So my question is: even though you were an A student, were you a good student?
I see a lot of parallels in your story to what I experienced in school and trying to launch as an adult.
I was a terrible, terrible student. I got mostly A’s up until high school, which, along with being a well-behaved girl, masked the ADHD. Feats included acing a test I hadn’t studied for and getting called out by my teacher as a glowing example of a student who studies, and doing an entire month-long book report project the night before it was due and receiving an A. So yeah, I never learned how to be a good student. I was just smart. I managed to get into a very prestigious university and BARELY graduated, and had my diploma held hostage because I’d forgotten to pay the shop bill. Then I struggled to get myself a decent job and learn more skills. I basically sucked at everything having to do with living life.
Finally got diagnosed a few years ago in my mid-20s, and the meds made a mind blowing difference in my ability to function.
So yeah, it seems like you do have ADHD. Good news is that it’s very treatable and that your issues with keeping your life together are due to different brain wiring and not a moral failing.
Some tips on meds: 20mg/day methylphenidate is a pretty low dose. You’ll probably want to titrate up until you feel the effects. I had to go up a few times to hit a therapeutic dose.
Also, lay off the espresso. Caffeine is a weak garbage-quality stimulant, and stimulants tend to not play nice with other stimulants. Methylphenidate is a much more powerful, high quality stimulant, so you don’t want to let caffeine get in the way. If you need to come off the caffeine more easily, I recommend Yerba mate tea – it’s the only form of caffeine that doesn’t mess me up when I’m on my meds. Anecdotal, but still.