Reply To: I don't know how to tell my parents I failed this semester

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LX —

— You are at a transitional point in your life when you are shifting from doing things your parents want and/or demand that you do to — let’s hope — to doing things that you want to do. Part of growing up and becoming independent is being honest when it’s not easy and … standing on your own two feet.

— Now is the time to be honest with your parents about “certain subjects.” If you have ADHD — especially if you are unmedicated — you are not going to like or excel at subjects your brain doesn’t want to do. That’s just fact. It does not make sense to keep beating your head against a wall. It’s much better to do something you love, like ….

— Music. What does it say that you have tons of energy to do this during your free time? Perhaps you have other interests you are also passionate about. It seems that it’s also time for your parents to get honest — honest about who you are and what you love and what you like to do. Chances are, they want you to follow a certain path because they believe that’s the best way for people to succeed. But you are not people. You are you. Sounds like you need a different path.

— Medication. It’s very admirable how hard your parents worked to try to deal with your ADHD. But you are an adult now and it’s your brain, not theirs. Take medication or don’t, but it’s your choice. (I take a stimulant and it changed my life.)

— Feeling stupid: Give yourself a break. College is a big challenge to people with ADHD, much more than high school in my opinion. The demands on the executive functions of the brain can overload one’s ability to cope. There’s more work and less structure. More time management and prioritization of tasks. You are up against much more than most other students and much more than you probably realize. All the things to keep up with can sneak up on you especially if you are …

— being around the wrong people. I take this to mean partying, abusing alcohol and drugs, and/or doing other non-school and non-beneficial activities the wrong people are so well known for. Here is another place to be honest. How big a problem is this? If you think you have a drugs or alcohol problem or the like, changing the people you are with might not help. It also could be the case that you are self-medicating as a way of increasing the dopamine in your brain. When I started taking ADHD meds, I stopped self-medicating and I know others with the same story. However, people can also become dependent on meds. It depends on the person and what they are taking, so educate yourself about that if you choose to take meds. I’m not a doc so I’m not giving advice, just passing along experience in the general area of this issue. Others may have different experiences.

Go and tell the truth. Resistance is futile.