Today, HALLOWEEN (I’m 13) my counselor called me in the middle of geometry. I went to her office. Basically she was like. “I notice you’ve been late A LOT to class. (In the morn). So now, everyday your tardy, your going to have lunch detention in my office.” She’s usually a nice old lady, but she just talks and talks and goes off on MANY tangents. And I zone in and out of what she’s saying, nodding every once and a while. Tears behind my eyes of being misunderstood and anger at her for instead of figuring out why I had a problem and helping me through it, she only was giving me a punishment. Wow real helpful. She went on to say that I had a good brain, and only needed to make the decision to get to school earlier, and do my hw at night. It’s all “my decision to get good grades” I currently have a 2.5 gpa as I was so concerned about making up 1st quarter assignments, that my second quarter first assignments all went out the door. She was like, college will probably be so much easie… blah blah blah. For like 15 mins. I couldn’t get across my serious executive function issues and how it wasn’t just “my decision”. Idk. But it seriously numbed me and made me feel stupid and lazy and I just wanted to go away and cry about school. Well I have school tmw. Hopefully I won’t be late. Wow. Aren’t school counsellors supposed to help you with your education not make it harder? By the way not diagnosed with ADHD. Oh! Also. On a side note. My English teacher keeps frowning at me and looking at me all disappointed, commenting that I could do so much better when she walks by and I haven’t done any work and all the other students have started. because I’m not one of the “bad kids”. I’m smart with a lot of potential. it’s just really frustrating and I ended up quitting a club I liked because of it. fiction club. Any who. Felt good to let out. Mom just doesn’t get it. Ugh.
Currently sitting, binging candy, what I’m supposed to be doing tons of homework .
Sometimes people who try to help don’t do it in the best of ways. It sounds like the teacher and the counselor both may not be aware of how much you’re struggling and what difficulties you have. I’m not sure if you’ve tried to talk to them before and outline it, or if you’ve discussed some of this with your family. If not, it might be worthwhile to write it down and explain it to them so they can consider either an evaluation or at least develop a plan to support you.
Struggling is not a choice. You’re not deliberately trying to be late or unmotivated or distracted. Hopefully you can keep believing in yourself and your abilities despite the challenges with the staff. I would definitely say reach out to them, though. If they end up not being helpful then there are other people who can. But a lot of people don’t know when they’re not being helpful. We have to give them that feedback so they know what’s going on in our minds. Good luck!
Sounds a lot like my time at school, albeit that was 15 years ago and in a different country… I guess misunderstanding/stupidity spans generations and continents
Could you write a letter to your counselor to explain how you’re feeling and why you’re struggling? It could be a much easier way of getting your point across rather than trying to respond when she’s lecturing you and you’re zoning out.
I hope things get better for you at school! If not, then on the brightside, school isn’t forever and eventually you’ll be free of school counsellors forever!!
Sounds like the counselor doesn’t know jack-all about the helpful way to handle a student with ADHD. Setting up punishment dis-incentives is counter-productive; expecting compliance with schedules that have already been proven to be problematic, is a fool’s errand, unless some OTHER instigation into the schedule is established (or, to put it differently, if someone is often late, then, telling them not to be late won’t make them change because THEY ALREADY KNOW THEY’RE OFTEN LATE; the thing that will help them change is NOT motivational, but STRUCTURAL – putting clocks in the hallways where the person can see them, letting the person pack up their bag earlier rather than requiring that the person conform to the bag-packing regime that was created for people who don’t have ADHD and can’t be followed by people who do have ADHD, etc.). Your counselor is demanding that, because you have ADHD, you should stop having ADHD. I think your counselor is the problem. Show him or her this post, if you’d like.
Love this post, and yes to everything. One problem: I’m not actually diagnosed with ADHD. Though it’s very clear to me there is some issue. I also have other disorders that relate to ADHD. But she didn’t even notice the signs when I was telling her how I was always late, and my trouble with homework. She was like you’re smart, when you make the decision, it’ll happen. And whenever I describe any of my ADHD symptoms having to do with homework and getting to school on time in, that meeting, she was like yeah you are an artistic brain or whatever like right brained. then she was like do you like math and I was like yeah I love math and she was like, interesting so your right brained AND left brained. and I’m like hmm ok. Wtf. So these aren’t ADHD signs/symptoms,I just have an artistic personality??! like yeah that makes perfect sense. I know it’s crucial for me to get a proper evaluation, it just makes me super anxious every time I try to bring it up with an adult.
Sorry for tons of grammar and punctuation mistakes, not in the mindset right now to care.
I don’t care about your grammar and punctuation mistakes either (and I’m an English teacher ). This is not an essay, it’s a place to express yourself, ideally so people can understand you.
And let’s face it, we certainly do understand what you’re saying. Probably because that’s what school was like for most of us. And because a lot of this is still true in some way even if we are older than you and have a different kind of daily life.
If you can find people in your real life surroundings who take your problems with timekeeping and motivation seriously, it will be a lot easier for you to learn how to work around them. (I hope you manage this a few decades before I did😅).
Since my diagnosis (just 2 years ago) I have had therapy and coaching (and medication, which has helped, but it’s the talking to the therapist and coach that has changed how I see myself and how I negotiate daily life). I still don’t do stuff perfectly, but I do get to choose/control a bit more what I mess up and what I don’t.
If your family or teachers are the kind of people who can’t bear the idea of ‘a label’, try to only mention 'problems, difficulties, help and solutions '. If at some point a diagnosis is necessary in order to access services, by that point there will be some positive reasons for accepting a label which might balance out the reasons for not wanting one.
How incredibly annoying!! This really sucks, I remember feeling this way so many times: why do they see there’s a problem but refuse to listen to you explaining what the problem is?! So yeah, totally get it.
That said, I’m assuming you’re in the US, and that there’s a reason why you’re undiagnosed for now. Is there a possibility to get yourself diagnosed? The reason I ask is that usually, school staff in the US are trained better in ADHD matters than that counselor and teacher are. They should know that their very negative feedback won’t make you change, that you need a different kind of help if they want to encourage you. Maybe the only thing to make them realise that would be for you to have an official ADHD diagnosis?
I mean, they might still not get it. But at least there would be a chance that they realize, “this kid ISN’T lazy or doesn’t care. The student just needs my support in a different way, and no, negative feedback and pressure will only make it worse, oops!” … I dunno, but there’s that hope.
That said: if you haven’t done so already, find out what makes doing homework and getting to school on time easier?
It’s different for everyone: experiment what works for you, and write down how hard it was to start homework, and how hard it was to complete homework, in each experimental setting! (If you don’t write it down, you may forget.)
For some people, an empty desk, a blank wall and silence works best. (Lack of distraction!) For some, a lack of stimulus just drives them up the wall further.
For me, what worked was doing homework at a specific time in a specific way:
I had to start with a long break after school, at least an hour or even more. Oh, the hundreds of fights I had with my mom, who would nag and nag me to get started. It happened at least half the time that her insistence on making me start just led to me getting up early before school to do homework then, just to get my own way and win over her. My poor mum. Still annoys me 25 years later though that she could not understand that I knew better than her. Anyway…
It is important for me that I start an annoying task when I am not feeling tired, which for homework meant around 4.30/5.30pm.
I was always bored when doing homework (though I didn’t know I was bored then, I only realized this in hindsight), so I usually did stuff that didn’t need creative attention in front of reruns on TV (no internet when I was 13). So, maths, geography, bio, stuff like that.
If I had to write an essay I had to turn the sound of the TV down, though, but usually the picture stayed on. I’m not sure why, but it worked for me.
I still do a version of that today: if I need to start writing urgent work emails that I don’t want to write, I put on a podcast or an audiobook to get started, until I’m realising I’m not listening to it anymore and then shut it off.
I think what is most important to me is that I control the environment I’m in, and control anything that could disturb me: so if you want to listen to music while doing homework, that’s okay, but no one else should be in control of the sounds around you. If your family can afford them, or if you can borrow some, active noise cancelling headphones are one of my most important tools for getting stuff done: first I listen to my own distraction-from-awful-boring sound to get started, then when I shut off the sound, the headphones keep out most of the sounds of my co-workers which would rip me out of my task.
As for being punctual, well… that’s really hard.
It’s a lot of work, and super boring, and it never stops. It helped me to know that I even had a problem with being on time. Lists help me.
Brilli (the app) works okay for me but obviously costs money, but it really made me realise (again) that yes, I DO need 1h15min in the morning, and I cannot cut that to half an hour by willpower. But I didn’t stick to Brilli - any list helps, and knowing how long stuff takes.
Stopwatch it. Set reminders. 1h15m before leaving, get up. Take meds. 1h before leaving at the latest (!!), take shower. 30min before leaving at the latest (!!), have breakfast. Etc.
My morning to do list is annoying, I don’t want to do that many stupid boring things every morning - but it’s the only thing getting me out of the house on time.
Find what works for you?
It may be something completely different than what works for me, or someone else. But if you think about it a little and try a few things, over time you’ll find what will work for you. Good Luck. And I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the school people will listen better, next time.
Accepting that I need hours to get out of the house was a real eye opener for me, and the start of a big improvement in this area!
Before take the time to analyze and reply to this response, I just wanna say, thank you for taking the time to write it. I appreciate it.
Yeah this issue started for me in 5th grade. Before, I just thought it was because I always did hw in the morn. But recently, I realize that even w/out hw, I still have trouble getting out the door on time.
Yes US. I’m undiagnosed because I don’t know how to bring it up with my mom and or school psychologist, of fear of being laughed at. Or just like patronized because of how “out there” or “silly” me having ADHD is. I have written other posts about this. I’m basically just really trying to work through it, but it makes me scared when I try. Just gotta rip that bandaid off, and get the term ADHD out there.
I’m seeing this boy today! I’m gonna try to ask him what he saw about me that made him say that. just wanted to share that cause I thought of it.
Yeah. Relatable. She didn’t used to do this, but after I’ve been going on about my struggles like everyday to her, she’s now the the nagging machine. Which I guess is better than no reminders, but still really ticks me off if she doesn’t do it in a calm kind manner. And that isn’t most of the time.
I’m probably a rare ADHD brain that is super punctual…through self conditioning with multiple alarms.
I was only diagnosed with ADHD this month, wasn’t even on my radar as the reason to a lot of issues I’ve been having until this year.
Anyway, one of the things that helped convince the doctor to screen me for ADHD was when I told her that I’m almost never late to work… because I set four alarms every morning. First two to make sure I’m awake with enough time to get ready. Two because sometimes I fall back asleep and sometimes I just get distracted after waking up and need the reminder to move and get dressed. Second to last is the 10 minute warning to leaving and the last is I have to walk out the door -right now- to be at work on time.
May not work for you (and really only works with a smart phone or tablet), but it is one of the ways I learned to cope long before I was diagnosed.
When I was in highschool, I did make sure my lunch and backpack were put together before bed time. I started that habit so I could sleep for 10 more minutes in the morning
Clothes set out for the next day I still haven’t managed to get on top of…maybe I’ll manage that after I manage to put away my laundry after cleaning instead of using the “basket =clean, floor= dirty” method.
I do recommend bringing up your thoughts of having ADHD with someone (parents and doctor are a good start). It’s scary trying to get someone to listen and believe you, but if you can get someone to help you come up with coping measures that work for -you-, it can make school and later work so much easier/more manageable. I say work for you because all of us brains function differently, even the neurotypical (though they don’t always admit it).
Have you seen Jessica’s Wall of Awful video?
It explains fantastically what this* feels like and - better still - suggests helpful ways to retrain our loved ones😀