things can be so frustrating. I have occassionally been reduced to tears over stuff like that. If you can make up a brief checklist for when you leave home for work or anywhere, it helps. My ADHD husband’s checklist was “spectacles, testicles, wallet, watch, keys, lunchbag”. He was a transit driver for over 30 years.

    • #122459

      I am laughing as I read each of these posts. Other than losing the hood of my car I’ve done/lost everything anyone’s mentioned above. For the most part, I’ve stopped beating myself up — I tell myself I’m a really good and nice person and nothing I do is on purpose. A few things I’ve found helpful: 1) I have a small purse that only has my keys, phone, chapstick and wallet – I either carry this by itself or put it in any other bag I carry 2) I put my credit card away RIGHT after I use it otherwise it’s as good as gone and 3) I look for a landmark every time I park my car. If I don’t then I wander around clicking my lock and unlock button. ADD can be really hard on the soul but don’t make it worse by beating yourself up.

    • #122464

      You’re not a bad person, you’re experiencing a specific problem! I am quite forgetful myself (especially when under stress), so I can probably relate in a way, as many of the folks here 🙂 I will describe some strategies and thoughts that are helpful for me – maybe some of them will help you, too. It’s a long way (I once read that as a rule of thumb, we ADHD people take 10 times as long to establish habits and are 10 times faster at forgetting them, which explained a lot to me), and I think we can only try our best every day, be kind with ourselves (something I’m not too good at either :-/ …), and find out whatever works for us (i.e., everyone has to write the user’s manual to their own brain, no two ADHD brains are alike in what works for them.) So, here we go!

      * My launchpad is essential. I use a big bowl on a shelf near the apartment door where I drop off everything I tend to forget when I come home and put it in my bag when I leave. This includes phone, wallet, entry card for my job (which I put in my wallet now, genius! ;)), small headphones, dictaphone [no idea how you call it in English! A recording device?], keys, sunglasses, chewing gums, sketchbook, and pens. I use a plug near the launchpad to charge the phone, which then lies in the bowl.

      * I used a board marker to note everything I need on my bathroom mirror to double-check whether I have packed everything.

      * I pack the non-launchpad stuff the night before. Generally, I try to prepare as much as possible before going to bed to avoid stress.

      * My morning ritual serves the same purpose: start the day calmly and minimize stress. I have been doing this for three weeks now, but I feel much calmer already. The morning ritual includes
      a) a questionnaire (gratitude, values) to ground myself with my core self first thing in the morning
      b) coffee (non-negotiable!)
      c) a little exercise (gymnastics in eclectic combination with Tai Chi and yoga – I’ll do whatever my body needs, stretching, strength, balance …)
      d) brief breathing meditation and/or body scan (10-15 minutes)
      e) shower, getting dressed
      f) breakfast (fruit, veggie, toast, an egg or cheese, jam, water => I’m trying to minimize the number of decisions here, too) and medication
      g) make my bed
      h) get ready to leave.
      To me, getting up a little earlier is totally worthwhile! 🙂

      * I record anything I need to think of, ideas, etc. with my dictaphone or note it in my agenda. What is not recorded will leave the “now” sector and enter the “not now” zone, meaning that it is gone forever.

      * Finally: take it with a sense of humour and kindness. Ask yourself how you would treat a kid, a friend or a person you love when these things would happen to him or her, notice the difference to how you treat yourself, and try to take it a little easier 🙂 Maybe it helps to imagine your ADHD as that person? Your forgetfulness is not your fault. You’re certainly trying your best, and beating yourself up makes you feel worse. Give yourself a hug instead 🙂

    • #122465

      Thanks for the post….not alone indeed! One thing I do that helps me especially with mindless type repetitive tasks or when I am doing multiple things (especially when they are really important) like checking out at the grocery store (debit card example above), taking my medicine or locking up the office after work with loaded arms in the rain for example…I literally will stop everything that I am doing, block out all of the distractions (physical and noise in my head about dinner, whats next etc) best I can and talk to myself out loud (if I am alone) and say “you just set the alarm and locked the office door” as I am doing it, for example. It takes 5 seconds, but I rest assured things were taken care of instead of jolting awake laying in bed at midnight wondering if I put my debit card back in my pocket, took my medicine or locked up the office. If I am in public I try and whisper under my breath (so I am thinking it and verbalizing it…multiple “touches” as they say makes a difference for me) or, for instance, with the grocery example I will have the conversation nonchalantly with the cashier/myself as we are wrapping up…”okay, let’s see, I have my card in my wallet or you gave me back my card (as i am putting it in my wallet) and I have my bags, thank you!” and make it conversational so it seems natural. I am new to understanding my ADHD, but this seems to be helping me.

    • #122482

      Nope you are in a pretty big boat here. I dont hate myself or feel guilty anymore. when i was younger i did. These days I get kinda pissed off. not really getting down on myself or anyone around me, but livid. I usually find what i misplaced before i blow my lid. But it’s morphed into rage. I could probably use some advice myself.

    • #122532


      I feel ya. My solution was to bring back the fanny pack into style. When I go anywhere I keep my keys wallet, phone and sun glasses in my fanny pack. Maybe this can be a tool for you too. 🙂 At the end of the day, these things are just things, and your mind is doing what it is good at, wondering and being curious about the world around it, and not focusing in material items. In every perceived weakness, there is a unique strength.

      I found for myself, the more I tried to force my mind to do something that doesn’t comes natural to it, (that being having singular focus on a topic I am loosely interested in) the more my mind is more exhausted leaving me feeling like a loser inside for having to work so hard at something that seems simple for others.

      In addition to setting myself up for success with a fanny pack, I found that learning about and practicing the methods of mindfulness and meditation has helped strengthen my ability to focus. Luminosity (an phone app)offers a really great 5 minute (bite-size) break down of this practice.

      • #122546

        I LOVE fanny packs—-where did you get yours?!!??!

      • #122587

        I get my fanny packs from target and amazon. 🥽

    • #122582

      Going undiagnosed for decades led me to develop my own coping mechanisms, one of which is *always* putting stuff in the same place. I only lose my keys, wallet, etc., if my ‘rituals’ are interrupted, and I end up putting them in a nonstandard spot. Then when I find them, I put them in the ‘official’ spot(s) again.

    • #122808

      I used to lose my keys ALL the time! I thought I was going to lose my mind. Finally, I invested in bowls. Yes, bowls. I found several cute and inexpensive bowls ($3-5 each) and placed them at prime locations where I could drop my keys in them upon arriving somewhere (home, work) and train myself to look in that spot. That way I would know exactly where my keys were at all times. It has been a sanity restorer! I have cell phone stands in each room so I can place my phone on it and keep it centralized.

      I have placed a small table in my closet to put my purse on so I will know exactly where it is as well. I am learning that I cannot function without a list or a routine. I make a to-do list, either on a notepad or on Evernote. It’s vital that I scratch things off the list so I will know I’ve gotten them done.

      I am still finding things that work for me along this journey. It’s a daily process. Take things one step at a time, one day at a time. When you feel overwhelmed, stop and breathe. Then start again.

    • #122814

      You’re alright. I love using Lean methodology to keep things in order: eight wastes and 5S. They’re for manufacturing but can be used for nearly anything.

      The fourth S of the 5S method is especially helpful as is an understanding of the 5th waste.


      1 Sort
      2 Set order
      3 Shine
      4 Standardise
      5 Sustain

      Eight Wastes

      1 Overproduction (Product)
      – Only do what is needed and can be handled
      – Avoid pile ups

      2 Delays (Time)
      – Minimise waiting
      – Avoid breaking flow

      3 Transportation (Workplace)
      – Create a production line
      – Avoid shuffling things around

      3 Complication (Process)
      – Keep it simple.
      – Avoid overwork

      4 Inventory (Storage)
      – Minimal stock piles
      – Avoid hoarding

      5 Commotion (Tools)
      – Keep tools in the order of the steps
      – Avoid running back and forth

      6 Defects (Quality)
      – Plan to avoid common mistakes
      – Avoid repeat defects

      7 Talent (People)
      – Let other people do the work their own way
      – Avoid micromanaging

    • #124204

      You’re not alone. I struggle with embarrassment over the same kind of things and also, if I have to tell people, how to tell them in a way that doesn’t reinforce my shame. To paraphrase/quote Dr. Hallowell “shame is the real learning disability”.
      I have a tile somewhere but I can’t find it 😛
      I admired an ADD friend’s personal organizer, then a month later asked her how it was working out … she’d lost it 😛

Viewing 19 reply threads

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.