Struggling with ADHD as an adult.

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    • #66402

      I was diagnosed pretty early on, so I’ve struggled with this all my life, but in my adult life I’ve been struggling even harder it seems. I’m 25 and I’ve bounced around from job to job since I was 18, wether I quit or was fired, usually fired. I’m currently in a field that Im having a difficult time with, being that I’m learning an entirely new skill. I’ve been with the company 6 months, and my managers have been complaining that I’m not retaining things I’ve learned. I have the hardest time grasping what it is I’m doing and honestly I don’t even like working in this field I’m starting to realize, and because I’m being told I’m not at where I should be with this, I feel like a failure. But I’m not even sure what I would do for work otherwise though at this point. On top of this, I feel like I don’t really have anyone I can talk to about this because I don’t know anyone else who has ADHD, it’s like I’m all alone dealing with this, despite my family and friends who’ve been incredibly supportive through all this. I’m not sure if this is the right place or not, but do other people my age have this much difficulty with work/life? Does this get easier? Or what can I do to make this easier? I just want to feel like I’m normal for once and I’m not sure what to do anymore.

    • #66436
      Penny Williams

      You’re not a failure — the job may simply not be the right fit for you. We all have environments that aren’t a good fit for us.

      Secrets of Job Success

      What strategies can you employ to help with your struggles on the job? Can you write down step-by-step instructions to use as reminders? Or create flow charts or timelines? Maybe notecards with cheatsheets for different tasks? You don’t have to remember everything — you can put other strategies in place so that not remembering is not a problem.

      Do a Better Job on the Job

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #67063

      You are not a failure and you are figuring out what you do not like. If you really like the job you will figure out how to make it work. If you don’t like the job then the struggle just doesn’t seem worth it. You will change, your circumstances will change, and the only constant is that you are learning about what you are willing to do because it has meaning or inspiration for you. Meanwhile, pat yourself on the back for landing jobs in the first place. You are out there and making things happen for yourself and that is not to be overlooked. You are doing better than you think. Everyone is on their learning curve and you are noticing where you are on yours as a place to start but it will not be where you finish because OBVIOUSLY you are one to be willing to get back in the game. You, go, man.

    • #67066

      Hi. Yes it can get easier. This website has a lot of great info- dive right in. [Love ADDitude!] Have you consulted an ADHD counselor lately? (To help with career considerations/frustrations.) Is there a workforce Center nearby? How about a local Vocational Rehabilitation office? Even if you don’t qualify for services, they can help point you to other avenues of help…like job search clubs, state or college career exploration websites, etc. Ask public library staff, too. Are there any hospitals, clinics, or churches near you that have support groups? Not to overwhelm you with information, but there are resources out there, they just aren’t all super easy to trip over.
      You are not alone. It is great that you aren’t afraid to ask for help. My Dad was too stubborn to consider getting help voluntarily (ADD-like tendencies run in my family) and never did find real contentment.
      (That’s enough for now for me.)

    • #67069

      I suffer from these issues and also wish I knew another adult with adhd. This is a very lonely. Condition

      • #81107

        MallowD please check your email. And I look forward to talking to you soon. GoBlueJess, while I cant say I understand the job thing, I do completely get the screwing with your adhd bit, and I too went back for my GED. Im in college now myself and lemme tell ya, its hard trying to get myself through it with the addition of trying to get chores done too and family stress, its a constant fight. My stepmom has ocd and that makes it even harder.

    • #67073

      To follow up on what I wrote, I’d say it is a constant struggle but a struggle that gets easier because you start to see the recipe of what works for you over time. (Maybe you like physically active jobs where the pace is fast but does not include a lot of detailed data cross referencing or long tedious forms. ) I’m saying that you will notice when you are in the flow of what you are doing, you will notice when you lock your attention on a particular task or problem, and you will notice that you lost track of time when you were doing something…those are the things you follow as a clue of what to do for work. When you are doing those tasks you are going to be able to do without a lot of resistance. You will find the challenge without it being overwhelming. You will need good self talk!You will need grit! You will need time to be mindful of your courage. You’re not alone. I’ve hit bottom a lot and mostly in my 20s. After that, my “bottom” was higher but I can still drop, I’d like to think perspective helps me get up faster.

    • #67074

      Here’s the thing, and I hate to be the bearer of bad news but our brains are wired differently and the way the professional world see it, it’s mostly a defect. I’ve bounced around in a bunch of jobs over the past 16 years or so and I realize that no matter the medication and treatment I genuinely try to do, the fact of the matter is that my brain is defective. Which sucks, because intellectually, I feel and think of myself as normal. Except I’m not. If I could accept the fact my brain is defective, and settle on a career that doesn’t require thinking, I’ll probably be ok. That’s the curse of ADD- we think, feel, and act normal, but in reality, we’re defective.

      Sorry to not have any encouraging words for you, and maybe this won’t be helpful. For me personally, I think I’m going to finally stop being depressed about ADD and start accepting that I’m just never going to achieve what I thought I could professionally.

    • #67075

      I’ve been a high school teacher 23 years – diagnosed with severe ADD 15 years ago (@ 35yo). While I continue to have periods of struggle in most life areas, I find the struggle worth because I’ve found the thing I love to do. I still get tired, distracted, lost in conversation (even in class!), etc.p; but I’ve learned over time to ride those waves. It’s hard, still sucks (I should be able to do this thing better after 23 #%£€ing years!), I get physically/emotionally overwhelmed; therapy/meds help. But the thing that keeps me going is this is the only thing I want to do, along with a spouse/family who seem willing to struggle with me/support me (even when I don’t feel like I deserve that support).

      I think you’re in that place where you haven’t found it yet. It’s okay to bounce around – you’re still young (to me, anyway!). Find other things to help take care of yourself so that this doesn’t weigh you down more than it needs to. You’ll know when you find – there will be a positive energy. It’s not easy – it took me a long time, lots of negative periods, and a lot of struggle to get to this point. If I can do this (when many times I thought I couldn’t/wouldn’t), so can you!

    • #67114

      Ok not talk down or disregard anyone’s opinion . But I have to strongly decline with one of the comments about our way of brain wiring as a defect . Don’t get me wrong. It’s a constant and I mean constant challenge .. to try to stay constantly aware of your thought process and our attention span isn’t the best .. but it’s a gift !!
      It’s the ability to constantly want to learn new things . A different perspective on thinking . The hypersensitivity it gives us allows us to access so many different ranges of emotion. Our thought process may be a little scatter brained but the beauty of technology or skills you can learn from therapist can help you learn stuff to put you on the right path . If you hate the industry your in change it up then . There’s so much out in the world to do . Once you see it all as an endless sea of possibilities and find the fire inside of you. It will all come together. Have faith ! In whatever / whomever you trust in. Just remember to not be so hard on yourself and relax!! Your mind is just an evolved brain. We were born this way for a reason . Let’s utilize it rather then squander it. I hope this helped a little . I’m sending positive light and love to all my uniquely wired brains out there !

      • #81223

        Uhm, yeah…nope!
        ADHD IS definately a deficiency – the term “defect” really does ring pretty extreme, doesn’t it? But it IS a defecit as well as both a neurobiological and a clinically “detectable” disorder which can be discovered,evaluated and statistically upheld.
        Like most other disorders of both mind and body it can be found in varying degrees or levels of severity or intensity according to both culmination and quality of the afforementioned symptoms!

        The mere fact that, right now (in time or history that is!) it’s more or less common practice to positively diagnose even those who, “normally”, that is by virtue of all currently valid diagnostic systems, should not be receiving such a label,doesn’t change the objective,objectivelly TRUE FACTS! Unless, off course, WE let it happen! As of now, ” we” as a group of ADHD’ERS with – attenzione!!;))- clinically relevant symptoms defined by their hindering the person, inhibiting or perhaps even PREVENTING the individual suffering thereof from taking an active, individially (subjectively!;))fullfilling part, or role in their own society!

        This is in actuality the “level” from which on up there would be a diagnosis given out of either MCD, or HKS/AD(H)S or ADS+H. It’s very easy to find the individual blank sheet with the information important to me, or, right now I guess it would be “us”. Anyone interested can just guugëll MCD/HKS! The symptoms are still fundamentally the same, it’s merely the intensity and/or the QUALITY which differs.

    • #67116

      Hi there

      You’re not alone with this. The key is to get paid to do what you love – obviously easier said than done.
      1) Settle for something low level that isn’t challenging enough to get you fired. not satisfying but it will enable you to survive while you find the job you really want.
      2) Find out what you love doing – this might be a hobby or whatever your default position is when you don’t want to do something annoying!
      3) When you figure out what this is, you need to be brave and put it out there. This can be the hardest thing. Put it on social media. It doesn’t have to be music – it can be whatever you love.
      4) This can bring you good connections and lead to Working for yourself – a good end goal, especially if you can eventually find someone to work with who’s good in your weak areas.

      Wishing you all the best with your search. Don’t give up – it can take a while. And don’t forget we have so many creative, planning and enthusiasm skills that leave others trailing behind. #Not defective – just different.

    • #67123

      My 20s were tough for me also, hang in there it does get easier as you figure out what works for you. kams22s post is great advice and almost dead on to how I got into a very satisfying career that’s still fun and challenging after 30 years.

      • This reply was modified 4 years, 2 months ago by Claydog.
    • #67129

      I understand completely if you need someone to talk to who can relate let me know here and we can talk


    • #67152

      I completely understand what you’re feeling and dealing with. I’m 32, and I have spent my entire adult life struggling with ADHD without even realizing it, as I was just recently diagnosed a few months ago and have only just begun to understand what it means to have and live with ADHD. I have gone from job to job and struggled immensely – whether it is maintaining attention and focus on my tasks, keeping motivated and interested, staying on top of my day to day responsibilities or completing projects on time…it is all so hard. Until recently, I didn’t understand why I had to work so hard to simply learn new roles or skills and keep up with my peers. Unfortunately, the way our brains operate does not mesh well with the expectations and demands of the typical work environment. I can’t honestly say that it has gotten easier as I’ve gotten older, but I agree with others who say that finding a job or role that you enjoy does help. Unfortunately, not every person with ADHD can go out and choose a job that they love; sometimes we have to accept what we can and try to make that work. What I can say has helped the most is empowering myself within my ADHD. Since I’ve been diagnosed, I’ve made it my mission to understand how my brain works and how this condition affects me. I’ve looked for resources (like ADDitiude) that can provide me with the tools, support, and understanding I need to work WITH my condition, as opposed to constantly fighting against it. I am now in the process of adjusting my lifestyle and approach to work to enhance the benefits of my condition and minimize the symptoms that cause the most frustration. I am learning why my brain does what it does, how to control it when/where I can, and then how to unlock the massive benefits that come with it (like hyperfocus!). While I haven’t implemented these strategies across most of my life as of yet, I will say that the simple act of beginning to take control has helped immensely. It makes me feel like there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and that one day soon I won’t feel the constant struggle, frustration, and self-doubt that I’ve dealt with my entire adult life. You are not alone in your struggle. While we ADHDers are not “normal,” we are still very, very capable. We just have to figure out how to operate a bit differently than others to accomplish things and achieve our goals. I’d recommend finding some books and other resources (look up “How to ADHD” on YouTube!) that will help you start understanding your brain and its intricacies, and provide you with the tools and confidence to begin using those intricacies to your advantage. Living with ADHD is not easy, and I’m not sure it ever gets easier. But it is possible. You got this! We are all here for you 🙂

    • #67217

      I would love to talk to another adult with adhd
      Please email

    • #67278

      I’m 34 and always struggled with school, work, day-to-day life. I felt like there was something wrong with me. In college it took me longer than my classmates to complete homework and projects. At work I was inconsistent – I would do a great job on a difficult project, then mess up simple things that seem easy to everyone else. I’d do a task well on one project, then mess it up on another. I would lose equipment, keys, my id badge. I would voluntarily switch jobs every few years because I was anxious that they would find out there was something wrong with me and I’d get fired. I ended up starting my own business. Wearing many hats and doing something different every day suits me.

      About two years ago I was diagnosed with ADHD. It helps to research and learn how your brain works. Now rather than beating myself up over things and thinking I should be able to do them the same way everyone else does, I find tools that help me. I’m still figuring out what works.

      ADHD can also be a blessing. Many entrepreneurs and other successful people have ADHD. It’s their energy, their view of what’s possible and their different way of thinking that makes them successful. Hang in there and you’ll find something that’s a great fit for you.

    • #69461

      Hello my fellow AD/HDer!

      It has been one of the toughest years for me as well. Understanding more about the “gift” helps but its not something you can physically/mentally do on your own because of the way our brains are wired. I’m 27 now and I’ve probably had 20-30 different jobs lasting no longer than 12-18 months so your not alone.

      We are the ancestral hunters of the tribe who can figure out how to catch our food in new/non-traditional yet effective ways. The fact that our senses are more “advanced” than others, says that we are intelligent but when it comes time to learn how to do something other than what we are instinctively/emotionally capable of at first, we don’t know how to put the two things together and learn 100 percent of what we are engaged in.

      When it comes to a job, we are hired to perform at a higher standard than what the initial standard is. Finding something that you enjoy doing is the key but it’s going to require you to put in at least a third to a half more time than the average guy and that takes a toll on our executive function energy reserves and focus throughout the day. Diet and exercise is a huge key as well but time/money doesn’t always give us the best options. Our lack of time perception and estimation skills also put us in a pickle sometimes too when it comes to deadlines at work or communicating with co-workers.

      I know you said that you may not feel like you are destined to work in the field you are in, but im sure you had a different perspective of it between the time you started and before your managers or you made this realization. The same thing has happened to me multiple times. We will always be drawn to the nuances of every day life because of how were wired and it will always take a toll on us until we learn how to tame it.

      I started taking medication 2-3 years ago and im still tweaking the dosage to work for me but its expensive and its a pain in the ass to get used to. If you don’t have very good habits or and solid understanding of ad/hd effects your brain and body chemistry, the meds will help to get the learning done but everything else will suffer.

      I just currently enrolled in college for Computer Science and I believe it will be where I’m supposed to be but it won’t be an easy journey. Find out what makes you tick and puts you into what they call “hyper-focus”. Something that makes time fly by.

      Don’t get discouraged because it’s out of your control. Talk to your employers and see if they can work with you and your ad/hd. They may realize that you can help them out a different way.

      shoot me an email if you ever wanna chat!

    • #76710

      Hi Garrett,
      I found a blog on how to deal with ADHD at work, it help me and I hope it could help you too

    • #80973

      I just want to say thank you to everyone here that has shared their story and given hope and inspiration to all of us struggling. I was expecting to come here and hear everyone talking about medications that help etc. It’s very refreshing to hear people talk about how they’re coping with it and learning how to be successful despite of it. It makes me feel so much better knowing I’m not the only one going through the struggle without meds. So really, thank you all for your encouragement! By the way, I’ve struggled with it my whole life never knowing I had it until now. I always felt stupid even though I knew I wasn’t… I dropped out of high school when things got to tough/overwhelming then went back and got my GED but never went to college due to fear of failing. I bounced around from stupid job to stupid job for years always trying my best but never feeling good enough. Every time I landed a “Good job” I would ruin it because I couldn’t pay attention long enough to learn everything I needed to. I learned jobs that require constant movement with little thought were the only ones I could excel at but could never move up in because of my lack of concentration. Most of those jobs don’t pay well and there’s no future in them but I got lucky, I finally found my home at the post office. I love what I do, I’m really good at it and it pays well! Don’t give up on yourself and find your stregths! I’m a very hard worker with excellent people skills and a lot of passion and finally found a company that appreciates me. I can now provide for myself and my family and it feels Great! Best of luck to you all!

      • #81282

        My name is dylan and my scholl has benn making me take meds since i was 11 i take 30 mg of vyvanse am i being drugged for being a boy or is hyperness and impulsiveess a symtom of adhd for both genders or is it an excuse for not dealing with normal boys

      • #81327
        Penny Williams

        Hyperactivity and impulsivity are symptoms of ADHD when they interfere with daily life or are constant.

        ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Trainer on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #81381

      Yes but i am being punished for something i cannot help. I dont like the way meds make me feel and if i skip taking them my school acts like i am the spawn of satan. Teachers act like i run in circles to entertain my self(not literally) they act like my attention span is 2 seconds and say i forget everything.

      • This reply was modified 3 years, 9 months ago by DdylanCATO.
      • This reply was modified 3 years, 9 months ago by DdylanCATO.
    • #99003

      I’m in nursing school and Cellvamp supplement has helped me so much. I have struggled with ADD my whole life and have been on and off Adderall. Cellvamp pills work so much better for me than typical ADD medication and don’t give me any anxious or uneasy feelings.

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