8 Reasons Why Adults with ADHD Feel Stupid

Credit Freepik: "designed by http://Freepik.com"I hate the word ‘stupid’ but I put it in the title because that is how many people with ADHD describe themselves. The ADHDers I have met (which are a LOT at this point), are bright, intelligent, sharp, smart, wise, good company and wickedly funny.

Clearly there is a big discrepancy between self-description and fact. But why do people with ADHD feel stupid?

1) Academic success.
ADHD isn’t a learning disability but it is one of those conditions that make learning difficult. Struggling to pay attention in class, with memory, organizing skills, problems, etc. mean getting good grades is hard. Society places a huge emphasis on academic success as a way to gauge intelligence.

2) Learning Disabilities
About 40 percent of people with ADHD have a learning disability in addition to their ADHD. Approximately 20 percent have Dyslexia and some ADHD adults have more than one learning disability. Learning disabilities can cause difficulties when reading, writing, performing calculations, as well as, visual or auditory perception difficulties.

3) Behavior at school
If you were a high-energy student unable to sit still or stop talking, you were properly getting into trouble with your teachers. While this doesn’t mean you are ‘stupid’, it can make you feel that you are.

4) Simple Tasks
ADHDers struggle with things that other people find easy; such as showing up on time, planning a meal, remembering to take out the recycling on the right day.

The thought pattern seems to be: if I can’t do ‘simple’ things like this, then I must be ‘stupid’. But this isn’t true; just think of the professors who have many letters after their name, but still struggle to make a piece of toast? No one thinks they are stupid!

5) Information Retrieval
ADHDers can struggle to find the words to express themselves. It could be at a party or in a meeting at work. This doesn’t have anything to do with smarts or knowledge; it’s an information retrieval problem. The good news is, this can be improved.

6) Topics of Interest
ADHDers don’t lack knowledge; they are life-time learners. However, they only remember things that interest them. If you are at a party and people at discussing a certain general topic that is boring to you, you might not be able to contribute.

7) General Knowledge
If you have a learning disability, you can spend a lot of time and energy on learning things for school and no brain space left for general knowledge. This happened to me; I spent so much time on reading and spelling, that my general knowledge was immensely lowered. Usually, it improves when you are out of the academic environment.

8) Who You Spend Time With
Have you noticed how when you spend time with certain people, you feel smart, sharp and funny? Then with other people (perhaps those who you feel are critical or judgemental of you), you feel ‘stupid’? It’s not your imagination. Researchers found that the people you spend time with do affect your conversation. Pick your friends and romantic partners carefully. You want to spend time with people who naturally bring out your best.

What can you do to stop feeling stupid and start feeling smart?

1) Stop calling yourself stupid, either out loud or quietly to yourself.

2) Intelligence is so much more diverse than what appears on an IQ test. If you feel ‘stupid’ because you didn’t do well at school or for any other reason, check out Dr. Howard Gardner’s theory on Multiple Intelligence. He found there are 8 types of intelligence. It may be very validating to you.

3) Focus on what you are good at! Because ADHDers often struggle with the basics, they develop a struggle mindset. This means you don’t value what comes easily to you. However, this is where your strengths and gifts lie. Spend as much time as possible doing these things!

4) Often, feeling ‘stupid’ is connected to low self-esteem. Check out this book, ‘Self-Esteem’ by Patrick Fanning and Matthew McKay.


Do you ever feel ‘stupid’? Leave a note for me in the comments section below.


  1. I can honesty say ive felt stupid and lazy my whole life. Ive always been treated like i dont try or am not doing things right. About a year ago my new doctor diagnosed me as adhd…severly adhd. Spent 32 years being told im a piece of $#!+ and no one i mean family, doctors, friends or even athorities never once tried to help. I was bad and a bad person. For along time i became what they said i was hurting others and myself jail time all because no one cared including myself. You can only be told your a monster so many times before it rings true too some degree. Now i spend my life working hard as a professional roofer and have not been in any trouble in almost a decade. I only wonder what my life could have been if i was encouraged rather then demonized? I still have a chance too see because my son has my issues but all i show him is love and encourement and he is a truely sweet and wonderful little person…As I once was.

    • Carlos says:

      It surprises me that not only family members but also teachers see you as stupid. I am in college and suffering badly, my memory is terrible, but I was also diagnosed with sleep apnea which damages the brain cells in charge of transmitting short term memory into long ones.

      Now I have to deal with ADD and Sleep apnea, which sucks. What meds did they put you on? I am on 20mg Adderall and seriously that medication makes me think deeply; in addition, it helps me control my temper.

    • Kim says:

      Wow….I can relate. Thank you for your post Jason. Exact same feelings growing up and into my adult life. Unfortunately, my eldest child (26) went undiagnosed (due to my ignorance). Through her, I see the extreme devastation that occurs. My youngest (11) has been “properly” diagnosed. Through him, I see the struggles, the hope AND the possibilities. The “fight” to have my son’s educational rights implemented has been exhausting, overwhelming and continuous, but very much worth it! I never had the information / education that I now have on ADHD.

      I try not to feel guilty about my eldest, but I do.
      It is nice to read everyone’s experiences.

  2. Hi, My name is Leonardo, I’m from Brazil and 34 years old. Something that I hate, is people calling me everytime, and insisting that I go talk to them or do a favour or go out with them, even knowing that I’m working on something and everytime they do this I get more and more anxious and lose all of my focus and motivation.

    I recently moved to my sister’s city and rent a house to live with her, so that she wouldnt be alone, after our mother passed away…. It’s pretty hard here! Every morning she is calling me because she want’s company to eat, or smoke, or just someone by her side when she’s is chatting with her friends in facebook or whatsapp… every time is this… it’s almost impossible to read a book… it’s almost impossible to get 8 hours sleep… it’s hard to go to bed earlier, because she usually stay up till 3 or 4 am and want’s to talk, so she calls me, and is very insistent..

    could you tell if this is really affecting my adhd and it’s not good for people with adhd, or if I’m just grumpy?

  3. I think I may disagree with number 8, the company you keep. My son has adhd. I tell him he needs to be more discerning in the company he keeps. The friends and girlfriends he picks up and chooses are all broken, alcoholics, drug addicts, or have a bunch of head problems of their own stemming from broken families or previous unhealthy relationships, and of course! He feels more confident around those types of people but they rub off on him, or he devotes all his time to trying to save them from themselves. By trying to fix them and their problems, it keeps his attention off of fixing himself and his own. His poor choice of company has held him back his entire life. At 25 he still has no skills or direction working part time, low paying, meanial jobs. I know. I have adhd. I was just like him. I’ve chosen my own company over others since then, opting for a few select close friends and family.

  4. Alice says:

    I feel “stupid” when other people call me “stupid”. And the funny thing is, is that you can’t make people smarter by calling them “stupid” and by doing so they’re the one that just showed themselves as “stupid”. (Mic-drop)

    • Aslam Miah says:

      I feel stupid all the time. I feel like I’m the world I live I don’t belong. The only thing I’ve ever really been good at is training in the gym 5 days a week, And my strict diet. When I want to apply for new jobs or maybe even start a new chapter in my life. I tell myself I’m going to fail before I even do it. Just want that feeling to go. I’m suffering a lot but know one understands what I’m really going though.

  5. Adrienne Bevington says:

    I’m Adrienne. I’m 41 and I’ve struggled all my life with a learning disability. I can’t learn as fast as most people, and I get mocked and made fun of. People are also rude and hostile because I’m slower than they are. I also have had type 1 diabetes for 31 years and hypothyroidism, and there are days I can barely get out of bed. So I couldn’t go to work for awhile and I developed anxiety and depression.
    I’m trying to improve things in my life and I’m currently looking into a program that helps people with disabilities due to illness and problems with learning. I have a job now, but the people I work with don’t like me because of the problems I have. If they give me an attitude, I give it back, but I’m afraid I’ll lose it one of these days and have it out with them.
    I don’t want to lose my job, but I can’t work around those who treat me this way. I realize that no matter where you work, there will be people like that. It’s very hard to deal with, however.
    I’m sorry to anyone who has to deal with disabilities and the cruelty of others. I wish they could understand what’s it’s like to live our lives. I am trying to make things better so I know at least I’m being the mature one. We are not ignorant or ” slow”. We are only human…

  6. I have ADD. I’m feeling depressed because I had to drop out of math class. I was a returning student trying to get my A.A. in Psychology. I have many other responsibilities as well. I don’t know what to do now. Feeling lost…

    • Sheila says:

      I was also a returning student and had trouble with math. I had to take some courses to get up to College Algebra. What helped me is that the classes were online. You could take an actual class with the online homework, etc. or distance learning. That helped tremendously because you could rewatch videos that explained and walked you through the problems. I know I spent more time on it then my younger counterparts, but I got through it! The program was through Pearson (of course) at my local community college. I hope this helps!

      • Carlos says:

        I feel so stupid, I am in Dental school and most of the students there are rude to me, and make fun of me. I am struggling badly in the class because they go so fast that I cannot memorize everything. I am failing tests which some are hard. Idk what to do. I feel like dropping out.

  7. B says:

    I work as a technical writer for a software company. All my coworkers are truly brilliant, highly analytical folks, who think much faster than I do, learn much faster than I do, and retain much more information at their fingertips than I do. I came close to losing my job the first year I was here, I fell so short of expectations. I managed to survive that, and my manager gradually came to understand it wasn’t for lack of trying. She gave me a different product to focus on, and I gradually showed I could produce good work, so they’ve kept me on, but I know I am considered almost a charity case, someone who always has to be looked after, checked up on, corrected for misunderstanding instructions and going off the rails, reminded it’s time for a meeting (despite my calendar), and so on. That’s my “personal brand,” here, if you will. I volunteered to create a promotional video, and it came out great, because I excel in creative work that I can focus on without interruption, more than in very detailed, multi-tasked, analytical work. But my group doesn’t have much call for that sort of thing, so I am back in the digital ditchdigger seat. People are kind to me, but it’s almost like pity, which in a way is worse than outright contempt. Every day, I feel like I’m walking around with toilet paper trailing out my pants, but can’t remove it. Very tired of this.

    • I’m so sorry 🙁 this is exactly how my life is. But it’s not just at work. I have a large family and they don’t acknowledge my diagnosis whatsoever. I’m 31 and struggling. And just the other day when I was down on myself for my shortcomings in motherhood, my father told me, “grow up, the world doesn’t revolve around you.” I wasn’t making excuses, on the contrary I was owning my faults and expressing grief. Its like, for some reason, people naturally take me for a liar, or just immature, pitiful, spoiled or lazy. When the reality is that I’m trying very hard, and am taking all of my responsibilities very seriously. I wish my family could understand what it’s like. I’ve always felt as though I was “in trouble.” I am more often than not, facing some consequence for something I failed to do or not do. It makes it hard to develop my own standards and , boundaries of how I should be treated by others. Because it’s as though anything I think is dumb and listening to the “smarter” people in life is the only wise thing I can do. I just want to feel good in my own skin, feel like a good mommy. ThTs all,

  8. Heidi says:

    People my whole life have always been shocked when they found out I am smart. I think that having inattentive ADHD makes me seem ditzy. I was diagnosed with ADHD in my 40s. It’s a recent diagnosis and I take medication (it’s hard to remember to take sometimes or remember my 2nd dose some days though), however I haven’t yet figured out how to stop not seeming smart. I need to work on strategies and behaviors to overcome the symptoms medicatiom doesn’t fix.

    I’m going back to school for a second time (why is a long story involving job loss, divorce, depression and the fulfillment of a life-long dream). I have a PhD from my first go-round at education but I don’t broadcast this fact because I think it would make me seem 1) obnoxious and 2) even ditzier because why is someone with a PhD in my field going back to school for an associate’s degree unless there is something seriously wrong with her?

  9. Hi,my name is Lucy and ever since I was a kid I struggled with ADHD,dyslexia and PPD.I was a troubled kid and I was bullied for being like this,I didn’t learn how to read or write and was bullied for it.i had to learn how to read and write in a year,since my parents decided to move to the U.S.And although I went through all of that and I feel ok,I still remember feeling stupid all those years,and I have a fear that I’ll revert to that again.Im afraid to feel stupid and useless again

  10. My name is oscar i am 16 years old i have adhd. Is adhd stupid? On jun 22 2017 i had argue meant with my mom and. She called me stupid because i have a adhd my heart just drop when i was in school my teachers and students called me stupid i was the only one that i did know how to read or write or spell until this day i still dont know How to do none of that when my mom said that i cause your out with f bombs and B words i am not stupid. When i get home from she wont help me with my homework because i had adhd until this day my mom and teachers still call me stupid… This is my thing i go tho every day

    • Oscar, sometimes school points out we aren’t the same as everybody else. It doesn’t mean we’re stupid. And I can’t see how you wrote that note if you didn’t learn anything. But when you’re still a kid growing up, you are under everyone else’s rules, and if you don’t fit their ideas of what you should be, they don’t know exactly what to do with or for you. What you are learning is how to be human, kind to others, and to not allow them to make you feel bad. You will be stronger than those around you. It is like going through training. You are strong, and you can hang in there. Try to contact the school counselor at school and tell them about yourself, your family and your life. The counselor will be better at helping you. And hang in there, you can do this!

    • Hele says:

      I am a retired English teacher with ADD (though I think more is PTSD), and I had no trouble understanding your comments. (for me, the effect is not in language, but in social situations). Jack (above comment) is right in what he says; we are all different. I taught many students with ADD, ADHD, and Learning disabilities. Many of my former students were very bright and went on to create and run their own businesses. Talk to others as well as your school counselor. If she is worth her job, she will be able to help you. Never give up!

  11. Suzabne says:

    I’ve felt stupid since I was a child. Almost certain. I have a learning disability. I have problems with expressing myself and I’m also just awful at math. I try so hard and just feel like I failed. I did receive a degree. It took forever and I had to change degrees because I couldn’t accomplish the work. I just hate myself sometimes. This causes me so much depression. I get made fun of I. Social groupes. I’ve learned to fit in by being the funny one. It’s a coping mechanism for me as is booze. I’ve been told it’s depression, but I know it’s ADHD. I drink coffee all the time. My husband thinks it’s crazy how I sleep after I drink coffee. I’m so tired of suffering and my confidence suffering. I love to learn, but feel so delayed when I try to learn.

  12. Travis says:

    There’s an app called “Color Note” which allows you to create easy checklists on your phone. It’s helpful because it’s easily accessible and has am easy to use design. Also free.

  13. J.P. says:

    Hello Jacqueline,

    Love your website,
    I’m a male in my early 40’s, I didn’t go to college, and didn’t get the best grades in high school either. In elementary, the teachers would tell my parents, “I’m a great student, I just dont apply myself”. I went straight into the workforce and feel like I should know more than I do. Sometimes I feel this way because a lot of my coworkers are extremely bright.

    I feel can’t find the right words to say during a conversation with people and Im afraid of sounding stupid, and sometimes I say the dumbest things without thinking. It’s like my brain is in a fog. I feel like I can’t speak on their level, so sometimes I just dont say anything.

    As you previously noted on your website, “society places a huge emphasis on academic education to gauge one’s intelligence”. I feel I have let that insecurity play mind games with me for many years now.

    I ‘m always asking myself what is it that I could have learned in college that life hasn’t already taught me? I know college is supposed to prepare you for life, but what if your already half way through it? Trust me, I’d go in a heartbeat, but I can’t afford it, never been much of a book reader and online classes aren’t my best option. I’m a visual, kinesthetic and auditory learner, not the read-write type. (but thats another story)

    I admit sometimes I have concentration problems and sometimes I have to rewrite my emails 2-3 times before I get them right. Besides your occasional depression and anxiety, I’m wondering what else is wrong with me and what can I do to overcome these feelings?

  14. Cathy Darois says:

    Yes…….I feel stupid around critical people. My ex-husband was like that and very cruel. I was treated terrible in school and despised being there from 1st through 12th. I always felt like an outsider looking in, never being able to communicate well to anyone.
    Now as an adult my communicative skills aren’t a whole lot better. It is ruining my relationship because my boyfriend doesn’t have much patience with me. He gets critical and very frustrated when I am not clearly communicating which puts so much pressure on me. It stresses me out. He doesn’t know if he can tolerate me if we get married or even live together. He says he is in-love with me and doesn’t want to let go of me. I feel the same, but will I have to endure a life of criticism?? I’m so torn :(((

    • K says:

      I don’t usually respond to comments (or texts, calls and emails if I’m being honest :p) but your words break my heart. I don’t know you or all the details but that doesn’t change the fact that these feelings you’ve expressed exist & are textbook examples of emotional abuse. I’m not suggesting your person is not a good one or means to do you harm. It just sounds like the tragic dynamics of two caring humans wanting to make it work, no matter the sacrifice..
      Sorry for going on like this. Obviously anyone reading could guess I was in a past relationship with someone I cared deeply for while we tore ourselves/each other apart to “make it work” for 8 years. Meeting people who “spoke my language” gave me perspective & confidence to end it 5yrs ago. We’ve remained friends but my heart hurts over the parts of myself that were killed/shamed away. Parts of what made me myself & were unsuitable for that relationship. Which is why I’m writing my life story to a stranger ;’) It’s a dangerous kind of pain I encourage you to let go of. Complimentary > Supplementary. I’ve spent the last 3yrs in most easy, energizing, fun, bright, completely beautiful love I could’ve never never imagined & I want that for you. Someone on your team in this life game, who loves & likes *all* of your parts, that cultivates a true, spirit lifting childlike wonder.

    • Hele says:

      Dearest Cat,
      I agree with K wholeheartedly. Marriage will not make things better, in fact the stressors seem greater once married. I speak from experience. Be with someone who loves you for who you are. Someone patient and kind, someone who is accepting of all of you. Don’t settle for less.

  15. Tamela Cantor says:

    I have a teacher right now who is self righteous and downright mean saying my writing is put together and a I ramble. I have always felt that I have a hard time with comprehension and I think she is really fed up with me. I realize nobody likes her and she is lonely, mean and weird, but she is good at what she does, is very smart and just is left brained I am very right. I am great at a lot, not good at a lot and she is the same, we just aren’t good or great at the same things. Frankly, this is my last quarter and it looks like I will not pass and require another quarter, wish me luck or I might really not make it through. I started pushing back on her a week ago after about a good 6 months if not more of her getting mean and demotivating. Now that we are getting to the end, she is getting shorter and ruder, making remarks specifically to my rambling nature (at work I hire an editor so she I don’t send out papers without a proofreader bc I know this is my weakness), and I am doing my best to explain that without the opportunity to be an experiential learner with some of the content, the theory and organization of things I haven’t been given examples for are very hard for someone like me. Well, we will see how it goes. Any feedback from anyone, including teachers, would be great for support and insight.

  16. jo miles says:

    yes i often feel stupid or like something is holding me up from doing things i was just recently diagnosed with adult adhd but im not sure if iv had it since i was born i am now 28 when i was a 16 i was diagnosed with dislexia because my memory was bad i can remember things from 10 years ago but not 2 mins ago n havto write everything down. I have struggled in relationships keeping jobs n sometimes get panicy about things i.e going to new places on my own an i need help on how to deal with this as im 28 and just wanto know how to cope with it rather than pretend it isnt happening

  17. Yong Pal says:

    I am a straight A student when I was still in middle school but then after I enter Highschool, that’s the time I told myself that I can’t achieve what I achieve in middle school because I can’t do the things I did when I was in middle school anymore. At first, I thought I just need my brain to rest, to exercise because we have a 6 month break from school that time so I thought my brain was just refreshing but then it’s already 1 year and still I can’t cop up in school, I feel so dumb and stupid because I can’t do a simple task. I’ve been trying so hard, I’ve been crying every night, I am so depressed and I just want to kill myself. ‘Cause I’m so worthless. And then I read this article and discovered that I have a ADHD and all of this reasons are exactly me. But after reading this I still don’t know what to do. I can’t get A’s anymore in school, school/my subjects bores me A LOT. They keep repeating everything and I can’t focus. Please I need your help.

    • Omar Hammouri says:

      Get medication, it helps immensely. Talk to your parents about the subject and explain why you think you need it. I’ve started taking them last year and my grades have skyrocketed, aswell as my moral.

  18. Ramya says:

    Thanks, for ur assurance. I was feeling bad just now, that I am not able to complete my works in time. in fact I have a submission tomorrow instead, I am searching why I feel stupid and cant work for long and be normal like other peers of my age. I want to be normal, I hate to be an ADHDer. I hate it. I hope I will find out soon enough how to be normal, thanks for ur post anyway. very hopeful

  19. Lori says:

    Thank you for the article. I am a 58 year old with a Master’s Degree with mostly honors. I struggled all throughout school and not sure how I did so well. I remember reading a passage over and over and just not comprehending it. Now, I want to get a certification in a specialty field. I read and read the book and I just can’t retain anything. I feel stupid. It also gives me anxiety. At work in meetings, ideas are flung out so quickly and I just shake my head as if I got it. Then, I have to do research to make sure I don’t mess up. I just wish I could tell someone, “Hey, I have ADD”. I read a lot. But, it is totally different to read an easy pleasure novel than to read scientific journal. Ugh. I took Adderall for a while, but, always got rebound fatigue. I just deal with it now and wait for retirement…

    • Hi Lori
      Great job getting your Master’s degree. You are right, reading for pleasure is much different to scientific journals. When you are reading them, become an active reader. Before you start the article, write down a few questions such as what you want to learn, or things you are curious about. Then as you are reading you will be reading trying to find the answers to your questions. This makes reading more interesting, plus you are more likely to retain information because you are reading with purpose.

    • Rebecca says:

      Wow it’s great to hear from people with ADHD who achieved a Master’s degree. I am currently working towards that. I’m in my undergrad now and I’m in my last year. Like you, I also do well and get top marks, but it is getting assignments in on time that I struggle with and it has been extremely difficult. I would not have made it through if my professors did not give me extremely generous extensions. I’m also late to class all the time because I can’t judge time properly no matter how hard I try. Sometimes I well set my alarm hours in advance and I still manage to be late. My mind just totally wanders off.

      I feel like my professors must think I’m a total weirdo and they probably wonder if I am taking advantage of them by asking for so many extensions. I’m too embarrassed to tell them I have ADHD. In order to get extensions I have to tell them about my physical health problems instead and those are not nearly as bad as dealing with ADHD. I feel like a stupid child sometimes and like everyone probably thinks I’m pathetic despite the fact that I’m trying my hardest.

    • Liz says:

      Wow, same here, I just got diagnosed. I have had straight A’s since 2014 working on my Bachelor’s this semester it hits me hard and I am hoping for a B at least. I procrastinate constantly, cannot retain enough to get good grades on my tests. I am suppose to be studying for my final right now and what am I doing? I’m writing to you this is devastating. I always knew there was a problem when I was a child I went to several schools and several tutors. When I finished my Associates degree(I went slowly) I could not even attempt to get a job in that field because I couldn’t remember anything I learned. I walk down the aisle in the supermarket and Ahh I finally remember what I need and within a second its gone. I have had 40 jobs my whole life and now my degree is boring me to death thank God for my therapist!!

    • Brittany says:

      I love your post. I am 21 year old college student and I am literally in tears at this moment because I can not understand a discussion question. It seems so easy but I cannot comprehend it. I sometimes have to read stuff over and over for about 10 times and about 30mins later a light bulb goes off and I get it. Also, if I read an article or some sort I often find myself in “LaLaLand,” I am reading but my head is not there. I honestly feel stupid all the time and it hurts me to even think that. I pray I get over this.

    • Hele says:

      I take breaks from the adderal, and I try to take as little as possible. When I took it all the time, I also got rebound fatigue. We are similar in age, and retirement is great, hang on!

  20. Neila says:

    Glad to know I am not the only one who struggle in life. People around me just don’t understand. It is hard to be open and think someone can judge me. I just feel bad, I believe not even a psychiatrist can’t help me. I just got fight alone. ….I wish I could find someone who could understand me. I believe should be someone who went through all this once in life.

    • Hi Neila…why don’t you check out a ADHD support group in your area? That will be full of people who have had similar experiences. Some ADHDErs say the place they feel most at home is at their support group meeting.

      • Kenny woodruff says:

        I’m 52!have struggled with ADHD all my life have served in the milatary some school but have a very hard time at my bed job due to test cannot get my last raise have to take days off work to test for work crazy when the towers got hit my world changed I lost my two favorite jobs I was really good at but factory life has. Died oh well anybody who helps with ADHD is a blessing but unless u deal with it everyday no one can know what is like. 34 years of marriage and I reunited it now divorced I realize now it was me not so much her but I . I love life but sometimes it’s like living in hell unless I’m left alone at s place I can work without stress r being judged I do better at home a lot better

    • Trapped says:

      I struggled my whole life. I have always know I had it, but I didn’t know how bad and how much it effected my day to day.
      Sometimes having ADHD is so painful it dibelitates me. I work hard at everything I do and I try but somedays I find myself just so broken and tired and down. The struggle of ADHD is so real and I agree I feel alone. I have lots of friends but they don’t know what it’s like. I been alone for 31 years trapped in my head. It’s isolating and I do social things to escape the isolation and trap that I am in.

  21. I’m glad people like you are out trying to help. We deserve a better quality of life. Article 100% accurate.

  22. Stephanie Singerhouse says:

    Wow. It is all really starting to make sense to me know. All of those reasons hit the spot exactly and even reading through all these comments its really nice to know that there are many others with the same thoughts and feelings…now i am 28 and after so many years of struggling with this where do i begin. I want to get help and advice.

  23. Jenn Rausch says:

    Wow, this article really hit on the nose. I am 42 years old and was diagnosed a 34. All of these points ring true for me. I’ve always struggled with comprehension. In school, I could never read the text books, I had to be in class and listen. If I didn’t, I didn’t know what was going since I struggled comprehending. I am now a teacher, I was successful teaching the younger children, however, I was thrown into upper elementary without any consideration. I struggle daily and feel stupid next to 5th graders who understand and comprehend better than me. I struggle teaching the reading curriculum too.

    I also struggle with time management, especially when planning lessons and trying to get somewhere on time. I actually struggle with all the points mentioned. I would love to know how I can help with Information retrieval.

    • Hi, Im Dustin Hughes. Pretty much everything you described about ADHD fits me. I was diagnosed with it at 6 and was put on Ritalin. I did well in school when I was younger even without taking it but when I took it I ended up making ab honor roll. When I hit middle school I started not to care anymore about school, except for the subjects I was interested in which I made good grades in. I couldn’t sit still, couldn’t keep focused long enough to do my work, started doing drugs, started hanging around the wrong people, started getting in trouble. High school was worse I started skipping, had trouble controlling my anger, got into fights, kept doing drugs to escape what I was going through. Got expelled, went to a school for delinquents then dropped out because there was really no way I could focus on my work around those crazy kids. Here I am now, 24 years old and ever since I dropped out of school. I’ve been working landscaping and construction jobs just drifting around with no purpose, getting high. I have anxiety, ocd and bi polar on top of ADHD. It’s still hard for me to concentrate that’s why I can’t keep a job for long. I want to get my g.e.d but there’s no possible way for me to get it at home here in Florida, online g.e.d is illegitimate. My anxiety is so bad to the point I can’t even leave my house without getting high, lost my job because of it. I’m not trying to throw my long sad story out there because a lot of my problems have come from making stupid choices, but what I’m saying is. I realize my problems stem from unresolved ADHD. Anyone know the best natural thing that helps with ADHD? I’m anti pharmasuitical so any feedback would be nice. Thank you.

  24. Stephanie says:

    I am at a stage in my life where my learning difficulties are making me feel useless and stupid. I have been diagnosed as having dyslexia and discalcula and I also have auditory processing issues. I have been with my husband for 26 years and feel our relationship isn’t the same because of me and my disability. I can’t seem to enjoy any of my jobs because I hate trying to learn new things. I hate doing paperwork and I feel I’m starting to get anxious about doing my tax books. I have now taken on childminding as I have a 2 yr old and find it more convenient but am petrified about the paperwork. I lose every argument my husband and I have because I can’t remember what was said by whom and when. I’ve started leaving my keys in the ignition when I come home from being out and my husband notices. I never remember figures I’ve just looked at. I just can’t remember anything I’m asked about. Then when my husband try’s to help he gives me things to read and then gives some instructions for me to follow but I then feel I’m lazy because I never do this or never continue what might help me. I really am struggling to figure out how to fix me. As I do say I’m stupid, thick, lazy and I cry every time I think of myself because I feel useless. My finances are a mess also and I find myself not looking at my bank account hoping it will fix itself. Do you have any advice for me? I’ve never been diagnosed with ADHD. My attention span is rediculously poor and always has been. ?

  25. Sahar says:

    My name is Sahar I’m 25 years old and Suffer from ADHD, as a child my parents didn’t really see a problem, and it was not till I was in my late teen when I was diagnosed.

    Im a mother now and Having ADHD negatively impacts parenting for me for the following reasons:

    I don’t know how to manage my time

    I Make sure I cook and feed him and forget to feed myself

    Doctors appointments

    Procrastination for scheduling appointments

    When it comes to reacting in certain situations my Mind just jumps.

    I yell.. I cry, I hurt, and I see I’m not alone , this article is just inspiring.

    I feel stupid, incapable and unworthy at times. I forgot how old I was this year, my memory is really bad , I couldn’t tell you what I wore or even ate yesterday. My dad makes fun of me and just makes me feel more self conscience. My sister refers to me as a child with a child. I guess it’s true , I’m a child at heart that’s what I feel like most of the time, my sister has a child as well but I don’t see her behaving foolishly like I do , matter fact I don’t see any parents acting the way I do . My hyper mannerisms are uncontrollable , and come and go as they please.

    I often find myself lost , or just deep in thoughts ,I can have up to 10 thoughts in a matter of seconds, I can be having an important conversation and impulsively react to a plane flying by and just loose complete focus. I remember playing basketball in middle school and during one of our away games the court was outside , anyways long story short I was distracted by a bird and just put everything else on pause for a few seconds. Also sometimes when I drive I hate to admit it but I get into a deep stare like a day dream.

    Any advice helps..

    • Travis says:

      What your dad and sister have said to you are not at all helpful statements. They are, frankly, just mean. Refer to # 8, who you spend your time with. Give yourself a break. We are only human. 🙂 Are you on medication? If not, you should consider it. I would imagine that forgetting to eat only makes things worse for your symptoms. Do you use checklists or calendars? Do you have a partner to help you? Please be kind to yourself; it’s important to recognize your progress. The author commented on ADHD support groups. I would imagine that would be a healthy outlet for you to discuss/explore the issues you’re facing, as well as learn new coping skills from those who also attend.

  26. MM says:

    Hello All:
    My name is MM and I am 56. I have struggled with Anxiety my entire life. Growing up in a family of 8 girls and one boy my parents hardly had time to breathe, let alone concentrate on one child at a time. I believe that I have struggled w/ ADD my entire elementary school age years and into high school. I remember having so much difficulty during those years. I could not understand why everyone else in the class was “getting it” and I was so far behind. I remember “feeling dumb..”
    Now, into Adulthood, (I have never been tested for ADD) but I have been able to pull off a successful career (How…I really don’t know)…Still, I feel dumb. I remain anxious, have many a sleepless night due to the “running thoughts.”I suffer from OCD and Anxiety. I wish I could “bring myself down…”

  27. Aishwarya says:

    Hi, I am 24. I am not sure if I have ADHD , but sometimes I feel anxious and can’t react well in time. I feel I am dumb , can’t perform math calculations which involves more number of digits .I am late always and can’t stick to a thing. I get very anxious when I hv to do something . I don’t know if I have a problem or am I over thinking it . Only thing I know is I really don’t feel good about myself at all.

  28. kris says:

    Im back in school after years away from it. I was just taking a test tonight and felt so dumb and though I had studied I got very anxious and fearful as if the world would crash down on me. I have hated feeling less than normal all my life. It is VERY hard to deal with ADD all day , every day for years -Im 44. I wish that there was some easy way to get better and erase the negative tapes we have all played in our minds. A smokescreen over my intelligence has not been good for dating or jobs. I am reading everyone’s post intently and have to say YOU DO UNDERSTAND.. IT has been such a BATTLE!

  29. Hi, I have not been diagnosed with adhd but do experience similar issues mentioned on this site. For instance trying to remember words and names of things and people in everyday conversation ALL THE TIME is extremely frustrating. I also find difficulty in problem solving, as if a wall comes down in front of your brain and refuses to let anything past. I’ve tried taking deep breaths and writing down the problem but nothing seems to work for me.

    Also like others I also have suffered from anxiety from the age of about 17 to my mid thirties. I struggled with agoraphobia and other psychological disorders with debilitating tendencies, sometimes literally not stepping past my front letter box. It’s like going into a shell of self worthlessness. I have overcome this now and have travelled to 22 countries in the last 7 years and my other issues have all but gone.

    Life can be cruel and I think it’s a pity that one seems to be only defined by their so called ‘intelligence’, social standing and academic achievements, when there is so much more that makes up a person.

    I know for a fact that everyone who has posted here has something they are good at. They may not be the best but there is ALWAYS going to be someone better. There is a lot of pressure on us poor old humans to out do each other and it’s true we tend to look up to those with ‘superior intelligence’ they often become leaders and just like us, have an important role to play in society.
    I’ll bet also that people like us often ‘think outside the box’ a bit more than your average smart person, because we think differently and can approach things from a different angle.

    I work in retail, I don’t have certificates or wonderful grades and I do feel down about myself from time to time but I’m me and don’t want to be anyone else.

    By the way NOBODY on this site sounded dumb to me!

  30. Jeremy says:

    Wow…great article. I am 42 years old and have always struggled with learning new things, retaining new things, remembering important things, not being aware of important things…pretty much just not good at “things.” I was recently diagnosed with ADHD and am on Adderall. I find that it’s helping and my wife of 20 years seems to feel that I am more present than I had been in the past. My lack of focus and seemingly non-caring of my environment nearly ruined my marriage.

    I am an in IT sales, selling IT services to large enterprise clients. Basically I work with high level executives, like a CEO or CIO, or VP of IT and help analyze where they need help. I then match that need with our services. My problem is that I typically can’t focus enough to really grasp what they need. Furthermore, it seems as though I have learned the “bare minimum” of technology throughout my career, so I am not a really strong technology consultant, which you need to be to maintain success. I excel in building relationships with customers because I am likable, but when the rubber hits the road; when action items need to be acted upon, I tend to come up short.

    The strange thing about ADHD to me, is that one can go about their everyday life feeling fairly normal. I always knew I was distracted or wasn’t catching things in every meeting I attended or classes in high school, but the concern was always fleeting, short lived. I finally started recording all of my meetings so I could go back in order to recap, playing the same moments over and over again until I would understand a specific point. This coupled with the fact that my wife would continually tell me that she told me something and it would sound so foreign to me, I thought she might be going crazy herself, finally made me look a bit deeper at myself.

    Shortly after these realizations I started seeing a therapist. At the time I was failing miserably at a job and could see the handwriting on the wall. Luckily, I had a recruiter trying to get me into another IT services company, but I knew I had to make a change or this job would end up like the last (and frankly the one before that). At first my therapist thought I had a strange gift, compartmentalizing to the point where anything negative would be placed in a part of my brain where it could reside without me dealing with it. Over time we came to the realization that no, I was not compartmentalizing anything, I simply didn’t deal with things, or specific thoughts because they came into my brain and back out again. Like a hummingbird to a feeder, some stays were longer than others, but it always left.

    I struggled with the following:
    -Keeping on task
    -Not finishing anything completely
    -Avoiding everything (because I never knew enough about them)
    -Aversion to learning new things
    -Negative about anything I didn’t already know
    -Not listening or retaining anything
    -Confidence as I felt “stupid” or “not worthy”
    -Being really good at any one particular thing (jack of all trades, master of none).
    -Rationalizing other’s feelings
    -Remembering important things
    And much, much more…

    After some testing it was confirmed. ADHD, or as my Psychologist said, “a pretty major case” of ADHD. I started Adderall shortly thereafter and while I don’t feel the night and day differences that some claim to experience, I have noticed some differences. I seem to be able to focus now when I put my mind to it. My wife calls it “hyper-focus” and this has helped. On the flip side, I feel tremendous guilt as I can now see the damage I have caused my family and of course friends and past employers. I was never truly listening and never really fixing any problems. Building and working on a budget for instance was impossible for me, causing our finances to crumble and remain that way. I have made six figures since 2008, but we have always lived paycheck to paycheck as I was literally afraid to sit down in front of an excel sheet and work out a budget.

    With therapy and medication, I have been on a better path for the last couple of months. I feel more comfortable with work, though I still have some of the same challenges. Putting myself in my wife’s shoes (figuratively, not literally) is becoming easier. I use an iPad Pro now to keep a living To-Do-List, which helps to keep me on track. Out of high school I had joined the military as I certainly couldn’t focus on college. I now have enough confidence to pursue my education and have started classes, so far so good.

    We are what we think we are. I’m not stupid, I’m awareness challenged 😉

  31. Hi AJ
    There is a great book called ‘Mindset’. I think you should read is ASAP! The author talks about a fixed mindset and growth mindset. Your teacher had a fixed mindset. I am glad you don’t think you are stupid, and THRILLED you feel smug about how far you have come! YAY! Thanks for sharing with us. We want to see your graduation day photo! will you come back and post it when you graduate?

  32. AJ says:

    The week of my high school graduation a teacher in my school told me to enjoy my graduation as it would be the last one I would be a participant in. Nice, right?

    I was diagnosed with ADD and learning differences when I was 9. The report stated I was of at least average intelligence and should be able to succeed academically with the proper support and tools. My dad kept that information to himself and told me and my teachers I was of average and I should be able to succeed if I tried harder.

    After the death of my parents, 7 months apart when I was 28 I was at a loss. My father employed me and paid my rent. I bounced from crap job to crap job. I felt stupid. But this was not a new feeling. It affected everything I did and every relationship I had. I didn’t know what to do with myself. One day going through my dads papers I found the original testing. I was/am furious. I felt and still feel like my father robbed me of my academic, professional and social potential and my ability for form meaningful relationships by fostering a dependence on him.

    At 30 I had my self retested with basically the same results. I took out loans and went to college anyway. And yes, I got a degree in 4 years. And yes, I struggled, but I did it. I still felt stupid.

    I came upon this article while doing research for a paper I am doing that has nothing to to with ADD. I was actually looking for a song lyric. At the tender young age of 50 I decided I needed a Masters degree. I am 3 semesters in. I get A’s and B’s. And I still feel stupid.

    I am doing everything I am supposed to be doing. I am in therapy, I take ADD meds. My professors know whats up. They don’t think I am stupid. Maybe on graduation day when I am hooded I won’t feel stupid. Maybe it will take a Phd. to get me there. Who knows?

    But I will end with this. Some days I do feel smart. Some days I am almost smug about how far I have come (first time I ever admitted that out loud). I am a former high school drop out in a Masters program at a good university.

    As for the teacher who told me to enjoy my graduation, well she went on to law school and its now a judge. I googled her. She went to a tier 4 law school that is not even ranked in the top 160 schools and she is a family court judge. Seems like mediocrity suits her 🙂

  33. Jennifer Medlyn says:

    Hello there, I am 28 years old and I’m currently a college drop out. I was attending a community college for Nursing and when I got to the entrance exam and BAM!!! Stoped. The tea was hard and I took it twice and didn’t pass. The test is called the Tease Test entrance exam. Recently I was thinking about going for cosmetology because I’m really good at doing hair and I enjoy learning new things pertaining to it. I feel really bad about my unfortunate inability to maintain studious life. My memory is poor, my consinteraction is poor and something doesn’t intrest me you can forget it. I’m just in the slumbs about my future. However, I’ll take some of your advice and see how I do.

  34. H to the izzo says:

    I’m a grad student in a program for students who are interested in attending medical school, but don’t want to apply yet because their undergraduate grades suck. It’s only been 3 weeks of the program so far, and I already feel the dumbest of everyone. I’m living with 5 other people in my program, and I feel blessed to be with them, as they are all really intelligent witty people.

    I don’t pick up on a lot of their humor, which is annoying because I’ll get their jokes 5 minutes after the fact, lol. I also don’t contribute that much to group discussion when we study together: partly because I feel like I don’t know the answer, and partly because I’m scared I’ll say something stupid.

    Blah, gotta get back to studying.

  35. Frank Moccia says:

    Hi, I am 59 years old and just decided to get some help with adhd and depression after all these years. I have done some therapy and given up on it. I decided to start once again. I cannot take any adhd meds since I had a massive heart attack two years ago. I have always wanted to work on my math skills. I have always felt that I had the ability to do well in it but the fear that I had as a child still haunts me as an adult. The fear of failure. I love playing the guitar when I do play it. But of course I do not play well because of the troubles learning i’ve always had. The guitar makes me feel so happy ,calm like i’m in a good place even though like I mentioned I don’t play very good. I want so much to learn certain skills. But i have a hard time in believing in myself. But this is also in many aspects in my life. I want so much to sit down and do a math equation that I can figure out and I can finish. I want to be able to sit and actually say to someone I play the guitar and really be able to play it proficiently before I leave this earth. I love life so much but its still so difficult for me. I just to be able to say I am going to do whatever things in life that are humanly possible and accomplish it . Thanks so much!

  36. Zeke says:

    Hey amazing article but just wanted to point out a typo. I think the first paragraph you mean “met” where you put “meet”. Thanks!

  37. Susan says:

    Sifg… I am sitting in my car reading these and I started crying. Reading about Marissa who not only miss the doctor appointment but sat in the wrong parking lot. I miss my doctor’s appointment today because I lost a precious 20 minutes of time trying to get more things done in the morning I struggle so much with being on time. I know some of it is an OCD issue I saw it in my father and I have two sons on the autism spectrum with some OCD and cognitive issues so definitely got some genetic miswiring. I try to build myself up but when you have a bad day. I guess we could all agree to call them stupid days it’s very hard on one’s morale. I want to punish myself and hug myself at the same time I want to be stronger and better and more disciplined butt the constant pop ups in my life sing to make me walk in an irregular line instead of a straight line. Most difficult part for me is letting some things go. I knew after the doctors I had to pick up my mother and I wanted the house to look great butt there were dishes and messy windows and they were just cleaned but my guys are not always careful. Do you ever feel like you need a good slap and a hug at the same time? Lol

  38. Mike says:

    I’m seventeen and I apparently have ADHD, Dyslexia and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I feel stupid all the time. I also feel like I don’t have ADHD or Dyslexia. I feel like the doctors are wrong and I’m just an idiot or a fraud. I can’t focus on anything that the teachers want me too. I just sit there and daydream about a better life. I can’t commit to anything unless I like it, and my interest normally fades quickly. I’ve been able to read since I was four, so how could I have Dyslexia? My math is horrendous, I can barely do multiplication, and division is an absolute nightmare. However, I can tell you all about MBTI, the Enneagram and about being an INFP. But who cares about that stuff? People with ADHD or Dyslexia are smart, I’m not.

  39. marisa b says:

    I know im not stupid, but i feel stupid, i missed my dr appt for the second time, the first time i had the wrond date, today is my second appointment and right now im sitting inside my car outside the wrong clinic… i acually cried a little this time… that’s just one of many different insidents. i know ill be ok but sometimes i find it hard to believe..

  40. Molly says:

    I was diagnosed with ADD last year at the age of 42. I’ve always had to work awfully hard to remember things and it’s a problem that’s just getting worse with age. My short-term memory is horrible. I tried several medications but I’ve yet to find one that doesn’t put me in a stupor or send my heart rate soaring.
    I’m being promoted next week, which I should be celebrating. However, I’m going to have to learn so much new stuff that I’m feeling terribly worried and insecure about it all.
    I’m on my break right now and need to get back to work niw.
    Thanks for your article, listening and sharing.
    Good luck everyone.

  41. Ryan Kim says:

    I also have adhd, but I can tell you it isn’t something that has to be cured. I would just like to think that people with adhd don’t go well with the school system, authority, and closed environments. I mean I didn’the have good grades in highschool. But the first year of college I managed to get straight got As, forcing my self. I’m currently dropped out of college and is looking for something that I can passionately work on. Personally, people with adhd have absolutely no problem because when they find something that they are passionate about, they won’t let anything stop them.

  42. Robin Berry says:

    This helps me a lot I found I had ADD when I was 6 year old I am 37 and have adult add struggled through school yes I was In resource math reading and English I also clumsy that could be because I am 6ft I also went through a very bad divorce at 4 yrsold my mom helped me with my school while my father just basically didn’t want to be there for me or my sister he picked his wife over us back to school I was picked on called stupid I sometimes would look at thanking people I wish could be that person yes to this day I do feel judge do struggle some feel stupid I was told I would never make anything out of myself well I am a mother I own a ranch I own rental property I am married to a engineer he is a former student of Texas A&M UNIVERSITY everybody in my family went to A&M except me my father is a vet my sister is a marine biologist animals and family are my passion I raise cattle I raise golden doodles also help with rescues I hate feeling judge hate feeling stupid I hope my daughter never has to go through what I been through I also feel sometimes like my husband thanks I am stupid he does have hard time understanding me he doesn’t the add at all he also has problems to he is pack rat lol I am trying to get him read stuff on add he is hard headed I try hard no one is perfect

  43. Samantha Stafford says:

    Dear Jacqueline,
    Thank you so much for your amazing article! My name is Samantha Stafford I am a senior in high school, a performer and I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was 5 years old. I have struggled all my life when it came to feeling smart well I always felt like I was smart but I feel like other people perceive me as “stupid” because I do learn differently sometimes, I have trouble with being on time sometimes but I love who I am and everyone else should love who they are! People with ADHD are super smart and have very high energy! I support you 100% with your book! Everything you have said is so beyond true! I’m writing a paper right now about what intelligence is and how there are all different intelligences and there’s no “one size fits all” intelligence level. I would love to run a program one day so people diagnosed with learning disabilities know their true abilities! please let me know your thoughts, thank you!

  44. Stacy says:

    I’m 24, I was never officially diagnosed with ADD, but I feel like it’s quite apparent. The things I struggle with are, spelling, grammar, reading, following dialog, and I make a lot of little mistakes that it really shouldn’t. I’ve worked so heard, I’m almost embarrassed at how hard, to get good grades. Because I’ve always valued intellegence. I still get uncomfortable when I remember how embarrassed I was in school when we had to read outloud; I would make a mess of it. It is horribly embarrassing when I miss-spell, time consuming to go back and correct. I got into a emotionally abbusive marrage early on and I believe that it had everything to do with feeling to “stupid” to take care of myself and lucky to have someone so accademicly smart. I’m divorced and taking control of my life, but ADD is something I struggle with everyday and I’m writing because it’s nice to talk to other people who know what I mean. I guess because I don’t feel like most people want to hear it; I keep things to myself. I haven’t had luck with medication dealing with anxiety, and the process of finding the right treatment plan for ADD sound very expensive and time consuming. I probably will do it when I get better health insurance and have a little more time. It’s been comforting to read the stories, and I like how the article brings up the point that the people we associate with can have a big influence on how we think of ourselves. I also related to the part that talked about how we reason, because I can’t do this simple thing I must be unable to do anything difficult, I feel that way sometimes.

  45. Annie says:

    Wonderful article. I am an adult who has been clinically diagnosed with ADHD. I have learned some tricks for coping, but I do feel “stupid” and “unintelligent” whenever I am reunited with my family. My father has even recently revealed that he has ADHD and appears sympthatetic to my affliction, but then has a special knack for making me feel stupid. I believe this is mostly due to the way that my younger brother is treated compared to how my family treats me. Granted my brother has a PhD in aerospace engineering and worked very hard to get there, I feel there is such a major discrepancy in the way we are treated. This is revealed in the questions we are asked (or not asked) to the concern shown for our physical and emotional states. Any insight into why there seems to be one child always held on the pedestal while the others are scraping the crumbs at his feet?

  46. Kiara says:

    I was diagnosed with ADHD about 9 years ago. I don’t believe I have it because I am only hyper when I’m with my friends, and that hyperactivity is just because we’re having fun and stuff, but I have trouble focusing and sometimes I say things I shouldn’t. It makes me feel stupid. I always do things I want to take back. It’s terrible. 🙁

  47. Val says:

    Hi, my name is Val and I’m 26 years old. Also, english is not my first language so please don’t be too hard on me because of the many mistakes you’ll surely find in this comment.
    I’ve been diagnosed TDA when I was very young… I think I was five or something. But my parents never put me on medication because I never had problems in school except with the whole “I don’t think she’s listening to me” speech from every teachers. But since my marks were more then okay, the teacher eventually let it go. You see, my strong point was and still is my capacity to learn by heart a notion if given enough time.
    Were things get ugly is now that I have to enter the labor market. Because you see, being able to learn something by heart is one thing, but thinking about every possibilities and seeing what is right in front of you in the real world is something I have yet to master it seem. So I alway had problem with my jobs. They alway kept me because they said I was still a good working girl but I keep making stupids mistakes and I feel so incredibly stupid afteward.
    I don’t know what to do. I feel so useless. I don’t want to be a burden but even when I give it my all, it’s not enough. Some people told me I could get medications to help me but I’m scared.
    I’m scared they’ll change who I am, who I’ve worked so hard to become.

  48. Kathryn says:

    Hi I am 20 years old. This is a great article. I have ADD and have been diagnosed with it when I was in 3rd grade. As I’ve grown older, it’s become a huge insecurity to me. I’m always the last to finish a test no matter how “fast” I try to think. I just, I don’t want to make my ADD as an excuse but I seriously hate it and wish I was never born with it. It ruins my life. I hate not being able to concentrate on things I should and concentrating on things I shouldn’t, I hate forgetting the SIMPLEST EASIEST THINGS and remembering the most random comment that someone made last Tuesday at 4:36pm and the exact tone they said it in. I hate not being able to finish one measly sentence because a dust particle flies by. It takes me almost 3x as long for my brain for process easy information while EVERYONE ELSE just gets it right off the bat. I need SO much repetition it hurts. Why does it have to exist… one of my best friends does not have amy mental disorder whatsoever and she is super smart and organized and is a straight A student and has always had a 4.0 GPA. I never wanted to be jealous of her because I would be in the wrong because we’re best friends. But of course sometimes I would just feel like trash and ask myself why I just can’t be an amazing achiever like her and get perfect grades. It is, for a person with ADD to get good grades. We always have to work extra hard to achieve things that are easy to others. It really bothers me when people self-diagnose themselves with it because they REALLY have no idea what it is like. In August 2013 through May 2014 (my first year at college) I did my best. I tried doing my homework as best as I could and tried as hard as I could to get it done on time, and I cherished the extra time I was allowed on tests. But the rest of 2014 was not a good year for me… my parents and older siblings kept telling me that all I did was play games on my laptop and hang out with friends and failed all my classes. That didn’t help at all. I was so hurt and discouraged and thought I was a disgrace to the family. Then when I finally looked up my grades a few months ago, the huge burden lmwas lifted off my chest and I ddidn’t fail 1 class. Well, I did, but that’s because we had a horrible professor that didn’t make any sense.. but other than that, I did way better than I thought I did. I didn’t get straight A’s but I didn’t fail. There’s still hope for me…

  49. I thought I was stupid for years! I was a HS dropout, I couldn’t keep a job long, and I didn’t understand why life seemed so much harder for me! It wasn’t until I was diagnosed in my late twenties that it all came into focus. Finally, with treatment, I was able to “buckle down” the way I’d seen others do for years, and I went back to school. I ended up going to college and graduating *first* in my class in nursing school! I proved to myself that the only thing holding me back was a treatable condition and the mental hurdle of the belief system I’d allowed myself to buy into: that I was lazy and dumb. It was very untrue. Now I’m an RN and more ambitious than most people my age. Who knew I had it in me?!

  50. Great article, Jacqueline! I didn’t think of myself as “stupid” but after reading your article, I realize there are ways I put myself down that essentially mean that – and how unproductive and damaging these thoughts are.

    I really appreciated learning about the “struggle mindset,” “information retrieval problem” and thought patterns like “if I can’t do ‘simple’ things like this, then I must be ‘stupid.’” I could really see the cause and effect chain of problems… The statistics are great too. As usual, super informative and helpful post.

    • Hi Marcia
      Thanks for your comment! Great to hear from you.
      We can be very crafty in how we put ourselves down can’t we? so much so we don’t even know we are doing it. Great job for realizing it!
      J 🙂

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