Why Does My ADHD Make Me Feel Stupid? (6 Things To Help)

A man is slapping his forehead like he made a mistake or feels stupid

Since I was a child, I have always felt like something was wrong with me. I felt like an outsider or an outcast. Things seemed harder for me than they did for everyone else.

Sometimes concepts that my classmates easily picked up on, made me feel stupid.

It wasn’t until I was in my thirties, and finally received my ADHD diagnosis that everything suddenly made sense.

I know I am not the only one that feels like my ADHD makes me feel stupid at times,

But why does this happen? And what can those of us with ADHD do about it?

Why do people with ADHD feel stupid?

1) People with ADHD often have learning disabilities

Did you know that research shows that learning disabilities are prevalent in people with ADHD? According to this study, it could be up to 70% of people with ADHD.

Learning disabilities, especially undiagnosed ones can cause many problems in all areas of school and learning new information.

Knowing this fact makes it more understandable by people with ADHD often feel stupid.

2) They struggle in school

When you have ADHD and already have trouble paying attention, having a learning disability on top of that means the odds are completely stacked against you.

It doesn’t help that those of us with ADHD often also struggle with our memory, and staying organized.

Despite this, it doesn’t mean that all people with ADHD get bad grades. In fact, some of us that have ADHD excelled in school, but only because we were masking our symptoms and trying extremely hard to fit in.

Society still tends to think that our intelligence is based on the grades we get in school, and that is not an accurate way to measure real intelligence.

3) They like to learn topics that interest them

Often, when someone with ADHD is learning about something that interests them they can become really fast learners. In fact, people with ADHD can often become hyperfocused on a topic that they enjoy and learn anything and everything they can about it.

Unfortunately, this can also be true for the opposite. If they find something boring, they can have trouble learning about it, paying attention to it, or remembering it.

4) They speak before they think

When you have ADHD, your brain is usually traveling 100 miles a minute with several trains of thought flying in every single direction. It is easy for your mouth to move independently from your conscious thought sometimes.

People with ADHD also struggle with impulse control.

This can lead to you feeling “dumb” if you didn’t think before you blurted something out.

5) They struggle with communication

Expressing yourself can be difficult if you have ADHD.

Not only do people with ADHD often have trouble with thought recall, and information retrieval but being able to articulate all of those complex thoughts and emotions into one stream of intelligent words can seem impossible.

6) They struggle with executive dysfunction

Executive dysfunction means that people with ADHD often struggle with prioritizing tasks, managing time, making decisions and organizing.

This leads to many people with ADHD struggling to start tasks. When you think you can’t accomplish something that may feel simple to neurotypical, it can be easy to see what that may make someone who struggles with ADHD feel stupid.

7) They can’t multitask successfully

Focusing on one thing can be hard if you have ADHD, but for most people with ADHD they actually thrive when they are trying to do more than one thing at once, since that is how their brains are naturally wired.

The problem comes with competing tasks successfully if you are always jumping from one task to the next. You might end up with a bunch of unfinished tasks all at different levels of completion.

It doesn’t help that people with ADHD also spend so much energy trying to pay attention to the thing they know they need to do, or even masking their ADHD symptoms, that they have no energy left for anything else.

8) They lack impulse control

When you struggle with making impulsive decisions, it can mean that you often know better, but you make the same mistakes over and over again.

This isn’t because you are stupid, it just means you have trouble controlling your impulses.

It is an infographic with 8 reasons why people with ADHD feel stupid

What can you do to stop feeling stupid?

1) Stop rushing yourself

It is completely okay if you need to take a few moments to collect yourself and sort through your thoughts before answering a question or continuing with a conversation.

Giving yourself those few extra moments might even give people the impression that you are carefully considering the conversation or answer… which technically you are.

2) Stop pointing out and focusing on your mistakes

It can be easy to understand why people with ADHD may become embarrassed if they make a mistake, blank on a question, or fail an exam.

However, you are often your own worst critic, and people might not have even realized when you’ve screwed up until you got flustered and pointed it out in the first place.

3) Stop calling yourself stupid

Negative self-talk is a common thing for those of us with ADHD. It doesn’t help that our inner voices tend to repeat what we hear from other people, or things that other people say directly to us.

When we say something to ourselves often enough, eventually we start to believe it.

4) Focus on self-care

Having ADHD is hard enough, thinking that we are stupid just makes everything worse.

If we are able to make our self-care a priority and treat ourselves how we deserve it can improve our self-confidence, and may even improve some of our ADHD symptoms.

5) Improve your self-esteem

Feeling stupid stems from our self-esteem. If we can find ways to increase our confidence and learn to truly love ourselves, we will stop thinking we are stupid.

6) Focus on your strengths

If we are able to focus on the things we are truly good at, and enjoy, it can help to boost our self-esteem and make us feel great about ourselves.

Final thoughts…

Struggling with ADHD is hard enough on it’s own. Feeling stupid because of the way that other people make us feel, or the way we make ourselves feel is something that we can prevent.

No one can make us feel anything we don’t want to feel.

The key to this type of control is working on our self-care and building up our self-love and self-worth. When those things are strong, the opinions of others will slide off you, and your own opinion of yourself will be bulletproof.

It can be difficult to know how to do that, or where to start. That is exactly why I started this blog in the first place. To share what I’ve learned and my own experience with others in order to help them.

You have come to the right place.

I hope these ideas help.

Remember, you are not stupid.

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