How to Escape the Shame Spiral

One tiny mistake is all it takes to set off a chain reaction of shame.

For people with ADHD, there is learned behavior of assuming everything is your fault.

If you had only tried hard enough, this wouldn't have happened.

When we fail, it reminds us of the authority figures we failed as children, and we blame ourselves.

Shame Spiral

I made a mistake -> That was stupid -> I always make this mistake -> Why am I such a failure -> I'm not doing enough work -> I should quit -> I'm worthless

The shame spiral lies. It tells you that you are a burden and don't deserve happiness.

It's imposter syndrome on overdrive, and can happen suddenly, even when we have evidence to the contrary.

Escape Plan

You must plan an escape when disaster is at your doorstep:

  1. Find your reset. Seek out experiences that allow you to refresh your emotional strength. Yoga, meditation, taking a bath, taking a walk, playing with a pet, hugging family, reading a book, etc.

  2. Save evidence of worth. Be proactive in recording compliments you receive from peers, bosses, etc. Keep them somewhere you can easily access when you feel a shame spiral coming on.

  3. Journal your feelings. Writing out your emotions can soften the blow and allow you to discover their truth.

  4. Spend time with friends. Seek out the positive influences in your life for joyful conversation and restoration.

  5. Self-care. Take care of your body with hydration, nutrition, exercise, and sleep. Don't neglect this.