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What's so wrong with what I'm doing?

What's so wrong with what I'm doing?2014-08-01T01:29:26+00:00

The Forums Forums Ask The Community What's so wrong with what I'm doing?

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  • #125671

    Post count: 15

    so, I’m 18. I’m at that point where I should probably be thinking about a career and an education. At least, that’s what everyone tells me to think about.

    and I get it, sure, it’s practical.

    The thing is, I couldn’t care less about my career or my education. There, I said it. The only reason I’d be pursuing a career or an education is because that’s what everyone’s telling me to do. I’d never be fulfilled doing those things, of course. School just makes me feel like a failure and work is repetitive.

    And on the outside, what I’m doing now makes me look like a bum. But at least I have the freedom to just wing it and do what I like to do when I want to do it.

    Of course, I know that this is not how the world works, but I just don’t know how to make the world work for me. The more time I waste thinking about this, the closer the looming responsibilities get. I can’t seem to find anyone genuinely interested in helping me, and I definitely don’t know how to help myself.

    So I guess, what I’m asking is, how can I act practically whilst still feeling like I’m doing so for myself?


    Post count: 906


    I know exactly how you feel. I went through the same thing, with everyone pushing me and saying “what are you going to do with your life” and things like that.

    First of all, what you are feeling is perfectly normal. For us that is. People with ADHD, for one thing, mature a little more slowly than other people. So when we reach that age chronologically where we are supposed to decide what to with our lives and be all grown up and responsible, we are not really quite there yet emotionally and mentally. You still want to play and be a kid, just “wing it” and be free.

    Secondly, we respond differently to the concept of responsibility. To other people, it’s just what you do because you have to, even if you don’t like it. To us, it’s this huge gigantic thing looming over our heads that we are afraid will drop and crush us at any minute.

    And then there is the anxiety caused by having to make a decision and trying to figure out all of the 101 possible outcomes of that decision, and which one is most likely to happen. And there is one of my biggest problems, time blindness. I really just didn’t see what all the fuss was about because there was lots of time to make those decisions. Why does it have to be done right now? I’m only 18, it’s way too early to be thinking about a career.

    So, I don’t really know what the answer is. But I can tell you what not to do. Don’t give in to the urge to procrastinate and keep putting it off. Don’t fall for the trap of  thinking things are better the way they are now because you’re free and you can do what you want. Because that’s what I did and trust me, it doesn’t work out well. The end result has been never having a steady job, not having enough skills or experience to get a decent job, and basically having to depend on others. I never have any money, I can’t go anywhere or do anything, so I don’t really have any freedom at all.  The lesson that I learned the hard way is that true freedom comes from structure.

    My advice is don’t listen to other people, and don’t let them push you into something you are not ready for or don’t really want to do, because that is a recipe for disaster. If you aren’t motivated to do it you will just get bored and frustrated and unhappy and end up failing. But you do need to take positive steps forward and figure out what it is that you do want.

    Start by brainstorming about what is really important to you. What do you value most in life? What are you passionate about? Do you like kids, animals, music, art…? And what do you hate? What drives you so crazy that you couldn’t stand to be around it all day?

    Then think about what kind of career would work for you. You like having a sense of freedom, so maybe a job with a more flexible schedule and minimal supervision would be good, maybe working from home or running your own business. But, will you be motivated to do the work if you don’t have someone watching you and holding you accountable? Sometimes it is actually better for us to have a rigid structure, no matter how distasteful the idea seems. Structure can actually create more freedom because you will get the work done and out of the way and then be able to do what you want with the rest of your time.

    The same is true for your home life. Procrastinating and putting work off so that you can do what you want, when you want, will eventually lead to you having less freedom. Trust me. Been there done that. I have such an enormous mountain of mess to straighten out that I couldn’t do it of I worked on it 24 hours a day. Because I don’t want to clean, I want to watch videos on YouTube, go on Facebook, play games, check out Totally ADD and see what’s new…..

    And on that note, I think it’s time for me to be going.



    Post count: 1

    Hello, robynshnobyn!

    After I read your post, I registered just so I could reply.

    When I was 18, ADHD was not as recognized in the medical community as it today.  So I feel you are extremely lucky just knowing that what/how you are thinking is due to the way your mind is wired.  I wasn’t diagnosed until 33.  I’m 44 now.  I spent a majority of my life wondering why I didn’t think like everyone else.

    I don’t know what to tell you to do.  But I can tell you that when I was 18, I felt EXACTLY how you describe feeling now.  I’m pretty happy where I am now, but it took a lot of time and work to get here.   And I have made A LOT of mistakes along the way.  If I could go back in time and give myself advice, the highlights (in no particular order) would be as follows:

    1.  Don’t force yourself to go to college in the “traditional” sense if you’re not ready.  Instead, try to take at least 1 class per semester (including summer) at your community college.  Many benefits, little risk.  Be sure to meet new friends, talk to your professors, and try to get the A.

    2.  Avoid the urge to self-medicate.  Exercise, diet, and meditation are the key.  Trust me, you will never win the caffeine/nicotine-to-work & alcohol/drugs-to-relax game.   Avoid any jobs, people, and lifestyles that promote it.

    3.  Save 20% of whatever you make.  10% in an IRA that you forget about.  10% in a savings account.  When you finally find your path (or when you stumble), you’ll be glad you did.

    4.  Find a therapist and medication that work for you.  Then use them both regularly.   Adjust both when necessary.

    5.  Enjoy your 20s, but do whatever it takes to learn those life habits now.  A-place-for- everything, checklists, paying bills, saving, etc.  Identify your weaknesses and develop methods to compensate for them.   If you wait until your 30s, you’ll be playing catch-up for the rest of your life.

    6.  Never forget that this thing is a GIFT.  It allows us to see the world in a wonderful, timeless, creative way.  So celebrate that.  Find your strengths and build on them.  But at the same time, realize that we have to live in the real world and the “normal” people write the rules.  So learn the rules of the game and play the game by their rules.  If you do, the day will come when you can play your own game with your own rules.

    6.  Just because something comes easy to you doesn’t mean you need to do it for a living.  Avoid getting stuck on a path you don’t want to take.

    7.  Call your parents more.

    I wish you the best of luck.





    Post count: 4

    Hi, I do feel for you. I got diagnosed this year.. I’m 56! I never took earning very seriously and now I’m living on a very low wage. Most of my friends are retired or just about to retire and go travelling etc. I tell you it’s not a great place to be. I also now have chronic fatigue (M.E.) and I am sure it is due to the fact that I have been fighting ADHD all my life and trying to be ‘normal’. Don’t do it it’s not worth it. So I suppose all I would say is that you are 18, there is no rush, but I would take all the constructive help you can get from those who understand you and what you face with ADHD. You have a chance of a worthwile and rewarding life. It’s worth putting in the effort now so you don’t lose out later.
    One other thought. How about the trades. I have friends who are tradesmen and love thier work. Every job is different, you can earn well and its so often to do with problem solving. But that’s just a thought.
    Bless you.


    Post count: 15

    Thank you so much for your support, really. (I thought I’d get notifications for responses, but guess not!) It’s genuinely motivating to hear advice from a place of understanding rather than a “because I told you so” point of view.

    I’m still trying to grasp where my lack of motivation comes from and what it is that’s motivating to me. I think I’m going to try to get in contact with a counsellor of sorts that can further help me understand what is needed to become motivated, as that has always been a grey area in my otherwise hyper-focused search for insight.

    Again, thank you so much


    Post count: 906

    @robynshnobyn, you should get email notifications whenever someone responds with your name and puts the @ in front of it. But not everyone does that, so it’s best to check once in awhile. Maybe you have already figured that out.

    @distractedcpa, Welcome to the forums. Thanks for signing up. 🙂

    Your  response is very well written. Short and to the point (unlike mine). And some excellent advice there. I may use some of it myself. I am actually in pretty close to the same situation as robynshobyn right now, except I’m trying to decide what to do with the second half of my life.  Going to college is one thing I have been considering. Doing it the way you suggest, one course at a time, might be a good way to go. That way I don’t have to commit a huge amount of time and money to something that may not work out in the end. I could try out 2 or 3 different things to see what fits. And hopefully be able to work and actually have an income at the same time.

    @nicknite I know exactly what you mean. My friends don’t even bother with me anymore. They all have careers/kids and have travelled all over the world.  Meanwhile, I’m still pretty much exactly where I was when we graduated from high school.

    I recently came to the same conclusion, that I got where I am by trying to be “normal” my whole life. I need to take a different approach to life, learn how to work with my ADHD instead of fighting it. It’s hard to get my thinking switched around though. I still beat myself up for being stupid and lazy screwing up constantly. And I still keep trying to do things in ways that I know don’t work. But you have inspired me to keep trying. 🙂


    Post count: 15

    @robynshnobyn, I commend you for trying to figure this out at your age!  You have your whole life in front of you and if you can get this figured out now, wow, I’m jealous!  I’m 49 and still trying to figure out what to do when I grow up LOL!

    Are you taking medication, and do you feel it is doing your job?

    When I was in high school, I was totally clueless about my future and what I should be doing, had no passion for anything in particular, and it didn’t help that there was no one externally cuing me to get ready…for life!  I had no idea that I was supposed to be doing things to improve my acceptance to good colleges, which was expected of me by my parents.  I was an introvert, socially isolated in school so didn’t pursue clubs…actually, I did join the equestrian club to make me look more active but then never went to the meetings, and you know what?  I think I forgot to go to them!  No one gave me guidance.

    When I went to college, I decided to be a biology major because that was the thing in high school that I actually did like.  But I had no idea what kind of job I would be aiming for when I got out.   I really liked animal behavior and ecology, but all I knew of such types was that they worked as field biologists, going off to far away places to work alone in the field, and at the time I had a boyfriend, a dog, and a family that expected regular contact.  Three things that didn’t add up for being a field biologist!  So, I didn’t even try.  Plus, I felt so timid about connecting with anyone who might have been an inspiration, something I regret.

    I became a dog walker and eventually a dog trainer because I loved dogs and the training tapped into the behavior stuff.  But, I wasn’t a good business person, not my forte, self-promotion, lack of confidence and self-esteem, etc.

    So, here I am at 49, really not very employable unless I want to work at Walmart, which would be a low wage soul-killing job for me.  I have so many regrets in my life, and it brings tears to my eyes even now!

    So, I am very happy for you that you are here and asking this question.  Why didn’t we have motivation?  I still don’t understand it.  Lots of people with ADHD do when they are able to tap into their talents, at least, so what’s it about?

    I don’t have advice for you other than to embrace this self-exploration, seek that counseling, try to find the help that allows you to find your lurking brilliance.  And then tell us about it 🙂


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