Reply To: I Just Feel Trapped


Hi there! I’ve been in a similar situation in the past, and I can’t speak for you- but I’d like to share my experience in hopes that it helps.
I was diagnosed in 3rd grade, at age 8. By that point I had attended an extra small class for English and grammar. I had been to a tutor to help me one-on-one with my English homework and sometimes my Math as well. In third grade, I was starting to get behind. My teacher moved me to a side table so I could keep working while she taught the next lessons. I had so much math homework, and starting essays was also a nightmare. I understood the math just fine, but when I’d go to solve a problem, I’d forget the equation and what to do next. So I kept careful notes, and followed my notes for EVERY single math problem. By the 30th or so math problem, I’d only start to remember the steps of solving it on my own.
Socially, I was quiet, but liked I guess- I really had some great classmates around me. But, I’d struggle talking in a group. I couldn’t find that gap in conversation to know when to jump in. Also, people change topic so quickly- by the time I thought of something good to say- the topic changed, and everyone didn’t know what I was talking about. Or Something someone would say would spark an idea or image in my head, which made me laugh or smile- and they’d ask what was funny, so I would tell them- but usually the conversation already moved on, and either way if I told them it would be not as funny as in my head and they wouldn’t get it. Now, I had two best friends when I was young, and they more often understood my humor. I just couldn’t say it in the flow of conversation like they could.
So usually, I just shut up. Or interrupted, felt embarrassed, and then went quiet. I think because- people would hear me blurt out the nonsense, and they’d ignore it because it wasn’t funny and didn’t make sense. Or I interrupted, probably.

I started to go the route of “if I don’t have something worth saying, don’t speak at all” – which was reeeally hard at first (5th grade by then) and I’d literally bite my tongue to get myself not to speak impulsively. That did help me control that, but coming up with the right thing to say is still hard. But I’m always learning. I’d say I can’t often talk and think at the same time- especially on important topics or ones where I have to really think. It helps for me to type, in that way, I can say everything I want and edit if I need to.
I can control my communication better than I used to. I’ve never had a problem with controlling my body or movements, but I do wiggle my toes and move my feet a lot when sitting at a desk I’ve been told.
I used to be afraid of annoying people, and I was always a bit shy, so I learned quickly to avoid repeating myself too much. People seemed to ignore me when I slipped up on that anyway.

Now more on to you. I think, perhaps you beat yourself up too much over awkward pauses or situations. “It’s only awkward if you make it awkward!” A wise girl used to say. So if it’s awkward and not otherwise hurtful or attacking those in your company, move on like it didn’t happen and don’t let it hang in the air and get awkward. Change the subject. Even if it’s the “Soooo…about that weather!”

Remember that you’re not the only awkward one. While you’re being mortified about something you said in your head, the conversation may have changed topic- and no one will remember the thing you said in about 5 minutes. And if they do remember and hold it over you- they are not your friends. Everyone is usually so occupied with their own selves that they won’t notice or won’t remember your “mistakes”.

Energetic, loud, and bouncy, are not always negative. But they are not great in a quiet classroom environment, I know. I have more ADD without as much hyperactivity- I can have it if I’m really happy or excited, but otherwise it doesn’t become a problem for me. I also think for me, I was really self-conscious of myself because I couldn’t NOT notice others. I hear that tapping pen in the back of the room, and someone has their feet moving on the back of my chair, and 3 people walked by the classroom door in the last 5 minutes! So, I didn’t tap my pen, I didn’t bounce my feet, I didn’t wiggle and squirm in my seat. Instead, I wiggled my toes like CRAZY in my shoes silently, I cross my ankles under me, I bounce my heel (without touching the ground to avoid making noise), and I doodled…A LOT.

With Homework, the only thing that helped me was medication, and keeping organized- writing everything down I needed to remember. I learned to fill up my day planner with color-coded writing. (My best friend was really into color coding and colored pens) So all the colors helped me keep track of homework and due-dates and made it a little more bearable…because I like all the pretty shiny colors.

There were times where I did have my medication dose increase because it was becoming less reliable. Or, I changed medication when I reached the max dose of another was also a plan in place. Your system may get used to one, and they can lose their effectiveness over time in that way. So talk with your doctor- it sounds like your current medication is not supporting you properly if homework isn’t getting done in a reasonable amount of time. You may need a different dose, or a different medication altogether.

Sorry for the wall of text, but hope some of that helped!