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Feeling like I’m behind and that I’m slow

Annegables124 profile image

I’ve always felt like I am one step behind everyone. If I want to get my homework done, I will, but even with my to do lists, something always happens. Either, another commitment comes up, or I feel real confused, or I feel overwhelmed. I try not to be too hard on myself but sometimes that’s easier said than done. I’m not sure how to manage this. I’m just working on taking care of my mental health. But I worry about what I’ll do later. Even though I’ve got accommodations it still feels like I’m behind sometimes. The word slow is a trigger word due to the meaning, but I think of it a lot and my question is, what word should I use instead?

11 Replies

Hi Annegables124 ,

Using the word "slow" implies a negative comparison, presumably to other people. Unfortunately, our society is set up in such a way to encourage such comparisons (GPA, SAT, GRE, etc.) in order to rank and compare people for the purposes of distributing limited resources to the most "worthy" (college admission slots, jobs, etc.). These sorts of comparisons are therefore unavoidable to some degree since the society around you reinforces them at every turn, but at the same time, I think it can be helpful to remind yourself that these are merely a rough social consensus of how to solve a societal problem, and not a true measure of your worth as a person. And these sorts of measures are not necessarily an optimal, fair, and/or valid comparison when it comes to neurotypicals vs. the neurodiverse. For example, neurodiverse job candidates often did poorly at interviews so they wouldn't get hired, despite having the talent to do the job, so there's an organization called Specialisterne that is helping to come up with new ways for employers to evaluate neurodiverse job candidates (primarily autistic people up to this point, but I believe they're branching out; see more here: us.specialisterne.com/wp-co... ). I wouldn't be surprised if other efforts like this exists to reimagine the education system to better reflect the neurodiverse, even if they aren't widely adopted.

In any case, my main point is this: Be realistic in recognizing the necessity of getting certain tasks like homework done in order to eventually reap society's rewards, but keep in mind that your letter grade from Mrs. Snotworth on your Hamlet essay is not a grade on your soul. The pace at which others can complete their assignments is not a fair comparison to your pace; it's like comparing the performance of a video game on easy mode versus nightmare mode. Yes, one was more of a slow struggle getting through the level, but that's only because she was given more zombies, and less bullets and healing potions. You're comparing apples and oranges; comparing your current performance to your past performance is better if you feel you must compare.

Thanks for the feedback.

I feel the same way. Feelings often times don't mean the truth though. I'm noticing how the mind of someone with ADHD (including myself) often skews the truth with our perspectives. It's like left handed people living in a right handed world. It's easier said than, done but look past the illusion of this world. I know speaking about God isn't always welcome, but as an adult I really found the true Christian teachings to constantly comfort people who feel less than.

1 Corinthians 1:27 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong,

Thanks and thanks for bringing up Christianity. I’m a Christian too, I don’t talk about it much, but thank you. And I really like the left handed people analogy.

I went through some teaching training and they described the situation as slow processors. Decades ago when I was growing up "slow" was just a kind word used to describe people who had mental handicaps. Going farther back in time they were called "simple". Yes, those terms sound insulting and I would have issues if anyone called me that. However, I will readily admit to be a slow processor, or even slow to catch on to social cues.

Do you want it done fast, or right?

I'm slow and methodical in my work habits. This makes me very valuable in the right situations. At one job I was referred to as a dragon slayer, for solving issues that had eluded others for months before I got there. I wasn't fast. I was persistent and looked under every rock when trying to understand the issue.

It's important to understand and value your own strengths and avoid your weaknesses.

Girl, you are taking your time and that is real cool. Nobody needs to time you. I read your post and you presented a smart and cogent message. Btw the fastest is usually not the most popular or the one that makes all the money. You do you and know that is more than enough.

So….You’re in the ‘slow’ club, too!?!?!!!

At least one positive term I’ve come to depend on is ‘thorough’. Ever worked for you?

Either way, like I said, preaching to the choir here, and I’ve got all the sloth coffee mugs, slippers, and other endearing nicknames to prove it! During my backpack wearing days, the ‘snail’ was one I came up with myself - when I compared what I was carrying to a ‘shell’…Also…’creative’! Probably my favorite, though, is one you already used. Persistent! In case you also happen to be a mom, Patricia Sung’s podcast, Motherhood in ADHD, is so encouraging! It really helped me to one embrace my ability, track record, and willingness to be persistent (vs consistent). That I could be cool and gracious with myself, knowing how much I have to gain from that one characteristic - that going for both, beating myself for just being one vs two of those things…Well, perhaps I can let go of that ‘endeavor’.

Lastly, I’m glad to hear you have accommodations!! I’ve been out of the workforce (making an assumption that’s where you meant) for over a decade, and, especially for women, have been curious what that’s like.

I'm sorry you feel like this. I'm in the same boat with you. My friends moved 5hrs away from me and I constantly feel like I’m lagging behind everyone. Do you deal with Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria (RSD )?

I’m not sure, but I might. Can you be diagnosed for that?

Here is some information on Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria (RSD) if you're not already familiar with it:


There is a self-test you can take for RSD:


There's also an How to ADHD video on RSD and rejection sensitivity more generally:


But please note (as Jessica McCabe points out in the video) that it's also an unproved/ disputed concept that isn't in the DSM. For an example of someone who takes issue with it, see here:


I think this study is a bit flawed because various statistics show that less than half of people with ADHD have ADHD alone (i.e., do not also have one or more comorbid mental conditions) (sources: adhd-institute.com/burden-o... ; additudemag.com/when-its-no... ; cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/data.html ). Therefore, this researcher just placed the 50%+ of ADHDers who are probably the most likely to experience RSD right out of the ADHD category and into a "multiple/other" category, and is not capturing the experiences of a majority of ADHDers.

In any case, while I don't know if it could withstand whatever scrutiny it takes to get into the next DSM, it does resonate emotionally for me (and a lot of ADHDers as well), so I think there is something to it. Whether or not that's just the "Forer Effect" as Slate Star Codex claims will probably take more research to prove.

So you probably can't be diagnosed with it (at least, not officially since it's not in the DSM as an official diagnosis), but you can self-test for it, and if the concept and associated mitigation strategies resonate with you, perhaps it doesn't matter?

Who says you are slow?? Did any professional test you and say that. I doubt it! People with ADHD have difficulty with completing tasks, with time and results management- you cannot manage time- no one can it happens what you can manage it what you and I do with the time. And we are terrible with estimating how long things will take . To do lists are fine - but what it also needed is an estimate of how long each task will take- then double it from what you though- for example I am much better with time now but still sometimes i "screw up" I was 10 miles from my medical appointment which was scheduled at 4- I really neededt leave what I was doing at 3:35 or the latest 3:42 but I just got "caught up" chatting and next thing I knew I was in the car and it was 3:50 . there was not way I could get there especially since it was the start oif "rush hour" luckily- they were able to reschedule me for Friday AM- but I wasted a trip up there "hoping" I could somehow persuade them to take me . ADHD is a difficult thing- most people who do not have it don't understand . Stop making yourself wrong! Most ADHD folks have above average inelegance- if not how could we have survived before diagnosis

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