Editor’s Note: This article was submitted by a student who prefers to remain anonymous. As such, this piece has been edited to be more inclusive. This article is not intended to diagnose, only to inform. Please reach out to Academic Achievement for academic resources for ADD, ADHD, or any barriers to learning you may experience, with or without a diagnosis.
I would like to start this by saying attention deficit hyperactivity, ADHD, looks different for everyone, but this is my experience as a female who was diagnosed with ADHD as an adult. Growing up, I never imagined that I had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. I was relatively organized and did well in school. After some research, I found I did have some signs and symptoms of ADHD.
Many signs of ADHD in women go unnoticed which has led to many women getting diagnosed in their 20s and 30s. The following are common attributes of ADHD that I experienced before I was diagnosed and the solutions that seem to be helping:
- Binge eating
- I try my best to stay on an eating schedule and have been practicing listening to my body. I have worked on eating more intentionally. Remember it is okay to snack sometimes as restricting your body often makes binge eating worse.
- Eating on a schedule.
- Not thinking before you speak. Additionally, I really struggled with audio processing; meaning it took me extra long to actually understand what someone was saying. While this is not a result of my impulsivity, I have spoken before I really understood what someone actually said.
- Write down comments as you think them to prepare for a response. You will not forget it and may feel like a task is done without interrupting someone or saying something regretful.
- Spending a lot of money in a short amount of time. For me, this resulted in my inability to keep a savings account. As soon as the paycheck hit my account, I would spend just enough to be able to pay my bills.
- Find a budget app or just use your own reminder function to help with limiting larger sprees.
If you are like me, you have left your keys/phone/wallet at home so often that it has become a joke in your household. Forgetfulness can be funny until it is something important like a deadline on a paper or a task at work.
- Get an apple tag, tile, or other electronic tracker!
- Use the calendar function on your phone or get an app that works well for you to record all important events.
- Use a task list or the notes app to keep track of assignments.
- Paper planners and calendars can be used too if low-tech is your thing.
This one really hits me hard. While sometimes I am able to take criticism well, I often find myself replaying someone’s words in my head over and over again. This was especially hard during law school since we can only be better with critique – can you imagine my car ride home after getting feedback on my first LRW paper (literal tears)?
- Getting perspective is important here. Get help from a friend, therapist, or another safe person to determine whether the criticism is worth paying attention to. Was it useful? Truthful? Fair? If not… ignore that criticism!
If you related to any of these, I have good news – you are not alone! While the list above is not all-encompassing, these patterns may be a sign that you have ADHD and should research ADHD, and maybe get tested.
I still struggle with each of these, but I have found some things that work for me and may be useful to you.
Please reach out to Academic Achievement or Student Success for help with time management and organization of study time. Let us help you find solutions that work for and with you — because people are unique and so are solutions.