Updated: Mar 3
I will be honest about everything I am about to share here from the get-go. Writing about this frightens me so much! Ever since I began this diary series, I have wanted to write about this certain topic. It’s something I have constantly put off because facing the reality of it just feels too uneasy. Even to begin confronting it is something I’d consider a massive step. And at this moment, there’s a drive that’s pushing me to do so that is far greater than the fear that’s holding me back.
My work requires me to go head-to-head with the topic. Many individuals with ADHD that I have spoken with have expressed how this topic is the most profound, impactful and challenging aspect about going undiagnosed for many years. As you can see, I am still waffling around to avoid the confrontation! Time to take the plaster off…
Giving into harsh criticism
Statistics show that in the population to have ADHD, 75% of adults are unaware that they have ADHD and go undiagnosed. My heart dropped at the thought of people going about their lives thinking and believing detrimental things about themselves without realizing that the reason—and the key—for their challenges is ADHD.
Then, on the other hand, there’s 2.8% of adults that do get diagnosed including me; those who for years up until then believe that everything is their fault! Those of us who constantly viewed ourselves as lazy and useless, when in fact, this was not the case at all. When we view ourselves with such strong negative sentiment for years, it can be hard to see things clearly and look for a way forward.
The criticism that Indie dealt with:
I spent most of my childhood believing that I was lazy, useless and weird. I felt like I was not unique and worst of all, I felt as though it was not worth staying alive.
Years and years of not knowing the answers and the amount of energy I needed to exert into daily life exhausted me. On top of that, I also had to deal with how others labelled me. This ended up with me gradually internalising those labels and letting them become part of my identity.
Down the lane, I got my ADHD diagnosis but by that time, I had eventually given into the belief that the labels I received from others were who I was. Believing otherwise was out of the question.
The false belief I had formed around my identity was the biggest barrier that kept me from moving forward and creating the life I deserved. So, when I began receiving treatment for my ADHD, nothing seemed to work and I was at my wit’s end.
Things remained this way until I had an epiphany moment. I realized that it was the voice inside my head, the lack of self-compassion and all of the events that took place in between that were stopping me! I was tired of feeling this way and needed to break away from it. So, one day at a time and one criticism at a time, I started to overcome it. I started to overcome the false belief I had given into and replaced it with new perceptions that would help if I ever was going to fall back down the same dark rabbit hole again.
Let’s give this some context:
“Belief is an acceptance that something exists or is true, especially one without proof”
If a belief is something that we accept and choose to believe in, the question is, is it a fact?
A belief is something that we consider as true based on what we are told and therefore, the answer is no. We consciously or even unconsciously choose to believe in some things. However, some detrimental beliefs can be damaging as they begin to dictate our lives. They start acting as the foreground for many of the choices we make. Over time, they become more entrenched and we stop questioning them. They are just there. This is precisely why beliefs can be the most significant barrier to change. A belief acts like a big comfy blanket!
It is much easier to stay within our comfort zone where things are all familiar and safe. Needless to say, a comfort zone, after all, involves routine and no risks. Similarly, falling victim to a false belief like that mentioned earlier and remaining on the path is much easier than breaking away from it and in the meantime, facing anxiety, challenges and criticism while doing so. But sticking with this easier way out can hinder much valuable learning and growth.
So, how do we turn the volume down on false beliefs and replace them with new perceptions we can draw from? I would love to say there is a simple potion to implement this. However, truthfully, there is no easy way to step outside of the comfort zone and let go of the things you once used to believe!
Here are my top tips for breakings away from a false belief one at a time:
Ask yourself if you are ready: Pause and see whether you are mentally prepared to evaluate the rigid beliefs you’ve given into, and decide if it is the right time to start rewiring your thoughts and stepping out of your comfort zone. A willing mindset is important if you want to reap results that can help you realize your true self.
Identify the criticism upon which you have formed your belief: Observing as a spectator with no judgment on and attachment to your life can make things clearer. Think about your past and current experiences; look at your choices, how you speak to yourself, and your main focus.
Question them: Once identified, start by asking yourself: is this true or is it a label given by someone else? How is this serving me right now? What evidence or facts do I have to support this?
Look at the other side of the coin: When we begin to question them, some cracks start to form, and the next phase is looking at the opposite side of the coin. What are the facts and what are the false perceptions? What is the other side to this?
Find and record the evidence: When we have lived for years basing our experiences on our beliefs, it can be hard to question and begin believing in something new. An excellent way to start is by recording the factual evidence of things we do well and the successes in our lives to help us realise our true qualities!
The years of pain and discomfort you experienced while being undiagnosed will live on in your memories, and I acknowledge how difficult it can be to overcome them. It might be hard to break free from the harsh criticism you’ve faced your whole life, as well as the ideas you have accepted. However, taking that step of leaving your comfort zone and re-evaluating your understanding of yourself will be the most significant move forward in achieving the life and mentality you desire!
Please remember, you are enough!