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Coping with My ADHD Diagnosis

I'm a graduate student at an ivy league school and JUST became diagnosed as ADHD. I knew something was very off my entire life, but when you get good grades, no one pays attention to your "not-quite-right" habits. I made it to grad school not ever having a read a book cover to cover. I don't even think I got through an entire chapter. I would find summaries online, skim it, and write about it. I took an online microbiology class, paid $500 for the home lab kit and was supposed to spend 4 hours for 12 saturdays doing my lab. Since I'm a notorious procrastinator, I pulled an all-night the day before the lab was do, colored bacteria into the petri dishes, and took "pictures" of my bacteria. I got a 100 in the lab portion of the class. These two examples about sum up my life. I've learned different ways to get around my ADHD. However, I finally hit my breaking point. I couldn't pay attention in class, I was always fidgeting, I lost EVERYTHING. I didn't hear people when they talk to me. I forgot to do almost everything scheduled in my planner (planner? that's IF I can find it) and everything from my car to my room to my purse was cluttered and a mess. I couldn't keep organized for the life of me. Finally I went to get help, and after giving plentiful examples from my childhood to now, I was diagnosed as ADHD. If I ever actually had to study for things, I would have been screwed,and perhaps this would have been diagnosed sooner. Instead I was always scolded for talking during class, being impulsive, forgetting my HW at home, having a messy desk, locker, etc. I come from a very conservative family that doesn't necessarily believe in ADHD, so I can't tell them this. They would tell me it's an excuse I'm making for being a messy, disorganized, chronic procrastinator. I've tried behavioral modification therapy and it may work for a day, but they next day everyhting is a mess again. I've been doing a lot of research online after my diagnosis and it's very disheartening to see that a lot of people do not think add/adhd exists. I swear I'm not making excuses for myself. If I could have changed by sheer will alone, I would have many years ago. It would have saved me a TON of stress, frustration, and arguments. With all of this in mind, I can't help but sometimes thing this is all in my head. Was there a way I could have done this without medication? I exacerbated all options I thought I had. I'm definitely not a medicinal person at all, but my quality of life has improved drastically after taking vyvanse. I'm much calmer, always in a good mood, my room and car are immaculate. I've made calendars of each month and hung them on my wall, I'm motivated to clean EVERYTHING. I take time to organize, I can sit down and do all my school work in one sitting. I no longer hear the birds outside or tapping of pens unless I make it a point to hear them. AND I can actually sit down and read. This is like a whole new life for me. I'm never stressed about where my cars keys are or who I forgot meeting with. Once again, though, could this all be in my head? Is the medicine actually working, or is the thought of being on the medicine prompting me to be motivated and accomplished? Why do so many people think ADHD doesn't exist? Do they honestly believe symtpoms can be managed by behavioral modifications alone? I get very upset thinking about all of this. I'm not crazy, right?
2 Responses
189897 tn?1441126518
COMMUNITY LEADER
   No, its not some "Halo" effect.  The meds are working.  If they weren't you would be in a whole different place.  I imagine what is driving you nuts is the "what if's".  Just think - if you had been a hyper boy with poor grades you would have been diagnosed in first or second grade.  All things considered, you probably rather be you.  And that's the main point.  Let the past go.  Work on the future.  
   Why people don't think it exists is a good question.  Part of that is so much of it seems to exist that people can't wrap their minds around those numbers.  And I think that there are some doctors out there that take the easy way out.  Others don't believe for religious reasons or even cultural reasons.  As a teacher, I had my first ADHD child in about 1972 and I have believed ever since.
   Anyway, I have another post to you (cause I tend to start with the earliest and work down.  Wish I had read this first.  Oh well, Best wishes!
Avatar universal
I went through College and graduate school with ADHD. It was actually a blessing although I had to work twice as hard. I finally was put on Ritalin 30 years ago after a neurologist suspected I had Narcolepsy/ADHD. It worked!  Having been a project engineer, even with Ritalin I was able to multitask. Go to Drugs.com and you will see that all the metaphedamines have a possible side effect called Tartive diskonesia (never could sped it correctly)
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