It’s October 31st so of course I have Halloween on my mind – scary ghosts, wicked vampires and long-legged creepy spiders!
And…I will admit that my bowl of treats (my favorites are Reese Peanut Butter Cups) is sitting by the door waiting for my neighborhood to knock with a few pieces missing.
This is the time of year when we put on costumes and look forward to being tricked or spooked! That is the fun kind of scared. The kind that gets your adrenaline going, your heart pumping and then laughing when you realize that once again your son put that giant rubber rat sitting on your kitchen floor and tricked you!
But what about those other fears? The ones we usually don’t talk about that keep us up at night? Or drain our energy? The ones that last year-round and keep us from living the life we want? Fears about the future, our jobs, our relationships…our ADHD? Fears that lurk in those dark, lonely places of our mind and haunt us.
Ghostly ADHD fears – no, not actual ghosts. I mean the thinly veiled, always lurking, lives in the shadows fear that has made you work incredibly hard to hide your ADHD. The fears you keep hidden behind the daily façade you put up, ones just waiting to come out and reveal the “truth”. Fear that people will see through your intelligence, creativity, good job or successes to the unorganized, forgetful, easily distracted ADHD person underneath. The fear that once these things are known, all we have will disappear and we will be seen as someone less than, incompetent, or irresponsible.
Reality behind the fear? These fears, like ghosts, have no substance. And like ghosts they live in the past and we keep them alive only by believing in them. The truth is we live now, in the present. And today, in the now, it’s likely everyone around you already knows these things about you…and guess what? The ones that matter, love you anyway.
Vampire Fears – the ones that drain you. These ADHD fears exhaust you because they keep you up at night and suck the energy from you during the day. The ‘What ifs’…what if my ADHD keeps me from getting that promotion? What if my spouse gets fed up with my forgetting things? What if my son has ADHD? These ADHD fears never stop, they feed on your life, leave you feeling empty.
Reality behind the fear? This worrying is not going to change one thing and often results in bringing to life your worst fears coming true. Instead, notice the fear, ask yourself if this is something you can change and begin to channel your worry into action – shining a light on our fears helps us see them for what they – much smaller once the dark shadows are gone.
Creeping Spider Fears – these are the worst. That creeping sensation that something is wrong with you because you have ADHD. These fears crawl along your skin and settle there quietly, waiting for just the right moment when success or even possibility is within reach. It’s then that they show themselves and we are caught helpless in the ‘I don’t deserve this’ or ‘I can’t do that’ web.
Reality behind the fear? You can do anything! ADHD is not an excuse or a reason that you can’t do or have the life you want. These fears have no hold over you if you stop struggling and learn how to maximize and leverage your other strengths.
We all have fears…and when living with ADHD they can creep into our minds at any moment. They are thoughts…not actual things…that hold us back and prevent us from success and experiencing life the way we want.
Knowing the difference between what’s “real” and what we’ve made up to believe and is no longer true or serving us is key in being able to minimize those fears that keep us stuck so we can enjoy all the tricks and treats of ADHD along the way!