Hi there... I'm Sam- Sorry I didn't mean to make everyone my therapist

I’m not really sure what to say here. My name is Sam and I’m a 24 year old women and a New Zealander(also known as a kiwi.) I’ve been watching How To ADHD for years but just realised this forum existed haha.

I believe I have inattentive ADHD but I’m yet to be properly diagnosed. It was first suggested by a psychologist in 2018 but they ended up writing it off, believing that anxiety was the cause of my concentration issues. (I’ve since learnt that this is common for women with inattentive ADHD. I can’t remember where I heard it but someone said ADHD in women often shows up as ‘chronic overwhelm’.)

There is a bit more to my neurodiversity and mental health journey. May go into it later, idk.

So I’m studying a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and it’s gone downhill very very quickly. To sum up… I’ve had to deal with a very ableist tutor for the majority of the year. It got to the point where I was marked down for an assignment cause she gave me a disability accommodation, that caused me to reach my breaking point and my anxiety was so bad I couldn’t do the last assignment. So next year I have to come back and repeat like half a semester and graduate 6 months to a year later.

Now, protections are in place. So I don’t have to deal with that tutor as much/she doesn’t have as much authority over me. But, there are several problems…

  1. I am so burnt out that I don’t know if I’m going to be able to complete this part of the course either. Its taking me forever to get any work done and it’s getting worse. It’s like I’m trying to crawl out of a hole but the hole somehow keeps getting deeper and deeper.
  2. Though this tutor has clearly had some telling off. She’s been leaving me alone but clearly doesn’t think that there is anything wrong with the behaviour. Because there have been several times where she’s been relentlessly critising other students in front of me. This is not only incredibly hard to watch because I can be incredibly sensitive to others feelings. But it also puts me off my work because I worry about the other student/feel bad about not interferring/worry I can’t repeat the course next year(Sadly she is solely in charge of the part I have to repeat.)
  3. This part of the course is independent. There is very limited structure to it. We have a weekly deadline, an hourly meeting with a supervisor per week and a class meeting that only goes for like 5-10 mins once per week. Which, when I’m left to my own devices everything falls apart. It looks like I can plan, prioritise and schedule on paper but when I try to go about doing things it doesn’t work out.

I genuinely didn’t mean to make this introduction into a therapy session… I apologise profusely.

So hobbies and interests wise… I’m part of a DND Group which I’m finding really fun, I used to sing in a choir(but haven’t since my degree because I’m struggling too much.) Most of the time I just binge stuff on Netflix and Disney +
There are a lot of things I enjoy and have pushed aside for my study. others include acting, zumba, hiking, tramping, 4wd, swimming.

I don’t really have any friends for two key reasons:

  1. I have a pattern of one-sided friendships(where I’m the giver and they’re the taker.) this has been 90% of my friendships. I eventually noticed this and stepped back to see if they’d meet me halfway they never did.
  2. I had what felt like a real friend group recently. But because I’m so used to being treated crap I didn’t know how to handle it. I had a massive RSD blowup (Which for me sadly means I’ll scare you away before you decide you want to leave by being really really rude and mean.) and scared everyone away. I’m still grieving the loss of these friends.

Again I’m sorry this wasn’t meant to be a ‘Sam’s therapy session’ I apologise

Hopefully being diagnosed on the 28th but I’m scared they’ll decide I’m just lazy or an asshole or something

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Glad to “meet” you . . .

Having a diagnosis (or not) will help you to determine next steps. Always better to know than not know. Better than giving in to what you conjure up in your mind . . . only to suffer needlessly.
Most of us here have the ability to be creative and imagine all sorts of scenarios (many of them . . . negative).

So go and get evaluated. And see what comes of it. I was first diagnosed in my 50’s (now I’m 76). When I learned of my ADHD I said to my wife, “Now I know why my life has been so difficult all of these years!” After that I began to see things differently. Got help for myself. Realized that I was not “stupid” or a “fraud” . . . somehow “fooling everyone” as I went through undergrad and graduate school successfully (though not easily).

Being part of this “family” (for me) has been only positive, satisfying and helpful.

Welcome!!

:sunglasses:

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Oh cool, I’ve been wanting to learn how to play DND. Yes, I know that was only one sentence, but it’s the one sentence that made me think of a reply.

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Welcome to the HowToADHD forums Sam! ( @Noplaceishome )

This is a good place to be able to share. We are here to support and encourage one another.

It’s not the first time one of us has opened up like we’re in a therapy peer support group, and it definitely won’t be the last time!


From my own mental health journey, I know that I have Anxiety & ADHD as comorbidities. (I have Inattentive ADHD.) I also know that:

  • Untreated ADHD likely makes my Anxiety worse, and…
  • Heightened Anxiety definitely makes my ADHD more severe.

I was diagnosed at 45, just 2 years ago, while working at a university. I really wish I’d been diagnosed when I was a student there in 2007-2011, because I might have actually finished my degree.

On the plus side, my diagnosis helped my whole life make sense (I hid my difficulties remembering to do homework in K-12 school, then really struggled in college and career, up until my diagnosis and treatment for ADHD. I mentally function much better now, but am still working on improving my habits.)

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I first wrote two paragraphs about why the things causing you pain now will hopefully cause you less pain in the future, but I’ve moved those to the bottom as you are dealing with your current self, not a future self who may or may not turn out that way :joy:

For now, as others have said, writing long therapy-type posts is absolutely allowed here and loads of us do it. I have benefited from both writing these myself and from reading other people’s. So that’s one thing less to worry about :wink:.

And about the course: Try to take the long view and do whatever it takes to get this done for you. I got into several very uncomfortable and stressful situations with study deadlines over the last year or so, then just at the last hurdle for the practical modules, when I ‘only’ had the live interview left, a well-meaning tutor made reference to my adhd in the annotations to one of my pieces of work. I absolutely flipped. And found myself telling her she was out of order, the day before she did my assessment interview. Not a good feeling, but I couldn’t not tell her. Long story, but I did pass, and we reached an understanding about why it was wrong, and what she was really trying to say.

Once you have your qualification, it’s yours to keep. You don’t have to sell your soul, but sometimes you do have to find ways to shelve very strong feelings of anger or unfairness, in order to produce what is needed.

If the course doesn’t provide much structure, can you buddy up with someone to create structure? Like an online pomodoro session or we something? I’m in one of those for the last part of my degree, and often those sessions are the only time I do anything for my course! But it is absolutely better than nothing.

Based on personal experience, most of this stuff will one day hurt less. With the benefit of hindsight (I am now over 50, diagnosed in my late forties), I have concluded that the length of time it takes to get a degree is not the most important factor.

Also, most of the tutors I have fallen out with, I have eventually been able to forgive on a human level - we all make mistakes, so even if they did stupid things it was usually for an understandable reason (even if I don’t agree with the reason). And even the people who gave me real grief and stress taught me something, sometimes even related to the thing they were supposed to be teaching.

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Nice to meet you Sam!
Sorry to learn about your troubles.

Relatable. . . I think it’s really important to work on this, maybe in a therapy :slight_smile:

Could you not try to reconcile with them somehow? Maybe by explaining to them how things are with you?

And don’t be sorry, that’s what this forum is here for :wink:

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