I think I have ADHD and need help...

Hi Brains. I’m new to this and very scared so I might make mistakes. I’ll try my best.

I’m 20 and attending community college. When this pandemic hit, I was preparing to transfer to a four year university. I already completed all of my requirements and was only taking more classes for fun (they were a good mix of challenging and laid back courses). The transition to distance learning messed everything up. As hard as I tried, I just couldn’t stay focused. And I tried everything. I would read assigned texts in character voices or take numerous breaks but nothing ever really worked. I couldn’t sit down and read or write or learn much of anything! This, of course, made my procrastination all the worse. By the end of the semester, I failed two of my five courses (and dropped another one). I really did try! To make matters worse, my professors were really gracious by letting me submit things whenever I could before the end of the semester… but even that didn’t help.

By this point the summer started and I was unsure of what I would do. I got accepted to my dream university! But what about my grades? I decided to rescind my registration before the university could rescind my acceptance. Around the same time, I just happened to be scrolling on Twitter one day and found a thread about people’s experiences with ADHD. Basically everything resonated with me so I did some more research and now I’m certain I have it. I know it’s frowned upon to do things like that, but I really am certain. Looking back on my childhood, it makes so much sense! My dad was very strict and quick to anger. While I was in elementary school and middle school, he was angry all the time at how often I would lose my phone or jacket or homework or a permission slip. Honestly, the only way I made it out of school was by copying someone else’s homework. Even when I did it, I could forget it at home. Anyway, I could go on and on. My point is, I am 99.9% sure I’ve got it. I could talk about so many other symptoms.

Now, I’m starting the school semester up again and its even worse. Classes actually started last week, but I haven’t logged on once to actually check the material. Part of me is avoiding it because I feel like “what’s the use?”, but the other part of me is just paralyzed by the idea of the activity. It’s actually more frustrating than it was last time! It’s like my brain can’t wrap itself around the idea that this is something I HAVE TO DO. But here’s the real problem: my doctor doesn’t believe me! When I went to her about a diagnosis, she didn’t really inquire very far. The appointment didn’t last very long her her search felt really narrow. She concluded anxiety and depression and prescribed me something for that. It’s been about two months since I first came to her because I thought I had a problem. And I’d be fine if she had at least tested for it, but she really didn’t go very far! I’m at the end of my rope here. I don’t know what to do… Do I see someone else and if so, what type of doctor? These problems are really hurting my school life, social life, and home life. I know this is a shot in the dark. I hope someone can help…

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Welcome Cookie! Collectively, there is a great deal of knowledge and experience amongst all of us here. And by the way, last time I checked “mistakes” happen. It’s all about what you do following them. Yeah, I’d seek a second opinion. I don’t know the type of doctor you saw, but a psychiatrist or a clinical psychologist might be better. In fact, I sort of lean toward a clinical psychologist. If medication for ADHD is recommended, that individual surely should have medical doctors in their Rolodex to whom he/she could refer you.

Best of luck and stay in touch!

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Mate.
I think you’d be surprised at just how many of us took that exact path to get here…

From what I’ve seen, more often than not, with late/adulthood diagnoses, usually the disorder is in some if not many ways, self diagnosed first, similar to how you’ve stumbled upon it.

My point it, you’re certainly not alone and don’t think for a second that we’re frowning upon you for that, because we’re not! :grin:

Welcome to the tribe!

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Cookie,

As Brooklyn suggested, get a second opinion. I’m also not yet diagnosed with ADHD, but I’m meeting with a mental health counselor and being assessed for ADHD. (I’m a working professional, so the focus of my counseling is in developing strategies to maintain focus at work, with a diagnosis as a secondary concern.) I work in tech support at a college, the same college I dropped out of because I also had problems focusing on my schoolwork… which I now believe was a result of ADHD. Since dropping out, I’ve learned about all the assistance available at the college that I DIDN’T look for when I needed it. (Now that I recognize all this, and

As a student, if you have a diagnosis of ADHD the college probably has resources or can direct you to resources that can help you. Even with a diagnosis of anxiety, they may be able to help you.

Check with your college. There should be a counseling office (which may also be able to assess you for ADHD). If they don’t have easy to find information, then ask the Dean of Students office.

Most of all, don’t give up on yourself. Remember, you already achieved something significant. You did what it takes to be able to transfer from the community college to the four-year college. That’s a bigger accomplishment than you realize.

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Hi Cookie,

First, the most important thing in your post, to me, is that you’re not being heard. Your doctor may be very well-meaning, but if you’re not being heard, diagnosed, etc, then you can’t get access to supports you may need (meds, accommodations). You need to find someone you can work with. In a socialized system of health care (which I think is the best, despite problems), this can take time, tears, trial, and error. Doctors are working within a system, within their training, within the DSM (which sucks in so many ways), etc. Sometimes they’re assholes, but usually, they’re just hampered by systems.

Second, I want to assure you that the educational system is homogenous. I’m a professor with diagnosed ADHD. I do understand when students tell me they’re struggling with ADHD symptoms, symptoms as a result of depression, or autism, or whatever. Not every professor will be ADHD-friendly within the educational system, but there’s hope. Sometimes it sucks a lot, and sometimes there’s hope.

If you know you have ADHD, an official diagnosis may not help you in your personal life, but it will help you navigate systems. It gives you access to meds and accommodations. It’s worth pursuing. But it’s also not the definition of you; it’s just something to help you within existing structures. You know what you experience, who you are. It’s not reducible to ADHD.

Wishing you the best,
S

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Going to also say “talk to the school support system”. Student Affairs, school nurse, School Counselor, what ever they call it, talk to them. I can almost guarantee you will not be the first one asking them.

Second, what you are running into regarding checking the material is the “wall of awful”. Recommend looking at the videos Jessica has put up on that.

Third…
It is going to be ok. It’s a crazy time for everyone, and everyone is struggling to adjust. Remind your profs of your excellent performance from pre-covid and that should help cover some issues. You are simply finding the adjustment harder than others, but you are looking to ways to make it work. And even if this is sucky for a while… in the end you will get through it. It’s going to be ok.

Fourth… lets try some things and see what sticks.
Ok, logging in, seeing what needs doing, and doing it… thats like… a lot. Just the first two is giving ME stress since I know the “ugh” of which you feel. So, lets do what a 90’s rapper would do and break it down… (God that was a bad joke…)

  1. Log in
  2. Copy/paste or screenshot each classes work list (don’t like… read it, just en mass grab the info) to a word doc or something. Save that file.
  3. Later, after like… 2 beers and some ice cream as a reward for doing steps 1 and 2, take ONE CLASS list and break that list down into smaller chunks by due dates etc. Stick this on a calendar, sticky notes, whatever works for you and will annoy the fudge out of you. It needs to interrupt your day. Calendar alert on you phone going “Hey, Cookie, read these 10 pages or YOU WILL CRUMBLE!” Whatever works. Break it down there.
  4. More Ice Cream, cause be honest here step 3 SUCKED HARD.
  5. Nap?
  6. Ok, time to do another class work load thing. UUUUUUGH. Life is terrible. Dramatically enter all the course work to the method of choice. Make it a game to be as Emo as possible while doing this.
  7. … how about a salad?
  8. PSYCH. Ice Cream, baby.
  9. Scheduled Squirrel time! Gonna go play Satisfactory. (do not blame me for the lost time in your life. You do this to you…)
  10. Ok, third list, lets do this. But now all your notes are written by GUNNERY SARGEANT R LEE ERMEY, MAGGOT! IF YOU DON’T GET OFF THAT GAME AND WRITE ME 5 PAGES OF RESPONSE ON THE MEANING OF BLUE IN CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF THEN YOU CAN GO GIVE ME 50 PUSHUPS!
    Ahem.

My point here is that if we take the thing that is daunting and break it down further and further, we get to a point where each step is doable on it’s own. If we also tie it to something that will provoke a laugh or something from us on the reminder, it will help us to actually do the thing. Had a coworker whose work calendar would send reminders to him, but the reminders were written … very nsfw-y. Outlook insulted him, his mama, his babys-mama, etc to provoke an emotional response to do thing just to prove outlook wrong. Eh. It worked for him.
Find what works for you.

Also, I just saw I never hit the Post button. I typed this last night. Oops.
JTH.

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First off, you’re not alone. Although I had a diagnosis early in life, I did not have any intervention. It wasn’t until my wife started studying clinical psychology that we realized that I may actually have a problem and not that I just AM a problem.

The best thing that I could suggest, which I think someone else already has, is to see a doctor that specializes in psychological practices. Someone with a general MD, internal medicine, general practitioner, etc. may not be willing to consider what all is going on. I actually have been able to get the help I need from my neurologist. I really see him for migraines, but because ADHD is actually a physical difference in the way the brain works, he completely understood everything that I told him and he’s very willing to work with me to get what I need to do better.

As far as your apparent inability to get started with the semester, Jessica from How to ADHD, posted a couple videos on something called the “Wall of Awful.” I recently watched them and it was an epiphany. Strangely enough, it helped me to climb that wall (start the things I need to start) a couple of times. Watch those videos and recognize that you’re not alone.

I will forewarn you, I have been watching many ADHD videos recently and I’ve become a bit emotional because I’m all of a sudden realizing that I’m not broken…I’m just different, and more importantly, I’m not alone in it.

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Cookie, I’ll add my WELCOME! I want diagnosed until I was almost 40. I “knew” that I had it for a long time before, but didn’t know anything and just used it as an “excuse” at the same time I beat myself up for being how I am. Since my diagnosis, I’ve mostly just ignored it, until what? 2 weeks ago? I searched “adhd” on YouTube, saw Jessica’s smiling face and “How to ADHD” near the top. Now some binging of this channel, watching some other things and doing some reading and I’m actually working on myself between bouts of distraction, which I’m learning to accept are just part of the mental hand over been dealt. As everyone’s said, there are lots of tools and resources and lots and lots of people.

You’re not alone in that feeling either. I’ve been in exactly the same boat!

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