I feel out of my depth everywhere and it feels like I'll be stuck like this forever



I got diagnosed with ADHD, Anxiety, and Depression this summer. I always kinda thought I had it, but ADHD testing is crazy expensive and the only reason I could get it done was that my previous university had it for $100 instead of $1000. After getting that diagnosed, I tried to find a psychiatrist to try something to help me manage it. Before diagnosis, I’d failed Calculus 1 three times, Flunked out of a semester, and then as I finished testing, had to medically withdraw (from another semester I was on track to fail) to keep from killing my GPA.

I transferred to WGU, an online self-paced school, got a new job doing web design, and have been trying to get my ducks in order, but I feel constantly out of my depth. The job was for Web Developer/Designer and I’m no designer. They knew that when they hired me and planned to train me in design because there were no other applicants in the months before I applied. It’s hell, mostly because I struggle with design constantly and that just triggers the part of me that gave up in all the other things I failed at.

I’m constantly tired, stressed, tense, and desperate for a change that looks like it’s a year off at best. I’ve been applying to every job in the area I can, but that one job is literally the only one to give me a call back because I don’t have my degree yet. I’m a year off from my degree if I can get it done at breakneck pace, and even then that’s gonna be a struggle. I can’t just up and move because:
1: can’t save enough to hold me over till I get employed there
2: I live with my fiance who I love dearly and also doesn’t have the credentials or experience to get a job elsewhere fast enough we could afford it.

It feels like my life is on hold right now, constantly struggling to study, work, or really do anything. I’m procrastinating studying for Calc I at WGU as we speak because I feel so tired and unmotivated. At work, my performance has dwindled and I have to fight to get into work in the morning, let alone accomplish anything. If I keep getting worse, they’ll have to fire me cause they’re a small company of fewer than 10 people struggling to pay everyone as it is.

I can’t find the motivation to do anything, and I’m letting myself, my fiance, and my family, down. I recently started Adderall XR at 20MG and I feel like I can kinda focus more, but I’m also starting to get headaches and muscle soreness which I can’t figure out if it’s the stress or the medication that’s causing this. I feel like I’m just struggling everywhere and that it’s going to take a year of feeling like this to even have a chance of feeling any better. I don’t even know if I can start visiting counseling because it costs $50 dollars a session and that’s a lot.

I don’t know why I feel the need to let this all out here, or what I expect anyone to be able to help me with or talk to me about, but this community is so kind and beautiful that it just makes me want to bare my soul. I’m so happy I discovered HowToADHD and I feel like this place is home to the best kind of people. Thank you for doing everything you do.


Hi Cutlerf, and welcome!

I love this place too, for all those reasons :grinning:

Can’t spend long this motning as I have an appointment to get to but just wanted to say: things are finally going better for me now that I have a coach alongside the meds


I dunno if you get this but, in my experience, a year away is Too Long and I won’t see the sacrifice as a reward coz my sense of reward is ‘I did a thing. Reward now’ and any reward that comes later because of a thing I did like a month ago (for example) doesn’t really feel like it’s rewarding that so I think I kinda get where you’re coming from in that aspect.

If I’m honest, I have no advice for you but just know that you’re not letting everyone down. If you’re struggling, that’s not something to ignore. Talk to the people in your life and tell them you’re struggling (if you haven’t already) and I’m sure they’ll be understanding. And as for this forum, I think it’s safe to say that everyone on here is here for you should you need anything else.

I’m sorry this wasn’t really the answer you were looking for but I just wanted to say something coz I find silence is sometimes worse.


@cutlerf: sorry, app froze and I had to go out.

What I wanted to suggest was:

Have you checked whether your college offers adhd coaching from final year psychology students? Mine does this, and I’ve heard they’re very good. My coach is fron the same clinic as my therapist, otherwise I would have done this.


Oh how I can relate. First of all, you aren’t letting anyone down. YOU ARE DOING YOUR BEST. I know it is hard to feel that when there are things you KNOW you can be doing better at. You know you should be studying but you procrastinate. You know you are capable of more, but it is hard to reach. I get it. You are still doing your best. Look at everything you have accomplished, because it is worth being proud of.

Look into financial assistance. I am assuming you are in the US, like me, because I can relate to the financial burden of ADHD. I don’t know what state you are in but many states have vocational rehabilitation programs that will help financially. http://www.askearn.org/state-vocational-rehabilitation-agencies/ Look into that. They help you find work, give you money toward school, pay for computers or other job-related things you might need, etc. They exist to make people like us functional contributors to the economy, so use that resource! Its there for the exact reason you need help. You have a lot to contribute to society, but need a little help getting there.

Good luck!!!


Even if it costs money, you may want to consider checking in with your doctor re headaches and muscle soreness – may be you can email them first explaining what is going on with symptoms. If the treatment doesn’t work for you they need to figure out why and may be change the medicine until something works for you better.

“Feeling out of my depth” can be pretty common. One thing you can do is spend some time on your own, learning what you need in your work. For example, just build a simple website for yourself and experiment. When I was starting out, I spent hours every week learning all I could about my work. The nice thing in the computer world is that you can immediately try out what you are learning and that you know what works well or doesn’t. This is also the time when you can block out all your other worries and just have fun learning. Doing web design is a wonderful opportunity so grab it with both hands!

If you look at all of your worries all at once, it will be overwhelming and very demotivating. But you can try to focus on whatever you are doing. Doing something useful is very empowering. Worrying takes your power away.

For de-stressing you can take walks or do breathing exercises or meditate. May be you and your fiancee can do a 20-30 minute walk everyday. You may feel you don’t have time to take walks but realize that with ADHD there are always far too many things that need doing and you can’t afford to take a break. But It is important to take breaks and take care of yourself first.

Your feelings of letting everyone down will lessen as you start doing things, taking one step at a time.


Thanks for the resource! Sadly, my state (New Mexico) hasn’t funded it well and has recently been forced to only provide services to individuals with “a Most Significant Disability”. According to a flyer they have available, I do not meet that qualification. So, sadly that won’t help. I’ll keep that in mind though, it’s good to know these services exist for people.

I appreciate your kind words, and thank you so much for telling me about this!

Thanks for the response, and I’ve been talking to my fiance about this and it’s helped. I had a really bad day, mental health-wise, yesterday and felt the need to vent here. This place is really great, and I appreciate you answering because so many other people on so many other places woulda ignored it :slight_smile:

I did this at my old school, it was a big help for me back then. Sadly, my current school is all online and doesn’t have a psychology program. Thanks for the suggestion, though!


Hello Cutlerf and welcome!

Never worry about sharing what you’re feeling. Sometimes getting it all out, getting the struggle out into words, can be therapeutic in it’s own right. It feels nice getting something out because it means it isn’t staying fully bottled up inside of you. :heart: DId the headaches and muscle soreness get any better?


I feel you! It took me 9 hours to do my calculus homework. You got this!!! Look at how far you have come, friend.



So are you still in the same job situation? I’m asking because I recently started a new job in the same field and I’m also constantly out of my depth but I learned that that’s perfectly normal and okay, as long as you pick up stuff as you go and get better. (This is kind of expected, I guess, in any job.) The good thing about web design, there’s a lot of stuff to pick up and if you can’t learn it from the project itself, there are vast online resources to fall back on.

I don’t know if it’s the actual design or the transfer into browsable css that you’re having trouble with, but they both get better over time - with practice, obviously, but also because modern site designs aren’t so variable that you’ll have to reinvent the wheel every week. We don’t make our own designs in our company, we get templates from designers to transfer into code, and part of the job is identifying what’s already been done on one of our sites (that we can copy & adapt) and what we’ll need to invent. If you make a habit of documenting previous design solutions, you can just apply them to new designs and work from there. As for making new designs, you can work from a standard template derived from the best practises you’ve seen on previous sites.

Of course, if all of that’s really hard for you, you might try try to convince the powers that be at your job that you feel much more comfortable and competent with web development and ask to get more of those jobs and less of the others. Maybe some of your colleagues are more comfortable doing design stuff? Can you share projects?

Also, don’t sell yourself short - for most people, web development is the hard part.

(My situation is a bit different because my knowledge gaps are diferent - I’m more of a generalist with esperience all over the place but no all-encompassing knowledge in any part of the field - and quite often the job is all about finding very specific solutions when something is going wrong on a site. Which can be hit or miss. Or, rather, miss miss miss miss oh I can’t believe I didn’t notice that before hit.)


Yeah, I still am. The problem is that there is a very, very, very low percentage of clients that having one of the designers even give me color tips isn’t in the budget. This damned small city has the cheapest, smallest clients and so I’m left on the hook trying to find some way to make something passable.

It’s bad enough that everything we make is a WordPress site with as little custom code as possible, usually just 300-400 lines of CSS and 8-16 lines of PHP. We do almost everything using the same (admittedly very extensible) theme with a built-in page builder to cut costs and time, but it makes me feel like a sad mix of a designer and data entry intern.

As far as colleagues, It’s me and the senior web developer, two graphic designers with odd hours and way too much to do, and a video production crew with way too much to do. My main reason for being hired was because they needed someone to do the grunt-work cheap projects so that my senior can focus on getting the interesting jobs done better and on time.

CSS isn’t my problem, it’s purely the abstract “This looks good” or “This looks bad” design stuff that is not in my toolbox. It’s very taxing, and some days I’ll just throw colors and text on a site for the first half of the day, none of it works, and after lunch I just fucking sit there and kill time swapping my email tab to the company chat to the task board, etc. till the days over cause I feel mentally tapped out but can’t take time off cause money.

This probably hasn’t been helped by issues getting my meds, so I’m not as bad as I wrote this but I ain’t much better.

Occasionally I’ll get an actually interesting project or task and I’ll hyper-focus in and leave work fulfilled, but those days are a minority at best, damn near nonexistent otherwise.

Thanks for the words of encouragement, and I wish you good luck filling your knowledge gaps!


In my experience, failed courses usually derive from teachers you cannot click with. Try MIT’s free online lectures, https://ocw.mit.edu/courses/mathematics/ for the calculus course, for example. They probably have better teachers than the one that failed you :slight_smile: Then go back and ace that class.


Thanks man, but actually I did pass the course at the end of november. The main issue I had with it in the past was the stupid rules at my old college for the class, not even letting me use a basic $1 calculator on the exams which led me to make small mistakes that cost me major points despite having questions with complicated division that needed to be done between calculus steps because the math department heads like feeling superior and being known for treating students like idiots. An online course where I could study my way and an exam without stupid shit made that class way easier than I could have ever thought.

I appreciate your words of encouragement, it’s nice to see great people on here!