A life with untreated ADHD is a life with many inconsistencies. We are more likely to have bad credit, wrecked marriages, messy houses and ruined careers. We have difficulty showing up on time, following through when we say we will, and being prepared. This is a burden not just on ourselves but the people we love too. A few of these failures is embarrassing and frustrating. A lifetime of them leads to many of us struggling: we fail out of schools, find ourselves in divorce courts, battle addictions and stand in the unemployment line.
A lifetime of learning slowly that you can’t trust yourself or allow anyone else to depend on you leads to an overwhelming, life stagnating sense of shame.
I’ve dealt with shame myself. I have had my share of issues: I dropped out of college in my junior year because I just couldn’t stand the struggle anymore. The constant endless fight every semester to meet the deadlines exhausted me. Failing to get things done properly depressed me. My grades never seemed to reflect my intelligence and I was so tired of never feeling like I was good enough, so I walked away. Then I felt ashamed for not “having what it took” to finish school.
I broke promises to people who I loved, I failed them in many ways. I drank too much and spent money as soon as it went into my pocket. I once had so many overdraft fees against my checking account that I only had $50 dollars left of a $500 paycheck. I found new words to describe myself. Loser. Failure.
I had great success in high school as a writer; now out of college with no prospects, I told myself new stories:
You’ll never amount to anything.
You’ll never become who you want to become.
You are all you will ever be.
You will die alone.
You are worthless.
Having swallowed these stories down, I allowed my life to conform to the life of one who was worthless. I stopped caring what I looked like, I stopped cleaning my house, I stopped talking to people and stayed in my house on my couch waiting, hoping to die.
How did I get out of this? Click here to read part II of Shame: The Devil’s Advocate.