Struggling to keep a positive regard ... - CHADD's Adult ADH...

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Struggling to keep a positive regard for myself

CatMoose profile image
14 Replies

I can't stop crying right now. I can't stop beating myself up. And the worst part is - as far as I know - I don't think I've actually done anything wrong.

I have been on medication in the past, but I'm not now. Eventually, side effects of whatever I'm on get to a point that I start thinking it's not worth it and go off, and at first that's fine... Until it's not. I've hit a point where it's not as of late.

I feel like I am struggling so hard just to make myself work and then still not meeting my own expectations. As far as I know, no one at work is aware but I am getting very little done and feeling extremely anxious about getting caught not doing more. I don't have a high pressure job. I work at an incredibly inclusive and understanding nonprofit. Everyone knows I have ADHD, I talk about it and any accommodation I need openly. But I still constantly feel like if they realized how little I was getting done, they wouldn't want me working there. I feel lazy, and I care a lot about our mission so I feel an extra layer of guilt for the fact that grant funding is paying for my unproductive time. I just feel like I'm struggling so hard and still failing. I don't think I'm managing things well, I don't feel good about myself, and I need to make some kind of change. I want there to be a point in my life where I just feel capable. There is a big part of me just saying that maybe I feel this way because the kind of work I'm doing isn't what is best suited to my brain. I love and am extremely passionate about my work, but I can't focus on it lately. My brother who also has ADHD but is in a trade keeps coming to mind. Maybe I'd be disappointing myself less and beating myself up less if I had set my sights on something more hands on or something. Can anyone relate? Or better yet, tell me what helped you shake off these feelings?

14 Replies
pragman profile image

I'd suggest that you find some way to measure your progress, share it with your peers/friends/family and get their feedback on how you're doing.

My experience has been that we're terrible at assessing how good we are. We need somebody else to assess and tell us how we're doing, or we need measurements to prove it to ourselves.

I went underpaid and overworked for many years because I thought I was doing terribly, until someone pointed out that I was outperforming most of my peers by a mile.

That said, it is important to find work that suits ADHD. I've realized that I"m a thinker, not a doer. I steer myself towards positions where my ability to solve hard problems and my thoughts, rather than my actions are valued.

I know that my advice is going to work against your imposter syndrome which you're feeling intensely right now, but try to get over it.

All the best, go easy on yourself(if you can)!


Theblacksheep profile image

Hi CatMoose,

First of all, thinking like you are not "good as" "slow" or "less than" is not going to help your situation as you are focusing so hard on how bad you are that there is no room for anything else in your mind apart from negative thoughts about yourself.

Everybody is different, some take longer than others to do the same thing and lets be honest, you wouldn't have being offered your job is they didn't think you couldn't do it, which it makes me think that you are putting yourself down for no reason.

The crying, I cried most od the days also but I know, that it comes with the package unfortunetly so look at it as letting the steam off the system and that it is the way you cope with it, don't see it as a negative about you.

Tell yourself: I've got this!, I know how to do it and I know I can do a good job, maybe not as productive as others but only because you care and you want to do right so you take your time to do it properly.

And remember, one step at the time.

Try to organise your day before you get to work and always one job at the time so "job done, next" is a must attitude to get things done and also, prioritise those that required more effort from you, so the easier ones you can get done when you concentration and energy levels are becoming a bigger problem.

I hope this helps you, we are our worst enemies so be kind to yourself and you've have got this 😊

CatMoose profile image
CatMoose in reply to Theblacksheep

Thank you for this. Particularly the note around crying being a release - sometimes the crying almost makes it worse because I start thinking how if I'm crying this much, I must be doing REALLY bad. Reminders that other people feel this way and to think of it as a normal reset process is helpful.

Theblacksheep profile image
Theblacksheep in reply to CatMoose

Thank you for saying that 😊 Crying is just a body reaccion to the way you are feeling, think of it as (this is not very scientific 😋) your body getting rid of your stress and negative thoughts through your tears so you have room again for the self-loving and positive ones.

People around me sometimes looked at me extrange as one minute I'm crying and the next I'm laughing but that is the way I'm and the way I cope with my situation.

If you feel like you need to chat or somethi g send me a message, sometimes it is easier to express yourself with somebody you don't know and I will never, ever judge 😊

Rodster profile image

Why don’t you start taking your medication again? You sound like a person that doesn’t have enough dopamine in their system.

CatMoose profile image
CatMoose in reply to Rodster

This is probably true, I'm going to give the meds I was on most recently another shot. Side effects aren't as bad as feeling like this.

Rodster profile image
Rodster in reply to CatMoose

What are the side effects?

CatMoose profile image
CatMoose in reply to Rodster

So it's kind of a complicated answer: when I was on Vyvanse, it worked really well but I wasn't eating or sleeping in a healthy way. Then I switched to Stratera. At first I thought it was helping, then for some reason I started to convince myself it wasn't working well enough and rather than increasing dose or talking to my doctor I just kind of stopped taking it. It made me kinda sleepy / drowsy, but so not too bad as far as side effects. I didn't feel like it was doing nearly as much for me as Vyvanse did, and I thought at that point, that it wasn't doing enough to be worth the drowsiness - but without any meds, I'm feeling like maybe it was doing more than I realized. I wouldn't consider the Vyvanse again, at least not without some kind of adjustments to dosage or timing, but I am going to give the Stratera another shot I think. I still have plenty left, and the drowsiness wasn't insurmountable, so it feels fairly low risk. If that doesn't feel like it's helping in a couple weeks, I'm going to talk to my doctor about a referral to see a specialist to explore some other options.

Rodster profile image
Rodster in reply to CatMoose

Strattera is supposed to take 4 to 8 weeks to fully see the benefits. I think some people take it at night to combat the drowsiness. I was on Strattera and it worked for me but it had a strange side effect I couldn’t get over. I’m on Wellbutrin which works better than nothing. I can personally empathize with your struggles without medication. I see a specialist now and she is a nurse practitioner who specializes in ADHD. It took a few doctors before I found her but it’s made a huge difference.

I've had two jobs that were hands on but it ends up being both physically and mentally exhausting which in turn isn't worth it in the long run IMO unless you can find one that has a good balance of the two.

I don't know how long this phase has been going on for you, but I feel like you need to accept that anyone will go through a rut at some point and that it's totally ok. It's not easy to forgive yourself, but you're human you can't run full speed 24/7. If you are that beat up about feeling like you're not doing enough at work, chances are that it's not true since you are so dedicated that you feel guilty.

Are you taking care of yourself outside of work? Are you taking the time to tell yourself you work hard and treat yourself to a nice meal/dessert and a hot bath and maybe a good book? Some candles or incense? Ambient music? You should really be setting some time aside to appreciate that you are putting in so much effort, even IF it's not as much as you would like to you are still moving in the right direction. Maybe a good reset at home could help you get back on your feet to tackle works problems.

I've started sitting in a quiet unused office area at work on my breaks so i get away from all the people and noises, and work on school stuff instead. Is there an option for you to have quiet time to yourself on breaks? Maybe sit and make a bullet point of your measurable goals so you can start crossing off and physically seeing the work being done? Or you can read something that will take all your focus and relax more.

CatMoose profile image
CatMoose in reply to

Thank you for this response. I needed this reminder to give myself grace and take care of myself. My self-care has been on the back burner and that's a factor here for sure.

DW44 profile image

You Are Good Enough. Read that 3 more times.

You are not lazy! You are trying SO hard. You have ADHD which means things take more energy and effort to complete. It’s not like you don’t care, it just seems that you don’t yet have enough in place to make things work.

There are surprisingly lots of different meds for ADHD. I stopped taking the first ones I was prescribed because of the side effects, but then I switched to a different one which has been amazing!! Speak to your doctor about switching meds.

Wow I’m hearing a lot of the same struggles I had. I also worked for a nonprofit and was a Director with very little guidance and little support and had to figure out how to self-manage and get things done. I felt that nothing I did was ever enough or good enough because I got little feedback on the immense amount of work I was doing. I was having weekly breakdowns at the beginning, I really wasn’t coping. My Mother and best friend were telling me to quit.

It sounds to me like you are a perfectionist like me, beating yourself up for doing nothing wrong and feeling like nothing you do is good enough. I’ve been where you are.

Changing jobs won’t change the way your view yourself, that takes inner work of changing your mindset. Try CBT for perfectionism, it did wonders for me!

In the meantime, there are practical things you can put in place to help you at work. Have you tried dividing up your day into time blocks and scheduling your day? Can you find a mentor/ an accountability parter to help you plan your day? This will create healthy pressure that you need to keep you going. Try breaking down each task you have into smaller, manageable chunks that can be completed in an hour or less.

Good luck! Dm me if you wanna chat more :)

CatMoose profile image
CatMoose in reply to DW44

Thank you so much. So much of what you said is exactly what I needed to hear. I will definitely check out CBT for perfectionists!

DW44 profile image
DW44 in reply to CatMoose

Yay I’m so glad to hear that!

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