My Experience with ADHD

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Image of a man in a library

            The laptop was right in front of me, the word document was open, but I could not do anything except stare at the blank white page in front of me. It was a week before the deadline for a standard English Literature class analysis essay. I could hear myself internally screaming “Do it! What is stopping you from just typing out what you know? You already have this whole essay in your head, why can’t you just write?”  These questions were a very common echo in my head. No simple answer would ever come. That was until one of my friends showed me a video about ADHD because they were concerned that I may have it after watching me struggle with what I would later learn is called “executive dysfunction.”

            Before my ADHD diagnosis, I was constantly procrastinating on my assignments. Not because I would actively push off doing my work, but because I would just look at my computer, worksheet, or assigned reading and freeze. I would set aside the time to do it and nothing would ever be achieved. My free time was taken up by thinking about and planning assignments in my head. I knew the material ten times over but until the clock was ticking and the impending doom of an impossible headline appeared, I was unable to do anything about it. During the fall, things were easier. Time was limited due to tennis and other activities, so deadlines were always creeping up. However, I would be working until 2-3am every night on homework due to a challenging course load that I was determined to take on.

            After many long talks with my mother, and completing multiple diagnostics tests to see if a visit to the doctor was even worth our time…I convinced her. This had been difficult because I had never struggled at school. Yes, I was talkative. However, this trait was attributed to everything under the sun except an abnormality in my brain chemistry. When I spoke to my doctor, he gave me a referral to a neurologist. After multiple appointments, I was told that I had different options to pursue for treatment. In the end, we chose medication as the best fit for my situation and severity. Medication was a welcomed change. I stopped struggling with executive dysfunction. My relationship with food, which had led to an eating disorder during my early high school years, improved significantly. Most of all, I no longer felt like I was running behind the rest of my classmates trying to keep up with academic content.

            ADHD is a spectrum, and severity should not be classified by how inconvenient individuals with ADHD are to neurotypical people. Individuals who do not fit into the stereotype of the overactive child with bad grades go undiagnosed, struggling without knowing that there are solutions that will help them handle day-to-day tasks. As a result of these struggles, people with ADHD are more susceptible to anxiety and depression which can lead to further struggles. It is not rare for an individual to go undiagnosed due to the fact that they visibly behave well during class and keep decent grades. These individuals eventually begin to struggle as they meet challenges that required long-term concentration and dedication that outlast their hyper-focus on the subject matter.

            There are more resources on ADHD each day. Internet creators sharing their experiences have encouraged individuals who relate to seek testing and treatment should they be diagnosed. Doctors are widening their diagnosis standards to fit multiple presentations of ADHD in order to counter the prior under diagnosis of young women. Overall, ADHD can be a challenge if undiagnosed but if teachers are mindful and properly educated on the different presentations of ADHD, they can prevent future issues for individuals later on.

Stories
United States of America