My parents always made me feel like school was the most important thing in the world. They disciplined via threats and made me feel inadequate when I could not focus or get motivated. When I procrastinated, I was punished. Like many of you, when I suggested I may have ADHD in HS, I was told it wasn’t real, then I was laughed at, then called lazy, etc.
In HS (and even in college) I got mostly good grades. I got them because I feared my parents. I was desperately afraid of being a failure or even being mediocre (and still am). So instead of seeking real help, I pushed myself to unhealthy limits. Daily procrastination/brinkmanship forced extreme fatigue and depression. I aced tests after zero sleep, illegally medicating and cramming info that would be forgotten directly thereafter. I was suffering so brutally trying to be “successful”, that I thought about ending my own life. At the end of uni, I was equally as proud of my 3.7 gpa biochem degree as I was disgusted. I had a piece of paper, but didn’t feel educated. I learned no real-world skills AND I reinforced all of my detrimental behavior by earning a degree.
Now, instead of having some sort of a hold on my ADHD, I have perfectionist tendencies that exacerbate my already detrimental executive functioning issues, a job that has no relation to my “education” and college debt.
Thanks Mom and (step) Dad*
*turns out my real dad has crushing ADHD. I didn’t grow up with him, but hearing him talk about his life feels like he’s reading my autobiography.