You Can Succeed with ADHD—I Did!

Your attention deficit doesn’t define you. You define yourself.
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Learning to Succeed After an ADHD Diagnosis

Lauren Walters, today's guest blogger, is currently attending graduate school for mental health counseling at Nyack College in Nyack, New York. She also has a bachelor’s in psychology and a minor in business administration from Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York. Lauren’s goal is to inspire others through her writing.

It was winter 2011. I had just returned home from college after finishing the fall semester of my senior year at Le Moyne College. It was a difficult semester: My grades had dropped because I couldn’t concentrate in class and I wasn’t able to complete homework assignments on time. I was discouraged and didn’t know what to do. I would be graduating the next semester and heading out into the world looking for a job. What’s more, I would soon find out that I suffered from ADHD.

I remember it as if it were yesterday. I had returned home from the pharmacy to pick up the medication prescribed by my psychiatrist. I had just been diagnosed with ADHD. I felt ashamed. How could this happen to me? Why do I have to be different than everyone else? I felt as if I were hiding a deep, dark secret from the world. Would others notice that I was on medication? Would they think I was acting strange?

I returned to college for my final semester of undergraduate school, as I battled my just-diagnosed ADHD. At the beginning, I felt sorry for myself. My grades weren’t so hot, despite being on medication and being able to concentrate and finish homework assignments on time.

What I learned that semester was that my grades and my struggles with attention deficit do not define me as a person. What defines me is my personality. Graduation day came, and I felt very proud as I received my diploma. I graduated with a bachelor’s in psychology and a minor in business administration. When I returned home after graduation, I applied for a few jobs. I did not hear back from any of the employers. I started to question my abilities. Why didn’t they hire me? Why am I not good enough for this position? I told myself to stop feeling sorry for myself. Everything happens for a reason. I had to keep trying.

I applied to graduate school to get a degree in mental health counseling later that same summer. I realized that working in the field of psychology and mental health is where my heart is, and I was determined to get in. I was accepted. After struggling with ADHD in undergraduate school, everything was working out for me.

I am now more than halfway through graduate school and interning at a prestigious New York hospital. If you ask me if I regret suffering from attention deficit, I’d say no. My ADHD enables me to connect with patients at the hospital, to understand their struggles and hopes. Every day that I walk on the unit, I know I have a purpose to serve. It is my duty to help patients succeed, by applying what I learned from my own experience with ADHD.

If you are suffering from attention deficit, don’t give up. Remember that your disorder does not define you. You define yourself.

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