17 y/o girl just diagnosed. Help! What does this mean for me?


Hello brains! (Hehe) would appreciate some help

I’m a 17 year old girl who’s been diagnosed with add inattentive 5 months ago. Ive started on medication. I am trying to find out what exactly the implications of this have been on my life.

I have an extreme imbalance in my aptitude for humanities and science subjects. Intuitively I think I am rather smart. I also work very very hard. I am the children of parents who believe very strongly in the value of how hard work leads to results for certain. Conversely, this means that any failure is considered a lack of effort.

However, I failed very often in science classes over the years and ended up dropping all of those subjects, even though I was interested in science based fields like veterinary science. This took a toll on my self esteem. Now though, I am wondering if this was an indirect result of my add symptoms since I found it IMPOSSIBLE to understand anything I was not interested in.

I also really struggle with Math even though I have worked very very hard over many years to improve it. I’ve just failed another math paper and it makes me very disappointed in my self, making me feel stupid, since I did work very hard and this time I had medication to help me.

When i am engaged though, I am generally considered a gifted student. I have been in advanced classes for history and literature and really enjoy the subjects. I also excel at drama. I am intensely passionate about these subjects. I dive into passion projects and have been in at least one theater production a year.

Academically I am always held back by an inability to do well under time conditions -I NEVER finish papers and can never properly organise my thoughts on paper. Hence, while I perform exceedingly well in project work, my timed exams always disappoint.

Other struggles include this intense sense of overwhelm. Ive also got impulsive and self flagellating tendencies. This to a long period of depression and self destructive behaviour as well as severe panic attacks that would come 3 times a day. This was actually how I ended up in the psychiatrists office and got diagnosis. Honestly, this saved my life and turned it all the way around. I am SO GLAD to have seen the light at the end of that dark tunnel.

I want to know:

  • How does ADD affect my ability to do well within exam conditions (esp considering that I do very well outside of exam conditions)?

  • Why can’t I do math and science (even though I work very very hard)? For context: I’ve never really been interested in it :stuck_out_tongue:
    –> is it true that it’s harder for those with add to do things they don’t really really like?
    –> does this mean I’m not very smart? :frowning:

  • What exactly does medicine help to do? I currently take concerta 27mg or 36mg. Does it reduce impulsivity?

  • how to deal with the OVERWHELM when you have an empty stretch of time (like a weekend)? I always have trouble clearing work because I get too overwhelmed to start… I can even get overwhelmed by messiness on my desk which paralyses me. This can happen even after I break it down into actionable steps in my bujo:(

  • (for anyone who’s been there) how did my add lead to my anxiety and depression? And how is it that now that I have been diagnosed and properly treated it lifted? (slowly but entirely) I was in a depressive state for 6 months, likely triggered by a change of school. Understanding this feels very important to me… I really don’t want the depressed version of myself to reappear and I know I need to care for my mental health to make sure I stay healthy as I am now

Thanks so much!! Real happy to know that this tribe exists hehe

Love from somewhere in Asia !! :wink:


I’m also 17 and I take concerta 27mg too! I have ADHD, but the hyperactivity is motor restlessness and I tend to babble a lot😂
I was diagnosed 2 years ago and also struggled with science and maths.
I find that when I am engaged in something I don’t like, I don’t do as well in that subject/ thing even though I may try my hardest at it.
I’m still very impulsive and tend to be more impulsive without my medication.
I found for the subjects I didn’t like when I was studying them for GCSE (exams when you’re 15/16) that I needed to devote extra time with regular breaks. I used a study technique (can’t remember the proper name) where you study for as long as you can, take a 5 min break, look over your notes for about 10 mins, and then take a 10 min break. This helped me and meant that I passed all off my GCSEs!
I can only concentrate for around 10/15 mins at a time so this was a big improvement for me!
Hope this helps!


Hey there, take a deep breath. It will be ok. I was diagnosed as inattentive type over 10 years ago when I was in 2nd grade. I have been on medication just as long.

You are smart. It is harder for the brain to focus on things it is not interested in. I personally really enjoyed math and liked the puzzle and challenge it provided. Because I was interested in it I got better and then enjoyed it more, creating a positive feedback loop. But when your brain isn’t focused and gets distracted it is going to be harder to remember things. I have noticed that I have “gaps” from my early years of education because of times I got distracted. As a result, I sometimes struggle with simple addition or subtraction and spelling certain words because that was during a time before my diagnosis and before we found an effective medication.
Now that you know, you can learn skills to help you focus. Hopefully, the medication you are on will help. Concerta was the medication that I ultimately settled on and it has worked really well for me. But everyone is different. Don’t beat yourself up over it.

Medication affects everyone differently but for me, it has helped a lot with my impulsivity. This was often expressed as impulsive emotions for me, either being angry or upset. After being on medication for a while, the number of outbursts I had decreased. Just give yourself time.


Pomodoro method! Yes I find that very useful. I do 25 mins focus – 5-10 min break (on medication)


Thanks for that! I’ve been on medication for like 4 months now but I find that I still lose things (rather often :(( ) and also often say impulsive things (esp if I’m worked up) . My overwhelm has reduced significantly though and my focus is better though.

Any tips on how to manage since I’m not sure medication helps me manage my problem with losing things


I still lose track of things plenty. But I have found that the best way to help with that is have a spot that it always goes. I have a pocket in my purse that is ONLY for my keys. As soon as I’m done with them, they go back in my purse. It takes discipline and isn’t always easy, but it helps. I recently moved so I keep having lots of moments where I can’t find things.

You are still in high school right? Do you have plans for college yet?


In my country we call it junior college! But yes. Next year is my big a levels year and then I’ll be heading off to university…

I have lots of IDEAS no real plans. Im thinking law or maybe psychology. If I get on scholarship I’ll probably study politics or history then enter the civil service (govt policy work).

Not sure if law or civil service are all that suited to my add brain though… It’s rather rigid and although I need structure I might just explode

My ultimate golden dream is to go to drama school and do theater proper. I’ve done acting scriptwriting and directing and i love it more than anything in the world. But again not sure if I can live the self directed life of a travelling actor who may not get constant work (and that stimulation). Also it might not be feasible in my country :cry:

I DON’T KNOW honestly it’s also contingent on his next year goes… Hopefully with better management of my symptoms I’ll be better able to keep up

Sorry this is so long I’m getting a little carried away here hehe


It is a fuzzy line between structure and flexibility. I also love theater but the great thing is that the skills you learn in theater work pretty well when it comes to interacting with other people.
I choose to go into social work. It allows me to help others while providing a lot of flexibility in type of work available.
I hope that this next year of school goes better for you. The last years of junior college/high school can be really stressful. This was a good time for you to join the community. :smile:


Hello Cat and welcome!

Good luck with school! I hope you’re found some answers you were looking for and that they’ve helped you in some way. :slight_smile: