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Guilt as a Negative Re-Inforcer

Guilt as a Negative Re-Inforcer2010-12-19T18:47:53+00:00

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    I was thinking today about how I managed to get through school and university with ADD, and I realized that there’s one big reason: guilt. I punish myself every time my attention wanes. I drag myself kicking and screaming back to my desk to finish things.

    There’s two problems with this. One: it doesn’t always work. Sometimes I just sit there. I can’t motivate myself enough to do what I need to do, but I don’t allow myself to do anything I WANT to do either. So I just sit there like a bump on a log, growing more and more ashamed. Ultimately I finish what I need to finish, but usually at the very last second, or slightly after that.

    Two: I now have serious self-esteem issues, and an apparent inability to enjoy my free time as I should. I obsess over what I’m NOT doing, rather than appreciating anything that I have done or am doing. I have many, many books unread and games unplayed, not just because of my attention span, but because I feel guilty allotting any long period of time to do them, if I have a mental to-do list that is unfinished. But my mental to-do list is RARELY finished (or even realistic, for that matter). And I get frustrated and upset with myself because of that.

    So my question is: is this common?

    I’ve tried a couple of medications already (strattera and byphentin) and they haven’t worked, but once I DO find one that works, how do I go about unwinding this anxiety-causing guilt machine that I’ve created in my head to compensate for my attention span all these years?

    Truth be told, I think it’s the biggest source of my misery. :S

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