Does having ADHD make you broken? Sometimes it can seem that way.
Especially at 2am when you’re lying awake and ruminating about the day’s social mishaps or disappointments. Or when you’re late for yet another appointment. Or you’ve tried to force yourself to get things done but it didn’t work. Again.
Sometimes it seems you just can’t do, be, feel or act “right.”
So you ask yourself, “Am I broken?”
Before I answer that question, and I promise I will, here are some truths:
- Society loves conformity and adhering to norms. There’s a reason people without ADHD are called “neurotypical.” Because nonADHD is considered “the norm.” And since our behaviors often don’t align with society’s expectations, we get misunderstood and made to feel “other.”
- It doesn’t help that ADHD shows up differently in each of us and to varying degrees. Or that some hide it better. And some days are more challenging than others. We are consistently inconsistent.
- Others describe ADHD negatively (despite some incredible positives) or downplay the things we struggle with. We can be the butt of jokes to others.
- We are diagnosed and others label us. Then we label ourselves. Self-doubt sets in. We don’t fit in. We view the negative. We think we’re a problem. We think ADHD makes us broken.
But are we really broken because of ADHD? Let’s challenge that.
Broken means…damaged, often beyond repair. Something is flawed. Needing to be fixed or tossed out.
Reality: ADHD is neither a fault nor a flaw. It’s a neurological condition affecting how our brain works. There is no flaw. ADHD brings challenges and gifts. You don’t need to be fixed or tossed out. And sure, some of your habits and behaviors may need some work.
In fact, in the ADHD Success Club, we talk often about systems and strategies to help you with your ADHD. It’s not to FIX you. We don’t set out to FIX your brain. Because there is nothing wrong with it. Your brain just needs to try something innovative to work efficiently. So we learn new creative, fun skills to make life a bit easier.
So bottom line – NO. ADHD does NOT mean you’re broken.
Now, I can say that to you over and over again nonstop, but the bottom line is that those 2am thoughts can feel pretty powerful. (I’ve learned to never trust anything my thoughts tell me in the middle of the night…)
Let’s work on this. Here are some tips to help during those moments when you feel overwhelmed by the challenges of your ADHD.
How to Stop Feeling Broken with ADHD
The key is to improve your relationship with your ADHD. This takes time and work and you need to build awareness, mindset, and better structures. ADHD doesn’t go away but it can get so much easier to live with.
Five steps to improve your relationship with your ADHD:
- Determine your why. Why do you want a better relationship with your ADHD? Because of what others say or because of what you want for you and your life? This is pretty powerful and may change over time, but knowing your why can help motivate you when things feel dark and hard.
- Focus on more than the problems. Look at what gifts your ADHD brings. What are you good at? What are your good qualities? Where do you shine? Examples: creative, innovative, fun, sense of humor, hyperfocus. ADHD can allow us to do amazing things faster and better than other people.
- Examine what isn’t working. Get really specific. You need to identify what doesn’t work the way it really needs to so your gifts can shine.
- Improve your self-talk. What you say to yourself matters. At 2am, 12pm and 2pm. All the time! We can be soooo hard on ourselves. So please stop and identify: Are your words helping you or hurting you?
- Get support and help that fits the realities of ADHD. If you need therapy, get therapy. If you need marriage counseling, get marriage counseling. If you need better habits and skills, get ADHD coaching. Build a community. Life is too short and precious to spend it struggling.
BOTTOM LINE: ADHD does NOT mean you’re broken. It adds to your identity; makes you unique. The challenges tied to ADHD can be navigated.
We work on all of these steps in the ADHD Success Club. This season has started but you can still jump in and join to improve your relationship with your ADHD starting today. Click here to join.
And if you want to go a bit deeper into this topic of whether you are broken with ADHD (again, you’re NOT!), listen to episode 164 of Kick Some ADHD here.