I’m building my future on the super-positives of ADHD, says a teen who's seen it from the inside.
I remember arriving at school and walking into class exactly as everyone else did. Teachers treated me exactly as they treated everybody else, that is, until I demonstrated something they called a ‘symptom’ of a tragic ‘condition’ called ADHD
I remember when a teacher would ask a question to someone in the class. My super-fast brain would compute the answer far before the asked child would and then, in my excitement at knowing the answer, I would shout the answer out to the entire class. For my speed, enthusiasm and efficiency I was reprimanded with a stern look and a hostile comment about how I must ‘learn to control myself’.
I also remember that when the teacher would be teaching maths, I would understand the topic after the first example. Immediately I would be bored. “Why should waste my day being bored?” I would think.
I would then find stimulation in conversation with the boy or girl sitting next to me. I would want to tell them about my day so far and ask them about theirs, ask how they were, make them laugh and make them happy. The teacher never approved of this either. I would be shouted at for my interest in people and desire to brighten their day by making them smile.
I would then withdraw into deep thought, staring out the window composing tunes to whistle at home, imagining adventures to act out in my garden and predicting what would happen in the next episode of ‘DragonBallZ’. Apparently, even though I was not trying to make someone happy again, I was still doing something wrong.
When everyone was tired, I was still full of energy. I seemed to have a never-ending supply of energy, a non-stop compulsion to be doing something. This too, was apparently a symptom of mine. Even my interest in others, my endless asking of questions, always enquiring about things, was a symptom.
I didn’t understand it, all these symptoms. Why was I always in trouble for being vivacious, interested and enthusiastic? I didn’t understand. Only now that I am older, do I understand why those teachers were so dissatisfied with me. ADHD is part of me
But still, I am who I am. I am intelligent, quick-minded and interested in all that surrounds me. I will never lose hope for my future as my teachers scowl at my behaviour and lack of discipline and tell me how my symptoms must be overcome.
This is because I know that one day; a boss will appreciate my super-fast brain that calculates the answers quickly. I know that my friends will enjoy that same super-fast brain when I’m able to make quick and witty retorts to make them laugh. I also know that my boss will make the most of my super-ability to understand an idea first time, that he will reward me and be pleased with my productivity.
Furthermore, my endless supply of energy will keep me going without coffee and my zest for life will shield me from depression.
I know that all these ‘symptoms’, these ‘inappropriate’ impulses and uncontrollable energy levels will all be harnessed by my family
, career and friends to make me a happy and successful person. I know that my ADHD is not a ‘condition’ to be cured
, but a gift of individuality, creativity and joy on which I will build my future.
Did you grow up with ADHD? What did it feel like?
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