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ADHD and Giving Up: Learning ‘When To Say When’

I think one of the great things about being ADHD is that we can go after something for a long, long time once we have our focus on it.  Or, as I do, go on / off / on / off / on / off for a long time trying to figure out if I SHOULD keep going as  many have told me long ago I am crazy.  While others recommending to hold on just a little longer.  So confusing!

Winston Churchill’s great advice that is quoted so often “Never, never, never give up.”  While that is so true, so is the old saying ‘it is like beating a dead horse.’

I hate that saying, but you get my point.  So very, very confusing.  I’ve personally run into this issue with my company, and I could tell you some pretty gruesome stories that I’ve been through that may have caused me to give up many times over.  Actually, they did.  I can’t tell you how many times I gave up, until I started really understanding how to listen to that inner voice.  And thank goodness I did.

I found out, all along, that what really hindered my ability to listen to my instincts is my patience, or lack there of it.  I wanted things to happen now, or yesterday, and when they didn’t – I automatically decided it was NOT meant to be.  So I would change directions.  Confusing to many, including myself.

After many, many trying times, my persistence has paid off.  Or I should say is about to pay off.  But not without some serious soul searching along they way.  So, some lessons I learned on how really to figure out ‘when to say when’:

  • Just because it doesn’t happen NOW, doesn’t mean it won’t.  Be patient and and open.
  • Take every bit of advice you get with a grain of salt.  Unfortunately, people’s thoughts are not always clean, and instead muddled with their own projections, insecurities, and beliefs.  You need to learn to listen, both to others and within.
  • When you come upon roadblocks, don’t necessarily take the roadblock as a sign as it is time to give up.  Maybe there is a specific lesson in that roadblock you need to learn, and it is not just a sign that it is ‘not meant to be’.
  • Meditate.  Pray.  Reflect.  I can’t stress this enough.  Learning to be quiet lets that little voice you have within reach out to you.  You can’t hear your truth when your mind is cluttered.  Learn how to give yourself unafraid self the chance to speak.
  • Plan. Map out goals, strategies, etc. in work and in life. Then compare where you are to where you wanted to be – often you find you are moving along the path you wanted and achieving the goals without even realizing it.  Pat yourself on the back, and keep at it.

These have helped me enormously throughout my life and career.  I haven’t even realized it – I have felt like a failure time and time again.  I’ve wasted SO MUCH energy trying to figure out if I was on the right path, making the right decisions, or if I should be going a different direction, that I lost out on some of the enjoyment and relaxation along the way.

How do you know when it is time to say when?  Have you ever given up too early?  What lessons did you learn??

Thanks for sharing!

Creative Commons License photo credit: Gracezorz

ADHD and Giving Up: Learning ‘When To Say When’

Kathryn Goetzke

I own a company called the Mood-factory (, a company that creates products based on how sensory experiences effect moods. I also run a nonprofit for depressio, iFred (, we are working to change the brand of depression. And yes, I have ADHD, along with PTSD, major depressive disorder, and a host of other challenges, opportunities, and gifts.

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APA Reference
Goetzke, K. (2011). ADHD and Giving Up: Learning ‘When To Say When’. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 23, 2020, from


Last updated: 4 Apr 2011
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