Reply To: ADHD and Higher Education: The Struggles of Living with ADHD

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Wagner2020
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Great story. I’d be very interested to know what medications you are taking and how you’ve been able to turn things around as you’ve described. I too have a high IQ (top 1-2%) and was able to compensate for having inattentive ADD throughout most of my life. At 50 I finally was took an IQ test, which led to the quandary of my very average academic success during my educational years. I didn’t pursue anything beyond a BA because I knew intuitively that I’d be unable to complete the necessary course work involved with a higher degree – which, incidentally, should easily be accomplished with a well-meaning hard-working person like myself who has an IQ in the top 1-2 percent.

The difficulty for people with ADD who have high IQ’s is they are able to compensate under most circumstances, but not always – and therein lies the problem. Employers don’t want folks who can perform most of the time – especially at higher levels of the organization. What’s more, is ADD’ers will have “flashes” of high achievement while in the workforce, but can’t (or simply are unable due to their ADD) continue to show their brilliance. As such, these ADD’ers are most times thought of as underachievers or simply lazy. I think an employer can clearly see the early potential (in an ADD’er), but eventually gets frustrated with the individuals’ lack of achievement, shortcomings, and inability to take things to the next level – and thusly either gives up on the person or simply moves on (one way or another). For an ADD’er, this is a very disheartening string of events – events that I’m sure most every ADD’er could clearly articulate has happened to them at some point in their lives.

I’ve begun to get my arms around my personal situation and it’s been extremely enlightening. Much contemplation, experimentation, and self-reflection have been a major part of the journey.

Thank you for sharing your story.