I’m sure you’ve heard them too; the voices in your head telling you everything you’ve done wrong. Why did I say that? How could I forget my appointment with the doctor? Why didn’t I hear my alarm ringing and wake up on time? What is the matter with me? What did I come in this room for? What am I doing here? Why can’t I say no? How is it possible I forgot to buy milk? The shopping list in my hand.
ADHD is a vicious swirling cycle of negative self-talk. We often feel scattered-brained while having out-of-body experiences. Our bodies in one place, our minds in another. We are everywhere other than where we are. We are listening to the commentary replaying in our minds. These statements can leave a deep imprint on your self-esteem, making you (the person with ADHD) feel unworthy, incapable, and inadequate. I’m talking about your basic theme song you… I’m not good enough (and I never will be).
Well, I’m here to tell you it’s not true.
You probably will have to listen to those annoying comments (they never ever go away) but you DO NOT have to believe them. Maybe it’s part of human nature. Maybe that’s how we gain a positive, healthy sense of self-worth, by fighting them, and driving them away. But it’s not always easy. Those comments are loud. Why didn’t I? I should have. I shouldn’t have. What did I just do? Why did I do that? Why can’t I get it right? Why can’t I read? How is it possible to not comprehend what I just read? What did I just say? What did that person just say to me? Yes, that is what you hear all day.
With ADHD, you never feel good enough, like you got it just right. There’s always that inkling of doubt lingering in the background.
Good news! There is a way to overrule those nasty comments. Prove to them that they’re wrong (deep down inside you know they are). These are some tips my clients and I have come up with to remind themselves that they are so much better than they think they are…
Create a success board or jar.
Use a whiteboard, bulletin board, or journal to record your successes. Every time you accomplish an important task, put it on the board.
Start an “I did it” list.
It’s easy to beat yourself up all day after looking at long “to-do” lists. You realize you’ll never accomplish everything you set out to do. There aren’t enough hours in the day. As you go through the day, write down everything (I mean everything; walk the dog, feed the cats, eat breakfast, wash the dishes, etc.) you’ve done. You’ll be surprised how much you accomplish in a day.
Have a little self-compassion. Lighten. Show yourself a little love. C’mon, give yourself a break (go ahead, wrap those arms around your shoulders, give yourself a hug). Those negative comments will appear, but after you hear them, tell them to take a hike, drive them away, sweep them out of your mind. Say bye-bye, then give yourself some coaching. Repeat these words: I did the best I can. It’s ok. I’ll do better next time. It doesn’t make me a bad person. Then look at your success board, your “I did it” list and…
Give yourself a high-five.
It’s so hard to absorb the feeling that you got it right. I’m not sure if it’s lack of trust, worry that you’ll screw up again in the next five minutes, or total disbelief that you are capable of doing something right; but stop it right now. PAUSE and take time to celebrate those successes. There are so many great things you’re missing out on. You can feel happy, content, and truly believe that… “Yes, I am good enough.”
And you what? You’re even better than that!