What effect determination? Fear?
Hi, I (pker014 - sylvie's husband - waiting for my account to be fixed, as when I signed up I stupidly wrote 2012 as my birth year and now the account is locked because of it) haven't actually been diagnosed but I suspect I have adult ADD.
I'm a PhD student. My academic record has been EXTREMELY inconsistent. In my second year of undergraduate study, I stopped attending any of my computer science classes (It had gotten boring). I found one paper I'd taken on the side interesting - philosophy of religion - and I got an A in that. But failed everything else. I then dropped out, and spent a year smoking a lot of weed and enrolled in a carpentry course at a polytech... which, luckily enough, scared me back into giving university another try. It's taken me about 11 years of tertiary study, with three changes of major - from computer science, to carpentry (wth?), to philosophy, to psychology - to get to where I am now.
One thing I'm trying to puzzle out, is the fact that my performance has been so inconsistent. I mean, I ACED my "honours" year of study, with mostly A+s and the rest As (so that's a 4.0, right? We don't use that system in NZ). I also received an A+ for my Master's thesis. I spent a lot of my time procrastinating, and took longer to finish, but I did get it done (and qualified for a prestigious scholarship for my PhD). So my performance has covered the whole spectrum, fluctuating between terrible and great.
I think that the thing that got me through honours was:
1) I was terrified of having to get a job - studying carpentry had really put the fear into me - and I kept reminding myself of how there was no way I would get funding for postgrad studies if I didn't get PERFECT grades.
2) Assessment was broken into little chunks, with hard deadlines.
3) I quit all of my hobbies. At the time I thought I had an "addictive personality" because I'd learnt about myself that I couldn't have an interest, in anything, without it completely dominating my life. So I gave up everything that wasn't schoolwork.
4) I drank a lot of coffee. I generally took a cup of coffee to every class during honour's year.
I actually hated honours - even though I found the topics I was studying very interesting. I found it stressful, draining, and like I had no quality of life, like I had to give up everything else in life to accomplish the grades I wanted, and generally felt like Sisyphus, rolling the boulder up the hill, the entire time. Whenever I think of the possibility that that is what the rest of my working life might be like, I'm pretty terrified.
After I finished honours, I let myself go. I'd managed to land a paid research internship over the summer, and slacked off completely. At every meeting with my supervisors, they made it very clear that I wasn't making enough progress. Since then, this has become a recurring story. I can't seem to make my own deadlines - and unlike honour's where you are given them, in postgrad you have to set your own. And I just plain suck at it, regardless of the lists, timetables or plans I try to put in place.
Based on the above, would you say it's impossible I have ADD? Can you reconcile my (spotty) high achievement with the disorder? Or is it totally impossible that anybody with ADHD-PI could ever achieve such high grades?
I guess more broadly, my question is: How much can determination affect outcome with ADHD? Have you been able to keep it together for a month, a season, or a year, through determination, pure fear or whatever? Or does the fact that I've EVER been a high achiever disqualify me from ADHD?
Re: What effect determination? Fear?
I have managed to get the b grade in this language (english) and the second best in another my mother tongue(!)
But I was so bad at math that I got the worsed grade even tho I did my best and
even delivered the homework and stuff.
I didnt have time to do all the subjects
because the one subject I studied took all my time as I had to read it over again and again.
And I came to late a lot.(long way to travel,2 busses and stuff)
I tried 3 times to complete the first degree and then;
1 year where I failed again
to complete the second degree and then I tried
1 more year but quit school for personal reasons.(moved in with former boyfriend, far away,stupid idea)
Then I became a waiter and a maid but that didnt work out.
Then after many years I got the ADD diagnose,started medications and
I tried school again as an adult this time, (net study)
but I was short of money to buy the computer we needed and so I had to quit(!)
because the sosial doesnt cover luxury articles which a computer is.
So I got a job which I loved but unfortunetly they dont call me anymore
even though they never complained about anything,so Im not sure what went wrong but I suspect it was that I analyse slow and have a bad memory sometimes and that totally crashes with the fast tempo in that work place.
Fear of critism drive me to a lot of stuff.
Motivation is one of the most important driver for me.
If I sucseed its usually because of some very important moral obligation,or that I need to prove something or someone wrong ,or because of strong motivation in general.
I often learn stuff from videoes or tutorials online.
You can take a break and come back,there is no teacher who pressure you to sit still and pay attention like in school...
Re: What effect determination? Fear?
There are many people who have ADHD who have made it through grad school and are "successful" in life. That doesn't mean that they don't suffer though!
Being intelligent and being able to make it through grad school does not discount you from ADHD. :)
Sounds like you are doubting yourself. I know I did the same thing. :)
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