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posted: Thursday September 22nd - 4:30pm

Adjusting to College as a Young Adult With ADHD

College requires self-advocacy, time management, and good memory skills -- all of which are challenges for me, thanks to ADHD. Can I learn to cope with my symptoms and get my act together before my grades start to suffer?

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It’s Tuesday morning, my first day of the semester, and I’ve already managed to fall 24 hours behind schedule. On Monday, which was technically the first day of classes, downed trees, courtesy of hurricane Irene, kept me stranded in my living room while my would-be classmates jotted down the semester’s first assignments. (I commute to Temple University from Philadelphia’s suburbs. We got...
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posted: Thursday August 18th - 11:00am

Learning Time Management at College

I like drawing out schedules to follow. I don’t like following them. Let's hope this semester is the one I acquire time-management skills as a college student with ADD/ADHD.

Today, I’m penciling my fall semester’s class schedule into neat boxes: 11 a.m., English literature; 12 p.m., American literature; 1 p.m., creative nonfiction; and so on. I’m taking a total of five classes, which adds up to 15 hours of classes a week. Ah, the ease of college life. I kick my feet up on my desk and stretch, ready to cruise through the semester. Of...
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posted: Friday July 29th - 9:00am

Does ADHD, Social Anxiety Make Me Invisible?

Because of my attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) and social anxiety, I feel invisible during the first few days of college. But surrounded by confident peers, how long can I refuse to practice my social skills?

I pace in tight circles around my 8-by-8 dorm room. The room is lit by blue-gray 5 a.m. light. I’ve been pacing since 11 p.m. Now sunrise is poking its intrusive face through my window. It flashes straight into my bloodshot eyes. I stub my toe on the foot of my cot and watch a toenail buckle. I throw my face into the cot’s sheets --...
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posted: Wednesday July 20th - 2:30pm

Financial Stress

As my debt mounts, my attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) and anxiety make it hard to focus on making money. Can I manage my financial stress and get control of my finances before it's too late?

For the next 30 seconds, I will be perfectly calm. This idea passes through my mind as I squint at my bedroom wall through sleep-encrusted eyelids. For 30 more seconds, part of me will still be dreaming about my childhood Jack Russell terrier chasing sticks across a sunlit quad. But it's only a matter of time before my attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) mind begins eagerly whirring...
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posted: Thursday July 14th - 4:00pm

ADHD, Anxiety, College Demands…and the Return of Nicotine Cravings

Nicotine patches have helped me quit smoking, but is my own drive for perfectionism on my college exams, combined with ADD/ADHD, anxiety, and cravings for nicotine, driving me right back to the cigarettes that robbed me of my brain for so long?

Two weeks have gone by since I finished the last of my nicotine patches, and I haven’t touched a cigarette. Nicotine is the furthest thing from my mind, despite having spent the better part of high school and my first year of college smoking to self-medicated my symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) and anxiety. Instead, midterm madness dominates my consciousness day...
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posted: Tuesday July 12th - 8:30am

How I Quit Smoking (a Work-in-Progress Story)

After turning to cigarettes to cope with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) and anxiety during high school and college, with nicotine patches as my guide, I am on the path to quitting and improving my grades.

I wake up in the morning feeling naked, as though I have just been lifted from the grave. Every morning for the past six weeks the blaring alarm clock has woken me up, telling me that it’s 7:30 a.m., and I have felt this way, lifeless. Normally I would wake up, then remember it, that I've given up cigarettes -- the one...
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posted: Wednesday July 6th - 4:00pm

Seeking Help to Quit Smoking

Tired of the foggy and unfocused feeling cigarettes left me with as an adult with ADD/ADHD and anxiety, I sought the help of a smoking-cessation specialist to help me quit smoking.

In my last post, after nearly exploding at my mother in frustration at the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) symptoms I was experiencing, I went for a run to clear my head -- and it worked. “Mother!” I shouted in a disarmingly cheerful voice as I burst inside our house after my run. My mother, who was about to step outside the front door as I was...
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posted: Wednesday June 29th - 12:00pm

My Nicotine-Addicted ADHD Brain: How Cigarettes Affect My Symptoms

Unable to focus, I realize that another factor is making my attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) worse: my nicotine addiction. But can I quit smoking cigarettes?

My hand slams the kitchen table, and my mother leaps backward in shock. Part of me is aware that I’ve hit a new low. I’ve been growing steadily more unhinged since my senior year of high school, but now, the summer after my college freshman year, my stress-induced rage has reached a crescendo. For the first time since I was a child, I’m taking my anger...
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posted: Friday May 6th - 7:00pm

Coping With ADHD, Anxiety, and a Cigarette Addiction

As an ADHD teenager, I turned to smoking to calm my nerves. Now I'm out of high school, addicted to nicotine, and feeling very alone -- with no company but my cigarette-dulled brain.

The alarm clashes like cymbals in my ears. My raw, bloodshot eyes burst open with a start and I slam the alarm clock with my open palm until it shuts up. I curl into the fetal position on my sweat-stained sheets. The thought of heaving my body out of bed and dragging myself to work might as well be a death sentence...
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posted: Monday April 25th - 6:00pm

Smoking to Self-Medicate Anxiety and ADHD

As a teen with anxiety and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD), I turned to smoking to dull my symptoms and nerves, but in the process, I dulled my brain, too.

It’s Wednesday afternoon and, as usual, my friend Rupert and I are loitering outside the local drugstore. It’s a humid, sweaty day but we didn’t hesitate to hike our usual hike -- two miles down the shoulder of a busy, suburban highway -- to a local shopping center. We time our treks carefully. Arrive too early and the shops will be packed...
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