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ADHD - imposter syndrome - feeling stupid - Phd life

L

lavender89

Member
Joined
Nov 8, 2021
Messages
5
Location
toronto
When I first elementary start school, I had difficulty in reading and writing, all the students in my class learned how to read and write except me, the teacher was giving extra homework to me for me to catch my classmates. My mother and father were also teachers, and they were frustrated with my lack of learning or slow learning speed. They told me that I have a low-level IQ and I am stupid. So, for the first 8 years of my unsuccessful school life, I literally think that I am stupid and I have a low-level IQ. After 8 years they took me to a psychiatrist and I am diagnosed with ADHD and a relatively high IQ (I could not believe it, because I literally think that I am stupid because of my parents and my unsuccessful school life). I was treated with Ritalin, but I was still having bad grades, and I quit ritalin. But in high school that changed, I started to work hard and concentrate well and accepted university with a scholarship and now I am a second-year PhD student. In my undergrad, I did not feel like I am stupid but now it came literally back. I do not know if this is imposter syndrome or what but I feel stupid, I feel not clever, I feel like I have to work hard, I have to work hard all the time because I am stupid so I need to catch up all the time, I do not believe how I am doing a Ph.D., I feel I do not deserve to be here, I feel my profs will regret to accepted me, I feel like maybe I should quit Ph.D. I lost my motivation, I could not study, I can not concentrate, I do not know what to do.
 
A

Aurelius

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 14, 2018
Messages
694
Welcome to the forum lavender89. Sounds like your main issue might be more self-doubt than ADHD. At certain times in our lives we hit glitches. What we are engaged in seems to constantly demand more powers of motivation, concentration, memory, focused effort and/or energy than we feel we have in our resources bank. This does not mean we are stupid or imposters - it just means that it does not take much for us to feel we are running on empty.

You might consider seeing your GP and talking this through with them, to get an outside perspective and to check whether there are any health issues involved and/or health based support measures you can take. You might also consider talking this through with an appropriate tutor.
 
L

lavender89

Member
Joined
Nov 8, 2021
Messages
5
Location
toronto
Welcome to the forum lavender89. Sounds like your main issue might be more self-doubt than ADHD. At certain times in our lives we hit glitches. What we are engaged in seems to constantly demand more powers of motivation, concentration, memory, focused effort and/or energy than we feel we have in our resources bank. This does not mean we are stupid or imposters - it just means that it does not take much for us to feel we are running on empty.

You might consider seeing your GP and talking this through with them, to get an outside perspective and to check whether there are any health issues involved and/or health based support measures you can take. You might also consider talking this through with an appropriate tutor.
Thanks a lot, I will definitely go see my GP. I appreciate your support.
 
S

SFGuy

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 28, 2021
Messages
339
Location
California
I stopped after my M.A., but went to an elite school that attracted the best & brightest following undergrad at relatively weak schools. The sense that I did not belong among brilliant students and faculty was overwhelming.

As I got to know others in the program, I discovered that a few people maintained their equanimity, but many (most?) felt the same way I did. A Ph. D. is supposed to push you to or even beyond your limits, which has an enormous emotional toll. Schools don't do well addressing that as far as I know.

I visited a counselor once, but the school medical system was poor. He didn't help. Nevertheless, I now know therapy and meds would have been a phenomenal help. I might even have a Ph.D., though I'm not sure what I would have done with it (I was in Anthropology, not Software Engineering).

I hope your depressed mood is short and you get recharged to take on the enormous challenges a Ph.D. presents.
 
R

Ravenflower

New member
Joined
Aug 27, 2021
Messages
4
Location
NR19
When I first elementary start school, I had difficulty in reading and writing, all the students in my class learned how to read and write except me, the teacher was giving extra homework to me for me to catch my classmates. My mother and father were also teachers, and they were frustrated with my lack of learning or slow learning speed. They told me that I have a low-level IQ and I am stupid. So, for the first 8 years of my unsuccessful school life, I literally think that I am stupid and I have a low-level IQ. After 8 years they took me to a psychiatrist and I am diagnosed with ADHD and a relatively high IQ (I could not believe it, because I literally think that I am stupid because of my parents and my unsuccessful school life). I was treated with Ritalin, but I was still having bad grades, and I quit ritalin. But in high school that changed, I started to work hard and concentrate well and accepted university with a scholarship and now I am a second-year PhD student. In my undergrad, I did not feel like I am stupid but now it came literally back. I do not know if this is imposter syndrome or what but I feel stupid, I feel not clever, I feel like I have to work hard, I have to work hard all the time because I am stupid so I need to catch up all the time, I do not believe how I am doing a Ph.D., I feel I do not deserve to be here, I feel my profs will regret to accepted me, I feel like maybe I should quit Ph.D. I lost my motivation, I could not study, I can not concentrate, I do not know what to do.
I would say, do not give up! I' m not surprised you may doubt yourself at times, if you were led to believe you were stupid when young. I had brain freeze, confusion, lack of motivation and depression whilst studying a higher education course. At that time, I did not know I had ADHD and gave up.

If you have an ADHD diagnosis, you should be able to be accommodated. Are you getting any support for your ADHD at university? Have the university made reasonable adjustments for your ADHD.
One feature of my own ADHD is that I do need to work a little harder than someone who hasn't got ADHD. Mainly because of my need to re-read written materials so many times. That translates into, I need more time than a neurotypical peer to complete the same work.
So make sure the university are aware of your ADHD diagnosis, in the UK they are legally required to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate your ADHD. Consider medication, given where you are with your ADHD at the moment. There are different kinds of medication, not just ritalin. It took six months or more to work out the best dosage and medication in my case.

One of my university tutors felt that beyond graduate degrees, masters and doctorates were more down to sheer stamina and good support, rather than academic prowess. There's a lot of info on Quora, and support also on Reddit.
 
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