The Shame Of It All

Discovering my ADD was liberating for me! Once I had a name for the monster that had been wreaking havoc in my life I realized I could tackle it, tame it, train it, and in general, fix it. ADD explained why with even all the high performance tools I have, I struggled with staying focused, balanced, and on track with my goals. That’s when it occurred to me that if I struggle with it, other ADDers would too. So, after 29 years of consulting and coaching with business owners, I had a new focus: helping other entrepreneurs with ADD.

Can you imagine my surprise when it was suggested I not use the term ADD to talk about who I am helping? Can you imagine my surprise that even people with ADD wanted me to skirt the topic, to talk about the symptoms without using the term ADD? The shame and denial people felt surrounding their ADD, rather than feeling proud of their gifts astounded me. Can you imagine my surprise that others didn’t feel liberated with the recognition of their ADD?

What a pity!

Clearly the shame is deep-rooted in some people. The denial that comes from that shame limits the chance to embrace and manage it. How can you appreciate and use your strengths and gifts if you can’t even look at or directly talk about them?

This shame is toxic. It can be debilitating, leading to more struggles than ADD alone gives us as well as increasing our stress levels. As if life doesn’t provide enough opportunities to raise our stress levels! In my opinion, it’s time to get over it, to approach it head on, and to grow.

Wouldn’t life feel better if you loved your ADD characteristics and gifts? Wouldn’t life feel better if you surrounded yourself with people who love you for who you are and support your ADD-ness? If you don’t process your shame, that’s not going to happen. And if that doesn’t happen your gifts will be wasted and life will continue to be hard — harder than it needs to be.

Seeing and feeling the shame of others, others who could improve their lives with the acceptance of their neurological type — their different brain wiring — has motivated me to strive to turn that shame round.

Estimates, by ADD professionals, are that 5-10% of the population have ADD. That means about 90-95% of the population don’t have ADD. There are Adders, Neuro-atypical Types, and non-Adders, Neuro-typical Types. It’s no wonder we aren’t understood — we are such a minority. It’s time for us to stand up proud and be heard and felt.

I think the people in our lives who don’t accept our brain wiring need to learn that we aren’t wrong or bad for being different. We need to learn that too. Their being in the majority doesn’t make them right and us wrong. Whether the Neuro-typical Types learn to embrace our differences or not, that doesn’t need to keep us from accepting and loving our differences, because those differences can bring us great advantages.

When we don’t feel shame for being different we can take our place in creating a world for others. After all, we are the creators, innovators, doers, and adventurers who create jobs and goods for the people who are made to manage and run day-to-day realities. ADDers are born entrepreneurs, though some of us have a bit to learn about being effective in that role. We are the inventors, sleuths, and problem solvers that make life better for the non-ADDers. We can best do that when we step up and embrace the gifts of our neurological type.

There’s no room for shame, by us or anyone, when we have so much to give. We can’t give of ourselves when we are hiding in denial and shame. Start healing that shame. Start unleashing your talents. The world needs you.

What a pity if you deny your birth right.

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