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How to Regain Confidence: The Power Struggle of ADHD and Self-Esteem 

In order to have a more neurodiverse inclusive and welcoming community, we must understand that ADHDers are not characteristically flawed and do not choose their neurodiversity. Within many communities, there are high reports of bullying and blame towards those with ADHD. It is often heard that those with ADHD simply need to ‘try harder’, ‘it’s not that difficult’ and that ‘you are choosing to act this way’. These claims are simply incorrect. Hate and blame will not make ADHD traits disappear. The only possible outcome from those phrases is a drop in self-esteem. 

By Izabella Helbin


Current research shows that individuals with ADHD tend to have lower self-esteem than their neurotypical peers.

This can be due to: 


People do not always recognize ADHD to be a condition affecting daily functioning. Parents are more likely to act cold towards their children with ADHD because they simply do not understand how it feels being in their shoes. Other children are also prone to bullying classmates with ADHD traits. Studies have been conducted in various school systems and have shown that for every 15 negative comments a child with ADHD receives, there is only one positive comment. 

Lack of accommodation.

Certain setbacks such as organisation and time management can be challenging, and those with ADHD often do not get the full accomodations required. This can result in fewer chances to show their full potential! 

However, the best part of hitting these low points is the journey all the way to the top. How can we override these feelings of insecurity and self-doubt? How do we bring ourselves to our full potential when we feel like everything else is fighting against us? 

Focus on your strengths. Take some time to learn about yourself and your own strengths. Figure out which tasks and activities you excel in, and most importantly which ones you truly enjoy doing. Rather than spending excessive amounts of time on tasks that are challenging, prioritise the tasks that you are great at. Then, apply this to all areas of your everyday life! 

Develop your personal skills. Skills such as time management and meal planning can be detrimental to your self-esteem if not properly addressed. Putting some time aside out of your busy week to take care of them can truly create a big difference in your personal outlook on life. 

Try not to compare yourself to others. One of the most challenging but crucial steps to inner happiness is not comparing yourself to anyone else. It can be difficult looking around the classroom and seeing your friends easily paying attention in class and completing tasks that you found difficult. We have to remember that everyone has some doubts and insecurities on the inside, even if they do not show it. There is always someone else wishing for the life you have. Every single person has their own difficulties, and the more we can acknowledge that, the more that we can appreciate our own lives. 

Surround yourself with positive people. Why put yourself in situations where you feel you have to prove yourself to your friends? Find people who uplift you, understand you, and make you feel confident. This can be family, friends, or even an ADHD support group. Surround yourself with people that express warm feelings and acceptance, as well as those who have the ability to consider every perspective of the situation. 

Author's Note

Remember, this may not come quickly or easily. We are always growing, evolving and working to reach our fullest potential. Accept yourself for who you are and understand that it is okay to be easy on yourself, without trying to change or “fix” yourself. 


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