ADHD isn’t me, so who am I then?
I know those stories in your head can seem so real, and they play a huge role in who you believe you are. But here’s the truth – those stories are one perspective, and you aren’t stuck with them.
Maybe you’ve been telling yourself you’re not smart or talented enough. But is that really true? Or have you just convinced yourself it’s true by focusing on the difficulties and minimizing your strengths? The all-or-nothing nature of ADHD can turn negative beliefs about yourself into a fixed narrative. This can lead to any number of issues:
- It can become much harder to see your potential beyond ADHD-related challenges.
- It could lead to stigmatization from others who see you through the lens of your condition because you do. You want to talk about ADHD a lot which can result in stereotypes, discrimination, or misunderstanding of what you’re truly capable of. The general population isn’t informed about what it means to live with ADHD, and they don’t know what it means for you unless they get to know you as a person. Instead they’ll use what they’ve learned online, from friends or TV and make assumptions about you.
- Your self-worth can be dragged downward as you constantly compare yourself to others without ADHD. But as human beings, you’ll always have more in common with others than not.
- You may be reluctant to ask for help developing confidence, social strategies, emotional-regulation techniques, or making efforts to grow as a person because you’re quick to blame ADHD for all of your challenges.
- You might pass up great opportunities believing you can’t succeed because of ADHD.
The stories you repeat shape how you see yourself, it’s true. But you can always start telling a new story by tweaking the ones you’re already telling yourself. What would you change first about a story you tell yourself, just one thing? Could you add a part where you speak to yourself with patience, self-compassion, celebrating your strengths, remembering you’re a work in progress?
Your identity is so much more complex than any single story, especially when it comes to a diagnosis, ADHD or otherwise.
As someone who lives with severe ADHD, I understand the pull to make it your identity. The clarity, explanation and community it brings can provide long-awaited relief and belonging. There’s nothing like talking with someone who “gets it”. It’s one of the safest feelings I’ve ever experienced. I’m grateful for the self-awareness I’ve developed around ADHD. But be careful that awareness doesn’t become a prison by over-identifying.
Of course, we can’t minimize the real daily impacts of ADHD. The struggles are real and disabling at times. But they are only one act in the play of our lives.
You’re so much more than any label. You’re a complex, multi-faceted human with diverse talents, quirks, values and dreams. Maybe ADHD shaped parts of your personality, but it doesn’t encompass the whole you.
So who are you? You’re insightful, funny and caring to those you love. Quick-witted, though sometimes impulsive with your words. Adventurous and creative, when you apply hyperfocus. Motivated, when you’re working on something you’re fired up about.
You’re always growing. Learn to have patience with yourself, stay curious about who you are and who you’re becoming. See if you can learn to embrace all of yourself. That’s when life is most fulfilling. It’s the difference between putting your foot in the water on a hot day or jumping in. Jumping in is allowing all of who you are to see the light of day and experience life, versus hiding all but a little bit of yourself and wondering why you’re unhappy. We can talk more about that.
The bottom line is that I can help you learn to be all of yourself, confident, able to set boundaries, form healthy relationships and speak up for yourself. That’s just the beginning. I’m also offering a way you can work with me 1 on 1 and have 24/7 access to me for $250 per month. Message me if you’re interested in learning more.
We’re in this together my friend.