If you wish to read last months newsletter it is on my website


ADHD & Self Esteem-Where did mine go?


Patrick J. Hurley

February 2004 Volume I Issue II

Statement: My intent in this newsletter is to express as quickly as possible my own beliefs and opinions on matters. I have no problems with people who disagree with my opinion and have even been swayed to rethink my position from time to time. addcorridorcoach@aol.com

Dear Friends:

I wanted to let you know that a book many years in the making is almost done, it is authored by me and Robert Eme Ph.D. and will be titled Spinning out of control- ADHD and the Criminal Justice System. It is designed for the police, jails, judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, probation, prisons, halfway houses and parole officials . To learn more and get updates click here.


Self esteem or rather struggling with it seems to be one of the major underlying conditions in persons with ADHD. This can usually be traced back to events of childhood where we always seemed to struggle with coping with life’s everyday problems as well as most other kids did. This may have caused us stress from parents, teachers and friends. Many of them (and a lot of us) did not know anything about ADHD at the time.

These people would see us maybe doing well in one subject and completely struggling with another subject. We were probably very bright and so this poor performance in an unrelated subject area was attributed as -lack of motivation- or -not working up to potential-. My report cards were full of these. In fact I can remember that the report cards we had even had a little check list box of good and bad traits we showed in school and the teacher just had to check the box after giving you your C, D or F.

The students with good grades got -outstanding effort-, -works hard and is prepared- and similar check marks next to their A’s & B’s.

We may have been able to recite back every commercial jingle from television ads and sing the theme song to every popular television show but ask us to do a word math problem or get our multiplication tables down seemed like crossing the ocean without a boat. If our parents, teachers and friends didn’t understand these discrepancies they didn’t know it, but they could join our club because we didn’t understand either.

Believe me a young child wants in the worst way to fit in and be –normal-. The effort and time it takes to deal with the fact that we don’t, far exceed the effort and time it would take us to deal with its negative ramifications. In other words it’s more work to not fit in than it is to fit in. Many of us were blamed for -lack of willpower-; being –lazy- and -not caring- when in fact these are exactly the opposite of what we actually wanted. We just couldn’t seem to show this to anyone. Their criticisms of us seem valid to us when we honestly looked at ourselves. We may have tried to overcome them and still had problems.

At any rate over time, we validated others claims and our own feelings of being lazy, not caring and lacking will power. Couple these with other problems such as blurting out whatever might come to our mind, like telling our best friend -you have bad breath- and realizing too late, about the same time as -………ad breath- is coming out of our mouths as we try in vain to pull the words back into our mouths. The result is another lost friendship, another person mad at us, another person who will probably gossip about us and loss of more self esteem.

If we remain quiet in class that is viewed negatively, if we speak up in class it will probably be too excess and that won’t be good. If we wait to be called on we never know that answer, if the teacher asks a question and we think we know the answer we blurt it out before anyone else gets a chance to raise their hand so the teacher knows that we know. Somehow this manages to be unacceptable to everyone too. We try raising our hand and waving it violently at the same time and biting our tongue and the teacher calls on someone else. Heaven forbid that we blurt out an answer or wave our hand to answer and end up with the wrong answer.

All of this we carry through as we mature through youth and adolescents and into adulthood. Depending on how we manage to cope we can become fairly well accepted or become so oppositional and difficult that we reject anyone and everyone in authority. If we start to blame others for all our problems we are starting down a very dangerous pathway. If we beat ourselves up inside it is not healthy either. Finding the middle ground is not easy.

We need to start educating ourselves about this disorder called ADHD as early as possible. Talk to knowledgeable people about their experiences and efforts to attempt to overcome self esteem issues. Knowledge is power when it comes to dealing with ADHD. I think it is more powerful than drugs or our own motivation. Be prepared for set backs. Expect some successes as well. Find people who accept you for who you are as long as they have good morals, are honest and sincere. It is easy to get into the wrong crowd just to get accepted. The problem is they will use you and when they are done get rid of you like a bag of trash. The better people will be harder to find but they are out there and worth the effort in finding at any age.

A friend told me that 90% of the people don’t care about your problems and the other 10% are glad you have them. I like to think a –little- more optimistically. 90% of people don’t care about my problems, 9% are glad I have them and 1% really do care. Doesn’t sound like many people? But if there are 280 million people in the United States I will bet you don’t know anywhere near 2.8 million of them (1 %).

My advice to people with ADHD and self esteem issues is to set some small goals. Let’s say cleaning out a small closet. Put a deadline on when it has to be done. Sometime tomorrow like 9:00pm (not next week). Commit to doing it. Find someone to be with you, not to help but to let you know to stay on task when you find the inevitable photo album or other distraction. Allow yourself enough time to get the project done and then accomplish it. You may be surprised at how soon you can get done. You may even start beating yourself up over not having done it sooner….DON’T do this. Stay aware of the positive thing you accomplished. Reward yourself briefly. Now set another small goal.

Every time you accomplish a small task it will build your self esteem and can have a compounding affect over time. If you can’t get to the project (it will happen) reset a time in the immediate future to do it. Don’t let procrastination be the reason you can’t accomplish this task. Don’t let procrastination be the winner in the battle. In order to gain self esteem procrastination has to become our enemy.

Remember that absolutely no one on this earth cares about you or what will happen to you as much as you. Not even your parents no matter how much they love you or even your spouse. I know it sounds scary but if you want your life to be better it’s up to you to make it happen. When you think of it no one else has the incentive, and besides they are probably having their own problems they should be dealing with.

If you are looking for bargains on E-bay related to ADHD you can click on this site


FIRST EVER Poster devoted to ADHD view at: http://www.addcorridorcoaching.com/poster.asp

If you know on anyone who might like this newsletter please forward it to them and tell them to go to my web site http://www.addcorridorcoaching.com and sign up.

Have a great month. Talk to you soon.

Patrick J. Hurley

Author's Bio: 

I am 50 years old. Diagnosed with ADHD at age 42. I am anADHD Coach in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I am married and have 4adult children. Deputy Sheriff 17 years. Probation Officer for 5 years. http://www.addcorridorcoaching.com