Last night, I had a talk from my school about A Levels (I’m in year 13) and how we need to start revising and focusing on our subjects if we wanna do well and it kind of really freaked me out because the idea of revisiting the topics from last year makes me want to throw myself off a cliff (dramatic but you get the point) but I also really want to get high grades (the idea of other people getting higher grades than me kills me. Even though I know I don’t need to get A* to do well, I don’t feel it because if I don’t get A*s then I beat myself up like ‘oh I could’ve done more, I had time where I wasn’t doing anything so I should’ve used it’.
Anyways, so my mum and I were driving back home and we were talking about it. First of all, she said that I fear success, that I get so close and then purposefully sabotage myself (which kind of hurt me because I don’t fear success, I fear failure and success is just one badly-timed jump away from failing). And then she said I need to start revising and I said I really didn’t want to (I cannot think of anything more boring and less appealing than sitting and going back over topics I’ve already done. Plus, ‘revision’ is such a big word which covers such a broad area and I have no clue what on earth that means or where I can even begin) and then she said ‘well that’s lazy’ (I think? It was something like that I can’t remember exactly but you get the point) which was Fun.
Here’s the thing: I want to get A* s but I also know I don’t have the motivation, consistently across the entire year, in order to be able to pull that off and I go to a top-tier school so anything less than my best (which, given I am, in theory, capable of achieving As, would therefore make my best an A) is not good enough.
I blame a lot of other things for my problems: my school, my teachers, my mum to some extent for putting a lot of expectation and pressure on me to not disappoint me and then not celebrating (I feel) my achievements enough, like on the one time I managed to get an A* in English and she said ‘that’s really good, keep it up’ and that was it (whereas my brother would get a whole song and a dance) but, at the end of the day, the only crime everyone in that list is committing is always telling me I can do it, that I’m capable of it when I’m not so sure I can anymore. They said the same thing at GCSE and yet i came out of that feeling like I let, not only myself, but all of my teachers and my parents down as well.
I don’t even know. I guess I just wanted to rant and talk about it because I’m scared I’m gonna fail this year and not get into the uni I want and fail my life before its even started. I still don’t even know if I want to go down the path I’ve chosen or if i chose it because my mum thought I’d be good at it i dunno.
Before I wind myself up too much more, i want to make something of this so how do you guys find it best to revise?
Personally, I’ve decided I don’t like using timetables because either I go easy on myself and then I feel like i’m not doing enough or I go all in and then get upset when i can’t achieve it. I like gamification methods but apps and stuff only work for me for a few days/weeks because then they get repetitive and dull and I stop using them.
So, with all that in mind, what methods can you recommend and/or what methods work for you?
WARNING:This is a very long message. I’ll put titles above each section so you can skip things if you’re not interested.
When you talk about your education: I’m in the same boat. It’s very tough for me to score well at school right now. I’m in the middle of a healing proces, so my mental health is kinda shaky right now. So, that’s the problem. Something I need to learn, and I think so do you is: It’s not your fault. Believe me. it’s not my fault that I have ADHD, and I’m going through a healing process, and therefore it’s difficult at school. It’s not your fault that you have ADHD and you want to really badly but you feel you can’t. And let me tell you, I’m pretty sure you can, if you take a good strategy. And even if you fail. Don’t feel bad about it. You can do the year over again, and this time it might be easier for you. I know very d*mn well how the fear of failure feels. But I’m slowly learning to accept failure. Because you know: failure is succes in progress.
Speech about how failure is a good thing
Look at it in this way: If you learn to walk as a baby, you don’t just immediately get up and walk away. First you need to learn to stand and hold your balance. You’ll tumble over and fall on your butt a million times. Yet you get up over and over and over again. At one point you won’t tumble over anymore. Then you can try to take some steps forward. Obviously you’ll tumble over many more times. But every single time that you can get up, you can do it a little better and you can add a step. It goes on like this until you can walk. And yes the whole process takes time. But failing is a part of succeeding. You first have to fail (a few times or a million times) before you can succeed. In a game you usually have to lose first before you know how to win. So, failing isn’t wrong. Failing means that you’re learning. And the next time you try, it goes better. Until you succeed one day. And some people have to fail more times then others, which is what we as ADHD brains have to deal with. We obviously fail a lot more then neurotypical brains. And that’s totally okay. It means that we’ll be stronger then the neurotypical brains in the end, because it took us more effort to get there. It gives us more percevierance (how do you write that word?) in the end. And yes, it goes with ups and downs. And yes, your self esteem will have a few depressions during the whole process. But if you stay positive, and know that you can do it, you’ll be able to get there. Failure is not bad. Failure is a way of practicing. And practice makes perfect. Failure is your way to succes. Think about it: Apple once started somewhere in a garage. Starbucks once had only one coffee shop. Windows also started somewhere in a garage. They all had to fail multiple times before they succeeded. They didn’t give up and got back up everytime they failed. And look at where they are now. Funny fact: Brendon Urie (panic at the disco), Adam levine (maroon 5), and Simone Biles all have ADHD. They’re succesful too. They once were in your shoes. And they might still be sometimes.
Sorry for the really long speech about failure. I kinda hyperfocused on it for a minute
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself
Let me tell you as well: you’re not lazy. Not at all. You have a fight with yourself that holds you back from making any progress. All people, especially ADHD brains struggle with this. I have them too. I think everyone on this forum website has them. It’s normal. And I think it’s not even your school, teachers, mother that have the highest expectations from you. I think you yourself have the highest expectations. You feel like they have high expectations. Then you yourself get even higher expectations. And that creates the enormous amount of pressure you feel. I’ve been through that myself as well. And girl, you don’t need to get A’s all the time. It’s not necessary. I’m a straight A student myself, and I Always get really mad at myself when I don’t have an A. But everyone around me is now basically forcing me to be happy with a B or a C. You should be too. Better a B without pressure then an A without a life. Believe me. As long as they’re good enough grades, they don’t have to be higher. It will take time to start feeling okay with lower grades. Heck I’m still in the process myself. They’ve been telling me this for about a year now. So if it does end up to be a B or a C, please don’t be upset with yourself. You’ve done good enough. You should be proud of yourself that the grade is not an F. This is also part of that failure is succes in progress thing.
About your mother and tips and tricks
If the people around you don’t celebrate your successes enough, you can do it yourself. I also think that your mother doesn’t completely understand how you feel. That’s why she’s telling you that you’re lazy. How many times have I heard that coming from my mother’s mouth? You’re lazy. Work harder. She now understand it better and doesn’t say it as much anymore. She still does when she gets mad, but I’m fine with it. I know that she knows deep down inside that I’m not being lazy. I’m being and ADHD brain. I can’t really help that. It’s just frustrations that my mother has sometimes. And I get that. With your mother it might be the same. And you can always sit down with her and explain things. And tell her that you’re not being lazy. Or at least not trying to be. You just have great difficulties with it. And that’s because of your ADHD. And you can ask her to rather support you. Even if you fail. Then she should be helping you to make you feel better about yourself. And you can always ask to celebrate more with you when you got an A. It’s not weird that you feel she doesn’t celebrate enough. Our ADHD brains lack a bunch of dopamine. Dopamine is basically what your brain makes when you achieved something, feeling happy about it. You can see it as an inner reward system. We as ADHD brains lack that inner reward system. So what can you do with that? Yes, make an outer-reward system. If our brains can’t do it, we can do it ourselves. Make yourself an award system. You can make things like sticker charts or a list you can cross off if that motivates you. It might sound cocky, but it works. And if you have that many stickers or things crossed off, you can give yourself a bigger reward, like a snack or something else that’s not something you can gain weight off (yep, I’m guilty…). Check out this topic. You can find interesting ways to reward yourself in here. And you can also search around on YouTube or pinterest. You can often find interesting things there:
If it doesn’t engage you enough, find other ways. Because something not engaging is not an award. You really need to get motivated to do what you have to do because you want your reward so badly.
I would also say: Watch a bunch of Jessica’s video’s. I’m sure there’s something interesting that can help you there. I found a lot of things that help me in her video’s. I’m so increadibly thankful for that.
What you can also do is join this topic:
In this topic you can join the group in a skype or facetime session where everyone works on their own things together. Because you’re all working on something it motivates you more to work. That might help you. I would also love to, for instance, just skype with you alone, so we can study together. Even if we have to study different things, we can help each other and motivate each other. And obviously throw parties when we succeeded at something. I need a study buddy anyways
I hope this was a little bit helpful. I’m sorry that it’s such a long message.
I think that a mother who psychoanalyzes her 13-year-old is already guilty of over-intellectualizing and under-supporting. Is she your psychological professional? Do you have to schedule one-hour meetings with her, usually on Thursday afternoons, and pay her $100 for each session? Or would you really rather not have an ANALYSIS, but instead have someone who helps you get motivated to study for your A-levels?
Guarantee: 100% of the time, telling someone he or she is lazy will NEVER cause him or her to change behavior into something more approvable.
The idea of that club really appealed to me tbh. I quite like the ‘study with me videos’ on YouTube coz I can’t study when I’m alone coz I get lonely so just text my friends but when I’m with friends i can sometimes lack the motivation to actually do it so that’s a cool idea.
And I don’t mind about the length, I did skip a couple of parts (sorry) but I’ll probably go back and read them another time I’m sure. Thank you for replying.
Tbh that’s kinda the reason I end up going to my dad more often because he came into my room the other day and found me crying and stressing myself out about it and gave me a hug and told me it’s okay, if I’m struggling with the way I’m revising rn (I said it was so boring) then we can try some other methods and work out what works best for me. Whereas, I came downstairs and my mum gave me a high five for being stressed out about it already because she didn’t think about exams until the end of the year.
Also their advice for revision is very different coz my dad said ‘okay well how about you set aside 10mins everyday, just 10mins, and use that time to go through your school notes and jot down the things you don’t quite remember or want to go over. And then, once you’ve been through all of them, then spend the 10mins everyday going back over those things you didn’t understand’ which honestly? I’d been trying to do revision schedules for myself for years and the problem is, when I’m super motivated and like ‘yes let’s do this’ it goes great, but other times I look at it and just feel dread at how much I have to do. I can’t even do the 30mins work-20mins break thing coz that’s just… so much?? I get kinda overwhelmed and then don’t wanna do it. The idea of only doing 10mins a day was so appealing and instantly I was like “ooh okay” and actually wanted to start it (I didn’t coz it was Friday night and I was tired but still). It was nice tho coz my dad seemed to understand and get it?? My mum on the other hand, her advice was ‘when you notice yourself procrastinating because of stress, do some revision’. What on earth does that mean??? There’s so many variables! How do I start that? What counts as ‘revision’? I hate the word revision: it’s so vague and nondescript. And, once again, it makes me overwhelmed.
She gets really insecure that we all hate her (because of a rocky relationship with her sister) and I don’t hate her but there are times where I definitely don’t like her and exam years are one of those times because that’s when she doesn’t see how stressed I get so tries to stress me out til I’m in Optimum Stress (only I’m already past that point so it just makes it worse) whereas my dad tries to calm me down which is nicer for me because then I can see where i need to go from here better.
This has turned into a bit of a rant about my mum which I didn’t really mean it to be… but the thing is, I’m still not diagnosed with ADHD (because she went back on a deal we had a few years ago that I could get tested after GCSEs) and now actively discourages me against being on places like this forum or watching jess’ YouTube channel (and I feel bad every time about being here when I may not even have ADHD but I’m pretty sure Jess said once that anyone who had adhd or just relates to it can be there so I guess that’s me lol) but I have learnt more about myself and the way I work, adhd or no, from the videos about gamification and fidget toys and pretty much all of them I’ve related to them and then, with gamification, tried it out and found it worked! …for a time (I got bored of it). But the fact that my working memory is poor but sometimes I can hold so much info (i know a ridiculous amount about guitars because I was once into it), a possible reason for why I can never stick with anything (like I said: guitar (I played it everyday for like a month then stopped and not really picked it up since; or fandoms, I flit in and out of them willy-nilly), an explanation for what I call my fickle motivation. It makes so much sense to me and my mum never sees it coz she never lets me tell her about it or allows me to pursue it to find out if it is actually something. My current plan is that at the end of this year, coz I’ll be 18 and a legal adult so she can’t tell me no anymore, I’m gonna take myself to my gp and get myself tested before uni. But until then, I’ll still be here.
Sorry this was really long, feel free to skim it lol.
To me it sounds like you have ADHD. But also remember: there are a bunch of things people dan have. Don’t forget the autism, that can have similar symptoms to ADHD (depending on what type of autism), ODD, other things you name it. But Hey, don’t feel bad about visiting this forum. I also Did it Before I had my diagnosis. If it helps you, that’s only good. Whether you have ADHD Or not, people Will accept you here the way you are. Basically that’s what this forum all about if you put ADHD to the side for a second. I think your mother really just doesn’t understand you and therefore doesn’t know how to react to this situation. At least, that’s what I see if I read your story. Doesn’t it actually is that way. And you’ll have to ensure her that you don’t hate her, but it’s just frustrating that she doesn’t support you in a good way. There’s nothing wrong with saying things like that. What’s going on between your mother and your sister is not going on between you and your mother. She needs to know that.
If you talk about study buddies, if you need one, I’m right here procrastinating on some big project that needs to be done tomorrow and it’s an exam…
I am overwhelmed by the amount of work and the fact that I don’t know where to start and I don’t know what to do. And my brain refuses to read atm. Like, I can read, but my brain doesn’t pick up any word I read. And I even have my medicine now. So you’re definitely not the only one struggling
Let me know if you need a study buddy. I’m right here
Edit: yup I’m panicking over my homework right now. Soooo…