If you have a question or comment for next week, let me know on Twitter or via my Contact Page. Continue reading “Totally Mental #003: “What’s it like to have ADHD?””
Around this time last year, I was neck deep in some serious confusion, fear, and self-doubt. I was one year into a MSc degree in Neuroscience, and had a ton of work left to do. I seriously doubted if I would ever finish what I started, and I was even less convinced that I would complete the program within the two years that was encouraged by the University. I was told that it was pretty common for students to extend an extra semester or two, just to give yourself enough room to do a good job. Of course, most of the students in question didn’t have kids to distract them at home, nor did they have ADHD. I had both, so I was convinced I was doomed.
Around the same time last year, an amazing and unexpected thing happened to me. I was the winner of a scholarship that provided me with a year of ADHD coaching. Working one-on-one with a coach was an incredible experience, and I learned how to prioritize and schedule tasks. More importantly, I learned how to take care of myself, how to be nice to myself, and how to be self-aware. I learned that my ADHD didn’t need to define me, and that a good timeline can be the most valuable weapon in the face of a graduate committee.
So here I am today, and I have finished my Master’s degree. Best of all, I finished the greatest accomplishment of my life ON TIME. People with ADHD probably don’t realize how amazing that really is, but for someone who has a perpetual problem with lateness and time management that is a miracle. Pardon me while I bask in the glory of my own punctuality.
…Ahh…it feels so good.
Over the next few weeks I plan on blogging about some of my biggest lessons that I learned over the course of my graduate work. They will most likely be focused on issues that people with ADHD struggle with. However, they will most likely apply to anyone in the University setting. It will most like apply to anyone who has ever tried to stay organized, and failed. It will probably help anyone who has to be productive in their life. Who know, it might even help you.
For now, I want to leave you with one thing: Believe in your goals. They are absolutely possible. You just need the right plan, the right people, and the right perspective. When (not if, WHEN) you stumble, crash and burn, remind yourself that it’s okay. EVERYONE fails sometimes. If you were successful right away, how would you ever grow? How would you learn from your mistakes? How would you gain the perspective you’ll need to get you through the times ahead? Keep your head up, pick yourself off the ground, and learn from your mistakes. Most of all, keep moving toward your goals. They’re closer than you think.
Last week I was featured on the local news about the Shire ADHD Scholarship. Check it out! 🙂 I was also featured on their website. I’ve been interviewed almost half a dozen times in the last couple of weeks, and its been kind of a whirlwind. I’m going to post something in the next few days about some of the lessons I’ve learned in the process. In the mean time, enjoy the video!
This post is part of an ongoing series on issues relevant to individuals with ADHD. While it may be specifically directed ADHD issues, the topics discussed are applicable to everyone, including students, parents, writers, business people, and YOU!
A large part of my Neuroscience Masters thesis is based upon behavioural tests with rats. It might sound exciting, but in reality it represents watching rats doing the same task over and over again for days on end. It is, quite possibly, the most boring thing that I’ve ever had to do in my life. For someone with ADHD, that is an enormous roadblock on the path towards success. Someone without ADHD would probably be able to get through those clips in about a week of hard scoring (the term we use for collecting data from video footage), but it takes me much longer because I have a hard time sitting for a long period of time doing them. In fact, one of the worst parts of having ADHD is the procrastination. Doing important (even essential) things that you don’t want to do sucks.
One of the few topics I really wanted to tackle when I started this blog was living life with attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder (more commonly known as ADHD). If you don’t know what ADHD is, Wikipedia is your friend. In a nutshell, ADHD is a neuropsychological disorder that leaves you with three basic symptoms: hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention. These three symptom groups manifest differently in different people, but I’ll give a quick rundown of what my symptoms are like on a bad day.