STORYBOOK: THE TIME THEY TOLD ME I HAD ADD

Dear Reader,

I think I’ve always been lazy. I have the ability to overcome it and can be weirdly motivated for certain projects, but I think at my core, I’m a lazy person. And I think the worst thing you can tell a kid that’s lazy is that they’re gifted.

Because that almost condones it, right? Like, you’re allowed to be lazy because things are going to come easier to you and for some reason, maybe genetics, maybe the way you were raised, you’re just not going to have to work that hard to pass classes. Not like some other students.

And I look back, and I can see that. I see that school was easy for me. I guess. In the sense that I didn’t put in that much effort on projects I didn’t like and I still managed to pass. And, like I said, I am capable of working hard. I spent so much time writing stories and songs and poems and in my personal journals. I even spent a lot of time doing math problems for fun and counting my quarter collection and designing my biome for science class. It didn’t really matter to me if it was for school or not–if I enjoyed it, I would do it. If I didn’t, I would procrastinate. And maybe I would never even get around to doing it.

Trust me, I know how bad that is. It’s one of the things I hate about myself, but I think it’s who I am at my core, which is why it’s so hard for me to change. But it’s gotten me in trouble. It almost got me kicked out of the accelerated fourth grade class I was placed in. And it did get me kicked out of honors English.

But I always managed to stay afloat and get grades that pleased my father and score in the top percentages of all of the standardized tests I took growing up. And then high school came along, and classes got boring.

Really boring.

In eighth grade I took algebra and american history, both of which I loved. So I excelled. Freshman year I took AP government and biology and geometry. Proofs and labs and dry reading were what (should’ve) filled my days.

I couldn’t do it, though. I couldn’t force myself to learn–or to focus. I spent classes daydreaming and looking out windows. But I guess it didn’t really end there. I think it might’ve carried over into conversations and even onto the soccer field.

Funniest_Memes_what-the-hell-is-that-oh-just-my-mind_13355

“Sorry, I zoned out.”

But, come on, I was fourteen years old! Of course I’m not going to be interested in AP government or every time my mother lectures me about my room. And yeah, sometimes it’s bad if I miss the starting lineup because my mind is somewhere else, but that only happened a handful of times.

So I laughed when my two friends confronted me.

“Don’t take this the wrong way, but we think you might have ADD.”

I even laughed when I told my parents.

“You’ll never guess what Jaden and Lekha told me today!”

But instead of laughs, I got, “Alright, well we’ll schedule an appointment and go from there.”

What?

I still rolled my eyes on the way to the appointment. I mean, we were going to see a therapist. I didn’t need a therapist! (lol look at me now)

He was very nice, but I didn’t really get why we were doing all of this. I was in this closet-like room at first and had to click the mouse as soon as I saw the white letter X (I think) against the black screen. Don’t click for the other letters.

Eh, I think I was just trigger-happy.

Then he asked me a few riddles and basic math problems. I made sure not to fidget or shake my feet and I focused really hard. But, I mean, it was August. I was a little rusty.

I still remember a riddle about something with six strings on your back. I was stumped and I asked my mom about it in the car and she said, “guitar?”

Okay, so this guy’s going to tell me that I don’t have ADD, but I’m no longer gifted.

How did I not get guitar?

But, honestly, I thought I killed it. Yep, I was like, I know what ADD looks like and the way I presented myself was nothing of the sort. I’ve got nothing to worry about.

Later that day my brother drove me to soccer with his friend in the car and, laughing, I said, “Guess what I did today! Got tested for ADD!”

The awkward silence that followed told me that maybe I shouldn’t be joking about this quite yet.

Well, we went back awhile later and the guy told me that I could get a prescription for adderall. You know, for my ADD. Because my brain doesn’t work like others, he said. When most people have thoughts, basically, their brain can handle it. They can connect them quickly–he explained this as he moved his finger in a circle. But for me, I guess my thoughts go around that circle too quickly.

See? I’m too smart?

Just kidding.

He basically gave two examples. One, he said that’s why sometimes I say things without explaining how I got to that thought. I assume my thought process is the same as everyone else’s, but really, it can be kind of hard to follow along unless I articulate. And I guess that’s because of the speedy circles in my brain.

(I wish I knew something about neurology so I could explain this better)

(I should have at least tried to pay attention in biology)

Two, he said that if a teacher says, “don’t pay attention to the car honking outside,” and then a car honks outside, I’ll basically have to look. It’ll be an instinct that I can’t stop, or once my brain thinks “don’t look outside,” I’ll already be looking.

Yeah, I don’t know either. But every time a car honks outside, I look and I don’t know if it’s because he told me this years ago, or if it’s actually something I would do anyway.

That’s the thing–I feel like anyone who went to this guy could be diagnosed with ADD. I don’t know exactly what his evidence was, but I had a hard time buying it for a while. I’ve been on and off my meds (because I was an angsty teenager who was terrified of permanent, irreversible effects–actually, I am still very much both of those things). And then this year, I had to go months without them at all, and I felt absolutely hopeless. I felt broken. And dependent.

So that sucked.

And the worst thing is that I always see the pictures of how different brains look in regards to depression and ADHD and bipolar disorder, but there’s never ADD. The guy made a point that I didn’t have ADHD (the difference being hyperactive), but I never see anything regarding the struggles of people with ADD. And that sometimes makes me think it’s made up to sell performance-enhancing drugs (I would consider adderall and ritalin to be in this category) to motivationless kids.

Which brings me back to the reminder that I’m lazy.

So I don’t know what to think, but that’s the story of the time they told me I had ADD. And maybe one day I’ll write a story about the day I decided I was over it. Or maybe I’ll go back to that doctor and confront him and make him show me the notes he took on me and why he gave me this diagnosis.

I feel like it wasn’t supposed to screw me up so much, but it did. I feel like it was just supposed to explain some things–answer some questions I always had about myself. But I’ve been more confused than ever.

Sometimes I wish I could just have a full brain scan and they could tell me exactly what’s wrong with me.

But other times I think maybe I don’t want to know.

Sincerely,

Sammy

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