Reply To: Feeling like a failure and a hot mess…

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I am not an expert, but my understanding that anxiety disorders can produce ADD-like symptoms. The psychiatrist would have to evaluate you to properly distinguish what is affecting your cognition. The OCD makes me wonder if your compulsions or obsessions might be taking up a lot of mental space and either worsening your ADD symptoms or mimicing ADD symptoms. Similarly, stress from school could be worsening things too.

I also wanted to be a psychologist and didn’t get diagnosed until years later, even though I suspected that I had an issue. I performed moderately well academically and even had some good references. I did extremely well on my GREs (96th percentile in Psychology subject exam), but I was inconsistent. My undergraduate thesis wasn’t great and my professor didn’t like me AT ALL. I worked in a lab where I made inattentive mistakes that affected the research results (MAJOR no no!). My social skills were weak, so I couldn’t reach out for mentorship or advice. I knew when I graduated that I couldn’t do a PhD, despite my strong scores in some areas making it possible for me to be admitted to a less competitive school, and I bowed out and drifted for much too long.

My executive issues, in combination with adverse living conditions due to a parent’s mental illness, meant that I had a lot of bad living, social and emotional habits that I was also unlearning during these very formative years. All of it took too much from me. I really wish that I had taken time away to mature and resolve some of these issues, so that they weren’t all affecting me at once. I would have had less failure and heart break.

My advice to you is to think about what you need to create the conditions for success. You are still young and you have possibilities ahead of you! If you need time, take a bit of time away from school. It will be easier to justify a semester or year off than to justify poor grades. Your junior and senior year grades will weigh very significantly in your applications to graduate school. Take time to talk to a psychologist and try to create a plan forward. You may need to do things a bit differently to achieve what you want, but I am confident that if you plan well, you will achieve it.

Best of luck to you!