ADHD and Self-Esteem

ADHD and Self-Esteem
The term ‘Self esteem’ means to respect and have positive opinion of yourself. Your self esteem is entwined with your self confidence and sense of self worth. Unfortunately, adults with ADHD tend to have low levels of self esteem.
Here is a list of 15 things that having low self-esteem can result in:
3. Loneliness
5. Problems in relationships
6. Underachievement
9. Lack of assertiveness
10. Body image problems
12. Unable to ‘own’ your achievements
13. Feel helpless with no control of their life
14. Feel undeserving of being happy
15. Blaming others
Our self esteem begins to form during our childhood. The reason so many ADHD adults have-low self esteem is because their behaviour is different from the ‘norm’. Your high energy, impulsivity, perhaps poor social skills, was likely to receive negative
messages from the adults in your life. Rather than receiving lots of positive reinforcement that creates a healthy self esteem, you received negative comments which causes low self esteem. The good news is that it doesn’t matter how low your self esteem is, you can start to improve yours right now.

Here are five tips:

1) Replace your negative self talk with positive. After years of getting negative feedback you internalise it. The negative chatter in your head can be very debilitating and result in anxiety, constant worrying, and a sense of hopelessness. When you catch yourself saying something negative, counteract that with something positive or neutralise it. For example, ‘I can never do anything right’ remind yourself of some of the things you have accomplished. Or, ‘I still haven’t tidied my desk’ to ‘I haven’t tided my desk yet’
2) Set yourself up for success. Break your big goals into small very do-able actions. When you achieve them, give yourself a few minutes to enjoy that feeling of accomplishment and congratulate yourself.
3) Give yourself daily rewards. After achieving a task or tasks reward yourself. Make the mental connection that you are having this reward because you did____ task. This gives you positive enforcement. The rewards don’t need to be complex, watching a movie, seeing a friend, listening to a new CD are all great examples.
4) Take a realistic inventory of yourself and your life. Are there things that are bothering you? Are you a little over weight, do you wish you have a tidy and clean house? If yes, then get proactive and make those changes.
5) Break out of your comfort zone. Do something that scares and excites you. Go on a trip on your own, speak in public, do a parachute jump. Whenever you break out of your comfort zone, you grow and develop and your self esteem increases.
While most of these suggestions are based on actions and ‘doing,’  you are already an awesome person. When your self esteem is low, it’s hard taking that on board. So trust me on this one, you are a magnificent human being.

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  1. Don says:

    Concerning the Five Tips, numbers 2 and 3 ring true for me. At 54, it’s still a task to do things most normal people consider a given. The ADHD mind just works differently and you will never be a regular Joe or Jane. That said, find your passion and make some small goals that give you a sense of accomplishment. These small things can lead to bigger things. For me, it’s translation of texts into English from foreign languages. You have to own your own accomplishments because others want to “get you” but just can’t.

  2. John says:

    All I know is this, people with ADHD should not be desk bound. Working on your people fast paced environment cooking, using hands people type jobs and you will excel. Desk bound 9-5 is murder

  3. Rosemary Janicki says:

    These are all so true. For myself there is only 1 (drug and alcohol abuse) that I do not have, and I was only diagnosed 3 months ago. No wonder at nearly 60, I have had such a rough life of it.

    • Lizz says:

      That is a late diagnosis. I know exactly what you mean though. It’s so hard to hide sometimes. I’m still going through diagnosis but it runs in my family and I know that’s what it is. I wish it wasn’t though. But at 40 I realise that although I’ve developed loads of methods to integrate it just doesn’t go away. Impulsivity is getting me into so much trouble at work since I got promoted to an office job. I just can’t hide it or contain it in this sort of environment and It’s destroying my self worth. I definitely know what you mean

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