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ADHD in Women

Feeling like less of a woman

I know that we all can do better at accepting ourselves for who we are and celebrating the good things in life - today is hard for me though - seriously, it is so hard to do it all…

I sometimes…

exercise
put on makeup
do my hair
clean the house consistently
want to work
want to talk to people
want to try something new
want to quit

I am not a mother biologically but I have a wonderful boyfriend with 3 kids from his former marriage - they are here on weekends and I sometimes enjoy playing the role of mom and lately I am not loving it - they irritate me more often that not…

It just seems like there is no way to live consistently with ADHD - and to be honest - it feels like I spend all of my time trying to manage my ADHD rather than actually living - I use to have a very high profile career - since I was laid off last year I have struggled - I feel like I shouldn’t go back to corporate because it was really stressful for me - yet I cannot get out of my own way to do anything else - I was offered a job at the local library part-time for basically minimum wage - I can’t do it - maybe its ego, maybe I think I deserve more…it just seems that having ADHD as a woman is a double-whammy to the soul…

Just needed to get all that out of my head!

Replies

Hiya hon, sounds like you are a bit depressed.  ADHD is crappy and hard to deal with.  I agree.  I am currently prego, and I do worry about how good a mother I will be.  I used to have a decent career, but as I also support my Asperger hubby, so he can work, and earn a great salary, i feel like a ghost sometimes.

But, I am doing things for myself, I am doing voluntary work, and I am keen to keep building on things to achieve my dreams, it just might not be in the order I originally thought!

Try to focus on the good things that you benefit from ADHD, because to be honest, you can’t be that useless, when you had a high profile career - you are clearly smart, educated and capable.

Big Hugs to you. smile

Posted by Wuftytufty on Apr 29, 2014 at 6:11pm

I’m so sorry that you’re having a hard time right now, BaT_PA!  Having ADHD as a woman is really, really hard sometimes. 

So many of the things we women are typically responsible for are things that are also typically hard for people with ADHD: managing housework & cleaning and all the mundane stuff that goes with it; managing social obligations; managing calendars and commitments, and on and on and on.  (Makes me tired just thinking about it!)

To boot, when we lose or have a significant change in our external structure (as you did when you got laid off), our ADHD characteristics often take over and make life even that much harder.

Many of us with ADHD also have some sort of coexisting condition—and mood disorders such as depression and anxiety—are among the most common. It may be worth talking with your doctor about how you’re feeling if you haven’t already.

Losing a job (regardless of the reason why) can also really mess with our self-esteem and self-concept.  As can a prolonged job search—which is usually the case in today’s economy.  So, you have more than your share right now!

I think the previous poster is right on—you really need to make sure you’re taking care of yourself and doing things for you, that you enjoy.  I tell my clients this is “feeding your soul”!  It’s as important as nourishing your body and your brain.

Doing the hard work that we need to do to learn to manage our lives with ADD has to have some sort of positive payoff for us, or it’s really hard for us to sustain the necessary effort.  If you’re not doing anything that you are looking forward to, you may start to feel “why bother” and
it sounds like you already may be there! 

You might also look at how you’re thinking about where you are right now:  What a great opportunity for you to do some things differently!  What hobbies/interests did you have in the past that you have let go of?  What dreams have you let fall by the wayside?  What do you love, and what lights that fire in your belly? What did you used to do for fun that you can bring back into your life?

Sometimes, when clients are in a dark place, that may even sound like effort and just “too much”.  What can you do today, that is for you and only you?  Read a book?  Take a bath? Watch a movie?  Call a friend and meet for lunch?

What’s one small thing you can do today for you, and only you?

or as my kids say, “Chin up, buttercup!”  This is only temporary ... smile

Just a few thoughts.  I hope something in there helps!

Lynne Edris, ACG
Life & ADHD Coach
http://www.CoachingADDvantages.com

Posted by ADD_Coach_Lynne on Apr 29, 2014 at 7:42pm

Thank you both!  The one thing that seems to be hanging me up is feeling selfish for taking time for me - I feel like if I am not busy being productive it is a bad day - I am sure 15 years of climbing the ladder put that mentality in me - I really am trying to appreciate the little things in life and this transition.

Posted by BaT_PA on Apr 30, 2014 at 3:40am

That’s pretty typical ADHD stuff, BaT_PA! 

I tell clients all the time, “You are MORE than a to-do list!” “Life is MORE than a to-do list!”

We seem to struggle with measuring ourselves by how much we get done—and we, unfortunately, use our atypical uber-productive days as the benchmark for what we SHOULD be able to do every day (you know, those days when the moon, sun and planets align just right and we’re super focused and productive!). 

Nobody works like that all the time, honestly. 

One of the most frustrating aspects of ADHD is the inconsistency. One of the most challenging aspects (and probably the one that causes the most pain and long-term anguish in adults) is that it’s the EASY stuff that’s hard for us. The everyday stuff that “neuro-typicals” make look so easy (the stuff that’s not rocket science) is the stuff we struggle with. 

We know we’re smart enough to do those things. We know we’re intelligent enough to do those things.  Yet we still struggle to do those things.  So, internally, the dialogue seems to take on moral undertones: the reason we don’t do those things is that we must be lazy/undisciplined/selfish.  And that internal dialogue continues.  For years, and years, and years for many of us. 

The stuff that truly is rocket science, so to speak, is the stuff that’s easy for us. I guarantee you have some unusual or atypical talents and skills that the majority of people walking around don’t possess.  There are things that you do so easily, like second nature, that other people can’t even imagine doing.  Yet you take those talents and abilities for granted because they’re easy for you (“if I can do it, it must be no big deal).

And let’s talk about what’s really important in the big picture of people (while I’m on a rant here)!  In the realm of personal character in the people you choose to surround yourself with, how important is it to you that they’re really good at filing?  How important is it to you that they are totally on top of their laundry, and that the never go to bed with dishes in the sink? 

I’m guessing, not very important at all!  Is it important that they’re kind?  Is it important that they’re sensitive and empathetic?  Is it important that they have a good heart?  You betcha!

Stop gauging your worth by how much housework you get done in a day!  Stop gauging your worth by how much you get crossed off of that to-do list! 

Once you learn to take that pressure off yourself and get your head in a better perspective, those things simply become things that need to get done in the day.  They are no longer emotionally charged with guilt and shame and self-flagellation.  And you can use that beautiful, wondrous out-of-the-box ADD mind of yours to come up with ways to make sure they get done—after you feed your soul with the things that really matter in life. 

This is the kind of thinking I hear from my clients all the time, and it’s the kind of thinking that holds them back until we can work on turning it around.  It truly is the key to learning to live well WITH your ADHD, and reach your potential.

Sorry for the rant!

I think I may have just written next month’s newsletter article here !  LOL

Lynne Edris, ACG
Life & ADHD Coach http://www.CoachingADDvantages.com

Posted by ADD_Coach_Lynne on Apr 30, 2014 at 4:03am

Love your response Coach Lynne. I struggle with the SAME things. Great point about how we dont care how clean our friends homes are…. but at the same time, my husband cares about how clean our house is. Which reminds me, I am supposed to find someone to clean our home. That will help some but they wont be here everyday to pick up after me. 

I was diagnosed with ADD last June and sometimes I question if I really have ADD. I have no problem paying attention but my husband said I miss some things…. hmm. I know that I function much better with my adderall but who wouldnt? I didnt exhibit any ADD symptoms as a child- but I’ve always been a daydreamer. I was a colicky baby and I have a smidge of dyslexia. The main reason I think I have ADD is because I didnt know how to organize my day and I couldnt finish my to do list even while I was unemployed for over a year. My mom says it was depression but I wasnt depressed the entire time. I learned to enjoy my life and be thankful that I didnt NEED to work.  Since I started working full time, I have no idea how to manage work, household chores AND a husband. I need help.
I’m wide awake at 1am because my medication keeps me up so I’m rambling. Just had to get this off my chest. I’ve been thinking this for a few days

Posted by ms.monet on Apr 30, 2014 at 9:08am

Hi BaT_PA!

Taking care of yourself IS being productive. The oxygen mask theory applies—you can only do your best for others after you have set yourself for success.

If you can do without the income, I like the idea of volunteer work to keep busy and feel productive. But, if you thrive on the pace and control of corporate leadership, that truly may be where your bliss is, despite the stress it comes with.

Take care of YOU, and everything else will fall into place.

Penny
ADDconnect Moderator & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Apr 30, 2014 at 4:58pm

What a generous community I have found - thank you all so much.

I am in medication (Ritalin and Prozac) and have been for 2 years since my diagnosis (at age 35).  I am a classic giver - I never come first and I do flogg myself emotionally whenever I get a slight inclination of doing something just for me - or being excited about something that no one else in my life cares about.  I am very good at persecuting myself! 

I didn’t mention that after my layoff we did start a small family bakery that while on hold for now is hoping to be back up and running in the next month - that is joy!  I am also trying to drum up contract consulting work (I am a HR professional by career) to fill in the $ gaps. 

I just seem to get the ADHD rut thing hard at times - today I feel amazing - yesterday I wanted to leave for the moon.  My BF loves when ADHD Beth comes to visit - ha ha!

You are all wonderful!

Posted by BaT_PA on Apr 30, 2014 at 11:37pm

Glad you’re feeling better today!  The bakery sounds amazing!!  What a great way to channel some joy!!  So much of it truly is between our ears, isn’t it?!

One thing I forgot to mention, is that if you can find an ADHD support group near you, that can be a tremendous boost!  If you don’t know of any already, you can check the CHADD website (chadd.org) or meetup.com . 

If the PA in your handle happens to be for Pennsylvania, I run a free group that meets monthly in the Harrisburg area (Mechanicsburg, actually).  It’s a long shot, but figured I’d throw it out there anyway!

Best of luck!

Lynne

Lynne Edris, ACG Life & ADHD Coach
http://www.CoachingADDvantages.com

Posted by ADD_Coach_Lynne on May 01, 2014 at 12:10am

Thanks Lynne - I am in PA (Pittsburgh area) - I will find the group here. 

I also signed a client contract at the end of this week so I am feeling confident - it is a 4 month gig in my sweet spot of HR consulting so I am feeling strong and needed.  I also got a call for a position that is a major career opportunity for me - which I do really miss - so all things on the up.  There is a plan for me - and I appreciate the support from this group - being in my head has always been my struggle!

Posted by BaT_PA on May 04, 2014 at 6:25pm

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