Wednesday, August 25, 2010

She Hates What I Do - Thanks Pal

"I really hate it when people use their disabilities as an excuse..."

Thank you, friend.
Thank you.

This was directly, yet indirectly addressed towards me and my mind is still processing it. Low blow, low blow.

This is what she told me after I told her how I had been doing at community college. I had told the story of this quarter, how my teachers had been gracious enough to give me extensions. I was talking about how professors can be really kind and helpful sometimes. She then told me she didn't think her professors would be. I asked if she had asked. She then told me that her professors lay down the rules pretty early on. I acknowledged that they do, but sometimes ADHD enters in.

That's where that quote was spoken.

It didn't make me feel good.
That word hate, in there, makes me feel not so good.

If you look at definitions and absolute truth, yes, I am using the ADHD as an excuse to make my life easier. I'm not going to try to side step that. But there is so much more.

Often, I feel like I can't get through college (I am taking two or so quarters off). It is a struggle for me. I have the brains to get this work done, no problem, but it is still a mountain I am working on climbing. Much of the challenge, for me, is creating the will to get through this. I know I can and will, in time, but I know I can't do this on my own.

I have no issues in going to my teachers and creating allies of them to help me get through this.

I'm not going to try and be the "big girl" and get this done on my own. Why? Because it's not worth it, to me. It's not worth the anxiety and countless hours of frustration. I don't want my education to take a toll on my emotions. I see no benefit in that happening. And so, if I need to, I'll ask for help.

I don't think it makes me a weaker person. In the long run, I think it is better. I don't think school is worth getting stressed out about. There is nothing noble about getting overwhelmed with homework. I don't want to spend some of these amazing years of my life feeling horrible.

Overall, I am still grateful that I have a school that is working with me through this. I still feel hopeless at times, but inside I know I can get this done.


  1. I don't feel that was very fair of her to say. Especially if she's never asked. The teachers that are helping you "because" of your ADHD may have just as easily been willing to work with someone who doesn't have an issue that can hinder their education. Just because they lay down the rules and sound and act hard doesn't mean that they'll stay that way if you talk to them. Some people learn differently than how their teachers are teaching. That's not an educational handicap but it does cause frustration, confusion, overwhelming, and a need for help. Shouldn't those students seek help as well?

    I think you're doing the right thing by asking for help. There are too many people out there who are too proud to admit when they need help and then they complain when they've fallen into a hole they dug themselves. Better to ask and be told no than to never ask and never know if you could've rececived some.

  2. Most colleges have a "students with disabilities" program to help accommodate them. Even the university I am at. Nowadays they even have ways to help ADD and ADHD, as one of my friends explained to me just a few months ago. He now gets a little bit longer time to finish exams and things like you mentioned. So even if your friend or anyone you know isn't able to be friends with their professors like you, they should check into what the program can do for them.

  3. I absolutely do not think this makes you weaker. I think it actually shows your strength and wisdom. I know so many people who refuse to ever ask for help, even when they desperately need it and when others would probably help them, no questions. They think it shows weakness to admit they cannot do everything.

    But really none of us can do everything, we all need help at one time or another, so why have a breakdown because you can't ask for help.

    Also, I used to teach English at a community college and as a teacher, I would have welcomed having my students work with me to get things done. I mean, the point is to learn and if my students needed some kind of assistance or concession made, so be it. I would have respected it had my student been self aware enough to ask for help.

    Great post!

  4. First - I think she has her terminology mixed up. And I've been thinking a lot about this lately as I'm seeing SO many parents on autism discussion boards using the catch phrase "Aspergers/Autism is not an excuse for _______".

    I think our culture gets excuses and REASONS confused. An excuse is something used to get out of being accountable for something you should have been accountable for. It is empty; selfish.

    A reason is an explanation for why something is the way it is. It leads down a path designed to help improve, accommodate, or resolve a situation.

    Sounds to me like you've got a pretty good reason, a very good plan, and hopefully a friend who was just having a very self-centred obnoxious moment. We do all have them, so I hope she comes to her senses and apologizes.

    I am neurotypical, but in university my family went through some EXTREME stress, and I recognized that it was going to prevent me from getting all my work done for all my classes on time. I approached my profs for extensions and nearly all of them were happy to oblige. Because they weren't there to train me to be a deadline-maker, they wanted me to learn, grow, and be successful. I did my part by recognizing my limits AND my gifts and being open about both. Sounds like you are too :)


  5. My boyfriend is has ADHD as well. It's not so much that it effects functioning directly, but it has such a huge effect on the way he thinks, which in turn effects everything else. I don't think that getting your teachers to take this into account is a bad thing in any way, as long as you try not to overuse it.


Your words make me grin.

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