Establishing habits for life.
Hello, MrObsessive here. I’ve been diagnosed with ADHD/ADD since I was a child (ADD would be the proper term now, I believe), although it’s only the most recent years of my life that I feel things have taken a turn for the worse. I’m 20 years old, and people have often commented throughout my life on how I’m a relatively smart person and have a good personality. I’m not trying to brag at all, but one of the things I have been blessed with is a decent intellect, and skills for math and things like that (I scored 36 on the math portion of my ACT). In the end, though, this only ends up making me more depressed because of my condition.
It all began in full force when I entered high-school. I had always seemed to be able to keep my interests before then, but upon entering high-school I lost my friends, and didn’t really even get to know anyone throughout freshman year. To make things worse, I was beginning to feel intense joint pain in my knees, which wouldn’t be diagnosed or treated until halfway-through my sophomore year as Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Please understand, I’m not desperately appealing for sympathy here… but… well… bad problems began to arise at this time. I was depressed, and all I wanted to do was get away from life. Different people deal with stress in different ways; the way that I developed to deal with it is to ignore it. I couldn’t take it, and ended up trying to ignore school, getting mediocre grades, often taking advantage of my intelligence to merely skim through high-school with passing grades, when I could have done so much more. I couldn’t even keep interest in my hobby… my dream… to become a computer programmer… to develop artificial intelligence for robotic navigation and interface with real-world environments… all I wanted to do was sit around on the computer and avoid all the stress I possibly could.
In the end, things turned out decently for my high-school life, of course, even me pulling it together for a quarter and getting straight A’s, and a good engineering college (Bradley University) recognized my efforts, and accepted me. I was determined at the time to turn my life around, and to make friends, and finally realize my passion for the creation of great things through computer programming; however, I didn’t realize what I was getting into. The only thing in high-school that kept my ADD from completely crushing me was the daily routine, the grind, the schedule. My parents were always worried about me and making sure that I didn’t ruin my grades, too. At college, though, the daily grind was what you made and what you decided, not the expectations of the people around you. With my ADD and my bad habits, this is where things started to really fall apart.
When I was in high-school, although I had to intellect to understand what was taught very well, I abused it and instead used it to get things that absolutely needed to be done as quickly as possible so I could spend the rest of my time either contemplating or performing the obsessions that I had developed. I hadn’t learned to control my ADD at all… the intense habit that I had was to simply follow it’s will whenever possible, regardless of the consequences. When I went to college, like many other things in my life, I started with a strong will, but I soon lost interest once it became a chore to do so and attended classes less and less, continually telling myself that I could catch up later because of my intellectual capability. Telling myself that lie… that was a lie… because… whether or not I was capable of doing all of the work at the last minute, all I ever did was follow my ADD, and ended up flunking nearly everything that semester, even Calculus.
I managed to improve to mediocrity the second semester with the support of extraordinary willpower for a month (during which period I got straight A’s) and the aid of some fantastic friends that I miraculously got to know, although it ended the same with me losing interest… losing to my ADD. Even straight A’s for a month couldn’t end up in a high grade when the rest of the time was spent with complete disregard for such. The semester after (the third semester) I managed to miraculously get another chance from the university, but I ended up completely flopping out like the first semester. Then, this last semester I had to spend at community college, where I even failed to pass all but one class.
Excuse me if all I’ve done is write a biography for you guys to read. I’ve just had it with all of this, and everything I’ve tried until now seems to only have ended in me getting worse. I guess I’m just acting as if I’m talking to a counselor, which is someone I hope to be finding soon. I’ve already seen 4 therapists, though… all without any success whatsoever… I hope this next one can help.
To be specific, a result of my ADD is that I’ve got an internet/computer addiction. Be it games, youtube, anime, or even just randomly typing something into google in hope of pushing off the stress and loneliness even just a little further, I can’t seem to keep myself doing anything of worth when I’m just a click away from something my ADD keeps telling me will be so much better. To make things worse, my dream involves always being in such an environment, and I’ve recently miraculously gotten a part-time job involving medical data interpretation (using computer programs) that is suffering because of this as well.
I’ve recently switched from Stratera to Vyvance, or however it was spelled, and it seems to be working. I can concentrate on work when I get myself into it. But the habits still remain… I can concentrate better now, but the question is, what do I spend my time concentrating on? I’m still wasting my life…
Why is it that I waste my talents, and that people who struggle severely with understanding material end up with better grades then me? Why am I such a waste?
...these questions I ask myself often…
...it only makes me more depressed.
I realize my situation more and more, and come to understand myself more and more, but somehow nothing happens. There is no improvement. I’m worse than when I started. I suppose that I’m about to see another counselor… one that supposedly will be able to help me this time. Carol Roland, I believe. But things have been coming to a head recently. My problems have become so bad that I’ve lost track of reality. I don’t recognize myself anymore, and my dreams that I used to have seem non-existent now in my mind… I’ve trapped myself in a fantasy world of my own obsessions, and I’m less and less in touch with reality as time goes on. Even so, if I don’t get my act together, and fast, then my ability to attend any good university for my… passion (I can hardly remember the excitement that I know I have for it)... will be completely lost.
Although I don’t mind if anyone even reads this at all, as I know it’s unreasonably wrong, I think I know what will be said if you do. There are multiple paths for me to take, and I need to accept my ADD as a part of me and lead a life of acceptance of it, moving on to something else. Or perhaps it’s that it’s all OK because ADD is something I can’t help.
I can’t leave it at that, though. I NEED to change, and I know that I can’t do it alone. It’s something ridiculously hard, a wall that rises up even above the sky, this ADD and the habits of my mind that have been developed over several years, that I wish to overcome. But I don’t want to give up, and in spite of my depression and despair, in spite of the hopelessness that I’ve felt over the years and even now, I wish to change, and I will keep trying until the very end.
That being said, I’m at the point that I can only seem to depend on others due to my pathetic habits… so… if you’re still reading… I’d appreciate your advice. How can I develop good habits for life? How do I overcome my ADD (besides the medication) and push my interest to where it should be? No, rather, how can I keep my interests where they should be, without giving up and losing interest after a week? I humbly ask these questions… I’ve given up on answering them myself. I’m now in the hands of those around me (although I’ve never been social and don’t have many friends), and those who read this… so… you kind, gentle people out there… those who are still reading this post which pushed the boundary of reasonable length long ago… any suggestions?
P.S. For those of you with worse situations out there, I’m well aware of the fact that people have it much worse than me, but I’m at a breaking point here. Please forgive me for over-dramatizing my situation, if you could.
Top 5 of the Month
ADDitude's most popular articles
Important! User-Generated Content
The opinions expressed on ADDConnect are solely those of the user, who may or may not have medical training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of ADDConnect or ADDitude magazine. For more information, see our terms and conditions.