ADHD, Women, and Work: What It’s Like and Ways to Cope
Forbes Magazine: 8-27-13
Renee started to notice something wasn’t right when she was 16.
“Why was it that I was smart—but I couldn’t pull the grades off? I always understood what I was supposed to do [in school], but when I tried to produce something, it never came out that way. I never finished it. I’d burn out after the first attempt.”
Despite the fact that Renee felt “constantly behind and somewhat lost” in her senior year, her SATs were well above average and she secured a spot as an incoming freshman at UCLA.
But 500 miles away from home (and her mother’s highly organized household), college was “total bedlam” for Renee. “I started [partying]—I had zero self-control in college. You can do whatever you want, you don’t have to go to class… it was a disaster because I had no structure,” she recalls. Renee’s college roller coaster ride was as short as it was chaotic—she withdrew from all classes at age 19, pregnant with her first child.
And, although Renee wouldn’t recommend this difficult route to her students (she’s now taught 6th grade for over a decade), she feels that becoming a teen mom gave her the structure needed to cope with her then-undiagnosed ADHD.