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Turn Around Negative ADHD Self-Talk

You know that little voice — your negative ADHD self-talk voice. When your ADHD is on lock, that voice can be destructive. This week: how do you manage that little voice when ADHD is having a very good day?

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Coupled with distraction, negative ADHD self-talk is scrawled on the box describing ADHD. If we were in a global competition, we’d gold medal in it. When your ADHD is on lock, that voice can be destructive. This week: how do you manage that little voice when ADHD is having a very good day?

How often do you hear it in your own voice? I’m always late. I can never stop when I need to. I can never get started.

This is a symptom of ADHD and we all have it in some fashion or another. And as this is a conversation that is part of our transitions series, we have to remind you that when you are struggling with making context shifts, you’re likely celebrating with negative self language. You’re not broken. You’re not doing anything wrong. It is… exactly what it is.

This week on the show, Nikki and Pete are talking about this negative self-talk and ADHD and how you can start reprogramming your brain toward self-kindness and compassion.

Oh, and if you have any trouble with that, you should take some advice from Nikki and listen to a little of her favorite music.


Episode Transcript

Brought to you by The ADHD Podcast Community on Patreon

Pete Wright: Hello everybody and welcome to Taking Control The ADHD podcast on true story FM. I’m Pete Wright and I’m here with Nikki Kinzer.

Nikki Kinzer: Hello everyone. Hello, Pete Wright.

Pete Wright: Oh, Nikki Kinzer, how are you this fine fair day?

Nikki Kinzer: I’m doing pretty well. How about you?

Pete Wright: I’m doing great.

Nikki Kinzer: You’re doing great.

Pete Wright: I’m doing great. Yes, we saw my daughter off to college. It was an emotional weekend. I’ll just leave it at that. It was hard. You have that coming up.

Nikki Kinzer: I do.

Pete Wright: I wish you all the best.

Nikki Kinzer: Thank you.

Pete Wright: [inaudible 00:00:47] Ready.

Nikki Kinzer: I know right. Yeah, for sure.

Pete Wright: Today, as a result of my own little emotional storm this weekend, we are going to be talking about turning that negative self-talk upside down. Well, turning it around, but every time I hear turn-

Nikki Kinzer: You want to turn it upside down.

Pete Wright: … I think frown and I need to turn it upside down, so that’s what we’re doing.

Nikki Kinzer: I like that.

Pete Wright: We’re turning our frowns upside down, talking about negative self-talk. As we have been preparing this, I’m seeing the chat trickle in about, "Oh goodness. Yes, this is something I need to hear today." I agree. I think this is a perennial favorite, this topic for those of us tracking in ADHD. So I’m pretty excited about that, before we do that head over to take control adhd.com. You can get to know us a little bit better. Listen to the show right there on the website, or subscribe to the mailing list and we’ll send you an email each time a new episode is released. Connect with us on Twitter or Facebook at take control ADHD and if this show has ever touched you, head over to Patreon. Patreon is listener supported podcasting and that’s where we have our membership program.

Pete Wright: That’s where it lives at patrion.com/the ADHD podcast and if you go there, you can sign up and for a few bucks a month, you get access to perks. You get access to the double, triple secret discord channels that we have in our discord server for communicating with our community, with ADHD, they’re good people, and also you can watch the live streams, chat right along with the shows there, and we have new Patreon goals coming very soon.

Nikki Kinzer: Yes.

Pete Wright: The new Patreon goal is the new Pete podcast and I can’t-

Nikki Kinzer: That’s a good name too, The New Pete podcast.

Pete Wright: The New Pete podcast.

Nikki Kinzer: Every week we come up with something new.

Pete Wright: The problem is that when it comes down to actually launch the show, I’m going to have to listen to all of these intros to catch each of the names because I don’t know what we’re going to call it at this point. I don’t know.

Nikki Kinzer: Oh right now It’s The New Pete.

Pete Wright: It’s The New Pete podcast. All right, so that’s coming very soon. We’re very excited about it. We, we had set a goal in order to be able to [Brinkley 00:02:53] afford to do a second podcast. We need to hit a certain limit, so any help you can give us by joining now, if you’ve ever thought about it, now’s really the time. If you want to help push us over the proverbial hump and help us start this whole new property, it’s going to be very exciting. Members only, this podcast does not go to the public. You won’t be able to find it in iTunes. You won’t be able to find it on Apple podcasts or Spotify. It is just for you, the people who support the show. So that’s the whole idea, very excited about that, so that’s it, patrion.com/the ADHD podcasts.

Nikki Kinzer: This is the topic. So this is the last show of our series around transitions. As I was thinking about this show, you might think, well, what does negative self-talk have to do with transitions? But when you really think about it, negative self-talk really has something to do with everything.

Pete Wright: Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: So I almost feel, anytime we’ve wrap up a topic or theme, the last show of that theme should be turning that frown upside down, because the reason I say that is that, negative self-talk is, it just happens way too much, and it happens so much with ADHDs, not only during transitions, but at any time. So I always think that these conversations are really important to have, to remember that we need to be kind to ourselves, especially when you’re being challenged by your ADHD and with transitions it can easily happen. Just to give you a quick example, I’m always late, I can never stop when I need to. I can never start. It’s always hard to go from one thing to another. So it’s really easy to get into the negative self-talk when you’re transitioning, either big or small transitions. So today I have a few reminders of why and how to be nicer to yourself, Pete. Right?

Pete Wright: How dare you. What if I’m comfortable in my pain?

Nikki Kinzer: No. We got to get that out, got to get the pain out.

Pete Wright: Get that pain out.

Nikki Kinzer: Let the sunshine in.

Pete Wright: Oh Okay. Where do you want to start? Let me just say, just so we can all put our curiosities to rest. I did find the song, twist your frown upside down from Teen Beach two.

Nikki Kinzer: Nice.

Pete Wright: And I posted that in discord. So you’re welcome everyone.

Nikki Kinzer: You’re welcome.

Pete Wright: Now we know. Okay.

Nikki Kinzer: That’s right.

Pete Wright: You may continue.

Nikki Kinzer: All right. Well, first thing I want to say is we need to validate the idea that transitions are difficult and they are more difficult with ADHD. So you’re not making this up. This is not just a you problem. It is a symptom of living with ADHD. You’re not doing anything wrong and that’s the most important thing to remember, that when your ADHD is challenging you, it’s not you doing something wrong, and it’s so easy for people to quickly come to the conclusion that they’ve done something wrong, or they should have done something differently.

Pete Wright: Yeah, and especially it’s magnified by the fact that your challenge with transitions does not look like my challenge with transitions.

Nikki Kinzer: Right.

Pete Wright: Right. That we have different troubles with changing states and experiences.

Nikki Kinzer: Absolutely. You may have different troubles and states, at different times in your life too.

Pete Wright: Yeah, right.

Nikki Kinzer: I mean, it can always look different. There isn’t any recipe that is hard and true. The thing with transitions too, because we do know that they are hard and things don’t always go as planned. I just want to re-emphasize that this is not your fault. ADHD is not a character flaw. It can’t be cured. So what we need to do is the best that you can do and move on and just know that dwelling on past experience is not going to save you into the future, and whether that experience happened early this morning, or 10 years ago, because it’s really easy to remember the thing that happened 10 years ago, too. So really being kind to ourselves and remembering what is happening.

Pete Wright: Oh my God. It’s the pain of 10 years ago that I remember, it’s like it happened yesterday. That’s what my ADHD does to me. It is like it happened yesterday. I don’t remember the good stuff. The birth of my children might be foggy and emotional, but my God do I remember how I chewed out my boss ill advisedly in an elevator?

Nikki Kinzer: Yes. Exactly.

Pete Wright: Because I couldn’t handle my work transition. Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah. So we have to just keep that in mind, that dwelling on it and thinking about it, isn’t going to help.

Pete Wright: Right.

Nikki Kinzer: But this is where we can use our growth mindset experience. Because remember we talked about growth mindset and fixed mindset. With growth mindset, what you can do is you can look at these experiences, but instead of feeling bad about them and beating yourself up over them. You can look and think, okay, what have I learned about myself? What are some options that I can try for next time? How can I make this transition a little bit easier? Do I need to put extra time? Do I need to take one less appointment? It’s that growth of opportunity. What’s the opportunity here, and know that this is the only way it’s going to always be.

Pete Wright: I’m going to ask you how you work with clients in that regard. Because having that set of questions is one thing, right. The growth oriented questions for myself, it’s one thing, I can post them up on the wall, over my monitor and I can have them in view. But I sometimes when I’m in that negative state, right, when I’m having trouble with the transition, it’s hard to transform into being the person willing and able to look at those questions. Right.

Nikki Kinzer: True.

Pete Wright: Do you know what I mean? How do you do that? How do you coach through that particular? It feels like walking through deep mud.

Nikki Kinzer: I think you lean into the feelings that you’re feeling at the time. I mean, I think that it’s okay to be upset. It’s okay to feel frustrated, but we don’t want to stay there. So I think you want to give yourself time to process and be able to do whatever you need to do to get yourself out of that negative spiral, which may be just time. It may be taking a walk. It may be saying, "I’m not going to continue this conversation until next week." [inaudible 00:10:01]

Pete Wright: Maybe going into a private space and beating up a pillow-

Nikki Kinzer: And be by yourself.

Pete Wright: … or crying or whatever, to let the emotions out. Right. Like it seems in my experience, it’s the emotions that are the block, right.

Nikki Kinzer: Right.

Pete Wright: That’s emotion blindness.

Nikki Kinzer: And I don’t think it’s healthy to not feel your emotions. Right.

Pete Wright: No.

Nikki Kinzer: I mean, because then you’re just pushing them down and they’re going to erupt at some point. In my own opinion and the way that I would coach somebody is feel what you need to feel process that, but know that you do have light at the end of the tunnel. You can get yourself out of this. Review the growth mindset. If you don’t remember what it is or how it works, when you start feeling better, think about, what can I do with this? What can I do to make this an opportunity and not feel so stuck or feel bad? I mean, I think it’s a process. I don’t think it happens overnight. I think, depending on the context of how serious the feelings are going to matter. But I do like the reminders. I know that sounds weird like well, I’m not going to really remember to look at those questions, but at some point you will look at them.

Pete Wright: Yes.

Nikki Kinzer: And it will trigger something to say, "Wait a minute, there’s a different way to think about this."

Pete Wright: Yeah. And I would say, you’re right, because that becomes the conditioning that you need when you’re not in an overly emotional state, that reminds you how to respond when you are in an emotional state. But the other thing you need to do when you’re not in an emotional state is find the way to role model your way through giving yourself permission to feel emotions completely, like you said, "To lean in to how you’re feeling." Sometimes it’s scary when you are confronted by this overwhelming need to cry or scream or punch a wall or something and sometimes you just need to do those things. I mean, maybe I will punch a wall, like protect it, protect your hands.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah.

Pete Wright: But to go through that experience and actually feel the emotions that you’re feeling, because we are genuinely not conditioned to do that, that’s not taught in schools and it is hard to do. So both of those things are best practiced when you’re not compromised. So that when you are compromised, it becomes instinct, like any other skill.

Nikki Kinzer: Absolutely. Well, my next point is that we want to acknowledge when things are going well. So if you have practiced some of these strategies that we’ve talked about with transitions, and in fact, one of the shows I even ask , do this, to really try to pick a strategy and try it this week. When you see success, acknowledge it, celebrate it, even if it’s just to yourself, because we are so prone to only focus on what’s wrong and we want to recognize what’s going well. We’ve talked about success journals before, and I’m a big believer in that, collect what you’re doing right, so that you can go back and look at that and say, "You know what, I’m a pretty cool person. I can do these things. I work hard. I persevere, I got this."

Nikki Kinzer: Be your own cheerleader and treat yourself the same way you would treat somebody else. That’s the thing that really, I think, hits home for a lot of people when I work with them is, the way you’re talking to yourself, is that how you would talk to your child? Is that how you would talk to your mother, your best friend, your partner? No, they would never think of doing that, so you have to also remember that you should treat yourself the exact same way you would treat anyone else that you love and appreciate yourself for that.

Pete Wright: Yeah. That is another skill that we do not develop naturally. Right. Learning how to celebrate the good things. Mostly because when good things happen to us, many of us are conditioned to feel somehow shame-

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah. Right.

Pete Wright: … that our successes or braggadocio, right? We are somehow crowing and it’s unearned crowing, and it looks bad. So finding that balance of authentically being able to celebrate when good things happen and when you accomplish good things and then to know when to shut up, show up and do the work. Right.

Nikki Kinzer: Right.

Pete Wright: That’s a really fine line and it takes practice when you’re not compromised.

Nikki Kinzer: That’s right. Absolutely. Well, and we’ve talked about limiting beliefs, which are definitely hand in hand with negative self-talk. One of the things that we have said in the show is, we want to acknowledge that the limiting belief is there. We also want to acknowledge that that negative self-talk is there. I ask you to really challenge yourself when you start to notice that you’re saying, "I should have done this," or "I could have done this," or "I can’t believe I didn’t think about that."

Pete Wright: I do that all the time.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah. I’m telling you, those are the little red flags that we have to just ignore and really challenge and say… because it really doesn’t matter, what you could have done, should have done or did do, because the only thing you really have control over right now is the present, and what do you do next? What can I do now? I know it’s so easy for us to beat ourselves up over what should have happened or could have happened, but it’s so not serving you, so just really think about, how do you challenge that and move on?

Pete Wright: The whole idea of figuring out how to challenge that gets into my sinking spiral of shame, pretty easily, because I immediately go into that space of, whatever good stuff has happened, I probably don’t deserve it. So it’s accidental, it’s incidental because I have such a history of not succeeding in those areas. Right. I have such a history of struggling where it seems other people are doing well, and so any success must be incidental to my actual participation in it. Do you know what I mean?

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah. Challenge, challenge, challenge.

Pete Wright: And I said that, that sort of royalty, but that’s a lesson. That’s a lesson that I think is incredibly hard to learn because it’s so easy for us to fall into from a very young age.

Nikki Kinzer: Well, because if you think about it, it’s like, you don’t want to brag. You don’t want to look like you think you’re better than somebody else when you’ve accomplished something or-

Pete Wright: But also I might be genuinely surprised.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah. But, I mean, that’s what I’m saying is that you get these stories so young at age, you’re almost taught, don’t be proud of yourself, that doesn’t look good. You need to be humble. I’m not saying that you should be a [B-poll 00:17:24]. But if somebody was to say that to me, if we were coaching and you’re saying that to me, I’m going to be as a coach right on, challenging that. You do deserve it. You’re a human being. You deserve to be happy. You deserve, when you work hard, to get those things that you’ve got, and you know what, sometimes it is luck and that’s okay. I was listening to this podcast with some actors. It’s a really funny podcast with Jason Bateman and-

Pete Wright: The SmartLess?

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah, SmartLess or something, and they were talking about being an actor, if it’s luck or if it’s really talent and they all had their own opinions, how it’s both, it is the talent but then sometimes you’re just in the right place at the right time and you have the right contact or whatever. So you all want to build your career or your life on one or the other, but appreciation gratitude.

Pete Wright: But some people have.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah. But I think for the norm that the known actors of the world and entertainers. Gratitude, we can appreciate in all forms, whether you think it was lucky or you think that you really earned it or you have some imposter syndrome, which is very normal, for everyone. It’s also okay to not know everything, you’re not an imposter for not knowing something. So it’s also remembering that. But I’ve got to end this podcast with my favorite singer.

Pete Wright: Christine Moriss?

Nikki Kinzer: Christine Moriss. Look for the good.

Pete Wright: But wait.

Nikki Kinzer: If you don’t know that song, you have to go look for it.

Pete Wright: You need to sing it.

Nikki Kinzer: Everybody listening right now is expecting fully, for you to begin singing.

Pete Wright: No.

Nikki Kinzer: Please.

Pete Wright: I am going to say Pete Wright, put in the show notes, the video of Jason Morris singing, look for the good and that’s… To me, I mean, granted, I love his music because it’s so uplifting, but it’s always such a good reminder that even in the worst of times there is good and there’s gratitude and there’s joy and there’s laughter and we want to focus on what makes us smile, and reach out to the people when you need to reach out to them because I had a really not great day yesterday, and I reached out to one of my best friends and her response to me was so beautiful, and it was so uplifting and so encouraging.

Pete Wright: All I could say in my response was, "I love you and thank you." So you’ve got to reach out to those people that are going to help uplift you too. So, I am a naturally optimistic person, so I know it sounds like it comes easy to me, but it’s not. I mean, I have anxiety, I have worries and things that I have to really work hard on [inaudible 00:20:47]. But I still think it’s so much better to look for the good than to just always see the bad and have no hope.

Pete Wright: Yeah.Well-

Nikki Kinzer: Anyway, here we go.

Pete Wright: I hope this little meditation on negative self-talk is useful for somebody out there. [inaudible 00:21:06] just most of the chat rooms. I have a lifetime subscription to imposter syndrome. Yes, and they never sent me gifts.

Nikki Kinzer: I know. Like no benefits.

Pete Wright: I get no benefits from that subscription.

Nikki Kinzer: No live streams.

Pete Wright: Yes. No live streams, no special podcasts, no.

Nikki Kinzer: [inaudible 00:21:26]. I just have to pay extra money.

Pete Wright: And feel crappy about it. Oh, anyway. Well thank you everybody for hanging out and listening to the show, we sure appreciate your time and your attention. Don’t forget if you have something to contribute head over to the show talk channel, there’s a thread for this week’s live stream. We’d love to hear your thoughts on it, how you handle it, how you lift yourself up and avoid shooting all over yourself. That’s where you can join us, and you can do that by becoming a supporting member at the deluxe level on behalf of Nikki Kinzer, I’m Pete Wright. We’ll see you right back here next week on Taking Control The ADHD podcast.

Through Taking Control: The ADHD Podcast, Nikki Kinzer and Pete Wright strive to help listeners with support, life management strategies, and time and technology tips, dedicated to anyone looking to take control of their lives in the face ADHD.