I always took honors and AP course throughout all of high school and I always made straight A’s. I was extremely gifted in Art, but I could also do intense Math and science problems as well.
That’s why most people don’t believe when I tell them that I have ADHD. I was unknowingly struggled with it my whole life and I wasn’t even diagnosed until I was 23. I always had major problems with blurting what ever was at the top of my mind that very moment. I always interrupted people unintentionally, despite how hard I tried to sit back and keep my mouth shut. I was mindfully trying to sit still and be quiet, and I just couldn’t no matter how hard I tried. All of my teachers and friends thought I was an attention hog, but the truth was, I was constantly embarrassed that I couldn’t just still still and be quiet. It’s like everything in my brain was running at hyper speed.
I would often hyper focus on activities that I found interesting (which was a majority of school subjects) and I’d neglect every other responsibility around me. If I thought an essay topic was cool, I’d completely forget that I had events to go to or that another huge paper needed my attention that night. It’s like I couldn’t break away. I was CONSTANTLY late for everything and then become very aggressive and ashamed when people tried to call me out on it. Even with 3 hours to get ready for something, I’d still be late because I’d get distracted by something. I CONSTANTLY lost my keys, phone, bookback, computer, the list goes on. Once I just accidentally left the front door to my house open all day because I was distracted as I was leaving.
People saw my good grades and assumed that I was fine. They called me an overachiever. What people didn’t realize is that other smart people around me made straight A’s and managed to study for a third of the amount of time I did. I struggled to concentrate so I’d have to reread passages over and over and over. If a homework assignment took someone else 2 hours to complete, it would take me 6. I was constantly exhausted and anxious all the time.
Keep fighting for your son to get diagnosed despite the fact that he’s making good grades. It sounds like he’s very determined and he’s coping the best he can. Eventually though, as life becomes more hectic and more responsibility is pushed onto him, he could become overwhelmed and extremely anxious. It will start to show in school too.
Had I known that I had ADHD when I was younger, I could have received mental help, coping advice, and possibly some medication. Kids who are diagnosed later in life often feel they are are defective without a reason while they are growing up, and those feelings often stay with them into adulthood.