I honestly don’t like identifying with ADHD. I don’t like talking about it or complaining about it, because honestly I can’t change it. I can only work around it. But there are many misconceptions about it. And my self worth suffered a lot due to those misconceptions. I was told I was “lazy” a lot, I was a “slacker”, I didn’t “care enough”, didn’t try or put the effort in.
The reality is, I did. And often it was just the opposite. I tried my best, cared a lot, and put all my effort in.
It just didn’t seem to make a difference if I tried or didn’t try.
I felt like the ability to control my attention was beyond my control. I felt helpless.
The reality was, I never learned how to cope with ADHD. I never learned the habits and skills and disciplines to work around it. As a result, no matter how hard I worked, it was never enough. This was debilitating, and destroyed my confidence and self worth.
I took an IQ test as part of an ADHD diagnosis when I was 19.
I dropped out of high school at this point. Didn’t know what the hell was wrong with me. Was in AP classes while also repeating grades. Felt smart, but formal education felt intolerable and oppressive. Mostly felt like a loser. Was always doing something wrong, was always stepping out of line, not following the rules, not doing things right. Felt like there was something wrong with me. I faked fitting in. And I did it well. Got away with a lot.
Granted, I had moved a ton and attended 12 times throughout my schooling. Lots of schools with mismatched curriculums, friends dying, learning to make new friends. This inevitably has an impact on my learning development, to some degree.
However, if I was challenged correctly, and stimulated appropriately, achievement of any task, no matter the difficulty, felt natural and easy.
When there were endless tasks that seemed insignificant, no matter how easy they were, completing them became impossible.
I wanted to go to college, but didn’t know if i was “smart enough”.
So I went to a professional clinical psychologist and they gave me several IQ tests and achievements tests with various batteries for specific assessments.
The results were vindicating. I was “smart”. But I CLEARLY had some attention/ processing/ working memory issues. Scores typically are consistent across measures— meaning your standard scores are usually are consistent or similar across testing clusters. If there is a dramatic divergence in clusters, it indicates something is abnormal. For better or worse.
The core clusters in my IQ test revealed a significant divergence in cluster scores, with areas associated with ADHD, such as working memory and processing fluency, being very average. Other clusters were very elevated.
This explained my general schizophrenic state of feeling both capable, yet incapable.
The good thing was that I learned these could be improved through learning coping skills. Basically, learning to compensate for these deficits by strengthening certain thinking habits.
That is why I applied and attended Landmark College.
They’re one of the few colleges on earth that specializes in teaching these skills. They provided an environment to gain the confidence and skills to improve these deficits, or taught me ways to work around them.
These deficits never go away, but you can improve them.
ADHD or Dyslexia will always be a point of struggle, but you can learn to work around them.
You can understand your strengths and weaknesses. You can learn to choose the best environments that align with these. You can learn how to function in environments that don’t.
The IQ test also gave me confidence that I could succeed in academia so long as I pursued my strengths, learned to cope with my weaknesses.
Despite floundering throughout school, reading and writing had long been a personal passion of mine that I enjoyed in my personal time, but I avoided math, which I learned requires working memory and cognitive efficiency. Despite failing classes, and eventually dropping out of high school, I had potential for higher education.
I have no idea why some people develop the way they do, why we have strengths and weaknesses.
But I do know that, more than anything else, having the right attitude is everything.
Where there is a will, there is a way.
He who has a why to live can bear almost any how. —Nietzsche
No matter what the personal difficulty, you must believe in yourself. You must believe things will improve in time with faith in and effort towards worthwhile goals.