From Canada: I’m an 8th grade boy, I hope I won’t be judged differently or ignored because I am under 18. I have severe ADHD and sluggishness and I find it very hard to incline myself to work or study. I don’t want to lose my future because my grades are going down and i just brush it off and say “maybe next time.” I’m worried because this is also bringing down my confidence, which is one of my key traits and I want to be who I am and have a good future with good grades. Is there any way I can be helped?
Of course there is. But it’s going to take some work on your part. The proper question to ask is, “Is there any way I can help myself?”
We all are born with traits, talents, and, yes, deficiencies. No one is perfect. Part of maturing is accepting that there are things about us that we need to work on and then work on them.
ADHD isn’t dragging your grades down. It is making school more difficult, it’s true. But what is dragging down your grades is that you haven’t taken charge of finding ways to work around the ADHD. That’s the challenge that every kid (and every adult) with ADHD faces. It’s not going to go away. There is no pill or operation or other cure to change it. You have to learn how to be a person with ADHD — just like a person who has a limp has to learn how to get around anyway.
You need to keep “to do” lists and follow them. While doing homework, you need to put yourself in a study environment where you aren’t likely to be distracted. You need to come up with strategies or “games” to trick yourself into staying focused. (Like setting a timer for 5 minutes and seeing how many math problems you can do before it goes off.) There are self help books available that can give you options. (Search “Self-help for ADHD” at Amazon or Barnes and Noble websites.)
Meanwhile, you also need to make life style choices that will maximize your success. You say you are “sluggish.” That makes me wonder if you are getting enough sleep and eating well. Are you limiting caffeine? Are you limiting the number of hours a day you spend on devices? (You shouldn’t be spending more than 2 hours a day that aren’t homework related on screens.) Are you getting 30 minutes to an hour of exercise every day? For you, these things aren’t optional. They are what will make it more possible for you to manage the ADHD.
It probably seems unfair that you have to do so much stuff other kids don’t have to do just to get through the day. It is unfair. But I’m sure someone has already let you know that life isn’t always fair.
Here’s the thing, though. I’ve had lots of kids with ADHD in college classes that I teach. They tell me that having to learn how to manage their disorder early on has helped them be the excellent students they are today. They are more mature and more focused than many of their classmates. Some go on to say that they can multi-task better than most people by using their shifting attention to good advantage. They get good grades. Those who have stayed in touch with me after graduation have told me they used those same skills to be successful in jobs and graduate school and even in their romantic relationships.
So please don’t settle for having a diagnosis. Get busy learning how to play the hand you’ve been dealt in life. When you do, you’ll be much happier and more successful in anything you choose to do.
I wish you well.