ADHD Weekly September 20, 2018
Jon L. Thomas, EdD, LPC, the founding director of the ADHD College Success Guidance Program, was once invited to co-lead a workshop focused on personal growth and process work that ended with each participant “anchoring” the gains they had made by descending into an underground cave. Which was a great opportunity with a small drawback—he’s claustrophobic.
But Dr. Thomas was determined not to give up and leave the tunnel. During his journey, he came to a new understanding of the similarly stressful transitional epoch in life: young adulthood. Choosing a path, deciding on a career, and selecting a college major—all are part and parcel of defining ourselves during this era, so that we have a solid and positive answer when someone asks us, “What do you do?” or “What is your major?” or “Who are you?”
During this challenging life stage, underlying psychological issues, stresses, old psychic wounds, and even psychoses can emerge. The stress of this transition is brutal. Like his journey through the tunnel, this young adulthood transition arouses our deepest fears and showcases our greatest weaknesses.
Dr. Thomas says he struggled during his young adult years with undiagnosed ADHD and depression. Starting, failing, changing paths, and starting again—all came in recursive fits and starts on his journey to adulthood.
The initial choice of a path and then its pursuit are difficult enough. But think of the regret and self-recrimination you might feel if you were to spend so much energy pursuing your chosen path, only to realize when you are far along that it was the wrong choice, or that you can’t complete it. Imagine how difficult it is to turn around in the middle of challenging programs like med school, engineering, or information technology, and begin again.