Why be ashamed

by Stephanie Hurd in Self esteem
October 23, 2013 0 comments

We’re taught to be ashamed of confusion, anger, fear and sadness, and to me they’re of equal value to happiness, excitement and inspiration.
Alanis Morissette


I like this quote by Alanis Morissette…it means a lot to me as a person. All emotions need to be evaluated when one has ADHD as well as any other disability. The emotions are valuable in seeing what you have.

You see, when I was confused about why other kids were always half a step above me, I was supposed to feel shame for not having the report card others did. Even though I helped some of them study for their exams, they would get 80% – 90% on their test…whereas I couldn’t focus on the multiple choice sheet. I couldn’t tell where the columns began or ended—there were too many circles. I would put questions in wrong areas of the sheet…sometimes accidently skipping a question, thus my whole sheet was mixed up.

By the time I realized this, we were often far in the test. I would see people getting up and was afraid I was almost out of time. I would then just fill in the rest of the sheet, figuring I had failed anyway—ergo I might as well give up. They had A’s…I would have mainly C’s and D’s.

This was due to shame—confusion based shame as I couldn’t figure out what teachers called “Something all kids should be able to do, fill out a multiple choice sheet”. I felt I had to hide this confusion. I tried many ways to remedy my test taking skills…somehow, I would still mess up.


When I was angry about when my father would tease me about symptoms of ADHD and then tell me there was no such thing as ADHD, I was punished for getting angry—which made me feel shame for getting mad.

I was angry because I was supposed to just do it and stop making excuses. It is frustrating when you are paralyzed in your mind, where your brain says, “No I can’t!” Your body then proceeds to also shut down. However, no one believes you have this problem. You’re told, “How is it you can write a story for four hours, putting all this care in, but you can’t focus on cleaning a room for ten minutes?”

When you tell them you don’t know—they press you…a person is bound to be angry. So essentially, I was punished for having ADHD and being pushed until I was upset. I was given more shame for anger over things I couldn’t change.


If I was afraid to do something on my own because I didn’t feel comfortable, I was taught to feel shame. I was laughed at for wanted someone to hold my hand and show me where I was supposed to go with it. When sweeping, people would steal my broom, stating, “You always are so slow and you miss things.” I was then afraid to do those tasks as I thought I would never get it right.


I became saddened because people wanted me to be mute about the joy I felt knowing this symptom was part of ADHD or that symptom explained why I did in that fashion. My ADHD became a curse instead of a joy. They would say, “Stop making excuses!” or “Always have to talk about ADHD like a broken record going round and round. “

Why couldn’t I be happy that I knew ADHD wasn’t a made up thing and all the symptoms were me? I didn’t understand why they looked upon it as a thing I should hide. It was something really, to be celebrated. I finally admitted I had ADHD and was excited to find my weaknesses so I could work on it and become better.

However, sometimes these feelings have to be celebrated. Being confused over tests didn’t last forever, eventually, a lot of my tests were on computers. My father eventually admitted ADHD was real…just reminded me not to use it as a crutch. When I have fear, I know it is more a feeling of being unsure versus fear. When you are unsure, you can ask questions and the fear goes away.

You see? Alanis was right, those feelings are nothing to be ashamed of—they are who you are.

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