It was the summer of 2012. I was on campus in a research and grad school prep program. I was sitting in Sinead's lab, my research mentor, reading an article about twice exceptionalism. Except, I wasn't really reading it. I was saying the words in my mind and even mouthing them but couldn't make sense of them collectively. I would read a page or two and couldn't recall what it was about because a part of my mind stopped processing the words and started to think about something else. This had happened before of course for many years. Typically I'd put it away and try another day. Maybe procrastinate and use a looming due date to stress me into completing it. A problem I had been dealing with for years had come to a point where I could no longer compensate for it. It wasn't merely about me having a slow reading speed or tending to fall asleep when reading. It wasn't even that the language was dense. I simply could not focus enough and make sense of what I was reading. The words and sentences stood alone, not building off of each other to make a greater point. Though I was genuinely interested in what I was reading I couldn't pay attention. There I was trying to force myself and I couldn't do it. Never before had this issue felt like a brick wall.
I suppose I was audibly frustrated because she called me into her office and asked what was wrong. I shared my issues. She told me to take a break and released me for the day.
But I knew. It was bound to happen. It had been getting harder and harder to deal with. My performance was already slipping and I was no longer Mr. 4.0. My time had ran out. I had to deal with the fact that something was indeed wrong with me and I couldn't ignore it anymore.
Right after leaving her office I walked over to the counseling center to talk to someone. Because it was summer I was able to see Gary, the director of the counseling and disability services center, right away. I explained to him what happened. For whatever reason, he believed that I already knew and asked me to share my thoughts about what the issue was.
Is it an attention deficit thing? He referred me to a specialist off campus. She gave me a survey and used the Quotient ADHD System to confirm.
Now it had a name. I didn't feel comfortable with the certainty but now I had a better starting point to figure out how to help myself.