Dear Otis, How Do I?


Otis the Owl, Mentor

Dear Otis,

I was recently diagnosed with ADHD, but since I’m in high school my parents don’t necessarily believe I have it. They believe it would have shown up when I was younger. Knowing myself, I fully believe that the diagnosis is correct because I fit almost all the symptoms I have heard of and researched. They refuse to believe I have this along with some other issues and keep digging into other areas of my life trying to find something else. How do I get them to stop this and just actually trust my doctors who are qualified? – Anonymous

It can be hard to address people who are unwilling to change their minds. Some people never change. In your case, it seems like your parents aren’t fully accepting your diagnosis when there could be other possibilities. It’s good to gain some perspective and try to understand why they would feel that way. There are steps you can take to getting the help you need. If you truly believe your diagnosis is correct, decide whether or not you wish to talk to your parents about getting professionally tested. Let them know you need help and describe some of the struggles you’re having. If you aren’t quite comfortable with the idea (or any idea that involves confronting your parents), definitely consult your doctor or somebody you can trust (like a friend or a school counselor). It’s good to have someone to give support if you do want to eventually address your parents. Most importantly, have patience. It takes time to process these things. Use this time to do more research, talk to people who have ADHD, and find coping mechanisms. Your mental health is important. I hope this helped and good luck to you!


Dear Otis, 

How can someone function in society without being judged for the way their brain functions in certain situations? Do you have any advice on how to get by with people thinking about you because you do things differently? – Anonymous

You are not alone. I have felt that way now and again. The smallest gesture, such as a dirty look from a peer, can make us magnify something so small. I have learned a few things from this bad habit. Ask yourself: Do I have evidence that a person is judging me, or am I judging their motives? Do I think they are judging me or do I know so? Could it be that I’m being judgemental of myself? More often than not, we find ourselves overthinking about the way someone thinks of us when they are probably stressing about the way people think of them. We don’t know! We can’t read or manipulate minds. People are gonna think what they want to think. Remind yourself of what’s truly valuable. And that’s your opinion. You choose how you wish to think of yourself. Another question is: What if it’s not in my head? How does someone deal with an openly judgemental person? It can be easy to say that you shouldn’t take it personally, but that would be an underestimation. Recognize what they say and do isn’t usually about you. From what I’ve observed, people who are quick to judge others either are projecting their insecurities, don’t realize their words hurt, or it could be that’s how they are. Like I said beforehand, it’s all about gaining perspective. These people are human beings and all human beings have the potential to grow. Look at this person as if they were a young child. They’re still learning.  Have compassion and set boundaries between that person and you. Remind yourself of all the strengths you have to offer. Hang out with the people that love you and encourage you for you. Overall, it’s all about taking a look at your self and accepting you, regardless of what others say or “think”. 


Dear Otis,

How do I stop procrastinating and doing my homework at the last minute?- Anonymous

Dear Otis,

How do I get rid of procrastination? – Anonymous

It happens to the best of us! Often, we come up with this master plan in our heads to get stuff done, but then we end up feeling overwhelmed and not prepared to handle the tasks awaiting us at noon. Or we fear that we won’t execute a task to absolute perfection and we’re afraid we won’t finish on time. There are lots of reasons we procrastinate. Find out why you think you’re postponing your work. Keep this in mind: Starting your work is half the battle. The rest will come together smoothly. Most of the assignments you do in high school don’t require that you spend hours upon hours perfecting it. Especially if it’s 5 questions (I know, I’m guilty). The important thing is that you get it done. What I like to do is break apart my tasks into small pieces. Think of it this way. The Statue of Liberty wasn’t shipped from France to America as the whole sculpture. The statue was disassembled and sent to the U.S. in crates. The same goes for completing our seemingly gigantic assignments. Work on spending some time on one segment of your assignment, then move onto the next. To ensure you’re not spending all day on an assignment, set a timer for yourself. Motivate yourself with small breaks in between your work. What I have found to be the most helpful is to start work right away. The second we stop working, we lose the momentum. The second you get home, open that book bag of yours and set up your workspace. Eliminate those distractions. Ask your parents to take away your phone. Study with a friend. Make a schedule. Do whatever works for you!