Failing at Normal: An ADHD Success Story | Jessica McCabe | TEDxBratislava

Published 2017-10-09
Jessica McCabe tell us the story of her life. Once a gifted child with bright future, who later lives a life of a constant failures, because one thing - her ADHD diagnosis. Until one thing changed everything and she realized, that she is not alone. Her Youtube channel HowtoADHD is dedicated to help not only people with ADHD, but also their parents, partners a teachers and to remind them, that they are not alone.
Jessica McCabe nám rozpráva príbeh svojho života. Kedysi nadané dieťa so žiarivou budúcnosťou, ktoré neskôr žije život plný neustálych neúspechov, len kvôli jednej veci - jej ADHD diagnóze. Až do momentu kedy sa všetko zmení a ona si uvedomí, že v tom nie je sama. Jej YouTube kanál HowtoADHD je venovaný pomoci a usmerňovaniu nielen ľudí s ADHD ale takisto aj ich rodičom, partnerom a učiteľom a takisto aj odkazu, že v tom nie sú nikdy samí. Jessica is the author of popular YouTube series How to ADHD focused on educating and supporting ADHD brains around the world. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

All Comments (21)
  • @wannaBtraceur
    Everyone who has adhd knows the pain that’s in her voice when she’s crying. It can be so hard to articulate the impact adhd has on us to the people in our lives, but Jessica does this brilliantly!
  • I couldn't hold back the tears. My younger years were like Jessica's—full of academic success and recognition—but as I got older and the executive functioning demands increased, I just couldn't keep up. I've always felt like I have to work so much harder than others to simply organize my life without losing my sanity. I just got finished listening to my husband rant about how inattentive I am, how I procrastinate all the time, how forgetful I am, how I choose to focus on some things and not others...I try to explain but he just doesn't get it. I don't TRY to be distracted or disorganized—in fact, I dedicate a huge amount of brain power to fighting ADHD symptoms, but sometimes I get so overwhelmed that I just CRASH. I guess I appear somewhat "put together" to those who don't know me well (they only see the results of projects that I've hyperfocused on), which only causes me anxiety because I fail to carry that same level of excellence into every aspect of life. I feel so misunderstood.
  • @jackaldesign1196
    I'm writing this from my car, by the side of the road, on my way to a meeting for which I am late, with tears steaming down my face. I am a 43 year old man and this talk just rocked me to my core!
    Thank you! Thank you... I really needed to hear that I am not alone and that there is hope... Your story is almost a carbon copy of mine... How did I miss this my whole life! Your talk has given me a clue and I now think I know where to start...
    Thank you so, so much!
  • @RandomShart
    Just been diagnosed, in my 40s. It's strange to feel so happy and so upset at the same time. I think back to decades of struggle, through education, through work, beating myself up about my lack of motivation and a life of underachievement, while putting on a fake face of confidence. It's been so difficult. Here's hoping for a brighter future. Good luck to anyone in the same boat.
  • @nxtech201
    dang almost cried during this one. adhd is harder than people think. Not just with focus but so many other aspects of life. Inability to sleep, feeling overwhelmed about how much you have to do but never doing it, saying you'll definitely check the mail today but its been months and more than likely i will not be checking it today either despite writing this. People just say dude go check your mail and yeah it seems pretty easy but for reasons i can't explain, its like so not easy.
  • @libertyhaas6950
    When she said, “I worked harder than anyone I knew...So, my failure was clearly my fault.” I felt that.
  • @johnmoore1495
    I was talking to my cousin on thanksgiving who I rarely get to see (once every few years) and she brought up her son being diagnosed with ADHD. Then she mentioned how she got diagnosed after him because everything just finally made sense, she told me when she was 16 she was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, and was on over a dozen medications over 14 years and nothing helped, if anything she felt worse. Once she was diagnosed with ADHD and was prescribed a stimulant, she said “it was like night and day.” And as she said it you could hear her voice get choked up and she got teary eyed, just like the TED speaker. She apologized and just told me that she gets emotional because of how long it took to get a result and how drastic the difference was.

    I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety at 15 because I basically burned out of school and had skipped for a month. It’s been almost 10 years now and nothing has helped. The more I thought about it looking back the more and more it made sense. I had never given ADHD a thought because of what society teaches us it is “loud kids who can’t stop moving and can’t pay attention,” when in reality it’s not just that. For once in a long time I feel like I have hope and coincidentally am starting with a new doctor so hopefully I may have the same experience.
  • Jessica, I don't think you'll see this comment. But I just wanted to let you know that you've changed my life to the better. I'm eternally grateful for your existence, the videos, contents and wisdoms you've shared with me and the ADHD tribe ❤️. Shout out to your team too!
  • @Smoochi27
    When she spoke about timing herself, my jaw dropped. I always had an understanding that people with ADHD had issues with being on time or something like that. My whole life I’ve had a “schedule” internally for myself. With school, day to day and work. I always set times to everything and it makes sense. I would get anxious if I went outside that time and would lash out on people who disrupted my schedule. It all makes sense.
  • @soooooooph
    Thank you for this. No one believed me when I finally voiced my suspicion that I had ADHD because I seemed like I had my life together. I was a "gifted" kid (I understood abstract maths concepts but I couldn't do basic arithmetic and never learned my times tables). I wasn't disruptive or hyper, I was shy and awkward (unless someone was interested in my interests, then I could talk forever). But I couldn't listen properly, I would daydream constantly about worlds in books and movies and games. As I got older the careless mistakes and inability to finish my assigned books started to cost me my grades. I am neat and organised from the outside (because if I'm not it all goes to chaos). I'm never late anymore (because I overcompensate). But inside my brain it feels like I'm constantly trying to carry around a kilogram of marbles with my bare hands, and they're dropping and rolling under things. And occasionally I spot one very pretty marble which mesmerises me and I focus on it for hours, forgetting about trying to carry all the others. This is the best way I can describe it for me.
  • Oh Jessica. Your YouTube channel may have saved my marriage. My husband has severe ADHD and was not diagnosed until 37. Now, because of you, we are educating ourselves about how to cope with it.. no. about how to thrive with it. And now our son is also showing signs of ADHD and now we feel prepared to give him the support he needs to thrive as well. Thank you.
  • @moiram8943
    Shout out to all the gifted ADHDers that everyone thinks are so put to together, yet feel like they are falling apart. You are not alone.
  • @urmumisaho69
    I was 30 when I was diagnosed with ADHD and treated with dexamfetamine. I remember the first time about an hour after my first dose and just wanting to cry with joy. The world was quiet, the colours brighter and songs actually had meaning. I cried when I could actually feel music and listen to the lyrics.

    I had a successful career up until that point. Then after my diagnosis and treatment I realised I was playing life on EXTREME DIFFICULTY. I wanted to be angry and resent everyone around me for letting struggle each day or because they had what felt like a free ride compared to my daily struggle to even survive. I don’t have any anger anymore. My frustration with literally so many difficulties were gone.

    A few hours later I realised. I got this far in life on such a hard difficulty level and what can I now achieve on a level playing field with my peers. I am actually excited about the future and how much more I can achieve.

    That was only 5 days ago.
  • @silvverfoxxx
    I'm 17 and I've just been diagnosed. I've been binge watching videos all day and I've literally lost count of how many times I've cried today. Tears of happiness for finally realising what my issue is and of regret of how harsh I've been to myself my whole life.
  • I’m a 34 year old father who recently got divorced and just a week ago was diagnosed ADHD. I’m smart-an engineer, I can hold myself up just like her, but it’s like I have one hand tied behind my back and there’s weights attached to my feet. I can relate SO MUCH to this video and it made me cry as well. Thank you for this.
  • @shanthikasturi18
    I have ADHD, hence i'm here distracted from the existing work i'm doing and trying to learn about myself and behavioural patterns i possess. It's actually good to know that this is a serious issue and not just about willpower or any self motivational quotient that parents tend to lecture the most about. Glad to have come across this video recommendation. Good job you beautiful super woman, you've not only gathered strength for yourself but given us too.
  • @TisNessie
    When I realized I had ADHD the first thing my parents said to me was “no you don’t. You had good grades in school!” They didn’t see how much I struggled to keep up. How my ADHD kept me from graduating with honours, attending my graduation ceremony, keeping me from getting into better schools because of my inability to remember dance moves, among others. I’m still learning new things about my brain, and I just started on medication a month ago. ❤
  • @madameee4274
    The end is making me tear up 🥲 I’m 20 and I just recently realized I probably have undiagnosed ADHD, and the more i’m learning about it, the more validated I feel. I have been like this my ENTIRE life and never thought once about possibly having it until now. I come from an immigrant family that doesn’t believe much in mental health, so I never got diagnosed as a kid for anything. If I’m anxious (i’m sure I have undiagnosed GAD too), they tell me to “just get over it, you’re fine.” If I procrastinate or i’m depressed and it keeps me from doing tasks, I get called lazy. I love my family, however they’re not aware of how much mental health affects people. They kind of have the mindset that people keep themselves a certain way and that they just “don’t want to change it,” as if someone can control their ADHD, anxiety, depression, etc. So they know it’s real and stuff, but they don’t really believe in how serious it is.

    I scheduled an appointment with a psychologist this week so that they can refer me to psychiatry and to get diagnosed. Although I don’t have an official diagnosis, I’m about 99% sure i have it, or at least one other mental disorder. I feel so relieved that i’m not crazy and that there’s other people like me. I always thought I was lazy and would never amount to anything bc of my procrastination and lack of focus, however if ADHD is my problem and it’s treatable, I can find a way to get through it. Thank you for this ❤
  • @stillbai
    only people with adhd will truly understand why shes crying so often. This was such an amazing video, thank you.
  • @The_Real_Mier
    It is SO refreshing to have someone talk about ADHD and NOT trying to be funny by yelling “Squirrel!!”

    Because THAT simple joke has done more HARM to the understanding of this disorder than anyone could have ever anticipated!
    It created this STRONG STEREOTYPE which (of course) isn’t true and is way too much oversimplified.