Hi! I’m currently in the process of getting diagnosed as well. This looks like the story of my life and after posting on social media about it, the story of lots of young women I know who are very successful.
I’m actually a dentist. Straight A student. 4 years of college, followed immediately by 4 years of Dental school and I excelled “on paper”. My transcripts look great, but my brain says otherwise. Oh I’m also 32 and just now figuring out that I have no clue how I made it this far.
In elementary school, I struggled with homework at the very first moment but my parents thought I was just lazy/unfocused. Honestly, I’m not even sure she really cared a whole lot. I found out quickly that straight A’s brought attention and notariety. Worked my butt off for As.
In high school, A’s kept my parents happy and proud and also brought on the possibility of scholarships and dental school. Done.
In college, I had my first misstep and failed my first exam in math which is my favorite subject. My best friend suggested I go to her class. I learned to cling to friends who knew what they were doing and mimicked their behavior to the best of my ability. Copying friends, I learned how to use a planner and I had study buddies which forced me to attempt to focus on a daily basis. While they were planning out their semester and getting studying accomplished ahead of time, I was constantly asking then what they were working on so that I could just remember to keep up. These same habits took me through dental school, where my grades were not as stellar because my goal was no longer to apply to the next program, but rather to survive with as much knowledge as I could keep in my brain.
A lifetime of booking and purging information the night before an exam is not really the best way to learn. I wouldn’t have survived college and dental school without those friends, but it didn’t make me much better of a studier.
So now I’m parenting a child and living with a spouse and WE ARE STRUGGLING day to day. My physician warned me that there was a good chance the psychiatrist wouldn’t believe me because I’m so successful. I can’t even remember to start the laundry let alone finish a load. I’ve forgotten to feed my dogs receipt they’re vocal about it. I forget to make dinner for my family until it’s too late. When I do cook, I burn things, plan poorly, and never get the results I want.
I’m getting a referral for neuropsych evaluation and I’m nervous but so relieved. My friends all experienced the same thing I did and all have graduate degrees, one is a very successful lawyer. You aren’t alone. It’s quite common for ADHD folks to have been very successful in school at least for a time. Then at some point we can’t keep it up any more and we can’t figure out what the heck is wrong with us.