ADHD & Discouragements

It’s normal to feel discouraged and disappointed from time to time, but for some people with ADHD, these feelings can be overwhelming. Why can discouragement feel so immense when you have ADHD? How can you address it? Find out here.

Table of Contents

ADHD & Discouragements

1. Here's my Personal Experience with Discouragement

2. ADHD Symptoms: Difficulty Handling Emotions and Rejections

3. ADHD Brain and Displaced Motivation

       ~ We Are Not Quitters

       ~ We Are Good Enough to Make Great Things Happen

4. The Guide to Understanding ADHD: Overcoming Discouragement

      ~ For Overwhelming Tasks and Big Projects, Work Slowly But Surely

      ~ List Down Accomplishments

      ~ Don't Be Afraid To Ask for Help

      ~ If All Else Fails, Get In Touch With A Mental Health Professional

ADHD & Discouragements FAQs

ADHD & The Feeling of Discouragement

Here's my Personal Experience with Discouragement

People with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder can often face difficult situations and challenges. One of the things I frequently get asked about is my experience in handling discouragements. Before I had my official ADHD diagnosis, there were instances when I easily quit hobbies and found previously fascinating tasks suddenly boring. When I find activities complicated or time-consuming, I might drop them off and do other things that spark interest in me. 😅

Basically, that's the pattern of what happened to me during college. I have been struggling the entire time I was in university. Aside from the fact that a lot is going on in every corner of the campus, I slowly lost interest in learning the course I took - the course I initially thought was perfect for me.

I feel like people with ADHD can struggle a lot with discouragement...

The first course I enrolled in involved my passion for arts and illustrations. I barely knew ADHD back then. I thought that all the symptoms I experienced were typical. But sometimes, when I face struggles and misunderstandings with others, I tend to be more emotional and find it hard to accept criticisms and rejections. That's when I decided to quit pursuing arts. To this day, I still think: I wish I'd known I had ADHD when I dropped out of art school.

The same scenario goes on. After attempting to study arts, I felt like pursuing a different career. I enrolled in a culinary class 🍲 and eventually quit after several months. Apparently, ADHD and cooking don't mix quite well. After entering culinary school, I tried to learn Spanish and stopped after a few weeks. I get discouraged easily on the given task and often get into trouble because of my impulsive decisions.

Then, after all the struggles that I have encountered, I have asked myself many times: what is wrong with me? Why do I experience discouragement easily, and why do I struggle so much with criticisms? Do I have learning disabilities? These are just a few of the questions I often utter. That's when I decided to have an ADHD diagnosis 👩‍⚕️ . Finally, I understood that this could be a part of the symptoms of the neurodevelopmental condition.

ADHD Symptoms: Difficulty Handling Emotions and Rejections

After a mental health professional had the chance to diagnose me with ADHD, everything started to make sense. The inappropriate times I spent dozing off 😪, the feelings of being distracted when the subject was uninteresting, and the emotional state I encountered when my teachers scolded me for having a failing grade, suddenly became clear to me.

One thing I find comforting and reassuring is how ADHD truly affects our ability to handle our emotions. Our self-control regarding our reactions to different situations may not work from time to time. Hence, ADHD can sometimes cloud the way we take rejection and discouragement. 🤔

because we often experienced failure...

But what exactly is with ADHD that we experience difficulties managing our emotions?

Studies suggest that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder can affect the portion of our brain responsible for our Executive Function. This area is responsible for various mental activities, such as organizing and planning, focus, time management, emotional regulation, and impulse control. Some people with ADHD may have difficulty regulating their emotions, especially when it comes to discouragement and criticism. It can also affect how we handle rejection and make us fear even more failures.

Having ADHD made me think twice about my life. If I had known earlier about my neurodivergent condition, I would have crafted techniques and a game plan for managing symptoms of ADHD. 🙌

ADHD Brain and Displaced Motivation

Sometimes, having an ADHD brain full of impulsivity and hyperactivity produces too many ideas and plans that we sometimes have difficulty implementing or making them happen. 

There are times when extreme restlessness of my brain can create a thousand thoughts 😵, giving me trouble focusing on my activities. And in my head, I'm confident that I have crafted some of the best solutions to some ongoing problems. 

But what happens to these ideas? Well, I always try to make them happen. But, frankly, before I reach the execution stage of these plans, I tend to feel that unnecessary risks will occur or the job is too big to handle 😭. I often get discouraged, which brings me back to level zero instead of working my way up to achieving the goals.

Another reason why I often feel discouraged is because I have a short life cycle of interest in things, hobbies, or ideas. I suddenly emerged to a specific cause, hyper-focusing on everything about them, thinking of them many times repeatedly. And then, when I got to experience doing them for a while, my behavior towards these activities suddenly shifted.

because we think that the things we want to accomplish are too ambitious...

We Are Not Quitters

These repeated scenarios may be why other people view us as someone who gets out when things are tough 🥺. Other adults, or even our family members, might judge us for having these behaviors. But please note that we are not quitters. Being diagnosed with ADHD may simply cause us to avoid disappointment due to careless mistakes, environmental factors that can get us easily distracted and not focus on what we do, or lack of self-control and motivation.

because we were told many times that we are "quitters"...

Sometimes, we cannot finish what we started, not just because of impulsivity, but also because of our brain's ability to process big projects. When things become overwhelming for us to handle, and we feel that we aren't in control of them anymore, we might get discouraged.

We Are Good Enough to Make Great Things Happen

According to reports, a person with ADHD is more likely to have a creative mind than others who don't💪 . Our neurodivergent way of thinking gives us plenty of options to think outside the box and come up with unusual but effective ideas or solutions to a particular situation. However, we often feel discouraged because it's part of the ADHD symptoms we can experience.

Even though some teachers might tell us that we have learning difficulties or challenges in achieving great outcomes, I still believe there's specific intelligence we each possess 🙌. We are innovative in our ways. Don't let your previous experiences in school or with your parents affect you.

or because we just think that we are "not good enough"..

So when someone tells you or makes you feel that you aren't good enough, please don't get discouraged. Instead, hold your chin up, walk proudly, and say you can do great things 💪. One thing you can also do is to have someone give you confidence. Reach out to your friends or someone you know, ask them to give positive feedback on things you do, and build your self-esteem 😘. We sometimes need that extra push to keep us going in whatever we do. We are full of skills and intelligence. It's just that we have it displaced somewhere else or haven't discovered it at all yet.

The Guide to Understanding ADHD: Overcoming Discouragement

Once mental health professionals 👩‍⚕️  get that chance to diagnose ADHD in a person, they'll try as much as they can to help with the neurodivergent brain. Some techniques can be done to help you manage the ADHD symptoms. There are options for stimulant medication, behavioral therapy, and school support that you may consider to get a hold of your hyperactive brain. But aside from these things, you can perform a sustained mental effort to help yourself handle disappointment and discouragement well. Here are some things you may start doing to get out of anxiety about not doing things initially planned.

If you feel discouraged:

For Overwhelming Tasks and Big Projects, Work Slowly But Surely

You might be discouraged when you have already started with a school project or any other work and things start not aligning with your vision. It's best to take a step back, take a breather and re-evaluate your goal. If things still aren't as convenient as before, you may want to delegate tasks to your teammates

But what if it's all on you?

Do tasks one step at a time. Set up a workflow for everything and have procedures to make it work. Having guidelines about a specific project and breaking it down into much simpler tasks can help you immensely in doing them. Many adults with ADHD often have a hard time getting things done because they struggle to make things organized. Paperwork can sometimes be a headache for us, but we can still achieve more if we know what needs to be done.

List Down Accomplishments

Are you done preparing reports? Or did everyone else finish completing the forms needed for the project? If yes, then consider them as accomplishments 👌. Simple things like these are sometimes overlooked and aren't often seen as achievements. But, come to think of it, if they aren't done yet, would you still advance to the following tasks?

That's why a person with ADHD should always consider listing all finished tasks. A to-do list is excellent, but ticking them off gives a much more incredible feeling. Even though you did something out of impulsivity, check them off or write them down. This way, you'll realize that you've gotten far with your actions.

Don't Be Afraid To Ask for Help

The National Resource Center for Mental Health suggests that depression and anxiety can sometimes stem from the feeling of being alone. ADHD and comorbidities like these mental health problems can sometimes complicate the matters at hand. It can accentuate the hyperactivity that can occur inside our brains. Before undergoing behavioral therapy or other tasks that require sustained mental effort because of these mental health conditions, you may want to try reaching out to your loved ones 💏.

If you are still studying, you can reach out to your professors and teachers and ask for their help. These are professionals and often understand what mental health is all about. Talk to your family, especially your parents. Having them by your side can make your world more accessible.

Find support and understanding with your friends or colleagues. Explain to them nicely about your condition and the symptoms you possess. Express that your condition is more like a unique ability to think differently. Having someone who can boost your confidence and have you maintain good behavior can have a significant impact on your self-esteem.🙌

If All Else Fails, Get In Touch With A Mental Health Professional

If you still feel discouraged and disappointment lingers inside your head, it's important to have a small talk with your mental health professional 👩‍⚕️ . ADHD diagnosis doesn't end in knowing your neurodivergent condition; it needs to extend to understanding how to manage your ADHD symptoms. That way, you can feel better about yourself. 

Mental Health Doctors may suggest cognitive behavior therapy to make you understand yourself further. ADHD medication might come in handy, too, but be sure to talk with your doctor about the side effects on your behaviors or moods when taking them. Sometimes, medications might address the symptoms of adult ADHD, but when the medicine wears off, it may be necessary to seek other forms of therapies to help you out.

ADHD and Burnout: FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

 

1.  Can ADHD Discouragement lead to burnout?


Yes, it is possible. When you are trying to do so much but feel like you attain so little, you might feel disappointed with yourself. This could lead to mental and emotional exhaustion. It is often the case with some people who have ADHD. They often feel like they're not doing enough despite their efforts.


2. What are some things that I can do to avoid discouragement and burnout?


Taking a break when needed and not forcing yourself to do things are a couple of things that you can do. Asking for help from friends, family, or professionals is also a good option. Recognize your accomplishments, and don't be afraid to list them down. Lastly, try to keep a positive outlook in life, despite the challenges that come your way.

3. I feel like I'm always behind. I see people of the same age as mine become successful in their field. Should I worry about it?


No, you shouldn't. Everyone has their own pace in life. Just because someone is flourishing at an early age doesn't mean you're not good enough. You should focus on your goals and try your best to achieve them. Do things on your own time and don't compare yourself to others.

Table of Contents

ADHD & Discouragements

1. Here's my Personal Experience with Discouragement

2. ADHD Symptoms: Difficulty Handling Emotions and Rejections

3. ADHD Brain and Displaced Motivation

       ~ We Are Not Quitters

       ~ We Are Good Enough to Make Great Things Happen

4. The Guide to Understanding ADHD: Overcoming Discouragement

      ~ For Overwhelming Tasks and Big Projects, Work Slowly But Surely

      ~ List Down Accomplishments

      ~ Don't Be Afraid To Ask for Help

      ~ If All Else Fails, Get In Touch With A Mental Health Professional

ADHD & Discouragements FAQs

Disclaimer: This article is for educational purposes only. If you are experiencing symptoms of ADHD, it’s best to see a professional for a diagnosis.

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The Mini ADHD Coach

I created The Mini ADHD Coach in august 2020 when I was just diagnosed with ADHD at 29. After years of questioning, therapy, burnouts and chaotic career path changes I finally understood why I was struggling with so many things. So I decided to share what I learned to raise awareness around ADHD and help the ADHD community thrive.

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