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Life Is Too Short for Shame

Do you feel perpetually unworthy? Defective? Sorry? Shame haunts many adults with ADHD who feel held down by a lifetime of self-blame. Learn about where it comes from, why it's harmful, and how to improve your emotional health.

6 Comments: Life Is Too Short for Shame

  1. This is directed to no one in particular. I have been a regular reader of ADDitude magazine for a few years. I consider it a valuable, dependable friend and ally. Like any such publication it has a range of advice and opinions but it is written with genuine passion, sympathy and concern for its readers.

    EXPECT respect? It ain’t gonna happen. Like a famous newspaper advice columnist once said, “People who demand respect rarely get it.” It has to be earned. Your boss may dislike you personally but if you are a stellar performer, your career is safe.

    I am a guy in his late 60s and have over 60 years as a student in the Academy of Hard Knocks. For me ADD is no gift. It has always been a handicap and an embarrassment that has damaged my reputation too many times. My diagnosis has been enlightening but not liberating. This is just one man’s opinion so take it FWIW.

    The worst advice I have heard anywhere is to out yourself and go public with your ADD or ADHD condition. This article wisely skirts that issue. The advocates of this are well-intentioned but naïve, IMHO. Employees are not legally required to disclose their medical conditions to any employer. So, don’t do it! Even gang members in handcuffs don’t go blabbing unless they are totally stupid. You have to develop coping techniques so that you can survive in the merciless world of for-profit corporations. Suck t up, do your best to hide it and be a man.

    Revealing the label ADHD is potentially disastrous. This will send your associates scurrying to the internet. They will assume the worst, that you checkmark ALL the symptom boxes. To wit: So hyperactive that you squirm and fidget uncontrollably (I don’t); that you may be a drug user or an alcoholic. (I’m not); that you talk incessantly (I don’t play that either); that you impulsively blurt out the wrong things at the worst possible moment (that’s been a challenge for me).

    Nothing good can come from such an unwise revelation. It is unrealistic to expect much empathy or understanding. The neighbor/classmate/coworker bullies will weaponize this information and try to destroy your reputation and self-esteem. Your HR director will add your name to his secret list of layoff candidates.

    I know that there is no cure for this ADD/ADHD affliction. It is like a perpetual wrestling match. Accepting your diagnosis does not mean you have to like it but you need to come to terms with it. My expectations are modest but my needs are great. I seek advice and encouragement and ADDitude delivers.

    What to do? If you need help, get professional help. Follow the treatment plan prescribed by your mental healthcare provider. Read ADDitude.

  2. Thanks for the article on shame. My question is when is it acceptable to speak to an adult about current issues when they have ADHD coupled with general and social anxiety disorders? I’m thinking of inappropriate behaviors: i.e., hygiene/bathroom issues, binge eating, breaking/destroying household items such as utensils, dishes, freshly painted kitchen cabinets – to name a few. My significant other has these issues and as they’ve aged (in their 50’s), they’ve become progressively worse. I’ve tried talking with them so many times approaching the subject in different ways; none of which have any positive impact on the issues at hand. I’m forever thinking I’m a nag or a parent rather than a significant other.

  3. Can you please NOT have articles that span multiple pages? It’s very frustrating.

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