Here is where I’ve got to say, even though I have had a rough time learning to juggle these illnesses, I have been richly blessed in this life. I have never been alone in this fight.

My family, even if they didn’t understand has always been a phone call away.

I have friends who have provided me with support and encouraging words.

People have stepped in at the nick of time with the right word and completely saved me from disaster.

A stranger in London grabbed my hand in Trafalgar Square to tell me God thinks I am beautiful and to hold on.

Information falls into my lap within hours of me need it. Call me crazy, but that’s how I know God exists, and he’s always watching.

When we last met, I was on my couch waiting to die. Depression is like a parasite that can absorb every good thought, emotion or dream in your body and convert it into physical pain, mental anguish and apathy. It sometimes can seize you so quickly that before you realize it, a bad day turns into a month and you’re caught in a funk you can’t shake.

What does this have to do with ADHD? Well after a lot of false starts, I think I’ve kind of got it down. It started when I came across this wonderful Podcast called Overcoming ADHD and Shame: Why we feel it and how to manage it. you can listen to it here. Here’s what I learned:

Dr. Ned Hallowell, an expert on the subject gives the distinction that shame is caused by us passing moral judgments on ourselves. Like this for instance: I can’t believe I didn’t get to work on time. I am totally irresponsible. If I lose my job, it’s because I deserved it. I just lack the discipline to get places on time. He further states:

[ ADHD ] it’s not a failure of the will, it’s not a failure of discipline, it’s a neurological difference.

He encourages his patients to get over their shame in order to deal with the disease head on. He even goes as far as to suggest as long as we “wallow” in shame so to speak, we cannot put things in place in order to help us get to places on time, for instance. If you aren’t wasting your energy on shame, you can spend it on coming up with new skills. Hallowell indicates that shame is “maybe the most painful of all the symptoms and conditions associated with ADHD.”
He went on to tell the story of one of his friends who dealt with shame and it’s toxic effects:

I have one friend who has actually won three Pulitzer Prizes who will not invite people into her office because of the piles of clutter. Despite her amazing achievements, she’s so ashamed of her inability to pick up.

I couldn’t agree with Dr. Hallowell more. As long as we are under the control of shame, we could conquer the world and never feel that we have done enough. Here I was managing this disorder, I fought my way through to the diagnosis on my own and began treatment and yet I couldn’t forgive myself for not having been perfect in the past. Shame kept me prisoner.

I encourage you; no, I urge you: don’t let shame control your life a second longer. Do whatever it takes to forgive yourself. If people hold you responsible for things you have forgiven yourself for, make your apologies where you can, make it right if you are able and move on. Life is a fleeting moment in the passing of eternity. Don’t let it pass you by because you cannot recognize you are worthy.

Until next time,

René

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