Escaping the Shame of ADHD

When you have ADHD, it is easy to feel bad about yourself. You hear a lot of corrective and critical statements. After hearing enough of those, you begin to internalize them. You begin to feel like you are not enough, and shame creeps into your life.

However, it is important to break free from this pattern of self-shaming. You are not broken. You are who you were created to be. I know it can be easy to feel shame about having ADHD, but you need to fight that temptation. Here are a few suggestions to break free of the shame.

Talk about It

Part of the reason shame builds a home inside of an ADHDer is that ADHD is not openly discussed. We ADHDers need to talk about ADHD and how it affects us. The perspective and compassion others show us in those moments does a lot to raise our spirits. I used to hide my innermost thoughts and considered myself a private person, but I have grown. I know realize that vulnerability is good. It helps us navigate our problems with people who love and support us. I highly recommend a TED talk by Brené Brown on vulnerability and why it is good.

It is even more beneficial to discuss ADHD and the struggles therein with other ADHDers. Find your tribe! Connect with other ADHDers. Join a support group. Trust me. It is so nice to gather with other ADHDers. I attended the 2018 International Conference on ADHD, and it was so nice to spend a few days with a bunch of people who “get it.”

Don’t Judge Yourself by Your Productivity

No matter what gets done and what is left undone, I am enough.
— Brené Brown

When I was a full-time freelance writer, I let my word count dictate how I felt about my day. On days I hyperfocused on writing, that was fine. That big number made me feel proud and like I was doing something productive. However, on the days when writers block showed up instead of hyperfocus or when ADHD kicked my butt, I felt bad about myself and shame became a huge issue.

Your value is inherent. It is not something earned or dependent on your productivity. You are a valuable human being, no matter what you do or have done. You, dear reader, are enough.


Take care of yourself. Do it. Do it right now. It is difficult to feel good about yourself if you are not taking care of yourself. Eat healthy foods. Get some exercise. Spoil yourself every now and then. Take some time to have fun every day. Get regular medical care, including mental health care. It is not a sign of weakness to attend to your psychological needs. Take care of yourself. You deserve it.

Today’s Reset ADHD Challenge:

Take one small step towards ridding yourself of shame