Life Feels Harder for Me… Could it Be ADHD?
Life can be hard for everyone, right?
But what if deep down you truly believe that life IS harder for you? Sure, your co-workers and mom-friends have countless stories of how hard it is “to do it all” … but somehow, they are still managing. They are still coping while you feel lost and confused and wonder how you got into this mess. You feel shame and sometimes even wonder if you are somehow broken.
What if a significant reason why you are struggling is because you are trying to live up to the expectations set by a modern-day world that does not align with how your brain works?
Maybe that would explain why things that are considered inherently “easy” for others can be such a challenge for you. What if by knowing how your unique beautiful brain worked, you could hack your life so that you felt in control instead of feeling like it is running you? That would be so empowering!
Click below to read more about some hints that perhaps your brain might not work the same way as the typical brain:
Hint #1: “Adulting” is hard
Okay, we all know that being a “responsible” adult is not child’s play.
You listen to the people in your life talk about all the ups and downs, struggles, and standard complaints of not having enough time, energy, and money. Yup, you totally relate! So that proves it… “adulting” is hard.
When you look harder at your life… is it more than that? Not only do you fully feel the weight of the collective struggles… but you notice, people are not really talking about how hard some of life’s little tasks are. In my experience, it is because most people consider these “easy” tasks… wait for it… easy.
Not everyone hates booking appointments because they do not want to be tied to a schedule. Or they can somehow reliably estimate how long a task takes so that they are not always rushing, falling behind, or simply letting things drop through the cracks. Or most surprising, how little effort it seems for others to do dreaded tasks simply because… drum roll here… they are supposed to do it. I could go on and on!
So yes, there is no mistaking that being an active participant in life is not always easy… but are you willing to consider that there is a chance it might actually be harder for you than most?
Hint #2: Feelings of “Unmet” Potential
Did you know that feelings of not living up to your potential is one of the most common reasons people come to ADHD Life Coaching?
I wonder if this is a feeling that is universal? Or maybe people with ADHD resonate with this more??
Throughout our lives, we’ve been told that we could accomplish so much, if only we “applied” ourselves. It’s not that easy! People impacted by ADHD try so hard, all the time… if it was a matter of applying ourselves, we would excel! Perhaps as bright, creative, and talented as we are… what if there are executive functioning difficulties that stand in our way of “living up to our potential”?
Hint #3: You feel like you’re inconsistent
Have people ever made you feel like you are choosing not to do something, just because you’re lazy??
ADHD can be such a dichotomy… when we’re interested in something, watch out… we’ll hyper focus and usually overdeliver.
But if we’re not interested in it, then that’s a whole other story. It feels like a personal defect because, undoubtedly, nobody likes to do something that they don’t want to do. But consider this… perhaps neurotypicals can “just do it” because they have easier access to the reward system in their brain?
Of course, even with ADHD, we can do things we don’t want to do… but there is not the same reward from doing it. To compensate, we can use strategies like external expectations, routines, or use other supports that help accommodate the impact of ADHD.
Hint #4: You procrastinate, and you don’t know why
Procrastination affects most people… but have you ever considered why you procrastinate?
Is it because you are lazy, unmotivated, irresponsible… all the shame-chatter that we hear from others or that we dish out from our own brain?
Please don’t accept that negative self-view… it is not fair or loving to yourself.
Sometimes we procrastinate because we have tendencies towards perfectionism (interestingly, many people with ADHD will not see themselves as perfectionists because their lives can be a total mess).
Think of all the things standing in your way that might lead to procrastination… sometimes it’s lack of skill/knowledge… but sometimes it’s because we:
Don’t know where to start or don’t want to start because we can’t complete everything right then (and who wants more unfinished tasks?)
Are very time blind and have no sense of when something needs to be started or how long each of the tasks might take
Need to do more research because it needs to be “just right”
Get distracted (the all too familiar “shiny object” pitfall)
Hint #5: You take things so personally
Nobody likes to have their feelings hurt, but people affected by ADHD can also suffer from Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria (RSD). Essentially their brain perceives rejection or criticism (real or imagined) more deeply than someone without RSD.
Have you had people tell you that you are “too” sensitive? Or perhaps you imagine all these negative things that other people must be thinking about you and convince yourself that your thoughts about their thoughts are actually facts?
Experiencing life through the lens of RSD can lead to low self-esteem and unhappiness. Hopefully seeing RSD for what it is can help you create thoughts that will overcome the negative bias. Talk to a therapist, life coach or trusted friend to get more ideas of how to not live in the shadow of RSD.
Feeling seen and understood?
If any of these hints resonated with you, then I offer you to be curious as to whether you have the neurodiversity of ADHD. I encourage you to read up on ADHD, and not just the diagnostic criteria. If you look for information on people’s lived experiences with ADHD, you might have better awareness as to whether you may be impacted by ADHD. If you do wonder if you have ADHD, please go see a medical professional. Even if you hate labels, the self-awareness that your brain works differently will empower you to find ways to figure out how to live life in a way that works for you.
Sure, life can be hard if you are impacted by ADHD… but it can also be successful, amazing, and fulfilling when you are willing to learn more about how your neurodiverse brain works and create a life that leans into your strengths. I am biased, but I truly believe that ADHD Life Coaching can make a difference in creating a life where you do not feel that your ADHD negatively impacts you. As far as I am aware, there is no “curing” ADHD… but when you learn to use it to your advantage, why would you want to?
Laura Helfrich is a trained ADHD Life Coach who specializes in understanding the pervasive impact that ADHD can have on women. Using wonder and collaboration, she helps her clients to find personalized solutions that help bring more success and happiness to their everyday lives. To learn more, check out her website at https://www.focussimplified.ca/.
Please note that I am an ADHD-informed Life Coach, and I am not a medical professional. The information provided is for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute professional medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment. Always seek advice from your physician, mental health professional, or other qualified healthcare provider as they are the experts.