Reply To: College Student looking for Answers

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Hi Britney,

I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was 19, and I’ve been in treatment for the past 8 years. It was tough at the time because I had dropped out of college. To be perfectly honest, life with ADHD is not always easy.

The best advice I can give you is, if you have a healthy relationship with your parents, you should consider sitting down to talk through what ADHD is about. Parents can be a useful support system. It’s extremely difficult to live with mental illness if you don’t have a safety net. If your relationship with your parents is strained, I would suggest seeking out a safety net either through your therapist or through group therapy.

If the people who are tell you that your illnesses are made up are your friends, you should 1) try to explain what’s going to them, and if that doesn’t work 2) look for more understanding friends. This might not be easy. People can look at ADHD as a weakness rather than the gift that it can be… Sometimes having anxiety and ADHD (and I imagine with OCD as well) can be extremely lonely. But there are other people like you out there.

As for dating, the best way to start is to learn how to build up your own confidence. Work on flirting. Learn how to read the signs that someone is into you and how to reciprocate. Learn to set healthy boundaries for yourself and for potential partners. You should also be honest and upfront with your partner about your ADHD (but save that for maybe a few weeks in).

Though I still struggle with anxiety and ADHD–frequent shifts in focus are extremely frustrating–I’ve managed to finish college with degrees in two subjects and am now on my second master’s degree. Those aren’t paths for everyone with ADHD… I feel like giving up on my writing (poetry) nearly every day. Yet, part of having ADHD is learning to embrace creativity and the strangeness of your own brain.

Know it is possible to achieve your own measure of success. You have to keep fighting for yourself.

I hope this helps… I guess I’m telling you what I would’ve wanted to hear years ago.

I struggled with all the issues you’re describing. Because I talked to my parents, we have developed a stronger, richer relationship. It took time for me to find love, but I have a stable and happy relationship.

Although I struggle with my own negativity (which is caused by my perceived shortcomings), I have managed to achieve a great deal in only 8 years. But you can have a better life… I’m living proof of that.

Much love,